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on 14 September 2009
I have been working on family history for 36 years and during that period I have purchased a number of books on the subject. Most of them have been disappointments, but this one is an exception. It is well written, timely and - so far as I can determine - accurate. Within the first half hour of opening it I had found some information about the 1841 census that cleared up a puzzle that had been frustrating me. The only complaint that I have is that this book will probably cause me to buy others, which won't be as useful as this one.
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on 20 October 2009
A useful addition to my collection. Quite a lot of the book is spent covering specific individual family history websites. This means that unless you are using them those particular chapters are not going to be relevant to you. Comparisons between the sites are perhaps useful in helping you decide which to use but some of the data (eg prices) will probably quickly date.
The history of the census is one of the best aspects - bringing home how it was completed and the resultant limitations in the records now available to us.
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on 3 October 2010
This is an excellent book which gives a comprehensive guide to understanding the various census returns and gives excellent advice on interpreting the different levels of information that are given from the earliest to the latest available census returns. I would highly recommend it for both serious genealogists and those who just want to dip into the census to find their grandparents.
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on 10 August 2010
I have been researching my own and other ancestries for fifteen years but have still learned much more than I expected from reading this publication. It is full of useful guidance on the different ranges of information in each of the available census years, and to the numerous places they can be found. This has been a very worthwhile purchase.
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on 4 April 2012
This book has three aspects: chapters one to three contain very interesting and informative accounts of the history and carrying out of the censuses of 1841 to 1911. I found these chapters very useful and well written, and they make this book worth having, though at £14.99 an expensive option.
They were illustrated with case studies,aspect two: always readable,using some well known families, the Darwins and Thomas Hardy, as well as less illustrious lineages .
The third aspect of the book is concerned with an introduction to the various on line census websites, followed by chapters about CD ROM and microfilm.This major section occupies chapters four onwards, from page 80 to the end of the book. Whereas the first chapters are a 'good read', this later part is not so readable, and is already dating, in 2012.A chart of the various sites would cover much of the same ground more accessibly.If someone was really stuck as to which of the sites to honour with a subscription, a read of this section might be one way ahead. However, it might well be better to go along to the local library and have a play with whatever they have, Find my Past, perhaps, or Ancestry.These sites do have introductory packages before the money demanded becomes too great.
Personally I find a mix of Ancestry and The Genealogist a good combination.
Although expensive if you are only going to have lasting use from the first 80 pages, I was fortunate to be bought the book as a welcome birthday gift!
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on 4 January 2012
There are various reasons why people cannot be found in the censuses, sometimes because they were not enumerated, sometimes because they were incorrectly enumerated, and in other cases because they were enumerated in a non-standard format. The latter mainly applies to people in institutions, such as workhouses and lunatic asylums, who were often not enumerated under their full name, but under first initial and surname or just initials. After discovering this (long before reading this book), I was able to find an individual in a lunatic asylum (as they were called at the time) in one of the censuses listed only under their initials, who I had previously been unable to find. However, there seems to be no information on this topic in this book, and there are no entries for 'lunatics' or 'lunatic asylums' (or their modern 'politically correct' equivalents) in the index.

Although this is a detailed description of the censuses from 1841-1911, there is perhaps too much detail on the characterisitcs of various online services (which very soon gets out of date) and insufficient or no information on how the various censuses dealt with 'unusual cases' that can result in people not being found (the criteria for which varied from one census to another) such as soldiers, sailors, merchant seamen, pauper lunatics and inmates of workhouses. This book is a good comprehensive introduction to the censuses, and the online services that were available at the time the book was published, but cannot really be described as 'the expert guide'.
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on 2 February 2012
I have been researching my family history and this book is full of so much advice, tips, and research information giving you research contact addresses, websites in fact everything you need and more is in this little book. Highly recommend, value for money , you'd be losing out if you don't invest in this book A********
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on 9 September 2012
Not only does it do 'what it says on the box', but its really readable, so you learn as you enjoy. I've been using the census records, sort of, for years, but not really thinking about what else could be gleaned from it, or what a variety of 'versions' there are, hidden away there. Every chapter gives me new ideas.
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on 18 July 2014
Full of very interesting information on the various censuses carried out in UK. Helpful guide on what the various commercial services provide.
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on 31 December 2012
Usefull for beginners or experts, have used for reference several times. Would recommend, good value for money. Will use again.
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