Welcome to Search My Past

Dr Penny Walters - international speaker and author

please contact me to discuss:


Topics available (can be adapted slightly or merged):

  • ‘Ethical dilemmas in genealogy’

  • ‘The psychology of searching’

  • ‘Mixing DNA results with a paper trail’

  • ‘Searching for ancestors when you’re adopted’

  • ‘Deconstructing the UK Censuses 1801 to present’

  • ‘Ethnicity and identity’

  • ‘Why did the Welsh leave Wales’

  • ‘1939 Register’

  • 'Where's my mummy - Egyptian family history research'

  • ‘Black British family history research’

  • ‘Diaspora and homelands’

  • ‘Sankofa, go back & fetch it: encouraging diaspora research’

  • ‘Wish you were here’ (postcards)

  • 'Suffragettes'

  • 'Suffragettes'

  • ‘Britain’s WWII propaganda’

  • ‘What does the future hold?’

  • ‘Speaker training’

  • ‘Giving unexpected or bad news to clients’

  • ‘Turning information into an engaging talk’

  • ‘An introduction to genealogy’


Author of 

Ethical Dilemmas in Genealogy (2019)


The Psychology of Searching (2020)

Both available on Amazon

in paperback or kindle


penny_walters@talk21.com     00447977247763

Forthcoming 2020 (Please check time zones when booking) 

  • 4 November Online webinar: ‘Adoption’ Bolton FHS https://www.mlfhs.uk/bolton 

  • 14 November Online webinar: 'Mixing DNA with a paper trail' Family History Federation annual conference www.fhf-reallyuseful.com £5

  • 18 November Online webinar: ‘Ethical dilemmas in genealogy’ Society of Australian Genealogists

  • 18 November, Online webinar: Ethical dilemmas in genealogy Ryedale FHS

Forthcoming 2021

  • 6 January, Malvern, Worcs, Ethical dilemmas in genealogy

  • 9 January, Online webinar: '1939 Register,' London Middlesex, Ontario, Canada, 10am/ 3pm

  • 10 January, Online webinar: Broward County, Florida, topic tbc

  • 14 January, Online webinar: Fleet and Farnborough FHS, topic tbc

  • 19 January, Online webinar: Dorset FHS 'Mixing DNA with a paper trail'

  • 22 February, Online webinar:  Northants FHS 'Mixing DNA with a paper trail' 

  • 25-27 February Online webinar: Roots Tech Connect

  • 8 February, Online webinar: Devon FHS 'Mixing DNA with a paper trail'

  • 9 March, Online webinar: Queensland FHS, '1939 Register' 

  • 22 May, Online webinar: Chesterfield FHS topic tbc

  • 11-12 June, Online webinar: 'Dissecting the documents, UK Censuses 1801- present,' Southern California Genealogy Jamboree

  • 18 Sep, U3A, Buxton 'Adoption'

Delivered during 2020

  • 'Accessing a variety of British records' Online webinar: 25 October  American-French Genealogical Society

  • Ethical dilemmas in African American genealogy’ 16 October Online webinar: AAHGS 

  • 'Mixing DNA with a paper trail' (Course 1013 – Mixing DNA) 12 October Online webinar: The Heraldry and Genealogy Society of Canberra Ethical dilemmas in genealogy’ Vivid-Pix Online webinar: Vivid-Pix ‘The Psychology of Searching’ and ‘Ethical dilemmas in genealogy’ 2 October

  • 'The psychology of searching' and 'Ethical dilemmas in genealogy' British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa (BIFHSGO) 26 September Online webinar

  • Have you ever found your ‘’real’’ family? Researching your tree when you’re adopted (utilising DNA results) 2 September Online webinar: Ryedale Family History Group. 

  • ‘Ethical dilemmas in genealogy’ 21 September, Online webinar: Northants FHS 

  • Mixing DNA Results and a Paper Trail,  3 September, Online webinar: Sussex Family History Group. 

  • The Psychology of Searching’ and ‘Ethical dilemmas in genealogy’ webinars Orange County California Genealogical Society Online webinar: 1 August: 

  • ‘Mixing DNA with a paper trail’ Online webinar: 2 August Quebec FHS 

  • ‘The Psychology of Searching’ Online webinar: 5 August: Chesterfield & District Family History Society 

  • ‘The Psychology of Searching’  Online webinar: 15 August, Whittier Area Genealogical Society www.wagswhittier.org 

  • ‘1939 Register’ Online webinar: 18 August: Dorset FHS 

  • 'Searching for ancestors when you're adopted' Utah Virtual Genealogical SocietyOnline webinar: 20 August 

  • Webinars: Legacy 'Black British family history research,' 'The 1939 Register,' 'Why did the Welsh leave Wales?'  https://familytreewebinars.com/pennywalters 

