British Interest Group of Wisconsin and Illinois

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Reviews of books and CD-ROMs on British Isles genealogy:

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Author/Editor/Compiler/Transcriber Index

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Subject Index

Title Index

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Note: Except for corrections of typographical errors, these reviews are printed verbatim as they were originally published - thus prices and names & addresses of publishers may be no longer correct. In cases where we do know updated information, an addendum (in italics) is added at the bottom of the review.

Note: The information for titles followed by a dagger (“”) has not yet been carefully proofread against the original reviews as published in the BIGWILL newsletter.

Making Use of the Census, Second edition by Susan Lumas. Public Record Office Readers’ Guide No. 1. PRO Publications, Public Record Office, Chancery Lane, London WC2A 1LR. copyright 1993. £4.75.

This book is designed specifically for people who use the census rooms at the Public Record Office. A "tour" is provided giving the whereabouts of specific objects, shelves and the reference room with its indexes and finding aids. For those of us here in the US the most useful parts of the book explain how the census returns were made, problems you may encounter and how to overcome them. There is a useful section dealing with how to cite the reference for an individual accurately. The appendixes are excellent and include lists of towns and cities that have street indexes, the census divisions and registration districts. For those with ancestors in London there is a useful map showing the registration districts.

Note: This book is now in its fourth edition (2002).

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.1 no.1, 1994

Making Sense of the Census: The Manuscripts Returns for England and Wales, 1801-1901 by Edward Higgs. Public Record Office Handbook No. 23, HMSO Publications Centre, PO Box 276, London SW8 5DT. copyright 1989, Third impression 1991. £9.95

This book is highly recommended if you intend to do much work with the census returns of England and Wales. It describes the history and idiosyncrasies of the development of the census materials from 1801-1901. This includes the 1901 census which will not be available for public inspection until 2001. The structure of each return is described along with the special returns for the Army, Navy, merchant marine, vessels on inland waterways and institutions. The information regarding an individual is discussed in detail and provides helpful material on how to interpret what you find in the returns especially if it may be out of the ordinary.

Note: This book has been updated, as Making Sense of the Census Revisited : Census Records for England and Wales 1801-1901 : a Handbook for Historical Researchers (2005).

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.1 no.1, 1994

British Genealogical Periodicals: A Bibliography of Their Contents. Volumes 1 and 2 by Stuart Raymond. Federation of Family History Societies. Copyright 1991. v. 1 - £5.40; v. 2, parts 1 & 2 each £3.40.

These slim volumes provide a very useful modern bibliographic source for some of the earliest British genealogical publications.

Volume 1 is divided into 2 sections. Section 1 covers the 8 volumes of Collectanea Topographica Et Genealogica published between 1834 and 1843 with the 3 volumes of Topographer and Genealogist published between 1846 and 1858. Section 2 covers the 12 volumes of The Ancestor, which was a quarterly review of county and family history, heraldry and antiquities, published between 1902 and 1905.

Volume 2 deals with the 44 volumes of The Genealogist published between 1877 and 1921. There are two sections published separately. Part 1 deals with source materials. Part 2 catalogues family histories, individual pedigrees, biographical notes and obituaries.

All the books have place name, family name and author indexes.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.1 no.2, 1994

Tony Hoskins, a guest speaker for BIGWILL, showed us that all the periodicals reviewed above are available at the Newberry Library. A check at the University of Wisconsin Memorial Library in Madison shows that they also have all of the periodicals, although some issues of The Genealogist are missing. These two libraries provide unique collections easily accessible to us.

The periodicals in question are:
  Collectanea Topographica Et Genealogica v. 1-8 published 1834 - 1843.
  Topographer and Genealogist v. 1-3 published 1846 - 1858.
  The Ancestor v. 1-12 published 1902 - 1905.
  The Genealogist v. 1-44 published 1877 - 1921.

A volume 3 has been added to Stuart Raymond’s guide to British Genealogical Bibliographies. This volume indexes in two separate parts the 31 volumes of Miscellanea Genealogica et Heraldica, and the British Archivist. The series contains 31 volumes published 1866-1938, part one dealing with Sources and part two dealing with Families. This series contains articles and extractions spread over many volumes therefore a good index is a necessity. This guide provides a valuable resources for accessing this material. The Newberry Library and Memorial Library have a complete run of this periodical.

Update by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.1 no.3, 1994

Tracing Your Irish Ancestors: The Complete Guide by John Grenham. Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, Maryland. Copyright 1992. $18.95.

Tracing your Irish ancestors can be difficult at best. Tracing your Irish Ancestors has made that a much more manageable project. John Grenham has separated his book into three parts that makes it very usable for all level of researchers. Part one deals with the basic resources such as indexes, census, church, and vital records to name just a few.

Part two is meant to follow after you have run out of sources to research from part one. Griffith’s Evaluation, land records, wills etc. are addressed here and sources mentioned. Part three takes each county into consideration and list many records available at that level. In addition, in the beginning of the book, maps covering all of the Catholic dioceses are shown and labeled.

If you have put off your Irish research because you don’t think anything is available or because you didn’t know where to start then John Grenham has given you the very best information to begin Irish research.

Note: This book is now in its third edition (2006). The second edition (1999) has also been reviewed in this newsletter.

Reviewed by Ann Wells
BIGWILL v.1 no.2, 1994

Your English Ancestry: A Guide for North Americans by Sherry Irvine. Ancestry, Salt Lake City UT. Copyright 1993. $12.95.

Ms. Irvine attempts to bring English research to a manageable level for people in North America, without a trip to England, or using a researcher until absolutely necessary. And, she does a very good job of it.

Her explanation of records and what’s necessary to use the information they contain is very down to earth; this makes this book extremely easy to read. She goes into depth on each record and indicates where in England you might find it. She then leads you to the Family History Library (LDS) and indicates how to find it there. Of course not every record is available through the Family History Library, but many indexes are, which will help you locate and access the original records through the mail from England.

Ms. Irvine addresses many common problems, such as, "What if I don’t have enough information to use a particular record." She does a very good job of suggesting other directions to follow.

While this book might not fill the bill for a more experienced English researcher, I believe that it will be very useful at any level, as she does suggest some not-so-common sources to pursue. And one cannot know every source available.

This book makes for excellent reading and really should be on all English researchers’ library shelves.

Notes: This edition was reviewed again in 1995. This book is now in its second (“Revised”) edition (1998).

Reviewed by Ann Wells
BIGWILL v.1 no.3, 1994

Guide to the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, Belfast Northern Ireland. Copyright 1991. Free.

This helpful 20 page illustrated guide book describes the collection, indexes and procedures for using the PRONI. The PRONI has built up, since its founding in 1923, a large collection of historical records relating to Ulster. The guide is obviously intended for someone who will be visiting and using the facilities of the PRONI. However it does contain some useful ideas about what alternative records could be used for your research and their availability. Many of these may be available through the LDS centers, but the guide will certainly help you to know what to ask or look for.

The guide raises three questions that should be answered prior to a visit to the PRONI for a search to be successful. (1) Where in Ulster did your ancestor come from? (2) What was your ancestor’s religion? (3) What date were they born, married, emigrated or buried?

You can get a copy of the guide by writing to:

Public Record Office
66 Balmoral Ave
Belfast BT9 6NY
Northern Ireland
In addition, ask for a copy of the PRONI publications list which has been updated since the guide was first issued.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.1 no.3, 1994

Army Records for Family Historians by Simon Fowler. Public Record Office Readers’ Guide No. 2, PRO Publications, Public Record Office, Chancery Lane, London WC2A 1LR. Copyright 1992. £4.75.

This book describes the main series of records of the War Office and other government departments which provide information about the officers and soldiers who have served in the British Army. Almost all War Office records give some information about individuals, but this guide concentrates on those series containing material of greatest potential interest to the family historian. Most of the records described in the book are at the Public Record Office at Kew, with a few clearly indicated at Chancery Lane.

The book clearly outlines what records are available for you ancestors, whether they were officers or rank and file soldiers. You must begin with the regiment, and suggestions are made on where to look for this information if you don’t know it. Once you know the regiment the book helps you by outlining what information you are likely to find in which series of documents. I found myself reading the book and marking references to the Royal Artillery that I had not checked yet in seeking information about my William Dixon.

The book is well laid out, easy to follow and provides lots of avenues to search in seeking that elusive military ancestor. The photographs in the appendix provide good examples of what many of the documents look like. The index is a good one for finding information on a branch of the service or a particular type of document without having to read the whole book.

Do not assume that you have to go to London to do this research. Many of the Military records have been microfilmed and are available through your local Family History Center. Look in the catalog under ENGLAND - MILITARY HISTORY.

Note: This book is now in its second edition (1998). See also Army Records: A Guide for Family Historians, which has been described as “ a major update and expansion” of this book. William Spencer co-authored the second edition of this book, and is the sole author of Army Records: A Guide for Family Historians.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.1 no.4, 1994

Records of the Militia from 1757 by Garth Thomas. Public Record Office Readers’ Guide No. 3, PRO Publications, Public Record Office, Chancery Lane, London WC2A 1LR. Copyright 1993. £3.95.

This book provides a structure for examining the chaotic records produced by the Militia since its re-formation in 1757. The author admits that at times his method of organization is a little forced, but it does work in providing a logical way to approach these very diverse records. The book covers the Militia (1757-1907), where under the Cardwell reforms they generally became the third battalion of the local regular army regiment. Also covered are the volunteers (1794-1813), rifle volunteers (1859-1908), yeomanry (1804-1921), the territorial army (1907-present), the home guard (1940-1945), and the EfencibleE corps raised in times of need.

The book does a good job of providing the reader with information about what records were created and which have survived in the Public Record Office. The book provides a clear and concise introduction to these complicated records. Not all documents regarding the militia are in the Public Record Office. For a complete listing of where to find militia lists and muster lists you will need to supplement this book with a copy of Militia Lists and Musters 1757-1876 by Jeremy Gibson and Mervyn Medlycott, published by the Federation of Family History Societies.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.1 no.4, 1994

Welsh Family History: A Guide to Research by J. Rowlands, et al. (Eds.). Genealogical Publishing Co. Inc., Baltimore, Maryland. Copyright 1994. $19.95.

Welsh family history research has a friend. Finally a publication to help you muddle through the differences of Welsh and English social, religious and cultural areas of concern, to say nothing of the language.

This book was conceived in 1987 and with the help and expertise of twenty outstanding Welsh researchers, the first edition of Welsh Family History was born in the spring of 1993.

To do Welsh research you must have a knowledge of the country and history of its laws which affect genealogy / family history. This book not only lets the researcher know where to find particular records, but also gives the historical background and defines the differences and similarities between these in Wales with like records in England.

While Welsh Family History is not a "how to" book, it does provide some basics, including a brief chapter on repositories in Wales with addresses and phone numbers.

There is a good chapter on surnames by Sheila Rowlands. Surnames are probably the one reason (besides the language) why people put their Welsh research on the bottom of the pile. With so few surnames it might seem like you’re looking in the dark. But with a history of the naming patterns and an idea of the language, success can be yours.

Several chapters on "other" sources, such as: school records, printed pedigrees, manuscripts, immigration and emigration can lead you to your ancestor if the conventional records are non existent or hard to come by.

Each chapter provides ample endnotes and the final chapter is a lengthy bibliography.

Reviewed by Ann Wells
BIGWILL v.1 no.6, 1994

London: A Guide to Ancestral Research by Phillip B. Dunn. Purchase from the author at P.O.Box 2640, Salt Lake City UT 84110-2640, copyright 1987, revised 1992, $7.50.

There are three requirements for London research. The first is a knowledge of the geography and layout of the Greater London area. Secondly, you must have a good basic working knowledge of London’s record sources, due to the tremendous population and the consequent reservoir of records you have to wade through. The third requirement is dedication to pursue one’s ancestor through this vast region with more misses than hits.

This guide provides some reminders and some very helpful hints on certain record sources and indexes to be found in the area that can make your searches easier.

This guide is written for the benefit of all interested in the Greater London area, with special emphasis on those just beginning and those with limited experience in this vast region.

The town or place of origin is very important in London research. Ideas, sources and tools are provided for finding this important clue to further research. Once the town is known, next steps are suggested depending upon whether you are searching before or after the beginning of Civil Registration in 1837.

The book provides lots of lists of parishes to help you in your search. There are for example 116 parishes within the City of London itself, and that is not counting the chapels, liberties and precincts. Another list shows which parishes fall within the civil parish boundaries of all the boroughs.

If you have London ancestors you will find this book very helpful, whether you do all your research from the US or are planning a trip to London.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.1 no.6, 1994

English Local Studies Handbook: An Essential Guide to Sources of Information for Professional and Amateur Local Historians by Susanna Guy. University of Exeter Press, Reed Hall, Streatham Drive, Exeter EX4 4QR, England. Copyright 1992. £11.95

As the sub-title suggests for this book it is an essential guide for information. The book has pulled together from a large number of sources lots of names and addresses that we as family history researchers need to know. This is the type of book that you look in first to find where to go next.

The introduction lists the particulars for a number of national societies in the areas of local history, archaeology, history, family history and population studies.

The bulk of the book is divided up into county sections using the pre-1974 county structure for England. Each section has a pre- and post-1974 map showing how the many rural and urban districts within a county have been greatly reduced to a few districts within a new county. Listed for each county are A. local studies libraries and collections; B. local record offices; C. local history societies; D. local history journals; E. museums and local studies collections.

I tested the book by looking how it handled Westmorland, a county I am familiar with and one which disappeared in the 1974 restructuring. The names and addresses it supplies will certainly lead you to good collections of local history and point you in the right direction for where records are currently stored.

This is a good reference book to have as your research takes you into new geographical areas.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.2 no.1, 1995

Record Repositories in Great Britain: A Geographical Directory, 9th edition, second impression by The Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts, Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, London. 1992 £3.50

This slim book lists those institutions within the United Kingdom (this includes, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Isle of Man, and Channel Islands) who systematically collect and preserve written records and which make regular provision for their use by the public.

The institutions concerned fall in to four main categories: (1) National record offices and libraries financed directly by central government funds; (2) Local record offices and libraries financed by local government authorities; (3) University and college libraries and departments financed mainly through central government funds; (4) Special libraries and archives supported by privately or charitably endowed societies and institutions.

The institutions are arranged in this order within each county. The county structure used in this book is the current one, ie. since the 1975 county restructuring.

The listing for each institution includes: name, address, telephone and fax numbers, name of the archivist or librarian, hours of opening; listing of specialized services that they may provide, and titles of any guides to the holdings of the institutions.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.2 no.1, 1995

My Ancestor Moved in England or Wales, Second revised edition by Anthony J. Camp. Society of Genealogists 14 Charter House Buildings, Goswell Road, London EC1M 7BA. 1994. £4.60.

This book was first published in 1987 under the title My Ancestor was a Migrant. The book has been greatly expanded and revised.

The book is designed to help researchers seeking to find an ancestor’s birth place, specifically prior to 1851. The author assumes that the researcher has exhausted the resources of the General Register Office after 1 July 1837, i.e., that the centralized birth, marriage and death records have been thoroughly researched. This in itself is not as easy to do in the US without spending a lot of time and money. It can be done relatively quickly and easy if you are planning a trip to Salt Lake City. It takes time elsewhere.

The book lays out where to look first, and includes some very familiar resources such as the IGI, Boyd’s Marriage Index and local marriage indexes.

The value of the rest of this book is in providing clues and ideas on where to look next. The book is divided into sections, with each section having many subsections each providing ideas and clues for next steps. The major sections include: first considerations, later life, training and occupation, those needing a licence from Quarter Sessions, those needing a licence from a Bishop, local and central government employees, professions, army and navy, land ownership, court depositions, relief of the poor, religion, names, coats of arms, has work been done before, strays, local influences, and proving the connection. It concludes with the addresses of institutions mentioned in the text and an index.

This book is strongly recommended if you think, or know, that your ancestor moved in England or Wales.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.2 no.2, 1995

Church Parish Registers of Cornwall, England. Microfiche obtained from Ancestor Publishers, 6166 Janice Way, Arveda CO 80004-5160.

All of these were compiled and edited by W.P.W. Phillimore, M.A., B.C.L. and Thomas Taylor, M.A., F.S.A. Volume 4 includes Mrs. J.H. Glencross.

Vol. 1, Cornwall Parish Registers - Marriages 1539-1812; published 1900; order #387, contains two fiche. The parishes of Advent, St. Breward, St. Clether, Davidstow, Forrabury, St. Juliot, Lanteglos by Camelford, Lesnewth, Michaelstow, Minster, Otterham, St. Teath and Trevalga are included.

Vol. 2, Cornwall Parish Registers - Marriages 1560-1812; published 1902; order #407, contains two fiche. The parishes include Lanivet, Tintagel, St. Trudy, St. Mabyn, Laneast, Egloskerry, Tremaine, and Phillack.

Vol. 4, Cornwall Parish Registers - Marriages 1560-1812; published 1903; order #634, contains three fiche. The parishes of Shevlocke, Blisland, Cardynhamn, Endellion, Helland, Lanhydrock, St. Merryn, St. Minver and Warleggan.

This is an excellent informational fiche and easy to read. This was microfilmed very carefully. However, there is one drawback - there is NO INDEX. Still, don’t let this stop you from browsing. I found my great-great-great grandfather Richard FRAYN (and possibly others) just browsing through the fiche. They tell whether the marriage was by banns or license. They tell the source of the Register and condition of it, as well as whether or not it is a duplicate and where it can be found [at that point in time].

A sample notation may read: Richard FRAYN or E. [meaning Egloskerry parish], and Mary WALLIS, sojourner, 14 Jan. 1812. Others may be more lengthy and specific, stating occupations, parents, known residences, but the majority do not list this information.

There is no Vol. 3 in this set.

Reviewed by Peggy Gleich
BIGWILL v.2 no.4, 1995

Ireland: A Genealogical Guide for North Americans by Kyle J. Betit & Dwight A. Radford. Published by THE IRISH At Home and Abroad, P.O.Box 521806, Salt Lake City UT 84152. $14.95 plus $2.00 postage and handling. c. 1995.

This 62 page guide book is a must for any North American doing Irish research. Unlike most books on Irish research, it does not assume that you are physically in Ireland when doing your research. The book assumes that you are here in the U.S. and thus tells you how to access the resources you need to make progress in your research. Often LDS film numbers are included.

There are sections in the book for all major topics and record types: Administrative Divisions, Archives and Libraries, Army, Cemetery, Census, Church, Civil Registration, Directories, Estates, Genealogies, Guilds, Heritage Centres, Inventories and Catalogs, Newspapers, Registry of Deeds, Taxation, Wills and Administrations. Each section describes what the records are likely to contain, how the records can be accessed in this country, if possible, and there is always an excellent listing of further reading. Especially helpful are the many research strategy suggestions designed to help the researcher when using a record type for the first time.

The book is up to date citing many books readily available in North America, plus articles that have appeared in their magazine The Irish At Home and Abroad.

When I lecture on Irish research this is one of two books that I strongly recommend all Irish researchers should purchase.

Note: This book is now in its fourth edition (1997).

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.2 no.5, 1995

THE IRISH At Home and Abroad - quarterly magazine by Kyle J. Betit & Dwight A. Radford. Published by THE IRISH At Home and Abroad, P.O.Box 521806, Salt Lake City UT 84152. cost $18.00.

This excellent quarterly magazine is produced by the same two people that wrote Ireland: A Genealogical Guide to North Americans.

The magazine is designed to help Irish immigrants trace their Irish ancestry using North American, Irish and international resources. There are a number of categories into which articles can be placed:

The articles are clearly written by acknowledged specialists in Irish research. They provide lots of clues on what resources are available, what they contain and how to gain access to them. For example, an article on the Irish in Montreal enabled me to track down a client’s Irish ancestors there because the time periods involved narrowed my search to one Catholic Church. I have found the detailed articles very beneficial for my own research and that of my clients.

I strongly recommend this magazine for those of you with Irish ancestry.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.2 no.5, 1995

The New Loyalist Index by Paul J. Bunnell. Published by Heritage Books, Inc., 1540 E. Pointer Ridge Pl., Suite 300, Bowie MD 20716. c. 1989, 525 pp., paperback. $36.50 plus $4 p&h. Visa/MC/Checks.

This is an index of over 5,000 Loyalists. Each entry provides four lines of material, not all of which is complete for all entries: 1. Name of Loyalist and Source Code; 2. Any information used to clearly identify an individual such as date of birth, marriage or death, occupation, land grant or ownership details; 3. Where they were from and where they settled; 4. Regiment, rank and if any claims were made. There are 29 sources cited ranging from published works such as American Vital Records From the Gentleman’s Magazine 1731-1868 by D. Dobson, and Loyalist Families by C. Barnett & E. Sewell to records of the Canadian National Archives and the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick. The sources are very varied and cover a large territory. The introduction includes a list of major sources which are not included in the index and these provide the researcher with clues for further research. Overall an excellent index to many varied Loyalist records.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.2 no.6, 1995

Your English Ancestry: A Guide for North Americans by Sherry Irvine. Ancestry, P.O. Box 476, Salt Lake City UT 84110-0476. 196 pg. paperback, c. 1993. $12.95 plus $3.50 p&h. To order call 1-800-ANCESTRY using MC/Visa/AmEx.

I was recently asked why I did not like this book and I could not remember specifically why. So I sat down to read the book again. I still don’t know why my first impression had been negative because I now realize it is an excellent resource for those in North America researching English ancestry.

Sherry defines the limitations for the book as those researchers seeking ancestors since the middle of the 18th Century in England. Since that time period the use of Latin had ceased, the Gregorian calendar came into use, and Lord Hardwicke’s Act standardized the recording of marriage information.

The records covered in the book include those available through the LDS Family History Library, printed records likely to be found in major libraries in North America, records gathered into a central location in England and records which have been indexed.

Topics covered include: civil registration, census records, lists and periodicals, church records, probate, civil records and occupation records. Throughout the book there are plenty of research strategies for getting the most out of each of these records.

The last chapter is a good reminder of what to do when you hit a roadblock, something that happens to us all. This is a book I can strongly recommend for all our members seeking ancestors in England.

Notes: This edition was reviewed also by Ann Wells in 1994. This book is now in its second (“Revised”) edition (1998).

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.2 no.6, 1995

From Here to There: Assisted Passenger Lists from England to Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand 1855-1871 by Barbara Hafslund and Heather Morris. Published by BYTO Indexers, P.O. Box 257, Burpengary 4505, Queensland Australia. c. 1994. Two versions: 4 microfiche or diskette. Each version is Aus$20 plus Aus$4 payable by cheque or money order. (Ed: Use Ruesch Int’l at 800-424-2923 to get your international check).

This index provides a wealth of names, often the county of residence in England, ages and occupations of the many immigrants who received assisted passage from England to New Zealand in the 1855-1871 time period. This is important to us here in the US because it is the siblings of our ancestors who often end up in Australia and New Zealand.

The voyage was frequently beset by starvation, violent storms, outbreaks of diseases such as typhoid fever and small pox resulting in a lot of deaths all of which are recorded. Many remarks on the original records have been transcribed often giving an amusing glimpse into the lives of the passengers and providing further clues in the search.

There is an alphabetical Name and Ship index making the lists easier to search.

The microfiche version of the lists were printed first. After printing it was found that there were no ships for 1863. More research found the missing ships and an additional 4,000 names were added to the computer disk not on the microfiche. The computer disk also contains the list of paying passengers as well as all the assisted passengers. The original lists are available through the LDS on films 0287464-9, and these should be checked if a reference to your ancestors is found. The microfiche version of the index does contain a listing of known ships where no passenger lists have been located yet. These ships, with no known passengers are not listed in the computer version.

The computer version of the program also contains a very helpful explanation of the immigration regulations relating to assisted passages as they existed in 1863. I checked a couple of my NZ research books and could not find any of this information. The handicap is that screen printing is the only way to get a paper copy of the information.

There were a couple of problems with using the program. Installation of the program requires the FILES=75 and BUFFERS=20 in the Config.sys file. This required me changing the config.sys file before I could even install the program. In the Help screens hitting any keys other than [ESC], [PgDn] or [Print Screen] locked up the program and it had to be rebooted. When doing a surname search you have to get a surname to match exactly one already in the lists to get into the name lists. Once into the listing of names you can then scroll through the list to find alternative spellings. You can identify other people on the same ship and from the same family by the family number, which is the key to using the computer version. On the microfiche all the family members are listed together in the transcription for that ship.

This is a useful index for anyone who has English emigrating to New Zealand in this time period. Unfortunately the computer version, which has a larger number of people listed, has problems with the workings of the program. The compilers are looking to extend the time period of the index. I hope they improve the computer program and update the microfiche version in the process.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.2 no.6, 1995

The Master Book of Irish Surnames, Location, Ethnicity, Spellings, and Sources by Michael C. O’Laughlin. Published by O’Lochlains Irish Family Journal, PO Box 7575, Kansas City MO 64116. C. 1993. Hardbound, 320 pp. $24 postpaid. Visa/MC/ and AX accepted. Orders can be faxed to (816)454-2410 or via e-mail to

This listing of some 60,000 entries is divided into three main sections: a variant surname spelling index, a surname location index and a surname source index.

The surname spelling index is useful to get you thinking about alternative ways your ancestors name may have been spelled or used. The example given is of Rabbit and Cunneen, the latter being the Gaelic word for Rabbit. The surname location index lists a variety of sources from which the surnames included are derived. This is a good indicator of surnames, but some major sources are missing, including Griffith’s valuation, the Tithe Applotment records and the surname works of MacLysaght, former chief herald of Ireland. The works included are the Irish Census of 1659, which in reality only lists those who had title to land, and the Irish Birth index of 1890 created by Matheson. The gap between these is 231 years. The other works included are those created by, or published by, the Irish Genealogical Foundation or from the annual Journal of the American Irish Historical Society. The third section provides the sources for the surnames references.

This is a useful surname guide for finding where in Ireland your ancestors may have come from, but the omission of some major sources makes the title of Master Book a little pretentious.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.2 no.6, 1995

Greater London Local History Directory, 2nd edition, c. 1993, $30; Greater London Local History: Directory and Bibliography, c. 1988, $30; London’s Local History, c. 1983, $20; all by Peter Marcan Publications, P.O.Box 3158, London SE1 4RA. Price includes airmail postage.

These three books provide an excellent resource for anyone researching within the London boroughs. The three publications provide an annotated catalog of publications and resources issued by Greater London local authorities, local historical and archaeological societies, amenity societies and community projects covering the early 1960s up through 1993. Only non-commercial local history publications are included.

Organizations are listed in the following sequence: 1. Local authorities and their local history collections, and recent publications; 2. Local museums (often run by the local authority); 3. Local historical societies; 4. Local archaeological societies; 5. Community history projects; 6. Reminiscence and oral history groups; 7. Amenity, environmental and conservation studies. The books conclude with listings of organizations that cover all or major parts of the London area, and this section includes the family history societies.

The wide variety of groups involved in the compilations of these books mean that you never know what you will find. But the one thing that we can guarantee is that most of the resources will not be found in any US library. You will need to write to the local producing institutions for copies. All addresses are supplied. Contacting the local institution will also enable you to find out what new resources for the locality are available. These books provide a valuable resource for anyone with London ancestry.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.3 no.1, 1996

The Scottish Congregational Ministry: 1794-1993 by Rev. Dr. William D. McNaughton, The Congregational Union of Scotland, Church House, 340 Cathedral Street, Glasgow, G1 2BQ Scotland. c. 1993. £35 plus £3 p & p. Cloth bound, gold blocked spine. A5 size, 520 pp.

This work seeks to fill a gap in Scottish Church History by providing biographical information about the great variety of individuals who trained and served in Scottish Congregationalism over two centuries. A monumental amount of research has been done to compile information on all 2,500 plus Scottish Congregational ministers.

The book is divided into four parts. Biographical information on the Congregational ministers is provided in the first two parts. Part I covers 1794-1900, and part II from 1900 to 1993. For each individual the following information is presented where possible: Name; relationship to other individuals, especially useful when ministry runs in the family; Gaelic speaker; place and date of birth; church membership; university attended; seminary; place and date of ordination; pastorate/s or sphere of service; denominational change; higher degrees and name of awarding institution; date and place of death. Most importantly for researchers all sources are fully cited. There are 21 pages of sources listed for all the biographical information.

Part III lists the professors, tutors and lecturers at the various Congregational seminaries and academies. The individuals listed here are given full biographical entries in parts I and II. This list does show how small these training centers were.

Part IV provides a compilation by church and preaching station. This enables the researcher to find the ministers in a particular locality over time.

Many of the ministers listed were trained in Scotland, served their initial ministries there, then moved to have successful careers in England, Ireland and other parts of the Commonwealth.

From a North American perspective an introductory chapter on the history and development of Congregational ministry in Scotland would have been helpful.

If you are researching a Congregational Minister then this book is a must.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.3 no.1, 1996

South Leitrim Roots Book: Exploring Family Origins and Old Carrick-on-Shannon by Noel Farrell, Park Road, Longford, Ireland. c. 1994 $10. Paperback with maps, illustrations and photographs, 48 pages.

Here in the US we hear about how the Irish Heritage Centers are helping the youth of Ireland develop marketable job skills. This is one excellent example of such a process. Noel was part of a 4-member youth heritage project to compile old records of Kiltoghert (Carrick-on-Shannon Electoral Division) for the local libraries. The project was well received and sponsorship was obtained to compile a booklet. Noel compiled the resource and it was published by his father. It is not stated, but we assume that he works for the Longford Leader, the area newspaper.

The book provides for the Roman Catholic parish of Kiltoghert name indexes for the 1901 and 1911 census returns, Griffith’s Primary Valuation of Tenements from 1854-1864, electoral lists for 1940/1, extracts from Thom’s directories for 1933 and 1953, Slater’s directory for 1894, and a listing of pubs in the area from 1889. For the communities of Carrick-on-Shannon, Keshcarrigan and Leitrim village copies of the detailed maps from Griffith’s valuation are included, listing all the inhabitants and identifying which house they lived in.

County Leitrim is the only county in Ireland to show a decrease in population every year since 1841. From 1841 to 1851 the population fell from 155,297 to 111,897, a decrease of almost 28%. By 1991, the last census, the population had fallen to 25,297. A lot of people leave this county. It is these people that provide our ancestors.

For anyone with ancestors in Kiltoghert parish this book is a must. It is also useful for those with Leitrim ancestors. There are numerous references throughout the book to the resources and services available through the Leitrim Genealogy Centre and the Leitrim County Library. I hope we get to see more publications like this coming out of Ireland.

The author also has similar books for Longford and Cavan but the parishes involved are not named.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.3 no.1, 1996

Naval Notations: Warships in the Illustrated London News 1842-1891 by Bob Nicholls, 25 Duke Street, Balmain NSW 2041, Australia. c. 1994. 58 pages, plastic comb binding, with illustrations. US$13 payable by M/C, VISA or US Check. Price includes economy airmail. Phone / Fax 61-2-810-7417. e-mail:

Naval Notations is an index and research aid for 19th century warship appearing in lithograph illustrations in the pages of the Illustrated London News. The index covers the years 1842 - the first year of publication - to 1891, after which photographs became more widely available.

Most, if not all of the 630 warships appearing in the 99 volumes are covered in the 58 pages of tables and text of this resource. Included are ships destined for the Royal Navy and the navies of the United States, Russia, France, Japan, China and many smaller services such as Egypt and the Vatican.

For each ship there is a number assigned in sequential order; name of the ship in alphabetical order, as spelled in the Illustrated London News; ship type; class; builder; country; year, volume and page for illustration; remarks; illustration providing a judgment of the technical, as opposed to artistic, quality of the illustration and its suitability for reproduction; A Y or N in the final column indicates if a technical description of the ship is given in the accompanying text. In the case of N an account of the activity in which the ship was engaged is given.

So for example we find that the Agamemnon is a screw line of battleship built at Woolwich for the British Navy. Appeared in 1852, vol.20 page 431 with information on her launch. A 3 rating on a 5 point scale is given for technical accuracy of the illustration and yes, a description of the ship is provided. Later entries listed show her off Sebastopol, attacking Sebastopol, shell damage to interiors, laying Atlantic telegraph cable and providing a stern view. Another Agamemnon is cited, this time a turret battleship launched in 1879.

When the name of a particular ship is known but does not appear in the main list a listing of sister ships is provided. Here dates given identify when the class of vessel were under construction. These ships are cross-referenced to the ships in the main listing.

The book concludes with a listing of the Royal Naval and private shipyards from around the British Isles.

If you have ancestors who were in the Navy in the 19th century then this index should be obtained to gain quick access to information found in the Illustrated London News.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.3 no.1, 1996

The Cornish Questions: A Compendium of Historical, Ecclesiastical, Biographical, Philological, Geographic & Legendary Trivia of Cornwall by L.B.Ward, 1992. Amended May 1994. 99 pages. Contact Mr. Ward at Surfirs, Crackington Haven, Bude, Cornwall EX23 OJP, England.

If you have Cornish ancestry and need to find the lost place names, folklore, festivals and traditions, the national bird, meanings of mining terms, just for starters, then this is THE book to buy!

The foreword includes this paragraph: "Len Ward combines a fierce independence of mind, characteristic of the Cornish, with an insatiable curiosity about the origins, customs and events which shaped this land throughout thirty centuries of human settlement and struggle. The library of his Crackington Haven home contains one of the finest collections of source materials anywhere. There is no place in Cornwall that he has not observed with his own eyes, no festivals he does not know, and few archives and records he has not perused."

Ward himself states, "This compendium was compiled as an aid memoir for the Crackington team in the first Radio Cornwall Village Hall Quiz in 1989. It is not intended to give a comprehensive answer to all the questions posed but hopefully it may tempt readers to research further any item which attracts their interest."

The questions are those of identification, (Where is Banjo Pier?); ecclesiastical, (Which saint is the most popular patron saint of Cornish churches?); biography, (Who was Sir Francis Drake’s wife and where was her native parish?); artistical and classical, (Who wrote "The Saffron Eaters"?); geographical, (What is Little Cornwall?); first, last and foremost questions, (Which is the highest village in Cornwall?).

Also, historical, (What was the "Grylls Act"?); food, drink and dress questions (What was the reputation of the Cornish Pie?); legends, customs and saying questions, (What had the witch, the conjurer and the charmer in common?); language, (What was a Cornish "Jerusalem"?). The maritime questions, (Which Cornish lighthouses are still operational?); mining questions, (Name the old Stannaries of Cornwall?) and this includes many mining terms.

The Appendices list facts and figures of: bridges, castles, cathedrals, civil commotions and Civil War, constituencies, county boundaries, festivals, railways, rivers, stone circles, ancient sites, natural features and much more.

The Appendices also includes biographical sketches of Cornish and non-Cornish born, with lists of names; Cornish churches and their peculiarities; peculiar place names, historic houses and dialect words and sayings.

Are you looking for some peculiar saying or name from your ancestors letters, a specific place, or possibly a saying which makes no sense? Check this book out, you just may find what you are looking for!

Reviewed by Peggy Gleich
BIGWILL v.3 no.1, 1996

Tracing Your British Ancestors by Colin R. Chapman. Published by Genealogical Publishing Company, 1001 N. Calvert Street, Baltimore MD 21202. 1993. USA edition 1996. 108 pp. Appendix, Bibliography, Index. Softcover. $15 plus $3.50 shipping ($1.25 for each additional book).

This excellent, easy-to-read, slim book has something for the beginner and experienced British Isles researcher. For the beginner, this book provides a good overview of the conventional methods and sources used in British Isles research including: civil registration, census, parish registers, bishop’s transcripts, probate, other church records, old and new poor laws, land records, military records and heraldry. It is important to realize that this book covers each topic in a succinct manner noting the differences for each part of the British Isles - England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, plus the often ignored Isle of Man and Channel Islands. Topics such as land records and the old and new poor laws are usually kept for more advanced books, but Colin Chapman’s easy style help us understand the value of these records.

For the experienced researcher there are great research tips throughout the text, such as warnings about why an age at marriage may be adjusted by the Victorian bride and groom to make it "proper," or how, after 1810, the Bank of England affected where a will for a businessman or merchant would likely be probated.

The book concludes with a good list of useful addresses, but the list of further reading is very short.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.3 no.2, 1996

Weights, Money and Other Measures Used by Our Ancestors by Colin R. Chapman. Published by Genealogical Publishing Company, 1001 N. Calvert Street, Baltimore MD 21202. 1995. USA edition 1996. 92 pp. Tables, Figures, Bibliography, Index. Softcover. $15 plus $3.50 shipping ($1.25 for each additional book).

This book was originally published in England in 1995 as part of the Chapman Records Cameo Series with the title How Heavy, How Much and How Long? Weight, Money and Other Measures Used by Our Ancestors. This is the ideal companion book for anyone working with old English wills, inventories, accounts or journals. It will help you understand and identify those old terms that you encounter. It will also help you get specific and clear up any misconceptions you might have. For example, I grew up thinking that yana, tana, and tethera were Cumbrian for one, two and three and used primarily for counting sheep. This book tells me that they are actually the ancient British numerals, but were used for counting sheep in Cumbria, Yorkshire and Lincolnshire at least into the 19th Century.

The book is full of tables so that you can learn about crinzes, mazers, piggins, quaiches, rummers, kivers, thraves, pottles, verges and hosts of other old measurements. The measurements are divided into a variety of chapters covering length, area, volume, mass, money and metric. This variety means the measuring tools of your ancestors occupation are likely to be included whether he was a publican, thatcher, fisherman, paper manufacturer, tailor, draper, knitter, grocer or banker. The vast majority of the technical terms included in the tables are listed in the index, making them easy to find. A few were not included.

The text and tables also include examples of how the value of a particular measurement changed with time, location or the population using the measurement. For example, if your ancestor’s probate inventory included 5 ells of cloth, you would need to know if that was an English, Scottish, French or Flemish ell to know how much cloth he had. There are lots of examples like this throughout this fascinating book.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.3 no.2, 1996

Pre-1841 Censuses & Population Listings, fourth edition by Colin R. Chapman. Published by Genealogical Publishing Company, 1001 N. Calvert Street, Baltimore MD 21202. 1994. USA edition 1996. 82 pp. Appendices, Index. Softcover. $15 plus $3.50 shipping ($1.25 for each additional book).

For many, the 1841 census in England marks the beginning of an era. It was the first of the national nineteenth century returns of use to the family historian. In reality, the 1841 census was an end product. It marked the end of a decades-long campaign to create a national census which included everyone. This process generated hundreds of local, regional and national lists which counted or named everyone in a community or in a specific segment of the population across the country. The goal of this book is to describe these lists.

The listings are divided into six chapters: 16th century; 17th century; 1700-1749; 1750-1775; 1776-1786; after 1787. Each paragraph gives very specific details about one or more listings in general chronological sequence and describes why the list was originally generated. Thus local parish and community enumerations are jumbled among national military, civil and ecclesiastical surveys, tax and poll lists. Because of its organization, this is not a book to sit down and read sequentially. However, it is a book to examine if you are looking for information about what listings were generated, why and where copies or originals may be located now. All listings mentioned in the text are well footnoted so that you can proceed with further research.

The first appendix provides a listing of censuses containing the names of individual by county and then by community with date. This listing does not include the many numerical listings mentioned in the text or the 80-plus tax, military and church censuses listed in the index. Appendix II lists returns for the numerical decennial census of 1801 to 1831 where individuals are named. The lists of communities with named individuals continues to grow. For example, in this volume 27 communities in Essex are listed for the 1811 census whereas in the 1992 third edition only 4 are listed. Similar increases are noted for many counties suggesting that if you are looking in this time period it is certainly worth obtaining a current edition of this resource. The communities in Ireland with surviving named census returns in this time period are regarded as too numerous to list, and the researcher will need to look elsewhere.

Overall, an excellent resource for the researcher wanting to explore further the population listings prior to 1841.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.3 no.2, 1996

Wills Before 1858 by Eve McLaughlin. Varneys Press, Aylesbury, Bucks, England. (Obtainable from Wells Genealogical Research, 4504 Fox Creek Drive, Crystal Lake IL 60012. $3.20 plus $1.50 p&h.

For some reason many people do not look for a will for their ancestors, perhaps figuring that their ancestors didn’t leave one. Eve lets readers know that looking for wills is a necessity. While it might not be an easy task, her guide covers the how and why of wills, who might have written one (most people unless extremely poor) and who might not (usually women).

Although women didn’t legally own anything, even property given to them before marriage, some did write wills. They are genealogical treasures as women often included most people in the family, including the extended family.

Ms. McLaughlin sets out a road map of which wills were filed in what court. The explanations of terms within the text is supplemented by a brief glossary. A rough guide to locating wills by county includes Wales, Scotland, Isle of Man, Channel Islands and Ireland.

This book will give the researcher a good background on the description of wills, inventories, how and when wills were written and where they might be filed. It will also give the researcher the courage to look for wills for their various British ancestors.

Reviewed by Ann Wells
BIGWILL v.3 no.2, 1996

St. David’s Diocese Testators Will Index 1564-1750 by Richard James, PO Box 41, Llanelli, Dyfed SA15 2YF, Wales. c. 1993. £10, 6 microfiche. e-mail address: 100527.3220@Compuserve.Com

The full title of this microfiche set is the Will / Abstract Index of Original Wills in the Episcopal Consistory Court of St. David’s Diocese, excepting Archdeaconries. This means that all wills from the counties of Cardigan, Pembroke and Carmarthen. It does not include Radnor or Brecknock which are in the Diocese of St. David but form the Archdeaconry of Brecon.

The index is arranged in 5 columns: Surname, First name, Parish or Town, Will No. and Year. Having the place enables you to differentiate between people of the same name. For example there are 155 John David’s and 109 William Thomas’s in the index, so having a place enables you to narrow down the options to be checked.

For anyone with ancestors in this part of Wales this index is a must.

From the same source: Vol. 2 of the Wills index for St. David’s Diocese 1751-1858. Marriage index for Carmarthenshire 1813-1837, 16,000 marriages by bride and groom. Marriage Index for Pembrokeshire 1813-1837, 13,000 marriages by bride and groom. Marriage Index for Cardiganshire 1813-1837, 10,000 marriages by bride and groom. These indexes are each on 4 fiche, and are composite indexes for the whole county. (Other sources provide indexes arranged by Hundred, so for these 3 counties there would be 29 Hundreds). Each of the above indexes is £10. West Wales & Gower Bonds & Fiats 1612-1800 - Index £5.50 and Transcript £6.50. A search service is also provided for these and other indexes. Send an e-mail or write for details but don’t forget to enclose 2 International Reply Coupons.

The author has a new email address ( and web site ( )

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.3 no.2, 1996

Directory of Irish Archives, 2nd ed. by Seamus Helferty & Raymond Refausse. Irish Academic Press. c. 1993. Exclusive U.S. distributor is International Specialized Book Services, Inc., 5804 N.E. Hassalo Street, Portland OR 97213-3644. (503)287-3093, Fax (503)280-8832. $19.95. 154 pp.

This excellent guidebook provides detailed information on 224 archives in Ireland. For each location it provides: name and address of the archive, telephone numbers, title of the person to whom enquiries should be directed, opening hours and facilities, plus information on major collections. There is a 40% growth since the first edition in 1988.

The archives themselves are arranged in alphabetical sequence, but this is not adhered to strictly so that certain archives are grouped together. For example, the 9 Convents of Mercy are listed together under Sisters of Mercy.

There is a wide breadth of archives included from Drogheda Harbour Archives, to the Guiness Museum, to the Kilmainham Goal Museum, to the Royal Ulster Rifles Regimental Museum. The only institutions omitted are the labor-related and business archives as these are indexed in other sources.

An index by geographic location would have helped to find possible archives in the area in which you are searching. This is a valuable guide for knowing where to write in Ireland for information.

Note: This book is now in its fifth edition (2011), which has also been reviewed in this newsletter.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.3 no.2, 1996

Dumfries & Galloway: Some sources and places of interest for local and family history edited by Moira Aitken, Dumfries & Galloway Family History Society, Bridgepark, New Abbey. Dumfries, Scotland DG2 8HH. c. 1995. £3.00. 35 pp.

This little booklet is packed with names, addresses and opening hours of lots of institutions such as: libraries, museums, historic buildings, family history centres, shipping museums, art galleries, sites of antiquity, castles and tower houses, gardens, registrar offices. It also provides information on what is available and how to access burial records, monumental inscriptions, census records and reference books.

If you have ancestors in the former counties of Dumfries, Kirkcudbright and Wigtown then this is an ideal little reference book. Many of the institutions mentioned can provide you with assistance in your research.

I would also encourage you to join the society by writing to the membership secretary: Miss Erica Seggie, Jasma, Sandy Loaning, Locharbriggs, Dumfries DG1 1SA. The cost is $18 per year, for four issues of their journal. US checks are accepted. The society also publishes a number of other resources for research in the area.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.3 no.2, 1996

History of the Land and Their Owners in Galloway with Historical Sketches of the District by P.H.M’Kerlie. Heritage Books, 1540-E Pointer Ridge Pl., Suite 300, Bowie MD 20716. c. 1906 reprinted 1992. 2 vols 668 + 562 pp., indexed. paper. $72 plus $4 p&h. Visa, Mastercard, Checks and Money orders accepted.

The Galloway district lies in the southwest corner of Scotland and is most readily identified as the pre-1975 county of Wigtown. The catalog description states that the county of Kirkcudbright is in this district but no parishes from this county are included in this book. The area has strong ties with northern Ireland and many of the residents descend from immigrants who fled from Ireland during the Potato Famine years.

The first 261 pages of this large work provides lots of information on the general history of the area focussing on the ethnic groups that populated the area. The rest of the work provides a parish-by-parish account of the land and their owners, giving much genealogical information on the landowners who made up the middle and upper classes. Working class people who never owned land are not covered directly but the farms and estates where they labored are described in detail giving you lots of background information on your ancestors.

The descriptions of the land and features within a parish are very detailed and it highly recommended that a copy of the appropriate Ordnance Survey map of the area be obtained to get the most benefit from this book.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.3 no.2, 1996

Visitation of England and Wales, Vols. 1-21 (1894-1921), and Notes, Vols. 1-14 (1896-1921) edited by Joseph Jackson Howard, LL.D., Maltgravers Herald Extrodinary and Frederick Arthur Crisp. Heritage Books, Inc. 1540-E Pointer Ridge Pl., Suite 300, Bowie MD 20716. Price per volume varies. Visa / Mastercard / Checks/ Money Orders accepted. $4.00 p&h.

This series contain a vast wealth of information on English and Welsh pedigrees with supporting documentation. This series presents genealogical information in the form of pedigrees starting in the mid-18th century. These should not be confused with the Heralds visitations of earlier centuries. Pedigrees start with the grandparents of the principal person, and provide detailed information on all descendants, often covering 5 generations. The pedigrees are very specific, thus some surnames will be repeated in different volumes. Each volume contains at least one family from each shire.

P. William Filby in his bibliography American and British Genealogy and Heraldry states that this series has a high degree of accuracy. The book cover states that this series is indexed in Whitmore’s Genealogical Guide (1953). Indeed, this series is listed as one of the sources in Whitmore. However, random testing of principal surnames from volume one showed none of them could have been found using Whitmore. Therefore, this reviewer suggests that Whitmore is not an accurate way of accessing this resource. Each volume has a comprehensive everyname index and this should be checked for any surnames you are seeking. This is a very useful series if you have landed or titled family connections.

Vol. 1. $40.00. reprinted 1995. Principal names: Amphlett, Armytage, Assheton, Attree, Bacchus, Bagshawe, Bainbrigge, Bartlett, Barton, Bentley, Blaydes, Bloom, Boddington, Bradney, Bree, Brooke, Brown, Bushe, Byrth, Cass, Cavendish, Clay, Colby, Cole, Collier, Conder, Crowfoot, Cullum, Curtois, Dew, Dicker. Dickinson, Du Moulin Browne, Eales, Edwards, Emeris, Eshelby, Ewen, Faber, Flavel, Flory, Foljambe, Gale, Grubbe, Guile, Hales, Harvey, Hesketh, Hext, Hoblyn, Hooper, Howard, Howe, James, Jodrell, Johnson, Jones, Leeveson Gower, Littledale, Mant, Methold, Milner Gibson, Minet, Molyneux, Olive, Oliver, Parker, Paull, Perrott, Platt-Higgins, Pl;umer, Pilkington, Porter, Prentice, Prior, pritchett, Ricketts, Roots, Ryland, Rylands, Schomberg, Shann, Smith-Bosanquet, Sparrow, St. George, Sterry, Stone, Swann, Tempest, Tolhurst, Tudbery Turner, Watney, Wickham, Williams, Wilson, and Worthington.

Vol. 9. $32.00. reprinted 1996. principal names: Allen, Allgood, Ansell, Beebee, Blumer, Branford, Brocklebank, Burrell, Bury, Cave-Browne, Clippingdale, Collyer, Colman, Cookson, Cremer, D’Arcy, Freeman, Gerard, Gibbons, Hart-Davis, Heberden, Jessel, Lawson, Lillingston, Locock, Longden, Mair, Middleton, Normanby, Pellatt, Peren, Powell-Cotton, Royds, Spencer, Stanford, Strickland, Thornton-Duesbery, Waller, Ward, Webb, Wheler and Wood.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.3 no.2, 1996

A Genealogical History of the Dormant, Abeyant, Forfeited and Extinct Peerages of the British Empire by Sir Bernard Burke. Published by Genealogical Publishing Co., 1001 N. Calvert Street, Baltimore MD 21202. Originally published 1883, reprinted 1996. 642 pp. Illustrated, Index. Hardcover. $40 plus $3.50 shipping ($1.25 for each additional book).

The peers of the realm are those having the rank and hereditary title of duke, marquess, earl, viscount and baron or their female counterparts. They can be either of England, Scotland, Ireland or the United Kingdom. Only a limited number of peers of Scotland and Ireland have the right to sit in the House of Lords.

The arrangement for calling the larger land-holding barons to court or Parliament was first codified in Magna Carta. From the reign of Richard II, new peerages were formally conferred by Letters Patents, but writs of summons to Parliament continued to be sent out until they were abolished under Henry VIII. A Patent defined the peerage and its mode of descent, mostly to direct male descendants by primogeniture, whereas the older peerages-by-writ descended to heirs general, i.e. to females in the absence of male heirs.

A peerage falls into abeyance when more than one heir is equally entitled to inherit. This occurs in baronies created by writ-of-summons when, for want of a male heir, the right of succession is divided equally between sisters who are all co-heiresses. The peerage can be brought out of abeyance only after all but one of the sisters’ lines of descent have become extinct.

This volume lays out in great detail all peerages that in 1886 were dormant, abeyant, forfeited or extinct. How and when the peerage was created is listed along with details of the lineage. The lineage may end with the person receiving the title or it may extend over many generations. The information provided is regarded as highly accurate. There is also a description of the coat of arms.

This is one place to look to confirm or deny the family legend that your ancestor gave up his title and left England to seek his fortune. This is a valuable resource for those who have found peerage connections.

Note: This book is available as one of the eleven volumes on the CD-ROM Notable British Families, available from Genealogical Publishing Company, Baltimore, Maryland.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.3 no.3, 1996

European Settlers in Britain: 1550-1720. First International Conference proceedings of the Felixstowe Family History Society, 19-21 May 1995. Comb-binding. No index. Available from Mrs. Lake, 16 Western Avenue, Felixstowe IP11 9SB. £7.50 plus £3 p&h.

This collection of seven papers provides an excellent resource for those seeking ancestors who came to England from the continent of Europe.

The articles are: "Reformation and Revolt in the Netherlands and the Refugee Communities in England," by Ludo Vanadamme; "Arrival in Britain: Netherlanders in South East England 1550-1603," by Marcel Backhouse; "The Grand Refuge: Patterns of Huguenot Migration," by Randolph Vigne; "Huguenots in Spitalfields 1680-1720," by Mary Bayliss; "The Strangers in Norwich 1565-1700," by Douglas Rickwood; "Sources of Information on European Settlers," by Susan Highley.

The story of these European refugees began with the reaction of the Emperor Charles V to the spread of Protestantism within the Holy Roman Empire and his possessions in the Netherlands. The enforcement of the Interim of Augsburg (1548) and the Edict of Blood (1550) brought about the exodus that settled many religious refugees in London, Kent and East Anglia.

These proceedings provide a good resource for understanding the history of these refugees and provide numerous references for further research. A minor problem is that the titles in the table of contents do not match the titles on many of the papers.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.3 no.3, 1996

The Search for Missing Friends: Irish Immigrant Advertisements placed in the Boston Pilot, Volume IV: 1857-1860 edited by Ruth-Ann Harris and B. Emer O’Keefe. Published by New England Historic Genealogical Society, order from NEHGS Sales, 160 N. Washington St., Boston MA 02114-2120. Tel. 617/536-7307, Fax 617/536-7307. 1995. xxxiv, 783 pp. Hardback. $45 plus $3.50 p&h per volume. VISA and M/C accepted. 10% discount to members of NEHGS.

The "Missing Friends" or "Information Wanted" column was part of an essential communication network for newly arrived immigrants seeking people who had come to North America before them. This service was an important feature in the Boston Pilot newspaper for over a century where literally thousands of ads were placed in the hope of finding family and friends.

A typical ad will list the names of relatives, where they are from in Ireland and their last know location. A sample would be:

"OF JOHN, Bridget, Catharine, and Ellen CARROLL, natives of Ballycarr, parish Trugh [co. Clare]; when last heard from, 3 years ago, they were in Richmond, McHenry Co. Illinois. Any information will be thankfully received by their cousin, Patrick Fitzgerald, care of James Quinlan, Underhill, Vermont" (p.589).
There are indexes to persons and to places. This allows you also to find other people who may have migrated from your ancestral Irish community, or to find where the Irish in your US locality came from.

The 34-page introduction to this volume provides an excellent description of Vere Foster’s program to help capable single females emigrate to North America. The purpose was to help them get established so that they would work and send money back to Ireland to help other family members to emigrate. The introduction contains many sample application and success letters.

Other volumes currently available: Vol. 1: 1831-1850; Vol. 2: 1851-1853; Vol. 3: 1854-1856.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.3 no.3, 1996

The History Today Companion to British History edited by Juliet Gardiner and Neil Wenborn. Published by Collins & Brown, London House, Great Eastern Wharf, Parkgate Road, London SW11 4NQ. 1995. 840 pp. Hardcover. £25. Payment can be made by credit card through the distributors Biblios at 011-441-1403 711143 (fax).

This companion captures in over 4,500 entries an extensive range of entries covering political and constitutional history; economic, social, religious, cultural, military and women’s history all from the viewpoint of modern-day scholarship. It includes biographies of people who have shaped British history from rulers and politicians to reformers and revolutionaries, from historians and writers to artists and architects.

The entries cover the time from the first Roman invasion to 1979. Entries do include information up to the 1990s, but no entries start after that date, nor are people whose importance came after 1979 included.

For anyone studying British history this is an excellent reference tool.

History Today is Britain’s leading monthly history magazine. Subscriptions are £38 airmail from History Today Ltd., Dept HTB, Freepost 38, 28 Old Compton Street, London W1E 5BS.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.3 no.3, 1996

The Very Bloody History of Britain without the Boring Bits by John Farman, Red Fox Book, Random House Books, 20 Vauxhall Bridge Road, London SW1V 2SA. 1990. 156 pp. Paperback. Illustrated, No Index. £3.99.

"King Henry VI became the first sovereign to wear nappies" in 1422. So starts the brief chapter called "King of the Cradle" in which author John Farman summarizes the history of England from the accession of Henry VI through the conclusion of the War of the Roses. In four quick pages he sums up the highlights with hilarious descriptions that are the secret of his success as a writer of comedy. We learn, for example, that at Bosworth, Richard III "jauntily sported his crown into battle, got the worst of it, and at one point offered his kingdom for a horse." This of course is but one episode in the War of the Roses, "which seemed to be about whether red roses were nicer than white ones." At the end of this chapter as with all others, Farman adds a list of other historic happenings of the period, to keep us laughing, honest, and in the end, to educate us. Cartoon illustrations throughout add to the humor without detracting from the accuracy of the history.

In just over 150 pages, this slim paperback book covers English history from prehistoric man through World War II. Funny as it is (I was laughing out loud all the way through), this book summarizes the history of England very accurately. It also makes a point. Farman’s humorous style reminds us that we are funny creatures. Motivated as we are by greed, lust, avarice, or even charity, honor, and true nobility, we do a lot of crazy things. Our actions make up the events that create history. When we look at what has happened over the centuries from this human point of view, we surely ought to see the humor in ourselves as the creators of history.

For this American who has taken great pains to learn English history from more sober authors, I found Farman’s approach fresh, delightful, and still true to the facts. For any genealogist who wants a review of English history, this book offers delightful instruction.

Reviewed by Carol Becker
BIGWILL v.3 no.3, 1996

Dictionary of Old Trades and Occupations, 2nd ed. by Andrew & Sandra Twinning. 313 Pimpala Road, Mt. Hurtle, Woodcroft SA 5162, Australia. 1995. 108 pp. Paperback. US $12.50 includes airmail postage. Fax 61-8-322-8102. M/C & Visa accepted.

This is a superb dictionary of pre-1900 occupations that genealogists will find mentioned in old documents. This second edition has added over 500 entries to the first edition, bringing the total to over 1500 entries. Each entry provides the name and a brief description. Any book like this cannot include every occupation and the authors admit to not include every specialized occupation for industries such as mining, textile, shipbuilding, the cooperages, breweries, distilleries and sugar-refineries.

The book concludes with a listing of Latin terms for common occupations and bibliography to lead you to further sources.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.3 no.3, 1996

The Battle of Waterloo 1815 by Andrew & Sandra Twinning. 313 Pimpala Road, Mt. Hurtle, Woodcroft SA 5162, Australia. 1993. 29 pp. Paperback. US $5.50 includes airmail postage. Fax 61-8-322-8102. M/C & Visa accepted.

This book is a collection of short pieces about the Battle of Waterloo including: A sketch of the battle fought Sunday June 18, 1815; alphabetical list of officers killed and wounded from the Official Returns 16 June to 26 June 1815; additional list of Hanoverians killed and wounded; military and biographical notices of the fallen heroes; Battle of Waterloo honours; list of regiments under the command of Field Marshal Duke of Wellington showing the total loss of the British and Hanoverians; list of where the various English regiments were formed; and useful publications.

If family tradition suggests an ancestor was at the Battle of Waterloo, this is a useful little book. It will give you a list of regiments present and officers who died or were promoted on the field of battle, as well as indicating where you can look for further information.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.3 no.3, 1996

Genealogical Research in England’s Public Record Office: A Guide for North Americans by Judith Prowse Reid. Published by Genealogical Publishing Co., 1001 N. Calvert Street, Baltimore MD 21202. 1996. 148 pp. Illustrated, Index. Hardcover. $22.50 plus $3.50 shipping ($1.25 for each additional book).

