Who Am I?

I am a writer, a web designer and a social historian.

In my previous lives, I was a stay at home mother, a school bus driver and an electromechanical engineering technician specializing in hydraulics and power transmissions. In addition, I’ve had minor life episodes in crafting, photography, retail, inventory control, purchasing, sales, teaching, and accounting.

I currently work as a Senior Manager in IT Operations when I’m not writing, designing websites, or researching social history.

  • Freelance writer for hire for magazines, journals or short stories.

  • Technical manual writer, and copywriter.

  • WordPress web designer from domain registration to final product.

  • Accomplished speaker for topics ranging from technology, to history or genealogy.

  • Genealogist who can find your ancestors and tell their stories.


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Barbara J Starmans, PLCGS
Barbara J Starmans, PLCGSWriter, Web Designer and Social Historian
Barbara J Starmans grew up in Toronto, Ontario and has been doing family history research on her English ancestors for more than 35 years. She currently lives in Richmond Hill, Ontario and is ‘Mom’ to two wonderful daughters and ‘Nana BJ’ to two incredible grandchildren.

Over the years, Barbara has been a stay at home mother, a school bus driver and an electromechanical engineering technician specializing in hydraulics and power transmissions and currently works in information technology as a Senior Manager in IT Operations.

Barbara is a graduate of the National Institute for Genealogical Studies, specialising in both English records and Canadian records. She is a freelance writer and her articles have appeared in magazines such as Family Tree UK, Internet Genealogy, Discover Your Ancestors, Your Family Tree, Your Family History and Who Do You Think You Are? She also enjoys speaking about genealogy, technology and social history to historical and genealogy societies. Barbara was awarded first place in the 2015 Excellence in Writing Competition in the Articles category by the International Society of Family History Writers and Editors for her article Women and the Victorian Regiment which first appeared in Discover Your Ancestors book-a-zine. In 2016 she was awarded first place for her article In Every City, Village, and Hamlet which first appeared in Discover Your Ancestors and third place for General Paresis of the Insane, The Melancholy Tale of John David Taylor as published on The Social Historian.

When she’s not working or writing, Barbara enjoys keeping up with trending topics in genealogy and doing social history research. Find out more about her and about social history from around the world and across the centuries on The Social Historian longreads website at www.thesocialhistorian.com.

Some of my highlights

My favourite projects are ones that combine writing, design and research. Check out some of my favourite creations by clicking the title links.

The Social Historian

The Social Historian is a longform story website featuring social history themed articles across the centuries and around the world.

National Institute: Social History Course

Social History is an introduction to social history that will provide examples and resources of subject matter from many areas of interest to the social historian.

Out of My Genealogy News

Out of My Tree Genealogy News is a website where family history enthusiasts will find the latest news, website and software reviews, tips and tricks guaranteed to take their genealogy obsession to the next level.

WordPress for XYZ

WordPress for XYZ is a relatively new website for bloggers. If you spend your time doing something that you love and then share what you know with others by blogging about it, WordPress for XYZ is the right place to be. Whether you are just thinking about transitioning from Blogger or WordPress.com or you are a long-time hosted WordPress user, you will find great theme recommendations, helpful plugin recommendations and useful tutorials to help you get your WordPress website up and running, so you can get back to the business of doing what you love.

Writing a book is something that has been on my to do list for my whole life so I’m pretty excited that my first book, Tracing Your Ancestors’ Lives: A Guide for the Family Historian will be published 30 April 2017 by Pen and Sword. The work is just over 60,000 words and took about a year to research and write.

Concentrating on the history of the UK, Social History for the Genealogist is not intended as a comprehensive study of social history but instead an exploration of the various aspects of the topic of particular interest to you, the family historian. This book is a guide to your journey beyond the names, dates and places in your pedigree charts back to the time and place where your ancestors lived. Use the research advice, resources and case studies in this book as you learn about your ancestors, their families and the society they lived in and record their stories for the generations to come.

Just enough research is how I begin to write.

The challenge of course, is knowing how much research is enough research. Then I write. I outline, then fill in the blanks between, drawing on the research to keep the reader interested. Then I let the words sit for a day or two or even a week until they’ve set and then I read out loud to the cat.

Of course, the cat seldom says anything, but will often meow in agreement if I suggest that a certain passage is awkward and needs a rewrite.

I definitely have a diverse set of hobbies.

I like technology, crafts, gardening, web design, family history and photography. And finally, I read.

To say that reading is a hobby is a little like saying that breathing is a hobby, but I’m sure that some would consider it one.

My Editor and Biggest Critic, Cody the Cat

The Editor

Here’s The Good Stuff. Some of My Latest Work Is Featured Below.