Their backgrounds

ALEC TRITTON is the elected Chairman of the Halsted Trust

Together with Geoff Riggs and Robert Gordon, then Director of the Society of Genealogists, he was one of the three Trustees when the Trust was originally set up in 2001.

He joined the Guild of One-Name Studies in 1995 where he was elected Vice-Chairman in 1997 and Chairman in 1999 which post he held till 2002. He has also served as a Trustee of the Society of Genealogists, and was elected as Vice-Chairman. In 2000 he was elected Vice-Chairman of the Federation of Family History Societies eventually being elected Chairman in 2002, a position he held until 2006 retiring by rote.

Currently Alec is a Vice-President of the Guild of One-Name Studies. He has always been interested in genealogy, being a long standing member of Kent Family History Society and Societo of Genealogists.

Alec writes extensively on family history subjects for Family Tree Magazine completing two extensive series on “Lost London Burial Grounds” and “Worship, Weird and Wonderful” as well as reviewing a number of software packages. He has been a lecturer and teacher in family history for over ten years and has lectured extensively in England including at the Who Do You Think You Are? Live event and its predecessor the SoG Family History Experience. In 2003 he was invited to speak at the Federation of Genealogical Societies International Conference in Florida.

He was born in Hastings and as the family moved around, attended many schools before joining the Royal Navy in 1968, serving on HMS Rothesay, HMS Norfolk and HMS Brazen, leaving in 1985. Alec joined Photain Controls PLC as the Service Manager rising to become the Technical Director. The Company was sold in 2002 and the UK manufacturing operation moved to South Africa. He left the Company and has since been working part time helping small and local businesses with marketing to reach their full potential on the Internet. Married with two children, Alec lives in rural Gloucestershire keeping horses and chickens. His hobbies include reading, listening to smooth jazz and of course family history.

ELSE CHURCHILL is the Genealogy Officer of the Society of Genealogists.

She has over 25 years of experience as a professional genealogical librarian and researcher, holding a Degree in European Studies and the Post Graduate Diploma in Library and Information Studies. Formerly the Librarian of the Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies, and a researcher with Achievements Ltd and with Ancestors Ltd, Else joined the SoG in 1994, initially as Deputy Librarian before being appointed to her current post on the retirement of the Society’s Director Anthony Camp in 1998. Her particular responsibilities now include external liaison and representation, education, publishing and publicity.

Else is the Convener of the British Genealogical Record Users Committee, a Council member of the British Record Society and a former Council Member of the Friends of The National Archives. She is a member of the Lord Chancellor’s Advisory Council on National Records and Archives, a member of The National Archives Online Advisory Panel and a former member of the Family Records Centre User Group. In 20004 Else presented oral evidence at the House of Commons to the Regulatory Reform Committee, in support of the Federation’s submissions to Parliament criticising certain of the government proposals to modernise Civil Registration.

Else writes a monthly column in Your Family Tree magazine, and has contributed to articles to Family Tree Magazine, Ancestors Magazine, BBC Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine and of course the SoG’s own Genealogists Magazine. She has written articles on advanced genealogy techniques and sources for the BBC History Family History website and has acted as a genealogical consultant for the BBC’s web based genealogical enquiries and newsgroup. She has recently edited the Society of Genealogists First Steps in Family History. Else lectures regularly for the Society of Genealogists, for the National Archives and for local groups of the family history community around the United Kingdom and in Canada, USA and New Zealand.

Her main interests lie in the seventeenth century and sources for people who lived through the English Civil Wars but Else also specializes in using the records of the Victorian Censuses which are invaluable for family historians. Occasionally she gets a chance to do catch up with her own family history research which at present lingers in Herefordshire in the late 17th century.


web imageA former government systems manager and IT consultant, Jim is the Treasurer of the Halsted Trust.

Jim started to look into the origins of the Mitchell family of Leeds after a chance remark by a relative in 2001. In the years that followed, he visited archives and carried out extensive research in Devon, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, Hamburg, Berlin and Lower Saxony to trace the family’s origins. This research is on-going and has now expanded to cover extended members of the family.