  • Online webinar:'The Psychology of Searching' Vivid-Pix 28 May. Watch the recording here: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/thepsychologyofsearch (1h,3m)

  • Online webinars:‘Ethical dilemmas in genealogy’ (21m32s) ‘The Psychology of Searching,’ (27m07s) ‘The 1939 Register’ (30m26s) and ‘Searching for family when you’re adopted: have you ever found your ‘real’ family?’ (38m0s) 17-18 April, Family Tree Live

  • ‘Giving unexpected or bad news to clients’ Utah Genealogical Society (UGA) Pro-talk online webinar: 7 April https://ugagenealogy.org/cpage.php?pt=568  

  • ‘Ethical dilemmas in genealogy’ Search My Past Online webinar series: 25 March

  • ‘Searching for ancestors when you’re adopted’ 11 February, Southampton FHS

  • ‘Starting a tree’ Withywood Community Centre, Bristol, 11 February

  • ‘Mixing DNA results with a paper trail’ 12 February, Stalbridge FHS

  • ‘The Psychology of Searching,’ ‘The 1939 Register’ and ‘The Future of Genealogy’  26-29 February, Roots Tech USA

2020 booked, but postponed

  • ‘Drimoleague Diaspora: In Search of Family Ancestry’ Irish Famine Summer School, Roscommon, Ireland, 14 June

  • ‘Drimoleague Diaspora’ Donovan Gathering, Drimoleague, County Cork, Ireland, 10 June

  • ‘Which DNA test? ‘Drimoleague Diaspora’ Clonakilty, County Cork, Ireland,  8 June

  • ‘Mixing DNA results with a paper trail’  Cumbria FHS, 6 June

  • ‘Ethical Dilemmas in Genealogy’ AGRA study day, London, 30 May

  • ‘Ethical Dilemmas in Genealogy’  Manchester Jewish Genealogy Society, 17 May

  • ‘Ethical Dilemmas in Genealogy’ 16 May, Swindon Parish clerks annual conference

  • ‘Searching for family when you’re adopted: have you ever found your ‘real’ family?’ and ‘The Psychology of Searching’ 2 May, Society of Genealogists, London

  • ‘Genealogy as history’  8 week course, University of Bristol, 22 April- 17 June

  • ‘Ethical dilemmas in genealogy,’ ‘The Psychology of Searching,’ ‘The 1939 Register’ and ‘Searching for family when you’re adopted: have you ever found your ‘real’ family?’ 17-18 April, Family Tree Live, London

  • ‘Ethical dilemmas in genealogy’ 15 April, Huntingdon FHS

  • ‘Mixing DNA results with a paper trail’ 21 March, Dorset FHS

  • Using DNA to identify biological relatives’ Dorset FHS, Poole, 17 March

international speaker

  • adoption issues

  • diaspora

  • ethics

  • black British family history

  • the psycholoy of searching

  • Irish heritage


''Thank you for a great presentation. It was filled with very valuable information. My wife and daughter-in-law's families have English and Irish roots, so I'm certain I can fill in some blanks with the resources you passed along today.''  Norm, 25 October, American-French Genealogy Society, 2020
‘'Thank you for a very informative session! There were points you made... that honestly I never asked myself. It is so important to make sure you share accurate information, be considerate in what you share, and how you share it.’' Janice, AAHGS 16 October, 2020 

‘'Great presentation today. You definitely opened my eyes to several things to be cautious about when it comes to things I may take for granted in genealogy. Thank you for this information and for taking time to chat with me privately! I'm so glad AAHGS accepted your presentation - it was a great addition.’' Thomas, AAHGS, 16 October, 2020

''The speaker was so well organized. It made me think the whole time. Very good exercise for the brain.'' BIFHGSO attendee, 27 Sep, 2020

''As a 'Zoom' participant for your presentation about the 1939 Register, I just wanted to say thank you. I have used the Register a few times and I found your presentation to be an interesting further insight. As a retired curator I applaud your promotion of the links to and development of family history stories. Personally I place more importance on this than collecting endless names for a family tree.'' Bob, 24 August, 2020 

''I attended another one of your amazing webinars. Have you ever found your "real" family? Ethics of adoption. I appreciate your warmth, sensitivity, ethics, and humor in your webinars.'' Barbara, 23 August, 2020 

''A big thanks for the talk tonight, it was very well received. I am sure everyone learnt something from your presentation.'' Phil, 21 August, 2020 

''Thanks again for your talk, it went well and was attended well, it was our best so far.'' Peter, 18 August, 2020 

''I really enjoyed your talk yesterday and your explanations re DNA.  I have to admit to confusion over the whole subject and terminology I find quite overwhelming. Thanks and I do hope your family are all well and managing during this dreadful situation we are all facing.'' Ena, 3 August, 2020 

''Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and thought-provoking webinar today. I too was adopted.'' Karen, 2 August, 2020

