Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Monday, July 20, 2015

Take Time to Read a Book -- Tracing your English Ancestors

This is the first in my new series on books. I found this interesting book at the Brigham Young University Library. As far as I could tell, there is only one brief mention of computers in this entire book. What I did find interesting was the pre-Internet orientation of the book concerning the availability and location of the English records. 

Rogers, Colin, and Colin Rogers. Tracing Your English Ancestors: A Manual for Analysing and Solving Genealogical Problems, 1538 to the Present. Manchester, UK; New York; New York, NY, USA: Manchester University Press ; Distributed in the USA and Canada by St. Martins’s Press, 1989.

I have gotten into the lamentable habit of looking at the copyright date of books on research or computers before looking at what is inside. I just assume that anything more than two or three years old is hopelessly out-of-date. I say "lamentable" because, in this case, the book was entertaining and had a good measure of really valuable information about records in England that I had never heard previously. I realized that some of the issues raised by the author had become moot with the large online databases, such as, but at the same time, I also realized the need to understand the types of records available and the time frame of their coverage. The idea here is that even if the genealogy book was written many years ago, the types of records and the repositories of the original records have probably not changed.

Oh, by the way, did I mention that the book was available on for 13 cents plus shipping?

The book covers the following categories of English records:

  • Birth Certificates, 1837 to the present day
  • The Census, 1801 to the present day
  • Church baptism, 1538 to the present day
  • Marriage certificates
  • Marriage in church, 1538 to the present day
  • Death certificates, 1837 to the present day
  • Church burial, 1538 to the present day
  • Probate records

The book also has five useful appendixes.

OK, this book is not a 674 page exhaustive reference book such as the following:

Herber, Mark D, and Society of Genealogists (Great Britain). Ancestral Trails: The Complete Guide to British Genealogy and Family History. Baltimore, Md.: Genealogical Pub. Co., Inc, 1998.

But it is a good place to start looking at the complexity of English research. If you have English ancestors and need a place to start, this book will get you to the point where a longer and more comprehensive book will be useful.

No comments:

Post a Comment