Tracing Your British and Irish Ancestors
Finding a way into the sources for British and Irish family history can be a daunting task if you live overseas and have little knowledge of the archives you can go to and the way in which they can be used. That is why this introductory book will be so valuable for anyone who is trying to trace their British and Irish ancestors and gain an understanding of their lives and the world they knew. In a clear and easily accessible fashion Jonathan Scott takes the reader through the key stages of research.
A lot of people may currently be interested in tracing Irish ancestors in particular since Brexit, so the inclusion of Ireland may help it to sell well. I think this book deserves a place on the reference shelf of anyone tracing ancestors today, it is stuffed with information, and an overwhelming amount of it consists of websites. What a massive amount of work must be going on to make it all available at one's laptop. The advice is clear and sensible: start with your immediate relations - keep very full notes, including blind alleys, remember memories are untrustworthy. Soon we are into the complexities of administrative divisions. If you had never heard of baronies or cantriefs or didn't know the difference between towns and townlands, here you will find out.
A helpful section focuses on finding people via their work; it turns out there is a website giving archaic names of jobs and another listing all the Unions that existed. There are a good number of illustrations, many of them taken from websites and squashed onto half a page, so if one actually wants to inspect them a magnifying glass is required. This is a bad habit of this publisher. Fewer illustrations properly displayed would be better.
This book tells us that we are in a wonderful new world where any keyword approach has a chance of success. And I hope its users occasionally pause to reflect on how many thousands of hours by diligent workers it is taking to make all this information available at the click of a mouse.
Friends of The National Archives