Joanne Penn

Joanne Penn

After leaving university in 1999 with a first class degree in Linguistics, I was lucky enough to find work at my local archive, Norfolk Record Office. I worked in the strongroom with original documents and then in the searchroom/research team where I helped members of the public with their research, answered written enquiries and carried out research for people unable to visit in person. 

In 2006, I set up my own research business and over the next 11 years carried out over 1000 research projects researching families in Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridge and beyond. I have worked on a number of projects for the BBC TV programme ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ I wrote a number of Norfolk Record Office's family history information guides and have also written articles for the local newspaper: The Eastern Daily Press and HEART: a local heritage website. I have been interviewed on BBC Radio Norfolk a number of times as a local expert genealogist.

In 2017, I joined the international team of Ancestry ProGenealogists. As a company, we offer expert research across the globe for clients all over the world. My own expertise is English research, early palaeography and breaking down brick walls. I am really enjoying the opportunity that my current job offers to expand my knowledge base and learn about research in other countries and how to use DNA as a genealogical tool. 

Contact Joanne Penn


Thank you, your enquiry has been sent


Joanne Penn was recommended to me by a fellow researcher. Knowing her background at Norfolk Record Office, I engaged her to try to resolve a family history mystery which had defeated researchers for decades. She succeeded. Combining professional expertise with a shrewd intelligence and analytical facility, she not only unearthed essential information but was able also to draw meaningful conclusions from it. Her written reports are comprehensive and meticulous. So I would strongly recommend Joanne to anyone researching family history and especially those who have hit the proverbial 'brick wall'

Mr A. UK

Joanne undertook nearly twenty research assignments for me over a period of about two-and-a-half years. The people she researched for me were members of half a dozen different unlinked families that lived in three counties (Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire) from the 15th to the early 19th centuries. In all her research, I found that Joanne was very enthusiastic and persistent in seeking alternative sources when gaps appeared in parish registers and was very knowledgeable about the availability of records and where they should be consulted. Joanne skillfully used this knowledge by knocking down “a brick wall” that I had been unable to surmount for five years or more. She demanded high standards of proof and cross-referencing and regularly met her (largely self-imposed) reporting deadlines. Joanne also drew to my attention opportunities for containing costs (e.g. by recommending that lines of enquiry that appeared to hold no promise of fruitfulness be not pursued). I first learned of Joanne through the Norfolk Record Office website. I contacted her and asked if she would consider a research assignment that another researcher had refused to undertake and she readily agreed. I have had reason to be very grateful to her for her care and attention to my research requests

Mr W. Australia

I am extremely grateful for your very skilful and indeed successful efforts in assisting me with my research. You have uncovered such a remarkably wide range of material, always with an appreciation of my objectives. Without your help, I would not now be able to put so much flesh on the bare bones of a simple pedigree. Over the years, I have experienced many researchers in various English counties, but never before have I experienced such efficient and dedicated assistance. Thank you.


Mr W. UK

Follow Joanne on social media

Follow Joanne on Twitter Follow Joanne on Facebook Follow Joanne on Linked In


  • Living Persons
  • Local History
  • Palaeography
  • Family History
  • Nonconformity
  • England Research
  • Criminal Records
  • Poor Law and Workhouse Records
  • DNA and Genetics
  • Will and Probate
Box A, 14 Charterhouse Buildings
Goswell Road
London EC1M 7BA