''We've already had feedback from participants saying they really enjoyed the lectures. The discussion and questions went really well.'' BIFHGSO, 27 Sep, 2020

''My mum  and I attended your Zoom talk for the Northamptonshire Family History Society and both found it very absorbing. Inevitably it’s prompted further discussion between us as to our own family ethical dilemmas. Such a fascinating and insightful talk and topic!''  Yvonne, 29 September, 2020 



  • ‘Mixing DNA results with a paper trail’  Dorset FHS, Glastonbury, 12 December

  • ‘Ethical Dilemmas in Genealogy’  Family History Society annual conference, London, 23 November

  • ‘Mixing DNA results with a paper trail’ Gwent FHS, Chepstow, 13 November

  • ‘Ethical Dilemmas in Genealogy’, and ‘The Psychology of Searching’ lectures; ‘Mixing DNA results with a paper trail’ workshop Roots Tech, London, 24-26 October

  • ‘Ethical Dilemmas in Genealogy’, Jewish Genealogy Society annual conference, 20 October

  • ‘What does the future hold?’ Chippenham FHS AGM, 21 September

  • ‘Ethical Dilemmas in Genealogy’, ‘Mixing DNA results with a paper trail,’ ‘The Psychology of Searching’ Brigham Young University, Provo, 31 July – 2 August

  • ‘Ethical Dilemmas in Genealogy’, ‘Searching for Ancestors when you’re adopted’  Family Tree magazine online courses, July

  • ‘Searching for Ancestors when you’re adopted’ Fleet & Farnborough FHS, 11 July

  • ‘Ethical Dilemmas in Genealogy’, Chippenham FHS, 11 June

  • ‘Ethical Dilemmas in Genealogy’, Wilts FHS, May

  • ‘Irish Heritage,’  Bath FHS, 20 May

  • ‘Searching for Ancestors when you’re adopted’ Family History Society annual conference, York, 18 May

  • ‘Mixing DNA results with a paper trail’ Swindon U3A, 9 May

  • ‘Mixing DNA results with a paper trail’  Yate FHS, 8 May

  • ‘Ethical Dilemmas in Genealogy’, Family Tree Magazine Live, Alexandra Palace, London, 27 April

  • ‘The Psychology of Searching and Ethical Dilemmas in Genealogy’, Guild of One Name Studies Annual Conference, Leicester, 30 March

  • ‘Adoption issues’, Alton HGS Family History Group, 11 March

  • ‘The Psychology of Searching’  Romsey, Hampshire FHS, 27 February

  • ‘Mixing DNA results with a paper trail’  Bath FHS, 28 January


  • ‘Black British family history research’ Birmingham FHS, 17 November

  • ‘Hidden Ethnicities in Black British Heritage’ Wiltshire Family History Society, Swindon, UK

  • ‘Ethical Dilemmas in Genealogy’, East London Family History Society, Wanstead, 24 October

  • ‘What does the future hold?’ Register of Qualified Genealogists (RQG) Conference, York, 20 October

  • ‘Searching for Ancestors when you’re adopted’ Glamorgan FHS, 13 October 

  • ‘The Psychology of Searching’ APG Professional Management Conference, Kansas City, Missouri, USA, 4 - 6 October

  • 'Ethical dilemmas in adoption research' Society of Genealogists, London 29 September

  • ‘Black British family history research finding British involvement in the transatlantic slave trade’  Secret Lives Conference, Leicester, July

  • ‘Genealogy Tourism: a new niche market’ Irish Famine Summer School:  Irish Journeys - Famine Legacies and Reconnecting Communities, Roscommon, Ireland, June

  • ‘Mixing DNA results with a paper trail’ and ‘Searching for Ancestors when you’re adopted’ The Name Event, London, May

  • ‘Searching for Ancestors when you’re adopted’ Federation Of Family Histories Annual Conference, Bristol, April

  • ‘Searching for Ancestors when you’re adopted’ Bristol & Avon Family History Society, March

  • ‘An Introduction to Genealogy’ Bristol Women’s Institute, January


  • ‘My Genealogy journey’ Downend Family History Group, Bristol, October

  • ‘Searching for Ancestors when you’re adopted’ Bristol & Avon Family History Society Open day, September

  • ‘Being From a Diaspora’ Cork Foundation, Cork, Ireland, June

  • ‘Searching for Ancestors when you’re adopted’ Clans & Surnames, Nenagh, Ireland, May

  • ‘Searching for Ancestors when you’re adopted’ Who Do You Think You Are, Birmingham, April

  • ‘Searching for Ancestors when you’re adopted’ and ‘Professionalisation of Genealogy’ Back To Our Past, Cork, Ireland, March


Genealogy tours

you can be escorted around the area your ancestors lived

family history research

let us research your family tree

ethical issues advised upon

discuss and get advice aboutyour ethical dilemmas, including adoption issues

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