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Tracing Your Aristocratic Ancestors: A Guide for Family Historians (Family History (Pen & Sword)) Paperback – 1 Feb 2013

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Pen & Sword Books Ltd (1 Feb. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1781591644
  • ISBN-13: 978-1781591642
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 1.5 x 23.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 966,393 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


Fellow regular Family Tree author Anthony Adolph steps on to the scene now with his new guide to researching and interpreting records relating to aristocratic ancestors. With advice on how to 'decode' family stories of blue roots and prove descent, this entertaining volume will show you how to grow your noble, even royal, lineage back in time. Indeed through the use of DNA technology , he explains how you can trace your roots into the distant past, where flesh and blood ancestors disappear into mythical ones, from Adam and Eve to heroes and Gods! You'll find details of heraldic records and printed genealogies, and more. It is a modern examination of our age-old fascination with the gentry and royalty- could you be in the clan? Family Tree This is an excellent book, liberally illustrated with pictures taken largely of or from the Society's own collections. The book explores not only how to trace upper class ancestors but the probability of finding such people anyway. Gateways are explored in detail. The approach is always down-to-earth but still enjoyable. This book is highly recommended. --Genealogists Magazine

About the Author

Anthony Adolph (www.anthonyadolph.co.uk) is a well-known genealogist who has made a special study of the history of aristocracy and of all the research resources that can be used to delve into this absorbing field. He is a regular contributor to the major genealogy magazines and websites, he has appeared as resident genealogist and co presenter of television and radio programmes for Channel 4 and Radio 4, and his books include Tracing Your Family History, Tracing Your Scottish Family History, Who Am I? and The King's Henchman.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Wonderful book - Anthony is going to do research for myself with a view of writing a book on my family history.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found this book very helpful in suggesting sites for me to go so as to increase my knowledge of my ancestors. I know quite a good deal about my family background already. The internet sites suggested in this book will I'm sure help me with more detailed research. This book should also be very helpful to a researcher who is trying to determine if they or their families are descended from the aristocracy.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this as I am interested in writing on that subject. I thought that this would be covering the full scope. I am pleased in one sense that there is scope for the work I am producing but nevertheless this is more entertaining. This man is a top family historian, though falls into the same trap that I have been know to do by publishing some of your own family history where it is convenient. But it is interesting. So far I have spotted one error (the Kingmaker did not have any sons) but this is probably a slip up during the editing process.

I think there is room for more on the Heralds and some more examples of ordinary people who have aristocratic ancestors. I thought that Edward IV - Conyers - Coal Miners - Kate Middleton example was interesting and worth developing. Another good example not examined is the seventeenth century Cobbler who descends from Margaret Plantagenet Pole could have been examined or was it a myth. There is loads more to write on this subject and I think this book would encourage the researcher.

It is a book I will read and re-read. I will be very happy to have it on my bookshelf and recommend it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 3.5 out of 5 stars 2 reviews
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Might Be Helpful to Beginners 16 April 2014
By Merry Guido - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I’m sorry to say that I wasn’t very impressed with Tracing Your Aristocratic Ancestors, as far as it being “A Guide for Family Historians,” as it is subtitled. I was even less impressed when I learned of the author’s reputation in the world of genealogical research.

As an American with British Roots, my first thought was that this book probably wouldn’t be of much use to researchers on this side of the pond. Brits might find it more useful. I also think that it will be of more interest to people who are just beginning genealogical research than it will be to those who have some experience.

For example, there’s a brief introduction to the Burke’s references and similar (still useful) old chestnuts. This would be helpful to know when just starting out, but the information doesn’t come until Chapter 10.

Before that, almost half of the book is taken up with a very general overview of the aristocracy, including history, heraldry, visitations, titles, pedigrees, and other somewhat ancillary subjects. Personally, I would have rather been given much earlier the “how-to” information I was expecting from the title of the book.

The book includes a number of anecdotes about the author’s own search for the aristocrats assumed to be hiding in his family tree. I’m just taking a guess, but this search seems not to have been as fruitful as he might have been expecting, because, to me, there’s a noticeable waft of “sour grapes” in the air. This was pretty off-putting to me, and I think it would be discouraging to fledgling family historians, as well.

While the author’s family stories are probably interesting to the family itself, they do little to explain the nuts-and-bolts of how a reader can search for their own family stories, or to illustrate concepts that would be useful for beginning genealogists to know early on.

If I could have given Anthony Adolph one piece of advice before he went to press, I’d have strongly suggested a unified list of references & recommended reading. As I got into this book, and realized that it wasn’t very helpful to me, I thought that I could at least get some of the books that he referred to, and look at those. I was disappointed to find that there was no list; in most cases, the titles are sprinkled throughout the rest of the text.

There is a very short—about 2 pages plus an illustration—section in Chapter 8, Records of the Nobility and Gentry, that at least groups some of this kind of information together, but that’s about it. So, if you decide this book is worth getting, do yourself a favor and note—or at least highlight—the names of these works as you come upon them. That will save you the time of searching for their names later.

So if you're in the UK, and within striking distance of some of the reference organizations there, and especially if you're new to this fun and exciting hobby, you might enjoy the book. Others--I'd skip it, buy it used, or borrow it from a library.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars easy read 18 July 2013
By Linda B. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
easy read-not high minded , but helpful
good background info for genealogy research for beginners
highly recommended for a considered approach to research
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