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Jake Harley McConnell profile image
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Jake Harley McConnell

Jake Harley McConnell is a genealogist specialising in researching ancestry in the United Kingdom, the United States of America and Australia. Research interests include parish registers, BMD certificates, wills, cemetery records, census records, immigration documents, military files, electoral rolls, historical newspapers and noble families. Unfortunately many online family trees are riddled with errors, which are often spread like wildfire. Many novice researchers are quick to accept guesses as fact, without ever verifying their accuracy. It can be difficult to read the old handwritten manuscripts to find the original information. This is where JH McConnell Family History comes in. JH McConnell researches your family history using the original records, as outlined in the preceding paragraph, so that you can have confidence in the results. JH McConnell Family History endeavours to provide clients with quality services and results they can be confident in. You are only charged a fee if results are found when researching your family history. You may select an option below for your ancestry project, ranging from Level 1 (Basic), to Level 2 (Advanced) to Level 3 (Comprehensive). Once the research is complete you will be provided with a free report to display the findings. Services are flexible to meet your needs, as no two family trees are the same. JH McConnell Family History focuses on researching direct ancestry, tracing your family’s origins through history. Many records are consulted, but each record is carefully checked to ensure that it belongs in your family tree. See the website jhmfamilyhistory.com for more information on the types of records used and how JH McConnell Family History holds to a high standard of accuracy in research.

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What do you love most about your job?

Every project is unique, as no two family trees are the same.

At times there is the satisfaction of being able to trace a lineage back as far as the 1500s. At other times detective-work is required to solve mysteries where records seem to contradict each other. At other times there are disappointments because the historical records have been destroyed and the information is lost.

A fascinating part of being a genealogist is searching historical newspapers to see if any relatives are mentioned. Interesting accounts can add life to a family's history. For example, George Castle of Camperdown was just a name on a piece of paper when I first researched him. What was he like as a person? Was he a kind, well-mannered gentleman with a fine reputation in the community? Or was he an intimidating man whom no one would dare mess with? Or was he a quiet, reserved individual, leaving only a few important words to be remembered?

I found my answer when I discovered a fascinating newspaper article from 1932. It was written about an interview just conducted with George Castle, who was then 80 years old. George Castle told stories about the history of the local area, including the bushfire in Victoria that occurred the same year the Goldrush began (1851), what his life was like growing up as a cowboy in the Victorian era, the way stone walls were built to keep the rabbits out, and other details. But even more valuable: this interview showed George Castle's personality. He liked to talk, and he had a great sense of humour, not afraid to tell stories about himself. He enjoyed telling about the time he tried to hitch a ride on a coach but kept getting hit by the whip as he hung on. The passengers urged him to come inside the coach, but George Castle was afraid that the driver might see him if he did so. Eventually George let go of the coach, deciding it wasn't worth risking a whip in the eye just to get a free ride! Don't stories like this add life to a family tree?

What inspired you to start your own business?

When my grandfather showed me a document about our family history, tracing us back seven generations, I was fascinated. Ever since, I have been researching family history. It is my favourite hobby. It involves surprises, disappointments, mysteries and stories worth retelling. It requires patience, insight, an eye for detail and detective-work.

However, when I first started researching my own family history, I made the common mistake of copying other family trees online, assuming that they would be correct. I have learned the hard way that online family trees often contain theories rather than fact, and mistakes can be spread like wildfire in a forest. What I wanted was a family tree that I could trust, lineages that I could have a high degree of confidence in. And so began my years of research into the original records to find my ancestors!

Realising that over the years I had developed a variety of skills and experience in family history research, I decided to become a professional genealogist so that I could use my experience to help others in researching their family histories.

Can you provide your services online or remotely? If so, please add details.

All services are conducted online and I contact my clients via email

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