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Recommended Books on UK & Ireland Genealogy

General Guides

Colwell, Stella. Tracing Your Family History, Teach Yourself. London, Hodder Headline plc (2003) 308 pp. [ISBN 0-340-85973-5]
[An excellent introductory text-book by the Family and Local History Specialist Reader Adviser at the Public Record Office, Kew, in the long-established and well-respected "Teach Yourself" series. It is in fact the second edition of a book that was first published in 1997, and has been extensively revised in order to include good up to date coverage of Internet resources. It is, for an introductory text, very comprehensive - its set of chapters comprises:- Getting Started; Getting Help; Sorting out the Facts; Starting Out Your Research: Births, Marriages and Deaths; Births, Marriages and Deaths in the Channel Islands, Isle of Man, Scotland and Ireland; Births, Marriages and Deaths at Sea and Abroad; Searching the Census; Other Name Lists; Finding Your Way to the Records; Searching Parish Registers; The Nonconformists; Parish Registers in the Rest of the British Isles, Ireland and the United States of America; Wills and Other Probate Records; Probate Records elsewhere in the British Isles, Ireland and the United States of America; Fred Karno and his Army: Case Studies; Writing it all up.]
Finnegan, R. and M. Drake, M, (Ed.). From Family Tree to Family History, Studying Family and Community History: 19th and 20th Centuries. Cambridge, Cambridge Univ. Press, 1994, 196 p. [ISBN 0 521 46577 X (paperback), 0 521 46001 8 (hardback)] [From the Preface: "This volume and the series of which it is a part have as their central purpose the encouragement of active personal research in family and community history - but research that is also linked to more general findings and insights. The series thus seeks to combine the strengths of two traditions: that of the independent personal researcher into family tree or local history, and that of established academic disciplines in history and the social sciences. Now is a particularly appropriate moment to bring these two sides together. The networks of family and local historians up and down the country have in the past had scant recognition from within mainstream university circles, which (in contrast to the active involvement of further education and extra-mural departments) have sometimes given the impression of despising the offerings of 'amateur researchers' . Explicitly academic publications, for their part, have been little read by independent investigators - understandably, perhaps, for, with a few honourable exceptions, such publications have been predominantly directed to specialist colleagues. But there are signs that this situation may be changing. Not only is there an increasing awareness of the research value of micro studies, but higher education as a whole is opening up more flexible ways of learning and is recognizing achievements undertaken outside traditional 'university walls'. Our hope is to further this trend of mutual understanding, to the benefit of each."
Herber, M.D. Ancestral Trails: The Complete Guide to British Genealogy and Family History, Thrupp, Stroud, Gloucestershire, Sutton Publishing Ltd. in assoc. with The Society of Genealogists (2005) 873 pp. [ISBN 0-7509-4198-7]
["This new edition takes account the many changes in the field since Ancestral Trails was first published in 1997, and is the most comprehensive and up to date guide to tracing British ancestry. It guides the researcher through the substantial British archives with a detailed view of the records and published sources available. Research in Scotland, Wales, Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands is also covered, as are the latest developments in information technology applications on CD and through the internet." - see GENUKI's review of this edition, supplementing its detailed review of the first edition.]
Hey, David, (Ed.). The Oxford Companion to Local and Family History, Oxford University Press (2002) 528 pp. [ISBN 0-19-860667-2]
["Contains almost 2,000 entries, in accessible A-Z order - Includes both long, thoughtful entries on social history and invaluable, short definitions of terms - Offers practical guidance on where to find documentary sources and how to use them - Provides the amateur family historian and the specialist academic with a comprehensive source of reference in one handy volume - The text is fully cross-referenced to facilitate browsing - An appendix at the back of the book lists national and major country record offices along with special collections of national interest]
Hey, David. The Oxford Guide to Family History, Oxford, O.U.P. (2002) 246 pp. [ISBN 0192803131]
["The Oxford Guide to Family History is not just another guide to the mechanics of constructing a family tree. David Hey shows how to go beyond this and discover the reality of the lives of your ancestors. Who were they? Where did they live? How did they earn their living? Family history is a subject with broad concerns, including the origin, spread and sometimes decline and disappearance of families. The work of social historians is therefore of great interest, whether dealing with the size of families, the ages at which people married, or the mobility of the population. David Hey highlights those aspects of social history which are most relevant to family history research and suggests lines of enquiry that may be followed with profit and enjoyment by family historians - the past and present distribution of surnames, the stability of certain families, and the mobility of others. Practical guidance is given on the basics of research - how to get started, where to find records - and there are many illustrations both in colour and black and white, showing family groups, houses, monuments, archive records, and family trees. In making the fruits of the latest scholarship available to the family historian, David Hey provides an authoritative introduction to the subject as well as a stimulating guide for those wishing to proceed to a more advanced stage of research."]
Todd, Andrew. Basic Sources for Family History. 1: back to the early 1800s (3rd ed.), The King's England Press (1994) 96 pp. [ISBN 0948781106]
[A very good, and exceptionally cheap, introductory guide covering the use of civil registration records and census records in very useful detail.]

Reference Works

Rogers, C.D. The Family Tree Detective, Manchester Univ. Press (1997) 180 pp. [ISBN 0719052130]
[An excellent detailed guide to basic UK genealogy. From the publisher's blurb: "A problem-solving manual rather than a simple "how-to" guide. The Family Tree Detective explains what to do when the usual methods fail and provides invaluable assistance for those without access to London's vast resources of genealogical information."]
Saul, Pauline. The Family Historian's Enquire Within, Federation of Family History Societies (1995) 288 pp. [ISBN 187209483X]
[An excellent general reference book for UK and Irish research. The publisher's blurb claims, without too much hyperbole: "Arranged alphabetically, it contains bibliographies, addresses, definitions, explanations, dates and maps on every conceivable topic the family historian may need".]

Internet-Related Guides

Christian, Peter 2003. The Genealogist's Internet, The National Archives (2003) 304 pp. [ISBN: 1903365465]
["This much-expanded second edition of the best-selling The Genealogist's Internet contains everything you need to know about family history on the Web. It describes: on-line records and web sites of national and local archives in the UK; on-line historical and geographical resources of interest to family historians; services provided by genealogical organisations via the internet; how to use mailing lists and newsgroups to find advice and others who share your interests; how to locate genealogical information on-line; how to publish your own family history on the Web"]
Hawgood, David. Genuki: UK and Ireland Genealogy on the Internet 2000, Birmingham, Federation of Family History Societies (2000) 48 pp. [ISBN: 1860061117]
"This is a book about GENUKI, an information service on the Internet for United Kingdom and Ireland Genealogy. It shows what type of information is in GENUKI, and how to find it. Regard GENUKI as the first place to look for U.K. and Ireland genealogy. It contains a great deal of information in its own web pages, including some transcripts and indexes, and has thousands of links to other information on the Internet. This book is being published in two forms, on-line and as a printed book. They have the same text and examples (with minor modifications for the different formats)." - associated website]

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