The Bookshelf

The power of the family tree

Film actor Jeremy Irons in tuxedo at gala event

Actor Jeremy Irons‘ family tree reveals his ancestor was one of London’s first policemen. Unfortunately he was dismissed from the force for getting drunk and deserting his post.

damien dempsey playing guitar onstage

Singer Damien Dempsey‘s ancestor, Frederick Bridgeman, was one of the first Catholics to be granted Freedom of the city of Dublin, in 1841. Because of the Penal Laws, Catholics had been banned from this honour for  250 years. 

graham norton laughing with nicola looking at parish records

Well-known Corkonian Graham Norton is descended from a Yorkshireman who moved to Ireland in 1713.

All three turned to professional genealogist Nicola Morris M.A.G.I. (above, with Graham Norton) to discover their family histories. Nicola is the Irish genealogist for the hugely popular Who Do You Think You Are? TV series in Ireland, the UK and the USA.

Kate and Nicola standing together smiling outside the National Library

Now Nicola and I are delighted to announce a new collaboration between Kate Horgan Bespoke Books and Nicola’s company Timeline Research. To both of us, it seems a natural fit that people who are looking to share their family photographs in book form can now expand their story with a personalised history or family tree.

Sharing your story

“Family history can sometimes be a bit dry,” says Nicola. “It’s a lot of text, and presenting it in a better way, with pictures and trees and text all together, breathes more life into a family’s story. A bespoke book is really tangible, it’s not just a file that might be stuck in the back of a cupboard. It’s something you can take out again and again and share with your family and with the generations that come.”

These are samples of the kind of family tree Timeline Research can produce. Simple trees can be printed within a bespoke book, and larger, more complex ones can be packaged alongside the book.

Nicola reading a family tree by the window

“Making a family tree brings a family together,” says Nicola. “The stories start coming out, it gives people a chance to talk about even the smallest things, like the type of house their great-grandmother lived in in 1901 or the type of job she did. It brings a person to life more–you’re able to stand in their shoes and look at the world as they did–going to work, losing a child, having a child, all those kind of things. It brings family history to life–not dates of birth, death and marriage but who people were and what their lives might have been like.”

portraits of women from 4 generations of the same family

Finding out about your ancestry is a deeply rewarding journey, just like making your own bespoke book. Nicola and Kate can take all the hard work out of the process and give your book a rich historical dimension. Contact Kate today to find out how to begin your own fascinating voyage through time.