Welsh genealogy is usually included with its English cousin, but there are significant differences between the two. Anyone wishing to trace their Welsh ancestry will encounter peculiarities that are not covered in books on English family history. With separate systems of archive, differences in civil registrations, Nonconformist registers, surnames and place names; there are a variety of factors that make Welsh genealogy a unique subject. This new title from renowned family historian and genealogist Bruce Durie delves into all these subjects, as well as the basics, to provide the ideal book for local and family historians setting out on a journey in Welsh ancestry for the first time. The most comprehensive and reader friendly guide to Welsh genealogy to date. Written by one of the most respected authorities on family history and genealogy in the UK. Showing the distinctive differences between Welsh and English genealogy. Author Biography Bruce Durie, a former neuroscientist, is Course Director for Genealogical Studies at the University of Strathclyde, Archivist and Historian to the Chief of the Durie Family and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.
Going well beyond the normal BMD approach to tracing your Welsh heritage, Dr Durie has written a fascinating study of the Welsh people in all their complexities. From their roots as the original Britons he follows a path that takes us to the Welsh as we know them today. He presents a succinct history in chapter 2 which leads naturally on to the following chapters. These sections include instructions and explanations on where to find the evidence that will enable the reader to trace their ancestors.
Clear maps both recent and from the past are reproduced along with drawings and tables, which cover everything from heraldry to a glossary of the Welsh language, necessary for understanding many of the older documents. Particularly fascinating is his chapter on the emigration and immigration of the Welsh with headings such as Patagonian Welsh or Y Wladfaa Gymreig ym Mhatagonia.
Dr Durie is a genealogist, lecturer and author who had previously written a book about Scottish Genealogy. This proved to be extremely popular and is now in its third edition. It is, therefore, not surprising that he has used that as his blue print for Welsh Genealogy. This framework sometimes shows, such as on page 80 where he informs us that half the census records for Fife in Scotland for 1841 are missing. Not really necessary for somebody interested in Wales.
On balance, however, I would say his previous work has enabled him to write a lucid and well-constructed work, using information that he knows from past experience really works. In the front of the book Dr Durie quotes Carlos Ruiz Zafon: 'History is the dumping ground of biology. And genealogy is one way of keeping the score.' With this book he helps all those interested in their Welsh ancestry to keep the score.
'Mallard', originally published in 2008, has been updated this year (2013) to mark the 75th anniversary of the world steam record of 126 mph achieved in July 1938. It has a very brief chapter (three pages) bringing the reader up to date with arrangements for the anniversary celebrations at the National Railway Museum. This edition was officially launched there in July 2013 as part of those celebrations.
Don Hale OBE, is a railway enthusiast, a former professional footballer, a journalist and campaigner against miscarriages of justice. He received the OBE for services to journalism in 2002 following the Stephen Downing case.
The book recounts the story of how Mallard's triumphs were achieved and why. The narrative provides an interesting and easy to read description of the background to the world record, the key characters involved - notably Nigel Gresley, the chief mechanical engineer for LNER, and the wider context of national competition and international collaboration. Drawing on the reminiscences and anecdotes of those involved and the records of the Gresley Society, Hale admirably captures the atmosphere of the time.
The book has a useful index, a helpful bibliography for further reading, and four pages of interesting monochrome pictures. However, Hales' sources are not referenced and although there are acknowledgements, the research historian will need to look elsewhere for the specific documentary context of the achievement. Of particular interest is the extent to which British and European engineers collaborated and assisted each other in the design and technological advancements of railway traction, even up to the cusp of the Second World War.
Overall the account of the events and developments leading to the record being set between Grantham and Peterborough in 1938 is very thorough and well written. This book is for railway enthusiasts and will be an interesting and enjoyable read.
Dr Tony Wakeford
Friends of The National Archives.