The Public Record Office (PRO) in London is one of the richest genealogical repositories in the world. This book begins by addressing the general question of when to use the PRO and why. It provides very current references for books to get you started on your English research. Some references so current that they have not been published yet. The book progresses to talk about the logistics of getting to and working at the PRO. This is basic information found in many books but is very current acknowledging the many changes that are occurring with the movement of records from Chancery Lane in London to Kew.

The following chapter provides a good explanation of the class lists which are used to organized the material and are created by the originating government agency. This section is especially strong in citing published records and tools for US Colonial research.

The next two chapters dealing with Emigration, Immigration and other records is where this book excels. A good overview is given of lots of sources and record classes helpful to the North American researcher but often omitted as not relevant in books written about the PRO for English researchers. To learn more specifically what these record classes contain the researcher is directed to other resources.

The appendices provide useful tools for the researcher including a listing of addresses, telephone numbers and guidebooks for the county record offices. However, not all guide books are listed, for example the 1993 Cumbrian Ancestors which is especially important for the records in Cumbria are scattered across three offices. As with all address lists it is soon out of date, the Shropshire Record Office relocated in May 1995.

Overall this is a must if you want to know what records are available in England for helping you get from North America back to England.

Note: This book is now in its second edition (2000), which has also been reviewed in this newsletter.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.3 no.4, 1996

Railway Ancestors: A Guide to the Staff Records of the Railway Companies of England and Wales 1822-1947 by David T. Hawkings. Published by Alan Sutton Publishing Limited, Phoenix Mill, Far Thrupp, Strood, Gloucestershire, England. 1995. xviii, 509 pp. Tables, figures, bibliography, index. Hardback. £25.

This excellent research tool can be divided into two sections. The first section of nine chapters covers 181 pages and provides us with a description of the railway records that provide information about individuals. The second section provides seven appendices, a bibliography and indexes covering a further 329 pages.

In the nine chapters we find descriptions with examples of the different records groups. We read about: George Wynne who investigates the crash in April 1850 caused by the collapse of a bridge; Ralph Turner who asks in 1858 for a subscription towards the expense of a cork leg to replace his real leg lost when it was run over by an engine; Mr. James Edward Mumford who at age 56 retires due to failing eyesight after 26 years of service and seeks a gratuity of £60 instead of annuity so that he can open a small shop to support his wife and 26 year old cripple son. These are some of the many examples cited in the text.

The appendices provide valuable research tools. The first appendix lists alphabetically all 988 railways known to have operated prior to nationalization in 1947, with their date of incorporation, and dates covered by any records known to exist. Appendix 2 provides a list of railway companies by county so you know which railway companies are possibilities for you to check. As the author rightly points out neighboring counties need to be examined because an ancestor may have traveled a long distance daily on trains operated by one company to get to work, only to be employed by a different company. Appendix 3 provides a listing of known surviving company records, with their PRO class numbers. This listing includes all companies that were forced by the government to merge in 1923 to form four regional companies. The index of persons includes all people named in the text, or typed in the many tables but does not include people named in copies of actual documents.

If you think you have railway ancestors then this book is a must.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.3 no.4, 1996

The Brookwood Necropolis Railway by John M. Clarke. Published by The Oakwood Press, P.O.Box 122, Headington, Oxford OX3 8LU, England. 1995. viii, 120 pp. Drawings and photographs. Paperback. £8.95. Fax. 011-441-1865-875322, telephone 011-441-1865-874080 Visa and M/C accepted.

The "London Necropolis" was intended to become London’s only cemetery by providing enough land to contain all the metropolitan dead for an almost indefinite period. It was established to solve London’s burial problem. The city’s population had more than doubled between 1801 and 1851, while the burial grounds remained stable in size. This led to congestion and inappropriate burial practices.

The London Necropolis Company was established in 1852 and provided the Brookwood cemetery near Woking in Surrey. A special train service was established on the London & South Western Railway between Waterloo and Brookwood. This service operated until the destruction of the terminus in WWII.

This book discusses in detail the process by which bodies and the funeral followers were transported to the Brookwood cemetery, how that differed depending upon the deceased standing in society, and what costs were involved. The cemetery layout, railway equipment and stations are well illustrated.

A superb book if your ancestors worked on this railway or were buried in this cemetery and you want to know how they got there.

If you have located your railway ancestor and want to know more about the railway on which they worked then contact this company for their catalog of over 150 titles of books and videos dealing with specific railways around the country.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.3 no.4, 1996

CAGe - Computer Aided Genealogy: A Guide to using Computer Software for Family History by Nigel Bayley. Published by S & N Publishing, 5 Polden Close, Farnborough, Hants GU14 9HN, England. 1995. 60pp. Charts, illustrations. Softcover. £4.95. All major credit cards accepted. Fax 011-441-1252-378054, e-mail

This book is designed for the beginner and the experienced computer user. For the beginner it lays out what equipment is needed and what to look for in DOS, Windows and Mac based shareware and commercial genealogy programs. The emphasis is on the genealogy skills and requirements of the user, not the computer experience. All major UK products and most, but not all, US products are discussed. There is a good discussion of why you should use a genealogy program rather than a database or spreadsheet for recording your data. The major difference is in search and output capabilities.

The different types of charts and reports that these programs can produce are discussed in detail. This is an area where flexibility and output has improved greatly over the last few years. The researcher can insert and change the layout of family trees and charts plus include pictures. Also important is the discussion of programs that produce drop line charts which are rare in US based programs but so common for those of us who correspond with UK researchers.

For the more experienced researcher there is a good detailed discussion of GEDCOM and its capabilities, graphics files, optical character recognition programs and how to access information through computer networks. The book concludes with a good summary chart of the major DOS and Windows based programs. This summary chart alone is worth the price of the book.

The author points out that we are passed the point where one program will meet all our genealogy needs. This is a good place to start if you are a first time buyer looking at what is available or seeking a program to meet a new need.

This book is now in its second edition. Here is some updated information provided by the publisher in Mar. 1999: (Now includes CD of genealogy software) Published by S & N Publishing, Greenacres, Salisbury Rd, Chilmark, Salisbury SP3 5AH, England. 1999. 60pp. £5.95. All major credit cards accepted.
Fax 011-441-1722  -716160 Tel  -716121. Web Secure Ordering: <>

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.3 no.4, 1996

Great Scots! The Scottish American Hall of Fame by James Casement Thomson. Published by The Illinois St. Andrew Society, 28th & Des Plaines Ave., North Riverside IL 60546. $15 plus $3 p&h pp extra copies $0.50 c Fax 708/447-5269.

This is a collection of one-page tributes to the Americans from Scotland or of Scottish descendent who made a significant contribution to life in the United States. The text and engraved pictures are from the memorial tablets in the Scottish American Hall of Fame maintained at the Scottish Home in North Riverside, IL. All the text was written by Mr. James Casement Thomson who died in 1994. This book is published in his memory.

Each vignette contains some basic biographical information about the Scotsman plus a summary of their achievements. Each person is organized by group which includes: American founders; explorers & pioneers; US Presidents; politicians & public officials; religious leaders; soldiers & sailors; business leaders & industrialists; writers & publishers; fine artists; inventors; scientists; physicians; other great Scottish-Americans.

This book is a great gift for anyone proud of their Scottish heritage.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.3 no.4, 1996

The Surnames of Wales by John and Sheila Rowlands. Published by Genealogical Publishing Co. 1001 N. Calvert Street, Baltimore MD 21202. 1996. 217 pp. Maps, tables and index. Softcover. $19.95 plus $3.50 p&h.

You know that your Jones and Davies ancestors came from Wales but you don’t know where. This book gives you hope, even when you have common Welsh names on your family tree.

The book discusses thoroughly the transition from patronymics to the adoption of surnames, showing how that the time period of change varied depending upon the location within Wales. Those areas under English influence adopted the names earlier than the strong Welsh speaking areas. The completion of the transition to surnames was forced by the beginning of civil registration in 1837. The effect of this transition is well illustrated with individuals often being known by many different names, and children of a couple appearing to have different surnames. Good examples for researchers struggling with Welsh naming patterns.

There is a large section that discusses in detail many surnames associated with Wales and where they are to be found. The distribution of surnames is based on analysis of all 1813-1837 marriage records. Surname distribution is well illustrated by maps showing the percentage of people within a geographic hundred with a particular name. The authors contend that statistically their hypothesis about the distribution of a surname is likely to remain valid over the 1780-1880 period.

The two chapters entitled Further Uses of the Survey and Migration, Emigration and Place of Origin give good examples on how to apply the information found in this book to find your ancestors. The authors provide a service for researchers who want to know the probability of where in Wales their ancestors originated, assuming they have at least two connected Welsh surnames.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.3 no.5, 1996

Exploring Scottish History: A Directory of Resource Centres for Scottish Local and National History in Scotland edited by Michael Cox. Published by the Scottish Library Association, Motherwell Business Centre, Coursington Road, Motherwell ML1 1PW, Scotland. 1992. Softcover 161 pp. £6.95.

The book is a joint collaboration between the Scottish Library Association, the Scottish Records Association and the Scottish Museums Federation. As a result the breadth of collections included is large, covering 238 institutions. The information provided includes: reference number, name of organization, address, telephone and fax numbers, title or name of person to contact, brief general description of the collection, terms of use, hours of opening, description of location, listing of primary source material, publications and reprographics. The institution listings are in alphabetical order, with an index of geographic locations.

If you are looking for specific material in Scotland or need ideas for your research, this is an ideal place to look. You will learn about the large O’Dell collection of Scottish railway materials at Aberdeen University, trade records from 1622-1938 for different occupations at the Angus District Library in Montrose, and photographs of ships operating to and from Scottish waters at the Scottish Maritime Museum. If you are looking for information about a particular occupation then you may need to cover a large area. If you are looking for the records of a particular notable family then information is given on how to contact the National Registry of Archives for information to ascertain if material exists in a public or private collection.

This book is a great resource; however, since its publication there has been a major reorganization of the local governments in Scotland. This means that some material may have been moved to another institution. The warning is given in the book but is worth repeating here that if you are planning on going to Scotland to visit a particular collection, write ahead of time to make sure it is still there and it is what you are looking for. Many of these institutions will also respond by mail to specific inquiries.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.3 no.5, 1996

The Scotch-Irish by Charles A. Hanna. Published by Genealogical Publishing Co., 1001 N. Calvert Street, Baltimore MD 21202. Maps, tables and index. Hardcover. 1902, reprinted 1995. 2 Vols. 623 and 602 pp. $75 plus $3.50 p&h for the first vol. and $1.25 for additional volume.

This is a massive compilation of source records relating to Scots who settled in Northern Ireland and America. Volume 1 begins with a section entitled America’s Debt to Scotland where it lays out the key role Scots played in shaping the formation of the US with its emphasis on Liberty and Conscience and ideals.

The next section deals with the Scot in North Britain. This section gives a good historical overview of Scottish cultural history but is too early for most genealogists. I personally found the section dealing with the history and documentation about the life of William Wallace interesting to read especially after watching the movie Braveheart and trying to determine fact from fiction.

The next section deals with the Scot in North Ireland. This begins with the early plantations providing lists and information on the original Scottish "undertakers" in the early 17th century. The movement to Ulster was complete by the end of the century. The causes for the migration to the U.S. is discussed in detail providing numerous lists of when and where the Presbyterian colonies were established in the U.S.

In these two volumes there are copies of the texts of many original documents which would be very difficult to locate in U.S. sources. These books are not light reading, but for anyone with early Scots in Ulster or Colonial Scotch-Irish this is a resource to be examined.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.3 no.5, 1996

Jollies Cumberland Guide & Directory 1811: Containing a descriptive tour through the County. 1811, reprinted 1995. viii, 138 pp. £35. History and Directory of West Cumberland, 1901 by T. Bulmer. 1901, reprinted 1994. 152 pp. £15. Both reprinted by Michael Moon, 41 Roper Street, Whitehaven, Cumbria, England. Tel. 011-441-1946-62936. Payment by Sterling checks, credit cards not accepted.

Jollies guide and directory is the earliest directory for Cumberland and was originally printed by hand in two volumes. They are extremely rare now. They have been combined into one volume for this beautiful quality reproduction. I wish there were more companies willing to reproduce the old volumes in this quality.

The book contains three loose maps in a pocket at the back of Carlisle, Workington and Whitehaven at a scale of 6 1/2 inches to the mile. They are dated 1811 but actually were created in 1794 with some minor alternations such as new mines being added.

The guide book describes a journey through all the towns of Cumberland in 1811. This is a fascinating journey mentioning many of the land owners in the area. You see how the cost of provisions increased rapidly from 1793 to 1796, learn about street manure being sold in Carlisle, public water pumps being put up in Whitehaven, and how the fortifications at Whitehaven were increased to 98 canon after John Paul Jones attacked the harbor in April 1788.

Both parts of the directory contain lists of the professionals and tradesmen in most of the towns in the county. Your ancestor may not be found in the lists. But, if your ancestor is in the county in this time period, this book is a must for getting a good description of the industry, people and land.

The Bulmer’s reprint is one section from a much larger edition (990 pages) entitled A History, Topography and Directory of Cumberland published in 1901. This directory is designed for those wishing to find their grandparents in the area. The directory is organized by community beginning with a good detailed description, history of the local industries, descriptions of all the churches, schools and significant organizations within the area. The description for the town of Harrington, for example, shows how significantly the community had grown in the prior century. It got only a passing reference in Jollie’s directory of 1811. The directory covers the Western or Egremont Parliamentary Division of the county. A map showing the boundaries of the Division would have helped users not in the area. The boundaries appear to be Harrington to the north on the coast, Haverigg and Millom to the South, and inland into the Ennerdale, Wastwater and Eskdale valleys. This is a quality paperback book. I especially liked that extra-long, folded front and back covers that in effect provide built-in book marks.

ed - George Washington’s grandmother is buried near Moon’s shop. Michael Moon produces an excellent catalogue of local used and rare books. This is a resource you need to know about if you have Cumbrian ancestors. I only wish I had ancestors from here.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.3 no.5, 1996

Essex Family History: A Genealogist’s Guide to the Essex Record Office, 4th ed. Published by the Essex Record Office, County Hall, Chelmsford Essex CM1 1LX, England. 1995. 167 pp. Spiral-comb binding. £6.50. Payment by credit card or sterling check. Order by mail or fax to 011-441-1245-430085.

For those with Essex ancestors this is the book to learn what basic and advanced records are available for your research. This is especially important given that only about 10% of the Essex parishes are included in the IGI. There are three depositories in Essex with the main branch being in Chelmsford. This book lists which records are where.

The book begins with a good introduction to doing genealogical research in Essex, although the information is applicable anywhere in England. The largest section of the book on green paper lists the Anglican parish registers and transcripts. It provides details on each parish showing what years are available in the original registers on microfilm, fiche and whether indexes are available. A section on yellow paper shows similar information for the non-conformist registers.

There are also sections dealing with records of: probate, marriage licenses, poor law, electoral and taxation, quarter sessions, police, protestation returns, militia, tithe and manorial, monumental inscriptions, plus their index to personal names. For each of these records there is an brief but good explanation of what they are, followed by a list of the holdings of the archives.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.3 no.5, 1996

Meath Ancestors: A Guide to Sources for Tracing your Ancestors in Co. Meath by Noel E. French. Published by Trymme Press. Obtain from Meath Heritage Centre, Mill Street, Trim, Co. Meath, Ireland. 1993. 72 pp. Softcover. £9.00 IR or UK, or $20.00.

This guide is written by the director of the Meath Heritage Centre. It is a very useful guide to finding your Meath Ancestors. The guide covers family surnames and famous people from the county, administrative divisions, church records, civil registration, land records, monumental inscriptions, directories, newspapers, other records, published family histories, local histories, addresses and further reading. There is also a chapter dealing with the development of the centre. For Americans this chapter illustrates how this centre, and others, have developed.

The chapter on church records is especially good, listing both the Church of Ireland and the Roman Catholic parishes and stating what registers survive, where they are currently located and what have been indexed by the centre. The chapters on other records, published family histories and local histories are especially important because they list sources and publications that are rarely heard about in the U.S. When you know of the existence of a resource, it is easier to track that resource down.

Definitely a valuable resource for those with Meath ancestors.

ed. - The Meath Heritage Centre has also published a number of other local history books. If you are interested in doing a search through this Heritage centre I have the forms and costs sheets.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.3 no.5, 1996

Finding Folk: Handlist of Genealogical Sources in Lancashire Record Office published by Lancashire Record Office, Bow lane, Preston PR1 2RE, Lancashire, England. 1995. 209 pp. £? No credit cards accepted, payment in sterling with order by mail. Telephone 011-441-1772-263028 or fax to 011-441-1772-263050.

This handlist aims to and succeeds in listing the main sources available for Lancashire research such as probate and church records. It does not list the more specialized sources such as taxation, police, judicial, hospital or school records. Research in Lancashire has been complicated by county and ecclesiastical boundary changes in the late 19th century and again in 1974. These changes are well illustrated on maps and explained in the text.

The chapter dealing with probate records is especially good showing which record offices have the original records, microfilm copies, and what indexes are available, for what time periods. The bulk of the publication is taken up with three separate lists of all the Church of England, Roman Catholic and Nonconformist parish registers. The listing for each shows where they are available, for what years and where there are gaps (20 years in the 18C and 5 years in the 19C and 20C). Also listed for each parish are the existence of any transcripts or indexes, what years if any are included in the IGI, Boyd’s marriage index, or Owen’s index of registers and monumental inscriptions. The inclusion of these index references is especially useful since the IGI and Boyd’s marriage index is readily available through the LDS.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.3 no.5, 1996

Visitation of England and Wales, Vols. 1-21 (1894-1921), and Notes, Vols. 1-14 (1896-1921) edited by Joseph Jackson Howard, LL.D., Maltgravers Herald Extrodinary and Frederick Arthur Crisp. Heritage Books, Inc., 1540-E Pointer Ridge Pl., Suite 300, Bowie MD 20716. Price per volume varies. Visa / Mastercard / Checks / Money Orders accepted. $4.00 p&h.

A full review of this series is to be found in Vol.3 No.2 of the BIGWILL newsletter. These are primarily pedigrees starting in the mid-18th century from various counties.

Vol. 11. $33.00, reprinted in 1996. Principal names: Abercromby, Barlow, Cave-Brown-Cave, Clark, Coode, De Chair, De Mauley, Freeman, Goddard, Grey, Hamilton, Harrison, Hodsoll, Hunt, Jackson, Jones, Landon, Lockett, Norbury, Patchett, Phillips, Portman, Raglan, Roberts, Roddoam, Shedden, Sieveking, South, Steedman, Taylor, Teague, Thursby, Welch, Wood, Worsley.

Vol. 13. $35.00, reprinted in 1996. Principal names: Adams, Amherst (Earl), Armstrong (Baron), Auden, Bagot, Brewster, Colyer, Crisp, Duncan, Dunne, Edmeades, Finnemore, Fisher, Fletcher, Graham, Keighly-Peach, Kenrick, Littledale, Master, Maughan-Ettrick, Milner (Baronet), Nelson (Earl), Powis (Earl of), Ridley, Round, Scarbrough (Earl of), Sherborn, Shuttleworth (Baron), Spedding, Tenterden (Baron), Treves (Baronet), Vaillant, Vidler, Wigan (Baronet).

Vol. 14. $35.00, reprinted in 1996. Principal names: Ancaster (earl of), Atlay, Barlow (Baronet), Barry, Bodington, Brassey (Baron), Clay (Baronet), Comber, Courtenay, Crisp, Dale, Darell (formerly Stephens), Dent, Disraeli, Elliot, Eyre-Matcham, Fanshawe, Fitzwilliam (Earl), Gidley, Griffith, Harwood, Helps, Jalland, Mawdesley, Moore, Morrice, Pickersgill-Cunliffe, Potts, Poynter (Baronet), Ratcliff, Rendlesham (Baron), Rugge-Price (Baronet), Stapleton, Talboys, Tennyson (Baron), Thursfield, Vincent, Wescombe, White, Woodhead, Wright.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.3 no.5, 1996

Landmark, Journal of the Waukesha County Historical Society, Autumn/Winter 1996, V.39, No.3,4. Waukesha County Historical Society, P.O. Box 833, Waukesha WI 53187-0833. 68 pp. $4 plus $1.50 p&h. Make check payable to "Waukesha County Museum Store".

This double journal issue of the Waukesha County Historical Society is different from our normal book review but well worth your consideration. Jean Jolliffe, our November speaker, brought this resource to our attention.

The impetus for the journal was the 1850 diary of George Davey who sailed from Padstow, Cornwall, to Quebec on the barque Belle. George later settled in Ottowa, Waukesha County, Wisconsin. It is rare to have a second diary for the same journey but Richard Rundell provides us with another viewpoint of the trip. The rest of the journal is a collection of articles: The Cornish in Southeastern Wisconsin; The Cornish in Southwest Wisconsin; The Barque Belle of Padstow; The Ghost Ships: Insured by Lloyd’s of London; The Perils of the Sea: The Immigrant Experience in 1850; The Port of Quebec; Who were the Bible Christians?; A profile of George Davey and his family; Profiles: Temperance Meeting aboard the Belle.

This collection of papers is a fascinating study of what can be done with different aspects of an immigrant’s journey and life. The ship and ship-board life, the traveling companions and their place of origin, plus their journey upon arrival in the US are all examined. The impact of their religious experience in Cornwall and the U.S. is also examined. This is the type of material you need to locate to put flesh on your ancestors vital statistics. The article bibliographies will lead you into further research on the journey and life of your ancestors.

The journal could have been improved by the inclusion of a name and place index. That way the single references to Bluett, Cornish, and other surnames I know of being researched by our members would be easily found. A good, inexpensive purchase with a lot of great material.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.3 no.6, 1996

Sources for Cornish Family History, 35 pp. Paperback. c. 1988, revised January 1996. £4 surface mail and Guide to Sources at the Cornwall Record Office, 80 pp. Paperback. c. Nov. 1995. £7 surface mail. Both obtainable from Cornwall Record Office, County Hall, Truro TR1 3AY, Cornwall, England.

Sources for Cornish Family History begins with a brief introduction to records typically used by the family historian such as: parish registers; census returns; probate and poor law records; deeds; pedigrees; etc. The bulk of this guide is taken up with two long listings. The first list presents the beginning and ending dates of the registers for the Church of England parishes, along with whether the marriages are included in the Phillimore Marriage Index. This listing can be found in other resources. The second listing provides information on over 500 surviving registers for the different branches of Methodism and their circuits. This is an important resource because it is calculated that by 1851 64% of churchgoers in Cornwall attended Methodist services and only 28% attended the established church. The remainder of the guide lists smaller record groups for other Nonconformists, and brief information on other depositories having Cornish collections.

Guide to Sources at the Cornwall Record Office is where you need to turn after you have done the basics. This excellent guide is divided into sections examining records from the public, local government, Church of England, businesses and industries, family and estate, nonconformist, voluntary organizations, printed sources, and sources elsewhere. This book is organized by the group that contributed the records and so certain types of records will appear in different record classes depending on who had custody of the records at the time of deposition. The good index will help you find similar records deposited by different groups. The origin and purpose of each record group is described and for me provides one of the best resources I have come across for information about a lot of different record groups for use by the family historian. The descriptions will provide you with lots of ideas on what exists for what time period and where to go next in your research.

This excellent guide to the records of Cornwall will certainly take you beyond the basics and into resources that will certainly provide lots of background information about your ancestors life and possibly your ancestor. Many of these records will not be available in the US so you will need this guide to plan your next trip to Cornwall or to have research done for you in Cornwall. The book concludes with a long and excellent bibliography organized by topic to get you deeper into your research.

The County Record Office does provide research services at £12 per hour, with copies extra. Contact Paul Milner if you are interested in further information on services provided.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.3 no.6, 1996

Guide to the Cheshire Record Office (and Chester Diocesan Record Office) edited by Caroline Williams. Cheshire Record Office, Duke Street, Chester, Cheshire CH1 1RL. c. 1991, reprinted 1994. 166 pp. Maps, illustrations and index. Paperback. £10.68 airmail. Payment by Sterling checks to "Cheshire County Council". No credit cards.

The county archivist warns that this book is now somewhat out of date and is currently being revised. This volume, which is a high quality production, was developed in 1989 when the Cheshire Record Office celebrated its 40th anniversary and won the nationally-awarded Phillimore prize in 1992.

The records have been divided into three broad groups: official organizations, ecclesiastical bodies and private concerns. Within these, each group is prefaced by a note on the origin, powers and functions of the record creating body and is followed by a brief description of the main record types with covering dates and group references. The level of detail varies but the general aim is to reveal the richness of Cheshire sources; in this it succeeds. Related records from different sources are brought together in the guide, and the excellent index encourages the user to take a subject-orientated approach to the records.

This is an area that has undergone many boundary changes and the Diocese of Chester was much bigger than the current county of Cheshire. The maps illustrate some of these changes. There is no map of the parishes within the county or the diocese. There is a list of all Church of England parishes showing the dates of the registers held. More unusually the list also shows the dates for which other parish records are held. Similar lists are provided for the large number of Methodist circuits and chapels, plus other nonconformist groups.

There is also a very extensive collection of records from over 800 schools, predominantly 19th and 20th century. There are lots of sources listed here that will keep you busy in your Cheshire research for a long time to come. Definitely a required text if you are going to do any in depth research in Cheshire.

The County Record Office does provide research services at £16 per hour, with copies extra. Contact Paul Milner if you are interested in further information on services provided.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.3 no.6, 1996

Studies in Peerage and Family History by J. Horace Round. Published by Clearfield Company, 200 E. Eager Street, Baltimore MD 21202. 496 pp. Indexed. Paper. 1901, reprinted 1996. $39.95 plus $3.50 p&h.

The author is regarded as the founder of scientific genealogy in England. The largest section of this fine book highlights the controversy that existed at the turn of the century over the subject of the peerage. Called into question is the validity of many of the pedigrees found in Burke’s and provided by the College of Arms. The message for modern readers is that all lines need to be verified and documented even when dealing with illustrious families. The problems of errors increases as one moves from the Peerage to the Landed Gentry. I have found errors in Burke’s Landed Gentry for one of my own lines.

The rest of the book provides detailed examples of good scientific research into noble families and their connection with history, using as examples the English Hapsburgs, Russels, Spencers, Lord Glamorgan and Earl of Mowbray.

The turn-of-the-century prose makes this a tough read but the scholarship illustrated makes it worthwhile.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.3 no.6, 1996

Kent Churches by John E. Vigar. Published by Alan Sutton Publishing Ltd., Phoenix Mill, Far Thrupp, Stroud, Gloucestershire. 1995. 152 pp. Maps, photographs. Indexed. Softcover. £8.99.

This guide book is divided into two sections. Section 1, consisting of 43 pages, presents a good overview of what to look for when you examine a church to learn its history, origins and remodeling. It starts with a look at the exterior structural details before moving inside to look at the church interior and its furnishings. Each feature discussed is illustrated with examples from Kent churches which cover over 1,500 years of building history This section of the book serves as a good example of how to look at a church to learn about it and is relevant to other parts of England, even though the specifics might change.

Section 2, the remainder of the book, is a gazetteer of selected Kent churches. Not all churches are described. The brief descriptions and many photographs illustrate some of the unique features for each church. If your ancestor is from this area, this is a good beginning to learning about the church. When you get to Kent you will want to obtain the churches local guide which will give you more specifics. Overall, a good aid for adding life to your genealogy if your ancestors are from Kent.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.3 no.6, 1996

Short Guides to Records: First Series-Guides 1-24 edited by L. M. Munby. Published by The Historical Association, 59a Kennington Park Road, London SE11 4JH, England. Copyright 1994. Softcover. 120 pp. £8. Tel: 011-441-171-735-3901, Fax: 011-441-171-582-4989.

This is a collection of short guides originally published between 1961 and 1971 and now collected together and reissued in this guide. The papers cover a wide range of subjects providing a variety of historical records from mediaeval times to the nineteenth century. The topics include: rate books; poll books; probate inventories; estate maps and surveys; guardians’ minute books; chantry certificates; hearth tax returns; Episcopal visitation books; estates acts of parliament; wills; recusant rolls; deeds of title; glebe terriers; enclosure awards and acts; records of commissions and sewers; land tax assessments; parliamentary surveys; turnpike records; fire insurance policy registers; tithe apportionments and maps; chapter act books; port books; quarter session order books and local reports to the general board of health.

The guides provide an excellent and fascinating introduction to the different classes of records. Each guide provides an example of the record and a description of the document’s format. This is followed by an explanation of where the researcher can find the records and how to use them for genealogical and historical research. Each guide concludes with a bibliography which is now dated, but still provides valid recommendations for further research.

This is an excellent, inexpensive book providing whole classes of documents that researchers here in the US rarely attempt to search. Some of these record groups are available here on microfilm for many counties. If you are stuck and want new ideas on where to look, or are planning research in a county or diocesan records office in England or Wales, I would highly recommend this book.

Note: You can join The Historical Association, at the above address, and receive a discount on all its publications. The membership year runs from October to September. For £23 receive quarterly copies of The Historian. For £39 receive The Historian and the journal History. For £57 receive The Historian, History and the Annual Bulletin of Historical Literature.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.4 no.1, 1997

Your Scottish Ancestry: A Guide for North Americans by Sherry Irvine. Ancestry Inc., P. O. Box 476, Salt Lake City, UT 84110-0476. Copyright 1996. 253 pp. Illustrations, index, maps, tables. Softcover. $17.95. 1-800-262-3787.

If you have Scottish ancestry and want ideas of how to do research, this book is for you. It succeeds in providing a logical research process for family historians based in North America. Many of the records discussed in the book are available through the LDS Family History Centers, or in printed form at the Newberry Library or major university libraries in the area.

The first two chapters of the book remind researchers of the care needed in researching on this side of the Atlantic, especially in terms of locating and documenting the immigrant and his or her relatives. This care is vital because the location for Scottish research will be based on this information.

Chapters focus on civil registration, records of the Church of Scotland, Secessionists and other denominations, disposition of goods and property, trades and occupations, taxes and contracts, special people and problem solving. The layout of the chapters is excellent with a description of the records and helpful illustrations, followed by tips on how to make the most effective use of the records either directly or through other tools. Appropriate warnings are given of potential pitfalls in the records. The chapters conclude with a useful summary of the steps to take in your research.

The chapter dealing with the disposition of goods and property is especially helpful. The chapter covers Testamentary Records, the Services of Heirs and the Register of Sasines, providing the best explanation of these complicated record groups that I have come across.

The appendices discuss in depth the major tools provided by the LDS: the library catalog, indexes to baptisms and marriages (IGI, OPR Index, Scottish Church Records) plus the Parliamentary papers. The book concludes with an excellent annotated bibliography.

If you want one resource to get you into your Scottish research, this one comes highly recommended.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.4 no.1, 1997

Celtic Women: Women in Celtic Society and Literature by Peter Berresford Ellis. Published by William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, MI 49503. Copyright 1995. 288 pp. Bibliography, index. $25.

For those interested in Celtic history and the social position which women held in Celtic society, Ellis provides an interesting overview for the general reader. Chapters include mythology, pre-Christian religion, Celtic law, the Celtic church and women in medieval history. Most of the author’s references are based on Irish and Welsh history law. His secondary sources listed in the bibliography are recognized scholars in Celtic studies.

Ellis is a scholar of Celtic history and culture who has written several books including Celtic Empire, A Dictionary of Celtic Mythology, Celtic and Saxon, and The Druids

In light of the current movement for equality in this country, I was particularly interested to learn of the equal balance between men and women in Celtic Society.

Reviewed by Jacqueline Torrance
BIGWILL v.4 no.1, 1997

Guide to the South Humberside Area Archive Office by John Wilson. North East Lincolnshire Archives and Record Service, Town Hall, Town Hall Square, Grimsby DN31 1HX. 92pp. £7. Checks payable to: North East Lincolnshire Council. Tel: 011-441-1472-323585.

The name of this institution has changed from the South Humberside to the North East Lincolnshire Archive Office. The area covered includes: Scunthorpe municipal borough; Glanford Brigg rural district; Barton upon Humber urban district; Brigg urban district; Grimsby rural district and county borough and Cleethorpes municipal borough.

The book is divided up into records for the Borough of Grimsby, Statutory Authorities, Public Records and unofficial deposited archives. There are many records listed here, but the majority are without any explanation of what information they might include. Information and collections of many individuals are included, all mentioned in the index.

This depository is not the diocesan record office; therefore, do not look here for parish registers, bishop’s transcripts or wills proven before 1858. There are however some church related documents such as membership lists, minutes, Sunday school books, attendance registers, year books, accounts, etc.

Grimsby is particularly well known for its fishing industry. The archives has a good collection of appropriate materials including: Customs and Excise Registers; Board of Trade crew and apprentice lists; Borough Council papers and minutes; Reports and records for dock companies, fish merchants, mariner institutions, fishing companies, shipping, ship suppliers, repairers, agents and owners and salvage companies. The apprenticeship records are also indexed.

For researching the Humberside area, this guide is a must. Unfortunately for most of us, the material can only be seen in Grimbsy. The Archives will answer short direct question for those who send two International Reply Coupons. For more involved work, they will provide the names of local researchers for hire.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.4 no.1, 1997

Surveying the People: The interpretation and use of document sources for the study of population in the later seventeenth century edited by Kevin Schurer and Tom Arkell. Leopard’s Head Press Ltd., 7 Murray Court, Banbury Road, Oxford OX2 6LQ. Order from Mrs. R. Brigden, Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure, 27 Trumpington Street, Cambridge CB2 1QA, England. Copyright 1992. Figures, index maps, tables. 308 pp. £10.

This is the best book I have come across that deals with the English seventeenth century records produced by the Hearth tax, Compton’s Census, Poll taxes and the Marriage Duty Act. The book analyses in great depth how and why the records were created, why the content varies from one location to another, what records survive and where.

This book was not written for the genealogist but rather for the person wanting to understand population growth and movement. The book has chapters that show how the documents can be used. For example: Household structure in Kings Lynn; a reconstruction based on the Poll Taxes of 1689-1702; The Marriage Duty Act and parochial registration in London, 1695-1706; Non-conformity and the Compton Census in late seventeenth-century Devon.

For anyone doing research in these seventeenth-century documents, this is a book well worth reading.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.4 no.1, 1997

Research Guide to Loyalist Ancestors: A Directory to Archives, Manuscripts, and Published Sources by Paul J. Bunnell. Heritage Books, Inc., 1540-E Pointer Ridge Pl., Suite 300, Bowie, MD 20716. Copyright 1990. 146 pp. $17 Visa/MasterCard/Checks/Money Orders accepted. $4.00 p&h.

This book is designed to guide you to Loyalist sources in depositories found in Canada, USA and other countries. For each province, state or other country addresses are provided for institutions having Loyalist collections, often with a brief description of the local collection. The detail provided varies greatly. For example, when discussing the parish register collection of the National Archives of Canada individual film numbers are provided. In contrast, the collection of the LDS Family History Library in Utah is listed under New Hampshire.

The organization of the book is eclectic. The provinces and states are in no apparent order; therefore, you constantly need to refer to the table of contents to find a particular geographic area. There is no index. The author is a professional researcher, yet you find his address at the bottom of page 71. Major collections and bibliographic resources are included for each geographic area, but the organization leaves this reviewer with a sense that other collections or resources may have been omitted. This is a useful entry into Loyalist records but don’t stop here in the search for the information you are seeking.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.4 no.1, 1997

Visitation of England and Wales, Vols. 1-21 (1894-1921), and Notes, Vols. 1-14 (1896-1921) edited by Joseph Jackson Howard, LL.D., Maltgravers Herald Extrodinary and Frederick Arthur Crisp. Heritage Books, Inc., 1540-E Pointer Ridge Pl., Suite 300, Bowie, MD 20716. Price per volume varies. Visa/MasterCard/Checks/Money Orders accepted. $4.00 p&h.

A full review of this series is to be found in Vol. 3 No. 2 of the BIGWILL newsletter. These are primarily pedigrees starting in the mid-18th century from various counties. Please note that the indexes to these volumes do not include the people contained in the growing additions and corrections section at the end of each volume.

Vol. 15. 218 + xxxii pp. $35.50. Reprinted in 1996. The principal names include: Amherst, Arkwright, Askwith, Bendall, Benyon, Brewster, Burroughes, Crispe, Deacon, De Ramsey, Dixon-Hartland, Fanshawe, Fellowes, Forwood, Freeeman, Goddard, Goschen, Gower, Hovenden, Marsh, Marshall, Mason, Murray, Oswell, Parry, Pearson, Player, Price, Prideaux, Rew, Rudge, Scott, Sheppard, Simpson, Turnbull, Walker, Wills, Woodthorpe and Wright.

Vol. 16. 216 + 1 pp. $37. Reprinted in 1996. The pricipal names include: Abel. Allix, Bazely, Bingham, Boothby, Bradford, Byron, Carter, Codrington, Collyer, Comber, Cormick, Cunliffe, Darell, Devonshire, Everett, Fellowes, Ferard, Freshfield, Grellier, Hamilton, Hind, Leigh, Lowe, Moore, Newman, Penny, Porter, Preston, Prideaux, Rawson, Roseberry, Spooner, Stacey, Strode, Walsingham, Wilberforce and Woollcome-Boyce.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.4 no.1, 1997

The Great Famine: Ireland’s Potato Famine, 1845-1851 by John Percival. Published by BBC Books, Woodlands, 80 Wood Lane, London W12 0TT. 1995. Index, photographs. 192 pp. £16.99. Fax. 011-44-181-749-8766.

This is an easy to read detailed book about Ireland’s potato famine and its consequences. The book begins with a brief overview of the colonization of Ireland, followed by a description of the potato culture and its effect on Irish life. It points out that there were numerous potato crop failures, but rarely over wide areas and never all varieties of potato species. A realistic picture is painted of the background to the famine with the feudal structure of the country and with its many great estates owned by Anglo-Irish landlords whose tenants and small-holders struggled to survive.

The potato crop fails. The hunger begins. A vivid description is given of the effects and consequences of the crop failure, both in terms of the effects on the people themselves and the politics involved between England and Ireland. The strengths and weaknesses of the Poor Laws are clearly presented, and how the relief efforts were both helped and hindered by Catholic and Anglican priests quarreling over dogma while the poor starved around them. The result for many was eviction and large scale emigration.

There is a discussion of ways in which the Irish were and were not accepted in American Society. The election of John F. Kennedy as President of the United States is seen by many Catholic Irish-Americans as the end of the long struggle for acceptance into US society. The book concludes with a discussion of who is to blame.

This book accompanies a documentary series, The Great Famine, which was produced to commemorate the 150th anniversary. The author acknowledges that it is very difficult to discuss the famine without political biases and blame. This reviewer feels that Percival has done a good job at keeping his biases controlled and highly recommends this book.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.4 no.2, 1997

Indexes to Irish Wills edited by W.P.W. Phillimore and Gertrude Thrift. Published by Genealogical Publishing Co., 1001 N. Calvert St., Baltimore MD 21202-6687. 1909-1920, reissued 1997. 5 volumes in 1.827 pp. $50 plus $3.50 p&h.

In Ireland there are 34 ecclesiastical dioceses divided into the four ecclesiastical provinces of: Dublin, Cashel, Armagh and Tuam. Each dioceses had its own consistorial court for probate administration prior to 1857. The probate records were destroyed in 1922, during the Civil War, with the destruction of the Four Courts building in Dublin.

Because the probate records have been destroyed the surviving indexes become extremely valuable in determining social and financial status of an ancestor. The indexes also provide clues for checking land records (many of which were not lost in the 1922 fire) for an estate partition and transfers of lease from testator to heir.

Each of the five volumes, bound in this one volume, begins with a map showing diocesan boundaries, sometimes with underlying county boundaries. Indexes are provided for all dioceses within the Provinces of Dublin and Cashel. Five of the twelve dioceses in the Province of Armagh are indexed, but nothing for the province of Tuam is included. Thus 22 of 34 dioceses are wholly or partially indexed. This is important to realize since the promotion description implies that all consistorial courts are indexed, which is not the case.

The book does index over 30,000 wills providing name of testator, parish, county and date of probate. The beginning and ending date for each diocese varies, with the first three volumes indexing wills up to 1800 and the latter two volumes ending with 1858. There is no comprehensive index to this volume, you need to check for your ancestor by individual diocese, although some dioceses are paired together.

This is a valuable resource, especially given the destruction of the original records. However, the geographic and time limitations need to be fully understood.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.4 no.2, 1997

Scotch Irish Pioneers in Ulster and America by Charles Knowles Bolton. Published by Heritage Books, Inc., 1540-E Pointer Ridge Place, Bowie MD 20716. 1910 reprinted 1989. Illustrations, index, maps. 398 pp. $28.50 plus $4 p&h.

The book begins with a number of chapters dealing with the situation in Ulster and the relationships between Ulster and North America prior to 1718. The bulk of the book focuses on the people, especially the clergy leadership, who began the migration from Ulster to the US in 1718.

The leaders with their successes and failures are described for each of the colonies that were started by the Scotch Irish. This includes the settlements of: Worcester, Rutland, Pelham, Palmer, Dracut, Andover, Casco Bay, Merrymeeting Bay, Nutfield and Londonderry in New England; Donegal, Derry and Neshaminy in Pennsylvania; Charleston and Williamsburg in South Carolina.

The appendices include: ships arriving in New England from Ireland between 1714 and 1720; Signers of the 1718 petition to Governor Shute; Home towns of Ulster families 1691-1718.

The time focus on the book is very narrow with the examination of the beginning of the Ulster Scot migration in 1718-1720. If your Irish are coming in this time period, or you want to know about the origins of this migration then this is a good resource to examine.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.4 no.2, 1997

The Scottish Nation or the Surnames, Families, Literature, Honours, and Biographical History of the People of Scotland by William Anderson. Published by Heritage Books, Inc., 1540-E Pointer Ridge Place, Bowie MD 20716. Volume A. 1890? reprinted 1995. Illustrations. 172 pp. $24 plus $4 p&h. Volume B. 1890? reprinted 1995. Illustrations. 345 pp. $40 plus $4 p&h.

Scottish heritage can often be traced due to the practice of bestowing hereditary surnames, many of which found a permanent record in the many charters and other public deeds that still exist today. One of the purposes of this series is to explain the origins of these surnames, plus give an accounting of the families and the distinguished individuals that bore them.

The baronies of Scotland, associated with hereditary jurisdictions, were viewed as just short of regal, thus an account of these honors provides an account of the territorial supremacy of a name and a family.

This series includes a wide range of people, including some not often met in history but whose skill, labor and genius have added to the greatness of Scotland. Arranged alphabetically, there is a complete account of the surnames, titles, baronies, and general biographies of Scotland. The information about individuals is easy to locate as it is in a larger typeface than material about surnames or titles in general. The books are well illustrated with autographs, sketches and portraits from original sources.

Volume A - includes people like: Dr. Arthur Abercrombie, celebrated Edinburgh physician; Sir Ralph Abercrombie, the hero of Aboukir; the eccentric Dr. Abernathy; the four Dukes of Albany; the three Alexander Kings of Scotland; plus many more.

Volume B - includes people like - David Beaton, Cardinal and Lord High Chancellor of Scotland; Robert Bruce, restorer of the Scottish monarchy; Elspeth Buchan, foundress of the Buchanite religious sect; the famous poet Robert Burns; plus many more.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.4 no.2, 1997

A Guide to London’s Churches, 2nd ed. by Mervyn Blatch. Published by Constable & Co., 3 The Lanchesters, 162 Fulham Palace Road, London W6 9ER. 1995 (1st ed., 1978). Illustrations, index, maps. 446 pp. £12.95. Tel: 011-44-181-741-3663. Fax: 011-44-181-748-7562.

Many researchers with English ancestry often find that they have some ancestors who lived in London. This guide gives superb details for many of London’s superb churches. Obviously, not all churches are included because there are too many, in spite of those destroyed during the Dissolution, the Great Fire and World War II bombing.

The author has limited himself to what can roughly be termed inner London, and mostly pre-nineteenth century churches, although there are some exceptions. The story of London can be traced through its churches, a story richly illustrated by the many fine rebuilds after the Great Fire and 8th century new buildings as London spread outwards, east and west of the city.

Included are churches from: City of London (42); Towers (7); City of Westminster (27); Camden (11); Greenwich (6); Hackney (5); Hammersmith (4); Islington (5); Kensington and Chelsea (8); Lambeth (11); Lewisham (5); Southwark (7); Tower Hamlets (12); and Wandsworth (5). The descriptions for each church include: dedication; history; exterior; interior; furnishings; monuments; and associations. For anyone with London ancestry wanting to know more about the churches in the area this book is well worth examining. If you are going to be visiting London then it is certainly worth purchasing. It is the best of the London church guides that I have seen.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.4 no.2, 1997

My Ancestors Were Londoners: How Can I Find Out More About Them? by Cliff Webb. Published by Society Of Genealogists, 14 Charterhouse Buildings, Goswell Road, London EC1M 7BA. 1996. 61 pp. Maps. Softcover. £3.55.

If you are stuck in London and want to know where to start, this book if for you. One sixth of the population of England and Wales live in the London area, and a high proportion of the population have always lived in London. If you do much research in England or Wales, sooner or later you will find ancestors or their siblings going to London to live or work.

The book begins by clearly stating what is meant by London, and in this case the research covers the area covered by the city of London and the metropolitan boroughs. A listing is given of all the boroughs and the ancient parishes which they contain.

The records most appropriate for research in the city are discussed, along with their relevant indices and limitations. These records include: civil registration; census; parish and non-parochial registers and records; directories, lists of tax-payers, voters and other name-lists; poor law records; wills and administrations; apprenticeship, livery company and occupational records; newspapers; manorial and other records of land ownership; criminal and civil legal records; and, depositions.

The appendices include: listings of London record repositories; parishes of Greater London; plus a directory of the suburbs and the smaller areas of London. The book concludes with maps of the City of London and the Metropolitan Boroughs 1900-1965 and then since 1965.

The book is not designed to give you all the answers for doing London research, but rather is designed to point you in the right direction. To that end it certainly does an excellent job.

The one detracting feature of the book is the table in appendix 2. This is a table of 8 columns showing the name of the parish, county, hundred, registration district, metropolitan borough, London borough, probate district and family history society for that parish. The problem is that the last four columns are on the reverse of the page rather than on the facing page, making it difficult to know which parish is being referred to for the last four columns.

This book contains information and pointers for both the novice and the experienced researcher. I highly recommended this book if you are researching London ancestors.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.4 no.3, 1997

A Topographical Dictionary of England by Samuel Lewis. Reprinted by Genealogical Publishing Company, 1001 N. Calvert St., Baltimore MD 21202. 1831, reprinted 1996. 4 volumes printed as 2. lxviii, 572, 538 plus 652, 634 pp. Maps. Hardcover. $150, plus $4.74 p&h.

This superb classic work is an excellent resource for finding information about locations in England. The counties, cities, boroughs, corporations, market towns and parishes are all described in alphabetical order. Townships, chapelries, hamlets and tythings are generally listed in their respective parishes, and given a separate listing making them easier to find. Some villages and hamlets which are not recognized divisions have been omitted unless they possess some historical significance or geological features, in which case they are listed under the respective parish. What makes these volumes so valuable is that even the most obscure place in England is identified in relation to a parish, and thus its ecclesiastical jurisdiction. Knowing the ecclesiastical jurisdiction assists the researcher in progressing from the location into probate and other church records.

The information listed for a parish includes: name and situation; distance and bearing from nearest market or post town; chapelries and townships within the parish; population according to the 1821 census; nature of the ecclesiastical living; the archdeaconry and diocese in which it is included, and if of exempt jurisdiction, the peculiar to which it belongs; amount at which the living is rated in the king’s books; endowment by private benefaction, royal bounty, or parliamentary grant; patron; tutelar saint and architectural description of the church; dissenting places of worship, and of what denominations; schools, hospitals and other charitable institutions; monastic establishments, encampments, relics of antiquity and miscellaneous information. Similar information, often more detailed, is provided for the larger jurisdictions.

The Channel Islands, Isle of Man, and numerous islands around England’s coast are also included in these volumes. The detailed, but small, maps of each county are helpful.

The production of the original volumes was supported by subscription. Do not forget to examine the lists of over 13,500 pre-publication subscribers, like me, you may be fortunate to find one of your ancestors listed.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.4 no.3, 1997

Irish Emigrants in North America. Part One, Part Two and Part Three by David Dobson. Reprinted three books in one by Clearfield Company, 200 Eager Street, Baltimore MD 21202. 1997. 28, 27, 29 pp. Paperback. $12.50 plus $3.50 p&h.

The three books here combined into one focus on Irish emigrants to North America during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Many of those listed in Part One are former soldiers who were encouraged by the British Government to settle in Canada after the Napoleonic Wars. There should be military personnel records for such emigrants in the Public Record Offices or in Regimental Museums. The emphasis in part two is on settlement in Canada, North Carolina and the Virgin Islands. Part three is based on source material in Ireland, Scotland, England, the West Indies and the USA.

One sample citation is: "ROURKE, THOMAS, in Kilmainham Royal Hospital, Dublin, 14 years in 4th Light Dragoons, army pensioner, applied to settle in Canada 15.3.1827. [PRO.CO384.16]."

This slim book is a lucky dip but still worth examining.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.4 no.3, 1997

Jacobites of 1715: North East Scotland and Jacobites of 1745: North East Scotland by Frances McDonnell. Reprinted two books in one by Clearfield Company, 200 East Eager Street, Baltimore MD 21202. 1997. 39, 57 pp. Paperback. $12.50 plus $3.50 p&h.

There is no clear introduction to either of the books combined into this single slim volume. They appear to be a collection of information about the individual supporters of the Jacobite cause from the northeast of Scotland. The northeast was a conservative area with largely Episcopalian landowners which did maintain its allegiance to the House of Stuart. Some of these supporters were reluctant, being forced to action by their feudal superiors. In 1745, many more claimed to have been forced out in an attempt to regain their freedom after Culloden. The biographical descriptions do sometimes provide graphic descriptions of the suffering endured by those who were in hiding after the battle, and those who were captured, imprisoned, executed or transported.

One example is: "Isobel Chalmers, Born 1722, knitter of Aberdeen of The Means. 5ft 7 ins. Black hair, tall and slender. Followed Glengarry’s Regiment, taken at Carlisle. Transported 5 May 1747 from Liverpool to Leeward Islands in Veteran, but the ship was attacked off Antigua by a French privateer from Martinique. The Governor of Martinique refused English demands to hand the prisoners back, and granted the request of 10 to be sent to France possibly to negotiate for others."

If you have ancestors in Northeast Scotland during this time period its worth a look here as the descriptions can be very helpful.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.4 no.3, 1997

The Greening Peerage of Scotland: A Genealogical and Historical Account of All the Peers of That Ancient Kingdom; Their Descents, Collateral Branches, Births, Marriages, and Issue. Together with a Like Account of All the Attained Peers; And a Complete Alphabetical List of Those Nobles of Scotland, Whose Titles Are Extinct. Collected from Parliament Rolls, Records, Family Documents, And the Personal information of Many Noble Peers. Also the Paternal Coats of Arms, Crests, Supporters, and Mottoes, Most Elegantly Engraved. Originally published in 1767, reprinted 1995 by Heritage Books, 1540-E Pointer Ridge Pl., Suite 300, Bowie MD 20716. 50, 339 pp. Softcover. Illustrated, index. $25 plus $4 p&h.

For this book, the title almost says it all. The book begins with 96 fine engravings of the paternal coats of arms, crests, supporters and mottoes. The author’s goal was to provide a history of the family’s lineage as it related to the title and provide a tool where members of the peerage might see how they were related to one another. The lineage of the title and its holders is traced from its first origins to the present owner in the 1760s. Each section ends with summaries of title (form of address), creations (bestowed titles), arms (description), supporters (description), motto and chief seat (not always in Scotland). This interesting book is not always easy to read because of the constant use of the old "f" substituted for "s." There are also no source citations, but if you connect with these families it should be relatively easy to document.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.4 no.3, 1997

Visitation of England and Wales edited by Joseph Jackson Howard and Frederick Arthur Crisp. Published by Heritage Books, 1540-E Pointer Ridge Pl., Suite 300, Bowie MD 20716. Prices vary plus $4 p&h.

These three volumes continue this fine series of reprints.

Volume 17. 1911. 215, xl pp. $33.50. Names included: Bazely, Bicknell, Bodington, Boyce, Branfill, Broadbent, Burn, Cubitt, De Morgan, Derby (Earl of), Dilke (Baronet), Erne (Earl of), Fellows, Fonnereau, Franklin, French, Gough (Viscount), Gurdon, Hayter, Hayter-Hames, Hensley, Knight, Knill (Baronet), Ladds, Lambert, Moor, Morris, Mytton, Norris, Peckham, Rawson, Reynolds, Rhodes, Rushout (Baronet), Russell, Shairp, Spooner, Stocker, Stradling, Thorp, Vassall, Wolryche-Whitmore.

Volume 19. 1917. 226, lxxix pp. $40. Names included: Barnard, Bolton, Burdett (Baronet), Cazalet, Corder, Cross, Denne, Douglas, Farnham, Ficklin, Firth, Fripp, Good, Goodman, Gower, Haversham, Holmes, Jackson, Jex-Blake, Landon, Lombe, Madan, Nelson, Parmoor (Baron), Penny, Pytches, Rushbrooke, Scott, Staples, Suckling, Surtees, Tarleton, Tennyson-D’Eyncourt, Turney, Woollcombe, Woollcombe-Adams, Wolseley (Vicountess), Wothington, Zetland.

Volume 20. 1919. 204, xlii pp. $35. Names included: Acton, Addington, Alington, Arbuthnot, Arkwright, Aylesford (Earl), Baker, Blofeld, Burrell, Bush, Challinor, Chevallier, Clive, Cobbold, Crispin, Curtler, Duddridge, Eno, Fanshawe, Fellowes-Gordon, Fry, Halsbury (Earl), Janson, Maughan, Morris, Mortimer, Newcastle (Duke), Ransome, Reynolds, Rouse, Wagner, Whitmore, Wild, Wilshere, Wormald.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.4 no.3, 1997

Genealogical Research Directory: 1990-1996 produced and edited by Keith Johnson and Malcolm Sainty. U.S. Distributor: Mrs. Jan Jennings, 3324 Crail Way, Glendale CA 91206-1107. 1996. CD plus manual. $59.95 plus $3.75 p&h. Prior contributors can obtain for $54.70.

This CD combines the data from seven thick GRD volumes making it much easier to search. Unfortunately, the process is not a smooth one.

This is the most involved CD I have come across to install. The search engine is a runtime version of Paradox. The installation process assumes that it is on floppy disks and so you have to keep typing a disk number while installing, even though you don’t touch the CD. Surely a simple program routine could have solved this problem. Then when it is installed you have to select the IDAPI configuration button to set up Alias. You have to type four Alias names and 4 path names, anyone of which could lead to a problem. Only after this is complete can you launch the program itself.

From the main menu you can select searches by Surname, Subject, and One Name. One Name is for One Name Societies and Studies. Subject is for all the subject entries from the books but with more flexible search capabilities than in the books. The primary search option is via Surname. Assume surname is selected and you choose the first letter of the name you are looking for. Within that section of the database you can search on surname (exact spelling or using wild cards), city (or place), area (county or state) or country. One selection takes you to the first entry with the desired match. A button selection takes you to the next match. Unfortunately, you cannot go back to the previous match, without returning to the beginning of the search or paging back through all entries. The entries are arranged via contributor number.

If you do not have the past seven years of directories then this is an economical way of obtaining them. Searching it takes a little patience but can be done. The software is not necessarily user-friendly but is workable.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.4 no.3, 1997

Beginning Welsh Research, Rev. ed. by Annie Lloyd. Purchase from author at 4635 Stoner Ave. #4, Culver City CA 90230-5773. 1996. 188 pp. Illustrations. Plastic comb-binding.

This is an excellent, practical guide to beginning your Welsh Research. The book assumes that you have access and will be using a Family History Center (FHC).

The book begins with the basics of getting organized and describes how to complete the fundamental research forms: pedigree chart, family group sheet, and research log. This is followed by the research tools available through the FHC: IGI, Family Search and the FHL Catalogue. All tools are well illustrated with Welsh examples so you can actually see what the author is describing. You don’t have to wait until the next time you are at the FHC.

The rest of the book deals with the records themselves including: Civil Registration Records; Parish Records and Bishop’s Transcripts; Census Returns; Wills; Immigration; Welsh language, surnames, place names and farm names. There is an section dealing with Nonconformity which is vital to understand for Welsh research. All documents described and discussed are illustrated. The illustrations are often as you will find them, i.e., of mixed quality. All researchers are encouraged to join the Family History Society in the area of Wales from which their ancestors originated; and addresses are provided.

The spiral comb binding on this publication allows for great flexibility in updating material. The change in 1997 from St. Catharine’s to the Family Records Centre in Myddleton Street is noted in the Useful Addresses at the back of the book. The government reorganization in April 1996 is also reflected in the Record Office Section of the book. The US section is not as up to date with the New York Branch of the National Archives shown still in Bayonne, NJ rather than on Varrick Street, New York.

The book would be easier to use with a detailed table of contents or index. There is neither. This book is full of practical suggestions and is highly recommended for beginning Welsh researchers. A lot of the material is also applicable to English researchers.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.4 no.4, 1997

How to Plan a Research Trip to Wales by Annie Lloyd. Purchase from author at 4635 Stoner Ave. #4, Culver City CA 90230-5773. 1995. 100 pp. Index. Plastic comb-binding. $15 plus $2.25 p&h.

This is a practical guidebook for planning your research trip to Wales. The author pulls from her own experiences traveling to Wales for research.

The author gives good suggestions on why, how and where to get information in the U.S. prior to leaving for Wales that will help you trip. Ms. Lloyd emphasizes that you should be doing research in Wales that you cannot do in the US at your local FHC or library. You are going for the unique research opportunities and to experience the land and culture of the ancestors. Guidelines are given for contacting record offices and depositories prior to your visit and descriptions of what to expect when you get there are provided. If you have never been before these can prevent surprises.

This guidebook discusses lots of practical items like money, transportation (car and rail), stamps, accommodations, eating out, prescription drugs, holidays, electricity, and a host of other details you may not think about till you get there and it’s too late.

