When I was about 15 years old, my dad showed me the biggest piece of paper I'd ever seen. It was our Family Tree and I was enchanted. Here in front of me was hundreds of years of history, details of people who were probably very similar to me in their looks and personality but yet their lives would have been so different.
Ever since that day I’ve been researching Family History. Friends, Family, Colleagues…..as long as I can remember I’ve had a Family Tree on the go. There has always been some sort of project – either because someone mentioned something in passing I couldn’t help offering my skills up for or because I’d become known as the ‘go-to girl’ if you wanted to know about your Ancestors.
The thing that’s always really fascinated me is being able to go beyond a ‘Skeleton Tree’ that simply gives names and dates. It’s the digging around for Local and Social History, Newspapers and suchlike that are the real fun. That’s what brings people’s stories to life. If I'm going to tell you about your Ancestors, I want you to really understand what their day-to-day life was like.
In 2017 I turned 30 and I was at a crossroads. I’d had a long and happy decade working in IT but it was time for a change. Two things happened that year – my father died suddenly and during my compassionate leave I reunited a friend’s mum with her estranged father. She’d been looking him for nearly 4 decades and I’d found him in just a few days and with relative ease.
It was clear that I had something to offer that was unique, and that I could build something which would make it affordable and allow as many people as possible to experience that same magical moment I did when I was 14.
I handed in my notice, I drafted a business model and that was 3 years ago.
Since then I’ve worked with people all over the UK, USA and Australia and researched thousands of people. Many of the people I’ve worked for have become friends and a large percentage of my work comes through word-of-mouth from people who are delighted with the Gifts & Projects I’ve put together for them.
It’s not unusual for people to tell me the recipients of my Family Trees – especially the books! – are moved to tears at the personal and unique nature of my work.
Family Trees by Hannah is more than a business name, it's a way of life for me. I'm one of the lucky few who is living proof that if you do something you love, you never work a day in your life. Also, I'm really bloody good at it :)
I’m yet to find anyone who is descended from Royal Blood, but if anyone can find that link – it’s me.