Laurence Harris has always been interested in family history and genealogy, and he still has the very first family tree he drew when he was 19.
Laurence has now joined the MyHeritage.com team as the UK Family History Advisor, and I'm genuinely happy to introduce him to the community. We first met in London several years ago, and most recently at a genealogical conference in August.
A UK-based family historian with many years of experience, including more than five years as a professional genealogist, Laurence has researched two members of the House of Lords, and researches for the popular BBC series, "Who Do You Think You Are?"
He's also a satisfied user of MyHeritage's tools for both his personal family research and his professional (personal and corporate) clients. Thus, it seemed natural for him to join the MyHeritage team, on a part-time basis, as our UK Family History advisor.
"I am delighted to be joining MyHeritage," said Laurence. "I hope that I can use my knowledge and experience of the UK, its communities and family history research sources to ensure that the products and services continue to be developed in a way that provides even more functionality and benefits for us as users."
Why does Laurence like MyHeritage?
"MyHeritage has a great set of family history research and social networking tools to support those of us who are researching our families," he said, adding that these tools can help users to maintain contact with relatives and often to discover new living relatives.
He also pointed out that these tools make it possible for us to network with others who have similar interests and to help each other with research challenges.
A former member of the UK National Archives User Advisory Group, he has expert knowledge of UK genealogical research sources and major archives. He also speaks at genealogy events, such as the annual "Who Do You Think You Are? Live" exhibition in London.
In addition to writing articles for a number of genealogy journals, Laurence has also developed and presented genealogy courses, such as using the Internet for genealogical research and selecting and using software to record family history.
The immediate past chairman of the 900+-member Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain - a specialist genealogical society - Laurence was also the genealogical inquiries advisor and worked with researchers of all skill levels on approaches and sources for research.
He also coordinated the development and launch of the UK Jewish Communities and Records Project www.jewishgen.org/jcr-uk/index.htm, with a database of more than 100,000 birth, marriage and burial records, plus more than 5,000 UK community information pages giving historical and genealogical source details.
In his previous life, he was a principal consultant in a leading management consultancy, specialising in IT project management.
Laurence is married and lives in London with his wife and three daughters.