A delightful book to read with lots of practical suggestions.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.4 no.4, 1997

Genealogical Gleanings in England, with the addition of Genealogical Gleanings in England, New Series by Henry F. Waters. Published by Clearfield Publishing Company, 200 E. Eager Street, Baltimore MD 21202. 1901, reprinted 1997. 2 vols. xxiii, 1760 pp. Charts, illustrations, index. Softcover. $115 plus $4.75 p&h.

The subtitle of this publication is Abstracts of Wills relating to Early American Families, with Genealogical Notes and Pedigrees from the Wills and from other records.

The bulk of this material was originally published in serial form in the New England Historical and Genealogical Register from July 1883 through January 1899. The material was later brought together in book form to make it more accessible. This valuable resource for English origins of American ancestors is now reprinted by Clearfield Publishing Company.

The introduction to the book reproduces some of the introductory materials from the serial publication and emphasizes the discoveries surrounding the parentage of John Harvard, the first benefactor of Harvard College.

There is a 30,000 name index, plus a fifty-one page index of places. Please note that these indexes are not at the back of the second volume, but rather precede the New Series of Genealogical Gleanings in England, which is at the end of volume two. The wills in the New Series are in alphabetical order, but there is no everyname index to this section of the book. This makes people of different surnames mentioned in the wills more difficult to find.

People mentioned in these records come from New England, Virginia, Maryland, South Carolina, New York, Pennsylvania and the West Indies. A resource that must be examined for anyone seeking the English origins of their American ancestors.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.4 no.4, 1997

Scots-Irish Links 1575-1725: Part One and Part Two by David Dobson. Published by Clearfield Publishing Company, 200 E. Eager Street, Baltimore MD 21202. 1901, reprinted 1997. 29, 27 pp. Softcover. $9 plus $3 p&h.

This slim volume identifies in two alphabetical lists Scotsmen who resided in Ulster between the early 1600s and the early 1700s. Many of the persons identified were young men from Ireland, many bearing Scottish surnames, attending universities in Scotland. Still other Scots-Irish links were apprentices, ministers, merchants, weavers, teachers or persons in flight. Most of the students are identified by name, university and dates of attendance. In other cases, Mr. Dobson has provided information on the man or woman’s spouse, children, local origins, landholdings and of course in all cases the source of the information.

The sources used to compile this information include: Burgess Rolls for Aberdeen, Dunbarton, Glasgow and Inverary; Registers of the Great Seal and Privy Council of Scotland; Exchequer Records; Registers of Deeds, Sasines, and Service of Heirs; plus others.

Not all people identified will have descendants who ultimately emigrated to America, but many did or had kinsmen who did. A resource worth examining if you are in Northern Ireland and seeking that link with Scotland.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.4 no.4, 1997

Britain’s Royal Families: The Complete Genealogy, updated edition by Alison Weir. Published by Random House, 20 Vauxhall Bridge Road, London SW1V 2SA. Fax 011-44-171-233-6115. 1996 (first edition 1989). 386 pp. Index. Softcover. £10.

This volume covers the period 800 A.D. to the present. The monarchs belonging to each Royal House appear in chronological order, with the dynasties of England, Scotland, and Great Britain being included. Even the children who died in infancy are included, as are many stillbirths. Illegitimate children are also listed.

The succession of the monarchy is usually through the male lines. This means that the descendants of the female members of the royal families beyond the first generation are not included, except where relevant to the succession. Likewise, the descendants of the illegitimate children of monarchs are omitted.

All names in the book have been Anglicized or Latinized for the sake of clarity. When a person is known by more than one name, the alternatives are given. The introduction has to be carefully read to understand how alternative dates and questionable names are highlighted.

At the end of each chapter there is a select bibliography about each monarch and spouse, given in order of Ms. Weir’s preference for usefulness. There is a more complete bibliography at the end of the book.

The individual pieces of data in the genealogies are not cited but will provide clues on where to look if you want to prove your connections to Royalty. This is a fun book to read just to show the interconnectedness of all of Europe’s Royal families. A fascinating reference book.

Note: A “new” edition of this book was published in 2002.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.4 no.4, 1997

Scottish Maritime Records: 1600-1850 by David Dobson. Originally published in 1996 in Fife, Scotland. Reprinted by Clearfield Publishing Company, 200 E. Eager Street, Baltimore MD 21202. 1997. Illustrated. 32 pp. $8.50 plus $3.50 p&h.

This slim booklet is not a how-to book. It is rather an anecdotal collection illustrating the types of records that are available for researching your Scottish sailor during the 1600 to 1850 time period. It provides information for the: Royal Navy; Merchant Navy; Fishing; Whaling; Smuggling; Privateers and Pirates; Slave Trade; Court Records; Museums and Archives.

This book is difficult to use as a reference because there is no table of contents. In addition, within the text there are numerous references given for other printed sources. Unfortunately these sources are often not fully cited, nor are they to be found in the select bibliography found at the end of each section. In fact, the source may be found in a bibliography in a different section of the book. This reviewer found the sources frustrating to find and follow. This book provides a quick and easy introduction to the subject of Scottish Maritime Records, but it’s one the reader will soon outgrow.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.4 no.5, 1997

Scottish Soldiers in Colonial America. Part One and Part Two by David Dobson. Originally published in Scotland in 1995 and 1997. Combined and reprinted as a single volume in 1997 by Clearfield Publishing Company, 200 E. Eager Street, Baltimore MD 21202. Illustrated. 32 plus 30 pp. $11 plus $3.50 p&h.

From the mid-eighteenth century the British Government began to dispatch Highland Regiments, such as Fraser’s Highlanders, the Black Watch and Montgomery’s Highlanders to America. The French and Indian War, 1756-1763, led to significant recruitment in Scotland for service in the American colonies. Many of these soldiers settled, encouraged by land grants, and they encouraged others to follow from Scotland. With the American Revolution, former soldiers who had received land grants were recalled for duty by the British Government. For example, many former Scottish soldiers who settled in the Mohawk Valley in Upper New York were recruited into the King’s Royal Regiment of New York. Many new or recent immigrants from Scotland formed the Royal Highland Emigrant Regiment. After the war large numbers of soldiers from Loyalist units and regular British Army regiments settled in the Maritime provinces of Canada. This is a small useful collection for anyone who suspects Scottish military connections. A typical entry reads:

CAMERON, DONALD, Urquhart, Inverness-shire, soldier of the 84th [Royal Highland Emigrants] Regiment, land grant at Upper Settlement, East River, Pictou, Nova Scotia, 1784. [PANB:MC315]

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.4 no.5, 1997

An Index to Printed Pedigrees, contained in County and Local Histories, the Heralds’ Visitations, and in the More Important Genealogical Collections by Charles Bridger. 1867 reprinted 1997. Clearfield Publishing Company, 200 E. Eager Street, Baltimore MD 21202. Illustrated. 384 pp. $35 plus $3.50 p&h.

This publication is a guide to printed genealogies contained in county histories, compendia, record and society publications, and heralds’ visitations produced prior to 1867. The book is arranged by counties, followed by a general works section and concluding with another small section organized by county, almost like an addendum. Within each section individual publications are indexed. There is also a comprehensive all-name index.

This is a useful guide to the genealogies in the great British county histories of the 18th and 19th centuries. However, it is not the only route into this material. Guides such as Marshall’s Genealogist Guide and the modern county publications by Stuart Raymond provide an alternative route to access these publications. For us in this area, the major benefit is that Newberry Library in Chicago has a major British collection for this time period, and will have many of the publications indexed in this volume.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.4 no.5, 1997

An Index to the Pedigrees and Arms contained in the Heralds’ Visitations, and other Genealogical Manuscripts in the British Museum by R. Sims. 1849 reprinted 1997. Clearfield Publishing Company, 200 E. Eager Street, Baltimore MD 21202. Illustrated. 330 pp. $31.50 plus $3.50 p&h.

From 1530 through 1686 the Heralds made tours of the country at approximately thirty year intervals to examine gentlemen’s claims to use a coat of arms. The Heralds took into account records of previous visitations, family muniments and traditions before allowing a claim. Most of the original records are at the College of Arms but the British Museum has a major collection of transcripts.

Mr. Sims set about indexing the names of people having pedigrees and coats-of-arms in the principal manuscripts. The arrangement is alphabetical by county with people of the same surname being distinguished from one another by references to place or residence. There is no comprehensive index to the publication. The citation provides the exact number of the manuscript where the pedigrees and coats-of-arms are contained. The bulk of the records have Harleian Manuscript numbers. The Harleian Society was formed in 1869 and has published many of its manuscripts. However, further research will be needed to see if a particular manuscript has been published and is thus easily accessible.

This is a specialized resource for researching the upper class 16th and 17th century English families. Its value to most researchers will be limited, but it is worth examining if you are struggling in this time period.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.4 no.5, 1997

Visitation of England and Wales. Vol. 18, 1914 reprinted 1996, edited by Joseph Jackson Howard and Frederick Arthur Crisp. Published by Heritage Books, 1540-E Pointer Ridge Pl., Suite 300, Bowie MD 20716. 235 pp. plus lxxii additions and corrections. $40 plus $4 p&h.

This volume continues the series. Pedigrees include: Adams. Adamson, Anwyl-Passingham, Arkwright, Ashcombe (Baron), Bagot (Baron), Bickley, Boughey, Bridge, Carbonell, Combermere (Viscount), Cotton-Jodrell, Crisp, Cubitt, Dimsdale (Baron), Ekins, Fane, Fellowes, Fripp, Fuller, Gater, Gepp, Goddard, Hinchliff, Homer, Hooke, Howe (Earl), Maskew, Moore, Parish, Passingham, Pennyman, St. Germans (Earl of), Scott, Spooner, Tuson, Westmorland (Earl of) Wollaston, Zouche (Baron). The 72 page supplement of additions and corrections found in every volume is especially large in this volume.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.4 no.5, 1997

Irish Immigrants in Ohio, Volume I, Naturalization Records compiled by Donna M. Wolf, 5245 Portland St. #303, Columbus OH 43235-7670.

This resource provides a comprehensive index to the naturalization records of the following counties in Ohio: Franklin (Declaration of Intent and Naturalization); Montgomery; Cuyahoga; Knox; Madison; Marion; Pickaway; Summit and Union. For each county a brief description is given of what the actual records contain often varying by time periods. The Irish names are extracted and listed either in alphabetical or chronological order. The information provided in this resource varies by county but often includes: persons name; date of naturalization, date of declaration of intent; arrival in US; age; and film, volume and page number. The film number quoted is for the Ohio Historical Society Collection. The films are available through the LDS but they have different film numbers, not included in this book. There is a comprehensive name index at the end. Obviously if a name is located in this book the original has to be examined to see if more information is provided. An excellent new resource for anyone researching their Irish ancestors in Ohio.

Donna Wolf is a professional researcher with 18 years of experience. She is willing to research Ohio ancestors using resources at the Ohio Historical Society and the State Library of Ohio. She will travel to counties as needed. Area of emphasis is Irish and Ulster-Irish in Ohio.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.4 no.5, 1997

The Jacobites of Angus. 1689-1746. Part One and Part Two by David Dobson. Published by Clearfield Publishing Company, 200 E. Eager Street, Baltimore MD 21202. 1997. 49 pp. Softcover. $10 plus $3.50 p&h.

In December 1688 James VII of Scotland (James II of England and Ireland) fled to France and in April 1689 William and Mary were proclaimed in Edinburgh as King and Queen of Scotland. Between 1689 and 1746 several attempts were made by the supporters of the House of Stuart, known as Jacobites, to restore the Stuart monarchy to the throne of Great Britain.

The Jacobites were most numerous in the Highlands and the North East of Scotland, particularly among those of Roman Catholic and Episcopalian persuasion. The county of Angus made a significant contribution to the Jacobite armies of 1715 and 1745.

This book attempts to identify the soldiers and civilians from the County of Angus who actively provided support for the Jacobite Cause between 1689 and 1746.

The list is in alphabetical order, giving the full name of the Jacobite, his occupation, rank, date of service and unit if in the military. Many entries also include date of birth, names of parents, place of origin, and destination where sent or fled. All sources are cited. A sample entry reads:

CARGILL, WILLIAM, born 13.5.1726 son of James Cargill and Elizabeth Ramsay in Montrose, a tobacconist in Montrose, transported from Liverpool on the Gildart 24.2.1747, arrived at Port North Potomac, Maryland, 5.8.1747. [P.2.324/98][PRO.T1.328]

Part one of the book covers A through L, and part two is M through Y. A useful resource for Jacobite ancestors.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.4 no.6, 1997

A Census of Ireland, circa 1659. With Supplemental Material from the Poll Money Ordinances (1660-1661) edited by Seamus Pender. 1939, reprinted 1997 by Clearfield Publishing Company, 200 E. Eager Street, Baltimore MD 21202. Indices. 946 pp. Softcover. $60 plus $3.50 p&h.

A Census of Ireland, circa 1659 represents the only known actual numbering of the people of Ireland prior to 1821. The lists are arranged geographically by counties, thereunder by baronies, parishes and townlands. In the cities the arrangement is by parish and street. For each townland or street the census provides the total number of inhabitants and the proportion of English, Irish and Scottish residing there. The introduction needs to be read carefully concerning the meaning of the distribution figures for English, Scottish and Irish.

There are no census returns for the five counties of Cavan, Galway, Mayo, Tyrone and Wicklow, plus no returns for four baronies in Cork and nine baronies in Meath.

The surviving returns provide the names, numbers of people in each parish, plus the names of the "Titulado," landowners who could be of either sex, a nobleman, baronet, gentleman, esquire, military officer, or adventurer. Many of the Titulado were Irish Catholics demonstrating that there were many exceptions to the enforced transportation of the Irish Catholic nobility following the Cromwellian subjugation of Ireland. The returns also list at the end of each barony the main Irish surnames in the area in 1659 and the numbers of families of each.

The appendices include the complete texts of the Irish Poll-Money Ordinances of 1660 and 1661, with lists, county by county of the people responsible for collecting the taxes.

The book concludes with two valuable indexes by name and by place.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.4 no.6, 1997

A Military History of Ireland edited by Thomas Bartlett and Keith Jeffery. Published by Cambridge University Press, 30 West 20th Street, New York NY 10011. 1996. Illustrations, index, maps. Hardcover. 565 pp. $49.95.

This is a superb resource for anyone wanting to understand the role of their Irish military ancestors in the broader social and political context. It is a major, collaborative study of organized military activity and its broad impact from the middle of the first millennium AD to modern time. It succeeds in putting the best scholarship in military history into its social and political context to provide a comprehensive picture of the Irish military experience.

Their are eighteen chronologically organized chapters written by leading scholars, each an authority in the particular time period. The opening chapter provides a framework for the book, giving an overview on the Irish military tradition.

Because this is a compilation from a variety of authors not all chapters are of equal strength. The editing has also not been as strong as it could have been. For example, three authors give contradictory information as to when the recruitment began for Irish Protestants and Catholics into the British Army in the mid to late 1700s. The actual date is an important fact for those seeking their ancestors in the army.

The last three chapters in the book cover the period prior to separation in 1922, the army in independent Ireland and the relationship of the British army to Ireland since 1922. These chapters provide good background reading for understanding the history and the context for the current situation in Ireland.

This is not a book to help you locate your particular ancestor. The book does provide the context in which your military ancestor lived, worked, served and possibly died.

Note: This book was reprinted by Cambridge University Press in 1997 in paperback. August 1999 prices are $69.95 hardcover, $27.95 paperback.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.4 no.6, 1997

Welsh Surnames and Given Names and their Meanings by Annie Lloyd. Purchase from author at 4635 Stoner Ave. #4, Culver City CA 90230-5773. 1996. 128 pp. Plastic comb-binding. $15 plus $2.50 p&h.

This book is divided into three sections: surnames; given names for boys; and, given names for girls. This is a compilation of names from five sources listed in the bibliography. It makes for an interesting read but is of limited research value unless you have lots of Welsh names to research.

The book assumes you have a Welsh name and want to know its meaning or its English counterpart. Its usefulness could have been increased if English names had been included in the list with their Welsh origins, e.g. David in English could be Dafydd, Dewi or Dewey in Welsh, but you have to look up the Welsh names to find this.

For reviews of Ms. Lloyd’s other books on Welsh research see Vol. 4, No.4.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.4 no.6, 1997

Beginning Irish Research by Nancy Ellen Carlberg. Published by Carlberg Press, 1782 Beacon Avenue, Anaheim CA 92804-4515. 1996. 404 pp. Charts, index, maps. Plastic-Comb Binding. $25.

There is no introduction to this book stating what the author’s approach or purpose is in writing it. This is not a sequentially organized how-to-book for beginners, but rather a collection of miscellaneous notes and topics. For example, there are 83 pages of material for "Notes for Other Countries" covering research in everything from Australia, Barbados, England, New Zealand, Scotland, South Africa and others.

For me, the best part of the book was pages 199 to 286 with an alphabetical listing of topics concerned with Irish research. However, to get the most out of this section you need to know what you are looking for. Buried in this alphabetized section, and other parts of the book, are some real gems of sources you can use in your research. Some, but not all of these sources are available at the local FHC. The detailed index is what saves this book. It assists the reader in finding specific materials.

Parts of the book are designed for absolute beginners with explanations of how to get started in research and the inclusion of standard pedigree and ancestral charts for users to copy. There are some practical research tools included such as research log, Irish census extraction forms, and quick search summary forms. The forms are scattered throughout the book and repeated in the appendix, adding to the bulk of the book.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.4 no.6, 1997

The Cromwellian Settlement of Ireland (1652-1660), 3rd ed. by John P. Prendergast. Published by Clearfield Publishing Company, 200 Eager Street, Baltimore MD 21202. 1922, reprinted 1997. xliii, 524 pp. Indices, maps. Softcover. $42 plus $3.50 p&h.

Ireland’s history continues to be turbulent following the conquest by Oliver Cromwell in 1652. The goal at that time was to move all Irish into the barren province of Connaught and settle the rest of Ireland with loyal Englishmen. This book is the story of the events leading up to and including this mass movement of people. The key to remaining in ones home was whether "Constant Good Affection" was shown towards the English army and government at ALL times. If at any time the answer was no then the families were evicted. This judgment included Scots and English who were already established in Ireland, as well as Irish Catholics and Protestants. The book describes in vivid detail stories of the evictees, including those of rank, title and English blood as in the case of Lady Dunsany.

1360 adventurers are listed by name, title or occupation and the amount of money they contributed to the raising of the army to conquer Ireland. These lists were created between 1642 and 1646. Obviously by the time of the successful conquering of Ireland some of these people were dead or had sold their adventures. In addition to these adventurers, land was to be given to the soldiers to pay for their arrears. This book gives in detail accounts of the clearing of the land, the exceptions, the transplanters certificates, and the court processes that went along with the moving of a large number of people.

If your ancestors are from old Irish, Scottish or English families prior to the resettlement, or English after the resettlement, this book may provide lots of clues for you in terms of family movement. There is lots of good history in this volume, making for fascinating reading.

There are two indices. The first is a useful annotated index of subjects, and the second is an index of names.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.5 no.1, 1998

The Great Historic Families of Scotland, 2nd ed. by James Taylor. 1889, reprinted 1995 by Genealogical Publishing Company, 1001 N. Calvert St., Baltimore MD 21202. 2 volumes in 1, xii, 410 + iv, 431 pp. Indices. Hardcover. $55 plus $3.50 p&h.

This book presents information on 49 of the great Scottish families. The details they contain can be fascinating with stories of war, murder, assassinations, cruelty, rivalry, debt, bankruptcy and riches. This is the material for great historical novels, but reality is often stranger than fiction. The stories retell many facets of Scottish and English history and the parts these families played in it.

The information given often goes back to the times of legend and folklore, but brings these famous families up to the middle of the nineteenth century. The details given on the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth century descendants can be quite extensive. If your ancestors lived on the estate of one of these great landowners you should read that landowner’s story, as it probably influenced your ancestor’s story.

The indexes are not in the usual alphabetical everyname format. Rather they are organized by the historic family concerned and only consist of the main characters. If you are seeking information on the Marquis of Chandos, you would have to know that he was married to the daughter of Lord Breadalbane. You could then find Lord Breadalbane in the chapter on the Campbells of Breadalbane and thus find the Marquis. You will not find him anywhere in the index. There are two indexes in this volume, the first at the end of volume one in the middle of the book, plus an index at the end of volume two at the back of the book. You will need to check both indexes but their limitations need to be recognized.

[Editor: A fully searchable, every-word index for this book can be found online at]

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.5 no.1, 1998

Netting Your Ancestors: Genealogical Research on the Internet by Cyndi Howells. 1997. Genealogical Publishing Company, 1001 N. Calvert St., Baltimore MD 21202. 182 pp. Illustrations, index. Softcover. $19.95 plus $3.50 p&h.

This book is a great resource for those thinking about exploring the world of online genealogical research and wanting to know where to start. It also provides good value for beginning and experienced online researchers.

The book takes you through the process of understanding what you need to get online, how to use your computer software effectively, and then how to obtain information. I found myself reading something about my software or searching online and saying to myself, "I didn’t know that," and then going off to test the process.

Once past the equipment and software the book gets into the online world, talking about online etiquette, electronic mail, mailing lists, newsgroups and searching the world wide web for useful material. Each of the chapters contains useful sections of tips and techniques, plus another on research strategies. Throughout, the book recommends online sites designed to meet specific needs. As an experienced researcher, I found the book helped me to improve my online researching skills.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.5 no.1, 1998

In Old New York: The Irish Dead in Trinity and St. Paul’s Churchyards by Michael J. O’Brien. 1928, reprinted 1997 by Clearfield Company, 200 E. Eager Street, Baltimore MD 21202. 262 pp. Illustrations, index. Softcover. $26.50 plus $3.50 p&h.

In all his books Michael J. O’Brien attempts to show how many Irish were present in the U.S. prior to the Great Famine of the 1840s. This book has the same bias. This means that all people with possible Irish names are assumed to be Irish. Many of them are, and are shown to be, but some are probably not.

The book begins with a story of the lunchtime New Yorkers who visit the graveyards of Trinity Church or St. Paul’s Chapel in the Lower Broadway section of Manhattan, who rarely take the time to read the markers. I too observed this when I worked in Manhattan. O’Brien takes some of these inscription, or entries from the burial registers and tells us stories about the people, often using other sources to make the people real. These stories occupy the first 131 pages of this book and all names mentioned are included in the general index at the back of the book.

The second part of the book is a series of verbatim transcriptions copied from the records of Trinity and St. Paul’s such as tombstone inscriptions, marriages, baptisms (often giving mothers maiden name or the names of the sponsors). Baptisms and marriages from the First Presbyterian Church of New York, records of wills, letters of administration, deeds and conveyances from various offices of the city and county of New York. These lists contain people with Irish surnames. They are not proven to be from Ireland or of Irish descent.

A major shortcoming is that the lists in the second half of the book are not indexed and the individual lists are generally not in alphabetical order. This means that each list needs to be read carefully to find names being researched.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.5 no.1, 1998

Brewer’s British Royalty: A Phrase and Fable Dictionary by David Williamson. Published by Cassell, Wellington House, 125 Strand, London WC2R OBB. 1996, in paperback 1998. 392 pp. Charts. £14.99.

The stated aim of this book is to provide a handy reference tool for readers of history and biography. The book covers all aspects of British royalty from the ancient Britons to the present day. This book provides interesting facts and fables about the lives of the kings and queens condensing a wealth of information that is readily available. However, it expands information on some of the lessor known members of royalty. Not all members of the royal families are included in this book, for that you would need to consult a book on royalty genealogy such as Alison Weir’s Britain’s Royal Families. However, this is much more than a genealogy. Their are many facts, and some legends, included on many members of royalty.

The brief introduction does need to be examined so that the reader will understand how the entries are arranged, for example when they have the same name (arranged chronologically) or same first name with a title (arranged alphabetically).

This book is full of interesting bits of information. One entry I particularly liked was:

Little gentleman in black velvet: Jacobite toast referring to the mole whose hill caused William III’s horse to stumble and throw him, thus precipitating his illness and death.

The appendices include drop-line pedigree charts for the many different royalty lines. Where appropriate there are warnings about the legitimacy of the chart contents and statements that the information should be used with caution, e.g. descendants of Woden.

This is the type of book that you can leave lying around, pick up for a short read, and still learn a good deal of information about many key figures in English history. It’s a very enjoyable read.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.5 no.2, 1998

Scottish Battles From Mons Graupius to Culloden by John Sadler. Published by Canongate Books Ltd., 14 High Street, Edinburgh EH1 1TE. 1996. Index, maps. Paperback. £9.99.

The history of Scotland can be said to have been shaped by its battles. Many of the battles and justly famous: Bannockburn, Otterburn, Flodden, Glencoe and Culloden. In reading this book I was fascinated by the details: the Celts and their chariots as they fought against the Romans; the discussion on 17th century battle tactics; the context for each of the many battles fought on Scottish soil. At other times I found the text did not keep my attention and I got lost in some of the battles, not always following who was fighting for whom.

The maps of the individual battles are good, usually indicating the individual units present and naming their commanding officers. However, the arrangement of the units or the direction of attack do not always match those found in other resources. For example, at Killiecrankie in 1689 the direction of attack is different from that described in Battlefields of Britain by David Smurthwaite and so as good researchers the facts will needs to be verified from other sources if your ancestors fought in these battles.

There are some things lacking in the book. There is no map of Scotland showing the location of the battlefields mentioned in the text. When the armies are active, as when the Marquis of Montrose was leading his Covenanting army all over Scotland a map providing an overview of his route would have been helpful. I know Scotland, having been born just south of the Scottish border, and I still had trouble following the army’s movement. Overview maps would be especially helpful for North American readers.

For those interested in Scottish military history this is a good read, but the conflicts with other books left me wondering which was correct. Additional maps would have helped.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.5 no.2, 1998

The Original Scots Colonists of Early America Supplement: 1607-1707 by David Dobson. Published by Genealogical Publishing Company, 1001 N. Calvert Street, Baltimore MD 21202. 1998. xiv, 196 pp. Hardcover. $22.50 plus $3.50 p&h.

The Original Scots Colonists of Early America, 1612-1783 was published in 1989 using source material located in the U.K. This supplemental volume improves on some of the information in the original, plus adds completely new information from recent research in primary and secondary sources located in the U.K. and the U.S. The supplement focuses on forced and voluntary emigration prior to the Act of Union in 1707. The Act eliminated restrictions on trade between Scotland and the American colonies resulting in an increase in emigration. This volume has strong emphasis on the four main phases of Scots settlement during the 17th century: Nova Scotia in the 1620s; New England and the Chesapeake in the mid century; South Carolina in the mid-1680s; and East New Jersey also in the mid-1680s. The appendix contains three interesting seventeenth century documents showing how emigration was encouraged. There is a long list of source publications to which all entries are keyed. A typical entry reads:

BEVERBRIDGE, JOHN, Islay, Argyll, a Covenanter, imprisoned in Canongate Tollbooth, banished to the American Plantations 30.7.1685, transported from Leith to East New Jersey on the Henry and Francis of Newcastle, master Richard Hutton, 8.1685. [PC.11.126/137/320/330]

This is a valuable research tool for those seeking seventeenth century Scottish emigrants in North America.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.5 no.2, 1998

Beginning Scottish Research by Nancy Ellen Carlberg. Published by Carlberg Press, 1782 Beacon Avenue, Anaheim CA 92804-4515. 1996. 418 pp. Charts, index, maps. Plastic-Comb Binding. $25.

This book is very similar in format to Ms. Carlberg’s book Beginning Irish Research reviewed in volume 4, number 6. As with her other book, this book is not a sequentially organized how-to-book for beginners, but rather a collection of miscellaneous notes and topics. The large section on "Notes for Other Countries" covering research in everything from Australia, Barbados, England, New Zealand, Scotland, South Africa and others is repeated in this volume.

For me, the best part of the book was pages 191 to 274 with an alphabetical listing of topics concerned with Scottish research. Buried in this alphabetized section, and other parts of the book, are some real gems of sources you can use in your research. Some, but not all of these sources are available at the local FHC. Their is a good detailed index which helps you access the wealth of material in the book, again if you know what you are looking for.

There is a good 20 page bibliography but it is sprinkled with many references for Irish research as if the list came from another source or was created for another purpose. Their is a good listing of books published by the different Scottish family history societies and which are available through the Family History Shop in Aberdeen.

Throughout the book there are sections specifically designed to help the beginner get organized in doing research. These sections do include some good practical forms, but they are all repeated in the appendix, adding to the bulk of the book.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.5 no.2, 1998

Visitation of England and Wales edited by Joseph Jackson Howard and Frederick Arthur Crisp. Published by Heritage Books, 1540-E Pointer Ridge Pl., Suite 300, Bowie MD 20716. Prices vary plus $4 p&h.

These two volumes continue this fine series of reprints.

Volume 6, 1898. 182, xv. $33.50. Names included: Back (3), Bartlett (2), Beare, Bowring, Brace, Bush, Carr-Ellison, Catlin, Clough-Taylor, Cowper-Essex, Craig, Didham, Drayner, Eaton, Fanshawe, Fawcett, Furneaux, Fynmore, Goddard, Hall, Langman, Lawrence, Ledgard, Llewellyn, Lockett, Longstaff, marten, Master, Norton, Ollivant, Perceval, Pears (4), Roberts-West, Rogers (2), Sexton, Shekell, Smith, Thomas, Walker, Whitby, Wilson.

Volume 7, 1899. 187, xii. $32.00. Names included: Airy, Aldridge, Alington, Arkwright, Bailey, Baker, Barne, Barnston, Boggis-Rolfe, Carr, Chafy, Comber, Crisp, Cruwys, Dendy, Dicken, Dowdeswell, Fawkes, Fotte, Gibbins, Haslewood, Hole, I’Anson, Kitchener, Law, Lukin, Meller, Murray-Aynsley, Newdigate, Packe, Partridge, Pixley, Price, Roberts, Swithinbank, Windham.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.5 no.2, 1998

Ships from Scotland to America: 1628-1828 by David Dobson. Published by Genealogical Publishing Company, 1001 N. Calvert Street, Baltimore MD 21202. 1998. 127 pp. Hardcover $20 plus $3.50 p&h.

The book provides a two page overview of emigration from Scotland to North America. This introduction acknowledges that there was shipping from Scotland to North America before 1628, as early as 1600, but that these were trading voyages. The British government did not keep registers of emigrants, except for the period 1773 to 1774 and again at the end of the Napoleonic Wars. In both time periods the records were very poorly kept. Emigrants could and often were leaving from many small harbors around the coastline where local government officials were not present to record their departure.

The people did leave Scotland. This book is an attempt to identify the ships that brought them to Canada and the United States. The book is based on research into contemporary newspapers, government records and a small number of published sources on both sides of the Atlantic.

All the entries are in alphabetical order by the name of the ship, they are fully cited, and vary greatly in length but a typical entry reads:

ALBANY OF GLASGOW, master John Gemmell, arrived in Upper District, James River, Virginia, from Greenock 26.6.1738. [VG#106]; master J. Lyon, arrived in the Lower James River, Virginia, from Glasgow 4.5.1739. [VG#158]; master Joseph Tucker, arrived in the James River 4.6.1767 from Glasgow via Barbados, [Purdie’s Gaz. #837]

The ships captain’s or prominent passengers are often mentioned in the text but these are not indexed. Knowing the ship can provide clues to the origins of the immigrants they carried. This is a useful tool for Scottish researchers.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.5 no.3, 1998

Every Man Will Do His Duty: An Anthology of Firsthand Accounts from the Age of Nelson 1793-1815 by Dean King. Published by Henry Holt and Company, 115 West 18th Street, New York NY 10011. 1997. Illustrations, index, maps. xxxvii, 425 pp. Paperback. $15.95.

Every Man Will Do His Duty presents some of the voices of the seamen who fought and lived at sea during the French Revolutionary War (1793-1802), The Napoleonic War (1803-1815) and the War of 1812 (1812-1815). The Peace of Amiens beginning on 25 March, 1802 provides a brief period of peace in the midst of 23 years of war.

The 22 chapters provide first-hand, detailed accounts of life below and above decks in the ships that sailed the world’s oceans in the glory days of sail warfare between 1793 and 1815. Following the events of this time period Britannia really did rule the waves.

The title of this book is a paraphrase of Nelson’s famous signal going into the Battle of Trafalgar. This is explained in a short paragraph in the introduction. However, the full context for the signal and the story of Nelson’s death is described in a chapter titled The Death of Lord Nelson by Surgeon William Beatty. A different perspective of the same battle is provided in Battle of Trafalgar by William Robinson.

The introduction provides two maps that are well drawn and layout where the accounts within the book occur. This is particularly helpful if you are interested in material dealing with a particular ocean or battle. When a specific battle is described maps of the battle formations between ships are provided, often at different times of the day showing the changes that occurred.

The accounts in this book make for exciting reading. They are often very vivid especially if the original writer had kept a diary. If you have a sailor during this time period, or want more background information, then these first-hand accounts are well worth reading.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.5 no.3, 1998

An Index to Griffith’s Valuation, 1848-1864 information compiled by Heritage World Family History Services and provided to Broderbund Software by Genealogical Publishing Company, 1001 N. Calvert St., Baltimore MD 21202. $59.99 plus $3.50 p&h.

Griffith’s Valuation, or the Primary Valuation of Ireland, was carried out between 1848 and 1864 to determine the amount of tax each person should pay towards the support of the poor within the poor law union. The Valuation is arranged by county, barony, poor law union, civil parish and townland. It lists the majority of landholders and householders in Ireland at the time, not all householders as the promotional literature states. These records have become a major substitute for the non-surviving census records.

This index has taken over three years to compile by Heritage World Family History Services in Northern Ireland. The index itself provides the full name of the householder and his county, parish, and townland of residence. The promotional literature states that the items omitted from the index - names of baronies and poor law unions, acreage, valuation and description of the property, are interesting but do little to advance the research. This is not true for in Irish research it is important to know the barony and poor law union in which the ancestor lived because of the way Irish records are organized. The CD does include any marginal notes in the original records such as occupation, name of dwelling, skills associated with the individual or religious affiliation. Also missing from the index is the name of the person from whom the householders leased their property.

The index itself is easy to use. The software provides the standard Broderbund interface. A search can be made on any surname followed by Christian name. For example, a search for William Canny produces seven options. These options can all be tagged for printing. The printout provides county, parish and location which can all be utilized for further research.

A test was made using a printed copy of Griffith’s Valuation for Aghadoe parish in County Kerry. All the descriptors (occupations, father’s name, etc.) in the printout were included in the comments field of the index, as were specific addresses such as the names of the property of the Earl of Kenmare.

The introduction on the disc needs to be read for the background material on Griffith’s Valuation. Unfortunately there is some repetitive material in the introduction, especially with the promotion of the Heritage World Family History Services in Northern Ireland. The search instructions do provide some important search guidelines, especially for names with Mac, M’, Mc, O’, etc.

The instructions say that a search can be made on the name, county, parish, location or comment fields. Unfortunately, the software itself only allows a search on the name field. E-mail correspondence with Broderbund technical support has not resolved this discrepancy.

For those doing nineteenth century Irish research this is a very valuable index.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.5 no.3, 1998

UPDATE: The review above stated that the instructions say that a search can be made on the name, county, parish, location or comment fields. This is partially true, but there are no instructions on how to do this. With Family Tree Viewer, version 3.02, searching can only be done on the surname. With version 4.0 and higher you select the “search expert” dialogue box, and choose “search this archive for someone not from your family file.” This provides a dialog box with five blank fields allowing you to search by name, county, parish, location and comments. This process allows you to get beyond surnames to more complex searches, which is especially useful when searching for common surnames.

The test comparison that I performed was good. However, reports are starting to appear in the genealogical press, and be mentioned by other researchers that errors are occurring. Some have found complete townlands missing, or entered under an incorrect spelling making them unfindable to other researchers. Typing errors have been found.

The net effect is that this is still a great tool to speed up one’s search. However as with all indexes the results should be treated with caution and the originals should be examined.

Update by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.5 no.4, 1998

The Scots of Chicago: Quiet Immigrants and Their New Society by Wayne Rethford and June Skinner Sawyers. Published by Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, 4050 Westmark Drive, Dubuque Iowa 52002. 1997. 185 pp. Illustrations, index, maps, photographs. Softcover. $29.95.

The stated “purpose of this book is to give credit to those Scottish men and women who have influenced the City of Chicago, the state of Illinois, and, indirectly, the country itself. ... Much of the our emphasis here will be on the Scottish influence in Chicago, especially as it relates to the Illinois Saint Andrew Society, the oldest charitable institution in Illinois.”

The book lives up to its stated purpose describing the lives of many of the Scots, famous and not so famous, who formed a significant part of the history of Chicago. The book begins with a brief introduction on why the people left Scotland, when and how they arrived in Chicago, and how the Illinois Saint Andrew Society was formed.

Throughout the book the development, highlights and disasters of Chicago history are described along with the Scots who were active participants. The authors have done an excellent job of providing us with numerous brief biographical sketches of the notable Scots mentioned and often include photographs. Many of these people have been immortalized in the streets and places familiar to many of us in Chicago. The book provides an excellent understanding of the silent, often invisible, role played by the Scots in Chicago history. For any genealogist this historical perspective is important.

As the book progresses there is a growing emphasis on the history of the Illinois Saint Andrew Society. The authors portray the role of the society in holding the Scottish community together, especially in more recent times as other Scottish groups have vanished. It also talks about the development of the Scottish home and the way the society provided for and supported the needy in the community.

The book concludes with a valuable overview of the historic Scottish communities in Illinois. These were often small and quickly assimilated communities so this chapter alone makes Illinois Scottish research easier. There is also an excellent bibliography giving you further resources to check for your ancestors or their social context.

Throughout the book many names are mentioned. It is unfortunate that an everyname index was not created, even with the more notable names every occurrence of their name is not always included in the index.

For anyone with Scottish ancestors in Illinois, and especially in Chicago this is a fascinating read.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.5 no.4, 1998

Ancestral Trails: The Complete Guide to British Genealogy and Family History by Mark D. Herber. 1997. Published in the USA by Genealogical Publishing Company, 1001 N. Calvert Street, Baltimore MD 21202. ix, 674 pages. Illustrations, index, photographs. Hardcover. $34.95 plus $3.50 p&h.

The face of English research has changed with the publication of this superb book. English researchers typically produce short monographs dealing with a particular topic. Researchers thus build a collection of these booklets as their research progresses. Herber’s book changed that picture. In this single and formidable volume, he has collected a wealth of information unparalleled in English research.

In the introduction Herber recognized that English research had “no sufficiently detailed and up-to-date general work available that describes genealogical records and guides researchers to the many published sources or the hundreds of detailed books dealing with specific aspects of genealogical research...” Herber hopes “that this book fills that gap by guiding researchers to the sources and the vast range of reference works and finding aids.” Herber has taken ten years to write this book and, in doing so, meets these goals.

The early chapters in the book provide an introduction to family history, the gathering and organization of information and memorabilia, with a discussion of some general problems. American readers will find the emphasis on family history strong. The book is not designed to help people gather just names, dates and places, but rather to put the ancestors into their historical setting. The resources in the book do this well.

The book continues with chapters on the commonly-used sources such as civil registration, census returns and parish registers. Even experienced researchers will benefit from a read of these practical chapters.

The book then progresses into more advanced topics such as: Catholic, non-conformist and Jewish records; marriage and divorce; newspapers and elections; records of the army, Royal Marines, and Royal Air Force; records of shipping and seamen; oaths, taxation and insurance records; criminal courts and criminals; immigration, emigration and investigation abroad; and many more topics. The book contains 94 very-clear, easy-to-read examples of documents that will be used by the researcher. The ten appendices provide valuable listings of addresses, regnal dates and summaries of finding aids such as titles of all PRO information leaflets.

Throughout the chapters, reference books and finding aids are cited with a number. The details of the citation are at the back of the book in numerical order. Thus if a source is repeatedly cited in different chapters it will be found once in the 978-item citation list. All researchers thus have good citations for further in-depth research and access to finding aids. Unfortunately, however, this book is written in association with the Society of Genealogists in London. It assumes that researchers will have access to this excellent library. Most American researchers do not, and therefore, finding many of the references could be problematic. Herber’s reference numbers at least provide us with specific information about what we are looking for.

This book is about English research, not, as the title states, British genealogy. The records of Scotland, Wales, Ireland, the Isle of Man, and the Channel Islands are found in one thirty-page chapter. In a book this size, it’s a small section for a large topic. It should be stated however, that what the chapter does contain is a good introduction to research in these localities with citations that will guide the researcher.

For Americans, England is a great country in which to research because of the wealth of resources available through the Family History Library (FHL) and its centers. This is one point the book does not make clear. There are occasional examples throughout the text to resources available through the FHL. Herber mentions the 1881 census index and even the 1861 census index for people on merchant or naval ships in port or at sea, both of which are resources available through the FHL. He gives other examples of FHL citations occasionally throughout the book. However, the overall impression is that only the materials cited are available through the FHL. This might give the genealogist new to English research the totally wrong picture. The FHL has a wealth or material readily available, including the majority of parish registers, wills and administrations, plus large collections of trade and city directories, military and naval records, records for the gentry and heraldry, and more. It’s a large collection with very poor representation in this book.

Despite these drawbacks, which are minor, this reviewer highly recommends this book for anyone interested in getting beyond the basics in English research. For non-England based readers the limitations of access to cited materials and the poor mention of material available through the FHL need to be recognized.

Note: This book is now in its second edition (2000).

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.5 no.5, 1998

Royalty for Commoners, 3rd edition by Roderick W. Stuart. Published by Genealogical Publishing Company, 1001 North Calvert Street, Baltimore, MD 21202. 1998. x, 332 pp. Index. Hardcover. $35 plus $3.50 p& h.

This is the third edition of Royalty for Commoners which attempts to document the genealogy of John of Gaunt, (1340-1399), son of King Edward III and Queen Phillippa. It is this line through which many Americans can attach themselves to European royalty. Royalty is a great book if you have gotten this far back in time.

The 1998 edition is nearly a complete reworking of earlier editions. Two dozen lines are lengthened. Source notes are improved to include dates of publication, an every-name index and an index to royal titles. The bibliography is expanded and refined.

The layout of the book takes a little getting used to because the arbitrary line numbering is significant only as a finding aid. The generation numbering is also unusual. The assumption is that generation 1 is a middle-aged person living near the end of the twentieth century. Working backwards into the past the numbering system cannot be disturbed by adding or deleting names. John of Gaunt appears as generation 21 and all the other generational numbers are higher as all lines go back further in time.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.5 no.5, 1998

Officials of the Royal Household, 1660-1837. Part 1: Department of the Lord Chamberlain and Associated Offices compiled by J.C. Sainty and R.O. Bucholz. Published by the Institute of Historical Research, University of London, Senate House, London WC1E 7HU, England. 1997. xcviii, 190 pp. Illustrations, introduction. Hardcover. £22.

This is the first of two volumes designed to make available lists of officials who served in the royal household between the Restoration in May 1660 and the death of William IV in June 1837. This volume covers the officers who served above stairs under the general authority of the lord chamberlain, with some additions such as the staff of the great wardrobe. Officers under the authority of the lord steward and the master of the horse will be in volume two.

The lists include the principal officers of the sub-departments, omitting the subordinate staff. This means that not everybody in the royal household will be found in this book. This will disappoint some readers trying to verify the family tradition that their ancestor was a member of the King’s household.

The book is divided into three sections. The first is a lengthy introduction describing the development of the royal household and its offices, putting them into a fuller context. It explains how the size and administration of the household changed depending upon the monarch and the politics of the time period. The court provided a rally point for the English ruling classes and many listed here will also be found in the Complete Peerage, Complete Baronetage and Burke’s Peerage.

The second section, lists all appointments beginning with a brief summary often giving salaries, a time period when the position was functioning, and the names of all officers. This section makes fascinating reading with, for modern readers, some strange positions: Sewers of the Great Chamber, Revels, Women of the Bed Chamber, Gentlemen of the Bed Chamber, Removing Wardrobe, Clerk of the Closet.

The third section, is a biographical index, providing a summarized account of the offices held by each individual within the household. No other information is included unless directly relevant to that purpose, such as died in office. The accounts of those still in office in 1837 have not been continued. Peers and holders of courtesy titles are indexed under their titles. The sources for each piece of information is well cited making this a valuable tool for further research.

This book provides a fascinating analysis of the functioning of the royal household and its officers. It is a useful index for those with ancestors at this level of society.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.5 no.5, 1998

Never Been Here Before? A Genealogists’ Guide to the Family Records Centre. Public Record Office Reader’s Guide No. 17 by Jane Cox and Stella Colwell. Published by PRO Publications, Public Record Office, Ruskin Avenue, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU. 1997. vi, 112 pp. Illustrated. Softcover. £5.99.

This book is a must for anyone planning to do research in London at the new Family Records Centre at Myddelton Place. This new facility is operated jointly by the Office for National Statistics and the Public Record Office. The facility brings together the records formerly at St. Catherines and the microfilm records of the Public Record Office on Chancery Lane.

On the ground floor is the General Register Office (GRO) with its indexes for births, marriages and deaths since 1837, plus many miscellaneous indexes such as: births and deaths at sea; birth marriage and deaths from army regiments, army chaplains returns, Service Department registers, Royal Navy, consulates, civil aviation, high commissioners, chaplain registers from the Ionian Islands and more.

On the second floor is the Public Record Office collection where you can search on microfilm or fiche the 1841 through 1891 census returns, the Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills, 1796 to 1858 Death Duty Registers, 1775-1837 Nonconformist Registers, Miscellaneous Registers of births, marriages and deaths of British citizens abroad 1627-1960. You also have access to the IGI and Family Search CD-ROM.

Most of this material can be searched in the U.S. so you can do lots of advanced preparation before going to England.

This book is a valuable resource, even if you are not going to England. The explanations of the various records at the Family Records Centre are extremely well illustrated down to the fine details. For example, when discussing the PCC wills, the indexes provide the quire number, this means the will is found on one of the following 16 pages, and it illustrates which numbers you will find that you can ignore. The practical discussion on the Death Duty indexes is one of the best I have seen anywhere. The descriptions of the miscellaneous birth, marriage and death indexes are detailed enough for you to understand if you should be spending your time here looking for those missing records. For fun, the cartoons that are sprinkled throughout the book will delight any genealogist.

This is a valuable, practical book that is easy to recommend for any English researcher, whether you are going to England or not.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.5 no.5, 1998

Records of Merchant Shipping and Seamen by Kelvin Smith, Christopher T. Watts and Michael J. Watts. Public Record Office Readers’ Guide No. 20. Published by PRO Publications, Public Record Office, Ruskin Avenue, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU. 1997. vi, 112 pp. Illustrated, index. Softcover. £6.99.

Mainland Britain has almost 2,500 miles of coastline and it is impossible to be more than 70 miles from the sea. This is less than two day’s walk for our ancestors. In this context it is easy to see why so many families have ancestors who served in the Merchant or Royal Navies or worked in the industries that supported them. For example, in 1800 it is estimated that the Merchant Navy had 15,000 ships and 127,000 seamen.

This Readers’ Guide will get you into the wide variety of records available for the study of the Merchant Navy, covering the organization, the ships and the men who sailed them. The records cover the time period from the 17th through the 20th century.

The introduction acknowledges that not all documents needed are at the Public Record Office. One major collection of British Merchant Navy records is in the Maritime History Archive at Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, Newfoundland. Other major collections are at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, the Merseyside Maritime Museum in Liverpool, the Guildhall Library in London, and modern records at the Registry of Shipping and Seamen in Cardiff. The guide does indicate when the records you need are in another repository and not at the PRO.

The book is divided into eight sections (1) Records of Seamen before 1835; (2) Records of Seamen after 1835; (3) Records of other Officers; (4) Records of Fishermen and Fishing Vessels; (5) War Service; (6) Royal Naval Reserve; (7) Registration of Ships; (8) Miscellaneous. Each section is subdivided into chapters and these again divided. Thus a detailed table of contents which makes specific items very easy to find.

Each section is well organized, describing what will and will not find in record group. The illustrations of sample documents go well with the text. After reading this book I want to find out more about my ship owners and seamen.

For those with Merchant Navy connections this book is a must to be able to access the large volume of records available at the PRO and other repositories.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.5 no.5, 1998

Katie Down the Pike 1997, 70 pp., and Overlooking Stoneybrook 1998, 71 pp. Both by Carol March McLernon. Published by the author at N3748 Bowers Rd., Lake Geneva, WI 53147. Illustrated. Softcover. $8 each.

Katie Down the Pike begins with a preface to set the scene of the story. Father Carlo Gaetano Samuele Mazzuchelli, better known as Father Kelly, was born in Milan in 1806. He became a priest and was in the Green Bay and La Crosse areas of Wisconsin working with the native Americans by 1833. He moved in 1836 to the lead mining district of southwestern Wisconsin and was responsible for the construction of eighteen churches, a courthouse and a state capital. In 1844, St. Augustine Church was built in the town of New Diggings. The church bell bought in New York through local subscriptions, traveled up the Mississippi to Galena. This book is a fictional account of 10 year-old Katie traveling with her father and Mr. Hurley to get the bell. This is a great story of the adventures they encounter.

Overlooking Stoneybrook is a delightful children’s story set in the mining district of southwest Wisconsin at the start of the Civil War. The names of the people are real, and an epilogue to the book tells what happens to them in the war and afterwards. However, the story itself is fictional. The story is about Annie and Jenny, two ten-year old girls and their lives in a dying mining town. The talk of the town is the war and the level of enthusiasm to go to war, especially among the young boys and men.

Ms. McLernon, is a teacher and a member of BIGWILL. She has taken her love of history and written two good children’s book, aimed at 10 year-olds. My 14 year-old daughter, Heather, read both books and said “Good stories and real easy for me to read.” These books would give your children and grandchildren a flavor for life in early southwestern Wisconsin from the perspective of a child.

Carol McLernon is our speaker for the January 1999 BIGWILL meeting. Come and hear her talk about the process of turning family history into stories to share. She will provide us with an excellent slide show.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.5 no.6, 1998

The Family Tree Detective: Tracing Your Ancestors in England and Wales, 3rd ed. by Colin D. Rogers. Published by Manchester University Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, Room 400, New York NY 10010. 1997 (1st ed.1983). 289 pp. Illustrations, index. Softcover.

This book is different. It is organized around the need to solve problems rather than around sources. There are three basic problems in genealogy resulting in the searching of records for parents, marriages and deaths. These three concerns are discussed in detail.

Each section begins with a description of the normal processes, using civil registration and parish records. This is followed by suggestions on what to do if something is not located as expected. For example, the section dealing with deaths present options on what to do when a death entry is not found, or when multiple options are found first in the civil registration death indexes and then in church burial records. Recommendations on alternative sources are provided. A similar format of problem solution is followed for the parent and marriage searches.

This is a very practical book. The text has been updated well from the 1983 version with the highlighting of new resources, research tools and web-sites. When you have a problem this is a great book to turn to for ideas on how to get around those brick walls.

Reviewed by Paul Milner.
BIGWILL v.5 no.6, 1998

Notebook Guide to Pre-1834 Poor Law Acts & Statutes, Acts Concerning the Duties of Parish Officers and Acts Relating to Church Affairs researched and compiled by Mike Brown. Published by Dartmoor Press, PO Box 132, Plymouth PL4 7YL. (n.d.) 32 pp. Index. Softcover £3.40 airmail.

The goal of this booklet is to provide the researcher with guidance into the multiplicity of laws that governed the functioning of the various parish officers. The booklet includes laws that added to the responsibilities of the officers from 1189 to 1834. The major laws are marked appropriately. Many revised and amended laws are not included unless they added to the duties of a particular officer.

This was a fascinating read full of many great examples. In 1475, if any person drew a weapon in a Church with intent to strike, the person would be indicted and one of his ears cut off. In 1538, parish registers were ordered to be kept, but the Act was widely disobeyed (unfortunately for researchers), and there was a 3s 4d fine for non-compliance which was to go towards the upkeep of the church. In 1547, apprenticing of pauper children was reintroduced, to remain until girls were 21 and boys were 24, runaways to be treated as slaves. In 1562, apprenticeship was recognized as giving legal settlement. In 1601, the Poor Relief Act was issued as a temporary measure but provided the structure of the Poor Law till 1834. In 1653, custody of Registers was taken away from Ministers; marriages were performed by Justices, not clergy; fees of 1s for baptisms and marriages and 4d for burials were charged. In 1692, a Land Tax was introduced assessing 4s in the pound, often described as the most crippling tax ever introduced. It was not abolished until 1963.

This is just a sampling of the wealth of fascinating material in this excellent little, tightly-packed guide to the laws affecting the parish. A good index to subjects and officers helps you find the relevant laws that you need. This little guide should be purchased by anyone trying to get beyond the basics and to understand of the workings of the parish and the people who served it.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.5 no.6, 1998

Guide to Churchwardens’ Accounts by Mike Brown. Published by Dartmoor Press, P.O. Box 132, Plymouth PL4 7YL. 1997. 64 pp. Index. £4.20 airmail.

After parish registers the Churchwardens’ account books can often be the most important books in the parish for research purposes. These books provide a wealth of information on a wide variety of topics, enabling you to learn a great deal about life in the parish.

The first section of the book deals with sources of income for the churchwardens. These include the rates, burials, church ales and festive occasions, pew rents, candles and torches, livestock and much more.

The second section of the book deals with the expenses of the churchwarden. The expenses include items such as: operating accounts, parish stocks, exterior and interior maintenance, vestments, market fees, the King’s Evil, vermin control, the Dog-whipper, hearth and window tax, St. Peter’s Pence and Fifty Dole, burials in woollen and much more.

For all of these income and expenditure items good examples are given from Devon parishes. The examples illustrate problems researchers may encounter, such as dialects and spelling errors. The table of contents is detailed, but there is no index, so you have to know what it is that you are examining to be able to find further information. This book should be on the bookshelf of anyone working in the churchwarden accounts alongside the classic work, The Parish Chest by W. E. Tate.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.5 no.6, 1999

Guide to Sources for Family History held by Westminster City Archives by Elizabeth Cory. Published by City of Westminster Archives Centre, 10 St. Ann’s Street, London SW1P 2XR. 1997. 20pp. Softcover. £3 plus £1.06 p&h.

Prior to 1900 the City of Westminster comprised the following civil parishes: St. Anne, Soho; St. Clement Danes; St. George, Hanover Square; St. James, Piccadilly; St. Margaret, Westminster; St. Martin-in-the Fields; St. Mary le Strand; St. Paul, Covent Garden; the Precinct of the Savoy and the Liberty of the Rolls. (There were other ecclesiastical parishes).

For anyone working in this part of London, especially if you are planning on actually visiting the area to do research, this slim guide is imperative. It covers all the usual records used by genealogists, such as census, parish registers, cemetery registers, wills, monumental inscriptions and directories. Also covered are the records less readily available outside the area, such as school and business records, rate books, electoral registers and maps. The booklet is vital to help you avoid wasting time and energy because it indicates which of the records, originals or copies, are available at the Westminster City Archives and which records are only accessible through other locations such as the London Metropolitan Archives, the Guildhall Library, the Family Records Centre and the Public Record Office.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.5 no.6, 1999

Clandestine Marriages in the Chapel and Rules of the Fleet Prison 1680-1754 by Mark Herber. Published by Francis Boutle Publishers, 23 Arlington Way, London EC1R 1UY. 1998. 128 pp. Illustrations, index. £10.

The introduction to this book gives an excellent summary of irregular and clandestine marriages common between the Restoration of 1660 and 1754 with the introduction of Lord Hardwicke’s Act. The area around the Fleet prison is the best known and most popular locality for these marriages. The Fleet Registers record about 250,000 marriages between 1690 and 1754. This is a substantial proportion of all the marriages that took place in England during this time period.

The Fleet registers consist of 275 registers and 540 notebooks at the PRO. It is a mammoth task to examine all of these. What Mark Herber has done is start the process of transcribing these and publishes here Piece RG7/162: November 1736 to January 1754 and Piece RG7/118: November 1736 to July 1748.

In the transcriptions the surnames have been capitalized; otherwise capitalization and punctuation have been kept as they are in the original. These records are extremely valuable because they often provide the occupations, marital status and place of residence of the couple, unlike most Church of England Registers of the time. Where additional information is known, such as copies existing in other registers, is noted. The book is well indexed by name, actual and standardized, plus a place index by county for those from outside of the London area.

A typical entry showing the wealth of information but also the spelling errors and duplication found in other records reads:

Folio 2 recto, 14. 7ber 1738. Peter RIGHT Chapman of Shortly Bridge in Northamberland widower and Mary Hucheson of Trukucar in Scatland spinster WW [See also RG7/118, entry 24. Lloyd also found this entry in the notebook in RG 7/700, where the groom’s surname is WRIGHT, the bride’s surname is HUTCHINSON and the marriage is noted as having taken place at the Cock in Bishop’s Court. The entry also appears in the notebook in RG7/696, but dated (probably incorrectly) as 1737]

This is a great start to what I hope will be a longer series of books from a new publisher. The introduction to clandestine marriages and the examples this book provide make it an excellent resource, even if you do not find your ancestor in the book.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.5 no.6, 1999

The Welsh Learner’s Dictionary by Heini Gruffudd. c. 1998. 256 pp. $14.95. Welsh Phrases for Learners by Leonard Hayles. c. 1997. p. 171. $14.95. Available from International Specialized Book Services, Inc., 5804 N.E. Hassalo Street, Portland, OR 97213-3644.

The Welsh Learners Dictionary begins with an indispensable 14 page guide and grammar. It talks about the Welsh alphabet and where to place the double letters in sequence so you can even find them in the dictionary. There is a helpful pronunciation guide, where to place accents and a good mutation table with guide. The introduction demonstrates some of the differences between popular and literary Welsh, pointing out that the dictionary uses primarily popular Welsh. The modifications created by verbs, past, present and future tense, plus what happens with irregular verbs is clear. The dictionary itself begins with a list of names and places in both English and Welsh. This is followed by the Welsh-English and then the English-Welsh sections of the dictionary. Many of the words have pronunciation guides and give key phrases.

The Welsh Phrases for Learners lists thousands of handy little phrases with their meanings. You can easily browse this book and improve your Welsh. The book however provides no guide to what happens if something in the sentence changes.

Neither book will help you much with your ancestral research, but for those with Welsh ancestors they are delight to use, to help understand the language and the idioms. The dictionary provides the necessary mutation and grammar guides needed to get started.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.6 no.1, 1999

North-East Repositories II: Record Holdings in the North-East of England for Local & Family Historians by Michael Southwick. Published by Kingpin, 21 Meldon Way, Hanover Estate, Winlaton, Tyne & Wear NE21 6HJ, England. c. 1998. 76 pp. Maps. Softcover £6 (postage paid).