Jim also provides support and assistance to those who are starting their own research. As well as individuals, he has helped family history groups to transcribe local parish registers and provided advice to museums looking to make records from earlier centuries available to researchers. He has also acted as a consultant for family history authors from outside the country seeking to publish their work in England.

Jim is interested in DNA testing and how the results can be used to help family historians with the difficult parts of their research. He has recently researched, written and published the biography of Joseph Lancaster Halstead, a soldier of the Great War who has no living descendants.

When not researching family history, or walking Ted, the family’s Bedlington terrier, Jim enjoys travel and photography. Originally from West Yorkshire, he has lived and worked in many parts of the UK and Europe. He is married and lives in Essex.


Anne Ramon1Anne has been interested in family history since she drew her first family tree at age 11.  School, then University, then 31 years’ employment with Midland/HSBC Bank intervened and progress on the family tree was slow. Genealogy was not forgotten completely though and Anne was able to study for and complete the Record Agent qualification from IHGS (Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies) , attend the annual Family History conferences and read Journals and magazines.

Anne retired from banking two years ago and has picked up her family history interest again, starting with her local Family History Society, East Surrey, which she now Chairs.  She is fortunate that East Surrey was the home of many of her ancestors, both beside the Thames at Southwark and Waterloo, and on the southern border with Sussex.

Anne is a volunteer at the National Archives, Kew, where she is helping with the re-housing of the 1911-14 Inland Revenue maps, and is assisting the Kingston Aviation (lottery) project which records and celebrates the early aircraft industry in Ham and Richmond.

Other interests include travel, walking, industrial archaeology , lace making  and natural history.  Anne lives with her husband and two cats near Kingston, Surrey.


Geoff Swinfield Born at Frimley, Surrey, in 1951, Geoff Swinfield graduated in 1979 from Nottingham University with a PhD in genetics, after taking his first degree in zoology.

He spent three years teaching before moving to Canterbury to train as a genealogist at the Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies, obtaining its Licentiateship in Heraldry and Genealogy. He subsequently held the position of Research Director with the two largest genealogical companies in this country, Achievements and Ancestors.

He ran his own professional genealogical consultancy, Geoff Swinfield Genealogical Services, from 1999, retiring in 2017. He was a Council member of the Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives (AGRA) and is past chair of its Board of Assessors. In 2012 he was made a Fellow of the Society of Genealogists.

Geoff teaches genealogical methodology and research techniques to all standards. He specialises in tracing living relatives and missing people and in finding solutions to difficult research problems. His book Smart Family History was published in 2006 by The National Archives.  He advocates the application of DNA testing to genealogical research.

Geoff now lives in South London. When he is not researching his own family history, which includes the Swinfield one-name study, he enjoys good food, beer, walking and gardening.

JOHN HANSON, FSG, is the Research Director of the Halsted Trust, having formerly been its Research Assistant and Data Manager.

He joined the Guild of One-Name Studies in 1996 where he served on its Executive Committee for several years and was also its Data Processing Manager for 5 years. John has served as a Trustee of the Society of Genealogists for many years, and was Chairman of its Library Committee for most of that time. He also served on a number of its Working Parties including Lectures, Shows and Digitisation. He has been interested in genealogy for the past 25 years and particularly in the use that computers can play in research and record keeping.

He has written extensively on family history subjects for Family Tree Magazine and Practical Family History, including several series of articles, and as well as regularly reviewing family history software packages for them. He has been a lecturer and teacher in family history for over fifteen years and has lectured throughout England including at the Who Do You Think You Are? Live shows and at its predecessor, the SoG Family History Experience. He was also a founder member of the Society of Genealogists Census Detectives team.

He was born in Edmonton, North London and lived there until the family moved to South East Hertfordshire in 1950. He worked for many years for one of the country’s major building societies and banks, ending up as a Systems Specialist in mainframe databases. He took early retirement in 2001 with the intention of completing some more of his own family history and is still trying. Married with three children and two grandchildren, John lives in Milton Keynes. His other interests, if he has time from family history, include reading, walking, photography and doing jigsaw puzzles.