Saturday, 12 May 2012

Book review: Tracing Your Ancestors from 1066 to 1837

Tracing Your Ancestors from 1066 to 1837
Jonathan Oates

Very much designed to take your research much further back before civil registration commenced in England, this book is structured over 12 chapters and is packed with all sorts of hints, resource definitions, history and more. The first chapter is a handy ready reckoner of English history with some of the key moments of genealogical interest, such as the Reformation of the 1530s, Tudor England, the Hanoverian period and more, all easily laid out and defined.The second and third chapters provide a comprehensive overview of the church's role and the records generated at various levels within the Anglican hierarchy, whilst Chapter 4, The Professionals, looks at those with careers in the professions, the military and beyond. Chapters 5 and 6 look at England's complicated array of civil and criminal courts, covering various jurisdictions from the assize courts to those of the palatinates. In the remaining chapters, there's a perhaps surprisingly short chapter on manorial records, a hefty look at property based records and good coverage of taxation records, published sources and more.

It's not a book for a beginner, but it is an excellent beginning for those who wish to get to the next level with their research. Packed with illustrations, and with some great insight from a borough archivist dealing with such records on a daily basis, this is a definite for the family history library.

RRP £12.99, paperback, published by Pen and Sword

(With thanks to Pen and Sword)


British GENES on Facebook at and Twitter @chrismpaton


  1. Sounds like just what I need! My Hastings/Hall family came over from Norfolk around 1795 and I've had such good luck with parish records and some Wills, but now I'm stuck! I'll order it for sure!

  2. It looks like a very interesting book, but nothing is mentioned about Scotland. Is there anything in it would us of Scots heritage?

  3. There is nothing mentioned about Scotland (or Ireland for that matter) because this is very much a book about English research, and English research only. Plenty of good books elsewhere on Scotland - you can see details on a few I've written at :)