My name is Ruth Willmore and I live near Porthmadog, North Wales, with my husband Tony and our cats Scrabble, Ludo and Jenga.

I first became interested in family history when my grandmother inherited what she described as The Ring. She told us that it was a widows ring and had been handed down the female line, from mother to oldest daughter. As Grandma herself was the youngest of three sisters there were clearly discrepencies in the story. Twenty years later I have not yet got to the bottom of the origins of "the ring", but I hope to do so one day.

I moved to Wales in 1999 following a short teaching career and after trying various jobs was employed by Ffestiniog Travel for eighteen years. I was furloughed for eighteen months during the Covid-19 pandemic which allowed me time to rekindle my interest in family history. It was also during furlough that my sister mentioned that she would love to know more about the history of her house. An old Welsh cottage on the border of two counties, close to England, in a village with numerous spellings is not the easiest place to begin studying house history! I therefore began with other friends and relatives homes. I have promised that one day I will present her with a history of her house.

Since January 2022 I have been employed part time at the Society of Genealogists, working in the events department. I put together the longer courses such as the evening skills courses and I also host some of the Zoom events offered by the Society. You can see some of the classes I attend on my blog.

Pharos Certificate

I hold The Family History Skills and Strategies (FHSS) Intermediate Certificate, with Distinction. The course was developed and taught jointly by Pharos and the Society of Genealogists. To gain the certificate I studied ten courses:
"Before the Modern Census - Name-rich sources from 1690 to 1837",
"Building on a Solid Foundation",
"Nonconformity - Its Records and History 1600 - 1950",
"Employment Records",
"Wills and Administrations; the riches of probate records",
"Your Military Ancestors",
"17th Century Sources",
"Recording the Poor - From Parish to Workhouse and beyond" and
"Apprenticeship Records"
"Victorian Crime and Punishment - Courts, police and prisons".

I am also studying for a Postgraduate Certificate in Genealogical, Palaeographic & Heraldic Studies with Strathclyde University. I completed the first two modules in 2021, achieving an average grade of 92%. I aim to finish in May 2023, when I will begin a Diploma course, and eventually a Masters degree.

I completed the Society of Genealogists Evening Skills 1 and 2 courses in the winter of 2020/2021, and now plan these courses for other students as part of my work at the Society of Genealogists. I highly recommend these courses to anyone wishing to further their skills in genealogy.

When I am not tracing the history of families or houses I enjoy reading. Jane Austen novels and fan fiction, and the the Magical World created by JK Rowling are my favourites. My niece began playing Pokemon Go and I joined in to assist, now although my nieces and nephew are still interested in Pokemon I seem to play more with my sisters! During lockdown I began taking a daily walk, a habit that I have kept up. Some days it is only as far as the local war memorial which is a Pokestop, and one or other of the graveyards where I continue to transcribe the gravestones. Other days I walk further from home, trying to find the addresses I see mentioned on the gravestones, or just to explore. I discovered geocaching during my period on furlough and have now found all the caches within walking distance. Geocaching has been described as using multimillon pound satellite technology to find tupperware in the woods. Basically using an app and coordinates to find plastic boxes of various sizes hidden in the community. I continue to explore further afield, and I particularly like the Church Micros and SideTracked series of caches. My other hobby is dolls houses, something that had been very much on the back burner until the Covid-19 crisis. My terrace of four houses finally all have roofs and front doors. The four houses in the terrace are decorated as a late victorian family home, a 1920s wannabe flappers home, a WW2 couple with an evacuee child, and a 1970s family home.

I hate waste. I try my best to keep the house reasonably clutter free, but I really try hard to reuse and donate unused things. For that reason I run the local Freegle group and have been on the board of directors since September 2020. I try to grow some of our own fruit and vegetables, and try to avoid using single use plastic. Our garden is home to our railway, which is Tony's work, so I aim to keep the garden productive, neat and tidy.

I really hate having my picture taken, but I'm here, with some of the things are are important to me.

This page was last updated on 03 September 2022