Welcome to Surrey Ancestry and the Family History Finder

Family history is much more than names and dates; it is about the people behind those names and dates and how they helped shape who and what we are today. Family History Finder specialises in genealogy and family history. What is the difference I hear you ask?

Put simply, genealogy is the “bare bones”, the names and dates of our ancestors; family history is the stories behind those names and dates, developing the lives and personalities of our ancestors.

My name is Sarah Pettyfer and I have been researching my own family history for almost 20 years. You can find out more about my background on my About page and my Blog page includes samples of family history biographies I have completed (although family history is never complete!) for my maternal male line.

I have a particular interest in family history before the start of census returns and civil registration, with a good knowledge of various specialist and sometimes complex, local record sources available both at local and national archives including Manorial and Ecclesiastical court records, Quarter Session records, Parish Chest and Poor Law records, Wills/Probate and Apprenticeship records amongst many others. These records can provide details of several generations of a family and help both support research already conducted, trace your family history further, and break down those brick walls.

My background (see About page) has also given me an interest in our criminal and maritime ancestors, I have a personal fascination with pirates and privateers!

Whether you are just starting out on your family history journey or have exhausted online research and need help taking you research to the next stage, I can offer both package and bespoke research to meet your requirements.

Being based in the south west of Surrey close to the borders with Hampshire and West Sussex provides easy access to the archives for all three counties, in addition to The National Archives and the various archives which cover London and Middlesex (such at the London Metropolitan Archives and the Society of Genealogists).

Visit my research pages to see how I can meet your requirements or contact me for further information, sarah@familyhistoryfinder.co.uk. I am always happy to arrange a call or video call to discuss your requirements further.

Series 2 Episode 1: Commissioning Effective Research Ask AGRA: Family History Question Time

Professional genealogists and AGRA Members / Associates Simon Martin, Mike Trenchard, Mike Sharpe, Carol Kerry Green discuss ways of commissioning effective genealogical research, with moderator Nick Serpell. To find out more about AGRA or to find a professional researcher to help you uncover more about your family history, see our website http://www.agra.org.uk.
  1. Series 2 Episode 1: Commissioning Effective Research
  2. Episode 6: Using Land Records In Genealogy Research
  3. Episode 5: DNA in Genealogy Research
  4. Episode 4: Military research including British service in India
  5. Episode 3: Family History Research Before 1837

Recent Posts

An introduction to Manorial Courts and their records

One source for researching your ancestors beyond the 19th Century is the records of the Manorial Courts. You would be forgiven for thinking that only landowners may appear in such records however this is not the case! From the time of the introduction of the manorial (or feudal) system by William the Conqueror to, in … Continue reading An introduction to Manorial Courts and their records

Ask AGRA: Family History Question Time

Listen to my colleagues and I discuss a variety of topics in this series of Podcasts – I will feature in the October podcast talking about getting started with your family history research and some of the common pitfalls we all fall into from time to time!  Podcast series from the genealogy experts – first … Continue reading Ask AGRA: Family History Question Time

My brick wall breakthrough

My maternal grandmothers paternal family have always been a mystery in our family. My great grandfather was Fred Sheard Oldfield. His mother, May Ann Turner was married to Tom Oldfield but he was not named on the Fred’s birth or marriage certificate. We also could not figure out where the name ‘Sheard’ came from. However, … Continue reading My brick wall breakthrough

A brief history of how our Ancestors were educated

And even did your ancestors receive an education? Certainly the further you go back in time the less likely they received an education unless they were in certain professions, although many ‘skilled’ labourers did serve apprenticeships. It was only 150 years ago when William Forster’s Elementary Education Act was passed in 1870 which was the … Continue reading A brief history of how our Ancestors were educated

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