Flying the Flag for Personal Histories in England


Having recently moved back to my homeland of England after thirty-two years in the U.S. and six years in Canada, it was a wonderful surprise to get a phone call from Mike Oke, a fellow Brit and member of the Association of Personal Historians, advising me that he would be conducting a personal history workshop at the annual Who Do You Think You Are show, held in London, February 22-24, 2013.

You may be familiar with the television show that has helped promote interest in genealogy, via Ancestry.com, as well as in the stories that can accompany the ancestors that individuals find on their family trees. The concept for the show actually originated in England and the three-day live version of the show is very popular and well attended. (The NBC TV show is no longer on the air, but you can watch episodes online.)

For me, the highlight of the live show was Mike Oke’s workshop! Although the allotted forty-five-minute time slot was far too brief, Mike managed to give a very entertaining demonstration of the work he has been doing for the past twenty years, and he gave a great plug for APH. He also mentioned there were members of APH in the audience:  Jill Coon, who recently moved to England from Nashville, and me.

Another APH member, Maureen Taylor, “The Photo Detective” was also featured at the live show, but alas, I was not able to attend her presentation as it conflicted with Mike’s. You can read about Maureen’s experience in her blog for Family Tree magazine.

APH member Hannah Sherriffs was unable to join us at what Mike has described as a “mini regional meeting,” but we are planning a meeting of Brit members (all four of us!) in the early summer. We will also be inviting potential new members.

Fellow APH members Mike Oke and Jill Coon with me at the live Who Do You Think You Are program in London. See the “Your Journey Starts Here” banner in the background? Appropriate for me, since I am starting on a new journey in my personal history work.





I personally want to thank Mike Oke for reaching out to me and giving me an opportunity to meet Jill. As a past-coordinator for the Southern California Region (with the wonderful Rachael Rifkin) I know how important it is to welcome new members into the APH fold and offer support, which of course is an APH standard. I am now further reassured and confident that our small British region will grow in strength, and we’ll proudly fly the flag for APH.



About today’s contributor: Marie Rowe is the owner of Thanks for the Memoirs in Dunchurch, Warwickshire, England. Before becoming a personal historian, she spent thirty years in the entertainment industry, working in script development, abridging books on tape, and casting and producing films. Marie has been a member of the Association of Personal Historians since 2009.

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6 Responses to Flying the Flag for Personal Histories in England

  1. How wonderful! I loved, “Who do you think you are?” and am sad it is no longer on television in the U.S. Will there be video that we can see from the workshop?

    Thanks for sharing this blog post.

  2. Fran Morley says:

    Susan,
    I see a great excuse for an APH road trip to England for this event next year. You up for it?

  3. Jane Shafron says:

    Dear Marie,
    We miss you in SoCal! Great that you are carrying the torch for APH in England. Best of luck as ramp up your personal history business in the UK!

  4. Guy Hamilton says:

    As someone who’s about to launch myself into this new world (for me) of personal biographies, it was great to have the opportunity to hear Mike and to meet up with him, Marie, and Jill at the event. Very worthwhile, and I got a lot of ideas. Now I just need to put them into practice!

  5. Annie Payne says:

    Thanks, Marie for such an enthusiastic blog about catching up with the very charming Mike Oke at last weekend’s Who Do You Think You Are Family History expo in London. I am so thrilled that he finally has some APH colleagues in the UK and that you will all welcome new member Hannah Sherriffs into your small fold.
    Cheers, Annie.

  6. Hi Marie, How interesting that you have re-located back to the UK and furthermore to attend Mike’s show. Please email me some time to update me on how your business is going? Kind regards, Christine Norton, New Zealand.

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