W. Wayne Shepheard


Wayne Shepheard has pursued family history research for a number of decades, on his own behalf and for others, exploring families in North America, Europe and the United Kingdom.

Following a long career as a geologist in the oil and gas industry, Wayne now pursues genealogy as a hobby and as an occasional, professional consultant. In forty years of business-related work he learned and practiced research, writing and management, skills he has transferred to his studies concerning family history. Though no longer actively working as a geologist, Wayne continues to be a life member of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta.

His view is that humankind has always had to adapt to the ever-changing physical environments in which they lived. In is his genealogical work, Wayne has been particularly mindful of stories concerning families that were both negatively and positively impacted by changes to their habitat and to disasters which sometimes overwhelmed them. He is active in expanding his interest in and writing about natural phenomena and their impacts on people and communities. He has recently published a book that relates many of the situations observed in nature to the lives of families who experienced or endured them, primarily over the past several centuries.

Wayne volunteers as an Online Parish Clerk, handling four parishes in Devon, England. He is the author of several articles published in a number of family history journals and has made presentations related to a variety of subjects to many groups. Wayne writes two regular genealogical blogs, Discover Genealogy, set up to tell stories, relate experiences and pass along tips discovered during his genealogical studies, and Mother Nature’s Tests, which offers examples of how people and communities were impacted by natural phenomena. He is a contributor to The Pharos Blog: Lighting up Genealogy, set up by Pharos Teaching & Tutoring Limited in the UK.

From 2011 to 2014, Wayne served as Editor of Chinook, the quarterly journal of the Alberta Family Histories Society and in 2015 and 2016 was the Editor of Relatively Speaking, the quarterly journal of the Alberta Genealogical Society. He is currently a member of the the Devon Family History Society, the Guild of One-Name Studies and the Society of Genealogists.

Wayne has published a number of books and magazine articles over the years and gives presentations on a number of topics. If you are interested in learning more about his resume, please visit one of his blog sites mentioned above.

Wayne lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Go In-Depth with Wayne:

What is your favorite blog post from your blog?
Many of the posts on one of my blogs, Discover Genealogy, have to do with family members. That is one of the reasons I write the blog, to share the stories and memories of my ancestors. It’s a great way to record family events and history. One of my favourites is a piece I wrote for Mother’s Day, on 5 May 2015, about, of course, all the mothers in my own family. Another was in recognition of what would have been my father’s 100th birthday, titled A Special 100th Birthday, on 16 December 2014. Many other posts include specific information about ancestors as well as how I found information about them.

What is your favorite tip for new researchers?
Given my background and experience, I encourage all genealogists, new to the fun or not, to review what was happening in the physical world around where their ancestors lived. Natural events of many different kinds may have impacted their lives and livelihoods and even led to decisions about moving to areas where more opportunities existed or living conditions were more favourable. Such information can be found in a variety of sources, from local parish records to historical and scientific publications. Don’t ignore how Mother Nature might have played a role.

What is your favorite genealogical education option?
One of the early and most important things I did to really get my research going was to take a series of courses from Pharos Teaching & Tutoring Limited, about genealogical research methodology, record types and sources and major time periods. I even expanded the course selection to include a certificate program, which gave me the opportunity to engage more directly with the teachers and other serious students and have written work and research assessed. Some assignments even ended up as published papers. While webinars, another great way to learn, can be valuable, there is no substitute to taking formal courses under the guidance of experienced people from whom you can learn.

Wayne’s Reprint Policy:

Permission is hereby granted to reprint articles that have been written by Wayne Shepheard appearing on The In-Depth Genealogist website, but not including any articles published in Going In-Depth Magazine, under to the following requirements:

  • The article must be reprinted in full without any changes.
  • A copy of the author’s bio, shown below, must accompany the article.
  • A link must be provided to the original article.
  • A copy of the reprinted article must be sent to the author at survivingmnt@gmail.com.

© 2019 Wayne Shepheard

Wayne Shepheard, from Canada, is a retired professional geologist, and also a speaker and author of several articles published in many genealogical publications concerning family history research. Wayne writes a regular blog about how people and communities were impacted by natural phenomena, Mother Nature’s Tests. https://mothernaturestests.blogspot.com/ He can be contacted at survivingmnt@gmail.com.