Kirsty Gray

Kirsty Gray is a professional genealogist and heir hunter who runs her own research company Family Wise Limited ( As a freelance author, she has published articles in family, local and social history magazines and handbooks across the globe. She has been researching the story of her paternal West Country family for many years and, having realised in the late 1990s that her eccentric hobby was called a one-name study, joined the Guild of One-Name Studies and soon became Secretary and then in 2010, the Chairman.

In 2011, Kirsty took over from Penny Christensen as Director of English Studies for the National Institute for Genealogical Studies, updating previous courses and expanding the provision for online genealogical research courses about English records.

Having published Tracing your West Country ancestors in 2013, Kirsty is now working on Tracing your industrial ancestors with Pen and Sword Books and is also chairing the new Society for One-Place Studies ( launched in September 2013.

Although a relative youngster in the field of genealogy, Kirsty has been involved in family history for almost two decades and has lectured on various stages from local to regional and national. Having traded in her day job as a teacher to follow her passion, Kirsty is widely sought after as a family history tutor, lecturer and motivational speaker in the UK.

Unlock the Past Cruises – 4th

Web site –


  • Tracing your West Country ancestors
  • Tracing your industrial ancestors (in preparation)


  • Breaking down the brick walls
  • Family history problem solving through family reconstruction techniques
  • Family history: research and results for the beginner
  • Free online tools to jumpstart your British research
  • Harnessing the power of the internet for free in your family history research
  • Introduction to genealogy – first steps
  • Migration from the West Country in the 1830s
  • Planning your research trip to England
  • Publishing and publicising your research
  • Reading and understanding old documents
  • Researching the genealogy and family history of all individuals with a given surname and its linked variants: just how do you do it?
  • Researching your West Country ancestors
  • Seven pillars of wisdom: the art of one-name studies
  • The heir hunters: are they looking for you?
  • What’s in a name?