John Smith? – No Prob­lem!

By Linda and An­ge­laA Wels­ford

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - THE GUIDE -

(AArthur H Stock­well Ltd, 22 23 pages, £7.95) TThis was a chal­leng­ing read to bee­gin with. As an out­sider, it wwasn’t easy to work out who wwas who and how cer­tain in­ndi­vid­u­als fit­ted into the ovver­all pic­ture of the Smith fam­ily that is fea­tured here.

How­ever, I soon be­gan to ad­mire the pa­tience and de­ter­mi­na­tion of the au­thors. The fam­ily his­tory re­sources used to re­search the book are all com­pre­hen­sively listed and the au­thors also at­tempt to show how oth­ers can get the most from them in an or­gan­ised and log­i­cal way.

It be­gins where ev­ery fam­ily his­to­rian should, by talk­ing to the older mem­bers of the fam­ily and tak­ing co­pi­ous notes, never know­ing just how use­ful the in­for­ma­tion will be.

The book rec­om­mends join­ing a fam­ily his­tory so­ci­ety that ties in most closely with your area of in­ter­est – not just for the re­sources that the so­ci­ety’s ar­chive will pos­sess, but also for tap­ping into the knowl­edge of fel­low mem­bers

As the Smith re­search goes back in time, the au­thors use parish reg­is­ters, school ad­mis­sion books and mano­rial records. I have long said that the cre­ation of a fam­ily tree it­self may be sat­is­fy­ing, but putting flesh on the bones with so­cial his­tory is what truly brings it all to life. This fas­ci­nat­ing book con­firms that opin­ion.

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