My End of Year Report 2021

As 2021 has drawn to a close, it’s that time of the year to look back and reflect on my genealogy achievements and see how I did, compared to the goals that I set myself at the beginning of the year. Several years ago I completely lost track with my genealogy research and vowed to never let that happen again, so each year, as a prompt, I set myself some realistic genealogy goals for the year ahead. There is of course always some ‘wriggle room’ on the list to add something new and exciting, as long as I don’t become to distracted by the bright shiny objects!

On a personal level, looking back to this time last year, never in a million years would I have guessed that I would have made the decision to move house and not only that, have moved and settled in for Christmas! You just never know what twists and turns lie ahead in life.

So how did I do? So picking up on my half-yearly report, lets see how things faired in the second half of the year.


As mentioned above, the second half was dominated by the house move and all the associated things that come with that, but don’t think for a moment that means I took my foot off the peddle in anyway, in fact far from it, this actually made me more focused with my time and also provided me with more reflective moments, which resulted in more nostalgia and memory based posts in my blog. My blog continued to steadily grow, one of my goals was all about quality over quantity, with regards to my posts. 2020 Saw me post 89 blogs, but this year has seen a lot less blogs at 37, but hopefully more detailed and thought provoking in their content.


The biggest ‘new adventure’ for me this year, all took place in the second half of the year with the launch of my new website the Old Palace School Bombing, which is dedicated to remembering the 34 Firemen and Women who sadly lost their lives on 19th April 1941 during a bombing raid in East London. With a wonderful band of volunteers I have started to write the stories of the 34 men and women and have so far completed 9 biographies in just 6 months and I am so pleased with that. Like I said at the beginning of the post, you need to build in some time for new things to develop, if you are too rigid with your plans it can lead to possible missed opportunities.

The new website can be found here:

Old Palace School Bombing

The creation of the new website and the writing of the biographies has obviously taken up a lot of my time and focus, but every life that is remembered on the website makes it all worthwhile. Thank you also for those that have kindly volunteered and generously given their time to help with this research project.

My Collaboration Appeal

The reorganisation of my photo collection has just not happened and I have taken a conscious decision to delay this until after I retire, I won’t beat myself up about it, I just need to find enough time to dedicate to this mammoth task, I have also taken the decision to not make this a goal for 2022 either.

Of course Covid still grips our lives as we stare down the barrel of another lockdown over Christmas and on that basis I have taken the decision that I won’t be travelling overseas until this has gone away, so my proposed trips to Gallipoli and Dublin have not happened again. I am hopeful that at some point in the future we can return to a normal life again and we can make travel plans that will not be disrupted, until that happens, then I wont be travelling overseas again.

Another year has passed without any “live” genealogy shows which has meant another year without any real face to face contact with my “Genie Friends”, this has been a real downside for me. I thrive on human contact and I do miss the buzz and vibe at these shows and I really can’t wait until we can return to normal again, if we ever can. Family History Societies and show organisers continue to bring us a wonderful array of talks and so many more organisations have taken the plunge to organise these shows and talks. Although it’s not the same as the real thing, I am extremely grateful for all those involved in putting these events together, all the presenters for their hard work in putting these talks together and those that do all the stuff that we don’t see, “the tech guys” who make these virtual events possible.

In terms of brick walls, well I have to confess I’ve not even taken the tools out the box, so there’s been no sledgehammering for me this year, no big breakthroughs and no walls coming tumbling down, but there’s always next year!

I have continued to enjoy listening to podcasts, these have been a big part of my year and you can discover some of my favourite podcasts in the blog I wrote earlier in the year.

What’s Your Favourite Podcast

My DNA research has also ground to a halt, time has been of a premium this year so my focus has had to be elsewhere, finding time to fit everything in, is every genealogists nightmare. It’s all about priorities and this is sadly further down the pecking order at the moment.

I kept my promise of joining several family history societies, including my home county of Cheshire, my old stomping ground of Essex as well as North West Kent FHS, Gloucester and the Irish Genealogical Society. I have been so impressed with how the societies have moved quickly during covid to deliver zoom meetings and talks to the members, they have really adapted quickly and the value of your membership has never been better.

I have continued with my weekly duties on #AncestryHour and I am extremely proud to be a moderator and I am also deeply proud of what we achieve by pulling the genealogy community together on a weekly basis every Tuesday night at 7pm. It’s something that I absolutely love, the connections we make through genealogy are lifelong and I am pleased to have met so many wonderful people via #AncestryHour.


I have also continued to be a part of the moderating team on the very welcoming website:

Family Tree Forum


If you haven’t visited before why not stop by and take a look, its a small friendly community where all levels of experience are encouraged. If you have a question there is always someone willing to give you a helping hand.

My biggest single achievement within the genealogy community continues to be my editorial duties as the face behind the ‘Dear Paul’ column for Family Tree Magazine. I still feel extremely honoured and privileged to have been entrusted with the role of editor of the ‘Dear Paul’ pages and this year has seen the column grow and grow. It is such a pleasure writing the column and I am amazed at some of the stories that the readers send in. I absolutely love putting together these articles and researching the stories, this is the most enjoyable part of family history for me.


So if you find something quirky, record-breaking or just plain funny whilst researching your family tree, then why not drop me an email to: and you just might feature in the next edition!

So overall I am pleased with the progress made, by far the biggest news was the old palace school website, which wasn’t even on the radar this time last year, so you never know in which direction your family tree research can develop! I would say that it has been a year of consolidation.

Let me know how your family history research is going, I would love to hear how you are getting on.

Why not visit my new website:

All My Blogs For Family Tree Magazine in one handy place

Copyright © 2022 Paul Chiddicks | All rights reserved

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