Members of the Executive
Stephen Benson has been actively involved in the family history movement since 1992. Since 2006 he has been a committee member of Lancashire Family History & Heraldry Society and is also a member of North Meols FHS.
He is semi-retired apart from occasional spells of consultancy work after a career of nearly fifty years in the rail industry in Britain and overseas. With an Australian wife and three sons also interested in family history Stephen’s genealogy interests are quite varied and ancestors include a member of the First Fleet’s voyage to Sydney and several other convicts!
In 2015 Stephen was elected as Chairman of the FFHS, he continues to carry out duties associated with his former role as Publicity Officer and is a director of FFHS Services Ltd.
Beryl has worked at the National Library of Wales (NLW) for over 30 years, dealing with family history enquiries, and for 14 years was the genealogical researcher at the Library. She is, at present, the Manager of both reading rooms at the NLW.
Beryl represents the NLW on the Executive Committees of Dyfed FHS, Powys FHS and is Treasurer of the Association of Family History Societies of Wales.
She has in the past attended a Welsh Showcase in Sydney, Australia answering enquiries relating to family history and the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington DC as part of the Family History team from the NLW as Wales was a featured country, both events in collaboration with the Welsh Government.
Beryl has appeared on many television and radio programmes in Wales talking about family history. She has co-ordinated NLW’s presence at the Who Do You Think You Are? Live shows since its inception giving numerous talks on Welsh family history.
As well as her work, family history is her hobby and Beryl is the current Chairman of Cardiganshire FHS and Project Co-ordinator and recently published a book entitled Tracing Your Welsh Ancestors (Pen & Sword, 2015).
Ann has been involved with family history for over fifty years. Her interest was piqued by some outrageous stories her grandmother told which Ann wanted to ‘check out’! Family history instantly became a passion and one that she has never lost. She joined Cornwall Family History Society in 1995, joining the Executive committee in 2003 and has been Chairman since 2007.
In addition, Ann is also webmaster for the society, recently designing www.cornwallswarhistory.co.uk website to honour Cornwall’s war dead.
She gives talks on this subject and on monumental inscriptions to organisations throughout Cornwall and Devon.
Ann has been the FFHS Society Liaison Officer since 2015 when she joined the Executive Committee.
Francis caught the family history bug when still at school and has tracked down over 580 of his ancestors, who have lived as far apart as Ireland and Burma, in homes ranging from vicarages to prisons. He has been actively involved in indexing censuses and recording tombstones, as well as transcribing parish registers, wills and the entire hearth tax records of Northamptonshire for 1674.
Over 50 of Francis’ articles and book reviews have been published in family and local history journals and he enjoys speaking to groups on related topics. He has written extensively for Wikipedia and the Research Wiki on FamilySearch.
A keen user of online resources, Francis runs the Howcutt & Howcott family history website (www.howcutt.org). This showcases the heritage of people who share his surname across the world.
As well as his roles as Vice Chairman and Archives Liaison Officer, Francis edits and enhances most of the copy for their website. He is also Chairman of FFHS Services Ltd.
Eric's interest in genealogy dates back 40 years, to a mining disaster memorial in Beeston cemetery, which led to him compiling his wife's family history back to the 17th century.
Eric's own family has roots in both Scotland and Ireland as well as Yorkshire and the Midlands; his family tree comprises over 400 individuals, dates back to 1656 and he has distant relations in Canada, the USA, Australia and Singapore. He has written extensively about his family and has given talks to Family History Societies and other groups on family, local and military history.
He carries out research for other individuals and one day hopes to have the time to fill in those missing blanks in his own tree.
After a lifetime working in Architecture he is now secretary of the Pontefract & District Family History Society, a trustee of the Pontefract & Ackworth Almshouse Charity, web master for the Pontefract Music Festival and a recently retired magistrate.
Eric joined the Board of Trustees in 2014 and is also a director of FFHS Services Ltd.
Steve’s interest in Family History began whilst he was still a teenager. Unsurprisingly, his level of activity waxed and waned over the years as work and family needs took priority, but that early enthusiasm never dimmed. Looking back with the wisdom of years, he acknowledges much of his early research had serious shortcomings - but he has absolutely no regrets about having started out so young.
Steve currently serves as Chairman of the Peterborough & District Family History Society. He is also a member of various other family history societies, including the Society of Genealogists. An enthusiastic public speaker, he absolutely loves talking on his favourite topic – Family History!