This is the updated and expanded version of a 1994 publication. It includes information on the location and holdings of more than 50 libraries and archives in Northumberland, County Durham, Cleveland, Tyne & Wear, and Northern North Yorkshire. The introduction to each major collection provides name, address, telephone numbers, e-mail address, opening hours, parking and public transportation accessibility, booking requirements, availability of disabled access, toilets, refreshments, photocopiers and microfilm and fiche readers. The text continues with a valuable listing of major components in the local collection. The costs and availability of any local research service are included. This latter item is of course extremely valuable to those of us in the US. This is a valuable guide book for anyone researching in the north-east of England.

The same author publishes a quarterly magazine The North-Easterner: Your Guide to Local & Family History in the North-East of England, 64 pages per issue for £10 per year. Write to Kingpin at the above address.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.6 no.1, 1999

The Coventry Workhouse Death Registers 1845-1943 transcribed by Beverly Wishart. c. 1997. 20 pp. Softcover booklet and 2 microfiche. Published by Coventry Family History Society, “Twin Oaks,” 88 Howes Lane, Finham, Coventry CV3 6PJ, England. £3.20 includes airmail postage.

The 20 page booklet describes the Workhouse, its construction, its rules and gives examples of life in the Workhouse. For example, it describes the three ways in which a person could enter the Workhouse, how the paupers were classified inside the house and how they were segregated, even to the extent of separating husband and wife, or children and parents. It describes what the inmates would have worn, ate and when meals would have been served. This was a harsh environment but the records do show acts of kindness. Some events in the life of the Workhouse are highlighted such as the 1855 death of a foundling, 1888 acquittal of the Matron of charges of stealing provisions from the Workhouse but her husband was involved in voter fraud and fled to California.

The two microfiche contain information on the deaths of 8,381 inmates who died between 1845 and 1943. The registers between 1845 and 1914 provide name, age, date of death, parish of belonging and burial arrangements. The registers from 1914 to 1943 contain name, age, date of death, address of the deceased and cause of death (not included in transcription) and burial arrangements. If a coroner’s inquest occurred this is also noted and may lead to newspaper reports.

This is a valuable index for those seeking the poor and elderly in Coventry.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.6 no.1, 1999

A Guide to the Index of Entries from the Coventry Apprentice Enrollment Registers 1781-1841 by Barbara Robinson. c. 1997. 14 pp. Softcover booklet and 5 sets totaling 11 fiche. Published by Coventry Family History Society, “Twin Oaks,” 88 Howes Lane, Finham, Coventry CV3 6PJ, England. Each set is £3.20 includes airmail postage.

In the 18th and 19th centuries freemen of the city were allowed to vote in elections. To become a freeman a person had to have served an apprenticeship of seven years in the same trade and to have lived in Coventry for the whole of that time. To ensure these conditions were met apprenticeship registers were kept. There were three ways to be enrolled as an apprentice: by a parent, close relative or guardian; by the parish; or by the charity trustees.

This index contains the names of boys apprenticed in Coventry to masters who were virtually all living and working in Coventry or the County of the City of Coventry. The names are in alphabetical order and provide: surname, christian name, date of enrollment, name of parent, abode and parent trade. Many of the apprentices came from the surrounding countryside or counties and so this index may lead the researcher out of the city to the parish or origin.

There are five sets of fiche:
      vol. 1   1781-1801   3 fiche
      vol. 2   1802-1811   2 fiche
      vol. 3   1812-1821   2 fiche
      vol. 4   1822-1831   2 fiche
      vol. 5   1832-1841   2 fiche

Each set of fiche contains five indexes for: Apprentices; Masters; Masters by trade; Partners; and Trades. The additional indexes are helpful for following the possible career of a person from apprentice, to Master, to potential partner in larger companies, or following the family through a particular trade.

These are large valuable indexes and the Coventry Family History Society is to be commended for their excellent work.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.6 no.1, 1999

Family History in Southwark: A Guide to Tracing your Southwark Ancestors by Leonard Reilly. c. 1996. Illustrated, map. 40 pp. Softcover. £1.95. Southwark: An Illustrated History by Leonard Reilly. c. 1998. Illustrated, maps. 92 pp. Softcover. £:6.95. Both published by London Borough of Southwark, Southwark Local Studies Library, 211 Borough High Street, London SE1 1JA.

Family History in Southwark is a short guide to tracing ancestors in the area, describing relevant sources, services and resources of the Southwark Local Studies Library and information on places for further research. The emphasis is on the contents of the library but this guide provides a detailed outline of the types of records that are likely to be available for your research. For example, it points out that there were 10 ancient parishes in the Southwark area which were later divided into 72 administrative parishes. All these are listed with the dates at which the registers begin. It correctly points out that many of the registers themselves are at the Greater London Record Office, thus telling you where to look. The book also covers many record groups of importance to genealogists: non-conformist registers, census returns, electoral registers and poll books, directories, cemetery records and monumental inscriptions, newspapers, poor law records, taxation records and more. This is an inexpensive valuable guide for anyone researching in the area.

Southwark: An Illustrated History forms a valuable companion to the above guide because without understanding the history of the community you cannot make educated genealogical research decisions. This book provides a history of the area, including the communities of Bermondsey, Camberwell, Rotherhithe, Horselydown and Newington. The book is divided into seven time periods: early history; medieval and pre-reformation 1100-1540; early modern 1540-1700; urbanization 1700-1830; suburbanization Camberwell 1830-1900; city ignored Southwark, Bermondsey, Rotherhithe, 1830-1900; twentieth century. Each chapter is well illustrated with some great color images, photographs and prints, extracts from contemporary documentary sources plus good descriptions of the places, industries and people. This book provides a good image of how the city obtained a lot of the occupations, activities and trades that the city of London itself did not want, e.g. prostitutes, prisons, tanneries, and weapons. It is here that many of the unwanted immigrants settled. It is this type of valuable history that provides the clues on knowing where and how to research for ones ancestors in this area. This is a good inexpensive research tool giving a good overview of the area.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.6 no.1, 1999

A Miscellany of Bastardy Records for Wiltshire. Volume 1 - 1728 to 1893 transcribed by David Mattock and Rosemary Church. Published by Wiltshire Family History Society, 10 Castle Lane, Devizes, Wiltshire SN10 1HU, England. 1997. 83 pp. Introduction, map. £6 plus £2.20 p&h. surface.

The 2 page introduction contains an excellent summary of the laws and the records that were created when an illegitimate child was born. Not all records for all courts have survived, nor have all that have survived been included in this one volume. There are two further volumes produced by the society on this subject.

The book contains six lists:

The information contained in these indexes is often brief, containing a name (s) with possibly an age, occupation or parish. An archive reference number is always given so that the original can be examined.

More information sometimes is included, such as: MOUNTJOY, Rebecca, aged 28 yrs, single, and illegitimate child Isabella, aged one month, 23 rd Oct 1893, Order of Removal from St. Marylebone, London to Calne Union. Lawful daughter of Edward & Martha Mountjoy and was born in Cone on 23rd June 1865. That at the time she attained 16 yrs her father was also settled in Calne, he having resided there for 3yrs & upwards to gain a settlement.

For anyone who has found that their tree apparently comes to an end with an illegitimate birth in Wiltshire these indexes need to be examined.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.6 no.2, 1999

Wiltshire Militia Courts Martial 1759 to 1770: From Lord Bruce’s Papers in the Ailesbury Collection at Wiltshire Record Office edited by Jean A. Cole. Published by Wiltshire Family History Society, 10 Castle Lane, Devizes, Wiltshire SN10 1HU, England. 1997. 75 pp. Introduction. £6 plus £2.20 p& h. surface.

The first item to catch your eye about this book is the inserted warning - “some of the language in this book is of an explicit nature,” and it is in places. The book contains extracts from court martials. Each entry provides: the name, rank and company name of the offender; place of court martial with names and ranks of presiding officers; a description of the events leading to the offence; guilty verdict citing the appropriate article of war; description of the punishment. People mentioned within the text of a case are listed separately within the index and cross-referenced to the appropriate case. The introduction explains that many of the men were in the militia against their will, having left their homes for three years. This is the context for the many cases of being absent without permission, drunkenness, and fighting. The punishment by our standards seems hard with three days and nights in the black hole, fines and more commonly 50 to 200 lashes with the cat with nine tails.

In addition to the court martial extracts other useful documents have been included in the book. These include: Articles of War 1748-9; Formation of the Wiltshire Regiments Companies of Militia; 1757 Militia Act and the division of the county into ten areas; Movement of the Wiltshire Regiment of Militia 1759 to 1765; Miscellaneous information relating to the Wiltshire Regiment of Militia; and, 1761 Militia Act (extracts).

The introduction to the book points out that this is a companion volume to the Wiltshire Militia Orders 1759-1770, edited by Jean Cole and published by the Wiltshire FHS in 1994. Both books need to be used together. These books are a must for anyone with ancestors in the Wiltshire Militia. It is also a valuable tool because of the supporting regulation documents provided for those seeking ancestors in other county militia units.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.6 no.2, 1999

The Apprentice Registers of The Wiltshire Society 1817-1922 edited by H.R. Henly Volume 51 of the Wiltshire Record Society, 53 Clarendon Road, Trowbridge, Wilts BA14 7BS. 1997. xxii, 192 pp. Indices. Hardcover.

The modern Wiltshire Society was formed in May 1817 in London. The stated purpose of the charitable organization was to apprentice the children of deserving poor belonging to the county of Wiltshire who resided in London. In 1859 the rules were changed to admit children actually residing in Wiltshire.

Between 1817 and 1922 there were 1006 apprentices who benefited from the organization. Each entry in the book provides some or all of the following details: serial number / entry number; apprentice name (surname, forenames); parents’ forenames (and surname, if different from the apprentice surname); parents’ address; master’s name; master’s occupation; master’s address; term of apprenticeship; premium; indenture date. The parents’ names and address, where given, have been taken from annual reports; other details, after 1830, are from the apprentice registers. Supplementary notes, in smaller type, follow many entries summarizing any additional information supplied in annual reports. All the places are in Wiltshire or London, unless otherwise indicated.

A typical entry reads: 431 Hutchins, William Christopher, son of John and Emma Elizabeth, of 34 Pell St., St. George’s in the East: to A. Ohlson, coppersmith etc., of 85 New Road, Whitechapel. 6+ yrs, £20. 21 Aug. 1872. In smaller type: Father, a carpenter from Trowbridge, is in delicate health, and his earnings are precarious. Apprentice is a brother to 391 and 508.

The appendices contain: 1823 Rules of the Wiltshire Society; Governors of the Wiltshire Society, 1817-1921; Past Presidents of the Wiltshire Society. There is a combined index of persons, places and companies, with a separate index for occupations.

As a researcher tracing back in time it is the country origins of the city resident that is often so difficult to locate. This is an excellent resource for Wiltshire ancestors in making that movement and putting the ancestor into context.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.6 no.2, 1999

Local Communities in the Victorian Census Enumerators’ Books edited by Dennis Mills and Kevin Schürer. Produced by Local Population Studies, Department of History, University of Essex, Colchseter, CO4 3SQ. Published by Leopard’s Head Press Ltd., 1-5 Broad Street, Oxford, OX1 3AW. 1996. x, 450 pp. Charts, illustrations, index, maps. Paperback. £12.50.

The census enumerator’s books (CEBs) are a very commonly utilized tools for genealogical research in England and Wales. They do differ markedly from the census returns used in the US in content, but more importantly is the fact that the information was recorded on one night, the same night all over England and Wales.

This book is divided into six sections, each developing a particular theme. These themes are: the enumeration process; population and demography; employment and occupations; migration and population turnover; family and household structures; residential patterns. Each new section has a chapter written by the editors which explores the potential and possibilities of the CEBs in relation to the themes in question, as well as providing an overview of previous research work and the approaches taken. The points raised in the editorials are illustrated in chapters based on revised and updated articles which were originally published in the Local Population Studies journal.

Tucked into the chapters are lots of material of use to the genealogist, for example, a list of all published census reports, 1801-1901. I especially found the chapter “A floating population: vessel enumeration returns, 1851-1921” helpful in explaining how the system for maritime censuses worked and its great limitations, plus what effect ships can have on the published statistics of a community. Two chapters examine the accuracy of reported ages, two others look at combining the census with other records such as estate maps and tithe maps, other chapters look at occupations and population movement.

The is an excellent book for those who want to go beyond finding their own individual ancestor to an examination of the community in which they lived. It provides examples of studies done elsewhere and may give an example with which to compare your ancestors community. There is a very extensive accumulated bibliography included.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.6 no.2, 1999

Instant Information on the Internet! A Genealogist’s No-Frills Guide to The British Isles by Christina K. Schaefer. Published by Genealogical Publishing Company, 1001 North Calvert Street, Baltimore, MD 21202. 1999. 117 pp. Index. Softcover. $9.95 plus $3.50 p&h.

This book begins with a good introduction to the history and development of counties and local government. This is important as it helps to understand where the records of our ancestors may be physically located now, given many have moved in the last few years as jurisdictions changed.

The book is organized by country and thereafter by county. Under each county there are five categories:

  1. Record office or facility that hold official records such as local authority archives, larger public archives, plus parish and non-conformist archives
  2. Libraries, museums, societies and other resources
  3. Information sites listing how-to information, local history sources, etc.
  4. Selected documents and indexes
  5. Lists and links to other sites and lists of addresses

The England section has to be read for it is here that UK-wide resources are included without being repeated under Wales, Scotland, Ireland, or the islands. This fact is only stated at the beginning of the England section as is not repeated under the country sections. This important information is not repeated, yet the web site and long descriptive paragraph for the Highland Council Highland Archives Service is repeated five times. Most entries consist of the name of the facility and the web page address, some might have a sentence or two of description added. Sites which provide links to other sites are marked with an *.

There are other inconsistencies about what is included. For example, why was the Regimental Museum for the Queen’s Own Highlanders (p.71) singled out for inclusion when many regimental museums have a web presence. There is an index to place names, but a topical listing would have also been helpful.

This is an inexpensive tool to get you started and focused in your web search for information about a particular location or topic. However, you will also need to do online searches for the web is constantly changing and being added to.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.6 no.3, 1999

Ireland: 1841/1851 Census Abstracts (Northern Ireland). 530 pp. $50. Ireland: 1841/1851 Census Abstracts (Republic of Ireland). 138 pp. $25. Both by Josephine Masterson. Published by Genealogical Publishing Company, 1001 North Calvert Street, Baltimore, MD 21202. Illustrated. Hardcover. First book $3.50 p& h, $1.25 for each additional book.

The bulk of the 1841 and 1851 census returns for Ireland were destroyed in the 1922 explosions and fire at the Public Record Office (now National Archives) in Dublin. What has survived, and forms the bulk of the materials transcribed in these books, are the abstracts made of the census returns in 1908, before the fire, for people who could not prove their age and were applying for the newly introduced Old Age Pensions. The claimant gave particulars of where their families were supposed to be on the nights of 6 June 1841 and 30 March 1851. Searches were performed and abstracts made by Search Officers and completed forms returned to the Pension Office.

Records for Northern Ireland were found in the National Archives in Dublin and records for the Republic were found in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland in Belfast but they have all been collected here into the appropriate volume.

The details in both volumes for the Pension abstracts include surname, christian name, relationship to head of household, age, year of marriage, LDS film number, notes and location. The notes might include ages for the 1851 census when the same family is located in both census returns, who is the claimant, married or maiden names, year of death and age, location if absent from the family in another parish, with some entries stating in America or in Scotland. Each volume contains other lists from census fragments, or the information given does not meet the standard format with records containing several surnames, incomplete information, parents recently married, or indefinite locations. The Northern Ireland book includes a surname list for the 1851 County Antrim census fragments, while the Republic of Ireland volume includes lists of surnames from the 1841 census for Killeshandra Parish, County Cavan and for 1851 fragments for the Union of Kilworth in County Cork. The surname lists are a guide to three other abstracted collections, only one of which has been published commercially, the two other lists being available in specific libraries including Salt Lake City and Ft. Wayne. These lists of surnames provide valuable clues, but if your surname is included, and there are many common names, then you have to go hunting for further resources.

The introduction to both books has to be read to understand the various film and manuscript sources used to create these lists of names and their limitations. For example the introduction states that “Not all the information in these books (referring to the Old Age Pension books) was extracted but was limited to records with enough information to be of possible help in identifying an ancestral family.” This begs the question, what were the guidelines? These are not stated. The author estimates that there are 75,000 useful records of individuals in family groups for the whole of Ireland. Of this number, there are 23,000 people in the Northern Ireland book and another 5800 people included in book for the Republic of Ireland. Another 19,000 in the lists cited as being elsewhere. This still leaves a big gap. This means that if your ancestors are in this book then you know immediately where to go to find the family on the original records, and that does need to be done as more information may be contained on the original. However, if your ancestor is not in these books, you will still need to search the originals as they may be there.

These are not books you pick up and quickly look to see if your ancestor’s name is in the index. If you do you will miss the name, for there are eight indexes of greatly varying length and content in both books.

There is no doubt that these books are a valuable compilation of records for Irish research and should be in any library with an Irish collection. The limitations do need to be recognized though when using them as a research tool.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.6 no.3, 1999

Vanished Churches of the City of London by Gordon Huelin. Published by Guildhall Library Publications, Guildhall Library, Aldermanbury, London EC2P 2EI. 1996. ix, 85 pp. Illustrations, No Index. Softcover. £5.95.

This book is divided into three sections: churches not rebuilt after the Great Fire of 1666; churches demolished between the Late Eighteenth Century and 1939; churches destroyed in World War II and not rebuilt in the city. The brief introduction gives the names and a map of the 69 vanished churches originally located in the “square mile” of the city of London.

For each church there is a brief synopsis of the history, or a story connected with the church. Many have a line drawing or photograph of the facility.

The details given vary greatly. For example, for St. Faith under St. Paul’s it says that it originally stood until 1255 on the northside of the old St. Paul’s. The church was pulled down when St. Paul’s was extended, and the parishioners given worship space in the east section of the crypt. “In 1666, as the Fire spread westwards, the parishioners, most of whom were booksellers in Paternoster Row, stored their books for safety in the church below the Cathedral. According to Pepys, sparks from other goods stacked in the churchyard outside penetrated the windows of St. Faith’s so that its roof collapsed and more than £150,000 worth of books perished.”

We learn about Olave Silver, a foundling in the parish of St. Olave Silver Street. The bells of St. Dunstan’s in the East can now be heard ringing in a Californian wine valley. We read about perseverance in times of war at St. Augustine Watling Street where the church was destroyed on 11-12 January 1941 by enemy bombing, yet weekday services resumed two days later in the vestry. The vestry was destroyed by enemy action on the 10 May, and this time it took two months for services to resume. Services continued till closure in 1954.

If your ancestor’s London church no longer exists then this is an excellent guide to learning the church’s history and likely what it looked like. For those without London ancestors it’s a valuable social history replaying life and death in London over many years.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.6 no.4, 1999

A Guide to Genealogical Sources in Guildhall Library, 4th edition compiled by Richard Harvey. Guildhall Library Research Guide 1. Published by Guildhall Library Publications, Guildhall Library, Aldermanbury, London EC2P 2EI. 1997. iv, 75 pp. Index. Softcover. £3.95.

The Guildhall Library is a public reference library in the City of London established in 1824. Over the years it has build up a fabulous collection. There is the Printed Books Section holding printed material related to London, and many resources related to the rest of the British Isles. A Prints and Maps Section contains prints, drawings, photographs, maps and ephemera relating to London. A Manuscript Section holds records relating to London and its institutions.

This guidebook emphasizes the sources and not the methodology. In eighteen brief chapters it covers all the expected topics like census, civil registration, and probate records. But it also covers directories, poll books, electoral registers, rate books, poverty, crime, apprentices, free men, guilds, livery companies and more. The guide explains what is in the collection, how to access the records, and if everything needed is not in the collection it informs you of which record facility will have what you needed.

This inexpensive guide book is a must for anyone with London ancestors. The information on available records and how to access them is outstanding and practical.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.6 no.4, 1999

Family Historians’ Reference Guide, 5th edition compiled by Sally J. Pocock. Available from Sally Pocock, 2 Fairmantle Street, Truro, Cornwall TR1 2EG. March 1999. 59 pp. Softcover. £6.50 postage included.

This book serves as a memory aide. You might remember seeing something somewhere dealing with a particular topic but are not sure where. It is not a dictionary, but rather a tool to refer you to other sources and for British research is an ideal tool to have on hand.

What the compiler has done is provide short one or two sentence entries describing a source of information on a particular topic. There is a strong emphasis on lists and indexes, of course giving the name and address of the person or institution with the index and how it can be consulted. These include indexes for brassworkers, brickmakers, circus performers, glassmakers, goldsmiths, millers, etc. The indexes are so varied that any occupation should be checked to see if someone is compiling an index.

There are numerous references to articles and books (old and new) that deal with particular topics. These too can be very varied, including: disasters in London, dormant funds in court, fishermen, freemasons, Irish ejectment books, kirk session records, etc. Many of the articles from publications could be found using PERSI, but some of the references to books may be harder to find on this side of the Atlantic.

The compiler has done a good job at keeping the entries general and not topographical in nature. There are some references to London because so many researchers have London ancestry. There are over 650 topical entries in this publication. Many of the references are from Family Tree Magazine, Genealogists Magazine and some society journals. I have almost complete sets of the first two publications so this is a useful guide for me.

What you are going to find is going to be a bit of a lucky dip. However, I will be keeping this publication handy for a quick place to check on a variety of topics.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.6 no.5, 1999

Behind Bars: A Chronicle of Bodmin Gaol by Sally J. Pocock. Available from Sally Pocock, 2 Fairmantle Street, Truro, Cornwall TR1 2EG. 1998. 69 pp. Illustrations, Indexes. Softcover. £4.25.

This book provides good background material on the Quarter Sessions, Assizes and prisons in Cornwall. The early gaol was in Launceston. This was the county town in Cornwall until 1835 but its location on one end of the county created problems in transporting prisoners and forming Grand or Special Juries. In 1716 Bodmin was chosen as a more convenient place to convene, and between 1716 and 1727 the Assizes alternated between Bodmin and Launceston, then only at Launceston until 1758, afterwards in Bodmin. By 1831 the Quarter Sessions were being held in Bodmin, Truro and Lostwithiel and this court usually oversaw crimes of a less serious nature, but if committed to gaol, they always served their sentences in the County Gaol.

This book describes using first hand accounts and references the conditions and life in the gaols. This is from the perspective of the wardens, officers, doctors and prisoners. It is unfortunate that in Cornwall only the Quarter Session Order Books and not the records themselves have survived. This has made this research by Ms. Pocock even more valuable and difficult to create. Only Cornish sources have been used in the writing of this book. No material possibly available at the Public Record Office at Kew have been used. However, some of the illustrations depict life in other English prisons.

This is a fascinating read describing the many hardships and conditions to be found in the gaol is the different time periods. There are many names references in this volume. There is a name index for all the prisoners mentioned in the text, plus an index to keepers, governors and turnkeys but excluding the Chaplains and Surgeons. Ms. Pocock states in her introduction that she hopes “Family Historians, will share my fascination with the references to all the characters that appear in the text, both law-abiding and otherwise.” It is unfortunate then that an every-name index was not created for this publication. This is a major omission for a book like this where the genealogical community is one of the intended audiences.

A useful book for anyone wanting to learn more about England’s prison system, and Cornwall’s specifically.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.6 no.5, 1999

British Roots of Maryland Families by Robert Barnes. Published by Genealogical Publishing Company, 1001 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21202. 1999. xxxviii, 646 pp. Index. Hardcover. $49.50 plus $3.50 p&h.

This new collection of genealogies gathers together information on the British origins of Maryland families. Inclusion is based on the following criteria: (a) there was some reason to believe that the families’ home parish in Britain had been identified; (b) the families had taken root and left descendants in the New World; (c) most had arrived before the year 1800. This work is a mixture of Mr. Barnes’ own research building upon the work of earlier researchers such as Henry F. Waters, Lothrop Withington, Harry Wright Newman, Jack and Marion Kaminkov and Peter Wilson Coldham. A wide range of British periodicals, publications and manuscripts have been utilized.

The introduction lists provides a key to all the sources that are used. Where appropriate the author rightly points out that some of the works need to be used with caution, such as the early Herald’s visitations. Since many of the early Maryland families are also armigers a useful heraldry glossary is provided to aid the reader in understanding the descriptions provided.

The genealogies are grouped by families. For each, all relevant references are listed. The references are followed by mini genealogies with referrals to the list of references so the source of the information can be identified. Some of the genealogies go back many generations in England, especially when connecting through landed or royal families.

Over 500 families are included, with 20,000 individuals included in the index. A summary table in the introduction shows the origins by county within England. However, one shortcoming is that there is no place-name index so the people from a particular location or area cannot be identified.

For those with Maryland ancestors and seeking a place of origin in the British Isles, this is a reference worth examination.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.6 no.5, 1999

In Search of Your British & Irish Roots: A Complete Guide to Tracing Your English, Welsh, Scottish, & Irish Ancestors, Fourth Edition by Angus Baxter. Published by Genealogical Publishing Company, 1001 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21202. 1999. 306 pp. Index. Softcover. $18.95 plus $3.50 p&h.

The bulk of this book is for England a county by county listing of the major record offices and repositories. For each it provides the basic information about the county record offices such as address, telephone numbers, e-mail if available, opening hours and requirements for use of the facility. It will provide a short outline of the major record groups at the repository and a list of any guide books. Most of this information is now available online.

For the rest of the United Kingdom it provides coverage of the major repositories such as the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, General Register Office in Scotland. It also provides information on the major repositories in England such as the PRO, Society of Genealogists, etc. For a beginner who does not know about the existence of these resources this can be a helpful guide. For many, however, more information can be accessed online, or in other guide books.

The first eight chapters of the book describe how to get started in research, specifically British research. It is unfortunate that this section of the book is out of date, prone to errors and gives poor advice. For example, when talking about recording your information in the chapter on Starting the Family Tree he states that “In order to build a family tree you will need several large sheets of paper each about 2 feet by 3 feet” (p.15) and then describes how to lay out the tree. There is no mention of ancestral charts or family group sheets. In the chapter on tracing army and navy ancestors it states “The records and the system under which they are filed are complicated, and a professional researcher must be employed” (p.78). Many of these records are available on film, and there are some excellent guidebooks to lead you through the research process.

The introductory chapters contain outdated information, and some copying from his other books - what have Austrian church records and Polish army records to do with British research (p.32)?

This book can be used as a starting point to get into county records, but it can not be recommended for purchase. There are much better books on the market.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.6 no.5, 1999

Pigot’s 1834 Directory for County of Durham and Northumberland
available from Drake Software Associates, 1 Wychwood Rise, Great Missenden, Bucks HP16 ORB, UK. $35.

This is a searchable database of over 23,000 people and their occupations in Durham and Northumberland from Pigot & Co’s Commercial Directory of 1834.

The program requires a 32 bit Windows operating system such as Windows 95, Windows 98 or Windows NT, 16 Mbytes RAM and a 2x or better CD-ROM drive. Please take note of these requirements. For me this is the first genealogy program that would not run on my older desktop computer, insufficient RAM. It operated very well on the portable computer.

The program installs the Borland Database Engine on the hard drive and requires about 3 Mbytes. The program is accessing the CD-ROM for the searches so the database and all the page images are on the CD-ROM. The faster the CD-ROM drive the shorter the search.

The main screen allows you to search the directory, view the results grid, and view a facsimile page. Under the search tab there are three options: normal search, compound search and Soundex search. The normal search will work for most people and allows searching on prefix, forename, surname, suffix, occupation, address, town and county. A sample search for all people with the forename of Dixon turned up five people, with seven entries, including the Dixon Dixon that I was looking for. He showed up as two entries on the results screen with addresses at 18 Westgate Street in Newcastle and at Longbenton. You have the option of stepping through each search hit sequentially or viewing the results in a grid. The grid display enables you to see all entries at once, which is nice. For our Dixon Dixon, going to view the actual page shows both addresses under one entry in Newcastle. The two entries from the single entry in the directory show the power of this database.

When you view the facsimile page a major advantage of this program over similar US-produced images becomes immediately apparent. The entry you are seeking appears in the center of the image, which is only part of the page. This contrasts well with typical US productions where you see the page but then have to read every name on the page to find the entry you are looking for. For lists of names like this finding the original entry is so much simpler. I wish more vendors did this.

The normal search will work for most people. However, you can also make compound searches so you could search for all brush-makers in Northumberland with the name Smith. Advanced Soundex searches are also available. This was new to me, allowing you to ignore or select prefixes. So for example, ignoring prefixes modifies the Soundex algorithm to ignore any prefixes from a selected list. This means that M’, Mac and Mc could be selected and M’Lean would then show up in a Soundex group list along with Lean and Lane. You can also select some of the problems in Soundex coding such as NG=N, or DG=G. You can also extend the length of the coding from the standard 3 to 4 or 5 figures. This is a very powerful and impressive search option. The manual does a good job of explaining and illustrating these options.

There are two print options: a copy of your search results in landscape format; a scanned image of the actual page from the directory. The search report printout is limited to 300 records to prevent accidentally printing large reports.

This CD-ROM is easy to use. It is hoped that this will be the first in a series of similar directory CD-ROM. The 1830 Pigot’s Directory for Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, and Oxfordshire is also available. For up to date information check the company website at <>.

{This publisher has a Chicago bank account so can accept $ checks. He cannot accept credit cards. E-mail messages can be sent to}

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.6 no.5, 1999

The Record Interpreter: A Collection of Abbreviations, Latin Words and Names used in English Historical Manuscripts and Records, Second Edition compiled by Charles Trice Martin. 1910. Reprinted 1997 by Clearfield Company, 200 E. Eager St., Baltimore MD 21202. xiii, 464 pp. Softcover. $35 plus $3.50 p&h.

Most of us have forgotten our school Latin, if we ever learnt it in the first place. This book provides a listing of Latin words and abbreviations for you to be able to translate the Latin we find in early English documents. The lists are created from documents where Latin and English often occur together such as in Chancery Proceedings, where the bills and answers are in English but the writs are in Latin. There is also Latin in inscriptions on brasses, tombstones, and other monuments. Some of the Latin found is very corrupt but this book still provides guidance.

The brief preface has to be read. It shows how the contraction marks are usually used and how to find them within the proper sequence of Latin word lists.

The book includes: abbreviations of Latin words used in English records; abbreviations of French words used in English records; glossary of Latin words found in records and manuscripts not occurring in classical authors; Latin names of bishoprics in England, Scotland and Ireland; Latin forms of English surnames and Christian names.

This book is designed specifically for genealogists and historians and so it is nice to see this practical book back in print.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.6 no.6, 1999

Irish Gravestone Inscriptions: A Guide to Sources in Ulster edited by William O’Kane and Eoin Kerr. Published by Genealogical Publishing Company and Heritage World, 1001 N. Calvert Street, Baltimore, MD 21202. 1999. 57 pp. Illustrations, maps. Softcover. $7.95 plus $3.50 p&h.

This book is a listing of over 900 cemeteries listing the name of the civil parish, the name of the cemetery and its religious affiliation that have been transcribed by Heritage World Family History Services. The majority of transcribed cemeteries are in Northern Ireland, but there are also a number in Donegal, Monaghan and Louth.

The idea is that you can contact the Heritage Centre and purchase information either as an index giving county, parish, person and cemetery names, date of death and denomination, or as a full gravestone inscription.

The book is laid out by county, with a map of Ireland showing the location of the county, a brief history and description of the county and then the listing of transcribed cemeteries.

This reviewer was disappointed in the booklet as it is not a Guide to Sources as the title suggests. The booklet is a listing for The Heritage Centre. The researcher will need to use other sources to find what other cemeteries may be found in the area you are researching. No other sources or guides are listed. The impression given is that this is the only source for these transcriptions and that is not the case. This service provides a place to purchase transcriptions of cemetery markers but the potential omissions from the book also need to be realized.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.6 no.6, 1999

Birth Briefs of Aberdeen 1637-1705 by Frances McDonnell. Published by Willow Bend Books, 65 E. Main St., Westminster MD 21157-5026 1998. Index. 48 pp. Softcover. $7 plus $3 p&h.

These are details from the Aberdeen Propinquity Books covering a very early time period. These are birth briefs created long before birth records were kept. They are documents created before witnesses attesting to the lineage of a particular individual or family. In this time period many of the sons of the important families were traveling, soldiering or making their fortunes in eastern Europe. These official documents or briefs would provide written proof of their social position. They also provided proof of kinship, important for inheritance claims especially when the claimant lived in another country.

Reading the briefs shows that an individual’s parents, often grand and great-grandparents are named and there place of origin. These provide details on many of the titled landed families or those who aspired to be well to do. The women are provided with their maiden names and their lineage so it is possible through these records to also trace the women.

An every-name index is provided giving page references. Unfortunately the pages are not numbered. You therefore have to identify the correct pages and number them yourself to make this index work properly. Luckily, the book is a slim one.

A valuable record for anyone who has early Aberdeen records from the upper families. The locations of many sons in Europe are mentioned.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.6 no.6, 1999

The Adventures of Peter Williamson by Frances McDonnell. Published by Willow Bend Books, 65 E. Main St., Westminster MD 21157-5026. 1998. Illustrated. 32 pp. Softcover. $4.50 plus $3 p&h.

This is a famous true story set in a sad period in Aberdeen history between 1740-1744. During this time period some of the key merchants, magistrates and shipmasters in the city were involved in kidnapping children and shipping them off to the colonies for sale as slaves in the American Plantations.

This is the story of one Peter Williamson who survived the journey, had a good owner, was captured by the Indians, escaped, became a soldier and returned to Scotland. While traveling in England and returning to Aberdeen he wrote his story. As a result upon reaching Aberdeen he was brandished as a liar and banished. With support from a lawyer in Edinburgh he was vindicated.

This is a summary of that story. Parts of Peter’s original story are quoted. There are a number of illustrations but most are of poor quality.

A powerful story that should be read by anyone with ancestors from the Aberdeen area, especially if you have anyone going missing in this time period. Even if your ancestor did not go missing kidnapping was carried on such a large scale in the open that fear in the surrounding communities was high.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.6 no.6, 1999

Cornwall Multimedia: Movies, Music and Magic of Cornwall
produced by Cornwall Business Systems, Albany Road, Redruth, Cornwall, England TR15 2HY. 1996. £29.95.

This is a delightful CD requiring a multimedia IBM compatible PC with SVGA, 4 MB of free RAM (8MB is preferred) a dual-speed CD-ROM and operating at 50Mhz or better. These requirements are the same as the Devon Multimedia CD produced by the same company. The opening screen is a map of the county with 21 towns and villages marked. To the left of the map is a menu of options: Sights, Attractions, History, Family Names, Place Names, Maps, Slideshow, Help, Exit and Sound.

The easiest way to get a visual overview of the county is to play the slide show. This takes you through all the slides used within the program itself. As you go through the show there are 21 sound tracks from or about the county. The sound tracks can also be accessed from the opening menu. I have found myself playing the slideshow in the background on my computer while I listen to the music. Brings back lots of memories.

For a specific location you highlight the town or village in which you are interested. You then select Sights, Attractions or History. Sights will provide three visual images of the area, plus a short description. You have the option of then selecting a movie. This is a short segment about the area in a small window in the center of the screen. The commentary that goes with this video is well done. The movie will give you a flavor for the area. If Sound is chosen at this point it will generally be a song about the area.

For example, I highlighted Camborne, where I went to college, what seems like a long time ago now. The name of the town is first is said so you know how the name sounds. Selecting sights gives a short description plus three images (Cornish Engine House, Portreath Beach and Trevithick Day Celebrations). The sound is the song “Going Up Camborne Hill.” The movie selection in the small window is a short piece about the Trevithick Day celebrations held each April.

Selecting the history button provides a picture of the statue of Richard Trevithick and a page about the history of the area. (Sadly, some already out of date for it states that the only remaining mine is at South Crofty, but that has now closed). Selecting other towns moves you around the county giving you some good information about the community and its surrounding area. In the end most of the county is covered.

Family Names brings up six windows: (1) to type in the surname you are research; (2) a scrollable list of the surnames in the database; (3) Original Cornish; (4) Cornish meaning; (5) Related Place names; (6) Areas Found. This is a useful program to help you learn about over 1,000 names specific to the county, where they are located and what they mean.

The place name option is a scrollable list of over 200 communities within the county and its meaning. It will often display a picture as well.

Selecting maps gives you the choice of selecting modern maps of the different regions within the county. If you don’t know where to look there is a find option which will then select you the correct map, and highlight it with a long red line. These are modern tourist maps and are a little cluttered with symbols for caravan and camping sites, tourist attractions, horse riding, monuments, local industry, etc.

Selecting sound from the menu plays the music track of the CD. From this screen there are no controls over which track you are on, nor do you know the name of the piece being played.

The major drawback of the CD is that there is no option to print any of the information, figures or maps in the program.

If you are beginning Cornish research and want a flavor of the county, or planning a trip to Cornwall you will find this CD useful. The music on the CD is very enjoyable.

[Further CD-ROM relating to Devon and Cornwall from this producer will be reviewed in future newsletters]

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.6 no.6, 1999

Devon Multimedia: Movies, Music and Magic from Devon. 1997
produced by Cornwall Business Systems, Albany Road, Redruth, Cornwall, England TR15 2HY. £29.95 each.

This CD is produced by the same company who produced the Cornwall Multimedia CD and has the same computer hardware needs. However this has a later software version and some of the operations have been modified and improved. On this CD 29 towns are selectable on the opening screen. The operation is very similar with sights, attractions and history for each locality. The have been modifications so that under attractions and history you will find more information than on the Cornwall CD. Plus, usefully, the option to print the information has been added.

An introduction button provides a brief overview of the county. The slideshow does this well visually with no text or verbal audio track (music track is an option).

The family names button has been replaced with People providing short mini biographies of some famous Devon natives. The place option is now a longer list giving information about the community and its tourist attractions. A more practical addition for the tourist. Again, both now have the option to print the information on the screen.

As with the Cornwall CD this is a useful CD for those new to Devon wanting to learn more about the county, its history and music. It’s also a useful too for those planning at trip to Devon.

[Further CD-ROM relating to Devon and Cornwall from this producer will be reviewed in future newsletters]

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.6 no.6, 1999

A Directory of Scots in Australasia, 1788-1900 by David Dobson. Published by Willow Bend Books, 65 E. Main St., Westminster MD 21157-5026. 1998. 49, 42, 47 pp. Softcover. $13.50 plus $3 p & h.

This volume was originally published in three parts in Scotland in 1997. This book binds together the original three books but there is no apparent difference between the parts. The book begins with a brief one page introduction to Scottish emigration highlighting that Australasia received very few Scottish convicts, the most prominent of what it did receive were the Scottish Martyrs of 1793-1794. The 1830s saw a steady migrant flow encouraged by groups such as the Highlands and Islands Emigration Society. Gold discoveries in the 1850s increased settlement.

The settlement of New Zealand was a generation or two behind Australia. The majority of the early settlers went under the auspices of the New Zealand Company, but by the 1840s churches were assisting in the organized settlement, examples include the Free Church of Scotland settlers at Otaga and the followers of Reverend Norman McLeod who arrived via Nova Scotia.

The entries about individuals are derived from sources in Great Britain. The content can vary greatly often providing the maiden name for women, a date of birth and death, and place of residence in Australasia.

A typical entry reads:

CLARK, JEMIMA, born 1799, wife of Robert Craig, died in Papanui, Auckland, New Zealand, 6.6.1884 (Biggar g/s) [g/s=gravestone]

Readers need to remember that this is a book created from Scottish sources and is not a complete listing of Scots in the area. For example, Norman McLeod who led his people to New Zealand, via Cape Breton Island who is mentioned in the introduction is not included in the list, even though he died in New Zealand in March 1866.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.7 no.1, 2000

The Burgess Rolls of Banff and Elgin by Frances McDonnell. Published by Willow Bend Books, 65 E. Main St., Westminster MD 21157-5026. 1998. 52 pp. Softcover. $7.50 plus $3 p&h.

This book consists of three lists: Burgess Roll of Elgin, Provosts of Elgin, and the Banff Burgesses 1549-1892. There is no introduction to say what the roll of a burgess was, or who they were. A brief lead in paragraph does state that there are no formal rolls or book of burgesses and that these are primarily lists of honorary burgesses compiled from other sources. They can be useful though as they may give information that would lead the researcher to other sources, especially for those who served in the military and found their way back to Scotland after the War of Independence or service in India. Some entries indicate residence in the West Indies.

Sample entries from the Banff list read:

DUFF, PATRICK, Captain in the Artillery of the East India Company’s Service, Bengal, 1774.
GARDYNE, SAM, Mr, Charlestown, Carolina, 1785.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.7 no.1, 2000

Burke’s Extinct and Dormant Baronetcies of England, Ireland and Scotland, 2nd ed. by John Burke and John Bernard Burke. 1841 reprinted 1999 by Clearfield Company, 200 E. Eager Street, Baltimore MD 21202. 648 pp. Softcover. $47.50 plus $3.50 p&h.

King James I instituted the order of the Baronet in 1611. Between 1611 and the writing of this book in 1841 nearly 1,000 Baronetcies became extinct or dormant. This book presents in alphabetical order of the Baronet information on the family lines up to the time of extinction of the royal patent.

Each listing begins with an image of the armorial bearings, gives the dates of creation and extinction of the royal patent, and then continues with the lineage. The lineage begins with the first known representative and continues through the generations with information on births, marriages and deaths. Additional biographical information is added when known.

This book is great when you know that your ancestors connect with one of the Baronetcies. However, this does not included an index to the 35,000 plus named individuals. Women are often given scant treatment. For example, I connect tangentially through a marriage into the Worsley of Appuldercombe line. It states that James Worsley had four daughters and two sons. The two sons are named with their professional military ranks, but the daughters are not even mentioned by name. It is through one of these daughters I connect with the line.

This book can be a great asset taking you back a number of generations. However, it is likely to be other sources that will lead you to this volume.

Note: This book was originally published in 1841 under the title A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Extinct and Dormant Baronetcies of England, Ireland and Scotland, which is the title used in most library catalogs. This book is available as one of the eleven volumes on the CD-ROM Notable British Families, available from Genealogical Publishing Company, Baltimore, Maryland.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.7 no.2, 2000

An Index of Scots Immigrants from Galloway who died in England or the West Indies Extracted by Barbara Horbury from the pre-1855 Monumental Inscriptions of the Stewarty of Kirkcudbright researched and edited by Alison Mitchell. Published by The Scottish Genealogical Society, 15 Victoria Terrace, Edinburgh EH1 2JL, Scotland. 1998. iii, 43, 43 pp. Softcover. £5 plus £1.25 p&h.

This is an extraction from the 7-volume series of pre-1855 monumental inscriptions for the Stewarty of Kirkcudbright of those who died in England or the West Indies. This index was created to meet the needs of the author. After her research she chose to publish the compilation.

The book is organized in two sections. The first section is a complete alphabetical listing. The second is arranged by cemetery and then by plot number.

The lists are database printouts. For each person they provide surname, forenames, place of death, year of death, place of origin, age, name of the cemetery, plot number and conclude with a notation as to whether more people of the same family died abroad.

For those with deaths in the West Indies the place of death is often very specific. In spite of the title and the author’s notation to the contrary there are deaths in other places mentioned. For example, I found 18-year old Allan Young who died in 1838 in Illinois. There are other deaths in the USA, Central and South America, plus New Zealand.

For locations in England the 3-letter Chapman Codes are used for the county name, followed by the specific locality. Obviously these are not on the monumental inscriptions themselves and some mistakes have been made: Carlisle is in Cumberland not Lancashire, South Shields is in Durham not Northumberland. On this side of the Atlantic New Brunswick has been put into the USA rather than Canada.

For researchers the goal is always to find the place of origin so that you know where to look next. This book fills a need in helping the researcher find a place of origin in Kirkcudbright for those who died elsewhere.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.7 no.2, 2000

Jacobites of Perthshire, 1745 by Frances McDonnell. Published by Clearfield Publishing Co., 200 E. Eager Street, Baltimore MD 21202. 1999 viii, 78 pp. Index. Softcover. $10 Plus $3.50 p&h.

With Bonnie Prince Charlie’s return to Scotland in 1745 the aristocracy of Perthshire rallied to support the House of Stewart. Much of this support centered on the Murrays of Atholl and the Duke of Perth. The bulk of the men from Perthshire who participated in the rebellion were from their two regiments. The Jacobite army fluctuated greatly in numbers depending upon recruitments and desertions. No accurate numbers of the size of the armies at the battles exist. This book gives information about the Jacobites who have been identified from records. These records include Colonial Office papers, State Papers, and Treasury documents all at the Public Record Office, plus Gifts and Deposits in the Scottish Record Office. Some of the records also include details of transportation to the colonies.

The information for each Jacobite can vary from a couple of lines to half a page. A typical entry reads - CAMPBELL, DANIEL, aged 19, 2nd Battalion, Atholl Brigade, transported 31 Mar 1747 from Tilbury to Barbados, in Frere, P.2.90, MR.22. The sources of all entries are given so researchers can examine the original documentation. A key to the documentation is provided in the introduction. A good resource for those seeking ancestors in Perthshire during the mid 1700s.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.7 no.2, 2000

Scottish Seafarers: 1800-1830 by David Dobson. Published by Willow Bend Books, 65 E. Main St., Westminster MD 21157-5026. 1998. 36 pp (unpaginated). Softcover. $6 plus $3 p&h.

This is an alphabetical listing of all mariners for whom an inventory or the confirmation of a testament has been recorded with either a Commissary Court of with a Sheriff Court and now held at the Scottish Record Office.

A typical entry reads:

BOG, THOMAS, skipper in Greenback, cnf [confirmation] 7.2.1805 Glasgow. [SRO.CC9.7.76.97]

The book is limited to this time period because indexes have been published for all Commissary Courts prior to 1800 by the Scottish Record Society. These courts continued in existence until the 1823 Commissary Courts Act when jurisdiction was transferred to the Sherrifs Courts. This took effect in 1824, except in Edinburgh which maintained its Commissary Court until 1830. After 1800 the records are in manuscript form and Mr. Dobson has searched these records to provide us with this index.

This is a useful index for those looking for records of Scottish seaman.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.7 no.2, 2000

Cornish Roots: First Edition 1998
produced by Cornwall Business Systems, Albany Road, Redruth, Cornwall, England TR15 2HY. 1996. £29.95 plus £2 p&h.

The opening screen on this CD-ROM is a map of the county with two columns of buttons below. The program immediately starts into a photographic slide show with dots on the map moving from place to place to indicate its location. The Chacewater Carnon Male Voice Choir provides background music for the show.

The buttons below the map, arranged in two columns, include census, gazetteer, emigrants, places, maps, famous people, introduction, slide show, family names, place names and subscribers.

The introduction was worth listening to as it clearly describes the capabilities and limitations of the program.

Location Features

There are a variety of features dealing with locations on this disc. These include a 15,000 place gazetteer, modern road maps of the county, information and photographs of a variety of places within the county. One useful feature of the gazetteer is that it provides the Ordnance Survey Gazetteer grid reference so that the place can readily be located on the LandRanger (1:50,000) or the Pathfinder (1:25,000) maps of the area. Unfortunately, it does not tell you on which of the LandRanger or Pathfinder maps it is to be found.

The place-name section lists over 200 places with their meaning in English. The Family Names section is a database of over a 1,000 names providing their original Cornish spelling, the Cornish meaning, areas where the name is found and whether the name is related to a particular place.

1851 Census information

The 1851 census provides information on 356,641 people, approximately one-fifth of the population of Cornwall at the time. Ray Woodbine of Tywadreath has extracted all of the registration districts of Bodmin, Liskeard, St Columb and the Fowey Sub-District of St Austell. For each person the entries provide the name, occupation, address, name of spouse, relationship to head of household, birthplace, age and the piece, schedule and folio number so that you can examine the original record. Since this is a transcription by an individual you should certainly check the originals for possible errors and additional information.

To search for your ancestors you can scroll through the surnames or enter the surname to search for. This is the only section of this database indexed. By selecting the Reports section you can do more complex searches. For example all the Henry’s, with surnames beginning with Chap, over the age of 30. This will search the complete database and display a table of results. You can select each choice in turn for further information. This is a very useful database if your ancestors are within the geographic territory covered by these districts.

Emigrants Database.

This is a database of 31,351 people, who immigrated to the USA between 1825 and 1916, and was created by the Cornish-American Connection in Redruth. The information is drawn from a wide range of primary and secondary sources.

You can search on a surname using a scroll bar or from the report screen you can make more complex searches, similar to the census search. The information provided can vary, but can be very informative. For example, Stephen Chenhalls was born 21 June 1824 in St. Agnes, Cornwall and immigrated 14 April 1842 from St. Agnes to Iowa County, Wisconsin via Padstow and Buffalo NY. He married Jane Truran in 1850, in Lafayette County, Wisconsin. He moved in 1878 to Ireton, Iowa where he died 21 January 1903. The sources given include obituaries in the Iowa County Democrat and Wisconsin Declarations of Intent. This is very useful information, providing lots of clues, if this is your ancestor. More often the information is not as complete but still provides good clues for places of origin in Cornwall.

One limitation of the database is that there is a one way linkage between married couples. The men know who their wives are, but the women do not show connections to their husbands.

There is no option to print any of the information, figures or maps in the program.

This is a good tool for researchers in Illinois and Wisconsin because of the high number of Cornish who came to this area. This may provide the clue you need to find the place of origin in Cornwall.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.7 no.2, 2000

Tracing Your Irish Ancestors: The Complete Guide, 2nd edition by John Grenham. Published by Genealogical Publishing Company, 1001 North Calvert Street, Baltimore, MD 21202. 1999. xxii, 374 pp. Illustrations, maps. Softcover. $19.95 plus $3.50 p&h.

The book meets its stated aim "to provide a comprehensive guide for anyone wishing to trace their Irish ancestors". The book recognizes that the needs of the individual researcher can vary greatly and thus structures the book in three parts. Part one presents the basic sources of civil records, census records, church records and land records. Part two deals with sources having a narrower application, including wills, records at the Genealogical Office, emigration, the Registry of Deeds, newspapers and directories. Part three, the largest is a guide to occupations, source lists arranged by county and Roman Catholic records.

The first two sections provide detailed descriptions of what the records are, their contents and practical advice on how to use them. For example, in describing the 1901 census it shows how to use this to eliminate multiple options found earlier in civil registration for a person who emigrated to the US in 1897. These sections are current; for example it includes details of the 1997 CD-ROM index to Griffiths Primary Valuation, thankfully acknowledging both its strengths and weaknesses.

Section three is where the content of the book has increased greatly. This section begins with a reference guide of published and unpublished sources for occupational research. It is good to know sources exists but the bibliographic citations are not consistent, often omitting the copyright date and the publisher’s name, but it does give the National Library of Ireland call number. This is followed by a 110-page listing for each county of: census returns and substitutes; local history; local journals; directories; gravestone inscriptions and estate records. The major addition to this volume is 141-page listing, with maps of copies of Roman Catholic parish registers, microfilm and database transcripts to be found in 1998 in the National Library of Ireland, the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, the LDS Family History Library, the local heritage centres and those that have been published. The tabular format, arranged by county, shows the dates (with gaps) for each of the baptismal, marriage and burial registers. No effort was made to find out what remained in local custody.

In the revision the following were excluded: the 822 item listing of manuscripts in the Genealogical Office, the 28-page listing of published family histories, and the 20-page listing of Church of Ireland parish registers in Dublin repositories. The Genealogical Office material is now available in The Genealogical Office (Irish Manuscripts Commission, Dublin, 1998) and the Church of Ireland records are listed in Noel Reid’s A Table of Church of Ireland Parochial Records (IHFS, 1994).

This book is physically larger, has a smaller typeface and is 91-pages longer than the 1992 first edition. It has been extensively revised and updated, with lots of new resource material so is highly recommended for anyone doing Irish research. Yet, because of the material omitted in this revised volume the first edition should be kept on hand.

Note: This book is now in its third edition (2006).

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.7 no.3, 2000

Richard Griffith and His Valuations of Ireland by James R. Reilly. Published by Clearfield Company, 200 East Eager Street, Baltimore, MD 21202. 2000. viii, 108 pp. Illustrations, maps. $21.95 plus $3.50 p&h.

This is a fabulous tool for Irish researchers. Mr. Reilly puts a commonly used but underutilized research tool into its correct historical context. In this process he shows that there is much more to Griffith’s Valuation than first meets the eye. There are in fact three valuations: The Townland Valuation Act of 1826; The Tenement Valuation Act of 1846; and the Tenement Valuation Act of 1852. The history, creation, content and practical value of the records created by each Act are well presented and illustrated.

After putting the records into their historical context Mr. Reilly explains how to analyze the valuation records to reveal usable genealogical information. Information relating to the economic condition of an ancestor, and perhaps, siblings, relatives and in-laws. How to learn about possible occupations, family relationships, how agnomens are used and how to interpret the absence of an ancestors name. Plus how to use information about the neighbors and land owners to lead to other genealogical records.

The book contains a number of appendices including: glossary of terms; list of published Ordnance Survey Memoirs; list of Valuation Field Books that contain names of occupiers; listing with definitions of administrative divisions; publication dates for the different valuations. The book concludes with a comprehensive inventory of Griffith’s General Valuation arranged by county and poor law union showing the date of printing, the LDS film number and then a listing of depositories that have specific volumes.

Griffith’s General Valuation is a resource used by beginning and experienced researchers, often without the understanding needed to properly utilize or interpret. Mr. Reilly has given us a guide to more effectively use this record. This book should be in every Irish research collection and should be read by everyone using Griffith’s Valuations.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.7 no.3, 2000

General Alphabetical Index to the Townlands and Towns, Parishes and Baronies of Ireland: Based on the Census of Ireland for the year 1851 originally published 1861, reprinted 2000 by Genealogical Publishing Company, 1001 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21202. 968 pp. Hardcover. $50 plus $3.50 p&h.

This book provides an alphabetical list of every Townland, Town and Island mentioned in the 1851 census for Ireland. The townlands are printed in Roman characters, the towns in small capitals, and the Islands which are not townlands in italics. There are over 70,000 entries and for each it provides: the number of the Ordnance Survey Sheet on which the place is located; the name of the locality; its area in acres, rods and perches; the names of the county, barony, parish and poor law union as of 1857. Then it gives the volume and page number from the 1851 census - Oh! that the census still survived. Notes are added for the area of water within the township.

The book concludes with two additional indexes. An index to all parishes, listing area, county, barony and poor law union. This is followed by an index to baronies providing area, county and poor law union.

So often locating a particular place in Ireland can be difficult. This is one of those reference tools that should be used frequently by any Irish researcher. It is one tool that enables you to confirm whether you have the correct townland or parish, and to check if there are other options by the same name. It is good to see this resource back in print.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.7 no.3, 2000

Gazetteer of Cornwall 1884
produced by Cornwall Business Systems, Albany Road, Redruth, Cornwall, England TR15 2HY. 1996. £29.95 plus £2 p&h.

This program requires an Internet browser to examine the index on the CD-ROM. The opening index screen provides search instructions and access to further linked index files which include: Contents page; Places; Mining Terms; Mines; Literary Celebrities; Remarkable Characters; Geology; Subscribers and Advertisements.

The content of this CD-ROM is very useful and hard to find. I am a graduate of the Camborne School of Mines in Cornwall but I still found mining terms in this book that I did not know (or had forgotten). Plus the details given on the hundreds of mines mentioned will be of great value to anyone seeking mining ancestors.

The indexing on the CD-ROM is minimal, not indexing every place or person but rather the first place or name on the page. You then read the page to find the place or person you are seeking.

The scanned image was relatively easy to read on the screen. However, the print image left something to be desired. On a HP LaserJet printer the image was barely readable even printing at high resolution. On a color inkjet printer the background of the paper had a definite yellow tone to it, but was a little easier to read. This is not the quality to of scanned book images we have gotten used to through Family Tree Maker CD-ROM and I suspect that is due to a lower scanning resolution to make the size of the image files smaller.

Yes, the CD-ROM makes the resource easily accessible because the paper version of this gazetteer is now expensive and hard to find, especially in North America. However its usefulness could have been increased markedly with a little bit of extra effort on the indexing and the printing capabilities.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.7 no.3, 2000

Kelly’s Directory of Cornwall 1883
produced by Cornwall Business Systems, Albany Road, Redruth, Cornwall, England TR15 2HY. 1996. £29.95 plus £2 p&h.

This program requires an Internet browser to examine the index on the CD-ROM. This provides you access to five sections: Introduction to Cornwall Index; Parish Index; Court index; Trades Index; and parish map of Cornwall.

The design, operation and construction of this CD-ROM is similar to the Gazetteer of Cornwall 1884 by the same publisher. This means that the index is limited to the first item on each page, meaning you have to read the directory to find the person you are looking for. Plus the printing function has the same limitations.

Again, the CD-ROM makes a scarce, expensive resource available but more effort on the indexing and the scanning to improve print capabilities would have made this even more valuable.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.7 no.3, 2000

Genealogical Research in England’s Public Records Office: A Guide for North Americans, 2nd Edition by Judith Prowse Reid and Simon Fowler. Published by Genealogical Publishing Company, 1001 North Calvert Street, Baltimore MD 21202. 2000. xiv, 167 pp. Illustrations, index. $22.50 plus $3.50 p&h.

The Public record Office in Kew, outside of London is one of the richest genealogical repositories in the world, equivalent in many ways to the U.S. National Archives. Ms. Reid provides a book designed for North Americans in when, why and how to use the PRO.

After addressing these basic questions she continues by examining emigration and immigration records as they specifically relate to North America and the West Indies. This covers correspondence, registers, passports, port books, passenger lists, land grants, convicts, bonded emigrants, loyalist claims, naturalization, denization, aliens and Palatines. This is followed by other records in the PRO that may be used by researchers as they progress into English and Welsh records. These include censuses, nonconformist church records, vital records, probates, letters of administration, military records, taxation, association oath rolls, maps, parliamentary papers and court records.

What makes this book so valuable is that it references the many printed guides and indexes available in this country that provide access to so many of these complicated and often very large record groups. The text notes when the records, indexes or guides are available in the Family History Library.

This is the second edition and it begs the question what has changed. The bulk of the content and approach within the text remains the same. However, much has been updated with the closure of the PRO at Chancery Lane and the movement of many of these records, along with the indexes from St. Catherine’s to the Family Records Center. The PRO has been revising many of it research outlines and these are reclassified, updated and available online. The addition of new record groups to the PRO, new resources and indexes are included.

