Meet Frances Cairns – Genealogist & Record Agent

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“Every child ought to be made to understand not only something of the world in which he lives, but something of the inheritance from the past to which he is born”. William Charles Braithwaite, 1909

It is commonplace now at schools for students to do their family history as part of the education department’s curriculum. Unfortunately, I had to wait until I was nearing forty before I found out about my family. I started out by doing a Genealogy course with face to face classes with Janet Reakes. Tracing my ancestry became very addictive and I was amazed at what I found out about my family and those who came before them. The joy of Family History is that you can put aside your work and pick it up again at anytime. I decided many years later that I wanted to assist other people in finding their ancestral lines so I undertook University study in order to turn professional.

The beginnings of family history problem solving came when I did a Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in Sociology. Studying for the degree also taught me how to be analytical and thorough. As part of the course, I had to generate a Family History Chart and I chose to do a Circular Chart with me in the middle, spreading out to my ancestors. I reached back to 1738 on one of my lines.  I also became very familiar with research, as extra reading and information was required for the Graduate Certificate in Family and Community History that I completed in 2009.

Although I am not able to make promises with regards the provision of a positive outcome to a family history request, I do my very best to try and source relevant documents and information for my clients. It is fascinating and rewarding to conduct oral interviews and written questionnaires with living persons and the results are often surprising. I have paid subscriptions to Family History sites,  belong to many organisations and facebook groups that all add to my exposure to sources and assistance.

It requires diligence, perseverance, imagination, care, skill and labour to undertake research of records in Australia and overseas for people interested in tracing their family roots. Every bit of information must be tested to confirm the authenticity of the record. To have a good narrative of our past is a good legacy to leave behind and the discovery about marriages and children, deaths and divorces forges our inherited patterns. Stories tell us about ourselves, our culture and our civilization.

I hold a Graduate Certificate in Family and Community History obtained from the Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, NSW.

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Email: [email protected]

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