Following an early childhood interest in heraldry which was to become his passion, Cecil Humphery-Smith championed family history as opposed to genealogy, encouraging academia to take the subject seriously. He brought it to Canterbury in 1961 founding the Institute in Northgate. In 2004 he was awarded the OBE for his services to education in heraldry and genealogy.
The Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies is an independent educational charitable trust established to provide full academic facilities for training and research in the study of the history and structure of the family. It was established in Northgate, Canterbury, in 1961 by Cecil Humphery-Smith.
Cecil Humphery-Smith - Founder
Dr Richard Baker - Principal
Richard is responsible for the Institute's educational programme and is a member of our Examining Board. He is an experienced Tutor and Lecturer in all aspects of Genealogy, but his specialist interests are in Heraldry, Palæography and Genetic Inheritance. Richard represents the interests of the Institute on a number of national committees and is an Academian of the Academia Internationale d'Heraldique and President of the International Federation of Schools of Family History.
Sarah Bulson - Course tutor, Librarian and Lecturer
Sarah graduated from Kent University with a BA in History and then went on to obtain an MA in Library and Information Studies at University College, London. Aside from her work as librarian, her roles also include lecturing on all aspects of family history research and being a tutor on the Correspondence Course. She also assists Achievements, our supporting body, with all manner of genealogical and historical research for their numerous clients.
Les Mitchinson - Director of Education
Les is a graduate of the Institute who gained his Higher Certificate in 2008 and the Diploma in Genealogy the following year. Les spent a full career in the Royal Navy before setting up his own Family History education and research business in Hampshire. He finds all aspects of Family History engaging but would have to single out military records as his favoured area of research. In addition to his role as Director of Education, Les is part of the course tutor team.
Emma Jones - Registrar
Emma graduated from Canterbury Christ Church University with a BA in History. She previously worked at the Canterbury Cathedral Archives and is especially interested in the social/economic side of our ancestors' day to day lives.
Ann Ballard - Course Tutor
Ann is a graduate of the Institute having gained the Higher Certificate in 2010 and the Diploma in Genealogy the following year. Her passion for family history started when she was a teenager when family papers and photos from the early 19th century, were passed down following the death of her grandfather. She has gained considerable practical experience in research of her own and extended family histories, and those of others, over many years. Her main career was nursing until 1990, during which time she obtained a teaching qualification for adult education. She has recently established her own business, providing Family History research and training. Her particular interests are Heraldry, and parish records, although she enjoys all aspects of Family History.
Dr Karen Cummings - Course Tutor
Karen is a graduate of the Institute and has both the Higher Certificate (with distinction) and the Diploma in Genealogy. In 2010, having researched her own family history for a number of years and become passionate about genealogy research, she left a career in pharmaceutical research behind to concentrate on family history research. She has previously served as a member of council for the Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives (AGRA).
Elizabeth Yule - Course Tutor
Liz joined the Institute after gaining her BA Hons in History from the University of Kent and has subsequently attained the IHGS Diploma in Genealogy and MSc in Genealogical, Palæographic and Heraldic Studies from the University of Strathclyde. She works as a genealogist for Achievements, the research arm of IHGS and appeared as a researcher on the Dutch series of Who do You Think You Are?. Tracing East Anglian and non-conformist ancestors are particular areas of interest.
Frances Gilday - Receptionist
Frances has worked at Northgate for 37 years and is our valued receptionist.