Birch Research



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Lisa Spain

Overview/History of Birch Research

I have always had a huge passion for history, in particular family history. My great grandmother, Ellen Creaney (nee White), started the family tradition as she was a predominant member of Sheerness Local History Society on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent (now She also ran the Royal British Legion on the island. Ellen was an inspiration to me, even though I don't remember her as she died when I was very young.


She kept all the family papers in an old battered suitcase, which my gran, Nellie Norah Piper nee Creaney, used to go through with me as a child. I remember all the old family photos, two of which went back to the late 1880's, which held me in fascination.


Pictured right is my great great grandmother, Harriet White nee Bloodworth, taken in 1888.


I started tracing my own family tree in my teens, travelling with my mother up to St Catherine's House, London. I remember the exhausting searches through the massive heavy books, half the size of me! I was then lucky to obtain work with a Genealogist at Holborn Kingsway in my early 20's, which then got me completely hooked.


When I found an ancestor who I had been searching for who died aged 103 in 1837, that was it, no going back!


Throughout the years I have managed to trace my own tree back to the early 1600's. Records exist for Castle Combe further back than this, but they are in a terrible condition and are basically illegible.


A few years ago a friend of mine asked me to research her tree for her as she was housebound and in a wheelchair, and had always wanted to know about her ancestors. This I diligently did for her, despite her ancestors being in Surrey, Kent and Devon!


In February 2007 I started work at Medway Archives & Local Studies Centre, Strood, Kent. I had always wanted to work within an Archives Service and I took to it like a duck to water. This gave me vital experience and knowledge in order to expand my business, and I am very grateful to the staff at MALSC for helping me. I have put details of their web site in the page entitled "Useful Web Sites".


In 2008 I moved to the Institute of Heraldic & Genealogical Studies in Canterbury, Kent employed as a Registrar. Again, this was a dream for me, as it meant I could carry out research all day long! Unfortunately I was made redundant after only 3 months, so decided to be productive and start my own Family History Research business.