I'm known as Renia and was born in Edinburgh in the 1950s, one of three children of an English mother and a Polish father.

My mother now lives in a dementia care home but my father died in 1997. The youngest of my two brothers died during Christmas, 2016.

We lived in Edinburgh for a year, then moved to the Holy Loch on the West Coast of Scotland. We left for Sussex when I was eight years old where I lived for more than 40 years before moving to Greece with my husband in 2002. He has worked for a Greek shipping company since the 1970s.

After leaving Hove County Grammar School for Girls with some O-levels and no career ambitions I took a secretarial course at Brighton Technical College, where I learnt to type, a skill useful in my various employments at American Express, The Argus and elsewhere.

When our second son was a baby I enrolled with the Open University and graduated with a history degree a few years later. I hated history at school but the impetus was now there and I was keen to learn.

I still follow the Pallisers and collect information on Pallisers and Pallisters, although my time was restricted for some years from 1993 by working full-time on a newspaper, which I left in 2002 to live in Greece. We returned to England in late2011, since when, one of our two sons has married and has a son of his own. Having lived in the Brighton area for so long, Iíve become fascinated by its long and neglected pre-Regency history. The same books copy the same myths, so, for the past few years, Iíve been surveying sources with the intention of writing a book about the history of the Brighton environs.




My interest in family history began in 1978 after meeting a stranger on a train!

He turned out to be an old Palliser family friend who had known my mother as a teenager and had long been her brotherís drinking buddy.

The stranger said he thought he knew me, but had mistaken me for my mother, but was confused because, if I was plainly too young to be my mother, then who was I?

That commuter train ride from London to Eastbourne began a conversation which changed my life.

He actually began boasting to me of my family connections. An admiral here, an archbishop there. An explorer somewhere else.

I knew none of this, so the next day, I went to Westminster Library and made a bee-line for Burke's Peerage and modern editions of Burke's Landed Gentry, only to be disappointed. But then I discovered Burke's Irish Family Records and there was the whole clan back to about 1550 in Yorkshire. How I wanted to yelp in that silent library. Five minutes into my family history, I'd instantly discovered some ten generations!

The next day, I went to Westminster Library and made a bee-line for Burke's Peerage and modern editions of Burke's Landed Gentry, only to be disappointed. But then I discovered Burke's Irish Family Records and there was the whole clan back to about 1550 in Yorkshire. How I wanted to yelp in that silent library! Five minutes into researching my family history, I'd instantly discovered some ten generations

Since then, the hobby and interest in the name has grown to the point where I have found errors in Burke's and supplemented their information and generally have vast databases of Pallisers (and Pallisters) from around the world and in all eras.

With the growth of the information available on the internet, it is far easier for people to access data to compile their family histories. Back then, it was all done by hand, and every day during my lunch-hour, I went to the General Register Office (GRO), then at St Catherineís House, where the indexes of births, marriages and deaths were held. I began to transcribe the details of all the Pallisers and Pallisters who were born, married or died in England from when the registers began in 1837.

The first loving thing my new husband did after our baby was born in 1979, was to complete that process, up to the 1980s. Those registers are now held at the National Archives in Kew, but are instantly available at FindMyPast, the official subscription site. The efforts of FreeBMD, a registered charity, also make transcriptions of these indexes available online, although they are only complete up to 1949. (The individual certificates of birth, marriage and death must still be ordered and paid for separately, through a variety of commercial companies or through the government web site.)

When he had completed that process, he then extracted the abridged details of Palliser wills from the indexes at Somerset House, which began in 1858. Now, they are also available to search at FindMyPast.

At the Society of Genealogists in London, I would photocopy pages of printouts from the International Genealogical Index (IGI) compiled by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), who, at that time had the largest collection of genealogical records in the world. The IGI was available to all, Mormon or not, and comprised baptisms, marriages and deaths from many parish registers and entries from their church members, some trustworthy, some not. These, and other records, are free to search for on their web site.

Then I trawled through books at the society, transcribing or photocopying Palliser and Pallister entries of wills, army lists, printed parish registers or any book I could find with a Palliser in the index. The full wills proved at Canterbury between 1834-1858 are available online from the National Archives for a small fee, but the search for them is free. Other wills and parish registers, and much else, are searchable online at FindMyPast.

Since I started this project, there has been an explosion in material available on the internet from a number of web sites. The amount has become too much to include and maintain in my own databases, which have not been updated in a number of years.

Between them, FindMyPast and Ancestry.com, both valuable subscription sites, provide a vast amount of information on Palliser, Pallister and variants, not to mention many other surnames.




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