Tracing Your Birmingham Ancestors A Guide for Family Historians
Birmingham, the cradle of the industrial revolution and the world's first manufacturing town, is an important focus for many family historians who will find that their trail leads through it. Rural migrants, Quakers, Jews, Irish, Italians, and more recently people from the Caribbean, South-Asia and China have all made Birmingham their home. This vibrant history is reflected in the city's rich collections of records, and Michael Sharpe's handbook is the ideal guide to them.
He introduces readers to the wealth of information available, providing an essential guide for anyone researching the history of the city or the life of an individual ancestor. His work addresses novices and experienced researchers alike and offers a compendium of sources from legal and ecclesiastical archives, to the records of local government, employers, institutions, clubs, societies and schools. Accessible, informative and extensively referenced, it is the perfect companion for research in Britain's second city.
This book follows the similar structure of numerous works already published on carrying out genealogical research. However, the author's experience in the field is revealed in the way that he includes updates on a well-trodden path.
There are the usual highlights and explanations expected and included in its structure about the city, its timeline and the affects on trade, industry, religion, politics, education, law and war had on growth and population. The introduction also usefully looks into the origins and changes in the name and spelling of Birmingham from the twelfth century to the present day. These are all pertinent issues to the amateur or experienced historian alike when they come across original documents.
One thing that makes this work stand out amongst past works though is that Sharpe not only lists archives and their resources, their current 2015 locations and in some cases how they can be accessed, importantly he also gives a rough guide as to what it is that is contained within those repositories. Admittedly his guidance may not be conclusive but he takes into consideration that over time many items may have been moved or re-catalogued, particularly due to the opening of the new Library of Birmingham in 2013. This prior knowledge of the location of a document in itself may prove to be extremely useful in being able to maximize the time having to be spent on research, along of course with its success.
It is definitely a useful reference book for any researcher to have to hand to dip into when looking into the genealogy of Birmingham.
Friends of The National Archives