I have always been fascinated by history and how we used to live. At the age of eight or nine I would pore over my Dad's old dictionary entranced by a list of place names and what they meant, while by the time I was fourteen I had absorbed a great variety of stories about our family, both past and present, from my Mum. I doubted the truth of some of them and so it was that we decided to start tracing our family tree. I never dreamed back then that 30 years on I would still be passionate about family history and be working as a professional in the field!
Tracing Your Ancestors Through Death Records is my first book and I hope that reading it will make you as passionate about this subject as I am! There is nothing morbid about using death records; their fascination lies in the fact that they tell us so much more about our ancestors and what they were really like as people than birth, marriage and census records. By using a combination of death certificates, burial entries, inquest records and obituaries plus wills, inventories, gravestones and other less familiar death records I have built up an amazingly detailed picture of many of my own ancestors and the book will show you had to do the same.
When using death records I have found it is important to pause and reflect on the information you see. So often you can learn more with a little background knowledge about the records and by reading between lines. A good example is interpreting causes of death on certificates. So often they don't mean quite what the seem while you also need to be alert to possible connections with an ancestor's death and the job he did.
I have filled my book with detailed information on how to get the most from these records but I have also added a generous helping of case studies to illustrate the records and show how they can make your ancestors metaphorically 'come to life'!
Writing the book was a labour of love and although I was immensely pleased that it received excellent reviews in the family history magazines, some of my most pleasing comments have come from unofficial sources; firstly the friend who, until now, has not been particularly interested in family history at all. She casually picked up my book one day and started reading it. 'This looks really interesting Celia! I must get a copy! ' While at the other end of the scale a student of mine who is passionate about family history messaged me to say that she had almost missed her stop on the train because she was so engrossed in the my book! I could not want for better compliments than these and I hope you enjoy the book as much as they did.
For more information about the book and author and a glimpse into the subjects covered see my author's blog http://deathrecordsblog.wordpress.com/