Family History on the Net 2015/16
By Colin Waters
(Countryside Books, 160 pages, £9.95) Sisyphus pushing his boulder.der Holding water in your hands. Asking a three-year-old to sit still. Such impossible tasks come to mind when surveying Family History on the Net. That’s not meant as a criticism, more a heartfelt message of sympathy to the book’s author. As a long-time compiler of this magazine’s Best Websites column, I know only too well the difficulties in getting the internet to behave and sit still long enough to create a useful work of reference.
The book is a compilation of web addresses both well-known and obscure, organised by subject. Each entry includes the address, followed by a brief explanation. This new edition iss improved and eexpanded, with new sites added, oldd ones checked andd amended, and gone are those pesk y ‘ http://’ prefixxes, making it mucch neater. The bookbo leads to some potentially useful backwaters unlikely to appear near the top of the average Google search. Browse Occupations, for example, and you’ll find death indexes to Australian undertakers and a list of Bristol-based photographers working between 1852 and 1972.
If you really try you can find areas to criticise: an outof-date address here, a subject warranting more entries there. But no one could distill the internet into one perfect printed tome. As a simple aide-memoire, it’s a job well done.
Jonathan Scott is a writer
specialising in genealogy