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 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 seriously researching my family tree in 2004, 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 sell-out 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
More recently I reviewed the research and wrote the short biographies of 78 men named on Dewsbury War Memorial who died in 1916 for the Dewsbury Sacrifices WW1 Commemoration Project.
In terms of broader family and local history, I was on the committee of Batley History Group for two years. In October 2018 I took on the role of editor for the Huddersfield and District Family History Society members’ quarterly ‘Journal.’ I also write a regular family history column in ‘Down Your Way’ Yorkshire memories and nostalgia magazine.
I have a one-name study, Aveyard, registered with the Guild of One-Name Studies. The email contact for this is firstname.lastname@example.org
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 information can be found here.
Copies of the book, including signed, can also be ordered direct from me. The cost, including postage within the UK, is £14.50. Payment can be made either by Bank Transfer or cheque.
If you require additional details I can be contacted at: email@example.com
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. In the autumn of 2018 I completed their two-year Family History Skills and Strategies (Advanced) Distance Learning Course, again achieving a Distinction with the highest mark for the year.
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 family and local 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.