Meet Rebecca Spiers – Genealogist and Record Agent

One of the most extraordinary things I find about conducting genealogical research is how much can be derived from such minimal amounts of information; it never ceases to amaze me. A detail found within a record may lead to the discovery of a large amount of information and the unfolding of a story of its own volition. Growing up I loved hearing about my own family history stories and still do. I have always had a fascination with historical objects, artifacts, and ephemera, often wondering about the hidden stories they contained, who owned them, where they lived, and what kind of lives they led?  This fascination and my love of family history inevitably led me to become a Genealogist.

My journey to becoming a Genealogist started over 25 years ago when I began researching my own family history with a focus in London, Hampshire, Devon, Cornwall, Warwickshire, Lancashire, Sussex, and Cork in Ireland. I have discovered publicans, millers, bailiffs, gamekeepers, physicians, apothecaries, bookbinders, blacksmiths, whitesmiths, artists, authors, navy ratings, corporals and more! I have uncovered a coroner’s inquest into the death of my great great grandmother, a near drowning, and an alleged shooting reported in the Hampshire Assizes. I also found out that my Irish line descends from a clan that can be traced back to 910 AD.

My parents families were part of the Assisted Passage Migration Scheme arriving in Australia from England just after the Second World War. I often thought what this would have been like for my grandparents, packing up your family and moving to the other side of the world. I wanted to know more about their lives in the UK, and started researching. I enjoyed finding out about it all, every discovery led to something new, my tree grew as much sideways as it did going back. One of my greatest insights into my maternal line was that my mother’s family lost five close relatives during and just after the war. Her father, paternal grandparents, and maternal grandfather all sadly passed away due to illnesses. Her uncle was killed in Salerno in 1943, and another uncle was injured during a training exercise. One of the most treasured and special moments in my research was finding a first cousin on my mother’s paternal line. This led to more discoveries, and the breaking down of a brick wall that had halted my research for quite some time. It was such a pivotal moment when I discovered that my great great grandfather had changed his surname! He started using his grandmothers maiden name, and the family have continued using it to this very day.

My career has been diverse and varied with skills gained in both business and government sectors. I studied a Bachelor of Health Science, then many years later a Diploma of Library and Information Services, working in libraries for over a decade. During this time I assisted patrons with family history queries, I also wrote and presented family history workshops. I returned to studies during the first COVID lockdown, this time to pursue my passion to become a qualified Genealogist. I enrolled at The Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies and undertook The Correspondence Course in Genealogy, a comprehensive 24 units of study that took just over 3 years to complete. I thoroughly enjoyed the journey and learned a vast amount of information, developing many new skills along the way. I am continuing as a student of IHGS to further my qualifications.

I find great joy in conducting research on behalf of clients. I am passionate about helping others to discover who their ancestors were, expand their family trees and add depth to their own research.

Email: [email protected]

https://www.aagra.asn.au/researcher/ms-rebecca-spiers

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