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Who Do You Think You Are? Encyclopedia of Genealogy: The definitive reference guide to tracing your family history [Hardcover]

Nick Barratt
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 Sep 2008

From the makers of the award-winning BBC series and Dr Nick Barratt, the UK's leading authority on family history, comes the definitive, must-have guide to researching your family's roots and bringing your family history to life. Containing all you need to know whether you’re a new beginner or more experienced researcher.

Covering all access levels, from the new beginner to the more experienced researcher, the Encyclopedia of Genealogy is a comprehensive master class in solving the mysteries of your personal heritage. Begining with advice on the very first steps, before providing a detailed explanation of the range of sources you will encounter when trying to flesh out your ancestor's lives.

The Encyclopedia is divided into sections, each a fascinating standalone reference article so that you can easily pick and mix the relevant information according to the route your journey through your family history takes you.

The Encyclopedia of Genealogy guides you through:

• Getting started, including research planning, sources, how to construct a family tree and working online
• Going further, combining historical context (from military history to migration and family secrets) with practical advice on sources
• Troubleshooting the most common problems such as common surnames and missing ancestors
• Surname databases
• Use of DNA such as DNA profiling services
• Organisational tools such as designing a website and information about software and community projects.

Everything you need to bring alive your family tree.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (1 Sep 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007261993
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007261994
  • Product Dimensions: 20.5 x 25.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 29,928 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr Nick Barratt obtained a PhD in history from King's College London in 1996. Nick started work in television whilst working at the BBC as a specialist archive researcher. He is also in demand as a speaker on popular history and geneology following his work as a presenter, reviewer and commentator on all aspects of history, notably family history. for the BBC on Who Do You Think You Are. He has worked with a variety of companies, celebrities and TV presenters often compiling their family history including Richard Bacon, Richard Hammond, Victoria Beckham and Catherine Zeta Jones, Nick also writes a weekly column in the Daily Telegraph called 'The Family Detective'.

Product Description


Praise for the TV Series:
'Combining personal quest, social history and autobiography, it proved a triumphant mixture.' Daily Telegraph

From the Author

The popularity of family history can be gauged by the number of websites and publications about the subject. So why produce yet another book about tracing your roots?

As the Who Do You Think You Are? BBC TV series has shown, modern genealogy is far more than collecting names - it's a journey into one's personal heritage. Consequently, it's not sufficient to simply identify who your forebears were - the real excitement lies in tracking down where they lived, what jobs they did, how local and national events affected their lives - or, in some cases, how their actions affected events.

The Who Do You Think You Are? Encyclopedia of Genealogy has been written with this fresh perspective in mind, and shows that we can find out far more about our ancestors than their name and vital statistics of birth, marriage and death. Consequently, it differs in its approach from other titles on genealogy by tackling real subjects that people discover lurking in their family backgrounds - military heroes, illegitimate ancestors, criminals and bigamists - and then placing these topics in their historical context, so that you can fully understand why your ancestors were doing what they did, such as disappearing around the world to fight one of Queen Victoria's many wars. The historical background is then linked to a description of the main sources you'll need to consult to learn about these subjects, and where they can be found, whilst providing practical guidance that allows you to extract the most from your research; all drawn from over 5 years experience working on the series, and for nearly 20 years as a professional historian.

By spending time sifting through records within the family and in archives, libraries and museums around the country and even overseas, we can rediscover the lost world of the past, viewed through the eyes of our relatives. In many instances, we can bring their words and deeds back to life through these records, and give a fresh perspective to the `bigger picture' history that we often take for granted.

At school, history runs the risk of becoming a procession of dates, events and `famous' people. For example, textbooks on the First World War focus on the campaigns, battles, tactics and outcomes. Yet our ancestors served on the front line amidst the mud and blood, facing the horror of going over the top. Their service records detail this; their letters and photographs to loved ones back home tell of their hopes and fears; and their perspective of events make them seem all too real. It is this level of history - gritty, real and personal - that the encyclopaedia takes you to.

Indeed, the case studies, drawn from the celebrities featured in the TV series, show what can be done with some patient research; but it's important to stress that anyone can put together the sort of findings that make the Who Do You Think You Are? show so fascinating to watch. There's no mystery, no secret - it is simply painstaking detective work that people are doing around the country every day. By picking up this book you can join their ranks, bring your past back to life and see the world around you from a new perspective.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
78 of 78 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A huge help with family history! 20 April 2009
I couldn't do without this book. I started researching my family tree over 2 years ago and found that there were things I didn't understand, information I needed but didn't know how to get and this book points you in all the right directions. It also details what certain occupations were about and their importance and has a few links to the programme - shows how they found out certain information and so on.

All in all, I don't regret buying this book for one moment - it is full of website addresses, addresses to write to and lots of information you thought you knew but realised you didn't.

