Wednesday 31 August 2016

My new book is now on sale in Australia

My latest guide book for Adelaide based Unlock the Past (my eighth title) is now on sale in Australia. Entitled A Beginner's Guide to British and Irish Ancestry, it very much does what it says on the tin! Here's the blurb:

You've decided that you want to trace your British and Irish family history, but have absolutely no idea where to start. If only there was a handy beginner's guide...?

In this Unlock the Past guide, genealogist Chris Paton takes you through the key record sets that will help you get underway with your family history research. He will introduce you to the family history societies and archives that can assist your efforts, and provide a little context to the ancestral landscape within which your ancestors once lived, and into which you will soon be immersed. Along the way he will point out some of the major differences in record types to be found in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, and the Crown Dependencies of the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

In each chapter Chris also provides a steer towards further books which can further develop your skills as you become more experienced with the subject matter, making this an invaluable introduction.

Warning – once you get started with your family history research, you will never stop...!

And the contents list:

1. Researching your family tree
- Documentary sources
- Gateways
- Record your finds
- Gadgets
- Brick walls
- Overcome mistakes
- Question everything
- Make your ancestors real
- Damn the rules!
- Further reading
2. Civil registration records
- Basic information
- England and Wales
- Scotland
- Ireland
- Certificate exchange sites
- Further reading
3. Parish registers
- Baptisms
- Marriages and banns
- Burials and deaths
- Locating state church records
- Records of church governance
- Non-conformist churches
- Further reading
4. Monumental inscriptions
- English and Welsh gravestones
- Scotland
- Ireland
- Further reading
5. Cenuses
- What censuses contain
- Online records
- Scotland
- Ireland
- Census substitutes: directories
- Further reading
6. Wills and testaments
- Forms of estate
- Probate and confirmation
- England and Wales
- Recent wills
- Scotland
- Ireland
- Further reading
7. Maps and gazetteers
- Modern maps
- Ordnance Survey maps
- Other maps
- Gazetteers
- Further reading
8. Occupations
- Ancestral context
- Understand the job
- Newspapers
- Dig deeper
- Further reading
9. Societies, archives and libraries
- Umbrella bodies
- National societies
- Special interest groups
- Archives
- Catalogues
- Libraries
- Further reading
10. Social networking
- Facebook and Twitter
- Blogs
- Message boards and forums
- Family tree networks
- Further reading
11. DNA tests
- Types of DNA
- Testing companies
- Further reading
Appendix: The Crown Dependencies
- Isle of Man
- The Channel Islands

The book can be purchased from Gould Genealogy in Adelaide via, priced at AU$12.03. An ebook version will also be available shortly via, and then print copies in due course will also be on sale in the UK and Canada, which I will announce in due course.

I hope it is of some use if you are just getting under way with your research!


For details on my genealogy guide books, including A Decade of Irish Centenaries: Researching Ireland 1912-1923Discover Scottish Church Records (2nd edition), Discover Irish Land Records and Down and Out in Scotland: Researching Ancestral Crisis, please visit

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