Family History Web Directory: The Genealogical Websites You Can’t Do Without
By Jonathan Scott
(Pen & Sword, 240 pages, £14.99) Although search engines promise access to millions of websites, in practice there are not more than a couple of hundred that are likely to prove useful to family historians.
You can probably name the key ones: Ancestry, Findmypast, Familysearch, Wikipedia and The National Archives closely followed by FreeBMD, Genuki, Genes Reunited and TheGenealogist.
But what if these sites don’t have what you are looking for? What if there’s a specialist site that can help solve a family mystery or where you can share some particular enthusiasm?
This is where books such as Jonathan Scott’s come in. He’s done the hard work by visiting hundreds of websites to ensure that you don’t have to. And there are details of many invaluable examples you would have to scroll through page after page on Google to find, from the Second Anglo-Afghan War of 1880 to portraits of prisoners in Bath’s gaol.
The directory is arranged by subject, such as the census, taxation, newspapers and so on. Cleverly, there are links between the sections where appropriate so if you are looking through websites on army history you are reminded that there is a section on the militia, too.
Perhaps inevitably there’s some duplication with the same information appearing in different places. In part this is because so much information is now concentrated on just a few websites. And unfortunately some of the descriptions of individualndividual sites are so brief as to be almost useless. This is clearly a personal choice. Other writers might have recommended other websites.
Jonathan Scott has had more than a decade writing about genealogy online and his knowledge, enthusiasm and good humour shines through in this very useful book.
Simon Fowler is a professional
writer and history researcher
Jonathan Scott’s new book looks at essential genealogy websites