Caroline Rochford set up Heir Line Ltd. in 2009 along with her husband, Michael, and works as a genealogist, writer and designer for the company.
She helps Michael with the family history research packages, and enjoys nothing more than discovering long lost stories from the past. This led her to write a series of books all about the quirky and fascinating discoveries she’s made during her career. She approached a history book publisher, Amberley, with her proposal, and they signed her up!
When she’s not working on her history books, Caroline is heavily involved in writing the narrative reports for clients who wish to commission hourly research into their family history. At the end of each block of hours, clients receive a personal, narrative report outlining Heir Line’s findings, along with an accompanying family tree, designed by Caroline. So, for a perfect gift idea, why not commission Heir Line’s published author to write about your family’s ancestors?
With a first class degree in Graphic Arts and Design, Caroline also specialises in designing the Family History Storybooks. She can restore old and damaged photographs to their former glory, including colouring in black and white or sepia photographs!
Caroline Rochford (nee Brooks) BA (hons)
PLACE OF BIRTH
Manygates, Wakefield, West Yorkshire
Caroline is three quarters English and a quarter Welsh. Almost half of her mother’s ancestors came from Wakefield, so Caroline considers herself to be truly Yorkshire! She has some fascinating Wakefield ancestors in her family tree, including councillors, master mariners, and sea captains. They certainly had some amazing stories to tell, involving adventures in faraway lands, mutinies on the high seas, shipwrecks, and a terrifying accident when one of her ancestors fell from the crow’s nest and broke his back! Unable to return to a life on the ocean waves, he joined forces with his landlubber brother, Joe Hargrave, (a compassionate Justice of the Peace and budding entrepreneur), and set up a thriving, high-class ladies’ clothes shop in Wakefield called Hargrave Brothers - very similar to the BBC’s The Paradise, or ITV’s Mr. Selfridge! The building still stands today on Kirkgate, but is now a furniture store. One thing that no longer exists is Hargrave Square, a street in Wakefield that was named after the influential Hargrave family; the landlords of the properties. On the other side of her tree, most of Caroline’s relations were hard-working, humble coal miners from Wales back in the 19th century.
HOW FAR BACK HER OWN TREE GOES
About 1594, when Rodulphus Harrison, her 11 x great grandfather, was born!
Leeds Metropolitan University
Bachelor of Arts Degree (first class)
CURRENT NON-FICTION HISTORY TITLES
Great Victorian Inventions: Novel Contrivances & Industrial Revolutions - published summer 2014 by Amberley
Great Victorian Discoveries: Astounding Revelations and Misguided Assumptions - published spring 2015 by Amberley
Future titles: in production! Keep checking back for updates!
When she’s not writing, Caroline loves good food, ceilidhs, going to the theatre, and taking her dog for walks in the countryside. She and Michael are currently busy renovating their first house, which has a large garden that the pair of them are looking forward to cultivating. In a year or two they hope it will be in full bloom, brimming with trees of a different kind, and home to lots of wildlife!
ANY TIPS FOR BUDDING AUTHORS AND FAMILY HISTORIANS?
We receive dozens of emails and letters from students and budding genealogists, eager for us to offer some work experience. As we are just a very small organisation, we regret that we are not in a position to offer such placements. Caroline also receives enquiries from people keen to learn how to get their own books published. Her advice is this: don't let the constant stream of rejections get you down! If possible, request feedback from the agents and publishers who have said no. Trust their judgement, and work on any areas that need improving. Try to avoid vanity publishers, too.
Using all available primary sources, Michael and Caroline will complete your research project to the highest possible standard. Their sources include (but are by no means limited to):
• Wills (Ecclesiastical Courts and Probate Registries)
• UK & Irish Parish records
• International Church Records
• Military records
• Archived newspapers
• 1841 - 1911 UK census returns
• 1851, 1901 & 1911 Irish census returns
• Poll Books
• Land Tax Returns
• Peerage Records
• General Register Office records
• Historical and current Electoral Rolls
• Genealogical indexes
• Information provided by living relatives
• A collection of Historical Trade Directories
• Relevant textbooks
• A private library of rare and antique books
• Newsreels from the 1930s onwards
• Historical maps
Whatever your requirements, contact Ancestry by Heir Line for an informal discussion about your project.
Fancy a fun and quirky way to display your family tree? Click here to view some of our family history gift products!
Caroline Rochford - Genealogist, Graphic Designer and Published Author
Her first non-fiction book, “Great Victorian Inventions: Novel Contrivances & Industrial Revolutions”, is a fun and illustrated exploration of the weird, wonderful and long-forgotten inventions that were dreamed up in the 19th century. Caroline’s follow-up, “Great Victorian Discoveries: Astounding Revelations and Misguided Assumptions”, was released in April 2015, and both books are available to purchase worldwide through Amazon, Waterstones and other major bookstores.
Caroline is brimming with story ideas, and her work has even spread across the pond! The American news website IrishCentral, which attracts 2 million visitors each month, recently commissioned Caroline to write for them. Her first article is about her husband’s late grandfather, an ordinary young man who led an extraordinary life.
Taking a break from the Victorians - for a little while, at least - Caroline's third book is based on a true story, chronicling the 20th century. This as yet untitled story has been commissioned by Pen & Sword, the history publishers, and more updates will be posted soon.
Click here to read more about Caroline's literary works.