For example, scattered throughout the text are mention of new resources such as the recent transfer to the PRO of the Board of Trade records BT334 Registers and Indexes of Births, Marriages and Deaths of Passengers and Seamen at Sea and these are available through the Family History Library (p.72). There is also a new index to the soldiers receiving pensions found in WO97 Royal Hospital Chelsea Soldiers’ Documents, 1760 to 1913 which will be added to the PRO’s web site in the near future (p. 79).

The book concludes with a number of appendices. One, is an updated list of the names, addresses, phone numbers and guides to the county record offices. It is good but not complete for I noticed the absence of the Cumbria Record Office in Whitehaven. For the major archives and libraries in North America and the British Isles it lists the above information but adds the web addresses, even though many of the county record office now have their own web sites. The book concludes with a complete bibliography of all published references mentioned in the text.

This book is a must for anyone doing colonial research that is attempting to cross the Atlantic. If you haven’t got a copy get one. If you have the first edition and you refer to it frequently then do get the 2nd edition as it will bring you up to date on new resources and additions.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.7 no.4, 2000

Colonists in Bondage: White Servitude and Convict Labor in America 1607-1776 by Abbot Emerson Smith. 1947, reprinted 2000 by Clearfield Company, 200 E. Eager Street, Baltimore, MD 21202. viii, 435 pp. Index. Softcover. $35 plus $3.50 p&h.

This is historical account of indentured servitude and convict labor in the American colonies. It is valuable reading for those with British Isles or German ancestry.

The book is divided into three sections. The first discusses the trade in and need for servants. It highlights the differences between the older indentured servitude and the 18th century redemptionist system.

The section focuses on the transportation of rogues, vagabonds and criminals noting the differences. It also highlights the way convict transportation changed especially before and after 1718. Lots of examples are given throughout the book but I found two chapters in this section particularly helpful. One chapter deals with the transportation of English, Scottish and Irish political and military prisoners under the Commonwealth and Protectorate. Another chapter deals with the period after 1660 and the shipping of Quakers, Scottish Covenanters, Monmouth Rebels, Scottish Rebels of 1715 and 1745.

The last section addresses the life of the servant or convict. It begins with the journey to and arrival in America or the West Indies. It discusses what the local customs were and how they changed over time, plus what the conditions were that these people lived under and what they had to do for their freedom.

The book has an excellent appendix giving reported and estimated figures, fully referenced, for servants and convicts in the different American Colonies and the West Indies. The book concludes with a good bibliography of relevant laws, primary and secondary resources arranged by colony making further research easy.

This is one of those books that should be read by all with colonial ancestry who came as a servant or convict (and there are many) to be able to put their ancestor into the correct context.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.7 no.4, 2000

The Original Scots Colonists of Early America: Caribbean Supplement 1611-1707 by David Dobson. Published by Genealogical Publishing Company, 1001 N. Calvert Street, Baltimore, MD 21202. 1999. x, 149 pp. $20 plus $3.50 p&h.

This book was fascinating to read after Smith’s book Colonists in Bondage: White Servitude and Convict Labor in America 1607-1776. Smith talked about the process and the big picture of getting servants and convicts into the American Colonies and the West Indies. Dobson’s book gets specific with details about the individual Scots in the Caribbean who have been identified in the records.

This volume supplements Dobson’s earlier volume Original Scots Colonists of Early America, 1612-1783, focusing on the time period 1611-1707. The Act of Union occurred between England and Scotland in 1707 lifting the restrictions of trade between Scotland and the colonies. The result was a marked increase in trade and emigration to the Caribbean. This volume contains both primary and secondary material from U.K. and U.S. sources. All entries are fully referenced. A typical entry reads:

GLASGOW, JOHN a Covenanter from Cavers, Roxburghshire, captured after the Battle of Bothwell Bridge 22 June 1679, transported from Leith to the West Indies on the Crown of London, master Thomas Teddico, 27 November 1679, shipwrecked off Muil Head of Deerness, Orkney, 10 December 1679, later transported to Jamaica. [CEC#212/5] [SW#203][RBM]

John was one of the lucky ones as many are listed who drowned in this shipwreck.

This book is a valuable tool to assist in documenting Scottish individuals who during the 17th century went to the Caribbean. Many of their descendants ended up in the U.S., e.g. Theodore Roosevelt and Alexander Hamilton.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.7 no.4, 2000

Family Tree Maker’s Genealogical Records: Loyalists in the American Revolution
(CD-ROM; Family Archive #144)
$29.99 plus $3.50 p&h. Order from Genealogical Publishing Company, 1001 N. Calvert Street, Baltimore, MD 21202-3897.

Loyalists were American colonists who remained loyal to the British Crown. They are estimated to make up one-third of colonial America’s population. This disc contains scanned images with a consolidated index of thirteen volumes. Accumulatively the records and narratives refer to over 87,000 loyalists in the U.S. and Canada. The majority of the records refer to loyalists in the Southern and Mid-Atlantic colonies where the cause was the strongest (Georgia, the Carolinas, New York, and Pennsylvania). However, it includes loyalists from Florida, Great Britain, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Mississippi, New Brunswick, New Jersey, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Virginia.

The volumes included here are: Loyalists and Land Settlement in Nova Scotia (by Marion Gilroy); Loyalists in North Carolina During the Revolution (by Robert DeMond); Loyalists in the Southern Campaign of the Revolutionary War (3 Volumes) (by Murtie June Clark); Biographical Sketches of Loyalists of the American Revolution (2 Volumes) (by Lorenzo Sabine); The Loyalists of Massachusetts, Their Memorials, Petitions and Claims (by E. Alfred Jones); Orderly Book of the “Maryland Loyalists Regiment,” June 18, 1778, to October 12, 1778, Including General Orders Issued by Sir Henry Clinton, Baron Wilhelm von Kuyphausen, Sir William Erskine, Charles, Lord Cornwallis, General William Tryon and General Oliver De Lancey (kept by Captain Caleb Jones; edited by Paul Leicester Ford); Orderly Book of the Three Battalions of Loyalists Commanded by Brigadier-General Oliver De Lancey, 1776-1778, To Which is Appended a List of New York Loyalists in the City of New York During the War of the Revolution (by William Kelby); United Empire Loyalists: Enquiry into the Losses and Services in Consequence of Their Loyalty; Evidence in Canadian Claims; Second Report of the Bureau of Archives for the Province of Ontario (2 Volumes) (by Alexander Fraser); The Old United Empire Loyalists List.

Note: The names of the authors of the original volumes have been added by the BIGWILL webmaster.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.7 no.4, 2000

Family Tree Maker’s Genealogical Records: Ontario and Nova Scotia Settlers, 1790-1860
(CD-ROM; Family Archive #274)
$29.99 plus $3.50 p&h. Order from Genealogical Publishing Company, 1001 N. Calvert Street, Baltimore MD, 21202.

This CD-ROM contains scanned images of six books dealing with the early settlers of Nova Scotia and Ontario including American colonists (particularly Loyalists) along with English, Scottish, and Irish immigrants. The volumes contain historical essays on the settlement of Nova Scotia and Ontario, Loyalist lists, population returns, and immigration records.

The publications included are: Nova Scotia Immigrants to 1867, Volumes I and II by Leonard H. Smith; Loyalists And Land Settlement In Nova Scotia by Marion Gilroy; Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, Genealogies Transcribed From The Yarmouth Herald by George S. Brown; Early Ontario Settlers by Norman K. Crowder; Ontario People: 1796-1803 by E. Keith Fitzgerald The loyalist records included here form a good complement to the loyalist records on CD#144, Loyalists in the American Revolution.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.7 no.4, 2000

American Migrations, 1765-1799. The lives, times and families of colonial Americans who remained loyal to the British Crown before, during and after the Revolutionary War, as related in their own words and through their correspondence. by Peter Wilson Coldham. Published by Genealogical Publishing Co., 1001 N. Calvert St., Baltimore MD 21202. 2000. xiii, 931 pp. Bibliography, index. Hardcover. $75 plus $3.50 p&h.

Between 1765 and 1783 many loyalists left mainland America for Canada, Britain, the West Indies and elsewhere. In 1783 a British Act of Parliament created a formal scheme for the relief of starving and penury loyalists and to examine their claims. The Commissioners offices were set up in London, followed by commissioners going to Halifax, Shelburne, St. John, Quebec City and Montreal to hear claims. The resultant claims records are in Audit Office 12 and 13, plus Treasury records T39 all now at the Public Record Office in Kew.

All 6,255 claims have been abstracted. Each biographical entry shows the name of the claimant as spelled in the original document, with spelling variations, and his or her place of residence before the outbreak of the Revolution. In the book the abstracts are arranged alphabetically by state. This is to facilitate the tying together of particular families. There are sections for the thirteen original colonies plus East and West Florida, Canada and the West Indies.

The abstracts themselves are very detailed showing memorials and claims, often listing military service, and naming lots of individuals. Full source citations are given for all claims.

There is an everyname index with approximately 15,000 names mentioned within the claims. There is also a list of ships used for the transportation of loyalists with date and place of sailing from and to. A useful bibliography emphasizing the general history of American Loyalists is also provided.

This is a valuable resource abstracting a large amount of data from an important group of records for those seeking Loyalists. This volume supersedes earlier works by Coldham and others.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.7 no.5, 2000

Scots in Georgia and the Deep South, 1735-1845 by David Dobson. Published by Genealogical Publishing Company, 1001 N. Calvert St., Baltimore MD 21202. 2000. vi, 218 pp. Hardcover. $25 plus $3.50 p&h.

Scottish immigration to Georgia began in the 1730s after the founding of the colony in 1732. The Scottish Lowlanders came for economic reasons as farmers and later as merchants. The Scottish Highlanders were recruited for strategic purposes to guard the southern frontier from Spanish incursions. The end of the French and Indian Wars in 1763 saw the withdrawal of the Spanish from Florida and the French from the settlements east of the Mississippi. This led to an influx of settlers, including the Scots into the South. Many of these Loyalists left when Florida was returned to the Spanish after the Revolutionary War.

Research for this book was carried out in Scotland, England and the United States with an emphasis on primary sources. These include probate records, court records, family papers, contemporary newspapers and journals, naturalization papers, church registers, gravestone inscriptions, government documents and census returns.

The details given are varied but two examples will highlight the value of these extractions.

BULLOCH, ANN GRAHAM, widow of James Bulloch, in Mulberry Grove, Georgia, sister Elizabeth - widow of James Jackson vintner in Inverness, nephews John and Thomas, sons of Reverend Thomas Chisholm in Kilmorack, executors John Stuart, Superintendent of Indian Affairs in South Carolina, and cousin George Cuthbert, witnesses Christopher Dawson, a planter, and Mary, wife of George Cuthbert of Drakies, Georgia. Pro 26 June 1764 Georgia.
CAMERON, DONALD, soldier of the Black Watch, imprisoned in the Tower of London on a charge of mutiny, transferred to Oglethorpe’s Regiment in Georgia in 1743 [GHS, Cate Colln. 45/3172]

Unfortunately, the value of this excellent list is limited by the absence of an everyname index. This means individuals mentioned within citations are not cross-referenced. In the above examples there are no entries for the Chisholms, Christopher Dawson or Mary Cuthbert.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.7 no.5, 2000

Visitation of Ireland edited by Frederick Arthur Crisp and Joseph Jackson Howard. Published by Clearfield Company, 200 East Eager Street, Baltimore MD 21202. Six volumes originally published between 1897-1918 now reprinted in one volume 2000. 1,875 pp. Softcover. $75 plus $3.50 p&h.

This is a collection of 160 detailed pedigrees of many prominent families in Ireland during the late 19th century. The format is one of dropline ancestral charts with lots of details for the late 19th century. Many of the lines are extended back into the 18th century and some into the 17th century but the source of this information is not provided. Many of the families included are illustrated with a coat of arms, copies of seals and some signatures.

There is no introduction to the volumes or any explanation of how the pedigrees were gathered or created. Each volume has a table of contents listing the families listed, but many of these are for the title of the family, not by the family name. Each of the six volumes contains its own index, and after volume 1 there are addendums and corrections at the end of the subsequent volumes. That means a thorough search in this compilation requires searching in 11 sections of the book. The lack of a consolidated index and introduction is a major omission in the re-publication of this series.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.7 no.5, 2000

The Scotch-Irish in Northern Ireland and the American Colonies by Maude Glasgow. 1936 reprinted 1998 by Heritage Books, 1540-E Pointer Ridge Pl., Bowie MD 20716. xxi, 345 pp. Index. Softcover. $27.50 plus $4 p&h.

This book provides a fascinating look at Scotch Irish history in Ireland and North America. It is divided up into nine chapters: Irish history to the time of James I; the plantation and the Irish St. Bartholomew; continued persecution of dissenters and the Siege of Londonderry; Oakboys, Steelboys, Defenders and Orangemen; emigration to America; religious war; the union and home rule; Scotch-Irish in America and the Revolutionary War; the Scotch-Irish in America - many eminent names.

The way to access material in this book is through the table of contents. There is a brief outline followed by a more detailed description of the chapter contents and order. The index highlights only the major people and places, even then only mentioning the main sections where they occur. There are many people mentioned in the text that are not included in the index or table of contents. This is a major shortcoming for a reader looking for information concerning an individual.

The book provides a good historical overview of the turbulent times for the Scots (and English) in Ireland highlighting the different time periods when the Presbyterians were persecuted and the Catholics were tolerated or accepted. The explanations and chronologies for the subsequent migrations to North America are provided. There are many important men named with their exploits or creations in the last chapter but they are not in alphabetical order and not indexed.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.7 no.5, 2000

Heritage Books Archives: English Parish Records, Volume 1
Published by Heritage Books, 1540-E Pointer Ridge Pl., Bowie MD 20716. 2000. $31

This CD-ROM contains electronic image reprints in .pdf format of the following six publications:

The Parish Registers of St. Antholin, Budge Row, London, containing the Marriages, Baptisms, and Burials from 1538 to 1754; and of St. John Baptist on Wallbrook, London, containing the Baptisms and Burials from 1682 to 1754 - Joseph Lemuel Chester, D.C.L., LL.D. & Geo. J. Armytage, F.S.A. (1883). A transcription of the records chronologically arranged with an index to people and places.

Index to the First Volume of the Parish Registers of Gainford in the County of Durham (England): Part I, Baptisms 1560-1784; Part II, Marriages 1569-1761; Part III, Burials 1569-1784 - Elliot Stock (1889-90). Transcriptions of the records alphabetically arranged.

Little Saxham Parish Registers: Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, with Appendices, Biographies, etc., 1559-1850 - S.H.A.H. (1901). Contains the vital statistics, inscriptions from within the church and churchyard; tax lists 1327-1670, and genealogies of the Lucas & Croft(s) families.

West Stow Parish Registers, 1558-1850 and Wordwell Parish Registers, 1580-1850 with Sundry Notes - S.H.A.H (1903). Covers baptisms, marriages, and burials, supplemented by inscriptions from memorial plaques and gravestones. Among the "sundry" items are studies of prominent families, parish histories, etc.

The Publications of the Thoresby Society, Vol. 1, Leeds Parish Church Registers, First and Second Books (1571-1612) - The Thoresby Society (1891). The baptisms, marriages, and burials recorded in the first two books transcribed in chronological order and indexed.

T. Bulmer & Co.’s History, Topography, and Directory of Lancaster & District - J. Bulmer (c1912). A brief history of Lancaster, with descriptions of each parish and township within sixteen miles. Gives the names, occupations, and addresses of all residents; also identifies tradesmen, businesses, and local officials.

This is an eclectic mixture of books with one for each of the counties of London, Durham Yorkshire and Lancashire and two volumes for Suffolk. The titles hint at the contents and typically provide transcriptions of the christening, marriage and burial registers. However, they may contain a lot more. For example, the West Stow book includes in the miscellaneous records section transcriptions of the Lay Subsidies, Hearth Taxes, wills, Inquisitio Post Mortem, lists of lost tombstones, and family histories of the Lucas, Croft, Proger, Fowke, and Edwards families, plus much more information about the parish. The value of this book is increased with the addition of the book of parish records for Little Saxham which is only 4 miles away.

The .pdf file format enables the files to be read by Adobe Acrobat on both IBM compatibles and MAC computers. The CD comes with Adobe Acrobat 3.01. I had version 4.0 already on my computer and had no problems reading the files. The pages of the books are read sequentially like the original book, but bookmarks enable you to skip from one volume or section to another. Searches are made using the original tables of contents and indexes. No modern electronic indexes are provided.

This CD is valuable because it makes these old and rare publications easily accessible to the modern researcher. However, gathering a collection of publications from the same region or county of England would make subsequent volumes of even greater value to the modern researcher.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.7 no.5, 2000

Annals and Antiquities of the Counties and County Families of Wales by Thomas Nicholas. Published by Genealogical Publishing Company, 1001 N. Calvert Street, Baltimore, MD 21202. 1875, reissued 2000. 2 volumes. 964 pp. Illustrations, index. Hardcover. $75

The subtitle of these volumes state that they contain "A record of all Ranks of the Gentry, their lineage, alliances, appointments, armorial ensigns and residences; ancient pedigrees and memorials of old and extinct families; notices of the history, antiquities, physical features, chief estates, geology, and industry of each county; rolls of high sheriffs and members of parliament for three hundred years, etc."

For Welsh researchers working with the landed classes this is an excellent resource. The book is arranged by county and provides a good description of the county as laid out in the subtitle.

For the extinct families the information provided can be brief and in some case no time periods or dates are indicated. The living families, in a different section of the chapter, are full of details and form almost a nineteenth century visitation. This is where the value is for the genealogist. The information provided was gathered personally by the author visiting each family within the county. He was given access to many family records. The book has the anticipated titled families, but also includes clergymen, army and navy officers, barristers, justices of the peace, etc.

The book is indexed by the names of the main family entries only, therefore other family names, or families of the wives are not included in the index. You almost have to know the major family connections before being able to access the lineages. However, if the county in Wales is known then the number of lineages to read is reduced.

This is an excellent resource for Americans of Welsh descent, especially for those with connections to the upper classes of society.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.7 no.6, 2000

American Data from the Records of the High Court of the Admiralty of Scotland, 1675-1800 by David Dobson. Published by Clearfield 200 East Eager Street, Baltimore MD 21202. 2000. 154 pp. Softcover. $16.50 plus $3.50 p&h.

The Admiralty Court of Scotland was responsible for civil, criminal and prize jurisdiction of the Lord High Admiral of Scotland. He was the King’s lieutenant and justice upon the seas. This work is important in that it identifies the Scottish merchants and mariners who were trading with Colonial America, along with the Scottish factors and their servants who were often the leaders for following settlements. This book indicates many trade routes and places of settlement ranging from Newfoundland to the Gulf of Guinea, and from the Baltic Sea to Barbados.

These abstracts have been taken primarily from the court’s Register of Decrees. All have some bearing on America and include cases dealing with pirates, privateers, colonial merchants, emigrants, slavers and seafarers.

Following is one example to illustrate the type of information to be found in the entries:

AC9/1297      1734 Hugh Vanns, merchant in Boston, New England, and his factor John Stark provost of Glasgow, v. Captain Archibald Yuille, merchant in Port Glasgow. For payment of a bill of bottomry on his ship the Brisbane, granted at Boston by her master James Hamilton, shipmaster of Port Glasgow.

Many of the entries are longer and hint at some fascinating stories worthy of further investigation.

The book has indexes for names, places and ships making almost anything easy to find. This is a useful set of court abstracts for Americans looking for Scottish connections.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.7 no.6, 2000

The British Heritage: A Treasury of Historic Documents edited by Elizabeth Hallam & Andrew Prescott. Published by University of California Press, 2120 Berkeley Way, Berkeley CA 94720. 1999. 150 pp. Color Illustrations, index. Hardcover. $39.95.

As researchers we know how rich the British Isles with documents. This publication presents color photographs of original documents, photographs and artifacts from the collections of the Public Record Office, British Library, National Library of Scotland, Scottish Record Office, and the National Library of Wales. These major documents presented in chronological order come from the time of King Arthur, Alfred the Great, William the Conqueror through the rise and fall of the British Empire, to the swinging England of the 1960’s and the multicultural aspects of modern Britain.

You see copies of the major documents that you would expect (but may never have seen) like the Domesday Book, the Magna Carta, Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Act of Supremacy (making Henry VIII head of the Church of England), Articles of Union of 1707, instrument of Abdication for Edward VIII, signature of Elizabeth R on the Coronation Oath Roll.

But you also documents such as an autographed copy of Handel’s Messiah, a plan of the battle of Prestonpans, copy of Rule Britannia, a plan of Boston harbor at the time of the revolution, copy of the log book from Nelson’s flagship the Victory, ship’s passenger list from the Titanic, and nineteenth century English sports posters.

This visually appealing book is a delight to read. It provides a chronological overview of history in the text, but the many beautiful illustrations and their captions provide the details. Needless to say all documents are fully cited. This is a good book that you can easily pick up to read as time allows with any one topic being covered in one or two pages.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.8 no.1, 2001

Irish Pedigrees: The Origin and Stem of the Irish Nation, 5th Ed. by John O’Hart. 1892. Reprinted by Genealogical Publishing Company, 1001 N. Calvert Street, Baltimore MD 21202. 1999. 2 vols. xxxii, 896; xxiii, 948 pp. Indexes. $150 plus $4.75 p. & h.

This is a mammoth collection for Irish genealogy. The first volume explores “the origin and stem of the Irish nation” meaning that it references the families that branched from the ancient stem of Milesius as well as the families rooted in the Celtic dawn. There are many lines stemming from the Rolls of the Monarchs of Ireland dating from 1699 B.C. down to 1166 A.D. when the English migrations under King Henry II began. The value of these lists is questionable when one of the lists goes back to Adam. Many of the lists are just names, with no dates. The first volume concludes with chapters on the “English Invasion“ under King Henry II and the “Cromwellian Devastation.“

The second volume focuses on the Anglo-Irish lines from the Cromwellian settlement with some of the lines coming down into the nineteenth century. Many of these lines are also extended to show American connections. This is supplemented with lists and information on people involved in the Ulster Plantation, the Huguenots and Palatines. The book concludes with 256 pages of appendices. Among these are lists of Irish officers in the American Civil War, the “Wild Geese,” and the armies of Spain, the Netherlands, and France.

These volumes are great for lists of names for those with early Irish connections. They may provide the researcher with clues of where to look and connections that might be made. This is especially true for those with connections to the Anglo-Irish landed families.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.8 no.1, 2001

Militia Lists and Musters: 1757-1876: A Directory of Holdings in the British Isles, Fourth Edition by Jeremy Gibson and Mervyn Medlycott. Published by Genealogical Publishing Company, 1001 N. Calvert Street, Baltimore MD 21202. 2001. 48 pp. Softcover. $8.50 plus $1.50 p. & h.

This directory begins with an excellent summary article describing the different types of militia lists that exist and which you should be seeking out in your research.

Laws required that militiamen be recruited from each parish. This process required the creation of lists of able-bodied men between 1757 and 1831 creating many community censuses. Then there is the Posse Comitatus of 1798 and the Levee en Masse of 1803-4, along with numerous muster rolls that you need to search. Many of the Militia regiments were raised on a county basis but may have served elsewhere in the British Isles (they could not serve overseas).

This book is a county-by-county listing of what lists exist and where. These include published lists, transcriptions, indexes and original records. They are arranged by depository within each county. Sections for Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Isle of Man and Channel Islands are included.

Comparing this edition with the 1990 second edition shows a smaller type face, with good use of bolding and boxes which make the entries easier to read. Sample comparisons show entries for some counties to be the same (Northumberland) but there are extensive revisions for other counties (Hertfordshire). Only comparison will tell for your county. This is a must have guide book for anyone searching for able bodied men in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.8 no.2, 2001

Specialist Indexes For Family Historians, Second Edition by Jeremy Gibson and Elizabeth Hampson. Published by Genealogical Publishing Company, 1001 N. Calvert Street, Baltimore MD 21202. 2001. 72 pp. Softcover. $8.50 plus $1.50 p. & h.

This index used to be part of Guide to Marriage Indexes and Census Indexes and included Specialist Indexes. Due to the proliferation of other indexes the specialist indexes have been separated. Even so this is a 72 page booklet of fine print.

The booklet has sections for each county in England and Wales. This is followed by lists for Scotland, Channel Islands, Isle of Man, and Ireland. Then it moves on to specialized Great Britain indexes for migration, armed services, occupations, religious denominations, miscellaneous and recommended web sites.

For each county there are lists of indexes held by the county record offices, local studies libraries, county libraries and local museums. These are then followed by specialist indexes. These indexes may be available for search or purchase. Looking at Northumberland as an example the specialist indexes include monumental inscriptions, burials, pipers, Jacobites, participants in 1761 Hexham riots, militia musters 1781-2, and north of England mining accident victims 1858-1899. There are lots of indexes here but the only way to find out what will help you is to look.

The indexes at the end of the book are particularly useful for those with military connections or those looking for occupational resources. For example, under occupations there are lists for: brassworkers, brickmakers, brushmakers, coastguards, combmakers, divers, customs officers, entertainers, gamekeepers, glassmakers, lacemakers, gunmakers, lawyers, proctors, papermakers, perukemakers, shoemakers, stonemasons, and more. There is even an index to books and periodicals for 250 different occupational headings.

There is a lot to search for in this book. It’s well worth the purchase for those actively searching in the British Isles.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.8 no.2, 2001

Marriage and Census Indexes for Family Historians, Eighth Edition by Jeremy Gibson and Elizabeth Hampson. Published by Genealogical Publishing Company, 1001 N. Calvert Street, Baltimore MD 21202. 2001. 22 pp. Softcover. $7.50 plus $1.50 p. & h.

This booklet has grown enough that the specialized indexes were spun off into their own publication. The organization is similar to others in the series with listings for each county in England and Wales, followed by sections for Scotland, Channel Islands, Isle of Man, Ireland and Regiments.

For each county it lists the marriage indexes first followed by the census indexes. The indexes include unpublished transcripts, published transcripts in book or on microfiche and databases. For each it provides the name and address of the holder or seller.

There are lots of valuable indexes in here that can save you lots of time in your research. These are records that we all use. Look here to find what indexes you can use.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.8 no.2, 2001

Irish Relatives and Friends: From “Information Wanted” Ads in the Irish-American, 1850-1871 compiled by Laura Murphy DeGrazia and Diane Fitzpatrick Haberstroh. Published by Genealogical Publishing Company, 1001 N. Calvert Street, Baltimore MD 21202. 2001. 464 pp. Indexed. Hardcover. $38.50 plus $3.50 p. & h.

The Irish-American is a weekly newspaper that began publication in New York in August of 1849. The paper contained news items and political thought of interest to the Irish community. It also contained a popular “Information Wanted” section of advertisements. These ads are valuable to researchers often stating the Irish county, townland or parish from which the immigrant came. These ads, from 1850 to 1871, were copied from microfilmed copies at the New York State Library and the New York Public Library. There are no entries for 1860 as no copies of the newspaper for that year have been located.

To make the transcripts easy to read people’s names are bolded, place names appear in small capitals, and ship names are italicized. Names or countries, major cities, American states, Irish counties and United States counties have been corrected to the commonly accepted spellings in the Columbia-Lippincott Gazetteer. Small place names, because of the many possible interpretations have been left as originally spelled in the ads.

A typical entry reads as follows:

February 10, 1866 Of Honora Gleeson, a native of LISMOYNAN, in the parish of DRANGAN, County of TIPPERARY, Ireland, who came to this country about 35 years ago, and when last heard from, about 12 years ago, her address was LITTLEFORTH, CHICAGO, LAKE COUNTY, ILLINOIS. She was married to Edward Gleeson, from the parish of MCCARKEY, in the same county. Information concerning her will be thankfully received by her nephew, William Greer, who came to this country in June, 1865, by writing John Gleeson, No. 161 Green Street, ALBANY, for William Greer. Chicago papers, please copy.

There are indexes to personal names, Ireland place names, United States place names, other places and New York City streets. Readers are advised to check all possible spellings. There are over 8,500 names in the personal name index alone.

The example shows that the book is not limited to the Irish in New York City but rather covers the whole county. This is another valuable resource for anyone seeking Irish family connections and their place of origin.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.8 no.2, 2001

Britain to America: Mid-Nineteenth-Century Immigrants to the United States by William E. Van Vugt. Published by University of Illinois Press, 1325 South Oak Street, Champaign, IL 61820. 1999. xi, 241 pp. Bibliography, illustrations, index, maps. Softcover $18.95.

This volume in the growing Statue of Liberty — Ellis Island Centennial Series devotes itself to the fascinating history of British migration to the United States from 1820 to the Civil War. During this period Britain and America were the two most interconnected countries in the world in terms of culture and economic growth. Britain took almost half of America’s exports and America took about 40 percent of her imports from Britain. The economic interconnection led to a constant westward migration across the Atlantic.

The book examines questions appropriate for any migration study. These are: Who were they, and why did they migrate to the United States? Where did they come from, and where did they settle? What kind of work did they do in Britain and America, and how did they differ from the entire British population from which they selected themselves? To what extent was their migration related to the social and economic adjustments that came with modernity, especially industrialization and urbanization? What kinds of experience did they have as both Britons and Americans? What, in short, were their stories?

An overview of the migration and a discussion of the transition from a folk or familial migration to a labor migration sets the scene for the rest of book. Different sub-populations are examined: farmers; immigrants from industry and crafts; miners; the Welsh; the elite (merchants, professionals and gentlemen); and women. The process of becoming American is explored by looking at religion, the Civil War and institutions. Each population group is illustrated with the specific stories of many individuals and their families. Migration in this time period is heavily towards the Old Northwestern states of Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin.

The book uses vital records, census, and shipping lists, along with biographies from county histories to build stories of the immigrants. These stories are woven together to paint a picture of the immigrant experience and motives which defy categorization. However, the stories build a compelling picture. This book would be well worth reading by anyone with mid-nineteenth century immigrants wanting to place them within their own context. There are extensive footnotes and bibliography to guide researchers into similar records to create their own ancestor’s story.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.8 no.3, 2001

The Encyclopedia of the Irish in America edited by Michael Glazier. Published by University of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame, IN 46556. 1999. xxi, 988 pp. Photographs. Hardcover. $89.95

This is the place to look if you want to learn about the Irish in America, whether that is a person, a place or a topic.

This encyclopedia has writings by scholars in America, Ireland, Canada and Britain who were free to express their opinions without any constraint. The entries are alphabetically arranged rather than thematically. If you know the subject or person you seek, check for that entry. If not found, then look at the beginning of the book where there are nine double-columned pages of topics acting as an index to entries. Searching through this list should get you to the desired subject.

For a topic you may find part of a column or multiple pages of details. The articles often conclude with a bibliography for further research. For people and major events, photographs are often included.

One of the nice features for genealogists is that for every state and many major cities, an entry describes the history and activities of the Irish in that locality. These entries conclude with bibliographic references for further research.

If you are looking for a large subject then do read the list of topic titles completely as some creativity is needed. For example, if you are researching Irish emigration you will find multiple entries under various titles beginning with the word emigration such as Emigration 1801-1921. At the end of this entry the article points you to further entries - Famine, The Great; Irish in America; Foster, Vere. However, if you also read the entries for Ellis Island and Famine Coffin Ships you are pointed towards Emigration 1801-1921. The directional entries at the end of an article are not necessarily reciprocal. Therefore make sure you have covered all the entries on a topic.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.8 no.3, 2001

Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish Settlement in Virginia: Extracted from the Original Court Records of Augusta County 1745-1800 by Lyman Chalkley. 1912. Reprinted 1999 by Genealogical Publishing Company, 1001 N. Calvert Street, Baltimore, MD 21202. 3 volumes, 2000 pp. Hardcover. $150 plus $6 p. & h.

When Augusta County, Virginia was created in 1738 its boundary to the north was Fairfax’s Northern Neck Grant and the boundaries of Maryland and Pennsylvania; on the east by the Blue Ridge Mountains; to the south by the Caroline line; and to the west it included all land held by the British without limit. In other words this was a vast stretch of territory. The area was heavily populated by the Scotch-Irish. In 1745 the county held its first court. For about 12 years it was the only court for recording of documents and events. After that small parts were separated off to form other counties.

Volume 1 abstracts the court order books (1745-1799); plus notes from county court judgements, original papers on suits (1745-1825); and petitions filed in court from 1745. Volume 2 has records of the circuit and district courts, marriage bonds, licenses and returns (1748-1800); land entries (1744-1751); guardians’ bonds (1782-1801); administrators’ bonds (1776-1810); tax delinquents (1748-1804); proceedings of the vestry of Augusta Parish (1746-1799); with records of military service in colonial and revolutionary wars. Volume 3 provides will abstracts (1745-1818) and deed abstracts (1745-1792). Each volume is fully indexed, with a combined total of about 50,000 names.

This is a major abstraction covering a very large geographic area. Reading the abstracts provide lots of fascinating details in the life of the residents. A good gazetteer will be needed to put many of the people into a specific place, and occasionally you will find details of where they came from in the old country.

This is a valuable tool for anyone searching early Scotch Irish in old Virginia.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.8 no.4, 2001

A Guide to Irish Churches and Graveyards by Brian Mitchell. Published by Genealogical Publishing Company, 1001 N. Calvert St., Baltimore MD 21202. 1990, reprinted 2001. 253 pp. Hardcover. $35.00 plus $3.50 p. & h.

This book identifies all churches and burial grounds in Ireland which existed between 1848 and 1864 as identified in Griffith’s Primary Valuation of Ireland.

The information is provided in 6 columns in a tabular format. These columns provide: (1) map reference number used in A New Genealogical Atlas of Ireland; (2) name of the civil parish in alphabetical order within the county; (3) name of the townland, town or street in which a church or graveyard was located in the mid-nineteenth century; (4) Ordnance Survey sheet number on which the townland can be located; (5) symbol designating denomination of churches, chapels and meeting houses; (6) identification of all graveyards, burial grounds or cemeteries.

When you have identified the place of origin of your Irish ancestors you can determine what churches and cemeteries existed in the specific and surrounding parishes from this book. Using this information you can search in The Guide to Irish Parish Registers by the same author to see what pre-1870 registers have survived.

This book should be in every Irish collection.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.8 no.4, 2001

Aberdeen Obituaries 1748-1854 by Frances McDonnell. Published in 2000 in the US by Willow Bend Books, 65 East Main Street, Westminster, MD 21557. 1996 & 1997. 216 pp. Softcover. $19.

This is a collection of five books originally published separately in Scotland, but conveniently pulled together in one for this US printing. The five sections cover: 1748-1770; 1771-1799; 1800-1822; 1823-1839; 1840-1854.

There is one introductory page, in the middle of the book, at the beginning of the third section. This introduction tells us that these are obituaries from The Aberdeen Journal which carried an obituary column from its beginning in 1748. The extractions continue until the end of 1.854 with the beginning of civil registration in Scotland. They provide a valuable collection filling in many of the gaps created by the shortage of Scottish burial records, mortcloth rentals, and monumental inscriptions.

As you might expect in this time period the majority of obituaries concentrate on the gentry, the professional middleclass and merchants. The entries are obviously strong in Aberdeen and the northeast of Scotland, but there are entries from all over the British Isles and some oversees entries. For example: Forbes, Roderick Capt. 8.6.1761. Capt Roderick Forbes, in the service of the East India Company, son of Charles Forbes, Brux, died in Persia in April 1760.

As is the custom in Scotland many of the women use their maiden names. Only occasionally will there be cross references to the name of the husband. However the name of the husband usually appears within the text in bold. For example: Osborne, Jane Mrs 17.3.1786. Died at Shannaburn. Daughter of the late Principal Osborne, and wife to Provost William Mowat of Aberdeen.

The five sections to the book means that extra care is needed to check all sections for your surnames. Care is further needed because of the incorrect page headings for the 1823-1839 section. Care is needed but this is a valuable compilation, for a resource that is difficult to access in North America. These indexes should be checked by anyone researching in Aberdeen or the northeast of Scotland.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.8 no.4, 2001

Researching English & Welsh Civil Registration Records by Dr. Penelope Christensen. Published by Heritage Productions, c/o Louise St. Denis, 30 Wellington Street East, Suite 202, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5E 1SE. April, 2001. 300 pp. Softcover with plastic comb-binding. CAN$19.

This book is designed as a practical textbook used for one of the courses offered by the National Institute for Genealogical Studies in partnership with the University of Toronto. You can find out more about the institute at <>. However it is also a stand alone text.

The opening title page provides the following statement - “Obtaining birth, marriage and death certificates is an essential element of good genealogical research. It is not always an easy process. Here are the practical details needed to understand the system, use the indexes and find and interpret the certificates.” This is a good description of what the book does.

This book is full of practical advice on subjects many researchers don’t even think about. For example, on page 29 it reminds researchers that your ancestors may have always lived in the same house, yet because of civil registration district changes in 1852, 1946 and 1965 your family’s certificates may actually be recorded in different districts. We often assume once we have found the district for our families that this is a constant. Not so.

There are lots of tables in this book and lots of information not readily accessible in other sources. For example, your family may possess a certificate issued for a specific statutory purpose (e.g., Family Allowances Act, or National Savings Bank). This book lists many of the options though it doesn’t explain what they all are or when used.

The book does a good job of highlighting problem areas - district changes, naming, spelling and illiteracy, illegitimacy, errors and more.

If you have English or Welsh civil registration research to do this is a good practical book to have to assist you in your research. It has lots of information that is not readily accessible.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.8 no.4, 2001

Finding Your Scottish Ancestors, 2nd. edition by Dr. Penelope Christensen. Published by Heritage Productions, c/o Louise St. Denis, 30 Wellington Street East, Suite 202, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5E 1SE. 2000. 222 pp. Softcover with plastic comb-binding. CAN$17.

This book is designed as a practical textbook used for one of the courses offered by the National Institute for Genealogical Studies in partnership with the University of Toronto. You can find out more about the institute at <>. However it is also a stand alone text.

The title page begins with the statements - “The 4 primary sources and the most reliable ones are all obtainable at any Family History Center. This book presents a sound strategy for thorough and productive research.”

This sub-title gives a good indication of what the book is going to cover. The four topics are: civil registration of birth, marriage and death; censuses; parish registers; and probate.

The book assumes that you have access to a local Family History Center. The author is the staff trainer at two FHC’s in British Columbia.

The book provides useful tables on Scottish names and naming patterns, Scottish abbreviations and terminology, counties and regions (although there is no mention of the 1996 changes), and an alphabetical list of parishes and districts with their appropriate numbers. These cover the first half of the book.

The assumption is made that people want to do their research inexpensively. Sometimes this leads to poor advice. For example early on it talks about saving money by ordering photocopies of individual page entries from parish registers. The usual advice is to order the microfilms of the parish record and search for any relatives on the film. The price difference is minimal.

The book discusses the 4 primary record groups. The advice given is very practical. Alternative routes to get information are discussed - for example using Scots Origins versus using the civil registration indexes at the FHC. There are no examples of what the records actually look like, but there are some typed sample extractions that give an indication of content. The text often refers the reader to books by Cory and Irvine for further information.

The book concludes with some good sample extraction forms for Scottish research. These include: Index extraction forms for Civil Registration - births, marriages and deaths; a summary table of index years searched; census extractions; parish register extractions; IGI extraction sheet.

Overall, this is a practical introduction to using the FHC for Scottish research. You will need more resources to interpret how to use the records and identify what you have found.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.8 no.4, 2001

Tracing Ancestors in North Staffordshire, 6th edition by H. Eva Beech. Published by The Birmingham and Midland Society for Genealogy and Heraldry. Purchase from Mrs. H.E.Beech, 56 Trent Valley Road, Penkhull, Stoke-on-Trent ST4 5JA, England. 2000, 42 pp. Illustrations, Softcover. £4.50 overseas postage included.

This is a slim, easy to read and very practical book for anyone doing research in the North Staffordshire area. The book is divided into 5 chapters: Where do I start?; How do I continue?; Baptisms, Marriages and Burials; Wills, deeds and tithe apportionments; Other records.

These chapters each cover all the basics that you would expect in a book designed for any beginner in English research. What adds to the value of this book though is all the additional local information that is hard to find outside the local area. For example, on page 8, we find information on the location and starting dates for the Corporation cemeteries and crematorium in the area. On page 10, we find details about the names of the local newspapers with dates of operation and whether indexes are available.

The book contains good practical suggestions that you don’t typically find in beginners books, like using electoral registers to find approximate dates of death (p. 8) and using reprints of House of Commons reports to learn about the lives of children in the potteries or the mines (p. 35). There is also valuable local information discussing the boundary and name changes among chapelries and parishes in the area which is so valuable for those who are learning about the area from a distance (p.20).

There is no index in this book, so access to these resources may be harder to locate. In spite of no index, this is a good practical guide for anyone researching in the North Staffordshire area.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.8 no.5, 2001

Upon the Parish Rate: The Story of Louth Workhouse and the Paupers of East Lindsey by Bill Painter. Published by the Louth Naturalists’, Antiquarian and Literary Society, The Museum, 4 Broadbank, Louth, Lincolnshire LN11 6EQ, England. 2000. 128 pp. Illustrations, index, map, photographs. Softcover. £6.95.

Many of us have ancestors or relatives who received parish relief or spent time in the poor law union workhouse. Have you ever wondered what it was like, or why the rules changed over time? This detailed and well documented book will tell you.

The introduction and first two chapters deal with the Elizabethan poor laws and how they were administered up to the formation of the poor law unions in 1834. The next three chapters deal with the 1834 to 1860 time period covering: the construction and administration of the workhouse; describing the Union, how the Board of Guardians were elected and who the supporting officers were; illustrating daily life for the children, the adults, unwed mothers, vagrants and those in ill health. The remaining five chapters bring the history of the workhouse up to date, showing how the poor laws and attitudes changed with time, yet always putting them into the contemporary context. During all these time periods details about the daily life of the residents are provided.

This is the story of one Poor Law Union and its Workhouse in rural Lincolnshire. Not all workhouses around the country were administered in the same manner. Some were better while others were much worse. The details and documentation in this book will give you a better idea of what life in these institutions was like. It therefore forms a great case study for documenting the life of a segment of the population that is often ignored. Yet many of our ancestors at one or more times in there lives will have spent some time as a recipient of assistance from the parish or poor law union. I know some of my ancestors spent time in these institutions.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.8 no.5, 2001

Sufferings of Early Quakers: Westmorland 1651 to 1690; Cumberland 1653 to 1690; Durham & Northumberland 1658 to 1690; Isles of Man 1656 to 1685; Lancashire 1652 to 1690. Facsimile of part of the 1753 edition by Joseph Beese, with new index of people and places by Michael Gandy. Published by William Sessions Limited, The Ebor Press, York YO31 9HS, England. 2000. 128 pp. Illustrations, index. Softcover. £14 overseas postage paid.

This is one section from a large two volume work, Collection of the Sufferings of the People called Quakers by Joseph Besse, and first published in 1753, after 26 years of research. The book focuses on the sufferings and persecutions endured for the Truth by the Quakers between approximately 1650 and 1689. In 1689 the Act of Toleration gave some protection to Dissenters. Over time this book has become a standard source for Quaker genealogy and social history in the seventeenth century.

The persecutions varied in their intensity with time and place often depending upon who the local ministers or land owners were. The Quakers were persecuted for a variety of reasons often related to their refusal to pay tithes, rates or assessments. They also suffered because of the way they lived out their faith, refusing to take oaths, refusing to bear arms, refusing to use the established ministers or priests, and more, all of which is explained in the introduction. The book contains numerous dialogue transcripts, texts of letters by Quakers, and lists of people prosecuted. Reading the text puts your ancestors into their true context.

A good modern index to the many people and places has been included in the book.

For Americans this book is important as it predates the establishment of Quakers in Pennsylvania. Many of the early settlers can be identified in the Sufferings and thus there place of origin can be identified. Once a name or place is found in this source you need to search in the Quarter Sessions, the Books of Suffering, the Digests of Births, Marriages and Deaths for more information.

Ebor Press has published a volume for Yorkshire, and another which covers New England, Maryland, and the West Indies. Further volumes are anticipated.

[Check out other resources by this publisher at <> if you know you have English Quakers]

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.8 no.5, 2001

Scottish Schoolmasters of the Seventeenth Century by David Dobson. Published in 1998 in the US by Willow Bend Books, 65 East Main Street, Westminster, MD 21557. 1995 (in Scotland). 40 pp. Softcover. $6.

This is a simple but helpful guide to identifying seventeenth century Scottish schoolmasters which are arranged in alphabetical order. The details vary but often include the place where they taught, a date, and sometimes biographical information. The source(s) of the information is provided and comes from numerous archives and publications, including the Scottish Record Office (now National Archives of Scotland).

A typical entry reads: WRIGHT, SAMUEL, schoolmaster of Dunbar, East Lothian, died 8.1672, husband of Margaret Traill who died 7.1685. [Greyfriars] [SRO.RD2.24.699/1669]

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.8 no.5, 2001

Scottish Catholic Parents and Their Children 1701-1705 by Frances McDonnell. Published in 1998 in the US by Willow Bend Books, 65 East Main Street, Westminster, MD 21557. 1995 (in Scotland). 44 pp. Index. Softcover. $6.50

In March 1701 the General Assembly passed an Act by which Presbyteries were required to send in details of all persons who were still Catholics, entertained Catholics, and a listing of places where Mass was held, with the names of witnesses. As might be expected there was resistance encountered in bringing “Papists off from their errors,” as a result of which the Commission could apply to the Government for protection of Ministers who undertook this work.

The introduction implies that in some areas of the country there had been no Presbyterian ministers operating since the Reformation and thus the people were still Catholic. This booklet obviously does not name them all. However it does contain a valuable list of families that were identified as Catholic in this time period.

The book lists individuals and their families by Presbytery. There is an all name index to make location of individuals easier. The details given vary greatly from just a name in a location to biographical information about an individual or family.

One example for Lochmaben in Dumfries: Grierson, James. Second son of Sir Robert Grierson, now living with his wife at Laghall in Troueer parish beside Dumfries has been suspect of having apostatized from the Protestant to the Popish religion several years ago. His lady, .... Ferguson, daughter to Isle Ferguson is a Protestant.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.8 no.5, 2001

The Scots Overseas: Emigrants and Adventurers from: Aberdeen and North East Scotland (2 parts); Fife; Moray and Banff; Angus and Perth; Southern Scotland; Glasgow and the West of Scotland; Orkney and Shetland; The Lothians; Argyll and the Northern Highlands. Published in 2000 in the US by Willow Bend Books, 65 East Main Street, Westminster, MD 21557. 1993-1996 (in Scotland). Softcover. $23

This is a compilation of 10 separate volumes ranging from 21 to 32 pages in length. This means that you need to check all 10 sections if you don’t know exactly which area of Scotland your ancestors originated from. There is no consolidated index. Each volume claims to be the first in an anticipated collection of volumes for each region. Only Aberdeen and North East Scotland has a second volume in this compilation. Primary and secondary sources were used to create each volume. The index to source abbreviations is at the front of each volume.

The information within individual entries contain can vary greatly, but they all include a source citation so that you can follow up your research.

A sample entry from the Lothians volume reads: WEBSTER, GEORGE born 15.10.1744 in Edinburgh, son of Reverend Alexander Webster and Mary Erskine, civil paymaster EICS, died in Bengal 7.1794. (F.1.120)

Some of the entries may be contained in other compilations by Dobson, especially as they relate to North America, but this is not guaranteed. Plus other family members may have emigrated to other parts of the world. This is a nice compilation but a bit of a lucky dip.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.8 no.5, 2001

Irish Marriages: Being an Index to the Marriages in Walker’s Hibernian Magazine, 1771 to 1812 by Henry Farrar. 1897. Reprinted by Clearfield Publishing Company, 200 E. Eager St., Baltimore MD 21202. 2001. 2 vols. in 1, 531 pp. Softcover. $39.95 plus $3.50 p. & h.

Walker’s Hibernian Magazine was published from 1771 to July 1812. Until 1800 the English and Irish marriages were chronicled under different headings. After 1800 the marriages were combined. This volume only indexes the pre 1800 Irish marriages, and all marriage since 1800.

Not indicated in the title is the fact that the book also contains a 51 page index to the births, marriages and deaths published in Anthologia Hibernica for 1793 and 1794, the two years that the publication existed.

An index entry for the bride is abbreviated and the groom’s entry has to be read for the full details. For example:

Carmichael, Capt. Henry Lisle, 67th Foot = Ferrall, Catherine, Dominick St. Aug. 1789 - 447

Ferrall, Catherine = Carmichael, Capt. H.L. 1789 - 447

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.8 no.5, 2001

2,000 Manx Mariners: An Eighteenth Century Survey by Francis Wilkins. Published by Wyre Forest Press, 8 Mill Close, Blakedown, Kidderminster, Worcs DY10 3NQ, England. 2000. 148 pp. Illustrations, index. Softcover. £12.95 plus £5.95 airmail postage or £2.70 seamail postage.

The use of 2,000 in the title of this book is an understatement designed to emphasize the sheer numbers of Manx mariners involved in different occupations during the eighteenth century. These occupations include: local boatmen, herring fishermen, wherrymen, coastal traders, overseas traders, Guinea traders, Guinea crews, and the Royal Navy. These occupations form the eight sections of the book. The sections are not always clear cut, for as the author acknowledges in her introduction herring fishermen carried contraband during the off-season, and wherrymen sometimes went fishing. All may have been impressed into the navy.

This survey initially grew out of research into the Isle of Man’s involvement in the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. The survey was expanded. Table one provides a list of the sources used for each section. This is a valuable listing for alternative sources for anyone doing maritime research, especially in or around the Isle of Man.

Each section of the book is full of biographical information about Manx mariners, illustrating the wealth of information that is available for these people with a little bit of searching in the right sources. The end notes give full source citations to anyone identified, often a source in the Manx National Heritage Library in Douglas, or the Public Record Office at Kew. The index includes all men named within the text of each chapter. There are 13 appendices which include alphabetical lists of names, and identifying information, in the different marine occupations that are not in the consolidated index. There is also a bibliography of additional reading for those who want to explore any of the topics further.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.8 no.6, 2001

Family Histories in Scottish Customs Records by Francis Wilkins. Published by Wyre Forest Press, 8 Mill Close, Blakedown, Kidderminster, Worcs DY10 3NQ, England. 1993. 79 pp. Softcover. Illustrations, index. £10 plus £5.95 airmail postage or £2.70 seamail postage.

The introduction to the book states that this book “is an attempt to introduce a virtually untouched source of information about family history - the ‘CE’ Records held at the Scottish Record Office in Edinburgh and some local archive offices.” The author has succeeded in doing this. I just wish I had Scottish ancestors that were customs officers given the information that can be found in these records.

The Scottish CE records are divided into 11 classes. Classes 1 to 5 for Customs, 6 to 10 for Excise and 11 with some shipping registers. This book focuses on the details in the Customs books. Class 1 contains letters from the Collector (and Comptroller) to the Board of Customs in Edinburgh or London. Class 2 is letters from the Board of Customs to the Collector. Class 3 is General Letter Books. Class 4 is Miscellaneous Customs Records. Class 5 is Materials originating in subordinate Ports or Creeks.

This book is a sequel to Scottish Customs and Excise Records by the same author. The prior book used examples from Strathclyde, while this book uses examples from Dumfries and Galloway. This book grew out of pilot study to see how much personal information could be extracted from the custom records. As you might expect these records are good for recreating the careers of revenue officers and smugglers. What’s surprising is the number of people identified with other occupations, including merchants, tobacconists, farmers, fish curers, mariners, ship owners, ships masters, widows and orphans of late employees all of whom came into contact with custom officials at one time or another. A list of 119 people, with occupations are identified in Dumfries in 1786 and included.

What this book does through examples is show how the life and lifestyle of an individual can be reconstructed in fascinating detail. The examples are well presented and give the researcher the hope that they too might find their ancestors mentioned in these records. There is an every name index to the stories in the book.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.8 no.6, 2001

Camden Past and Present: A Guide to the Camden Local Studies and Archives Centre, 2nd Ed. edited by Mark Aston, Malcolm J. Holmes and Richard G. Knight. Published by London Borough of Camden, Leisure and Community Services Department, Local Studies and Archives Centre, Holborn Library, 32-38 Theobalds Road, London WC1X 8PA, England. 2000. 43 pp. Index. Softcover. £2.95.

This is a fascinating guide to over 150,000 items in the Archives of the London Borough of Camden. This guide follows the format created by the Greater London Archives Network for its series Greater London History Sources. This consistency will make finding similar sources in other archive guidebooks easy.

For researchers thinking of parishes this includes material from St. Andrew Holborn, St. Giles in the Fields, St. Pancras, St. George the Martyr Queen Square and St. George Bloomsbury. The guide covers much more than just parish related material. It includes anything related to this major London borough: maps, directories, electoral registers, central government, local authorities, schools, theatres, businesses, manors, manuscripts, and much more. There is much material that you would expect but reading the details gives you some fascinating collections. These include: for St. Pancras a Register of disorderly houses [Houses used for prostitution] 1880-1900; and among the poor law union records of St. Andrew Holborn Above Bars there are payments to women who nurse their own children 1791-1792, 1796-1799 [I wonder what the laws were behind this payment?].

For those with ancestors in this part of London this guide is invaluable and will give you enough options to keep you busy researching for years.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.8 no.6, 2001

London and Middlesex Exchequer Equity Pleadings, 1685-6 & 1784-5: A Calendar edited by Henry Horwitz and Jessica Cooke. Volume XXXV for the Year 1998 of the London Record Society Publications. Purchase from Miss. Creaton, Hon. Secretary, London Record Society, c/o Institute of Historical Research, Senate house, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU, England. 2000. xxi, 162 pp. Hardcover. £25.50 postage paid for non-members.

The stated aim of the book is “to illustrate the potential rewards of searches in Exchequer equity records for students of the history of London and the metropolis by way of calendaring a limited selection of the pleadings in equity (bills, answers and related documents) consisting of every London and Middlesex suit filed for two years of the Court’s operation as a general court of equity - the first year of James II’s reign (6 Feb. 1685-5 Feb. 1686) and the twenty-fifth year of George III’s (25 Oct. 1784-24 Oct. 1785). All told there are 151 suits for the former year, and 194 for the latter.” (p. viii).

The introduction does describe the process in equity court and why so many cases were soon settled. The principal disputes in equity court concerned land, deceased’s estates, debts and bonds, and commercial arrangements.

The original indexes to these records generally name the plaintiff and the first defendant. What these abstracts show is that there is often a long list of defendants, many of whom are related to one another (with relationships stated). This volume provides separate indexes for names and subjects for each time period.

If your ancestor lived or worked in London or Middlesex in either of these time periods the wealth of names make this volume worth checking.

[The London Record Society was founded in 1964 to publish transcripts, abstracts and lists of the primary sources for the history of London, and generally to stimulate interest in archives relating to London, the Society aims to publish a volume a year. The volumes appear in hard covers, and are carefully prepared by specialists in their subject. Each volume contains a substantial historical introduction to the edited text, and a full index. Individual membership is £12 per annum. Contact the Hon. Secretary, London Record Society, c/o Institute of Historical Research, Senate house, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU, England]

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.8 no.6, 2001

The Scottish Settlers of America — The 17th and 18th Centuries by Stephen M. Millet. Published by Clearfield Publishing Company, 200 E. Eager Street, Baltimore, MD 21202. 1992-1995, reprinted 1999. 234 pp. Softcover. $25 plus $3.50 p. & h.

This material was originally published sequentially in thirteen issues of the U.S. Scots Magazine between the Winter of 1992 and the Winter of 1995 issues. This series forms an excellent historical introduction to the whole issue of Scottish emigration to North America, especially for the Colonial time period.

The thirteen chapters cover: The Scottish Homeland; The Scottish Peoples; Scottish Population and Emigrations; The Push of Scottish Emigration; The Pull of American Immigration; Profiles of the Scottish Immigrants; The Scottish Colonies before 1707; Scottish Settlements of the Chesapeake Bay; Scottish Settlement of the Carolinas and Georgia; The Scots of New England and New York; The Scottish Settlement of Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey; The Scots and the American Revolution; Summary and Conclusions. The organization of the chapters suggests that you will easily find information about the historical context for your ancestor which ever colony he or she came to. The reality is that the whole book needs to be read to get the complete picture. But Mr. Millet’s writing style makes this easy and an enjoyable read.

The collection of these articles into one book has now made access to these writings easy. However, it is a pity that the effort was not made to index the chapters. It would have greatly increased the value of the book.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.9 no.1, 2002

Islands of Essex, 2nd edition by Ian Yearsley. Published by Ian Henry Publications, Ltd., 20 Park Drive, Romford, Essex RM1 4LH, England. 2000. 158 pp. Illustrations, index. £9.95.

There are more islands along the coast of Essex than any other English county. This book describes them all from the small sandbank to the more substantial inhabited islands. It talks about the islands that used to exist that have become part of the mainland, or have been eroded away by the power of the sea, to the islands that are continually forming as the coastline changes.

The book follows a journey around the coast starting in the south with the Canvey Group and working north through the Essex Archipelago, the Crouch and Blackwater Group, the Mersea Group to the Walton Backwaters and the River Stour. For each island it presents the history and the development or use of the island. I particularly liked the discussion about Canvey Island because it talked about The Great Tide of 31 January 1953, when the dykes broke. (This is one of the two events I associate with the year of my birth, the other being the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II). Unfortunately, in that flood 58 islanders lost their lives.

The book gives a good historical presentation on how planers intended to develop the different islands and how they actually were, if at all. These schemes varied greatly from tourist spas or holiday resorts, commuter or bedroom communities, to industrial centers. Some were implemented and some were just dreams. Many of the islands have now been set aside as naturalist areas because of the rarity of the animals, insects and plants that exist in the area.

The book concludes with a good bibliography for those with Essex or island ancestors. A fascinating book if your ancestors come from the coastal areas of Essex, no matter in which century.

[Editors note - This publisher produces a number of books dealing with the history of communities in Essex, London and East Anglia. There are books dealing with the communities of: Colchester; Brentwood and South Weald; Harlow; Valley of the Stour; Basildon; Havering; Shoebury; Suffolk Observed (historical background on all 430 Suffolk towns and sights worth seeing). If your ancestors are in this area contact the publisher for a current catalog]

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.9 no.1, 2002

30 Miles North: A History of Lake Forest College, Its Town and Its City of Chicago by Franz Schulze, Rosemary Cowler and Arthur H. Miller. Published by Lake Forest College, 555 North Sheridan Road, Lake Forest, IL 60045. 2000. Illustrations, index. Hardcover. $35

This large, glossy book is a delight to read. For anyone with connections to the community of Lake Forest or its college this book will be found to be fascinating. It is full of details and illustrations that put the community and college into both its historical and social context.

