THE FAMILY AND LOCAL HISTORY HANDBOOK 13
PREVIOUS REVIEWERS OF issues 1-12 in The Family and Local History Handbook series have piled praise after praise upon each volume: `Indispensable' says one; an `essential genealogy guide' delights another. This book `should be on the shelves of every family historian', is `a must-have guide' and a volume `to consider as an essential reference' seems to have been the opinion of most. Well, number 13 will not disappoint those who have followed the series since its inception in 1996. And it is a series, each new volume far from being an update of those that went before.
Issue 13 is a completely new work, including previously unpublished articles. This is all original material that cannot fail to prove helpful to both the beginner and experienced family or local historian. Of much help to the reviewer is the
contents page of a book, from which he or she can quote what's in store for a potential purchaser. To do this I would require much more space than is permitted. I may have missed one or two in my calculations, but I count 107 features in this book, all of which have been knowledgably written, skilfully laid out and illustrated. Tempting are they all. But the eye, while scanning the list, is drawn eagerly to `Postcards', those windows to history; `To Stand Where They Stood', in which the author explains the delights of visiting the places known to our relatives; `Getting to Know the Constables', telling how to find our law-enforcing kin, should we have one or two; while `Willie's Candles Did Not Drip' reveals every aspect of traditional candle making. The military always demands a fair section of any family history book, and this one is no exception. Twelve separate authors take us through, for example, the story of Bletchley Park and its wartime work, the delights of the RAF Museum and how to trace prisoners of war. Earlier, Martin Limon guides us through that epic encounter between the American John Paul Jones and the Royal Navy off Flamborough Head in September 1779, while Jill Groves delves into Bristol's relationship with the Admiralty regarding the case of HMS Lizard and its press gang activities.
You can `dip into' this book: all 448 pages of it. It is also a `services directory' (more than 90 pages cover societies, libraries, museums, record offices, archives, cemeteries and crematoria) of a standard I would think difficult to outdo.
RAY WESTLAKE --Your Family History magazine - June 2011
Information and inspiration
Now in its 13th year, The Family and Local History Handbook provides an eclectic mix of information and inspiration for the family and local historian. The volume brings together a miscellany of contact details, including those for libraries, record
offices and archives, museums and cemeteries, and local and family history societies. While these details can all be found online, having them together in one place is extremely convenient. And any researcher facing a brick wall or looking to flesh out their family tree will find the collection of articles valuable.
Written by experts, they cover an enormous range of topics. Kath Jones writes about the Welsh slate industry; Stephen Wade surveys sources for police ancestors; and Mark Pearsall advises on using The National Archives. All offer researchers tips on the subject and relevant records. The whole volume provides both a fabulous source of reference and hours of fascinating reading!
Paul Gaskell --Family History Monthly - June 2011
The Family and Local History Handbook 13 - This year's edition of the superb guide to genealogy sources
The publication of the latest edition of Robert Blatchford's renowned Family and Local History Handbook, which began back in 1997 as The Genealogical
Services Directory, is now a notable event in the genealogical calendar. This new, 13th edition remains as packed full of interesting material as ever, and the price has been held at a reasonable £10- impressive for 450 pages.
Officially it isn't out until May, although you may have seen copies at Who Do You Think You Are? Live in February. The original core of The Genealogical Services Directory lives on at the back, offering a useful index of family history societies, record offices, libraries, museums and other organisations.
The rest of the book consists, as ever, of many articles on all manner of subjects of interest to historians of every stripe. In all there are around 90 of them, divided into general family and local history, military history and 'digital genealogy', along with shorter dedicated sections for Welsh, Scottish and Irish research.
Once again the list of authors reads like a who's who of genealogy: familiar luminaries such as Anthony Adolph, Chris Paton, Doreen Hopwood and Joe O'Neill are all here along with many others.
The subjects discussed vary widely from the narrow - the rope-making industry of Bridport, for example- to the broad, such as South African and Caribbean family history research. A series of articles by Brian Parnaby on the impact of various disasters (the Plague and the Fire of London in the 17th century, and the 1918 influenza pandemic) is interesting, as is Karen Foy's article about researching canal ancestors.
Also of note are Jayne Shrimpton's potted guide to dating photographs and Chris Paton's discussion of social networking and genealogy but there's plenty more besides.
Once again this is a rich soup of interesting stuff to dip your spoon into-an eccentric mix of flavours, individual but nourishing! It deserves a place on your shelf.
READ IT FOR . . . . the latest edition of a genealogy classic --Your Family Tree magazine - May 2011
The Family and Local History Handbook 13
The latest issue of Robert and Elizabeth Blatchford's extremely useful Family and Local History Handbook is packed full of new information and articles, for both beginners and more experienced family historians. Since the series launched in 1996, each new Handbook has contained original and previously unpublished material. Now something of an institution in the world of family and local history, this 13th version may well prove lucky for some! Covering everything from beginning your family history to areas of specific research, the book features a breath-taking range of fascinating topics from expert authors, many of whom will be familiar to readers of Family Tree.
As well as examining military sources, from how to trace prisoners of war to handy definitions of maritime terms, there is advice on Welsh, Scottish and Irish research. The digital genealogy section takes a look at ScotlandsPeople, online census returns and more, as well as the value of social networking. In addition, the comprehensive genealogical services directory gives you more than 5,000 useful addresses and contacts at your fingertips. Consider the Handbook a dear old friend you've not met in a while, full of news and advice, and it will serve you well. A perfect companion. --Family Tree magazine - April 2011