Category Archives: House Historian

TGP 30 Melanie Backe-Hansen – UK House Historian

Featured Guest

Melanie Backe-Hansen

Melanie is an historian, speaker, and writer, who specialises in researching the history of houses, streets, and areas throughout the United Kingdom.  For close to six years Melanie was the first and only historian to be employed by a UK estate agent to research the history of houses and streets. Since 2012 Melanie has been an independent house House Historian Melanie Backe-Hansen on The Genealogy Professional podcasthistorian, completing private house history commissions, as well as consulting for corporate projects and property companies.

Melanie has written two books: Historic Streets and Squares: The Secrets on Your Doorstep and House Histories: The Secrets Behind Your Front Door.

Melanie has written for The [London] Times and regularly contributes to the Homes & Property blog for The Evening Standard, while her house histories have appeared across the national media, including the Financial Times and The Telegraph. She is also a frequent contributor of articles and expert comments in the media, including BBC radio, and is also actively engaged in social media and tweets as @househistorian. Melanie is an honorary teaching fellow at the University of Dundee and tutors a house history module for The Centre for Archive and Information Studies. Melanie is also a regular speaker on the history of houses, including The Ideal Home Show, as well as at the Geffrye Museum in collaboration with School of Geography at Queen Mary, University of London, and in 2013 Melanie spoke at the first Institute of Historical Research conference, ‘Mobilising London’s Housing Histories’.

Contact Links

Melanie Backe-Hansen website

Melanie Backe-Hansen on Twitter – @househistorian

Other Links

Historic Streets and Squares: The Secrets on Your Doorstep

House Histories: The Secrets Behind Your Front Door

One Action Genealogists Can Take Right Now

“Research. Read about what other people do . Get some books out. “

Recommended Book

Tracing the History of Your House: The Building, the People, the Past by Nick Barratt

Productivity Tool


“Don’t always believe what you read on the internet. Check your sources.”

Action Item

Melanie talked about appearing on different tv shows such as Restoration Home and Restoration Man. The shows weren’t specifically house history shows but her expertise contributed to the story.  She also talked about networking with heritage professionals to create opportunities. You can transfer the same thought process to your business as a genealogy professional.

Are there organizations outside of genealogy but related to your niche that you could partner with? If you specialize in a geographic area then you would want to focus on Heritage and Historic organizations in that area. If you have an ethnic niche think about the different organizations associated with your group. Perhaps they could be music or cultural groups, history groups, language-based groups or something else. You can expand your reach and your business by partnering with other organizations and showing how you can be of value to them.


This week brainstorm a list of organizations that you could possibly partner with and think about how you could provide value to them by sharing your expertise.

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TGP 2: Caroline Gurney – Researching the Cutty Sark

Featured Guest

Caroline Gurney

Caroline Gurney is a professional genealogist, researcher, blogger and speaker who runs an historical research service based in the ancient market town of Chipping Sodbury in South Gloucestershire. She is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists Caroline Gurney(APG) and subscribes to their Code of Ethics.

She read History at Bristol University, specialising in 15th century England. Her dissertation was a biographical study of Members of Parliament in 1450 and the ties of family and patronage which bound them. She graduated in 1975 with a First Class honours degree and a thorough grounding in historical research.

In 2012 she was commissioned by HSBC, corporate sponsors of the Cutty Sark, to trace living descendants of the crew and other significant people connected to the ship. Her research eventually identified over 600 living descendants, 170 of whom were brought together at a reception on board Cutty Sark on 24 May 2012. Each descendant was presented with a booklet containing her biographies of their ancestors. Following on from this project, she is now writing a book on the men (and one woman) connected with the historic ship.

Learn more about Caroline at her website

One Action Genealogists Can Take Right Now

Join the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG)

Recommended Book

Ancestral Trails: The Complete Guide to British Genealogy and Family History
by Mark D. Herber

Productivity Tool

Free Agent – online accounting software


 “No one ever got rich working as a genealogist. Do it because you love it. Do it to the best of your ability. The clients will come and the job satisfaction will be amazing.”