Tracing Your Leeds Ancestors
By Rachel Bellerby byb Max Arthur
( Pen & Sword, 192 pages, £14.99) 4.99) Another volumee from the prolificc family history publisher Pen & Sword is always welcome, but this one needed a much stronger editorial input. Its structure is confusing – for instance, the technical details of resources for exploring the two world wars appear in the general chapter on the history of the city, and ‘great estates’ make a surprise appearance in the middle of ‘trade and industry’.
There is too much repetition (the West Riding Registry of Deeds is described twice in the same chapter, and the Middleton Railway is covered in some detail no fewer than five times). There’s a whole section on the Yorkshire Archaeological Society’s archives and library, which is completely out of date – it closed in October 2014 and is being moved to the university. There are also quite a few typographical errors; for example, Roundhay Park is mostly spelled ‘Rounday’, while ‘ baptisms’ and ‘ burials’ are usually incorrectly described as ‘ births’ and ‘ deaths’. All this – and there are many other examples – is a great shame, as potentially the book has much to offer and has a lot of valuable content. It’s just not really up to scratch, though if you have Leeds ancestors you might still feel it’s worth buying.
Alan Crosby is an honorary
research fellow at Lancaster
and Liverpool universities