Monday, May 2, 2011

Resource: My Recommended UK Genealogy Books

2 1/2 year old Quincy models the book I bought this weekend.

Someone in the chat for geneablogger radio during their United Kingdom genealogy show last week asked me about books about the parish chest and records over there in general. I told them I would post a list of books I'd recommend this week.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. This is merely a list of books that I have used in my academic studies.

Information about Records:

  • Herber, Mark D. Ancestral Trails: The Complete Guide to British Genealogy and Family History. (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1998).
  • Irvine, Sherry. Your English Ancestry: A Guide for North Americans. (Provo: Ancestry Publishing, 1998).
  • The National Archives Research Guides
  • Tate, W. E. The Parish Chest. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1946).
  • The My Ancestor Was Series, which includes the following titles:
    • ...Came with the Conqueror
    • ... a Coalminer
    • ...a Bastard
    • ...a Merchant Seaman
    • ...a Freemason
    • ...a Policeman
    • ...a Railway Worker
    • ...a Royal Marine
    • Agricultural Labourer 
    • Apprentice
    • Service
    • the British Army
    • ...were Baptists
    • ...were Gypsies
    • ...were Jewish
    • ...Londoners
    • ...English Presbyterians or Unitarians
    • ...Thames Waterman
Books to Help Understand What Records Say:
  • Cheney, C. R., ed. A Handbook of Dates: For Students of British History. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004).
  • Humphery-Smith, Cecil. Phillimore Atlas and Index of Parish Registers. (Chichester: Institute of Heraldric and Genealogical Studies, 1995). 
  • Ison, Alf. A Secretary Hand ABC Book. (Reading: Berkshire Family History Society Research Centre, 2000).
  • Martin, Charles Trice. The Record Interpreter. (London: Reeves and Turner, 1892).
  • Morris, Janet. A Latin Glossary for Family and Local Historians. (Bury: Federation of Family History Societies, 2002).  Note: available for purchase at
  • Stuart, Denis. Latin for Local & Family Historians. (Chichester: Phillimore, 1995).
Note: You can get quite a lot of these through the National Archives online shop:


  1. Megan,

    Thanks for the prompt fulfilment of your promise made on Geneabloggers Radio.

    I appreciate your sharing this list - and will look out for the titles.

    Regards, Jill

  2. This is an excellent list. Beginners might also find something useful in 'Planning Research: Short Cuts in Family History' (Michael GANDY). It was published quite a while ago but some of the research strategies will never change. And (like Michael himself) the book is very entertaining!

    This discussion has reminded me that I must read something that Michael recommends for background and historical context: Lark Rise to Candleford.