on 13 October 2006
There can be few families in the British Isles who will not have had at least one of their ancestors who will have served in the British Army at some point in history. As the years pass and the elder relatives - "the fonts of all knowledge" from the wartime generations are no longer there, the ancestors service documents have gone missing and then, when we are left with just vague details, where do we begin our search for the facts and more the detailed information of our "fighting forefathers"?
One answer, thanks to Simon Fowler is this, his latest book dedicated to "Tracing your army ancestors". Simon is without a doubt one of the country's leading authorities on family history research. He is a prolific writer of family history related books and has a wealth of experience behind him. His special interest in military history and many unique contacts has successfully led to him providing the reader of the splendid publication with a great deal of valuable information, which is sure to provide them with a fascinating read and save them a vast amount of research time and a lot of money in the process too.
Although the author assumes the reader will have little experience in this specialist field of research, I personally think anyone, even the more experienced amongst us (including general military historians along with badge, medal and militaria collectors) with an interest in the British army will find it useful . He cleverly points those seeking further details on a particular battle or campaign in the right direction, whilst covering the organisation of the army in general, however the sections on how to access individual records of both officers and men together with citations for gallantry as well as rolls of honour will I am sure benefit the reader most.
Of course, one couldn't expect, this volume will not provide all the answers you may seek, however I believe it is the ideal book to start with and by following the advice given and viewing the suggestions for further reading and research, it will put you well on the way to obtaining the valuable material you are seeking.
Therefore I think it is pretty safe to say that most family history researchers will find this reasonably priced fully illustrated volume invaluable and it obviously a must for their bookshelves too.
on 3 December 2012
This covers pretty much all angles of research on your army ancestors. More on uniform recognition would be useful but, that said, it's not his main topic and he does direct you to websites etc which can do that. Also there are specialist books on the subject so I won't take that away from him.
on 23 April 2013
I am researching my ancestry, as it another relative. For me I am not interested in service records etc but my relative is anxious to trach down certain records. He already had a book by Simon Fowler and this edition is just a little older and, perhaps, the info in it is extracted from a book my relative has of Fowler's. But I'm sure it'll assist.