The early history links the college, with the communities of Lake Forest and Chicago. This is a story of New England congregationalists and Scottish Presbyterian leaders wanting to be close to the mercantile and business opportunities of Chicago but at the same time be separate and apart where their teachings and beliefs could dominate. A place where they could be separate from the Irish and Germans that were sweeping into Chicago in the mid-1800’s.

As anyone who has been to Lake Forest knows, the community is set up with curved streets and no through streets, all intentional. The college’s history, its formation, failure (because of the Civil War) and reestablishment is well described, with details on the key people involved. This is good history showing the importance of issues, such as the impact of the strong anti-slavery movement and the key role that women played in re-establishing the college. This is an institution that in the late 19th century rivaled Northwestern and the University of Chicago in size.

Two other phases of the college’s history are described. This being from World War I through the Depression years. This is followed by the post-World War II years where the college has affirmed its reputation as a fine liberal arts college.

The book is well illustrated with lots of photographs of the area, the campus, and the people involved in the history and life of this institution. The index includes many of the significant people in this history but it is not a complete index to everyone listed in the book.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.9 no.1, 2002

Heritage: Scottish Americans in the American South by Celeste Ray. Published by University of North Carolina Press, P.O. Box 2288, Chapel Hill, NC 27515-2288.2001. xix, 256 pp. Index, maps, photographs. Softcover. $16.95.

This book explores the nature of what it means to be Scottish and have Scottish heritage. It shows how Scotland’s regional identities of Highlands, Lowlands and Scots-Irish have become blended and subsumed under the images of the Highlanders. An image constructed in the nineteenth century through romanticism, militarism and tourism. The romantic images created by the writings of Sir Walter Scott and his peers have in many ways created a stereotype of what it means to be Scottish, especially for Americans. This is an image that at the time would have been unrecognizable in Scotland. This is added to with strong military images of the Jacobites and Scottish Regiments in the British Army. Then the importance of tourism has fostered these images. The image of what it means to be Scottish is not static but changes with the creation of new traditions such as the “Kirkin’ o’ the Tartan,” Heritage Society dinners, clan societies (stories of their beginnings, often mythical), clan or society tartans. At all Scottish events there is an emphasis on kin, making them friendly, welcoming public gatherings where one “never meets a stranger.”

The author in writing this book jumps back and forth between the present and the history that shaped the modern traditions. Even at times acknowledging the fascinating contradictions. There is a strong emphasis in the book on the Cape Fear, North Carolina Scots and the impact they had with their migrations in the mid-1700’s. Plus, how this large Scottish migrant group has shaped Scottish activities, especially in the South

This book will not help you trace your ancestors. However, this is a wonderful book to read to understand how the image of what it means to be Scottish has been created, and why it is the way it is.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.9 no.2, 2002

Register of Merchants Taylors’ School 1562-1699 by Rev. Charles J. Robinson. Published in 1882 and Reprinted by Willow Bend Books, 65 East Main Street, Westminster, MD 21157-6103. 2001. xvi, 392 pp. Softcover. $32.

This is volume one of what was originally a two volume set providing a list of the students enrolled in the Merchant Taylor School in London from 1562 to 1874. (Hopefully the publisher will find and reprint the second volume).

The Grammar school originated with the revival of learning that marked the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. Most of the boys attending the school began between the ages of 10 and 13. They come from all over England but the area in and around London dominates. Many of them went on to be educated at Oxford or Cambridge and then held positions with in English Society. Do not think of this as a trade school for Taylors; it certainly is not.

This register is collected from a variety of documents and registers. The result is a variation in the format of the individual entries.

From 1562 to 1644 the name of the boy is provided, often with a birth date, and sometimes with the name of the father and his occupation.

From 1644 to 1660 the entries are more detailed with a consistent format. So for the 1649-50 school year we have the following example: John Milner, eld. Son of Richard, gent. B. In Michael Royal, 1 May 1637. There is a footnote suggesting that this might be the John Milner who became Consul General in Portugal (If I could only be this lucky).

From 1661 to 1699 the boy’s name is given occasionally with a date of birth.

Throughout the book there are extensive footnotes referring the reader to other sources with information about the named child or the parents. This is a nice book with lots of names for an early time period.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.9 no.2, 2002

A Guide to the Historical Records of The Royal Bank of Scotland. Produced by the Archives Section, The Royal Bank of Scotland, Regent’s House, PO Box 348, 42 Islington High Street, London N1 8XL. 2000. 123 pp. Illustrations. Softcover. £8.50 for overseas orders

This practical archival guide begins by putting The Royal Bank of Scotland’s archives in context and discusses the historical records of banking. This is truly a fascinating read and opens up al sorts of research possibilities.

The bulk of the book provides details about the different collections within the archives. For each collection it provides:

Identity statement - providing essential information to identify the archival collection or series. This includes the title, dates of creation, level of description and the size of the collection. Context - regarding origin and custody of the collection or series. This includes the name of the creator (usually bank, organization and occasionally an individual), biographical or administrative history. Content and structure - describes the subject matter and arrangement of the collection. This may include partnership/corporate records, financial records, legal records, customer records, head office branch records, staff records, property records, note issue records, marketing / public relations records, branch records. Allied materials - gives information about important related materials such as publications.

The complete text of this guide book is also available online at <>.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.9 no.2, 2002

The Great Estates: Six Country Houses in the London Borough of Bexley by Oliver Wooller. Published by Bexley Local Studies and Archive Centre, Bexley Council, Central Library, Townley Road, Bexleyheath, Kent DA6 7HJ. 2000. 116 pp. Illustrations, index, photographs. Softcover. £5.95

This is an excellent example of what local history can and should be. The author examines in detail six estates within the London Borough of Bexley: Hall Place; May Place; Foots Cray Place; Danson; Belvedere and Lamorbey. The origins of the estates vary greatly from the times of Roman villas up to the English Civil War. But for each the history of the property, the buildings and the families involved are brought up to the present.

The families involved, as you would expect on large estates, are of the gentry or professional classes. The families are put into their appropriate historical context. We read about: the Calverts and the connections with Colonial Maryland; the Boyd’s and Styleman’s with their strong connections to the East India Company; the Gideon-Eardleys with their financial successes (in spite of the failure of the South Sea Company) and their operation in Exchange Alley which later became the London Stock Exchange; the Drapers and their involvement in the English Civil War. We also read about many more families connected with the estates. Each time the author does a superb job of placing them into the context of British and World history.

In the midst of the history of the families we read about the changes they made to the property and buildings. We learn how property changed hands, and surprisingly for Americans how much of the property was held with long leases and not actually owned.

There are lots of excellent illustrations and photographs reproduced in this glossy publication. All the historical details are thoroughly footnoted. There is a one caveat and that there is a good index but it is not an all name index.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.9 no.3, 2002

Ships from Scotland to America 1628-1828, Volume II by David Dobson. Published by Genealogical Publishing Company, 1001 N. Calvert Street, Baltimore MD 21202. ix, 173 pp. Hardcover. $22.50 plus $3.50 p. & h. It is important to read the introduction in this book. The assumption is made that although some immigrants arrived in the US and Canada on emigrant ships the majority will have arrived on cargo vessels. They came to work and to trade, coming to Georgia and the Carolinas for cotton and rice, to the Chesapeake for tobacco, to the Canadian Maritimes for lumber. The only large scale emigrations were into the Carolinas prior to the Revolutionary War and into Canada after the Napoleonic Wars. The primary assumption is that many Scots came on trading vessels. This book is primarily based on the Exchequer records in the National Archives of Scotland which identify vessels, skippers, and cargoes on which duties or bounties were charged or given. These records are almost complete from 1742. They are designed to record customs duties, but do on occasion refer to passengers. This index is supported with extractions from newspapers. As a researcher you need to find out if your ancestor might have come on a particular ship, or another.

Any statement about carrying passengers is in bold within the citations. A typical entry with passengers reads: LITTLE CHERUB OF PHILADELPHIA, 246 tons, M.H. Parkinson, fr. GK with 20 passengers to Philadelphia 28 June 1815; fr. GK to Philadelphia 4 March 1816. [E504.15.108/111]. The abbreviations are explained in the introduction.

The names of the ships are in alphabetical order. However, there is a supplemental index which for each year of arrival gives a page number indicating that a ship arrived in that given year.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.9 no.3, 2002

Bibliography of Welsh Sources by Annie Lloyd. 4635 Stoner Ave. #4, Culver City, CA 90230-5773. 2000. 72 pp. Softcover with plastic comb binding. $8 plus $2.50 p. & h. As the author says in her foreword this is the “tip of the iceberg” as to the amount of books available for Welsh research. However, this is a good place for you to start looking because information about Welsh resources is not usually as readily available as for the other parts of the British Isles.

The book is divided into topical sections. As you would expect there are sections for each of the Counties of Wales, plus a number of US states with strong Welsh connections. There are topical sections covering: abbeys and castles; atlas, gazetteers and maps; bibliographies; borough records; church records ; nonconformity; religion; manorial records; emigration / immigration; heraldry; occupations, trades and crafts; taxation; history and lots more subjects. The bibliographic citations are in most cases complete enough that you should have no problem finding them in a good library catalog, and for many of the modern resources the compiler provides the ISBN number.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.9 no.3, 2002

Techniques to Finding the Place of Origin of Your Welsh Ancestor by Annie Lloyd. 4635 Stoner Ave. #4, Culver City, CA 90230-5773. 2002. 28 pp. Softcover with plastic comb binding. $3 plus $2.50 p. & h.

This brief anecdotal guide is the result of a lecture given at the 2001 British Isles Family History Society - U.S.A. conference. It provides examples of the types of US records that may give the place of origin in Wales. The examples are plentiful to get you thinking, but they are not unique to the Welsh and in fact are applicable to almost any ethnic group. The booklet concludes with addresses and web sites for family history societies in Wales, major Welsh websites, and brief descriptions of major Welsh settlements in different states suggesting where the immigrants may have originated.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.9 no.3, 2002

The Irish in the South: 1815-1877 by David T. Gleeson. Published by University of North Carolina Press, P.O.Box 2288, Chapel Hill, NC 27515-2288. 2001. xii, 278 pp. Bibliography, illustrations, index. Softcover. $19.95. Irish migration into the South is a small part of the Irish story (84,000 out of 1.2M Irish in the 1860 census). However, the Irish did have an impact in the South, especially in the urban areas such as: Savannah, GA; Memphis, TN; New Orleans, LA; Mobile, AL; Charlestown, SC; and Richmond, VA where they congregated and worked.

The study begins in 1815 with the end of the end of the Napoleonic Wars and the beginning of the strong Irish migrations to the South. It ends in 1877 with the formal end of Reconstruction. The predominant group in this migration was the Irish Catholics but the Protestant Irish and migratory Scots Irish are also discussed. All were regarded as outsiders in the Old South as soon as they spoke. But the Irish were strong in many communities as they became involved in politics, especially supporting the Democrats. They gradually became socially and politically involved, and showed their commitment to their new country with the outbreak of the Civil War.

This assimilation process is discussed in detail using many archive sources and much current research on the subject. The modern scholarship challenges some of the thinking proposed by earlier scholars such as Kerby Miller in his major study Emigrants and Exiles: Ireland and the Irish Exodus to North America with which many genealogists will be familiar.

This book is well worth the read, especially for those with Irish in the South. But, even for those with Irish ancestry in the north this book highlights current scholarship and thinking about the Irish experience. The text is well footnoted leading you to many other sources. The book provides an excellent bibliography and an extensive listing of Irish manuscripts collections in both US and Irish archives.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.9 no.3, 2002

On the Trail of Bonnie Prince Charlie by David R. Ross. Published by Luath Press Limited, 543/2 Castlehill, The Royal Mile, Edinburgh EH1 2ND. 2000. xxiii, 134 pp. Illustrations, maps. Softcover. £7.99 ($14.95)

What a delightful way to explore Scotland and eighteenth century Scottish history by following in the footsteps of Bonnie Prince Charlie. The book sets the scene with the Bonnie Prince’s birth in Italy, the political scene in Europe, along with a genealogy chart to show his claim to the throne. The bulk of the book follows the Prince’s journeys across Scotland and deep into England, from his arrival in Scotland on 23 July 1745 to his departure on 20 September 1746. This time period covers events that are important to many with Scottish ancestry, such as the Battles of Prestonpans, Clifton, Falkirk and ultimately Culloden, leading to the defeat of Jacobites and the end of the Scottish clan system. The book does a wonderful job of interlacing the history with what you will get to see on the ground when you travel to these areas of Scotland and England. Following the Bonnie Prince you will get to see the Scottish Highlands, Islands, Lowlands, industrial and rural Scotland, and some of the best scenery Scotland has to offer. If you are planning a trip to Scotland this book would make a great thematic pilgrimage for you follow. This is highly recommended for its history, modem geography and its worth taking on the trip with you.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.9 no.4, 2002

On the Trail of Queen Victoria in the Highlands by Ian R. Mitchell. Published by Luath Press Limited, 543/2 Castlehill, The Royal Mile, Edinburgh EH1 2ND. 2000. xxiii, 138 pp. Illustrations, maps. Softcover. £7.99 ($14.95)

This book through the use of an index map and ten localized maps outline the journeys of Queen Victoria in Scotland. The anecdotal laden, easy to read text puts those travels into historical context, often using the words of the Queen herself to describe the journey. The early history is the search for a Scottish home, resulting in the purchase of Balmoral. This is followed by her short and long “walks” around Scotland. For the Queen a walk involved servants, ponies with hampers and reinforcements posted at stages along the route. You should not expect those same luxuries. The book provides the traveler with 21 described walks taking you over the same ground that the Queen traveled. Many are short and easy, while others are longer, more strenuous and will take a full day. The walker is always advised to go prepared for changing Scottish weather and to have the appropriate local ordnance survey map for the area, which is given in the walk outline. Take this book with you on the walk and get a rich sense of the history of the ground over which you are traveling.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.9 no.4, 2002

Viewing the Breathless Corpse: Coroners and Inquests in Victorian Leeds by Sylvia M. Barnard. Purchase from the author at 2 North Park Road, Leeds LS8 1JD. 2001. 112 pp. Illustrations, index. Softcover £5 plus £1.51 p. & h.

This guide to coroner records is divided into two sections. The first describes the history of the coroner, especially in Victorian times but shows the changes that have occurred in modem times. It looks specifically at the three men that were the coroners during the reign of Queen Victoria, addresses who would have been involved in an inquest, describes the function and operation of the coroners court, the inquisition and looks at the verdict. This section provides a good overview, relevant for anywhere in England.

The coroners’ records for Leeds, Yorkshire have not survived. What the author has done is select specific examples from coroners’ inquests that were reported in the local newspapers. The author is highly involved in the preservation of the Beckett Street Cemetery (Leeds Burial Ground) and so all the people are buried in this large cemetery. Each extraction provides a short introduction followed by the newspaper text. The examples cover topics such as adults accidents, death from natural causes, death from disease; industrial accidents, suicide, drink, murder and manslaughter, children, misadventure and visitation of God. The examples are good, showing how the courts function but also providing a lot of valuable social history. The book has an every name index.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.9 no.4, 2002

Southwark’s Burying Places Past and Present: A Guide to Burial Grounds in the London Borough of Southwark by Ron Woollacott. Purchase from the author at 185 Gordon Road, London SE15 3RT, England. 2001. 31 pp. Index. Softcover. £4.50

This is a location guide and history of over 75 extinct and existing burial grounds in the present London Borough of Southwark which includes the districts of Bermondsey, the Borough, Camberwell, Dulwich, Newington, Peckham, Walworth and Rotherhithe. The introduction outlines the important Burial Acts as they apply to the area, including those of 1852 and 1853 which empowered parish authorities to establish Burial Boards, establish their own cemeteries resulting in 35 churchyards closing for burials. The earliest burials in the area are in the twelfth century, with many of important individuals from the seventeenth century being highlighted in the mini-histories. There is an excellent bibliography for further research in the area. This an inexpensive guide of great value to any researching in the London Borough of Southwark

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.9 no.4, 2002

The Genealogist’s Internet by Peter Christian. Public Record Office Genealogist’s Guide. Published by Public Record Office, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU, England. 2001. Index, illustrations. 208 pp. Softcover. £9.99.

Finally, an excellent guide to using the Internet for British Isles research. Yes, many of the techniques are the same no matter what nationality you research, but it so nice to have British Isles examples rather than American.

The author assumes that the reader is connected to the Internet, familiar with e-mail and a web browser, but has no further experience. This means that some of the topics covered may be familiar, many of the sites may have been used, but the reader may not have taken advantage of all the advanced capabilities. The author makes many suggestions on how to fully utilize the capabilities of the many sites. I found lots of helpful suggestions that I had not thought about before, plus being pointed to some great sites to check out.

The book itself points the beginning genealogist towards informational sites but an understanding of basic research principles is assumed. There are chapters in the book that deal with: On-line Starting Points; Sources On-line; Archives and Libraries; Surnames and Pedigrees, Social Groups; Geography; Historical Background; Discussion Forums; Search Engines; Publishing Your Family History On-line; The World of Family History; and Issues for On-line Genealogists. The book concludes with a brief glossary, bibliography and subject index.

I wanted to and enjoyed reading this book cover to cover. I would suggest this approach with even experienced on-line researchers because included throughout the text are suggestions on how to better utilize the capabilities of specific sites. You never know which tip is going to be the one for you to open the door to more data. All the major sites you would expect to find are examined - GENUKI, the PRO, Society of Genealogists, FamilySearch, Cyndi’s List, and GenWeb. But throughout the book are pointers to hundreds of useful topical sites.

Web addresses do change so a web site is provided to try and keep all links in the book current. Even the preface mentions a number of sites that have changed since the first printing of the book.

I regard myself as an experienced online British Isles researcher but I found new approaches and site suggestions in here for me to try out. I recommend this practical book.

Note: This book is now in its third edition (2005), which has also been reviewed in this newsletter.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.9 no.5, 2002

Army Service Records of the First World War, 3rd. Ed. by William Spencer. Public Record Office Readers Guide No. 19. Published by Public Record Office, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU, England. 2001. Index, illustrations. 112 pp. Softcover. £9.99.

For anyone wanting to find and understand records relating to their First World War I army ancestors this book is a must. This broad title obviously focuses on the records of the over 8 million men and women, officers and soldiers who served during the war, a large percentage of the British population. Unfortunately, records for only about 3 million have survived.

The second edition of this guide was written in 1998, was 77 pages long, and co-coincided with the release of the officers’ records of service. Since then many other service records have been released, including the voluminous ‘burnt document’ series. What you will not find in the collection are records of those soldiers who continued to serve, were recalled or re-enlisted after 1920, or officers after March 1922.

The book itself has been completely restructured to accommodate the release of new records. The book begins by addressing the service records of individuals in the different groups - officers, soldiers, nurses, Indian Army and Royal Flying Corps. It then examines the records to put your ancestor into context, and the records that may mention your ancestor. These include: unit war diaries, trench maps, campaign medals, awards for gallantry and meritorious service, courts martial, prisoners of war, casualties and war dead, the dominion forces, and concludes with records outside the PRO.

If you are approaching the subject for the first time, read the whole book just to get a sense of the variety of records that are available for the war. Then re-read with your ancestor in mind looking for the records in which your ancestor might be recorded. Pay particular attention to where it says the records have been microfilmed, in which case they might be available through your local LDS Family History Center (although some of the filmed records are not in the catalog yet). Plus some of the records are now available on CD-ROM (trench maps, war dead) or available online (Commonwealth War Graves).

Unfortunately there will be records that you want to look at that will only be available at the PRO. You can either visit yourself, or you can hire a researcher to do directed work on your behalf. The book itself provides illustrations so that you will know what the records look like.

The book includes 4 short case studies in the relevant chapters showing how to trace an officer, a soldier, a nurse, and a soldier in the Indian army. These are shorter case studies and in a different format than the three case studies in the second edition, so don’t throw the earlier edition away it is still valuable.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.9 no.5, 2002

Tracing the History of Your House: A Guide to Sources by Nick Barratt. Published by Public Record Office, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU, England. 2001. Index, illustrations. 225 pp. Softcover. £12.99.

This book is about the documents that relate to the land and to the houses on that land, not to the architectural features of an ancestors house.

English records dealing with land, its ownership and transfer can be very intimidating to even experienced researchers. The is partially due to the lack of easily accessible information about the records, what they contain, why they were created in the first place and how to effectively use them. This is further complicated by the fact that only some of the records are accessible on microfilm in the US.

This book pulls together lots of information for disparate time periods and explains the different record groups. Some of which you may have used, but this volume will add more to your understanding of these records.

The book has sections addressing : how to get started; maps, plans and land surveys, land law and conveyancing; title deeds; manorial and estate records; records of property inheritance; legal disputes; house occupancy; tax and rates records; records of national events; sources for ‘modern’ houses; and how do we live. The book concludes with a clear outline on how to prepare a research plan and a case study.

Some of the records discussed you will be familiar with such as census, probate records, etc. But the book gets you to think about them in terms of tracing the history of the house, not just your ancestors. However, the book takes you beyond the basic records into those that are less frequently used, but can provide valuable information. Each topic is presented with the background information and details you will need. The reading is heavy going in places, but is worth the effort if you are wanting to work with these sources. The book contains a good bibliography if you want more.

This book is certainly an authoritative guide providing valuable information even when the records themselves are more likely to be at local or county record offices and not at the PRO. The book is limited primarily to English and Welsh land records as the situation in Scotland and Ireland is different. I am certainly looking forward to working more with this volume and the records they describe.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.9 no.5, 2002

Honoring Our Ancestors; Inspiring Stories of the Quest for Our Roots by Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak. Published by Ancestry Publishing, Inc., Orem UT. 2002. $12.95

I cannot think of a better way, to “honor our ancestors” than this book for billions to read. I was truly taken with the collage of lives, as heritage and tales were woven together.

Can you imagine recreating an 1889 “road trip” minus the covered wagon but with a few hundred more dollars...then taking photos of themselves along the way at each place where their ancestors had also set foot, so many years ago? This will make a unique memory book for all to look back upon.

On 11 September 2002, I read a wonderful 9-1-1 eulogy. It was rather fitting for the day...Think about some “Unknown Soldiers” families, having to grieve and mourn a second or third time? And no family there for the burial and closure. The author of this book takes their place.

99 Orchard Street on the Lower East Side on Manhattan in New York City is now a Tenement Museum. Over the years, this was home to over 7,000 immigrants. The museum recreates and celebrates the immigrant experience by bringing their stories to life, including the tiny details of the original apartments.

My favorite? Scavenger Hunts by photograph. This sounded like so much fun! They gained permission to use other peoples property at various sites and were able to “milk the concrete cow” for one activity. You just have to read the book to find out the others that took place.

There is a wonderful story written about the Legacy Project for War Letters from Americans that is superb. This is a non-profit organization... “Cemetery Savers” must unite! Little did this young mother know how much she would be helping herself when she started this project!

And then there were two teenage girls, living miles apart, tracking their blood connection born in 1826. Thanks to a third partner, another cousin they found online, they developed this site, “The UnWritten”, long-distance and it shows how to research, write and save your photo stories. All of these girls are fourth cousins, teenagers, interested in family history - how refreshing.

There is also the story of the traditional heirloom diaper that is handed down in one family. Oh, “ya gotta” read that one...Dinner with a dead president in the cemetery for your anniversary? What a way to celebrate, don’t you think?... 4-H projects in the cemetery? Yes! All of us picnic there, don’t we? More and more often now we hear of the younger generation having projects to do with family history that make us proud.

This is an inspiring book in so many ways. Megan has outdone herself again. Gathering these stories must have been a joy; culling them must have been heartbreaking. I certainly enjoyed these gripping, funny, sad, superb stories and I just know you will, too. To paraphrase one reviewer, these are “amazing stories, told with passion, humor and respect.”

Reviewed by Peggy Rockwell Gleich
BIGWILL v.9 no.5, 2002

Tracing Echoes by Dr. Nicky Bird. Published by the author, 2a Downie Place, Musselburgh, EH21 6JW, Scotland. 2001. $19.95. 72 pp.

This is a fascinating, well produced glossy publication which is very different from what is normally reviewed here. The thread that holds the book together is the wonderful photographs or Julia Margaret Cameron a prominent Victorian photographer who lived and worked on the Isle of Wight in the 1860’s.

Dr. Bird has pulled together a number of interesting pieces. There is an essay by art historian Pamela Gerrish Nunn and Cameron and her work. There are quality reproductions of Cameron’s work from museums and private collections. What makes this book unique is that Bird has done genealogical research to trace descendants of some of Cameron’s sitters and these people have been photographed. You get to see similarities and differences between the modem descendants of the women that Cameron photographed.

A section provides an image of Dimbola Lodge, Freshwater Bay, Isle of Wight when Cameron lived there and this is contrasted with current photographs of the outside and inside of the house. The book concludes with an interactive dialogue between the author, Russell Roberts and Philippa Wright about how and why this work was created and its meaning.

This is certainly an interesting publication that could be used as a model of how to focus on one specific person, their work and their impact.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.9 no.6, 2002

Exploring Our Lives; A Writing Handbook for Senior Adults by Francis E. Kazemek. Santa Monica Press LLC, PO Box 1076, Santa Monica CA 90406. 2002. 309 pp. $14.95

This delightful book is about honoring memories, yours and others. The purpose is to help capture and shape memories into a variety of written forms, such as poetry, memoirs, children’s books, and photographs. You do not need to be a “senior” to use this book, but Kazemek says “A lifetime of valuable experiences [is waiting to be used] and writing about them will sharpen those memories and deepen their meanings.”

This book touches on many ways of writing with great examples and helps. Writing about objects in the first chapter is to get you immediately writing, using a list of words and phrases simply describing an object of choice. Use your sense of smell, of taste as well as hearing, seeing, and feeling to describe these objects, Kazemek suggests. The journalist’s Five W’s & H are also recommended: Who, What, Where, When, Why and How for all of your written work. Then there is “visual mapping” to consider. I always called this cluster writing. This is a definite help to those having a difficult time remembering events or coming up with particular words.

Writing about any topic and using your own life as the source material is another suggestion from Kazemek. Write about all the firsts in your life and those experiences. People you’ve known. Look out your window and what do you see in spring, trees budding, winter, snow glittering and glistening on the branches. Your first Halloween or Thanksgiving. The first date with your husband or wife, and so on.

Writing one story always triggers reminders for other stories “whether it be for personal use or because you have a deadline looming over your head.” The book will guide you with many examples and specific instructions, with encouragement to attempt different approaches to your writing.

Kazemek suggests reading your writing out loud, to which I heartily agree. Hearing out loud what you have written does let you make improvements before you give it to your family or anyone else. Most of our writing is meant to be shared and read by and with others. Some, we write only for ourselves.

He gives suggestions and examples in individual chapters for writing children’s picture books, writing fiction and non-fiction books, diaries and dream journals plus various types of poetry. A specific chapter is also devoted to Writing Groups and Resources.

Seniors now have time to remember, reflect, reconsider and reconstruct their past lives. Kazemek believes our writing should also be shared. Writing helps you exclaim, “Yes, what a life I’ve had after all!”

I’d like to leave you with this thought: Remember, writing and a writing group to bounce stories off of, is cheaper than therapy. This is an excellent book and I recommend it highly, whether you are a senior or a junior.

Reviewed by Peggy Rockwell Gleich
BIGWILL v.9 no.6, 2002

How Our Ancestors Lived: A History of Life a Hundred Years Ago by David Hey. Published by The Public Record Office, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU, England. 2002. 197 pp. Illustrations, index. Hardcover £19.99 This book was written to coincide with the release of the 1901 census for England and Wales by the Public Record Office (PRO). It is designed to help the reader put their ancestors into a correct historical context. It provides a social history of the late Victorian and Edwardian time period concentrating on the topics of prime concern to family and local historians. These include family life, housing, work, movement, education, religion, leisure and more. The book shows how life experienced varied depending upon social class and locality within England and Wales. One of the major benefits of social history for this time period is that photographers were active and the book is well illustrated showing many aspects of daily life.

Parts of the book are not easy to read as statistical comparisons are made about different aspects of life between the different census years, e.g. size of families in houses, fertility rates, etc. However, these are important examples of how to use and interpret data for your own research, and illustrate how to put your ancestor into context. The bulk of the book however is easy to read and contains lots of facts about our ancestors and their lives.

Throughout the book there are vignettes of real families found in the census who are then put into their local context. For examples the Wakefield family in Lincolnshire who are used to illustrate how over time most people moved only a very short distance from where they were born. There is a chapter illustrating how to effectively pull genealogical data and social history information together to tell an effective story even for ordinary families. These families include the Downers and Sandys who were New Forest laborers in southern Hampshire, plus the Heys from Thurlstone in the West Riding of Yorkshire.

The book should be read by anyone working with the 1901 census who wants to go beyond the gathering of names, dates, places and really put some flesh onto the bones. The book concludes with a detailed bibliography for ongoing research into almost any aspect of an ancestor’s life.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.10 no.1, 2003

Scotland: A History, 8000 B.C. — A.D. 2000 by Fiona Watson. Published by Tempus Publishing Ltd., The Mill, Brimscombe Port, Stroud, Gloucestershire GL5 2QG, England. (or Tempus Publishing Inc., 2 Cumberland Street, Charleston, SC 29401). 2001. 288 pp. Illustrations, index. Softcover £9.99 ($14.99).

Prof. Fiona Watson is the historian and presenter for the BBC Television series In Search of Scotland, as explained on the dust jacket of the book. The book itself does not mention the series. However, the book provides an excellent easy to read overview of over 10,000 years of Scottish History. The book is not a dry history tome but rather attempts and succeeds in providing “a basic and unavoidably selective chronology of the main events and trends, while at the same time indicating where the key areas of controversy lie” (p.15). This book is designed for the general history reader. There are no footnotes, and the bibliography is brief and selective, naming books that will generally be readily available, even in North America.

For most family historians the greatest interest will lie in the last three chapters: Reformation to Revolution 1542-1702; Scotland in Britain 1702-1850; Scotland Renewed 1850-2000, which is just under half the book. It is these chapters that will allow you to put your ancestors into historical context. The chapters look at the major political, military, religious, industrial and economical changes. The earlier chapters shouldn’t be ignored as they address many questions often lost in Scottish culture, especially in North America, such as who were and where did the Vikings, Scots, Picts, Britons and Anglo-Saxons live. When and how were they united into what we now think of as the Scots. The book concludes with a chronology, list of monarchs, and genealogies of some key royal families.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.10 no.1, 2003

More English Adventurers and Emigrants, 1625-1777: Abstracts of Examinations in the High Court of Admiralty with Reference to Colonial America by Peter Wilson Coldham. Published by Genealogical Publishing Company, 1001 N. Calvert St., Baltimore MD 21202. 2002. 122 pp. Indexes. Hardcover $25 plus $3.50 p.& h.

Volume I of English Adventurers and Emigrants covering the period 1609-1660 was published in 1984, and volume II for 1661 to 1733 in 1985. Both were extractions from the High Court of Admiralty (HCA) Records now at the Public Record Office that provided references to colonial America. The HCA Examination Books in Instance for the time period after 1745 were destroyed. An attempt to overcome the problems created by this destruction has been made by making extractions from other HCA records. These records include: criminal examinations HCA 1; minutes and drafts HCA 3; assignation books HCA 6; Instance (Equity) papers HCA 13; Exemplars (i.e. drafts & miscellaneous documents) HCA 14; Instance Papers HCA 15; Exemplars from 1772, Instance Papers from 1774 HCA 16; Miscellaneous Papers HCA 30; Treasury Board Papers TI. When all these other classes were examined new records were found for the earlier time periods, sometimes giving more information on people mentioned in the earlier books, but sometimes completely new information.

The cases found in the book includes prize money, piracy, crews filing claims for non-payment of wages, appeals from colonial Vice-Admiralty Courts and crimes committed at sea. This is a book that needs to be searched if you have colonial maritime ancestors both in North America or the British Isles. For example, I found crew lists for ships sailing out of Whitehaven in Cumberland to Virginia. There is an index to persons, places and ships making searches very flexible.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.10 no.1, 2003

More Emigrants in Bondage: 1614-1775 by Peter Wilson Coldham. Published by Genealogical Publishing Company, 1001 N. Calvert St., Baltimore MD 21202. 2002. 217 pp. Softcover $30 plus $3.50 p.& h.

This is an addition to the 1988 The Complete Book of Emigrants in Bondage 1614-1775 and its 1992 Supplement. These earlier publications highlighted the gaps in records extracted. A number of those gaps have now been filled adding an additional 9,000 names (some are amendments to names in the earlier books). The annotations are in the same brief highly abbreviated format. For a fuller context the introduction the earlier volumes will need to be read.

The information here is extracted from central criminal records: Midland Circuit Criminal Process Book 1739-1742; Sheriff’s Cravings 1718-1776; State Papers (Criminal) for 1718-1740. Plus extractions from county records for Lancashire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Warwickshire, City of York and the records of Alderman John Hewitt, Jr for 1748-1763, plus English newspapers and Maryland State Archive records.

Besides the earlier books in this series the reader will also be advised to check by the same author, The King’s Passengers to Maryland & Virginia (1997, Family Line Publications). The content and arrangement varies between the books, with no guarantee as to which book will give the most information on an individual. The source citations are however more complete in The King’s Passengers.

The book concludes with an accumulated compiled list of ships known to have carried convicts to the American Colonies between 1671 and 1783 (only 5 known before 1716). For each ship it provides the date of sailing, name of ship, name of master, port of departure, destination, number of felons transported and a source reference. Also included are 43 biographical sketches of transportees identified in Maryland records. These are individuals are different from those included in the biographical sketches in The King’s Passengers.

This is one of those books that need to be checked if you are having trouble locating your ancestor because it extracts highly diverse and specialized British records. However, it is probably not needed by everyone.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.10 no.1, 2003

Probate Jurisdictions: Where to Look for Wills, 5th Edition by Jeremy Gibson and Else Churchill. Published by Genealogical Publishing Company, 1001 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21202. 2002. 71 pp. Maps. Softcover. $9.50 plus $3.50 p.& h. This is one of those inexpensive must have guides for anyone doing English research, especially if you have ancestors in more than one jurisdiction. The fourth edition was published in 1994. The bulk of the book is the same as earlier editions; however, it does provide updates on newly published indexes and some movement of records and record offices, e.g. -Principal Registry for post 1858 wills, and movement of PCC records from Chancery Lane to the Family Records Centre.

For each county the guide gives a map of probate jurisdictions, including peculiars. It states where the post 1858 registered copy wills are stored. Then it describes the pre 1858 situation giving locations of wills, administrations, inventories, act books, etc., with details on any published (or unpublished) indexes or abstractions. It then concludes with a description of all the exceptions.

There are sections that deal with Scotland, Wales, Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. There is no mention within the different sections about what has or has not been microfilmed by the LDS. You use this guide to go looking in the FHL catalog.

With any guide to resources it is often out of date before it is even printed. For example, it does not mention all the wills being put online by the PRO. But this is an exception and if you are starting your British research this is one of those helpful must haves.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.10 no.1, 2003

The Parish of Urr: A Civil and Ecclesiastical History by David Frew. Published in 1909 by Thomas Fraser. Reprinted by Willow Bend Books, 65 East Main Street, Westminster, MD 21157. 2002. 345 pp. Illustrations, index. Softcover. $31

The Parish of Urr is in the Eastern District of the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright, now the part of Scotland known as Dumfries and Galloway. Dalbeattie is the principal town in the parish, along with the communities of Haugh-of-Urr, Hardgate, Springholm, Crocketford, and Milton. The parish is put into the history of the region, but the details provided make this a fascinating read. For example, when dealing with the controversies of the late seventeenth century the book describes the reactions of the parishioners when their “Presbyterian” minister was replaced by an “Episcopalian” minister whom they were firmly opposed to, and what happened when the dragoons were used to find and kill the troublemakers. When the nineteenth century is addressed there is a strong emphasis on the key leaders in the parish and their influence on agricultural developments. Each of the villages and the town of Dalbeattie are described along with the parish boards and associations, antiquities, customs, and manners.

When the ecclesiastical history is addressed, again the parish is put into its historical context by looking at the situation before and after the Reformation (1560) through the Revolution (1688). Two ministers are highlighted in particular Rev. John Hepburn (1688-1723 and Rev. Alexander Murray (1806-1813). Other ministers and ecclesiastical issues are addressed more briefly. Details about the other denominations and churches within the parish are provided.

The book concludes with a number of lists including: names of property and a history of their landowners; lists of elders in the churches some dating to 1647; lists of members of the public boards in the parish such as the poor’s board, the parochial board, parish council, school board, etc; plus a list of the commissioners and town councilors of Dalbeattie since 1858.

This is a fascinating book about a specific parish. However, it is also useful read for anyone with ancestors in Southwest Scotland because it provides a discussion of the major issues within the area and time periods. The same issues your ancestors would have been involved with.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.10 no.1, 2003

Tracing Your Naval Ancestors by Bruno Pappalardo. Published by Public Record Office, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU, England. 2002. 222 pp. Illustrated, index Softcover. £14.99.

This wonderful guide book is a must for anyone doing Royal Navy research. The book is targeted to family and naval historians, archivists, librarians and medal collectors. As such, it covers a wide and diverse range of records and secondary sources which can be used to trace genealogical and career information for men and women who served in the Royal Navy from 1660 to modern times. The book also addresses the recently released records of the Royal Naval Reserve, Royal Naval Air Service, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, Royal Naval Division, Queen Alexandra’s Royal Naval Nursing Services, Women’s Royal Naval Service and First World War service records.

There is a detailed table of contents and an index that will help you once you are familiar with the records. However, for those new to Navy records I would suggest that you read the whole book. I found myself reading the book with my ancestors in my mind. I need records relating to a navy surgeon and a Royal Marine (there is a separate book for marines, but I want to know about the ships and where they were sailing). Taking this approach allows me to learn a lot more, and get a feel for the large variety of records that are available. Plus allows me to identify relevant records and indexes for the appropriate time periods that I would never have thought of looking under. Few of the records have been microfilmed by the FHL, so this is preparatory work for the next trip to the PRO, or I can direct a researcher acting on my behalf.

The book is divided into chapters covering: History and Organization of the Royal Navy; Officers; Ratings; Features of Naval Service ; General Genealogical Sources; Reserve and Auxiliary Forces Service Records; ADM 12 Digests and Indexes 1793-1958. The chapters are well subdivided with headings in bold making it very easy to find the material you need. There are also numerous illustrations of documents so you will know what you are likely to find.

There are two excellent and detailed case studies tracing the career of an officer and a (pre-1853) rating. They take you the step by step through the search process showing you what records to examine and in what order. The examples are for sailors with full interesting careers and not everything will be available for every sailor. But the possibilities are there waiting for the researcher.

This is a book you will use and is a must for anyone wanting to do Royal Navy research.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.10 no.2, 2003

The First World War: The Essential Guide to Sources in the UK National Archives by Ian F. W. Beckett. Published by Public Record Office, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU, England. 2002. 288 pp. Index Hardcover. £19.99.

There is much research that can and should still be done to advance research on themes related to the First World War and this book is the ideal starting point.

As the book correctly points out much has been written about the war, but a lot of the writing is based on personal experience (memoirs) and high level information (general histories). The official records did not begin to be released to historians until the mid-1960’s. The personnel records were not released until the 1990’s and some of the records still have a 100 year closure on them and thus have not yet been released.

This book is not a guide book on how to trace your military ancestors. The book has been developed to allow the researcher to explore different thematic aspects of the war and to provide information on what official records exist. This is an ideal reference book to put your ancestors into context.

The book has four sections with the themes of: The Higher Direction of the War; New Ways of War; The Nation in Arms; War, State and Society. Each section is further subdivided, taking War, State and Society as an example we find the themes of: The Growth of Government; War Finance; War and Industrial Mobilisation; Labour; Women; Food Supply; Social Values and Leisure; State Welfare; The Management of Morale; Aliens and the Enemy Within.

Each Chapter and sub-theme begins with a helpful explanation setting the context. This is then followed by descriptions of record groups that contain related material in alphabetical departmental and numerical order. The descriptions are detailed enough for the reader to be able to see if this is likely to be of value or not. Plus they indicate if the material is indexed, accessible, has been microfilmed or only available under certain restrictions. So for example, in the section dealing with War Service we find: “WO 391/2-7 are the Military Secretary Registers for the Distinguished Conduct Medal, comprising annotated pasted extracts from the ‘advanced copies’ of the London Gazette. Access is under supervision until the series is microfilmed” (p. 144).

This book gives you a sense of how much original material relating to the First World War is accessible for research, unfortunately for us much of it has not been microfilmed and made available in North America. So a trip to the PRO will be required, but this book will allow you to be well prepared before you get there. Not all relevant material is at the PRO and there is an appendix listing other major depositories and the collections they hold.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.10 no.2, 2003

The House Dater’s Toolkit by John Chapman. Published by Glen Graphics, 4 Ryecroft Park, Wooler, Northumberland NE71 6AS, England. 1998. 199 pp. Softcover. £9.99 plus £6 p. & h. to USA

Have you been to the home of any of your ancestors in England? Do you have pictures? Have you wondered how old it is? Dig them out and see what you can learn from this helpful book. When you can answer yes to any of these questions, as many of you can, then this book will be helpful. The book will help you look at the features and details of the house to help you date the construction of the house.

The author does admit that the only certain way to date a house is by finding deeds, records or maps that give unequivocal dates. For this purpose you should read books such as Tracing the History of Your House: A Guide to Sources by Nick Barratt, published by Public Record Office and which we reviewed in volume 9, number 5.

The book aims to present the dating information through descriptions and lots of illustrations showing what features can be seen on the outside and inside of a house. You will for example be able to look at brickwork and distinguish between English bond, Flemish bond, English garden wall bond, Flemish garden wall bond, Flemish stretcher bond, header bond, Dearne’s bond, rat-trap bond, stretcher bond and know how these can help you date a wall.

The book is arranged by features which include bricks, chimneys, doors, doorways, fireplaces, gable ends, hinges and ironwork, interiors, masonry, roofs, staircases, walls-external and windows. There is an appendix for nineteenth century details.

The examples given cover the whole of England and where appropriate the geographic and time limitations of some of the options are mentioned. The one bias is that there are more illustrations and mention of buildings from Northumberland where the author lives, and obviously knows the best. The author rightly points out that in any dating process the features locally do need to be calibrated against those same features used on buildings that have been dated through the use of documents and that total dating should not rely totally on architectural features.

Each chapter concludes with an extensive bibliography that will take the reader further into what is a fascinating topic.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.10 no.2, 2003

The Kirks of Dundee Presbytery 1558-1999 by Ian McCraw. Published by Friends of Dundee City Archives, Publication No. 3, c/o Dundee City Archives, 21 City Square, Dundee DD1 3BY, Scotland. 2000. xiv, 155 pp. Illustrations. Softcover. £12

The author’s objective is to give for each congregation a brief description of the buildings at the time of writing, and of previous building where known, the main furnishings and equipment, the origins of the congregation, its unions and linkings, the succession of ministers, and the principal sources used. In some cases the sources include excellent congregational histories which should be referred to for fuller information.

The author has succeeded admirably in reaching his objective to create a wonderful guide to the Presbyterian Churches of Dundee. A very helpful essay explaining the causes of the splits and unions within the Presbyterian Church is part of the introduction. This proves valuable in understanding the history of the area. The table of contents lists the churches as they are in 1999. This does not reflect the names of the churches that may have merged to form the modem church. This means that a little bit of searching may be needed if all you know is the old name. The historical details are often very detailed especially for the older congregations, and the bibliographies for each congregation will certainly lead the researcher to more information. For each church it lists the names of its ministers, often stating where he came from, where he went to and sometimes the year of death.

The value of this book is reduced by the lack of index to the churches under all names, and to the many people, especially ministers that are mentioned within the text.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.10 no.2, 2003

The Course of Irish History, Fourth Edition by T.W. Moody and F.X. Martin. Published in association with Radio Telefis Eirann by Robert Rinehart Publishers, 4720 Boston Way, Lanham, MD 20706. Bibliography, illustrations, index. 2001. xv, 462 pp. Softcover, $18.95

The book consists of a series of chapters, written by different authors, covering Irish history from the prehistoric period up to 2001. The preface to the first edition published in 1966 states that “the aim of the series was to present a survey of Irish history that would be both popular and authoritative, concise but comprehensive, highly selective while at the same time balanced and fair-minded, critical but constructive and sympathetic.” The ongoing popularity of the book shows that it does meet these criteria, for the book is an easy read and full of authoritative details to guide the student of Irish history. The first edition of the book appeared in 1966 to accompany a twenty-one part television series entitled the Course of Irish History, and also to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the 1916 Uprising. This context needs to be kept in mind because the chapters from the 1966 edition have not been altered or updated. The biases of the time do show through. What has happened is that at each revision an extra chapter has been added to bring the book up to the time of publication. Thus there are concluding chapters dealing with 1966-82, 1982-94, and 1994-2001. It was certainly interesting to read these chapters in order knowing some of the events that would come in the later chapters because we have lived through them and read about them in the newspapers.

The book is an easy one to read. It is also an easy one to dip into to read about a particular time period in Irish history. It has chapters that deal with the colonization of Ulster and the rebellion of 1641, the age of the penal laws, the Protestant nation, the famine, home rule and the land wars. This is the history that affected our immigrant ancestors and their forefathers.

Because the original chapters are now dated what is of great value to this edition of the book is the very extensive bibliography (45 pages of fine print). The bibliography is so extensive that it has its own table of contents covering general history of Ireland, then a section covering works in specialized fields such as: economic and social history; towns; the churches; education; nationalism; Irish emigration and the Irish abroad; plus more topics. The bibliography continues with citations covering different time periods and topics such as Ulster history.

If you have an earlier version of this book the content is the same, except for the modern history. However, if you are seriously studying a particular time period or topic in Irish history and seek guidance then the up to date nature of and size of the bibliography make this book well worth looking at.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.10 no.3, 2003

Cromwell’s Legacy: The Phayre Family in Ireland by Barbara A. Phayre. Purchase from the author, Barbara A. Phayre, 1 Strathaven Road, Sandford, Strathaven ML10 6PE, Scotland. 2001. 111 pp. Illustrations. Softcover. $23 includes air mail p & p.

Robert Phayre (1620-1682) is the progenitor of this family. He as a Colonel in Cromwell’s army and was one of the officers assigned to the execution of King Charles I. What a great way to begin your family history. The book is a fascinating easy read about Robert and his descendants with lots of local color surrounding this one family as they are involved in major events in Irish history. The book is obviously well researched. The major drawback is that nothing is footnoted so anyone wanting to duplicate the research, or learn from the sources used, is going to have a hard time. There is a bibliography of primary and secondary sources but no indication as to which will contain the details you need. Nor is there any index to the book so even if you think you are connected to this family you will need to read the book, or find them on the hand-drawn family group sheet included as a pullout in the volume. You do get the sense that at least for Anglo-Irish families there is a lot of material available for research beyond the typical basics.

There is a connection with Illinois in the book. Joseph Phayer married in New York in 1849 to Mary Murphy of County Wexford. After the birth of their first child in New York the family moved to Madison County, Illinois where other children were born.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.10 no.3, 2003

The Christchurch and Bournemouth Union Workhouse: The Story of the Red House Museum and Christchurch Hospital, New edition revised and enlarged by Sue Newman. Purchase from the author, Sue Newman, The Coach House, 18 Riverdale Lane, Christchurch, Dorset BH23 1RL, England. 2000. 152 pp. Illustrations, index. Softcover. £10 (special reduced price for BIGWILL members) plus £4 p. & h.

The first edition of this book appeared in 1994 when it won the David Thomas Self-Publishing Award for non-fiction. This is a book that is well produced with a glossy visually interesting cover, and lots of clear black and white photographs inside.

This is a well written book about the care of the poor since the appointment of the Overseers of the Poor in the late sixteenth century. In Christchurch the first parish workhouse, which became the Red House Museum, has been traced back to 1745. The book traces the development of the buildings, facilities and staff in the workhouse to the present day. It examines in detail the daily life of the inmates and staff of the workhouse, the children’s houses, the infirmary, the hospital and the development into a first-rate nurses training hospital. We learn about the people that came and were accepted into this institution. We read about the routines when they worked and the problems when they did not work, including deaths. You get a sense of the rules that governed the daily operation of the workhouse that seem harsh by modern standards but were progressive for the time.

For researchers with ancestors in this part of Dorset there is an every name index to the book. For those who do not have ancestors in this area it provides one example of how the Poor house operated and changed over time. This is a good read.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.10 no.3, 2003

The Bishops’ Register of Confirmation in the London District of the Catholic Church in England: 1826-1837 and 1843. Catholic Family History Society Occasional Publication Number 4. Published by Catholic Family History Society, 45 Gates Green Road, West Wickham, Kent BR4 9DE. 2001. 192 pp. Softcover.

The Roman Catholic system of Dioceses of Archdioceses was established in England and Wales in 1850. These confirmation lists pre-date that system. The table of contents labels these records as from the Diocese of Westminster, but the locations are from a much wider area than the current diocese. There are records here from Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Channel Island, Essex, Hampshire, London, Kent, Middlesex, Suffolk, Surrey, and Sussex. My assumption, for there is no introduction, is that the confirmands came into one of the larger churches from the surrounding area to be confirmed by the bishop, similar to the practice within the Church of England. What is provided is the date and place of confirmation, the name at confirmation and the name assigned. The number of lists for a specific location varies from one to six different years.

An introduction would have helped to explain the typical procedures and ages for confirmation in this time period. It would also be nice to know if these were the only confirmations held in this time period, or is it a situation of only thee records have survived. One concern is that Old Hall Green with its five years of confirmations is labeled as in Kent, yet English Catholic Missions by Bernard W. Kelly lists the mission in Ware, Hertfordshire.

The book concludes with a full index, arranged by surname (capitalized), with a list of Christian names and page numbers.

[Ed. comment - for those with Catholic ancestors you may want to consider joining the Catholic Family History Society for a subscription of £14 per year for overseas members. Send you subscription to the Secretaries, Terry and Judith Goggin, 45 Gates Green Road, West Wickham, Kent, BR4 9DE. You will be entitled to attend any meetings, receive copies of the journal, Catholic Ancestor, have research interests listed, and generally join in the activities of the Society]

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.10 no.3, 2003

Directories of Westmorland 1849, 1858 & 1885 Cumberland 1901
. Produced by Elsinore productions. Purchase from Linda Moorhouse, Elsinore house, 76 Scotforth Road, Lancaster LA1 4SF. £15 plus £2 overseas p. & h.-

This CD-ROM comes with and uses Adobe Acrobat to view the scanned images of a wide collection of books.

The CD-ROM provides scanned images of: Directory of Westmorland with Furness & Cartmel 1849; History of Westmorland 1849; Directory of Westmorland 1858 (searchable); Directory of Westmorland 1885; Directory of Cumberland 1901; History of Cumberland 1901; People and Places of Kendal in the 1800’s; Kendal’s Principle Events 1811 to 1840; Monumental Inscriptions from Westmorland Parish Churches 1889; A Genteel Family’s Tour of Lancaster & Lake District in 1827; Photographs of Westmorland parish Churches; Slide Show of Scenes of the Lake District.

What a bargain this is. My reprinted copy of Bulmers 1901 directory of West Cumberland costs as much as this CD-ROM, and I have seen the CD-ROM of Bulmers 1901 Cumberland Directory alone for £11. This CD-ROM includes so many extra goodies. The images are excellent, easy to modify in size to make information about specific localities and people easy to read. Each directory locality has a detailed introduction before listing many of the key leaders and tradespeople in the community. For those researching in Westmorland the multiple directories, histories and supporting images allow you to build a more complete image of the area and its people. The modern photographs of churches (all external) and the Lake District scenics are excellent. They brought back many memories of the Lakeland hills and it was easy to recognize many of the locations.

The CD-ROM requires a 386 or above, with Windows 3.1 or above, 4MB RAM, plus 5 MB of hard disk space.

[Editorial note: This CD-ROM may appear in catalogs under the title Directories of Westmorland 1849 & 1885, Cumberland 1901 <>, rather than the title shown above]

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.10 no.3, 2003

Researching and Writing History: A Practical Guide for Local Historians by David Dymond. Published by the British Association for Local History, 24 Lower Street, Harnham, Salisbury SP2 8EY, England. 1999. xii, 171 pp. Illustrations, index. Softcover. £12.

If you have ever dreamed about writing your family history or a local history then this is a great book to inspire, motivate and get you organized.

The book is a complete re-write and update of the 1981 classic Writing Local History. The foreword states that the central purpose of the book is “to investigate how we discipline ourselves to write better. This inevitably means thinking about the earlier process of research as well, a point which is conceded in the revised title of the book. In other words, how do we find and analyse evidence and then convert our thoughts, through our pens or word-processors, into a reasoned yet imaginative reconstruction of the past?” (p. ix). In this purpose the book succeeds.

The book is divided into 12 self-contained sections:
The present state of local history
The challenge of writing
Choosing a subject
The search for sources
Analysing & assembling evidence
Creative interpretation
Starting to write
Producing a final draft
Final reminders
Further reading

Each section describes what the aspiring writer needs to do. It gives good and poor examples of writing relevant to that section, often with the tasteful use of humor. The writing itself is interesting, straightforward and easy to understand. This makes for a good read.

There are 22 appendices in the book giving the student examples of what to do. These include transcribing, abstracting, analysing, shaping the writing, producing an outline, how to use sources, examples of writing with detailed critiques, exercises and rules of referencing. These appendices have been carefully chosen to illuminate the text, and can be used as exercises for students who use this book as a textbook.

All the references deal with the British Isles, which is good for us. The footnotes and section on further reading highlight good examples of local history that the serious student should read, study and use for comparative purposes.

This is a book well worth reading by anyone inspired to, or contemplating writing a local or family history.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.10 no.4, 2003

[The British Association for Local History publishes an excellent quarterly The Local Historian, of which David Dymond is the editor. You can see back issues of the publication at the Memorial Library at UW-Madison. The association also provides a bookstore with a good collection of hard to find books explaining subjects of interest to the local historian and of course family researchers. Please also note the society mailing address has recently changed to BALH, PO Box 6549, Somersal Herbert, Ashbourne DE6 5WH. For more information on the Association check out their web site at <>]

Ireland: 1798-1998 by Alvin Jackson. Published by Blackwell Publishers, 350 Malden Street, Malden MA 02148. 1999. xii, 507 pp. Illustrations, index, maps. Softcover. $30.95

The concluding paragraph of the book’s introduction describes the book such that “Readers, then, will not find here a universal narrative history, still less a history designed to serve as a basic introduction, or primer, for the subject. An analysis of Irish political parties, leaders, institutions and movement is sustained; and social, economic and cultural material relevant to the main political thrust is introduced and interwoven. Individual chapters highlight major political issues, and these are generally explored through the mapping of subsidiary themes or hypotheses: the material relevant to a given issue is often arranged thematically or within the context of a wider argument. This makes for a design which is intended to stimulate thought (or, indeed, to invite argument) about sometimes familiar historical issue or personalities: it is a design which (it is intended) will highlight some fresh conjunction and configuration in the interpretation of modern Irish history.” (p. 5)

The author has divided Irish history into seven time periods: The birth of modern Irish politic,1790-1798; disuniting kingdoms, emancipating Catholics, 1799-1850; the ascendency of the land question, 1845-1891; greening the red, white and blue - the end of the union, 1891-1921; three quarter of a nation once again - independent Ireland; northern Ireland, 1920-1972; two Irelands 1973-1998.

This is a book that is readily available in US bookstores. Unfortunately, it cannot be recommended. It suffers from the worst style of writing in academic obtuseness. This book should not have gotten past an editor. Often it is unclear as to what the author is saying. His sentences are poorly structured, are typically four to six lines long, with phrases strung together through the use of colons, semi-colons and parenthetical comments. See the quote from the introduction as an example.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.10 no.4, 2003

Scotch-Irish Migration to South Carolina, 1772 by Jean Stephenson. Published in 1971, reprinted by Clearfield Company, 200 Eager Street, Baltimore, MD, 21202. 2002. 137 pp. Indexed. Softcover. $18 plus $4

This is a case study that grew out of the author trying to prove or disprove her family tradition of migration from northern Ireland. In the process the study grew.

The end result is a detailed look identifying many of the immigrants among the five shiploads coming with the Rev. William Martin, a covenanting Presbyterian minister from Ballmoney, county Antrim in 1772 to settle in South Carolina. Because of the settlement rules in force at the time they did not all get to settle together, however many were granted or bought land in the Rocky Creek area of South Carolina.

Ms. Stephenson has for 468 immigrants provided 4 pieces of information: dated entry in the Council Journal giving the name of the ship, date of entry and the number of acres the person was entitled to; abstract of survey, if identified; suggestion as to which post 1785 county the land will probably be found; will, deed or other data that might relate to this individual. The details in the last category vary greatly. The author has not worked on proving all the immigrants, but has gathered much information along the way.

What makes the book valuable, even if your immigrant is not listed, is that it lays out a step-by-step process for identifying your immigrant, when he arrived, on what ship, and from where. The book explains what to do and what information you need before moving on to the next step. This is a nice case study explaining how to get your Scotch-Irish ancestor back across the Atlantic, assuming they came to South Carolina.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.10 no.4, 2003

Irish Found in South Carolina 1850 Census abstracted by Margaret Peckham Motes. Published by Clearfield Company, 200 Eager Street, Baltimore, MD, 21202. 2003. 209 pp. Indexed. Softcover. $24.50 plus $4

Ms. Motes has abstracted information on 4,000 Irish born listed in the 1850 census for South Carolina. More than half were living in the Charleston area. The abstract provides: last name, first name, age, occupation (if indicated), color (all white unless listed as m for mulatto) birthplace, dwelling #, family #, county, notes if applicable (e.g., in household of ...). The individuals are listed in alphabetical order, but there are name, occupation and place indexes. The name indexes generally refer to people mentioned within the notes section of the alphabetical listings.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.10 no.4, 2003

The Phillimore Atlas & Index of Parish Registers, 3rd Edition by Cecil R. Humphery-Smith. Published by Phillimore & Co. U.S. Distributor: David Brown Book Company, P.O.Box 511, Oakville CT 06779.800-791-9354. 2003. 297 pp. Maps. Hardcover. $75

Every British researcher should own or have access to this resource because it makes so much valuable information easily accessible. The book provides for each county in England, Wales and Scotland two maps. The first is a hatched topographical map from James Bell’s A New and Comprehensive Gazetteer of England and Wales of 1834, plus for Scotland Henry Teesdale’s atlas of 1832. The second map shows the boundaries of all parishes as they existed in 1830, most of which are still the same, plus the boundaries of the ecclesiastical probate jurisdictions within the county. The maps are nine by seven inches so a magnifying glass will be needed to read the parish names in some counties, e.g., Sussex, which covers 70 by 20 miles, has 362 parishes.

