Sue Swalwell (England)
Sue’s curiosity about her family started when as a child, she & her sister explored the hidden treasures of the attic of the Victorian farmhouse where she lived. It was packed with memorabilia and her grandfather would regale her with stories about the finds they made. He told her about the woman who was a Miss, a Mrs and a Mum all in one day, the family who had 21 children twice over and the man who continued to sweep the war memorial that his name appears on.

It was the rescuing of that attic treasure, including a large number of memorial cards, from a bonfire when the farm was sold that triggered more serious research into her ancestry and community in a bid to identify the family connection with the names on the memorial cards. That was over 40 years ago. Since then Sue has established a Swalwell One-Name Study which is registered with the Guild of One Name Studies. She continues to enjoy the pursuit and discovery of new stories of people named Swalwell throughout history and connecting with new cousins through her Swalwell DNA project. Sue is currently focused on the story of Matthew, a weaver from the North East of England, who went to war with Wellington against Napoleon.

Having retired from a career in advertising and marketing, Sue has turned her attention to sharing some of those stories and her experiences of family history as a speaker. She has given several talks including at The Society of Genealogists, Who Do You Think You Are Show 2017 and The Halsted Trust’s Secret Lives Conference 2018. In 2019, as well as being a speaker on this cruise, she will be speaking at The Family Tree Live Show at Alexander Palace and at the Cleveland and South Durham Spring History Fair.


Unlock the Past Cruises – 16th


  • Do as I say not as I did! Lessons from Sue’s experience of doing family history
  • Hiding in the chancery cupboard: the trials & tribulations of an eighteenth century wife
  • In pursuit of lots! An example of how Christian names can be used to build the family tree
  • True, public and notorious: a case of Georgian abuse and Victorian divorce
  • My dad George or is he Tim? The story of one boy’s relationship with Romany of the BBC
  • Stepping out of the shadows of men: an independent woman in Georgian London