I am a Yorkshireman, born in Bradford, but lived in Hertfordshire in the south of England for many years before moving to my current permanent home in a lovely village near Poole Harbour in Dorset. I worked on local newspapers in Halifax, Leicester, Coventry and Watford before going to Fleet Street to join a now defunct left-wing newspaper called the Sunday Citizen, formerly published and owned by the Co-operative Party. From there I joined the News of the World in 1967, working as a travelling reporter, deputy features editor and, finally, as series editor in charge of buying major book serialisations for the newspaper and its associated magazine supplement, Sunday.
After a long career in newspapers, retiring at an executive level after 30 years with News International, I turned my long-time hobby of genealogy and family history research into a second career. I have written for the major commercial family history magazines on a wide variety of topics, varying from serious articles to more light-hearted subjects of genealogical interest.
I have researched celebrity family trees, helped readers to solve “Brick Walls” in their researches and contributed a bi-monthly humorous column of genealogical snippets called “Roy’s Ramblings” to the former Practical Family History magazine. I now writing principally for Family Tree magazine in the same stable, published by ABM Publishing Ltd.
In March 2012 I began researching and writing a regular monthly blog entitled “Famous family trees” for the major UK genealogical website, Findmypast, This lasted for some 18 months and focused on celebrities from the world of show business, television, sport and politics.
I lecture to family history societies around the UK and have also lectured in America and Canada. I am a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists. I served as a Trustee at the Society of Genealogists, Britain’s largest private genealogy library and family history society, for 12 years. I was also Commissioning Editor of the “My Ancestors Were…” series of books and was a joint editor of the Society’s Centenary History which was published in 2011.
I was chairman for a considerable number of years of the London Group of Yorkshire Family History Societies, a group of people from the London and south-east England area with Yorkshire ancestral interests who meet four times a year at the Society of Genealogists.