The maps are followed by tables for each county making easily accessible a lot of information. For each county in England and Wales the tables provide: the name of the parish; a letter code identifying at which record office the original registers have been deposited; beginning and ending dates for the deposited registers; dates for extractions included in the 1988 edition of the IGI; census years indexed locally, up through the end of 2001 (new addition); dates for which copies registers exist at the Society of Genealogists in London; dates included in Boyd’s marriage index; name of 1837-1851 civil registration district (new addition); dates included in Pallot’s Marriage index; years for which non-conformist registers have been deposited at the PRO prior to 1837; map reference. The endnotes provide the addresses of the county record offices, addresses for holders of the county census indexes and a brief description of the county. For Scotland the tables only provide the beginning year of the registers deposited at New Register House in Edinburgh (ending date is 1855), plus a map reference. What was dropped from the second edition are the listings of local marriage indexes because the assumption is made that most parishes now have their marriage registers indexed and are generally available through the local family history societies.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.10 no.5, 2003

Village Records, 3rd edited by John West. Published by Phillimore & Co., U.S. Distributor is David Brown Company, PO Box 511, Oakville, CT 06779. 800-791-9354. 1997. 280 pp. Illustrations, index. $50

This is a classic first published in 1962 and then revised in 1982. It has now been updated again to make it even better. The book examines the documents relevant for four time periods: Saxon and Early Norman; the Middle Ages; Sixteenth and Seventeenth centuries; the Eighteenth and Nineteenth centuries. Thus there is something in this book of interest to all English researchers whether you are doing modern research or have jumped the Atlantic with colonial ancestors.

During the Saxon and Early Norman time period it explains the Saxon charters, place names and the Domesday Survey. For the Middle Ages the focus is on manorial court rolls, lay subsidy rolls, inquisitions post mortem and manorial extents, plus monumental brasses. The sixteenth and seventeenth centuries cover county maps and estate surveys, parish records, quarter session papers, probate inventories and wills including the reconstruction of houses from these records, and the hearth tax returns. For the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the book addresses enclosure awards and maps, land tax and tithe records, turnpike trust records and commercial directories.

For each topic we are provided with a description of how and why the record was produced, an illustration of what the record looks like and how to use the information provided. Most of the sample documents are from the village of Chaddesley Corbett in Worcestershire. Each topic concludes with a section on further reading of books and articles, information on where the original records are likely to be found which is often the county record office or the Public Record Office (now National Archives), a detailed county by county listing of published records or inventories. In some cases longer listings are provided for Worcestershire to give the reader an idea of the wealth of material that can be found on a particular topic.

Yes, the book uses illustrations from one village, but those documents are likely to exist for your ancestor’s village. This book puts those records into historical context, shows what they look like, and tells you how to access printed copies and the originals. This is a good practical book that should be on your Christmas list.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.10 no.5, 2003

Who Was Your Granny’s Granny? How to Grow Your Family Tree by Paul Blake and Audrey Collins. Published by Foulsham, The Publishing House, Bennetts Close, Cippenham, Slough, Berkshire SL1 SAP, England. 2003. 192 pp. Illustrations, index. Softcover. $12.95.

This book written by two very experienced researchers is designed to get the beginner started in researching their English ancestry. The early chapters cover what we would expect in terms of gathering documents and talking with the relatives. This advice is similar to what you would find in US based books targeted at the beginner. What is different are the chapters dealing with how to conduct research, the basic sources, military records, and a reminder of why we are growing the family tree. A lot of sources are covered in these sections of the book. These chapters give researchers new to English records a glimpse of the variety of records that are available. For example, the section on military records is important just because the probability is very high that your ancestor, or family member served somewhere in a branch of the armed services. The more recently your family emigrated the higher the probability. Some records and procedures will be familiar because of US based research but many are unique to England. The current web addresses that describe the new indexes and tools to access the original records or scanned images add value for even experienced researchers.

The appendices are a good reminder that family history is much more than names, dates and places. Rather it is putting the people into their historical context. There are questions provided that can be used to write your own history, or to answer about your ancestors that will make them come alive. The concluding bibliography is helpful and current, especially for those ready to go further.

This is a nice book to get a sense of what English research is all about and what records are available. It provides enough information to get you started without getting bogged down in the details.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.10 no.5, 2003

Scots in the American West. 1783-1883 by David Dobson. Clearfield Co. 1001 N. Calvert St., Baltimore MD 21202. 2003. Softcover. 172 pp. $21.50 plus $4 p&h.

The American West here is defined as anything west of a line from Detroit to New Orleans, roughly following the Wabash, Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. In this time period the US territory expanded greatly. The book lists approximately 2,000 individuals in alphabetical order from primarily Scottish newspapers and archive materials. A place index would have increased the value of the book. A typical entry reads:

Milne, Joseph M., youngest son of George Milne a card cutter, 43 St. Leonard’s Place, Dunfermline, Fife, died in Chicago on 27 February 1891. [PJ]

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.10 no.5, 2003

Scots in Latin America by David Dobson. Clearfield Co. 1001 N. Calvert St., Baltimore MD 21202. 2003. Softcover. 133 pp. $14.95 plus $4 p&h.

This book is not definitive but breaks new ground by identifying over 1,500 Scots who went to Central and South America, mostly in the nineteenth century after the Napoleonic Wars. The information gathered from Scottish archives, newspapers and monumental inscriptions varies greatly, but often gives relationships, dates, place of origin in Scotland and identifies a location in Latin America.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.10 no.5, 2003

The Local Historian’s Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition by John Richardson. Published by Historical Publications. US Distributor: David Brown Book Company, P.O.Box 511, Oakville CT 06779.800-791-9354. 2003. 295 pp. Illustrations, index, maps. Hardcover $32

In the age of the Internet there is a tendency to think that we no longer need encyclopedias. One problem is that there is often too much information on the Internet making it difficult to find what you want, especially when looking for a concise definition.

This encyclopedia is not one long alphabetical sequence but rather multiple sections arranged by theme, such as: land and agriculture; taxes, services and rents; law and order; roads and transport; religion; militia; architecture and housing; for a total of 20 sections. Each section is then further subdivided. For example in the section dealing with Social Welfare we have parts that cover: the relief of the poor; public health legislation; epidemics, diseases and ill health; hospitals and asylums; philanthropic bodies; miscellaneous; and bibliography. As you might expect you will find here summaries of the statutes that affect the poor and health, along with starting dates of major hospitals, asylums and philanthropic bodies. Each part within a section of the book pulls together items relating to that particular theme. This makes it easy to find what you want and related subjects which may lead you to other items of research. There is also a comprehensive index if you don’t know what theme you should be looking under.

The compiler acknowledges how the Internet is changing research methods. Three sections of the book where web addresses are provided are: archives, documents and printed records; museums, libraries and county record offices; organizations and societies. The physical addresses are also given but recent history shows how many apparently stable and immovable institutions have moved since the prior edition.

The first edition of this excellent resource appeared in 1974, with a second edition in 1986. This third edition will benefit another generation of researchers. Even if you have an earlier edition, like me, this updated and revised edition is well worth a look.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.10 no.6, 2003

The British Museum Maritime History of Britain and Ireland by Ian Friel. Published by The British Museum Press, 46 Bloomsbury Street, London WC1B 3QQ. US Distributor: David Brown Book Company, P.O.Box 511, Oakville CT 06779.800-791-9354. 2003. 304 pp. Illustrations, index. Hardcover. $40

The introduction defines maritime history as “the history of human activities relating to the sea and seafaring.” It includes major themes such as seafarers, warfare, sea trade, fishing and ship development often including a section in each of the seven time periods into which the history is divided from 400 to 2001. What is acknowledged as missing is information dealing with culture and the sea, smuggling, yachting and other seaborne leisure pursuits.

Reading this book reminds one how extensive has been Britain’s influence around the world throughout history. For example, during the sixteenth century we learn that Roanoke was just one colonial experience with colonies, trading relationships or exploration work going on in Newfoundland, Arctic Canada, Arctic Russia, Brazil, Guinea, and the East Indies. We later learn that the loss of the French colonies in North America was greatly affected by the ability of the British navy in preventing the French relief ships in getting out of French ports. The book helps the reader see how one seemingly small event or development had much larger consequences. Into the large picture we also get the details of the rise and decline of the British Royal and merchant marine fleets. Details on how ship construction, warfare, and trade changed over time.

This is a fascinating read reflective of Britain’s maritime history, putting it into a much wider context than one would normally expect from the title. The book concludes with an extensive bibliography.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.10 no.6, 2003

The Outer Edge of Ulster: A Memoir of Social Life in Nineteenth-Century Donegal by Hugh Dorian, edited by Breandán Mac Suibhne and David Dickson. Published by University of Notre Dame Press, 310 Flanner Hall, Notre Dame, IN 46556. 2000. 343 pp. Softcover. $24.95

Hugh Dorian, the author, was born in poverty in rural Donegal in 1834. He is from Fanaid, the peninsula forming the western shore of Lough Swilly. He survived Ireland’s Great Famine, only to squander uncommon opportunities for self-advancement. Having lost his job and clashed with priests and policemen, he moved to the city of Derry but his life was troubled. Three of his children died from disease and his wife fell drunk into the River Foyle and drowned. Dorian declined into alcohol-numbed poverty and died in an overcrowded slum in 1914.

In 1890 he completed a “true historical narrative” of the social and cultural transformation of his home community. This narrative forms probably one of the most extensive lower-class accounts of the Great Famine. His purpose though is to explain why the rural poor of the 1880s occasionally resorted to violence for political ends.

The author reconstructs the world of the pre-Famine poor describing their working and living conditions, sports and drinking, religious devotions and festivals. Then he describes the famine, the horror and its consequences. For us genealogists the final chapter dealing with the prevailing customs at marriages, births and deaths is especially revealing. We learn for example that there are three ways of getting married: abduction; runaway and contract. The reasons behind each provide for interesting thoughts about how our ancestors may have lived.

This book was never published during the author’s lifetime. Yet now it makes fascinating reading for we learn about the everyday lives of ordinary people facing extraordinary challenges. Most of our Irish ancestors are ordinary people. This book helps us to understand their lives better. As an added bonus for those lucky enough to have ancestors from this part of Donegal there is an every-name index to the many people mentioned within the text.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.10 no.6, 2003

Irish Immigrants in the Land of Canaan: Letters and Memoirs from Colonial and Revolutionary America, 1675 – 1815 written and edited by Kerby A. Miller, Arnold Schrier, Bruce D. Boling and David N. Doyle. Published by Oxford University Press, 198 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016. 2003. 788 pp. Illustrations, index, maps. Softcover $35

This is a monumental collection of original letters, diaries and memoirs from 68 Irish immigrants offering a definitive first-hand portrait of the Irish diaspora. They describe in their own words why immigrants left Ireland, how they adapted to their new homeland, what challenges they faced, and how they ultimately persevered in a difficult, often hostile environment. From surviving frontier women and homesick merchant’s wives, revolutionary soldiers to radical idealists, statesmen and politicians, loyalists and conservatives, the upwardly mobile and the spectacularly wealthy, criminals, indentured servants, debtors, farmers - they cover the full spectrum of colonial and revolutionary society.

The original documents have been gathered from archives, libraries and court houses all over Ireland, Scotland, England and the United States. There have been some compromises in the transcriptions, but the reader is alerted to these changes. The obstacles to understanding the documents posed by dialect forms, idiomatic expressions, exotic spellings, changes over time in the meaning of words or phrases are all discussed in the footnotes. The value of the original document is increased by an essay that puts the family and documents into its correct historical context. These essays describe why and when the people left Ireland, when the Irish moved into a particular geographic area, who the key players were, especially those that helped or hindered the specific family, and often describing what happened to the parents and children of the immigrant. For each family and its original document(s) very detailed sources are given for the history and the family specifics in the appendices. This source information is what will guide the researcher to next steps when a document is found that fits the time and place of their own ancestors.

This is a book worthy of being read completely to get a detailed overview of early Irish immigration. However, most researchers will want to see if there are people and documents fitting the situation of their immigrants. The table of contents gathers the documents topically addressing: causes of Irish emigration; process of Irish emigration; farmers and planters; craftsmen, laborers and servants; merchants, shopkeepers and peddlers; clergyman and schoolmasters; Irish immigrants in politics and war. In each section the name of the writer is given along with a date which may be the birth and death date of the writer, the dates the person was in America, or the date of the document, depending upon the information known. There are then a series of maps showing where the writers came from in Ireland and where they settled in America or the West Indies. There is an integrated index to the book, including many subjects, places and names of people. However, the name index is not complete, especially for people named within the documents.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.11 no.1, 2004

The Workhouse: A Study of Poor Law Buildings in England by Kathryn Morrison. Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. Published by English Heritage. U.S. Distributor, David Brown Book Company, P.O.Box 511, Oakville, CT 06779. 1999. 255 pp. Illustrations, index. Hardcover $72

This book explains how poor-law buildings developed from the small ‘hospitals’ and ‘working houses’ of the 16th and 17th centuries to the parish workhouses and houses of industry of the 18th century. Then it progresses to the huge union workhouses and industrial schools of the Victorian era to the more specialized institutions of the early 20th century. With the end of the poor law in 1930 most of the workhouses and infirmaries were transformed into municipal hospitals or homes for the elderly and mentally handicapped. The children’s homes and schools often continued to function as before. It was not until the 1980s that many of these institutions closed with the reorganization of the National Health Service.

All of us doing English research will sooner or later find ancestors, or relatives who spent time in the parish or union workhouses. They may have been orphaned, elderly, sick, mentally ill, temporarily or permanently unemployed. This book will help you understand what life was like. It discusses the changing values and politics of how problems should be addressed in the different time periods. It shows how the buildings changed to represent these changing values. The numerous building floor plans, perspective views and photographs are superb and of a very high quality. The illustrations are from all over the country and so no matter where your ancestors lived you will find information from that area. This quality makes the book both a delight to read and to look at. Reading this book will give the researcher a better understanding of what life in the workhouse was like.

The appendices provide a listing of all post 1834 poor law institutions, arranged by (pre-1974) counties. For each it provides the name of the authority, the location of the institution, the type of facility, ordnance survey map coordinates, building date, name of architect (when known) and the National Monuments Record file number. There is a similar listing for all the institutions in the London Metropolitan area. There is also a collection of model building plans that were issued by the Central Poor-Law Authority. The book concludes with a very extensive bibliography of published works and government documents which provides an ideal starting point for anyone seeking to dig further into life and conditions in the workhouse.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.11 no.1, 2004

An Inventory of Nonconformist Chapels and Meeting Houses in Eastern England by Christopher Stell. Published by English Heritage at the National Monuments Records Centre. U.S. Distributor, David Brown Book Company, P.O.Box 511, Oakville, CT 06779. 2002. 380 pp. Illustrations, index. Hardcover $120.

This is the fourth and concluding volume in a series that provides an inventory of non-conformist chapels and meeting houses in Eastern England, here defined as the area south of the Humber Estuary, including Lincolnshire, all of East Anglia, London, to the southern coast of Sussex and Kent. It thus covers the puritan stronghold of East Anglia the poorly developed areas of Lincolnshire where Methodism flourished and the diversity of London metropolitan area. Chapels from many denominations are included such as the early Quakers and Baptists (General and Particular), the Independents and Presbyterians, the later Methodists, plus smaller groups such as the: Culimites in North Cambridgeshire; the Peculiar People in Essex; the Cokelers in Sussex; followers of William Huntingdon in Kent and Sussex; the Catholic Apostolic Church and the Agapemonites.

The book is arranged by county with a brief overview denominations, history and building materials. Then for each civil parish there is a listing of chapels with their original denomination. For each chapel there is a description of the building and its history, some are short while others are very extensive. The many sketches, floor plans and photographs are superbly reproduced and add to the text.

For those who know their English ancestors were of a particular denomination this will help to locate the options for place of worship. The descriptions and illustrations will make that place become real.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.11 no.1, 2004

Devon, updated edition by W.G.Hoskins. Published by Phillimore & Co. U.S. Distributor David Brown Book Company, P.O. Box 511, Oakville CT 06779. 2003 (first published in 1954). 598 pp. Illustrations, index, maps. Softcover $34.

This study on the county of Devon in England was written 50 years ago by a great pioneer in landscape history and the modern approach to local history. It is still regarded as the best of the histories for this county. Researchers with Devon ancestry will derive a fuller understanding of the places, landscape and social history of the county. It is here reproduced intact, with maps and photographs.

The book is divided into two sections. The first addresses in sixteen chapters (316 pages) a wide variety of topics from: early settlement; development of the towns; industry and trade; population; political, military, maritime, ecclesiastical and social history; building materials; and the county as it was in 1954 following World War II with all its changes which is itself now part of the history of the county.

The second part of the book is a gazetteer. The author visited every parish and gives excellent details on the local churches and chapels, the local manors and their descents. Exeter, the county seat is only briefly outlined here because the author anticipated writing a fuller history of the city which was never completed.

The modern additions to the original edition include a new introduction to this 2003 edition highlighting many of the changes that have occurred positively and negatively in Devon since publication, plus supplemental bibliographies highlighting the explosion of local history literature focusing on Devon, and a complete listing of the author’s many works.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.11 no.2, 2004

Scots-Dutch Links in Europe and America 1575-1825 by David Dobson. Published by Clearfield Company, 200 E. Eager Street, Baltimore MD 21202. 2004. 151 pp. $20 plus $4 p&h.

Strong economic and social ties have existed between Scotland and the Netherlands since medieval times but the main period of settlement occurred in the seventeenth century. Craftsmen, students, soldiers, political and religious refugees all found connections in the cities and towns of Holland, Zeeland and Flanders. A number of them and their descendants emigrated to the Dutch settlements in America stretching from the Hudson River to the West Indies and Surinam. This book uses primary and secondary sources on both sides of the Atlantic to Scots who settled in the Netherlands and the Dutch settlements between 1575 and 1825.

A typical entry provides:

CRIGHTON, DAVID, son of John Crighton a grenadier of the 1st Battalion, was baptized in Deventer on 24 November 1771; also JOHANNA daughter of said John Crighton and his wife Antoineta Voor Hogel, was baptized in Zutphen on 23 October 1774. [SB2BR]

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.11 no.2, 2004

Directory of Scots in the Carolinas 1680-1830. Volume 2 published by Clearfield Company, 200 E. Eager Street, Baltimore MD 21202. 2004. 160 pp. $22.50 plus $4 p&h.

This is a sequel to the 1986 volume listing many additional Scots who emigrated to the Carolinas between 1680 and 1830. These include survivors of the ill-fated Darien expedition, prisoners transported after the 1715 Jacobite rebellion, Gaelic speaking Highlanders, Loyalists and those who followed in their footsteps. This volume extracts materials from archives and printed resources on both sides of the Atlantic.

A typical entry reads:

GORDON, HUGH, a saddler in Charleston, a Loyalist in 1776, settled in Cape Breton in 1785, may have moved to London in 1790. [PRO.AO12.100.161]

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.11 no.2, 2004

Record Offices: How to Find Them, Ninth Edition by Jeremy Gibson and Pamela Peskett. Published by Genealogical Publishing Company, 1001 North Calvert Street, Baltimore MD 21202. 2002. 64 pp. Maps. Softcover $9.50 plus $4 p&h.

Here you will find detailed maps for you to physically locate all the county record offices. The record office maps are arranged by pre-1974 counties in England and Wales. The maps show one-way street systems, railway stations, major landmarks, other libraries and museums. They also provide the physical address, telephone and fax numbers, e-mail address and website. The reader is notified if prior appointments or CARN (County Archive Research Network) reader’s tickets are required. The reader is reminded that information can change so researchers going from the USA should check that specifics have not changed since publication.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.11 no.2, 2004

Local Newspapers: 1750-1920: England and Wales; Channel Islands; Isle of Man. A Select Location List, Second Edition by Jeremy Gibson, Brett Langston and Brenda W. Smith. Published by Genealogical Publishing Company, 1001 North Calvert Street, Baltimore MD 21202. 2002. 64 pp. Maps. Softcover $9.50 plus $4 p&h.

This is an extensive update and expansion of the first edition which appeared 15 years ago. The listing is arranged by pre-1974 counties. Within the counties the towns where newspapers were printed are listed in alphabetical order. For each community it lists the name of the newspaper and the years where runs in archives or libraries are known to exist.

A newspaper needs to have survived for at least four years to be included. There were many local newspapers that were in production for shorter periods and these are not included. Local reference materials will be needed to locate these, but the researcher may find them worth the effort. Since many of the newspapers are now on microfilm they may now be available here in the US and some will be accessible through inter-library loan.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.11 no.2, 2004

A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland by Nicholas Carlisle. Originally published in London in 1810. Reprinted by Heritage Books, available from Willow Bend Books (the bookstore division of Heritage Books) 65 E. Main Street, Westminster, MD 21157. 2001. xxiv, 575 pp. Softcover. $42.50 plus $4 p & h.

The full title of this volume is “A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland exhibiting the names of several cities, towns, parishes, and villages, with the Barony, county, and province, to which they respectively belong. – The valuation and present state of the ecclesiastical benefices. – The distance and bearing of every place from the nearest post-office, and of the post-office from the metropolis. – Fairs. – Members of Parliament, and Corporations. – Charter schools. – And Assizes. – To which is added, miscellaneous information respecting monastic foundation, and other matters of local history. Collected from the most authentic documents, and arranged in alphabetical order. Being a continuation of the Topography of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.”

This full title gives an indication of the arrangement and contents of this volume. What makes it so valuable is that it is the first topographical dictionary to appear after the Union of Great Britain and Ireland in 1801. This union was followed by some major ecclesiastical surveys which were used to compile this volume. The book mentions by locality many of the local ministers, officials, land owners and tells whether they lived locally or outside the area. It indicates if the parish actually has a church, a glebe, or glebe-house or is united with another parish in the area. This book pre-dates the more familiar Topographical Dictionary of Ireland by Samuel Lewis by 27 years so gives us a much earlier picture of the localities in Ireland, and a generation in terms of the people. It also predates the standardization in the spelling of Irish place names so some variants may be found. The information provided differs from Lewis and Irish researchers will find this book well worth examination.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.11 no.3, 2004

As God is My Witness: The Presbyterian Kirk, The Covenanters & The Ulster Scots by Brian J. Orr. Published by Heritage Books, available from Willow Bend Books (the bookstore division of Heritage Books) 65 E. Main Street, Westminster, MD 21157. 2002. xiv, 458 pp. Illustrations, index. Softcover $36 plus $4 p & h.

This book should be read by anyone with early Scottish or Scots-Irish ancestors seeking a better understanding of how religion, politics, law, and the military interacted in sixteenth through early eighteenth century Scotland and Ireland.

The book is divided into four sections. The first provides a history of the Covenanters, giving a vivid sketch of the Presbyterian – Episcopal controversies leading to the National Covenant, the Bishops’ Wars, the Wars of the Three Kingdoms and the bloody persecution of King Charles II. You get a vivid picture of the motivations and the people involved in the struggles, persecutions, treatment of prisoners and stories of some of the martyrs. Section two examines the key people of the Covenant, clergy and laity, giving their individual stories. Section three discusses the Ulster Scots and Presbyterianism in Ireland. Here you really get a vivid picture of the struggle, controversy and conflict in seventeenth century Ireland. Section four is an epilog examining a returned controversy regarding the Solway Martyrs and a statue. The book concludes with fifteen valuable appendices providing the text of the different covenants, lists of martyrs, lists of seventeenth century settlers and ministers in Ireland.

The focus is on the Covenanters, and the connections with the Cameronians who eventually formed the Reformed Presbyterian Church. The reader therefore gets only one part of the history of the Presbyterian Church, although the controversies with the other parts of the church are explained well.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.11 no.3, 2004

Tours in Scotland: 1747, 1750, 1760 by Richard Pococke, edited by Daniel William Kemp. Originally published in 1887 as Volume 1 of the Publications of the Scottish Historical Society. Reprinted by Heritage Books, available from Willow Bend Books (the bookstore division of Heritage Books) 65 E. Main Street, Westminster, MD 21157. 2003. lxx, 375 pp. Illustrations, index. Softcover. $34 plus $4 p & h.

Richard Pococke was born in Southampton in 1704, founded a weaving school that became Pococke College, and rose in the church to be Bishop of Ossory, then the Bishop of Meath. He died in 1765. He was a well known international traveler of his time. A fuller description of his life story is given as an introduction to the book.

The original manuscripts of Richard Pococke languished after his death in the British Museum until later discovered by Mr. Kemp. Other travelers of the time sometimes reference his information but they were not published until 1887.

Bishop Pococke describes his journeys through letters to his mother and his sister. His first two journeys which each consist of one letter each were parts of journeys in the north of England, crossing the border for a short time. The England descriptions have been omitted. The bulk of the book describes the Bishop’s six month tour of Scotland and the Orkneys during 1760. Here we find descriptions of churches and ruins, some of which had disappeared by the time of publication in 1887, and many more will have disappeared since. We find details of new construction, such as Ft. George in the 1750s. We learn about villages and their local industries, imports and exports. We have copies of the Bishop’s original sketches some of which are believed to be the earliest known for some structures such as the church on Iona. The Bishop’s patriotic biases do come through in places, such as when he describes the Battle of Culloden after visiting the battlefield. The book’s value comes from it being one of a small number that describe eighteenth century Scotland.

There is an extensive chapter outline at the beginning of the book showing the route the bishop took which can be used to find the chapters for the parts of Scotland where your ancestors may have come from. There is an index but it is not complete for people or places.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.11 no.3, 2004

The Female Line: Researching Your Female Ancestors by Margaret Ward. Published by Countryside Books, 3 Catherine Road, Newbury, Berkshire, England. 2003. 112 pp. Illustrations, index. Softcover. £7.95

This is a book to get you thinking. It is not about how to do genealogical research in the traditional sources. Rather it is designed to get you thinking about the many different ways in which you can learn more about the women on your family tree and put them into a social context. What did the women look like, obviously highlights photographs but what about written descriptions? What was marriage like for these women, how did she meet him and what were her legal rights (you might be surprised)? How did women who were widowed or single live? How and when did women’s rights change and how were women involved in that change? Was your female a criminal (you hope so as they left a paper trail)? What was the working life for a woman as a maid, a servant, a coalminer, a shopkeeper, or in the factories? How did the wars change the role of women and what they were seen capable of doing? The book raises lots of questions to get you thinking, giving you examples and sources to examine for the answers. This is an excellent little book for those who want to learn more about the English women on their family tree and social setting in which they lived. However, the questions and issues raised are relevant for all women whatever their nationality.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.11 no.3, 2004

The People with No Name: Ireland’s Ulster Scots, America’s Scots Irish, and the Creation of a British Atlantic World 1689-1764 by Patrick Griffin. Published by Princeton University Press, 41 Williams Street, Princeton NJ 08540. 2001. 244 pp. Index. Softcover. $21.95.

This history book begins with the Glorious Revolution of 1689, especially the Siege of Derry, setting the scene and then examining how Northern Ireland society changed afterwards. It looks at both the economic situation and the religious environment in which the returning Scottish and English settlers found themselves.

With time the Presbyterian churchmen and members ran into conflict with the Established Church of Ireland, and the British Government. We learn about the Test Acts, conflicts within the Presbyterian Church, legal battles, economic prosperity and turmoil brought by the rise and fall within the linen industry.

Beginning in 1718 we have successive waves of emigrants to North America, focusing on the movement into Pennsylvania. Through the use of contemporary records we observe the movement onto the frontier, how the new immigrants are viewed by the existing settlers and government, how the people themselves changed with time, plus the experience and the effect of the Great Awakening.

Successive waves of immigrants were constantly pushing back the frontier moving west and south, expanding the British Atlantic World, adapting and changing to their environmental and religious needs.

What makes this book stand out is its strong emphasis on contemporary church and court documents in Ireland, Scotland and the USA. The source citations and bibliography are well worth examining closely for clues on sources that might assist the researcher in their own research. Many individuals are mentioned within the text, though the index only identifies the key players.

This is an up to date analysis of how this migration fits into the bigger picture of the colonial British Atlantic world and is well worth a read for anyone with colonial Scots Irish ancestry.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.11 no.4, 2004

The Story of Ovingham on Tyne by Frank Atkinson. Published by Northern Books for The Ovingham Village Community Trust. Purchase from the author at The Old Vicarage, Ovingham, Northumberland NE42 6BW. 2001. 224 pp. Illustrations, index. Softcover. £40.20 airmail. £33 surface mail.

A new millennium has created an incentive for many village histories to be written, sometimes by individuals and sometimes by groups within a community. This is a wonderful example of a village history written by a knowledgeable individual.

Ovingham is a village on the River Tyne, 11 miles west of the city of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in Northumberland, England. The book takes us through the history of the area beginning 3,500 years ago with the Bronze Age, through the Celts, the Romans, the Saxon invaders, the Viking Raiders, to the Norman Invasion. It is following the Norman invasion that more visible evidence survives within the area, e.g. Norman doorway to the church. Evidence from the middle ages survives in the church, but a lot of rebuilding of the church and the parsonage was taking place by seventeenth century.

The bulk of the book though deals with the eighteenth through the twentieth centuries which is where this book is of value to us as researchers. It illustrates well what life in a northern village was like, with the industries and daily life. It shows what national events did and did not have an impact this far north. It shows how modernization occurred within the community over time, sometimes solving problems and at other times creating problems. It shows what life on a major river was like, with the coalmines and iron works on the other bank, along with the impact of floods, ferries and bridges.

The book is superbly illustrated with lots of early pen and ink drawings, engravings, watercolors, old and modern color photographs to contrast the changes within the community. There is a description of current community organizations giving their history and activities.

The appendices to the book include: an analysis of the occupations within the village using the 1881 census; a biographical listing of artists, writers and others who lived, worked or were born in Ovingham; and a listing of some of the incumbents of the church. Unfortunately the index does not include everyone mentioned in the text and omits most of the people identified in the figure captions.

Certainly for anyone researching in this community or area the book is a must.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.11 no.4, 2004

The St. Louis Irish: An Unmatched Celtic Community by William Barnaby Faherty, S.J. Published by Missouri Historical Society Press and distributed by the University of Missouri Press, 2910 LeMone Boulevard, Columbia MO 65201. 2001. 270 pp. Illustrations, index. Softcover. $29.95.

St. Louis was founded in 1764 and the Irish started arriving soon afterwards. The Irish Catholics were welcomed by the French Catholics with their faith providing a strong bond. The Irish, not really welcome in the established eastern towns came to the uncharted mid-west to establish new businesses, commerce being the one area in which they were allowed to prosper in the old country. These were the Mullanphys, O’Fallons, Bradys, McKnights, O’Connors, Campbells, Thorntons, Christys who all prospered in the area of St. Louis and gave back to their new community. They established the institutions, such as hospitals, churches, schools, emigrant aid societies, charitable societies.

By the time the famine Irish arrived in the 1840s the Irish were well established and the newcomers were able to find work loading or unloading the steamboats at the levee, laying railway lines to the west, digging clay in the pits at Cheltenham, baking bricks, or planting trees. They were able to follow their relatives onto the land to farm around O’Harasburg and Tipton in Illinois, and Florissant in Missouri.

These famine Irish were uniquely welcome in St. Louis, unlike in many others towns and cities across the continent. The impact of the Irish within the area rises and falls depending upon the issues, but the stories continue up to the present day.

We learn here about the wonderful stories that are told by the locals about their immigrant ancestors and their descendants. We learn how these people came from Ireland, often telling us exactly where in Ireland, and how they prospered. We see how they fit in with, or occasionally conflicted with the other immigrant groups within the city.

The book contains lots of names, but unfortunately only a small number of them are included in the index. There are endnotes for each chapter providing clues for further research, but there is no bibliography. For those with Irish in the St. Louis area this is a must read to understand how their experience differs from the story of the Irish in other communities.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.11 no.4, 2004

Annie’s Letter: The Story of a Search by Robert Burke. Published by Flyleaf Press, 4 Spencer Villas, Glenageary, Co. Dublin, Ireland. 2004. 179 pp. Illustrations, index, map. Softcover €16.

The story of this search begins with a letter written about 1888 by Annie Goodwin living in the US to her son Thomas Burke in Ireland, telling him about his father Francis Collingwood Burke, his grandfather James Dominic Burke and other members of the family. The book is the story of the author, Robert Burke’s journey to flesh out and document the people in this letter and to expand upon the family tree.

This is not a how too book, nor specifically a family history of a family, although that is revealed. Rather it is the story of the search itself and this is what makes the book such a joy to read. The author catches and describes so clearly all the emotions we feel as family historians. The feelings of joy we experience when a piece of the jigsaw puzzle is put in place, or the desire to travel anywhere to meet a distant cousin, or the willingness to telephone anyone if they might know something. The surprise when the burial place of ancestor is found in the cemetery across the street from where the author vacationed as a child, or remembering as in a dream visiting a remote farmhouse and years later returning to realize he has been there before. The feelings of frustration generated when the vital piece of evidence cannot be found creating the desire to continue to look for the missing piece. The excitement experienced when finding another researcher working on the same families.

In the telling of the story we learn how the author solved the problems and got around the brick walls often by investigating the female lines. We learn about his connections with the families of Burke, Collingwood, Creagh, and Collis. His story emphasizes that researchers should work on the collateral lines for through these so many research avenues open up. In his case links are found to Irelands landed gentry and kings. The author has created a database of his research which you can download at <> containing the names of thousands of Irish connections.

This book surprised me. It is a superbly written story of the emotions experienced during the research journey which we will find easy to relate to. This is a book that gives you hope. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.11 no.5, 2004

Ancestral Roots of Certain American Colonists Who Came to America before 1700, Eighth Edition by Frederick Lewis Weiss edited with Additions and Corrections by William R. Beall and Kaleen E. Beall. Published by Genealogical Publishing Company, 1001 N. Calvert St., Baltimore MD 21202. 2004. xxi, 359 pp. Indexed. Hardcover. $35 plus $4 p. & h.

This work began in 1950 by Frederick Lewis Weiss was updated after his death by Walter Lee Sheppard Jr., and the baton was passed successfully to William and Kaleen Beall. The editors have worked to update the research, using published sources. Readers are reminded that this is not an original source but rather a pointer to other published research which should be examined along with their cited sources. The book shows 275 line numbers, but there are through closely allied lines 398 lines from pre 1700 emigrants. Here 91 lines have extensive revisions, most of the others have some minor revisions, 60 new lines of ascent have been added (mainly continental European) and a few lines have been eliminated. The editors have not attempted to add significantly to the number of immigrant lines as these can be found in recent published journals. Some of these lines will connect with these lines.

The lines collected here give connections to noted historical figures such as Alfred the Great, Charlemagne, Malcolm of Scotland, and Robert the Strong. Descents in this volume come through Saxon and English monarchs, Gallic monarchs, early kings of Scotland and Ireland, Norman and French barons, the Riparian branch of the Merovingian House, and the Merovingian kings of France. The book takes a little bit of getting used to with the links between the different lines but a new every-name index helps in finding connections.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.11 no.5, 2004

Ships from Scotland to America 1628-1828, Volume III by David Dobson. Published by Genealogical Publishing Company, 1001 N. Calvert St., Baltimore MD 21202. 2004. vi, 112 pp. Indexed. Softcover. $35 plus $18.50 p. & h.

Many researchers hope to find the name of the ship on which their ancestors crossed the Atlantic. This book provides details on more ships, adding to the names mentioned in the two earlier volumes. Research was carried out in the Archives of the Hudson Bay Company in Winnipeg, the National Archives of Scotland in Edinburgh and the Public Record Office (now The National Archives) in London, plus many newspapers and publications. The listing is in alphabetical order by the name of the ship. The details often provide the port from which they left Scotland, or North America for Scotland, whether they carried passengers or goods, the name of the master (often changing with the voyage) and the dates of the voyages. All entries have source citations. There is a supplementary index to the year of travel. Unfortunately, there is no index to the people mentioned within the text which is a serious shortcoming to the book.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.11 no.5, 2004

The New Reading the Landscape: Fieldwork in Landscape History by Richard Muir. Published by University of Exeter Press, Reed Hall, Streatham Drive, Exeter EX4 4QR, UK. 2000. xv, 256 pp. Illustrations, index, maps. Softcover. $35.

This book is a complete rewrite and a more advanced version of the 1981 classic edition of Reading the Landscape. The material is arranged thematically over nine chapters examining: woodlands, forests and parks; landscapes and colonization; lines in the landscape; routeways; status, authority and the landscape; landscapes and beliefs; villages, hamlets and farmsteads; reading the landscape; and defense in the landscape. The book is designed to allow non-professionals to recognize and interpret the landscape using archaeology, ecology and documents. Each chapter follows the topic chronologically exploring the evidence that is likely to be seen, from pre-historic to modern times, and showing how to interpret appropriately, with warnings about alternatives. Each chapter offers advice on how to research and ends with bibliographic references for further reading.

The book has superb black-and-white illustrations and good maps to illustrate the features. The examples are from all over England meaning that there will be something here that will apply to your ancestor’s home area. The breadth of the material covered will give Americans a good general introduction to the theory and practice of landscape history as it applies to England. This means that when you visit England, or as you gather maps and pictures of an area you will have a sense of what you are looking at. Pictures will never replace an onsite inspection so prepare for that visit.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.11 no.5, 2004

Irish in Wisconsin by David G. Homes. Published by Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 816 State Street, Madison, WI 53706. 2004. 92 pp. Illustrations, index. Softcover. $9.95

This slim book is divided into two sections. The first 55 pages provide a brief overview of Irish migration, focusing primarily on the famine and post-famine migrants. It addresses life in Ireland, the famine, the journey, the assimilation process, the question of why to Wisconsin, how people earned their livings, rural and political life, the Civil War, religion and culture. It also looks at the resurgence in people being willing to identify and own their Irish heritage.

The second section transcribes 15 letters written between 1877 and 1908 by members of the Cogin family reflecting the typical Irish experience in Wisconsin. The writers are all children of Richard Cogin (b.1830) and Anna Cooke Cogin (b.1832) who migrated and settled in Waushara County. These letters are in the Manuscript Collection at the Wisconsin Historical Society and hint at the wealth of original material that can be found there relating to the Irish (and other ethnic groups).

The first section provides a good overview, especially relating to where in Wisconsin the Irish were settling, where they were from, and where they moved to when they left. The second makes the stories more personal using one family to illustrate what life was like and what were the concerns of the family. This is an easy to read introduction to the topic. One weakness of the book is the index which mixes topics and the names of the major families, but it is not an every-name index.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.12 no.1, 2005

James I: The Masque of Monarchy by James Travers. Published by The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 4DU, England. 2003. 118 pp. Illustrations, index. Softcover. £14.99.

This book is from the series, English Monarchs: Treasures from The National Archives. The format provides the reader with samples of important documents, usually from TNA collection, reproduced in full color with explanatory notes and a modern transcription. All the documents are integral to the text itself. Other paintings, woodcuts and art work illustrate the text making this a very beautiful book to read.

His title James VI of Scotland and I of England reminds us that James was first a king of Scotland and then of Britain. This book focuses on his reign in England, reflecting the experience he brought with him from Scotland. James himself has a reputation that has obscured his real identity, attracting both flattery and gossip, often focusing on his personal life style rather than on his competence as a king. The text and illustrations put James into events that we know of but may not understand. We therefore learn about his: ascendancy to the throne; role in the creation of the King James Bible and Witchcraft; opposition resulting in many treasons against him the most famous of which is The Gunpowder Plot remembered each November with Guy Fawkes Night; involvement in the justice system; hatred of tobacco, relationship with money and thus giving us a look at early connections with Virginia and Pocahontas in England’s court; involvement as a peacemaker in Britain and Europe.

The book is a good easy read putting this important monarch into his historical context. It has relevance for us because of how many readers have early colonial ancestors, or immigrants from Northern Ireland settled under James I, or have managed to get British connections into the early 17th century.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.12 no.1, 2005

National Burial Index for England and Wales
, Second Edition. 4 CD-ROM set issued by the Federation of Family History Societies Publications Ltd., Units 15-16 Chesham Industrial Centre, Oram Street, Bury, BL9 6EN, England. 2004. £45.

The second edition expands the index from 5.4 to 13 million entries, and includes all the entries from the first edition. Extractions are from English and Welsh parish, nonconformist, Roman Catholic and cemetery registers, but exclude monumental inscriptions. The burials are divided by time period: disc one 1538-1760; disc two 1761-1825; disc three 1826-1860; disc four 1861-2003.

The search screen allows searching on surname and forename, with choices or exact spelling only or all spelling variants, with the option to show the list of variants included. This latter feature is helpful to show what you may need to be looking for in the christening and marriage registers. You can also limit a search to a specific year or range of years around a particular year. You can further limit a search to a particular denomination. Wildcards are available. There is also an option to show all unique surnames. Upon finding the burials you are searching for you can tag all the results, or individual entries and print them or export them in Gedcom v5.5, dBase III/IV or HTML formats. The search results can be displayed on a map, with one dot representing each result. The data relating to that dot is displayed beside the map. You can select a dot on the map, or move through the data fields having the selected map dot highlighted.

The results are displayed as a spreadsheet with: burial date, forename, surname, age (if given in original records), county, place / details (usually name of town and name of church). The displaying of results is limited to 500 entries and if more are located you are encouraged to modify the search parameters.

Researchers can also print a report by county, which shows the places that have been extracted and the dates covered. This is valuable so that the gaps in coverage are known. The coverage by county varies greatly, with the West Riding of Yorkshire having the most 1.7 million entries, some counties have none. To find the totals for a specific county see <>.

The NBI Viewer program requires a PC with a Pentium processor or higher, running Windows 95 or above. The suggested minimum specifications are 16M RAM, with 50MB of free disk space.

If you already have version 1 of the NBI you can upgrade for £25, but you must return Disc 1 (containing the installation program) of the original two CD set, together with the instruction leaflet from the front of the plastic case. This additional step was created because illegal copies of the First Edition are known to have been sold over the Internet. If you have version 1, it should be uninstalled before installing version 2. This was a simple process that ran smoothly. The program requires disk 1 every-time the program is started, even if every thing is installed on the hard drive. After starting you can switch to any other disk.

This growing database is a research tool that meets a growing need to find the death / burial dates of our ancestors. All English researchers should have access to it and it is certainly worth upgrading from version 1. As with all indexes the original records need to be examined as they will often contain more information.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.12 no.1, 2005

DNA and Family History: How Genetic Testing Can Advance Your Genealogical Research by Chris Pomery. Published by The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU, UK. 2004. 168 pp. Index. Softcover. £12.99

I began this book from the perspective of having limited knowledge or understanding about the subject. I wanted to see if this book would help me appreciate the excitement within the genealogical community about DNA testing. It did. The author, Chris Pomery, has lot of practical application experience as the organizer of a large DNA study, plus he maintains a large Web site that expands upon the material in the book. The book is divided into three sections. The first, “New Science, New History,” begins by explaining the ancestral message within your DNA. Non-technical readers should be warned that this is probably the toughest chapter to fully understand. It is well worth reading again after finishing the book. The rest of the section explains how DNA studies are changing our understanding of ancient (25,000 to 150,000 years ago) migration studies, and the derivation of surnames. The second section addresses how genetics help genealogists. You learn how to read your own Y-chromosome (after you have been tested, of course), how and where to compare to the results of others, and to appreciate the limited value of the mitochondrial DNA or autosomal DNA testing which are being promoted by some of the testing services. The value of the DNA tests only become apparent when it is part of a larger study, whether it is a single ancestor, a surname, a clan, or caste study. Case studies are provided. The final section is a DNA test-organizers handbook providing the reader with: a testing checklist; guidelines on how to select a DNA testing company; how to launch your own study; plus how to analyze, present, and publish the results of your study to your group. The final chapter examines the trends that will become more prominent over the next few years as more projects develop and the results are published. The book concludes with a valuable glossary of terms, bibliography, and structure of the author’s Web site where you will find a lot more details and illustrations. Throughout the book we learn about other ongoing studies, some of which will interest BIGWILL members: Wells is currently the largest genealogical surname study, and there is a study for O’Shea. This book, written in England, is geared to an international audience, as many of the testing companies are American. The book creates excitement about the possibilities of ongoing DNA studies, it educates so you understand the principles without being overwhelmed with the technical details, and it points you in the right direction to learn more.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.12 no.2, 2005

The Women’s Century: A Celebration of Changing Roles 1900-2000 by Mary Turner. Published by The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU, UK. 2003. 180 pp. Illustrations, index. Hardcover. £19.99.

This is an excellent, easy-to-read guide to the lives of women in England during the twentieth century. The book begins by setting the scene, examining the place of women at the end of the Victorian era. Then for each decade it examines the issues for the women of the decade. It examines the stereotypes for the period, such as the flappers of the 1920s and the feminists of the 1970s, showing when and where there were accurate or biased images. It shows how the role of women changed throughout the century, addressing issues such as the right to vote, birth control, equal pay, equal opportunity, and changing roles in the home and in the workplace. We see how the World Wars gave many women newly found freedoms, only to have the men in their lives and the government try to return things to the way they were before. Within the text there are fascinating sidebars highlighting the life and achievements of individual women from each decade. Having lived for half of the century I found myself saying, “I remember that.” I found myself thinking about the life of my mother who was a child evacuee during the war, who competed in beauty pageants in the ’50s (the book highlights later reactions against the pageants), and who was a stay-at-home mother until the children were in school before taking a part-time job to provide additional income. As for my grandmother, I can’t even picture her as a 1920s flapper, and she probably wasn’t growing up in a coal mining community. For my great-grandmother the image created of domestic service is certainly not appealing to my modern eyes. The book will remind you of how your life and those of your recent female ancestors have changed, and it will put them into context. This is a good read, with a useful bibliography for those wanting more information.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.12 no.2, 2005

Writing Your Family History: A Practical Guide by Deborah Cass. Published by Crowood Press, Wiltshire, UK. US Distributor is Trafalgar Square Publishing, P.O. Box 257, Howe Hill Road, North Pomfret, VT 05053. 2004. 121 pp. Illustrations, index. Softcover. $19.95.

This is a book of practical ideas about how to work with small pieces of data about an ancestor and turn it into a story. The book assumes that the reader has already done some research. The early chapters give an overview of the typical English genealogical records used, and highlights the data they contain that can be used in a story. It then moves into the local history, social history, reference materials, archives, and newspapers – along the way suggesting the questions that might be asked and answered to create and embellish a story. There is also a discussion of family sources such as oral interviews, photographs, postcards, correspondence, hobbies, etc. Over half the book focuses on how to take the bare details and turn them into a story of interest to others, whether that is a complete history or a short biography of an individual within the context of the overall history. There are lots of examples and illustrations. The final chapter addresses the mechanics of the process of writing and publishing. For those wanting to write about their British ancestors, this is a good idea book that is an easy and beneficial read.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.12 no.2, 2005

Ships from Ireland to Early America 1623-1850, Volume II by David Dobson. Published by Clearfield Publishing Co., 200 E. Eager Street, Baltimore MD 21202. 2004. 145 pp. Softcover. $18.50 plus $4 p&h.

This is the second volume listing ships that sailed from Ireland to North America that may have carried passengers, indentured servants or redemptioners. The list is created primarily from contemporary sources, especially newspapers on both sides of the Atlantic, plus some government records and a few published works. The list provides: name of ship, type of vessel, name of the captain, details of ports of embarkation and arrival, date, passengers (number, if known) and reference.

The introduction states that if the ancestor is known to be in a particular port at a particular time then the names of ships arriving at that time can be identified. Thus a port of embarkation for that ship may provide a clue to the point of origin in Ireland for the individual. Unfortunately the book provides no means of identifying which ship arrives when and where other than reading every entry, which is not practical. Cross-reference indexes could have increased the practical value of this book.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.12 no.3, 2005

Scots-Irish Links 1575-1725, Part Four by David Dobson. Published by Clearfield Publishing Co., 200 E. Eager Street, Baltimore MD 21202. 2004. 108 pp. Softcover. $12.50 plus $4 p&h.

This is the fourth collection of names and details of Lowland Scots who settled in Ireland as part of the Plantation of Ulster. The dates covered here are 1575-1725. The information is based primarily of contemporary primary sources found in Ireland and Scotland such as rent rolls, muster rolls, estate papers, church records and port books. Many of the descendants of these settlers came to Colonial America. The format of the entries is:

MONTGOMERY, PATRICK, of Blackhouse, arrived in Ireland with Sir Hugh Montgomery in 1606, settled in Donghadie. [MM#51-67]

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.12 no.3, 2005

British-American Genealogical Research Monograph Number 9, Part 1 and Part 2, and Monograph Number 10. British and German Deserters, Dischargees, and Prisoners of War who may have remained in Canada and the United States, 1774-1783: Part 1 and Part 2 and Deserters and Disbanded Soldiers from British, German and Loyalist Military Units in the South, 1782 by Clifford Neal Smith. Reprinted 3 parts in 1 by Clearfield Publishing Company, 200 E. Eager Street, Baltimore MD 21202. 2004. 28 +18 + 32 pp. Softcover. $19.50 plus $4 p&h.

These three monographs, originally published in 1988, 1989, and 1991, have been reprinted in one volume. Care is needed, as they are still in effect three separate monographs with separate indexes.

However, for those researchers who felt that their ancestors were originally in the British army, of British or German nationality, and who felt that they deserted, were discharged or were prisoners of war then this is a great starting place. Not all soldiers who left the army can be identified because not all muster lists for all regiments involved in America have survived. Mr. Neal has searched a number of muster lists and identified as many men as possible. These include men from the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 7th, 9th, 10th, 15th, and 16th Regiments of Foot. For each regiment we are provided with a description of what records have survived, a history of the movement of the regiment within North America, followed by lists of names, with a description (e.g. deserted, discharged, prisoner of the rebels), and a source citation.

The third monograph is a transcription of an orderly book of General Nathanael Greene, an American General, located in the archives of Fordham University, New York, and available on film through the Family History Library. The war is generally regarded to have ended on 19 October 1781 with the fall of Yorktown, thus this listing of men from 1782 is in effect technically a listing of American stragglers from Loyalist troop units. Most of the men included here were given passes to specific locations suggesting that the men were in the colonies prior to the war. The register provides in four lines: the date and place of defection; name, country of origin, craft; name of troop unit from which defected; destination for which the individual was given a pass by American officers. Where available detailed research notes with further information have been added to the entries. There is also a listing with locations of regular army regiments, naval vessels and privateers, German corps, and state militia corps.

This slim reprint is a useful resource for those with stories of, or suspicions of, ancestors that were originally soldiers in the British Army during the Revolutionary War.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.12 no.3, 2005

Wills and Other Probate Records by Karen Grannum and Nigel Taylor. Published by The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 4DU, UK. 2004. 220 pp. Illustrations, index. Softcover. $22.95.

This book is designed as a practical guide to researching the last documents of your British ancestors, although primarily English and Welsh. As you would expect, it addresses wills and administrations, but also examines inventories, account books, death duty registers, and litigation. There is a miscellaneous section that discusses military wills, deeds, royal household, overseas probate courts, and records at the British Library and the Bank of England.

Before getting into the records themselves, we are given an introductory discussion on why we should be looking for wills and administrations. There is then an explanation of the church courts and their records prior to 1858, with the emphasis on the Prerogative Courts of York and Canterbury. Online indexes to a variety of church courts are highlighted. For the remaining hundreds of church courts, researchers are advised to contact the local diocesan record office with addresses provided. No mention is made of the fact that a variety of indexes may be available through the county family history societies. There are short sections for Scotland, Ireland, Isle of Man, and Channel Islands

The National Archives makes available online scanned images of all the Prerogative Court of Canterbury wills from 1383 to 1858 (not administrations). This guidebook is a valuable tool to get the most out of these documents. It is also a detailed guide to understanding what additional records and aids may be available for helping you find your ancestor.

Note: This book is now in its second edition (2009), with a slightly changed title (Wills & Probate Records: A Guide for Family Historians); this second edition has also been reviewed in this newsletter.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.12 no.4, 2005

Journeys in Family History: The National Archives Guide to Exploring your Past - Finding your Ancestors by David Hey. Published by The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU, UK. 2004. 306 pp. Illustrations, index. Hardcover. $49.95.

This excellent, full-color, well-illustrated guide to English research is a joy to read completely, but is designed for those who want to dip into the history and records to learn what is relevant to their research. The book is divided into four time periods: “Recent Memory” (1900 to the present); “Nineteenth Century” (1800-1900); “Early Connections” (1550-1800); and “Middle Ages” (pre 1550). Each time period is divided into two parts: “Exploring the Past” and “Finding Your Ancestors.”

“Exploring the Past” highlights the historical events of the period, along with how individuals fit into or were affected by them. They examine: the structure of families; how and where people worked; the houses in which they lived; poverty; migration and emigration; urban and rural life; rich and poor; kinship and inheritance; servants and apprentices; origin of surnames.

“Finding Your Ancestors” presents the records that you will commonly need to access in your research for that time period. Each record is illustrated, with details of contents and how to access. Unfortunately, not all of the records are available in North America, but if you know a record survives you have the option of hiring a professional to extract or copy on your behalf. For its visual appeal, ease of use, practicality, and attention to detail, this book should be on your bookshelf and used along with Ancestral Trails by Mark Herber.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.12 no. 4, 2005

The Pennard Manor Court Book, 1673-1701 transcribed by Michael J. Edmunds with an introduction by Joanna Martin. Purchase from The Treasurer, South Wales Record Society, 12 The Green, Radyr, Cardiff CF15 8BR, UK. 2000. xxxvi, 109 pp. Indexes, map. Hardcover. £19.50.

Manorial records are an underused group of records held in many county record offices. For those interested in the parishes of Pennard and Ilston, plus the “Fee of Trewyddfa” (a small area within the parish of Llangyfelach about ten miles away), on the Gower Peninsula, west of Swansea in South Wales, then this book is a must for you.

The bulk of the book is a transcription of one set of records now held at the West Glamorgan record office. Other records relating to this manor are at the National Library of Wales. We are provided with: lists of jurors; elected and appointed officials; heriots being assessed when a person dies which usually mention the surviving wife or children; fines being assessed for all sorts of reasons such as ditches not being deep enough, hedges poorly maintained, pigs allowed to roam unchecked, or people not performing their appointed jobs. There is a complete place and every-name index, making it easy to find your ancestors.

Additionally, the excellent introduction describes the history of manors, their formation and operation, the function of the court baron and leet, the roles of the people involved including the lord, his stewards, the officers (e.g. reeves, haywards, ale-testers, overseers of the highways, etc.), plus the roles and obligations of the tenants. This manor is used specifically but comparisons are made so that you can appreciate how this manor was still functioning well while many manors in England were already in decline. This is a fascinating example of the contents of manorial records and will make a useful comparison for your research when examining records from other manors.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.12 no.4, 2005

Ireland’s Memorial Records. World War I: 1914-1918
compiled by the Committee of The Irish National War Museum in 1923. Produced by Eneclann Ltd. Trinity College Enterprise Center, Pearse Street, Dublin 2, Ireland. $99.95.

The objective of these volumes was to preserve the names of 49,400 Irishmen who lost their lives fighting in the Great War, World War I, 1914-1918. The collection was compiled by The Committee of the Irish National War Memorial under the direction of the Earl of Ypres. It is the most complete record known to exist and was published in 1923. “Irishman” here means someone born in Ireland, who fought in an Irish regiment, or who considered themselves Irish. For those listed, 29,440 provide the county and often the town of origin within Ireland, another 1,135 just state Ireland, 8,748 are English, 1,351 are from Scotland, 300 from Wales, 409 from somewhere else in the world, and 7,306 give no place of origin. The soldiers range in age from 15 to 82.

You can do a simple search in the index on surname, forename, place of birth and year of death. An advanced search adds place of death, regiment, regiment number, and rank.

Wild cards searches are allowed. For example, I searched easily on Fin*g*n to find all variations of Finnigan. I found my brothers John and Robert Finnegan who were born in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, but served in the 11th Battalion of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. Robert was killed in action on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, 1 July 1916 while his brother, John, died of wounds on 10 July 1916, probably received in the same action.

From the index you can access scanned images of 3,177 pages in the original eight volumes with their beautiful artwork by Irish artist Harry Clarke. Only 100 copies of the original publication were ever produced, so they are extremely rare and now made accessible.

The program requires Windows 98 or above with a Pentium II processor or above. The program will operate on a Power Macintosh with 16Mb of RAM, and using OS X. The program opens in your browser and requires the free Alternatiff program to view the images.

The program was easy to install and warned me when an additional piece of software was needed. For those searching for relatives in or from Ireland who may have died in the First World War, this rare resource is now more easily accessible.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.12 no.4, 2005

Cornwall: A History, Second edition by Philip Payton. Published by Cornwall Editions Limited, 8 Langurtho Road, Powey, Cornwall PL23 1EQ, UK. 2004. 326 pp. Indexed. Softcover. Can be purchased in the US for $19.99 plus $7 p&h from Cornwall Editions, c/o Reverie Publishing, 130 Wineow Street, Cumberland, MD 21502.

The history of Cornwall is shaped by its landscape and the rocks and minerals that are such a vital part of that history. The book therefore begins with the ancient stones. It was a joy to start here and relive some of this history, but there was some sadness as I learned that the priceless mineral collection of my alma mater, the Camborne School of Mines has been split among three other collections in Cornwall (p. 9).

As people move into what is now Cornwall we learn about the facts and the legends of the Stone Age; the mystery of the Celts; the impact of the Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Vikings and Normans. And of course, where do the legends of Arthur fit into this picture? What the author does exceedingly well here and throughout the book is to bring modern scholarship to bear, explaining what the current thinking is while being up-front about the alternatives, who is saying what, and how thinking has changed over time. These options are well footnoted for those wanting further reading.

Much English history has seen England as one homogeneous unit. The chapter “Anglia et Cornubia” shows how during the Middle Ages the relationship between England and Cornwall was complex, close, but where Cornish distinctiveness was important (which hasn’t changed in some circles). The role of the Duchy of Cornwall, founded in this period for the maintenance of the heir to the English throne, bound Cornwall tightly into the operations of the English throne.

However, there have been tensions and rebellions (1497 and 1549); the causes and players involved are all described in detail. Later, we see how the creation of modern Cornwall took place under the Tudors. We read about the dislocation and uncertainty of the Civil War and the Glorious Revolution; the emergence in the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries a new Britain in which Cornwall was to play a significant role, both because of its mineral wealth and because of its people.

