Praise for the TV Series:
'Combining personal quest, social history and autobiography, it proved a triumphant mixture.' Daily Telegraph
From the Author
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.
From the Back Cover
The Who Do You Think You Are Encyclopedia is the only step-by-step guide to tracing your family history you will ever need. The series' expert genealogist, Nick Barratt, helps you bring life to your family's past, not just by helping you build your family tree but illuminating what their lives were really like.
* The basics of drawing up a research plan, building your basic family tree, plus an easy-to-use guide to archives and internet sources.
* How to look for clues in birth, marriage and death certificates, plus parish records and census returns.
* Getting past a dead end and taking your research deeper - from specialized military and professional records, to exploring family secrets through trial records and evidence of illegitimacy.
* Dedicated trouble-shooting section plus a complete resource list of archives, websites, name profiling, the latest DNA research techniques and much more.
About the Author
Dr Nick Barratt trained as a medieval historian and now acts as a historical consultant and researcher in the media. He has been the primary genealogist on Who Do You Think You Are? from the first series and was consultant on the Bafta nominated Seven Wonders of the Industrial World. He is also a columnist for the Daily Telegraph and behind the launch of the Who Do You Think You Are? Live exhibition.