A WIRRAL housewife marked the end of two-and-a-half years' research into her family tree by holding a party for her newfound relatives.

More than 70 people joined Hayley Foord for the celebration at the Arrowe Park pub in Woodchurch.

Some had travelled from Australia and Glasgow.

The 45-year-old former company accountant who lives with husband Greg in Spital had managed to trace her roots in a tree featuring the names of 2,300 people and dating back to the year 1410 in Staffordshire.

"It's just something I really enjoy and it's very satisfying to discover new information," she told the Globe. "For anyone thinking about starting to research his or her family history, I would suggest using Genes Reunited initially to set up the tree.

"That way, if you have any relatives already researching, Genes Reunited will put you in contact with them for a small annual fee. I also use Ancestry.com and Familysearch.org, which is a free site run by the Latter Day Saints (Mormons).

Hayley's advice to would-be researchers is simple: "Prepare to spend a lot of time and money sending for birth and marriage certificates!

"I spent a lot of time researching the family tree. Sometimes a whole evening at a time, luckily I have a patient husband! I don't know enough about genealogy to take it any further than what I'm doing now but I do research families for other members of my family.

"My parents names were Sylvester Lawton and Lilian Glover, both born in Birkenhead but no longer with us. It was mostly the Lawton family I had been researching and I've discovered that they originally came from Staffordshire."

The Arrowe Park Hotel was chosen as the reunion venue because Hayley's great-great-great grandfather, Samuel Lawton was a farmer from Staffordshire and brought his family to Wirral in 1840. He worked at Arrowe House Farm and lived in a croft situated where the lower car park of Arrowe Park Hospital now stands.

The research is far from over for Hayley, who has a son Craig from her first marriage and shares the family home with Greg's sons Jonathon, James, Thomas and Matthew.

She explained: "The most interesting part I found on my father's family is that his great grandfather was Italian, born in Florence. That's something I'm going to be looking at researching in the future."