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Bob O'Hara - Public Record Searches

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David Couldridge, Essex David Couldridge
"I wished to find out more about my fourth great-grandfather who fought and was captured and imprisoned during the Napoleonic Wars. Having traced his regiment, I wanted the military records at the National Archives to be searched for possible information on his service movements, when and where captured and held as a prisoner-of-war, etc, and found Bob O'Hara's details on the National Archives' list of independent researchers. And what a fortunate find. I commissioned an initial search followed by two more, and I must say how satisfied I am with the work of Bob and his team, the various searches necessary carried out with diligence and painstaking effort, the amount of information discovered, the excellence and professionalism of the reports, the large number of digital images of documents I received through the YouSendIt service, and then also being provided with details of additional reference material over and above that available at the National Archives to assist me in my project of discovering all I can about my ancestor. And all at a very reasonable price for the amount of work involved, the estimates strictly adhered to but I'm sure more time must have actually been spent, and everything done in a timely and efficient manner. Absolutely brilliant, I could not have asked for more and certainly could not be more pleased with the results. Excellent.
Thank you Bob".

Nicholas RankinNicholas Rankin wrote: "RW O'Hara did sterling work for me in the National Archives, digging up material on official British reactions to the bombing of Guernica by aeroplanes during the Spanish Civil War, and helping to make my book, Telegram from Guernica: the extraordinary life of George Steer, war-correspondent (Faber, 2003) a critical success. George Lowther Steer had reported in The Times and the New York Times that German Nazi and Italian fascist pilots had flown the planes that bombed and strafed the Basque town and was calumniated for it by those who said "the Reds" had burned the town themselves. Pablo Picasso also read his report in French and immediately began painting his famous picture Guernica. In 2005 the book was published in Spain as "Cronica desde Guernica", and on 26th April 2006, on the 69th anniversary of the bombing, the Basque Government unveiled a bust of George Steer in Guernica or Gernika as the Basques spell it, in the presence of his son, George Barton Steer. I felt honoured and moved to be part of an occasion restoring justice to a forgotten man. The photo shows me looking at the bust of GL Steer, and in the background the ikurrina, the Basque flag, with a mark of mourning for the civilian dead on that day. Thank you, Bob, for what you did to help make it all happen."

Don and Diane D, Ontario, Canada: "Hi Bob
We would be most pleased to add our endorsement to your website. I think our regard for your ability and skill is best demonstrated by stating we have availed ourselves of your services on three separate occasions and will not hesitate to come back to you again in the future for more help. With only the most meager of clues to go on, you have been able to not only find our missing persons but provide us with more information about them than we dreamed possible - and always at very reasonable price and in a timely manner. In each case, we received a full report of the search - including all of the blind alleys you went up - and the sources and copies of the documentation you managed to locate.
Our association has been most pleasant and successful and we wholeheartedly recommend your services to others looking for help.
Don and Diane."

John Derbyshire: "Very many thanks for the receipt of Royal Marines Service History of my Father dating from 1918. I had previously been advised that only knowing his name and date of birth it would have been virtually impossible to find his records. With only this information you found him in only a week and supplied other information vital for my family history research. Once again thank you for your excellent service."

Robert FergusonAuthor Robert Ferguson: "Dear Bob - how nice to see your name and initials in my Inbox - it took me back to a very enjoyable time of my life, when I was working the Hulme's biography. I can highly recommend your services as a researcher. Your intricate knowledge of the highways and byways of the PRO saved me an enormous amount of time, and you grasped very quickly the kind of information that I was interested in. You also showed a rare ability to follow up leads, something on your own initiative that you knew would be relevant to my quest for detail on the elusive T.E. Hulme - and they often were. The Short Sharp Life of T.E. Hulme (published by Allen Lane/Penguin Press, London 2002) was very widely and favourably reviewed - Alan Judd made it a 'Book of the Year' in the Spectator. Good luck in the future. Robert"

Elizabeth Watson: "Dear Mr O'Hara,
I have contacted you on two occasions for the service records of two of my great grandfathers. On both occasions I have been very satisfied, indeed, with the speed of your service and the depth of the information you have sent me. I would not hesitate to request your services again if the need arises, or to recommend you to anyone.
Yours sincerely, Eliz."

