Helen Baggott

Location: Blandford Forum, Dorset
About The Speaker...

Helen Baggott is a freelance editor and writer from Dorset.

Her most recent project is researching the stories behind postcards sent more than 100 years ago. So far, two collections of stories have been published as Posted in the Past and Posted in the Past Second Delivery.

She has written for magazines including Who Do You Think You Are?, Picture Postcard Monthly, Dorset Life and The Card Scene, and has also contributed to Family Tree magazine’s blog. Her work has been recognised by national newspapers as a ‘postcard detective’ in I newspaper and an ‘heirloom detective’ in The Mail on Sunday’s You magazine.

Through the power of Zoom she speaks to groups on both sides of the Atlantic and has been a speaker at the Family History Federation ‘s Really Useful Show and THE Genealogy Show.

“I thoroughly enjoyed your talk last evening, both content and delivery. It opened aspects of postcards that I had not thought about and has given me some useful ideas for developing my own family history research. I hope I have the pleasure of hearing you again.”

About Their Talks...

All talks are availably by Zoom and short-notice enquiries are welcomed. In-person talks must be within reasonable driving distance of north Dorset.


My fee begins at £50 and is subject to travelling expenses where necessary.
Initial enquiry via email. Calls made by unknown numbers to my mobile will not be answered.

My Contact Details:

0797 259 3088

Travels with my (great-great) aunt

This new talk (available for late 2023 onwards) explores the holidays of our ancestors – climbing pyramids, sliding down glaciers, cruising the Med… Illustrated with postcards sent home from holidays, just how far did our ancestors travel for their holidays?

Posted in the Past

Based on the books Posted in the Past and Posted in the Past Second Delivery, this talk reveals the true stories behind postcards sent in the early years of the 20th century. Using genealogy, Helen has researched the families to reveal their stories. Illustrated by images of some of the postcards, this talk shares some of those stories. A 10-year-old servant working for a laundress in 19th-century Bath, the man who helped keep the doors to Great Ormond Street Hospital open for more than 30 years, a soldier killed in the First World War – all connected by messages sent using the first real social media phenomenon of the 20th century.

The Mayflower Connection

This talk focuses on a group of postcards sent in the UK and in America in the early 1900s that help share the story of The Mayflower. By illustrating the talk with postcards associated with The Mayflower, and sharing the stories of the people who sent and received them, this talk offers more than the re-telling of the voyage and early years in America. Some of the postcards connect to other events of international importance, including the War of Independence and the American Civil War – reinforcing the idea that history has no boundaries. The talk also explains the research – using genealogy – that connects the postcards to American and UK history.

The Empress of Ireland – Canada's Titanic

When the RMS Empress of Ireland sank in 1914, more passengers lost their lives than on Titanic – yet few have heard of the tragedy. I reveal the story of the sinking – and three families from Dorset and Somerset that were affected, and others from further afield. Illustrated by postcards and photographs, this talk remembers a forgotten tragedy.

From Paper Kings to Hardware Barons

This talk tells the story of a family who reach across England (from Somerset to Norfolk) and over the Atlantic to Washington State via Bristol’s Guinea Street.

The Crippen Connection

A new talk, available 2023, shares the story of Dr Crippen’s travels across the Atlantic using postcards sent in the early years of the 20th century. As well as highlighting the story of Crippen, the talk will reveal the true stories of those who sent and received the postcards.

Hands Across the Sea – True stories of emigration, tragedy and heroes

Beginning with postcards sent more than a hundred years ago, this new talk shares the true stories of determined people who sought new lives abroad – and those that built some of the shipping lines that we recognise today, including a family connected with the bravery of the Kindertransport.

From Bombs to Bournville... and other true stories

This illustrated talk will be available to book for 2023 and includes the story of a family who helped build torpedoes and buildings, of a man from Cornwall whose manufacturing invention transformed processes on both sides of the Atlantic…

Diplomat, Author, Grocer: the remarkable story of Ranald MacDonell CBE

This talk reveals the real-life exploits of a man who became embroiled in the tumultuous years of the early 20th century when the East battled with the West, when oil became the ultimate prize. From the oilfields of Baku to semi-retirement in the 1930s as a grocer by the sea in Dorset, the story of the 21st Chief of Glengarry is an adventurous and incredible tale. It continues into the next generation with West End theatre roles and distinguished war-time service. The talk is fully illustrated and provides an insight into the life and times of a man and his family that reaches around the UK and the world.

With Love from Grace

In the years before the First World War, Grace travelled Europe with a wealthy Italian family. She visited the Count’s homes, stayed in some of the best hotels and regularly sent postcards to the man she would eventually marry.
Those cards, and some that she received from the people she met in Europe, reveal the journeys Grace made – and the fascinating places she visited. From 1909 to 1914, Grace sent her postcards and then returned to England where she married Douglas, a railway clerk. This talk shares some of those postcards and the stories of those she met. It is based on the book, With Love from Grace… which is due for publication late-2023. All the book’s royalties are being donated to Parkinson’s UK and a donation will be also be made from the fees received from this talk.


Helen Baggott Contact Details:

0797 259 3088

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