LONDON ARCHIVE SEARCHES
St Saviour, Southwark
London born and bred, I have been researching my own family history for over 30 years. I have traced my family back from Southwark, through 180 years of London history, into Dorset, Wiltshire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Surrey, Essex and Middlesex, encountering members of the Church of England, Catholics and Independent Congregationalists along the way. In doing so, I have discovered branches of my family spread across the world.
Genealogy is a wonderful hobby. It is absorbing and fascinating, full of surprises and every discovery provides a fresh lead to investigate.
Over the years I have built up a sound knowledge of the records available in the London repositories. For anyone with ancestors in London, particularly in the 18th and 19th century, they can be a rich source of information and many sources can be overlooked. Travel to London can be time-consuming, impractical and expensive; can use up a day's holiday mid-week and is often not an option for those overseas. I visit the London archives every week and can undertake research for you.
A freelance professional researcher since 2005, I regularly visit major and local record offices in London and also carry out searches in the counties of Surrey, Sussex and Middlesex and the Metropolitan districts formerly in Kent. I have considerable experience researching a wide range of records, many of which are listed on subsequent pages. I have helped numerous clients in the UK and overseas to discover more of their family’s history or to break down a brickwall which has prevented progress for many years. Have you come to a standstill or hit a difficulty? So much more may be waiting to be discovered - just e-mail details of your enquiry for a free initial assessment.
I have years of experience searching registers and documents in many record offices and would be happy to help you with your family history. You can find details of my fees and charges by clicking on the "Charges" tab at the top left of this page.
I also work with those who have been adopted who wish to trace birth relatives or learn more about their birth family, where enquiries by specialist organizations have failed. During 2005-06 I worked in parallel with the Salvation Army to successfully reunite 8 siblings, separated as children during the 1930s after the death of their father (this case referred to with client's permission).
I have also assisted several authors, working on topics as diverse as WW2 prisoner of war escape attempts; tracing a 19thC clockmaker working in London (for a county history); WW2 RAF squadron logs and diaries; and researching a family who left London to run a business in a neighbouring county. In 2012, I produced a handlist of useful resources for the Crime Writers’ Association.
I undertake research at the following record offices:
The National Archives (Kew), London Metropolitan Archives, Westminster Archives (City of Westminster Archives, COWA), Westminster Reference Library, Guildhall Library, British Library (India Office aka Asia & African Studies Room), Islington Local History Centre, Camden Archives, Southwark Local History Library, Kensington Local Studies Library, Wandsworth Archives (Battersea Library), Friends' Library (Quakers), Principal Probate Registry (wills after 1858), Croydon Local Studies Library, Surrey History Centre, West Sussex Record Office, East Sussex Record Office, Brighton History Centre and Portsmouth History Centre and Hampshire Record Office. Other record offices in London, Surrey and Sussex by special arrangement: please enquire.
If you feel I may be able to assist with your research, please e-mail details of your enquiry for a free initial assessment. All enquiries welcome.
Please provide in your e-mail any information you feel is relevant. I regret that I cannot provide a free initial assessment if I'm asked to visit a website to locate information from your published family tree.
If you prefer, you can send your enquiry by post (for a free initial assessment please provide a return e-mail address or s.a.e.):-
Patricia O'Neill, 6 Mansergh Road, Chichester, West Sussex PO19 6YN
I regret that I am unable to respond to enquiries for general information.
Coming to England to find your roots? See my OVERSEAS VISITORS SERVICE which can help you get the most from your visit, use your time efficiently and ensure you visit the correct archive to view the records you need.
Feedback (reproduced with clients' kind permission):
"You did some research for me last year. You did a brilliant job." Further search completed 2013: "Thank you for getting back to me so quickly. It is definitely my ....... as the birth date fits. I appreciate your excellent service." BC, Victoria, Australia (Mar 2013)
"Thank you for e-mailing the details of the inquest last week and for your help in getting to the bottom of this. Thank you so much for transcribing these documents. I am extremely happy with the services you have provided and am now confident I can draw a line under this one. It was 13 years ago that I ordered the first death certificate, expecting it to be the correct one but of course it wasn't. That's how long I have been trying to find out about her." CU Somerset (Jan 2013)
"Thanks for your most recent report. More great work! I really appreciate the way you clearly explain the findings, it helps a lot. I found (photos sent by) “You Send It” very straight forward, and easy to use. I saved the images to my laptop as soon as I opened them to ensure that I didn't have problems later." RD, ACT, Australia (Dec 2012)
"I received your report and sent a letter to .......... as you advised. I was pleasantly surprised to receive an e-mail from her 5 days later! We have been e-mailing each other and have spoken over the telephone and have exchanged Christmas cards. So a happy ending, or beginning I should say. Many many thanks for all your help."
BM, Dublin (Dec 2012)
"Thank you for your e-mail and for the research you have done. It has been a lot of information to digest and made for fascinating reading as well as being profoundly helpful. I am delighted that you found her month of death and I have now ordered the GRO certificate. Some of what you uncovered is tying in well with other things." CU, Somerset (Dec 2012)
"Outstanding! It's always great to get some concrete findings. And it all fits in to the known history so well." RD, ACT, Australia (Sept 2012)
"Again thanks heaps for all you have done for me over the past few months. The results have been far better than I had imagined or hoped for." YC, Queensland, Australia (Aug 2012)
"We are absolutely delighted with what you managed to track down for us as we had none of this information before". LD, Queensland, Australia (Jul 2012)
"Thank you so much for this – and for all your kind efforts. You seem to have gone more than ‘the extra mile’ and I’m grateful. Thanks, again, Patricia, you have been a pleasure to deal with." RT, Kent (Feb 2012)
“Have read through the reports you sent me - very happy with them. Thanks for the service you have done for me am very satisfied with the results obtained." JHL, Spain (Feb 2012)
"I seem to get less and less time to work on family history so I really am grateful for all your work or some months very little would be done at all." SK, Chelmsford, UK (Jan 2012)
“I would like to thank you very much for the outstanding effort you have made to help me trace the various branches of my family throughout the year. I have really appreciated your efforts to find new material and to think laterally about other possibly relevant material rather than just locating the minimum.” AW, Victoria, Australia (Dec 2011)
“I was thrilled to receive your email with the news about ……..’s grave. I knew it had to be there somewhere even if sadly forgotten and neglected …… so much is possible if you can just get the right person who has enthusiasm and initiative.” LE, NSW, Australia (Nov 2011)
“You are amazing! Thank you so much for your patience and continuing detective work. ” LA, NSW, Australia (Mar 2011)
“Thank you so much for all your hard work. I have as you suggested sent a letter to …, and will keep my fingers crossed. Once again you have given us a lot of hope, and we will do as you have suggested. You really have done a magnificent job.” CH, UK (Jan 2006) ......&.. “I have pleasure in attaching a photo of the first reunion in August 2006. There were 26 of us there that day. It was wonderful and Mum is now in correspondence and phone contact with them. What with the reunion and another one coming up at the end of September, life has been somewhat hectic lately” CH, UK (Sept 2006)