David Mervin
David Mervin: "Dear Bob,
I am pleased to provide a small reference for your web page.
'Bob O'Hara is a most helpful and resourceful researcher who has helped me solve several family history mysteries. In my experience, he also operates a very fair charging policy'.

David Atherton, Liverpool.: "I can recommend Bob O'Hara without the slightest hesitation, both for maritime and family history research at the PRO.
During more than 10 years I have always found him helpful, prompt, accurate and enthusiastic.
In short, a good man to have working for and with you.

Writing while on holidays Ian Bates, Queensland, Australia: "Bob,
After a very rewarding three week writing session while on holidays recently (see attached image) I wanted to let you know how valuable your research skills have become to the progress of my Eighteenth Century naval biography. Of particular use has been the introduction of digital images by Internet download. I was happy enough getting them on CD but this is even better. Now I can request a search of State Papers or Admiralty records and have the results on my computer within days. It is such a great help in maintaining continuity of writing to be able to request images of manuscripts and have them available while the thought is still fresh. A special thanks for all those hours clicking away with your camera on what might seem to others to be boring ship's logs or musters, but to me are gold mines of information. After years of research I hope, with your continuing help, to be able to announce a publishing date some time soon.
Kindest regards - Ian."

Catherine Gaillard, Westbank, BC, Canada: "Hi Bob,
Your knowledge, persistence and attention to detail are all qualities required of a talented investigator. Your research capabilities went a long way in providing answers to what was unknown to my family, and provided us with a link to the past that we would have never been able to pursue. The results of your work and the amount of information you were able to obtain was pretty amazing. Your informative report of your search results and the professional manner in which it was presented, reassured us that dealing with a website can certainly have good results. The United Kingdom is a long way from our country, but without you, Bob, we would never had known what we now know about our ancestry.
Sincerely, Catherine."

Alastair BrownAlastair Brown, Sydney.
"I would like to add my thanks to those of the many other grateful recipients of Bob's Research skills. He has provided me with several important leads in my naval history research into the life of Rear-Admiral William Brown in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
When one lives on the other side of the world it is reassuring to know that I have someone so familiar with the NA records to call on at any time when I am seeking an important piece of missing information.
Bob will always be my first point of contact when I go on my own annual visits to the NA in future. He might even make them unnecessary - but then I would miss his cheerful smile."

Keith Shackleton "Dear Bob
Thank you for the results of your researches into my grandfather in WW1 and my uncle in WW2. The YouSendIt file opened successfully at the second attempt even though I had never used this format before.
Although I am experienced in family history, this is my first real foray into military records. I wasn't expecting such detailed accounts of activities in either war - it is absolutely amazing to me! There is obviously a lot of reading for me in what you have sent.
I will recommend you to my cousin who wants to trace his own grandfather's records in WW1.
Thank you again
Regards - Keith Shackleton"

Diana Kirkpatrick "Dear Bob,
Very many thanks for locating and copying the Battery and Regimental Diaries from March 1942 - 1945 relating to my late father's war service. Using these enabled me to research and eventually publish father's war diary.
You were recommended to me by my husband for whom you had unearthed pricesless information on 19th century naval ancestors. Your service was prompt and excellent and the fee was very reasonable.

Colin Heape Colin Heape - Scotland
"Over the last four years Bob has offered me unfailing support in my research into the lives of various members of my family. His skills and knowledge of both military and Colonial records has been proved time and again. One brilliant piece of research he did for me was to find a letter in Foreign Office files written by the Governor of British Somaliland in 1921 to Winston Churchill concerning Abyssinia. The letter proved a story my father had told me as a child about a journey he made on horseback to Jig Jiga. How Bob found this obscure document is still a wonder to me.
Thank you Bob for all your encouragement and help.

Ryan Bock
"Dear Bob,
After five long years, I've finally completed my doctoral dissertation on bilateral intelligence cooperation, and thus completed my studies at the University of Maryland. You and your team were instrumental in helping me realize this objective. In response to each of my requests, you sent me precisely what I asked for (and in some cases, I got valuable bonus material!) with minimal turn-around time, and at a highly reasonable price. That is no small feat!

Thank you once again for your professionalism and quality of service.

With great appreciation and respect,


Click here to see Testimonials page Two or Testimonials page Three orTestimonials page Four.

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