I’m Jacqui Kirk – a professional genealogist and archival researcher.
My aim when I first started Montague Cottage Research in 2009/10 was to provide excellent but affordable family and local history research to those who, for whatever reason, couldn’t do it for themselves.
I still mainly do this, but now offer other services such as helping with planning ancestral visits, talks to local groups, family history workshops and tuition and of course document photography. Similarly my non-genealogy research projects have covered a wide variety of general history topics including cycling journalists, early policemen, suffragettes, artists, air crashes and air displays, and of course WW1.
The recently demised and sadly missed “Your Family History” magazine introduced me to writing about family history as I answered a variety of queries as a Q &A panellist in recent years so writing will be an area I will develop further in the future. The research is always fun (if sometimes challenging) but writing it up for presenting to others is a different matter altogether whether as a book, video, presentation, article or website.
I do specialise in solving research problems and breaking down family history brick walls but will undertake any kind of historical research. I am particularly interested in the late Georgian and Regency period and in military, naval and convict ancestors.
HOW I WORK
It is often difficult to relinquish control over your family history research to someone else. So I work in short stages in collaboration with clients. I will recommend where best to research and prepare a research plan for your approval. Approval given and research completed I will report back with my analysis and findings and recommend possible next steps.
It may be that my findings fit with your previous research and point the way forward. It may be that we have to rethink the direction of the research. Clients benefit from my local or specialised knowledge of the resources available both online and off but are always in overall control of the direction, duration and costs of the research. They are YOUR ancestors after all.
WHERE I RESEARCH
I am based in Leamington Spa in
and because Warwickshire borders quite a few counties I also research in
Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Northamptonshire, Leicestershire, Staffordshire, and Worcestershire.
As most of my own ancestors come from
Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire
I research in those counties too and they also bring in
West and East Yorkshire and Lincolnshire
to my research areas.
is only an hour or so away by train so research in
The National Archives or the British Library
and other London archives and libraries is easy, as is the
University of Reading Special Collections and the Museum of English Rural Life.
The University of Warwick Centre for Modern Records
is merely a bus ride away too.
I have been researching now for 17 years and professionally for 9. I have always been a problem solver – I used to be a management consultant, a troubleshooter, and I now use the skills I honed there for genealogical research. Critical analysis and creative thinking are just as necessary for genealogy as for business.
Finding alternative sources is often the key to successful research and I enjoy visiting different archives and record offices for clients’ projects and the challenge of a difficult hunt.
I am by nature an inspired perfectionist who nevertheless learned to be both methodical and meticulous and to check out those flashes of inspiration very thoroughly.
TALKS AND COURSES
I teach family history and give talks on local and family history (I ran a family history support group from 2006-2016 whose members acted as my early guinea pigs). My talks cover a variety of subjects and I am willing to travel within a 50 mile or so radius of Leamington Spa.
RESEARCH PLANS AND ESTIMATES
I will provide a research plan and estimate of costs for your project no matter what size or nature of the research – from obtaining document photographs or copies or advising on likely sources for your research to a full family tree. Just email me with details and we’ll take it from there. If it is not my area of expertise I will say so and perhaps may be able to suggest someone else who can help instead.
I have been an active representative on The National Archives User Advisory Group for the last 4 years, and am a member of the Society of Genealogists, The Families in British India Society, the Association of Professional Genealogists, and, of course, of my local history society the Leamington History Group and the Friends of the Warwickshire Record Office.
I am a passionate advocate for archives and archival research. There is still so much that is not on the internet and it is these often overlooked manuscript sources which may hold the key to breaking down those roadblocks in your family history.
I do also occasionally make my views known on current genealogy or archival topics so check out my blogsite at http://montaguecottageresearch.blogspot.co.uk
I also tweet as @genealgenie