Families in British India Society 20th Anniversary Conference Speakers in alphabetical order.

Peter BaileyPeter Bailey

FIBIS President Peter Bailey will deliver the introductory lecture of the conference. Trustee since 1999, Chairman for many years and always enthusiastic promoter of FIBIS, Peter has helped to build FIBIS into the successful family history society that it is today, having worked in every role except treasurer!  He has delivered many lectures over the years and produced two of the four FIBIS research guides.  He began his own research journey by investigating the activities of eight direct ancestors who lived and served in the military in India and will share some of the excitement of discovery.

FIBIS Research Guides by Peter A Bailey

Image of Gill BlanchardGill Blanchard

Gill Blanchard, member of AGRA, is an historian and full-time researcher, tutor, lecturer and author. She is an expert on family, house and local history, and has been a professional family history researcher since 1992.    She derives great enjoyment from passing on her knowledge to other people and does so in an accessible way.  Her talk will give us a glimpse of the work that goes on behind the scenes at ‘Who do you think you are? ‘    Subject to demand, she may also  deliver a writing tutorial.

More about Gill Blanchard

Past Search – Gill ‘s website

Geraldine CharlesGeraldine Charles

Geraldine Charles, FIBIS founder trustee, experienced researcher and speaker at family history events:  To mark 100 years since the end of WWI, Geraldine will report on her most recent project to identify Anglo-Indian and European soldiers recruited in India to fight in WWI.  Like her earlier work locating the descendants of medal recipients, it honours the contribution of Indians, Anglo-Indians and Europeans based in India at that time.

David Edge imageDavid Edge

Before David joined FIBIS he had already begun his project over ten years ago to transcribe Births, Marriage and Deaths notices published in the Bombay Times and Times of India in the 19th and 20th centuries. David is based in Australia but has managed a world-wide team of FIBIS volunteers to continue that work and more recently to add Arrival and Departure information from the same source.

Jean Ellis imageJean Ellis

Jean Ellis ‘s family, like so many others, left their lives and homes in Burma when the Japanese invaded during WW2.  In her book ‘Goodbye Burma ‘  she uses family documents, personal anecdote and detailed research to reimagine the experience of leaving at this chaotic and dramatic moment in history, the approaching end of empire. She follows individual family members as they ultimately risk a long and arduous journey to reach the safety of India.

Debbie Kennett imageDebbie Kennett

Debbie Kennett is an Honorary Research Associate at University College London. She is a regular speaker on DNA and surnames at both national and international events. She is the author of two books, DNA and Social Networking and The Surnames Handbook, and has written many articles about DNA for family history magazines. She will talk about finding family with DNA and using DNA as a tool in family history research.

Jan LeemingJan Leeming

We are delighted to announce that Jan Leeming, newsreader, presenter and television personality, is our guest speaker on Saturday evening.   Her own family links with India date back to the 18th century.

After retiring from newsreading, she continued writing, presenting and acting, introducing musical events and producing corporate training videos.   More recent appearances include the ‘Real Marigold’ series,  reality shows and physical survival challenges.   She has travelled extensively throughout her busy career.

Closer to home, she is very active in support of charities, including the Allied Air Forces Museum and the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust Fund.

For more detail view: www.jan-leeming.com/blog

Major General (Retired) J C Lawrence CBE imageMajor General (Retired) J C Lawrence CBE

Major General (Retired) J C Lawrence CBE, military historian, author and lecturer on strategy at the Royal College of Defence Studies, will speak about Britain ‘s Gurkhas, from their initial recruitment in 1815 through to their service in today ‘s armed forces.  He published The Gurkhas: 200 years of service to the Crown in 2015 and is currently working on a commemorative history of The Royal Gurkha Rifles (RGR) for  publication in 2019.  The locations of his military career provide a colourful backdrop for his works of adventure fiction which, perhaps not surprisingly, also include Gurkhas! You can find out more at:  www.craiglawrencebooks.co.uk.

Jenny Mallin imageJenny Mallin

Jenny Mallin will talk about the story behind her prize-winning cookery book ‘Grandmother ‘s Legacy ‘.  So much more than just a cookery book, it shares her moving experience of connecting with earlier generations of her own family by researching and recreating the meals that they enjoyed.  The names, ingredients, and even the spelling will strike a chord with many of her listeners.

Richard Morgan imageRichard Morgan

Richard Morgan will host the open forum session, dealing with questions from delegates.  He has long been fascinated by British India and has edited The Diary of an Indian Cavalry Officer (Pagoda Tree Press 2003) and written FIBIS publicationsFact Files No 3 Indian Directories, No 5  Graves in India and Research Guide No 3 British Ships in Indian Waters 2nd edn 2017, as well as articles on British India for the FIBIS Journal, Chowkidar and Family Tree.

Diana Quick imageDiana Quick

Diana Quick started her career while at Oxford, where she was the first female president of the O U D S.  She has played at the National Theatre, The Royal Shakespeare Company, The Royal Court and extensively in the West End.

Probably best known as Julia Flyte in Brideshead Revisited, she continues to work across film, TV, radio and theatre.  Recent theatre includes Electra at the Old Vic, Babette ‘s Feast at the Printroom, and Mother Christmas at Hampstead Theatre. She was Molotova in the film The Death of Stalin, and has just been exploring the last wild woman of the woods in Thea Smiley ‘s new play The Last Woodwose at Hightide Festival.

She translated and performed de Beauvoir ‘s Woman Destroyed in London and New York, published by Faber.  Virago has published an essay she contributed to 50 Shades of Feminism, a survey of where feminism has got to in the contemporary world, and her memoir A Tug on the Thread, an investigation into her father ‘s hidden childhood growing up in colonial India.

For 7 years she was Director of the Aldeburgh Documentary Festival.

Patrick ScullyPatrick Scully

Patrick Scully, FIBIS Chairman, Welcome to delegates and Closing session. A Trustee for 5 years, was born in Amritsar shortly after partition and went back to Burma with his family. Served in Her Majesty ‘s Forces in Aden & Ireland. Now retired, researching family history in India and Burma, also interested in all things Burma.


Image of Hedley SuttonHedley Sutton

Hedley Sutton will advise on Researching the Indian Army in the First World War:  sources in the British Library.  Hedley has worked in Asian and African Studies in the British Library for thirty years,  and since 1999 he has managed the small team which provides the front-of- house  and remote enquiry service for this part of the Library ‘s vast collections. A historian  by training, along with his colleagues he deals regularly with a wide range of family  history enquiries received from all over the world. He also finds the time to contribute  occasionally to the Library ‘s ‘Untold Lives ‘ blog  http://blogs.bl.uk/untoldlives/.

Hedley may also deliver a tutorial session on accessing the India Office records.

Dr Philip Woods imageDr Philip Woods

Dr Philip Woods is a lecturer in history at the New York University in London whose specialisms include British Imperial and Colonial History.  He has a particular interest in the role of war correspondents, newsreel and newspaper reports and will offer a view of Independence and Partition according to the visual record provided by British newsreels and international photographers.