For North Americans, we learn about how the lack of coal, and the fluctuations within the copper and tin mining in Cornwall, led to large scale migrations all over the world. We are reminded of the expression that “wherever there is a hole in ground there will be a Cornishman at the bottom of it.” It is not included in the index, but the book does mention the miners coming in the 1830s to work the lead deposits of Wisconsin with over 9,000 Cornish in Mineral Point by 1850 (p. 225), and the migration from Mineral Point and Cornwall to work the “Copper Rush” of the Keweenaw district of Upper Michigan in 1843 and 1844. Other migrations around the world are mentioned briefly.

The book concludes by discussing the ways in which Cornwall is changing and adapting after the decline and collapse of the mining industry. We learn about the tourists, politicians, Celtic revivals, Cornish language, new industries and much more all bringing us up to the present.

There is a good index, lots of footnotes but unfortunately no compiled bibliography.

Many BIGWILL members have Cornish ancestors and this is a superb, one-volume, critical history of the county that I can recommend highly.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.12 no.5, 2005

The House on the Hill: The Samford House of Industry 1764-1930 by Sheila Hardy. Published by the author, S.M. Hardy, Casterbridge, The Close, Tattingstone, Ipswich IP9 2PD, England. 2001. 233 pp. Softcover. £9 plus £1 p&h.

The workhouse for the Samford Hundred in Suffolk is in the village of Tattingstone. This workhouse served the people of the 28 parishes that made up the old Samford Hundred.

What a fascinating book this is. It addresses a lot of questions we might not bother to think about like: Who looked after the poor (often our ancestors) in the eighteenth century? Why did parishes come together to form unions in Suffolk? What was the impact of the New Poor Law? Who were the deserving and the undeserving poor? What happened when someone got sick? What happened to the children? What were the laws inside the house and who enforced them? How were the vagrants or bona fide travelers treated? What happened during wartime? What were burial practices? Through these and similar questions we get to meet the people who were residents of the home and how they lived and treated changed with time. The stories make the home come alive. We get a good sense of what it was like in the home.

We also learn in the last two chapters who were the masters and matrons; the labor masters and laundresses; the porters and chaplains and what their responsibilities were. We learn about some of the good and the bad individuals that filled these positions over time. We also see how the building changed over the years to meet the changing role provided by the workhouse.

There is a subject index to the book. A major drawback for those with local ancestors is that there is a listing of all the names in the book but no pages numbers connected with them. You thus have to read the book. In spite of this indexing problem this is a well written guide to understanding life in the workhouse.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.12 no.5, 2005

Tattingstone: A Village and its People by Sheila Hardy. Published by the author, S.M. Hardy, Casterbridge, The Close, Tattingstone, Ipswich IP9 2PD, England. 2000. 80 pp. Softcover. £6 plus £1 p&h.

This is a book about the village of Tattingstone in southern Suffolk, a few miles south of the town of Ipswich. It is about the people. We learn what happened and what it was like when Thomas de Dale turned 21 on 23 April 1409, and twelve upright citizens had to stand up for him so he could inherit land. We find a description of the Glebe lands that the minister worked in 1613, plus a listing of the people paying the hearth tax in 1674. We learn about some of the eccentrics that lived on the Tattingstone estates; preparations for evacuation in case the French invaded during the Napoleonic Wars; the local highwayman transported to Australia; the boom in Methodism in the late nineteenth century; and the development of the village as modern amenities were introduced like running water, the telephone and gas. It is the people of the village that make this book come alive.

There are some wonderful color reproductions of period paintings showing different locations in the village from a time long ago. This is an excellent little guide to the village, especially important for anyone doing research in Suffolk but it also acts as a guide for others wanting to write about one village. The one drawback is that there is a listing of the people mentioned in the book but there are no page numbers.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.12 no.5, 2005

From a Hollow on the Hill. History and Tales of Lorn and Fortingal Families by Nancy Black. Available from the author Nancy Black, Torwood, Oban, Argyll PA34 4LU Scotland. 1999. 164 pp. Illustrations. Softcover. £15 plus £3.80 surface p&h.

This is one woman’s family history and what a fascinating read she has made of it. She is from Oban, in the county of Argyll on the west coast of Scotland. She focuses on the MacDougall connections, but adds along the way information on her Blacks, MacIntyres, McCowans, Campbells, Living­stone, MacKechnie, and MacEwan lines. These are normal Highland families, though no lords or ladies here, but just plain regular hard-working folk.

The author provides a general historical background for Argyll and Perthshire so that her ancestors can be put into context. She talks about: clans and their way of life; religion; funerals; weddings; superstitions; smuggling; poor; food; domestic life; medicines; plants and dyes; weather; crop failures; pipes and bagpipe makers; poetry; and emigration. Discussed are her families, their way of life, and their occupations.

What makes all this material come alive is not necessarily the author describing things, but using the documents and stories passed down officially and within the family. For example, we read letters written in the 1850s in Australia back to the family left behind in Fortingall, Perthshire, and read of the reactions in letters written back to Australia with other family members following. It is the documents, letters, and photographs that the author has found that makes this collection so valuable. They provide clues to other researchers as to the types of records that are available and can be found.

Unfortunately, the book has no index and the bibliography has incomplete citations. The writer does not follow a Register or NGSQ format and there are no footnotes, but the source for each document is given in bold at the beginning of the document. The author successfully lets her ancestors tell their own stories, and has found official documents to put them into context. This is one good example of how to make family history interesting, and will be of special interest to those with Highland ancestors.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.12 no.5, 2005

James II: The Triumph and the Tragedy by John Callow. Published by The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU, UK. 2005. xi, 116 pp. Illustrations, index. Softcover. £14.99.

James II, the son of King Charles I was born in 1633 and he was to witness and be a participant in a turbulent part in England’s history. He was captured by the Parliamentarians in England’s civil war, saw his father beheaded, saw the Parliamentarians rule England and saw his older brother Charles II be restored to the throne. He saw his own right as successor to the throne be brought into question by his conversion to Roman Catholicism. Yet, in April 1685 James was welcomed as King. He beat off a challenge by the Duke of Monmouth and was victor at the Battle of Sedgemore. However, he lost the crown to Prince William of Orange during the Glorious Revolution of 1688. During this period James II was captured and escaped to France where Louis XIV equipped an army to fight in Ireland. James returned to Ireland where in 1690 he was defeated at the Battle of the Boyne, again fleeing to France to die in exile in 1701.

This book provides a well illustrated, easy to read story of the life of James II placing him in his historical setting. Disbursed within the text are twenty two-page spreads with a copy of a historical document, with transcript and short essay placing the document in context. Many of the documents are actually letters to the Prince of Orange who was to succeed him as king. The originals are generally from the National Archives collection so you can go see the originals if you so choose.

You can read the story of James the first, returning to the illustrations later, or you can dip into a chapter reading both the relevant chapter in his life and look at the related documents. For those with seventeenth century ancestors or interest this is a good enjoyable read.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.12 no.6, 2005

The Family History Project: Great Great Stories from the Nation’s Family Tree edited by Nick Barrett [sic]. Published by The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU, UK. 2004. xii, 196 pp. Illustrations, index. Softcover. £12.99.

The stories showcased in this book are some of the remarkable entries submitted to The Family History Project. This was a joint initiative between The History Channel and The National Archives to encourage people to start looking into their families’ past. Many of the people started from scratch, other have been searching a long time. The stores are designed to get you thinking about what you may find in the life of your ancestors. The entries were judged by a group of well-known English researchers, including Maggie Loughran whom many of you have met when she spoke to BIGWILL earlier this year.

The book is divided into six sections: A new life; the sea; enterprise and discovery; family skeletons; soldiers and heroes; and great connections. Each of the sections begins with a brief description of the theme and research tips followed by the stories. Most of the stories are two pages long with one or more illustrations, often a photograph of a family member, or memorabilia, a copy of a document or newspaper clipping. We read about family members that were: at the Battle of Waterloo; in the Charge of the Light Brigade; died in Flanders Fields; awarded the Victoria Cross; the first person to register a trademark in Britain (Bass Brewing Company); the savior of the potato; accidentally killed by arsenic poisoning, and lots more stories about everyday people just like your own ancestors.

This is not a how too book but rather one to motivate you to find out about your ancestors, to write and share their stories. We all have ancestors about whom we are proud and could write a story, why not do so.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.12 no.6, 2005

Voices of the Irish Immigrant: Information Wanted Ads in The Truth Teller, New York City 1825-1844 compiled by Diane Fitzpatrick Haberstroh and Laura Murphy DeGrazia. Published by the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, 122 East 58th Street, New York NY 10022. 2005. xix, 262 pp. Indices. Hardcover. $31.

The Truth Teller was a Roman Catholic newspaper published in New York City from 1825 through 1855, but only advertisements through 1844 are included in this volume. The introduction sets the scene describing changing migration patterns during the early nineteenth century, along with increasing anti-catholic sentiment giving rise to The Truth Teller being published. Soon ads were being accepted for immigrants seeking family members or friends who had arrived in the US earlier or who had left the city in search of work.

Importantly the ads often describe relationships, an exact place of origin in Ireland, and when and where family members arrived in North America. A typical entry reads:

“Of Patrick and Timothy Foley, sons of Daniel Foley, of BALLEYVALLEY [BALLYVELLY], COUNTY KERRY, IRELAND, who came to the United States in the year 1834. Any information respecting them will be thankfully acknowledged by their cousins James, Daniel, and John Foley, who live in GALENA, DAVIES COUNTY, ILLINOIS.” (January 31, 1835.)

Included are indexes to several thousand personal names, places in the US, over a thousand places in Ireland, places other than Ireland and the US, and streets in New York City since immigrants who knew each other often settled in the same neighborhood.

It is important to know that although the Boston Pilot, another Catholic newspaper was also accepting ads in this same time period there is almost no duplication. These ads are another important source for finding that vital place of origin in Ireland and building relationships. It is highly recommended for Irish researchers.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.12 no.6, 2005

Finding My Irish. 2005. xi, 305 pp. Illustrations, maps. Softcover. $19.95. How to Find Your Irish. 2005. 34 pp. Comb binding $10. Both by Sharon Shea Bossard. Published by Shea Publications, P.O. Box 238, Lake Zurich, IL 60047. Finding My Irish is the story of a local woman’s journey to find her Irish ancestral roots to be able to pass stories of her Irish heritage along to the family. She has names such as Shea, Healy, Murphy, Higgins, Bearne, Burns, Connor and Falvey from Counties Roscommon and Kerry whose descendants came to the Chicago area.

The book is divided into three parts. The first “my journey” is a review of numerous trips to Ireland over a few years to do research in Dublin but primarily to scour the countryside looking for the relatives and homes of the ancestors. This is a fun read and the author does a wonderful job of giving you a sense of what it is like to go into small communities to find people, especially when everybody knows everybody and each other’s business. The second part “their journey” is the story of the life of the immigrant ancestors from Ireland to New York, Connecticut, Nebraska and eventually to Chicago. We read about life as an Irish maid, a salesgirl, work in the construction trades and the meat packing plants of Omaha and Chicago. The third section “my parents” (Mike Carberry Shea and Helen Healy) talks about the life in Chicago.

This book is not a scholarly family history. There are no footnotes, endnotes or references. As a reader I don’t even know what is real, what can or cannot be supported by documentation, what if any oral tradition is involved in the stories and what might just be fiction. What is here though is a very readable story of an authors search for her family, the story of the joys and hardships of her ancestors in Ireland, their migration and their life in America. This is a well-written story and I enjoyed reading about the life and times of these Irish families.

The supporting booklet How to Find Your Irish is a supplement designed to help you follow the footsteps of your Irish ancestors, learn how to conduct research in Ireland and from home, with some additional attachments. This is very introductory but practical information if you are planning your first research trip to Ireland. It is good in that it pulls the material together in one place without overwhelming the beginner. Many BIGWILL members will be beyond this stage and will know most of what the booklet contains from other sources.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.12 no.6, 2005

The Looe Island Story: An Illustrated History of St. George’s Island by Mike Dunn. Published by Polperro Heritage Press, Clifton-Upon-Teme, Worcestershire WR6 6EN, UK. 2005. 112 pp. Illustrations, index. Softcover. £7.95 plus £3.05 p & h.

Looe Island, or St. George’s Island, is a wooded 22 acre island off the coast of Cornwall, near East and West Looe, about 16 miles west of Plymouth. It has a long history being owned by Glastonbury Abbey, and then sold after the dissolution of the monasteries by the crown to the Trelawny family in 1600. It remained in the family for centuries. This book though tells the stories of the individuals and families who lived on the island, such as the Hoopers who lived there in the nineteenth century. For the nineteenth century we are provided with census extracts showing how the families changed. In 1964 Evelyn ‘Attie’ Atkins and her sister ‘Babs’ Atkins bought the island. To prevent it from being developed it was donated to the Cornwall Wildlife Trust in 2000. We learn about the isolated living on the island where the individuals may be cut off from the mainland for months because of rough seas. We also read stories of smuggling, ghosts, the Spanish Armada and visits by travelers. We are given a virtual tour of the island and lists of the plants and birds that can be found there. There is an every name index allowing you to quickly tap into the people and history of the island. For those with Cornish connections this is a well-illustrated and nicely produced publication.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.12 no.6, 2005

Family Photographs 1860-1945 by Robert Pols. Published by Public Record Office Publications [now The National Archives], Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU, UK. Order online at <>. 2002. x, 166 pp. Index, photographs. Softcover. £12.99 or $19.95. This is an easy to read, well-illustrated resource for researchers studying British photographs. The book begins by creating an image of the sense of wonder that our Victorian ancestors would have felt going to the studio to have a photograph taken, how they would have dressed specially for the occasion, and how they would have made to pose formally so as not to move. It is this latter need for stillness that always gives us the impression our ancestors were sad or morose, as you could not hold a smile for the time needed in the early photographs.

After creating this image the book moves on to talk about the technical developments of photography, the rise of popular photography, dating and interpreting photographs. There are then separate chapters that examine photographs in and of the family, plus what happens outside of the family with examples of occupations, celebrations, teams, etc. There is a chapter on the preservation and collecting of old photographs. The book concludes with some case studies arranged by decade from 1860 through the 1940’s, describing what the type of photograph you are likely to find (carte de viste, cabinet mount, postcard, un-mounted print, roll print film) and telling us what to look for in the style of clothes for both men and women that would help us date the photograph.

Yes, you can get the basics by studying similar photography books produced in the US, but this book focuses on what is uniquely British. It does however highlight some differences across the Atlantic, like when discussing tintypes, or as more commonly called in the US ferrotypes and why this type of photograph was more popular in the US than in Britain (clue, it had to do with durability of the image during the Civil War).

The book shines though in the 150 images in the book that are constantly referenced in the text so you can see what it is being discussed, and can see the differences in the different types of photographs. The style of clothing shown in the photographs is uniquely British and will help with the dating. This is an excellent resource for researchers seeking to understand, date or identify the images of their ancestors.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.13 no.1, 2006

Christian Names in Local and Family History by George Redmonds. Published by The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU, UK. Order online at <>. 2004. xviii, 190 pp. Illustrations, first name and family indexes. Hardcover. £16.99

As researchers we all understand the importance and development of surnames. It was therefore with skepticism that I started reading this book that examines the importance and development of Christian names. Mr. Redmonds makes his case well by examining Christian names from the poll tax returns of 1377-1381, and comparing them with names from parish registers for each decade from 1538 through 1700. He discusses how the period 1200 to 1400 was a watershed in the history of first names with old English names disappearing, and shows that as surnames were stabilizing many were derived from first names. A large variety of additional sources are used to highlight the occurrence, development and changes of names over time. Most of the examples are from Lancashire and Yorkshire, where the author lives.

The author examines both the popular names and the unusual names showing how they changed over time. He shows the influence of parents, godparents, and the possible influence of local key people. He shows how the popularity of names can change between two parishes near each other geographically; how an unusual name may be popular in a particular community or family; how names of foreign origin can appear and disappear; how names from the bible, saints, legends and literature have become popular in different time periods; how names were influenced by the Reformation and what modern naming patterns are doing to the pool of first names.

This book has successfully made me rethink how I look at first names. It has me thinking about what really are the popular names in my families, or in the parishes in which I search, and how does this compare with the region or the rest of England in any given time period. The tables at the back of the book provide the big picture. More localized studies are needed to create a fuller picture. This is a book to get you thinking and maybe to answer some of your questions about your family Christian names.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.13 no.1, 2006

The Age of Scurvy: How a Surgeon, a Mariner and a Gentleman Helped Britain with the Battle of Trafalgar by Stephen R. Bown. Published by Summersdale Publishers Ltd., 46 West Street, Chichester, West Sussex PO19 1RP, UK. 2003, reprinted 2005. 284 pp. Softcover. £7.99. You can order online at <>.

This is historical writing at its best with wars, political intrigue, scientific theories and death. For sailors prior to the early 1800’s scurvy was the big killer more so than war, piracy, storms and shipwrecks combined. The scene is set in the book giving details of the causes of scurvy, actual and what was historically thought to be the cause, plus vivid descriptions of the effect on sailors. If you have someone who was a sailor prior to about 1800 this is well worth reading. You learn about the ineffective remedies like oil of vitriol, bloodletting, seawater and wart of malt. The story continues with the finding of the cure for scurvy through empirical experimentation on real sailors, then the loss of the cure partially because it did not fit with the current thinking about the cause. You read about how political patronage for an ineffective solution kept sailors from getting what they needed, plus how it prevented clear scientific results getting reported accurately to the navy. It wasn’t until a member of society’s elite, a personal surgeon, got promoted to Surgeon of the West Indies Fleet that everything changed. They changed so much that ships were able to spend long periods of time at sea and able to blockade the French ports. Then they sailed around the Atlantic before culminating in victory at the Battle of Trafalgar. It is suggested that one of the causes of victory at Trafalgar was the healthier condition of the British sailors because of lemon juice.

I wanted to read this book to learn about scurvy because one of my ancestors wrote monographs on Scurvy. He was Surgeon of the Channel Fleet during the early 1800’s and is mentioned in the book. He was not able to push for reform because he did not have the political connections. This is a very readable account of scurvy and medical practices in the early navy and well worth a read. There is no index so you have to read the book. There is a timeline and sources are identified for each chapter opening doors for further reading.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.13 no.1, 2006

Wiltshire Watch and Clockmakers. Volume I: Chippenham, Swindon, Marlborough and North Wiltshire by John Young. Published by Sedgehill Publishing, Park Farm, North Bradley, Nr Trowbridge, Wiltshire, BA14 0SA, UK. 2004. xiv, 193 pp. Illustrations, index. Softcover. Sterling checks only for £17.80, includes postage.

This book is about the people engaged in the clock and watchmaking business including clockmakers, watchmakers, finishers, repairers, and retailers, whether as an employee or as a business owner. It includes people from the seventeenth to the twentieth century, with the largest number being after the Napoleonic wars when the need for accurate time became important, with the introduction of the railways and the factory systems into the area. The changes affected all levels of society and the demand for timepieces increased. The geographic area covered is everything north of an east-west line a little south of the A4 road that cuts across the county through Marlborough and Calne. However, when a person has moved from the area to continue working as a clockmaker this will be mentioned, and this is common for the surrounding counties.

The first section of the book gives a descriptive overview of the development of the industry within Wiltshire highlighting the people, their experience, their living conditions and how things can radically change. Pieces of information about individuals come from a large variety of sources and this is indicated even in the introduction.

The bulk of the book is an alphabetical directory of the clockmakers. This might be as brief as an announcement about a person’s death where they are described as a clockmaker, to copies of their advertisements, to copies of a five-generation family tree (Honeybone), to full family and business details. If you have clockmaker connections in Wiltshire this is a book well worth exploring. There is a listing of clockmakers by place, and an integrated index of places and names of people

Two further volumes for the rest of the county are planned but have not yet been published.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.13 no.1, 2006

Sussex Marriage Index (up to 1837)
. Issued by Sussex Family History Group, £20. You can order online at <>.

For those with Sussex connections this CD-ROM is a must. Here is a superb index for over 300,000 marriages, licences and some banns covering all Sussex parishes prior to 1837 (actually some parishes go to the early 1840’s). There are some strays from neighboring counties, entries from many London and Canterbury allegations, plus Quaker and Catholic marriages. There are over a thousand entries with Sussex connections from the Fleet Prison in London from 1667 to 1754.

You can search for individual marriages by surname (all spelling variants or exact spelling), by forename (starts with or contains). You can restrict the search to marriages: within Sussex or outside of the county; denomination (Anglican or Quaker/Catholic); by event type such as marriages or licenses; by year (default is all) or a range of years.

The results are displayed as a spreadsheet with columns for date, forename, surname, spouse forename, spouse surname, parish/county. There is a limit of 500 marriages that can be displayed at any one time. So a search of Baker gives you too many and you need to redefine your search. You can print the results. You can copy the results of a search to the clipboard and then paste into any other document. You also have an option to display a map of the county showing all the parishes on which you can display an individual marriage or all the marriages for the surname in the county. This nicely colored map can also be copied to the clipboard and inserted into another application. It makes a nice addition to show surname distribution within the county or for researchers who don’t know where in the county a particular parish is located.

As with all database searches take some time to learn how it is operating. For example, a search for Milner gives me seven results and that is with all spelling variants marked. However, a search for Mil*ner gives me an additional five results (Millener, Milliner and Millner). So be careful.

The Reference portion of the CD provides an index of places covered. You find a listing of Sussex Church of England parishes, Quaker and Catholic Registers, Out of County Places and Marriage Licenses. For the listing of parishes you have the name of the parish, whether it is in East of West Sussex, the number of marriages extracted, the dates covered, a section for notes, listing of gaps in the registers, and sources for the marriage entry. The marriage entries may be original registers, bishop’s transcripts, or transcriptions. There is no easy way to search by place. I was interested in the one marriage recorded in Leeds, Kent in 1695 to see who it was. Assistance from the society helped me perform what was a very slow search, and they weren’t connected to me. The software is not designed for place searching.

There is an additional file containing the names of extra persons included in the index, such as witnesses, godparents, etc. This file is on the web site and on newly released versions of the CD-ROM, but not the CD-ROM I was sent. From the web site, or the new CD-ROM you can then search on the CD-ROM to find the relevant data.

The program runs from the disc and there is nothing to install on your computer. Minimum requirements are a Pentium processor, Windows 95, at least 8MB RAM, CD-ROM drive, mouse, SVGA display and 256 color video card.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.13 no.1, 2006

Behind the Plough: Agrarian Society in Nineteenth-Century Hertfordshire by Nigel E. Agar. Published by Hertfordshire Publications – an imprint of University of Hertfordshire Press, Learning and Information Services, College Lane, Hatfield AL10 9AB, UK. 2005. x, 193 pp. Illustrations, index. Softcover. £12.99.

Almost all of us with rural nineteenth-century ancestors will find on our family tree somewhere agricultural laborers. However, you may also have tenant farmers, landowners, or ancestors working in associated industries such as forestry or straw plaiting. Wherever they worked on the land this book puts them into their social context and this is where the book excels. It is not in the details of the daily life, although glimpses are given of that, but in how individuals fitted into the bigger picture of what was happening within agriculture and specifically within Hertfordshire.

The author focuses on Hertfordshire, which even though it was just north of London was still rural in the nineteenth-century. He examines in detail: the population; land enclosure; reform of the poor laws; developments within agriculture such as the use fertilizers, crop rotation, and increasing use of farm machinery; rural pauperism; hierarchy and relationships between the landlord, tenant and laborer; the roles of the landed gentry and farmers; forestry; village life; attempts to develop unions between the laborers and alliances among the farmers; agricultural depression; and concludes with a look at Hertfordshire in the twentieth century.

Throughout the book the author compares and contrasts what is happening in this county with other counties across the county, but especially the surrounding counties. This makes it useful even if your agricultural ancestor is somewhere else in the country. The book is well illustrated and contains numerous quotes from contemporary official documents, these suggesting where you can look to find quotes relevant to your area. The one item missing from the book was a good map of the county showing the major communities mentioned in the text, and the major geological boundaries showing for example the extent of the London clay or the chalk of the Chilterns all of which shaped the farming in the region and are mentioned frequently in the text.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.13 no.2, 2006

Scottish Highlanders on the Eve of the Great Migration 1725-1775: The People of Argyll by David Dobson. Published by Clearfield Company, Inc., 3600 Clipper Mill Road, Suite 260, Baltimore MD 21211. 2005. x, 137 pp. Softcover. $18.50 plus $4 p. & h.

The book begins with a brief introduction to the emigration of Scots from the Highlands to North America with the bulk from Argyll going to North Carolina, upper New York, Jamaica and the Canadian Maritimes. A map of Scotland and a parish map of Argyll are provided but are almost unreadable. Many of the Old Parish Registers for Argyll, Scotland do not predate the American Revolution so other sources need to be searched. These include published sources such as Fasti Ecclesia Scoticanea, daybooks, estate records, lists of burgesses, as well as a variety of original records from courts, Sasines and Services of Heirs.

The book is not a complete listing of inhabitants of Argyll, but does mention nearly 3,000 eighteenth century inhabitants from all parishes in Argyll, with the exception of the Isle of Jura, which is treated elsewhere. This is an alphabetical listing with the details varying tremendously. All information provided has a source citation. A sample entry reads: Macleish, George, minister at Saddell, 1767-1798, husband of (1) Ann Hamilton, (2) Grace or Grizel Hamilton, parents of Ann, George, and Peter, died 13 February 1798 [F.4.65]

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.13 no.2, 2006

Tracing Your Family History in Hertfordshire. Published on behalf of the Hertfordshire Association for Local History by Hertfordshire Publications – an imprint of University of Hertfordshire Press, Learning and Information Services, College Lane, Hatfield AL10 9AB, UK. 2003. viii, 143 pp. Illustrations, index, maps. Softcover. £9.99.

This practical and comprehensive guide is an absolute must for anyone with Hertfordshire ancestry. Yes, it focuses on all the records you would expect to look at in English research but it narrows it down to describing the records and what has survived for this county, plus identifies indexes and how to access them. It also describes what changed locally, such as the ecclesiastical boundaries effecting where you would look for probate records, changes in parish boundaries with some parishes being transferred into or out of the county. The book focuses on the sources held in the Family History Centre at Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies (HALS) in Hertford, but all major sources are covered irrespective of coverage.

The book is divided into chapters covering specific themes: administrative background; births, marriages and deaths, household and property records; professions and occupations; crime and punishment; poor and the sick; schools and education; military ancestors; and printed sources. The appendices provide: a listing by parish showing coverage of parish registers, bishop’s transcripts, banns books, printed or transcribed registers, hearth tax returns and land tax returns; listing with dates of non-conformist registers; cemeteries and crematoria within the county with contact details; where to look for wills; library holdings of records; and useful addresses.

Within each section you have a description of the records, common and lesser known, often with illustrations showing what they contain. Information is given on how and why they were created, how they might be useful in research, and how to search them specifically in Hertfordshire. Suggestions for further reading are given throughout the book. This is a nice practical book to assist anyone with Hertfordshire roots.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.13 no.2, 2006

Huguenot and Scots Links 1575-1775 by David Dobson. Published by Clearfield Company, Inc., 3600 Clipper Mill Road, Suite 260, Baltimore MD 21211. 2005. vi, 92 pp. Softcover. $14.50 plus $4 p. & h.

The two-page introduction describes the multiple persecutions of the Huguenot’s (Protestants in France). Many left to go to other Protestant countries in Europe such as the Netherlands, Germany, Scandinavia, the British Isles as well as America and the Cape of Good Hope. Scotland became Protestant in 1560 and thus there was a steady migration there in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. The main migration occurred in the late seventeenth century. These emigrants brought advanced technical skills and an entrepreneurial spirit that was in demand in Scotland. Many of the craftsmen, artisans and merchants settled in Canongate, now part of Edinburgh, while others joined Scottish Regiments to fight against the armies of France and its Jacobite allies in Scotland and Ireland.

This book identifies over 2,000 subjects and their family members or associates using distinct French surnames, some of which may have become Scotticized and may vary from the original, for example, Dieppe and its variants. In England some French surnames were translated into English equivalents and this may have occurred in Scotland, making it more difficult to identify Huguenot families.

For each individual identified we are given a name, locale, date, usually an occupation, and something about the person (e.g., “weaver from Maeson, Flanders,” “admitted as a burgess and guilds-brother of Edinburgh,” “a trooper of Hayfoord’s Dragoons at Dumfries 3 October 1689”). All entries include a source.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.13 no.2, 2006

The Licencees of the Inns, Taverns and Beerhouses of Adderbury & Milton, Oxfordshire compiled by Vera Wood. Published by the Adderbury Historical Association. Purchase from the author at Delapre, Long Wall, Adderbury, Banbury Oxen, England. 2003. 65 pp. Illustrations. Softcover. £7 plus £6 p. & h. to USA.

The introduction sets the stage showing that licensees appeared in the manorial court roll in 1603-1607for selling beer in non-standardized measures and fined for unlawful card playing. The various nineteenth century Acts regulating the sale of beer are identified and summarized.

The book is arranged alphabetically by the name of the inn, tavern or beerhouse, some of which are still trading and operating, while for those closed the locations may be known or unknown. The details for each hostelry can vary greatly, but often includes photographs of the building from different time periods, and sometimes the innkeeper. The information for “the Crowne” in Adderbury East is especially fascinating as it provides from the early seventeenth century transcripts of a couple of probate inventories listing all of the contents of the inn and the brewing house which was on the premises. To realize that there was storage capacity for 500 gallons of beer on the premises, you see all the supplies needed to make the beer and their value at the time. For other houses we are provided with lists of licensees often covering a couple of hundred years along with details garnered from many local sources.

This is a well-illustrated book focusing on one aspect of village life in a specific location in north Oxfordshire. The wide variety of sources used shows what can be done to reconstruct a community. There is no index to the individuals within the book.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.13 no.2, 2006

Palaeography for Family and Local Historians by Hilary Marshall. Published by Phillimore & Co. Ltd. US Distributor, David Brown Book Company, P.O. Box 511, Oakville CT 06779. 2004. x, 205 pp. Illustrations, index. Hardcover. $35 plus $4.50 p. & h.

Many family researchers find the documents they need to advance their research and then have problems reading the document because they are written in secretary or court hand, or worse still in abbreviated legal Latin. This is a well-designed, well-illustrated, practical book to help the researcher overcome this problem, especially if one is willing to take the time to build reading skills.

The five introductory chapters should be read (and will be used repeatedly). It is here that the reader will learn the scope of the book learning: the conventions used (abbreviations, capital and small letter, thorn and yogh, punctuation, italics, brackets, names, etc); how to make a transcript and decipher the text; the importance of understanding the document itself with its history, dates, kinship rules; the differences between Medieval and Classical Latin (most schools teach classical Latin); symbols used for abbreviations; the characteristics of the individual letters (with many examples).

The key to the book is fifty facsimile reproductions of documents of graduated difficulty culled from many sources. A complete transcription is provided on the facing page of each. The intervening pages may contain commentary about the preceding or following document. The commentary will provide historical background on the importance and content of the document class, information about the script itself followed by any individual notes. The later facsimiles are in Latin, with a transcription and translation provided.

The book is designed so that each document builds upon its predecessor both for skill and confidence. It is not a book to dip into the middle of, unless you are experienced and in need of a refresher. An extensive bibliography will assist the researcher in finding supporting tools such as glossaries, dictionaries (Old English, Medieval Latin, Occupational), books on dating (feast days or regnal years) or other books illustrating specific types of documents (accounts, feet of fines, inquisitions post mortem, manorial documents, etc)

This is an excellent, practical book designed for the English researcher, but is equally applicable for those reading US Colonial records.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.13 no.3, 2006

A Year at Killington Hall: The Diary of Agnes Ann Kendal – Life in Victorian England through the Eyes of a Farmer’s Daughter edited and published by Judith M.S. Robinson, 3 Abbey Drive, Natland, nr Kendal, LA9 7QN, England. 2004, 110 pp. Illustrations, index, map. £7.50.

Agnes Ann Kendal, nineteen years old was the youngest daughter of Robert Kendal, tenant of Killington Hall Farm in Westmorland. In 1876, she was living at home with her parents, a sister and a brother. For this one year she made an almost daily record of events in a printed diary, often filling the spaces. This is the only diary that has survived.

The parish of Killington was formerly part of the chapelry of the old parish of Kirby Lonsdale in Westmorland (now Cumbria). It adjoins the chapelries of Old Hutton, Middleton, and Firbank all in Westmorland, but is bounded on the east by the River Lune, which is the county boundary with Yorkshire. Included in the book is an excellent sketch map of the village and surrounding area highlighting places mentioned within the diary.

Through the eyes of Agnes Ann we glimpse the life of a farmer’s daughter is a small hamlet in the north of England. We read about her active involvement in the Baptist chapel and watch the events of the farming calendar unfold broken by what appears to be a very active social life. We are constantly reading about people stopping at the farm, or Agnes Ann going to visit others. The railway that comes through the community increases the distance capable of being traveled to visit others. Two family trees are provided, one for the descendants of Robert and Elizabeth Kendall (Agnes Ann’s parents) and one for Robert and Jane Kendall (Agnes Ann’s great grandparents) so the wider relationship of her aunts and uncles can be understood.

Between the transcriptions for each month we find period photographs of the area along with details from other sources about local events such as a local grand wedding, spelling bees, the Orton Pot Fair, the coal company of James Wharton & Son (she married the son Jim), the Kendal Industrial and Fine Art Exhibition. The book is well footnoted with other sources being used to more clearly identify the people mentioned in the diary. All names are indexed.

The epilog tells us that Agnes Ann married Jim Wharton the day before her 25th birthday. Unfortunately the following winter she developed scarlet fever and died three days after giving birth, to be soon followed by the death of the child.

This is an excellent glimpse into the life of a young woman in Victorian Northern England.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.13 no.3, 2006

Along the River Cray: A Pictorial History of the Cray Valley by Katherine Harding and Denise Baldwin. Published by Bexley Local Studies and Archives Centre, Central Library, Townley Road, Bexleyheath, Kent DA6 7HJ, England. 2003. 135 pp. Photographs. £6.00

The nine-mile long River Cray in northwest Kent begins at Orpington Ponds and flows north through the villages of St. Mary Cray, St. Paul’s Cray, Foots Cray, North Cray, Bexley, Crayford, Barnes Cray, Crayford Marshes into the Thames Estuary. Each village is superbly illustrated with period photographs giving us a look at the buildings, the people and village life. What adds to the book though is the introduction to each of the villages setting all the photographs into a local context. Here we find out about: the Romans; the lords of the manors and their grand houses; the old churches; the mills used for producing paper (including security paper used to produce bank notes), making silk and grinding grain; the calico and silk printing works; the orchards and market gardens. This is a delightful book for anyone with northwest Kent connections.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.13 no.3, 2006

Family Skeletons: Exploring the Lives of our Disreputable Ancestors by Ruth Paley and Simon Fowler. Published by The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU. 2005. 246 pp. Illustrations, index. £19.99.

Many of us have a skeleton in the closet, or wish we had because usually a paper trail was left, or maybe we are just interested in the seedy side of our ancestor’s lives. If this is you then this is a book to be read and enjoyed. You will meet in the vignettes provided: Tom Dudley and Edwin Stephen convicted of cannibalism; Emma Lady Hamilton, mistress to Lord Nelson who was arrested for her debts; murderers Jack the Ripper and Dr Crippen; D.H. Lawrence in trouble with the authorities for his sexually explicit writings (remember Lady Chatterley’ Lover) and paintings; Mary Young who dressed as a pregnant woman and used a pair of artificial hands to pick the pockets of high society; Fred Archer a champion jockey who committed suicide, and many more characters.

The book provides chapters on: abortionists; bastards; begging letter writers; burglars and thieves; cannibals; children who kill; cruel parents and child beaters; dangerous drivers; debtors; deserters; drunkards; forgers; fraudsters; gamblers; gay men; gay women; highwaymen; murderers; pickpockets; pornographers; prostitutes, pimps and brothel keepers; resurrection men; suicides; and witches. Each chapter puts the subject into context for the time period, provides personal vignettes, and has a side bar on which records to search for details about your skeleton. The book concludes with a brief chapter giving suggestions on how to trace your skeleton, a topical bibliography and some useful website addresses.

This book is a fun read that will help you put your skeleton into context. It provides examples of how to tell a good story, but it is a little weak on how to actually gather the facts about your ancestor, usually referring the reader to other resources.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.13 no.3, 2006

Levisham: A Case Study in Local History by Betty Halse. Purchase from the author at Greystones, Levisham, Pickering, YO18 7NL, UK. 2003. 156 pp. Bibliography, illustrations, index. Softcover. £9.95.

Levisham is a small village on the North Moors of Yorkshire, England, but this book has much wider appeal that just those interested in this village. This is a how-to book demonstrating how to write a local history of a community, using Levisham as its example.

A village cannot be viewed in isolation; it is part of a wider community. The defining of that wider community will depend upon the context, e.g. agricultural, industrial, commerce, religious, familial, etc. This book describes how a group of individuals came together to gather information and write a history of the community. It highlights how various pieces of data, church records, probate, land records, etc will be used by many individuals looking at different aspects of village life.

The book in 14 chapters looks at the historical time range from before written records until life and industry within the 19th century. Each chapter follows the same pattern, beginning with a chronological chart showing relevant national and local events with dates. An additional table lists sources, both physically on the ground and documentary. This is usually followed by an explanation of what the sources are, where they can be found, and how they can be used. Then there is a background section putting the theme of the chapter into its context. The final part uses Levisham as a case study illustrating how local sources can be used to develop an understanding of a particular historical theme.

The chapters themselves address: the underlying geology and topography; the Anglo-Saxon period; organization under the Norman Conquest; forest and forest laws; monks as farmers; the role of church and priest in village life; the parish constable; yeoman farmers; farming in the 18th and 19th centuries; the village school; poor relief; and the failure of the iron mines.

This is both a good description of the process of writing an interesting local history, but also a useful local history for anyone with North Yorkshire connections.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.13 no.4, 2006

Baxter’s Guide: Biographical Sources in the India Office Records, 3rd Edition by Ian Baxter. Published by Families in British India Society in association with The British Library, c/o Elaine MacGregor, Treasurer, 14 Gableson Avenue, Brighton BN1 5FG, England. 2004. 73 pp. Glossary, index, map. Softcover. £5.95 plus £3.35 p. & h.

The East India Company was established in 1600 as a joint-stock association of English merchants who received by a series of charters exclusive rights to trade in the ‘Indies,’ which is defined as the land between the Cape of Good Hope and the Straits of Magellan. The company established warehouses or ‘factories’ throughout East Asia. During the second half of the 18th century the commercial company was transformed into a major territorial power in India, headquartered in Calcutta, which survived until 1858. The records described in this volume, though, cover Britain’s involvement until 1947 in India and Pakistan, and 1948 for Burma.

Biographical information about individuals is scattered throughout the India Office Records. This slim volume is packed with information to guide researchers to the appropriate record group, even when they are only starting with a basic occupational description and a date. For example, it covers records for company stockholders, civil servants, warrant officers, NCOs and privates, medical and veterinary officers, nurses, chaplains, bandsmen, navy personnel, pilots, attorneys, railway staff, and many more by occupation and/or geography.

For example, one of the people I am interested in is Thomas Fletcher Waghorn, who I know was in the Bengal Pilot Service. He died in 1850 back in England. This book tells me that there are: nominations for 1818-61 which include birth or baptismal certificates and each volume is indexed; lists of volunteers 1796-1858 in alphabetical order with dates of promotions; lists of employees 1793-1880; plus compiled notes on the services; and annual or bi-annual lists of pilots, masters and mates on the Bengal Marine Establishment in the East India Register for a variety of years, plus more on service records and pension records.

In other words this book is pointing me towards a whole wealth of information pertaining to individuals who lived and worked in the sub-continent. If you have family connections with India this book is a must. Some of the records have even been microfilmed and are available through the Family History Library. The colored map on the back cover will give researchers unfamiliar with the Indian Territories a sense of where they are in relationship to one another.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.13 no.4, 2006

Swords, Loaves & Fishes: A History of Dunbar from Earliest Times to the Present (Birthplace of John Muir, the Father of Conservation) written by R.J.M. Pugh. Published by Harlaw Heritage, 21 Marchbank Gardens, Balerno, Midlothian, EH14 7ET, Scotland. 2003. xvi, 436 pp. Bibliography, illustrations, index. Softcover.

This is a large, impressive history of Dunbar, a coastal town in the East Lothians of Scotland, approximately 20 miles from the border with England. The early chapters of this book dealing with castles, and the Earls (1072-1611) firmly place the city and its leaders into the context of Scotland’s history and there is lots of it, especially given its location in south-east Scotland so close to England’s border. There are detailed descriptions of Scotland’s Wars of Independence, the Rough Wooing, the Reformation, and England’s Civil War, in all of which the Earls of Dunbar or the city were involved. These chapters provide an excellent overview of early Scottish history.

One chapter examines the city’s ecclesiastical heritage describing the churches in the area, the role of the church in the witchcraft trials, example of Kirk discipline, and information on past and present burial grounds. There are additional chapters dealing with: the role of the city as a Royal Burgh; agriculture and fishing; trade, industry, commerce and social life. A chapter is dedicated to the life of John Muir, the father of conservation, since this is his home town.

The final chapter describes the military history of the burgh with its local militia, fencibles, and volunteer units through the centuries and how these changed. There are lots of details here, along with excellent photographs that will put your local ancestor into context. For example, in the agricultural section we read about women bondagers being expected to work on the land along with the men, and how much they earned, and how they lived, all of which is great material for any family history.

There is a lot of national, local, and social history in this volume. The footnotes and bibliography are very extensive. There are separate subject and name indexes making location of a particular subject or event easy to find.

This detailed book can be highly recommended for anyone with Dunbar or southeast Scotland connections.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.13 no.4, 2006

From the High Pennines: The Story of the Alderson Family from the 17th Century to the Dawn of the 21st Embracing Bellairs, Bradshaw-Isherwood, Mackenzie, Hodgson and Bland by Marmaduke Alderson. Published by Hayloft Publishing, Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria CA17 4EU, England. 2003. 134 pp. Illustrations, index, maps. Softcover. £10 plus £4.65 p. & h.

The High Pennines is the area covered by the northwest corner of Yorkshire and across the county lines in Durham and Westmorland. This is an area of rolling treeless hills and lots of sheep and occasional tarns. This story begins with Simond Alderson of Muker in Swaledale, who in the early 1600s has three sons. This is the authors’ eight-great grandfather.

There are separate chapters for each of the succeeding generations, plus chapters for some of the collateral lines. The chapters are richly illustrated with lots of photographs of people (copies of painted portraits) and places along with great stories. It is in these stories that we meet clergy, landscape gardeners (Christopher Alderson who designed Frogmore for George III and Queen Charolotte), soldiers (Jonathan Alderson, and officer rising though the ranks of the 43rd Regiment of Foot, but taking part in no battles), an emigrant to Canada who returned to England. On the collateral lines we meet a sailor (Henry Bellairs a midshipman at the Battle of Trafalgar), a survivor of the Darien Expedition (Alexander Mackenzie), and many more family members.

The individual stories vary in length and detail but are interesting to read. There is a simplified family tree to help the reader understand the branches of the family tree. There are no footnotes stating where individual pieces of information came from, but there is a bibliography and sources section provides general information for each chapter. The author has also created his own numbering system rather than following a standardized system. This is an interesting read for those with ancestry among the clergy and upper middle classes highlighting the opportunities available to them in society.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.13 no.4, 2006

The Eternal Paddy: Irish Identity and the British Press, 1798-1882 by Michael de Nie. Published by the University of Wisconsin Press, 1930 Monroe Street, Madison, WI 53711. 2004. xi, 339 pp. Bibliography, illustrations, index. Softcover. $24.95

How were Ireland and its people viewed by the English and its press? The answer to that depends upon which side of a particular issue you were on and which newspaper the writer was working for at the time. Few newspapers survive for the whole of the 19th century, but there are many runs of various newspapers that have survived for the four time periods addressed here. These time periods are: 1798 and the Union; the Great Famine, 1845-52; the Fenian Era, 1867-70 (includes Irish terrorist activities in Britain, the disestablishment of the Irish Church, and Gladstone’s Land Act); and the Land War, 1879-82 (includes the rise of Parnell and the Irish Parliamentary Party). Mr. Nie has examined a wide cross-section of over ninety metropolitan and provincial newspapers published in England, Scotland and Wales on which to develop his thesis.

The book looks at race, religion, and class and how they were perceived in the press, in politics, and in public opinion. It is through the use of many contemporary cartoons that the generalized prejudices and stereotypes that shaped British thinking about the Irish are made obvious to modern readers. The cartoons influenced the responses of the British government to events in Ireland, and thus shaped British policy making, even though we might not understand, because of time, the subtleties in the cartoons.

This book is not a light read. It will not assist readers in tracing their families in Ireland. However, it will help modern readers understand how contemporary British attitudes influenced what happened in the lives of our ancestors, and in some ways also shows where our stereotypes about the Irish originate. As an academic publication there are numerous footnotes, a complete listing of newspapers read, an extensive bibliography and a good index.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.13 no.4, 2006

Shropshire Quarter Sessions Index
. Produced by the Shropshire Family History Society. Purchase for $36 (dollar checks acceptable) from Mrs Lyn Holloway (SFHS), 26 Kynnersley, Telford, Shropshire TF6 6DY, England. 2002.

This CD-ROM is the product of a joint effort between the Shropshire Records and Research Centre and the Shropshire Family History Society to index almost 400,000 individuals mentioned in over 400 boxes of Quarter Session documents created between 1831 and 1920. This includes over 7,500 cases brought before the Sessions, more than 13,000 Petty Session convictions, and over 15,000 inquests.

The County Quarter Sessions was a court with administrative and judicial functions until the 1888 Local Government Act transferred most of the administrative functions to the County Council. Each sitting of the court was held within 21 days of the Quarter Day (Easter, Midsummer, Michaelmas and Epiphany), with occasional adjournments.

Upon entering the program you enter a surname, and as you type a window appears showing options. This allows you to spot potential spelling variations. A search on the name Milner provides 181 options; none of them mine, as this is the wrong part of the country for me. The results are displayed with columns for surname, forename, year, place, document, and trade. You can sort the results on any of the columns except surname. Selecting any name in the table shows the full details below, with spaces for forename, surname, trade, place, county, year, quarter, type of document, reference number, item number, and extension number.

The breadth of documents available is phenomenal and includes accounts, acquittals, admissions, affidavits, appointments, bastardy papers, carriage rates, character references, complaints, convictions, declarations, depositions, enclosure agreements, examinations, exhibits, fines, indictments, inquisitions, licence applications, lists (freemasons, magistrates, Oddfellows, paupers, prisoners), notices, oaths, orders, petitions, probation reports, previous convictions, reports on prisoners, regimental defectors, removal orders, warrants, witness statements, and lots more. Knowing the reference and the type of document will give you an idea of what types of information may be found when obtaining a copy of the record.

The data is in a Microsoft Access database, requires 20MB of free space on the hard drive, plus Windows 98 or above to operate.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.13 no.4, 2006

Discover Your Roots: 52 Brilliant Ideas for Exploring Your Family and Local History by Paul Blake and Maggie Loughran. Published by The Infinite Ideas Company Ltd., 36 St. Giles, Oxford OX1 3LD, England. 2006. 240 pp. Index. Softcover. £9.99.

This is a book by two authors familiar to many BIGWILL members as they spoke last year at our conference. You can imagine their accents as you read this book.

This is one of 45 volumes currently in the “52 ideas” series. As you can imagine, there is a formulaic design and layout to these volumes. There are 52 chapters, each generally four or five pages in length. Each chapter is designed to get you inspired, to provide an inspirational idea, something to pique your interest about a topic and then get you to take action. Along the edges of the pages you will find: “Here’s an idea for you …” giving you something specific to try right now, or give you an idea of how well you’re doing; “Try another idea …” will point you to another tip to expand upon the first; “Defining idea …” provides a quote with words of wisdom; “How did it go …” provides Q and A highlighting common problems and how to get over them.

This is not a how-too book. The illustrations used are generic and have little or nothing to do with the topic of the chapter. There are no footnotes or bibliographies, though there is a listing of useful web addresses.

The chapters cover everything from the fundamentals of research in terms of how to start, through why to use records such as civil registration certificates, census, and wills. It also covers education records, coroners, the parish chest, professions, manors, heraldry, criminals, emigration, DNA, WWI records, publishing, National Farm survey, architecture, and more. Nothing is covered in any depth.

What this book does, and does well, is to provide ideas to get you thinking about alternatives for your research, especially in the UK. It is an easy read, with thoughtful suggestions, and is the type of book you can pick up, spend a couple of minutes reading a simple chapter, put it down and you are left with something to think about for the rest of the day. There is an index if you later want to return to a specific topic or idea. This is a nice light read.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.13 no.5, 2006

Trace Your Orkney Ancestors: A Guide to Sources for Orcadian Family and Local History by James M. Irvine. Purchase from the author at 11 Agates Lane, Ashtead, Surrey KT21 2NG, England. <> 2004. 76 pp. Index, illustrations. Softcover. £8.50.

If you have ancestors from the Orkney Islands off the north coast of Scotland, then this book is a must. The author provides – in a lot of fine print and compact, practical tables – almost everything you will need to find your Orkney ancestry. The book is divided into five sections: introduction; records and their use; context; details of source material; and background information.

The introduction provides details of where to find the resources, including the expected national and local depositories. Don’t skip this section, though, for who would think to look for local for relevant materials in Winnipeg or North Yorkshire? In this section you will find a short piece on research principles and guidance on old handwriting, languages (English, Scots, Norn), plus legal and technical terms.

The section addressing the records themselves looks at: census records; hatches, matches and dispatches; transfer of land ownership; census substitutes; and other sources. The sources included range from the familiar to the unusual, but all are fully explained with examples and show what information you will find in them. You will also find details on where to access them (Edinburgh, Orkney Archives, or through the LDS), and what indexes are strong, weak, or error-prone.

The context section is a detailed one page, providing information on websites, history, contemporary accounts, and books. This is useful, especially for those of us who have never been to the Islands.

The final two sections, addressing sources materials and background information, are appendices to the book There are 25 information-laden tables, charts, and lists giving you all the specifics like archives reference numbers, LDS film numbers, gaps in records, indices, a parish map of the islands, currency, dates, etc. In other words, almost everything you would want to assist you in tracing your Orkney ancestors. This is a highly recommended practical research guide.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.13 no.5, 2006

Thunder Underground: Northumberland Mine Disasters 1815-1865 by Roy Thompson. Published by Landmark Publishing, Ashbourne Hall, Cockayne Ave, Ashbourne, Derbyshire DE6 1EJ, England. 2004. 176 pp. Illustrations, index. Hardcover. £19.95.

The subtitle of this book is “The story of mining disasters on which inquests were held before the controversial Stephen Reed, Coroner for South Northumberland for 50 years of the 19th century. With biographies of the owners, the viewers and the Coroner himself and a description of the pits and the way they worked.”

The book is divided into three sections: the mining of coal; the disasters; and captains of coal – the personalities. There is also an epilogue, a list of sources, and an index.

The first section, dealing with the mining of coal, gives a good overview of the history of coal mining, especially as it relates to Northumberland. It examines many subjects including: the coal owners; viewers, hewers; pits; housing; ventilation (lack thereof causing many of the disasters); water; putting; explosions; winding; lighting; haulage and the railways. The descriptions are excellent and the illustrations are very good, although most come from slightly later in the 19th century. You do get a good sense of how the mines operated and what it was like to own or work in the mine.

The second section deals with twelve disasters, beginning with the flooding of Heaton colliery in 1815, where 41 men and 34 boys – three of them aged seven or under – lost their lives. It ends with the explosion at Coxlodge in 1863, where 20 men and boys were killed that day, and six more died later of horrific burns. All the coroner hearings were presided over by the controversial Stephen Reed. The summaries make for fascinating reading. These are well footnoted and illustrated with maps, photographs and sketches from publications. For me, this section painted a harsh and dangerous picture of what life was like in the mid-19th century coal pits, especially relevant given my mining ancestors who worked in the pits of Northumberland and Durham.

The final section describes the personalities, especially Stephen Reed himself, but also some of the key local people who wanted the status quo as well as those who fought for change. The book provides information on their activities, their families, and where they lived, often with pictures.

The book’s epilogue closes with “It was cheap coal which had made Britain Great. It funded the Industrial Revolution, it kept people in the cities warm and it concentrated sufficient wealth in the hands of the ruling classes to fund other industries, and to pay for the expansion of the British Empire. Wealth cascaded into the British economy to the eventual benefit of the British working classes. The pits made Britain wealthy, but we owe our present high standard of living to those thousands of our ancestors who worked and died in them.” This is a good way of remembering those ancestors, for mine were among them.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.13 no.5, 2006

A Brief and Jolly Change: The Diaries of Henry Peerless, 1891-1920 edited by Edward Fenton. Published by Day Books, Orchard Piece, Crawborough, Charlbury OX7 3TX. 2003. 304 pp. Index, photographs. Hardcover. £19.95.

After the Bank Holiday Act of 1871, many Victorians started to use their free time and money to take a holiday, seen not merely as a frivolous good but as a social good and even a moral duty. Henry Peerless was one such person. What makes Henry so unique is that he kept a diary for every vacation he took between 1891, his honeymoon, up till health issues prevented him and his wife taking trips in 1920.

Henry was born in Brighton, Sussex – a holiday town in its own right on the south coast of England – in December, 1866. He lived within a few doors of the school he attended and within sight of the timber yard (Peerless & Son) where he worked from the age of 14, his whole career. There is a drop-line pedigree chart showing Henry, his siblings, and his cousins and their partners. But this is not a genealogy book; it is rather a good piece of social history.

We learn about where people went on vacation, to places such as Tunbridge Wells, Weston-super-Mare, the New Forest, the English Lakes, Barmouth, Penzance and Torquay, Bude, Bath, and more. The family also left the country to Jersey, Switzerland, Ireland, and Italy. I have been to some of these same places, but through Henry’s eyes I see them as they were a hundred years ago. We read about a variety of transportation methods such as the railways, donkeys, omnibuses, bicycles, horse-drawn carriages, steamships, and towards the end, the motor car. We are reminded of items such as renting bathing costumes and towels, using mobile changing rooms, and having the sexes divided on the beach, or swimming in green or muddy swimming baths. In the old days, the visitors to the stately homes could touch the furniture. Henry and his family are never put off by the rain, although we are reminded of differences when we read about the family getting rugs to cover their laps on the open horse-drawn carriages in the rain.

The introduction tells us that Henry’s diaries have been edited for our benefit, to make it read better, and some of the descriptions from the tour books have been omitted. However, the book is a delight to read, as the writing is very descriptive and you can imagine being there with the family. The book also has some good black-and-white photographs of both the family and some of the places they visited. This is a nice piece of social history.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.13 no.5, 2006

Recusant Yeomen in the Counties of York and Lancaster: The Survival of a Catholic Farming Family by John Richard Robinson. Purchase from the author at 480 Banbury Road, Oxford OX2 8EN, England. 2003. 224 pp. Index, photographs. Hardcover. £22 plus £8 airmail or £4 surface mail.

A “recusant” is defined as someone who absented himself (or herself) from the services of the parish church. Under the Act of Uniformity of 1559, he was fined, and the consequences changed with later acts. Lancashire and Yorkshire have a reputation of not always enforcing the laws, and so Catholic families were at times able to practice their faith. This is one such story of a yeoman family.

John Robinson grew up with the oral tradition that the family had always been Catholics beyond the Reformation into medieval England. John set out to investigate the validity of that oral tradition, to authenticate aspects of that tradition, and to provide a resource for further study. His aim was to trace the family back as far as possible in order to provide an historical framework on which other researchers could build. He has achieved these goals.

The author starts with himself, the oral tradition, and his family. He then moves back in time a generation per chapter. The chapters do not follow any standardized format, but tell a story of the lives of the individuals in each generation. The direct paternal line is the most important, and so it is these people that we learn the most about, although in the earlier time periods we also learn about some of the connected families. Yet in the background we also learn about the Catholic priests connected with the family. The family is connected with Hutton Magna, Nuthill, Charnock Richard, Chaigley, Wycliffe, Burton Pidsea, all in Yorkshire and Lancashire. At the end of each chapter there is a drop line chart covering one to four generations. These charts are needed to keep all the people in the text straight.

The author has used a lot of published Catholic sources and so provides a good example of what records are available for a group of people that are not supposed to have records. An extensive bibliography of primary and secondary sources is provided. You do get a sense of the persecution of the family, and he does a good job of setting them into a wider Catholic context. I especially liked learning about where the children and priests were sent on the continent to be educated, and some of the problems they encountered.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.13 no.5, 2006

Brunel by Annabel Gillings. Published by Haus Publishing Ltd., 26 Cadogan Court, London SW3 3BX, England. 2006. 182 pp. Index, illustrations. Softcover. £10.99.

Growing up in England and being educated as an engineer, I was familiar with the name of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, one of England greatest Victorian engineers. I had never read much about him or put his life and achievements together or looked at the whole picture. This book solved that problem by providing a thorough easy-to-read summary of his life and times.

Brunel was born in Portsmouth in 1806 to French born parents. His father was an engineer and provided opportunities for the young Isambard, sending him to be formally trained in France, as there was nowhere in England to be educated as an engineer. While he was in France his father spent time in debtor’s prison.

Upon his return to England we learn about his engineering achievements: Thames Tunnel (after some floods); Clifton Bridge; Bristol Docks; Great Western Railway and Paddington Station; the steamships Great Western, Great Britain, and Great Eastern.

The book is about his life and times not just about achievements. We learn about his energy, his up and down finances and his love life. Here is a real human being accomplishing great things through energy, drive, and creativity.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.13 no.5, 2006

The Genealogist’s Internet, 3rd Expanded Edition by Peter Christian. Published by The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU, England. <>. 2005. xii, 340 pp. Illustrations, index. Softcover. £12.99.

The first edition of this book was published in 2001, and four years later we are into a much larger third edition. Things do keep changing, especially the internet.

I like and recommend this book because it focuses on website of interest to British researchers, as opposed to most other internet books which are American-focused. It is much more than a listing of websites to check out, because such lists keep changing anyways. For example, of the 750 URLs mentioned in the first edition, at least one third are no longer at the same address.

What is new in this volume is information on the new National Archives site, combining the Public Record Office and Historical Manuscripts Commission, launched in summer 2004. There has been a significant increase in the amount of data available and an increase in the number of providers, especially relating to civil registration, census, and parish records. