Monday 6 February 2023

RIP Audrey Collins, who has sadly passed away

Today was never going to be a good day, it being the second anniversary of my father's death, but I've just heard the truly tragic news that Audrey Collins, for many years Family History Specialist from the National Archives at Kew, has passed away over the weekend. 

Audrey was an absolute giant of the UK genealogy world, thanks to her role at TNA, and was key in explaining many of the records sets being released online from Kew, including the censuses down south and the 1939 National Identity Register. Most recently she helped contribute a surviving schedule from the 1921 Scottish census to the National Records of Scotland's coverage for its own launch - although schedules in Scotland have not survived, Audrey had located one at TNA in England, taken by a holidaymaker south from Scotland (see A read of Audrey's blog, The Family Recorder (, will keep you enthralled and enlightened for hours, and she also co-authored Birth, Marriage & Death Records - A Guide for Family Historians with Dave Annal, a superb account of the systems of church records and civil registration records kept in Britain, Ireland, The Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. 

Audrey was originally from Glasgow's Govan area, but moved many years ago down south. I had the pleasure to meet her a few times at Who Do You Think You Are? Live conferences and at other events, as well as at TNA - she was always so good natured, humorous, and an absolute encyclopaedia of knowledge. One of my fave recordings that she made many years ago, which we often talked about, was a lecture she gave for FamilySearch trying to explain to exactly what the UK, the British Isles, Great Britain etc meant as terms, as we shared a common exasperation at how often folk overseas use them to mean the same thing, i.e. England! (The lecture is at Although she lost her native Govan brogue, she was very proud of her Scottish roots, constantly citing her flame red hair as proof of her Scottish credentials!

The following is a ten minute interview I did with Audrey at Who Do You Think You Are? Live in London's Kensington Olympia eleven years ago in 2011, which will give a flavour of the legend that she was (also available at

RIP Audrey - you will be sorely missed. My sincere condolences to all of Audrey's family and friends.

(With thanks to Dave Annal via Twitter) 

UPDATE: From Audrey's family via Twitter @AudreyCollins23:

This is a message from Audrey’s family. Audrey sadly died on 4 February after a short illness. Details of services will be posted here when available. Thank you to all her friends and colleagues who made her life so happy.


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  1. Replies
    1. You're welcome Dave, thanks for letting us all know, and I am so sorry for your loss also, as a close friend of Audrey.