I have been writing handbooks and guides for genealogists and local historians since 1988. I trained as a historian at the Universities of Keele and Adelaide, and as a librarian at the College of Librarianship Wales. After 15 years working in academic libraries - first at the Yorkshire Archaeological Society, then at Ballarat College of Advanced Education, and finally at Deakin University, Geelong, I decided the best way to occupy myself was to write books that I would find useful in my own research. In so doing, I hope to encourage amateur family and local historians (and, indeed, history students at all levels) to trace their ancestry, or the history of their parish, in a scholarly way. They are aspiring to be historians, and there is no reason why their work should be any less valid than the work of professional historians. If they want to produce good history, then they need to make sure that their work is firmly based on the evidence provided by original sources. They need an appreciation of how these sources were created, what to expect from them, and an understanding of the many pitfalls that may catch out the unwary. That is what I try to provide in my books.