Originally trained as an Electronics Engineer, Steve worked in production, quality, sales, distribution and logistics before retiring in April 2014. He also taught for eight years in a Further Education College before being tempted back into industry. He loved the teaching (and still does), but not the accompanying politics.
Steve has been the FFHS Education Officer since 2014.
John has been researching his family history for over thirty years and is Treasurer of the Families in British India Society, and a member of the Society of Genealogists, Glasgow & West of Scotland FHS and Aberdeen and North-East Scotland FHS. He has been involved in transcribing various records over the years and his research has encompassed a wide variety of repositories to consult original records as well as making full use of the ever increasing resources that are now available online.
He is a Chartered Accountant by training and spent many years as a Corporate Treasurer in industry before retiring in 2013 and becoming treasurer of a local charity.
John was elected as Treasurer and a Trustee of the Federation in March 2014 having been co-opted a year earlier; he is also Finance Director of FFHS Services Ltd.
Rob has been an enthusiastic family and local historian for some 40 years.
He was a founder member of the Family and Community Historical Research Society (FACHRS) in 1998 and is currently a member of their committee, and for the past 26 years has led a small local history society in Winchcombe, Gloucestershire, Gloucester Street History Group, of which he was a founder member.
Rob is also a member of Gloucestershire FHS and the Barr & Aston Local History Society.
During the last 20 years he has had several articles about various aspects of the history of Winchcombe published in specialist magazines.
Rob previously acted as a contractor for FFHS Services Ltd. in the role of Data Co-ordinator and will be known by many societies who have placed data online with findmypast.co.uk through the partnership agreement with the FFHS.
Rob is the FFHS Project Support Officer and a director of FFHS Services Ltd.
Administration Team and Honorary Officer
Debbie is the Administrator for the FFHS.
Debbie is a keen family historian and has been researching her tree for many years. It all started when she realized she did not know anything about her paternal grandfather and his family. Her search has taken her up and down the country over the years to various records offices and she still enjoys trying to piece it all together.
There have been many skeletons and surprises along the way and some wonderful discoveries. Debbie has a Postgraduate Certificate in Genealogical, Palaeographic and Heraldic Studies from the University of Strathclyde.
Until recently Debbie was the Secretary of her local Women’s Institute and is still an active member helping with a number of events, attending regular meetings and organising a workshop for local WI members to help them discover their ancestors. Until recently Debbie was an administrator at a University in London for many years.
Carol joined the FFHS as Finance Officer in June 2011 and is now Finance Officer for both the Charity and FFHS Services Company.
In her mid-thirties Carol studied for the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) qualification which took 3 years. She passed this and subsequently became a Fellow Member of the AAT and was licensed and regulated to Practice. Carol has been a private practitioner for 20 years with a range of clients.
Although Carol is not a family historian she is interested in work done by her family into their family tree. Her hobbies when time allows are reading, gardening and travel.
Pete has been the FFHS webmaster since 2006.
He first got interested in family history in 1989 when his daughter started asking about her ancestors for a school project. From then on he was hooked.
Having discovered that his Hunnisett line were iron workers in the Low Countries who came to England in the early 16th century, Pete decided to do a one-name study and runs a Hunnisett website. He has also written several articles.
When he lived in Coventry Pete was on the committee of the Coventry FHS, looked after their website and was involved in a number of transcription projects. For a while he also did several research projects for other people.
David is the company secretary of the FFHS.
He is a retired (non-practising) solicitor. He was appointed FFHS legal adviser in 1993, retiring from the role in November 2016. He was chairman of FFHS in 1994 until 1999. He has been chairman (twice) of FHS of Cheshire and is currently chairman of the One Name Metcalfe Society.
He has enjoyed family history for the past 40 years and still has brick walls to break down. His interests involve Yorkshire, the Black Country, Scotland, Canada, Texas and Germany.
Emma is the Marketing Manager for the FFHS. She joined the organisation in January 2015.
Emma produces Our Really Useful Information Leaflet, the bimonthly email newsletter and co-ordinates our attendance at the Hobbycraft events.
Emma began obsessively researching her family history in 2000 when a friend at work showed her how to search the IGI in their lunchbreak. She enjoys rediscovering long-forgotten ancestors and piecing together the stories of their lives.
Emma is a member of the Lincolnshire and Fenland History Societies.
Before joining the FFHS, Emma was a Creative Director for Hobsons plc, a subsidiary of the Daily Mail Group, where she was responsible for online and offline publishing, and marketing.