A great help!!
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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A weighty tome on researching family history! 17 Jun 2009
"Who Do You Think You Are?" Encyclopedia of Genealogy: The Definitive Reference Guide to Tracing Your Family History

In this book, Nick Barratt provides an excellent guide for researching your family history. This is more than just an encyclopedia for dipping into when you need it - as well as offering step by step explanations on how to use various resources to research your family tree, which are ideal for the beginner, Nick (a familiar face from the first series of 'Who do you think you are?') also offers more experienced researchers further information about how to dig deeper in to the background of your ancestors - to put flesh on the bones of your research. Definitely a recommended read and resource for anyone interested in exploring their family history!
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Who do You Think You Are 19 April 2009
An excellent book both for the beginner and those more experienced. It is written in a language anyone could understand, not swamped with high academic theory etc.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent primer for amateur genealogists 21 Sep 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have been researching my family tree for a few years as a keen amateur. I wish I had this book when I started, because it is a fabulous resource. It won't turn you into a professional genealogist, but it provide you will all you need to get started on your research.

Although the book is clearly a tie-in with the BBC television series "Who Do You Think You Are?" it overlaps with the series only by calling upon examples from episodes of the series. For example, it uses the "Bill Oddie" episode to explain a point about researching death certificates. Thus, you don't need to have seen the series to use the book. Indeed, I would argue that the series does not really show much useful "real" genealogy at all.

Barratt begins the book showing you how to start your research - by collecting information from living relatives, such as stories, certificates, photos, the family Bible, medals, and so on, and then using this to build a basic family tree composed of what you know (rather than guesses and myths). The rest of the book takes you through the key areas of genealogy, including civil registration documents, parish records, military records, and so on. He also takes a look at researching overseas relatives, slavery, immigration, medical records, and many other kinds of records and resources. This book focuses mainly on UK ancestors, which is inevitable for a book aimed at a UK-based readership. It therefore won't be especially helpful if you were born in England but 90% of your ancestors lived in America.

It sometimes skims over the trickier details of subjects, giving the basic facts but leaving you with questions. I would defend that design decision, as the book covers a huge number of subjects in just 531 pages.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
I bought this book from Amazon when I was in the UK and starting my family tree. I did quite a lot of chatting to family and dug up some documents and photos. I started a family tree using Family Historian Family Historian 4 Deluxe Genealogy Software (PC CD) (also from Amazon - an brilliant software package that I would wholeheartedly recommend). When I returned overseas where I live I really started reading this book and wish I had done so before. The information is so thorough and sound. I sort of scanned through the basics impatient to get to the source of information when in the UK but now wish I had taken more heed. I should have looked at every document I could get my hands on and talked to more people. I have so many other questions! I have made great progress via the internet and I couldn't have done without the book for this - it saved me wasting a lot of time. The case histories from the TV series really bring the text to life too.
The book is very focussed on UK ancestry and gives quite little guidance about tracing your family if they came from other countries - however the internet gateway sites it details opens many doors too. Researching my family tree has become a mild obsession the book acts as a great guide to putting all the little jigsaw pieces in place.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Book 28 Mar 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I started researching my family history a couple of years ago with a subscription on Ancestry.co.uk and that site is very helpful. However, this book has even more tips and helpful suggestions in it and it's title really does say it all. I have found it to be extremely helpful in every way. If you are researching your family roots, or even someone else's, this is a fantastic resource book to start with. It is very comprehensive and tells you (I think) everything you need to know about how to go about this task. Complete with websites, addresses and phone numbers, and many, many useful idea's to help you. I highly recommend it to anyone!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
am doing family tree
Published 8 days ago by Diana Goodenough
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent gift was really happy
Published 13 days ago by Victoria Ball
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for Fans of the Show
Bought as a gift for someone who is a huge fan of the show and loves researching family history. Said it was an amazing guide to finding out where to get more information and was... Read more
Published 3 months ago by chris
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Brought this as a present for some-one who had just started researching their family tree, they were very pleased with it.
Published 5 months ago by Claire Richards
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and Informative
Being new to genealogy this book has been really useful although it does contain rather more information than I needed for my own use - a lot to get through - and it would have... Read more
Published 5 months ago by G. Amis
5.0 out of 5 stars Gift for my husband.
Has used this Encyclopedia from the library and is delighted with his own copy. We have attended talks by Nick Barrett and find his knowledge amazing.
Published 6 months ago by Mrs J Emblin
2.0 out of 5 stars Too many errors and omissions
Only 9% through and finding the basic mistakes and omissions make me wonder how this person was ever commissioned by the BBC.
Published 10 months ago by Bobby
5.0 out of 5 stars who do you think you are? encyclopedia of genealogy the definitive...
I purchased this book recently from amazon, and I have to say I am suitably impressed
I am currently tracing my family tree ,and felt that a good book such as this, would be... Read more
Published 12 months ago by iris
5.0 out of 5 stars Best reference work I've found on genealogy
Having borrowed it from the local library and kept renewing it for about a year, I decided I should invest in my own copy! Worth every penny as there is so much information in it. Read more
Published 14 months ago by C. Reilly
3.0 out of 5 stars Reinforced my existing knowledge
I found this useful as a top up of my existing genealogy knowledge. I hardly need to use it now as the extra knowledge it gave me was soon absorbed.
Published 14 months ago by Ronald Pettet
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