My name is Jane Roberts. I live in Batley, West Yorkshire, the former “Shoddy Capital” of the world.
Ever since I can remember I’ve had an interest in history and the past. So it was inevitable that, once I left sixth form, I went on to read Modern History at Liverpool University.
After graduating, I worked in the civil service. My first role had a large military history component, based around ceremonial clothing contracts and Trooping the Colour. My subsequent job, as a policy manager, involved a significant amount of planning, coordinating, research and writing. Throughout it all, I retained my love of history.
My interest in genealogy developed after hearing tales from my uncle about my grandmother’s brother who was killed in a childhood motorcar accident in 1910. I started researching my family tree in 2005, fitting it in between family, work and supporting my Rugby League team, Huddersfield Giants.
My family history is predominantly West Yorkshire based, with a significant County Mayo connection. It’s a working-class family. But family history isn’t only about the rich and the famous. It’s about everyday lives. Every family has a story to tell. It’s a case of discovering that story. And no matter how much time I spend on researching my family there is always more to discover!
I have not limited myself to researching my own family history. On a local level my first major personal project was War Memorial based. Since childhood I have been fascinated by the First World War Memorial at Batley St Mary of the Angels RC church. This resulted in me spending around three years finding out about the men behind the 76 names. I printed a booklet based on this research to raise funds which I split between the Church and The Royal British Legion.
St Mary’s church, a place very much entwined with my family history and which features frequently in my blog, is currently raising money to repair the roof. More details, including a link for any donations, can be found here: https://www.stmarybatley.co.uk/roof-fund
In terms of broader local history, I am on the committee of Batley History Group.
I have a one-name study, Aveyard, registered with the Guild of One-Name Studies. The email contact for this is email@example.com
In September 2018 my first book was published. The Greatest Sacrifice – Fallen Heroes of the Northern Union is about Rugby League players who lost their lives in the Great War. More details can be found here.
In 2016 I completed the Family History Skills and Strategies (Intermediate) Certificate Course, jointly awarded Pharos Tutors and the Society of Genealogists, passing with a distinction. With an average of 90% I received the highest overall mark of students graduating that year. I am now in my second year of the Family History Skills and Strategies (Advanced) Distance Learning Course.
In September 2017 I became an AGRA Associate (Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives).
That year I took a momentous step: I left my civil service career to pursue full-time my passion for history and family history research. This includes helping others with their genealogical journeys, undertaking private research and providing advice and mentoring services. For more details see my research services and fees page.
This blog will be based largely around my family history research and those associated with my local town. I hope you enjoy it.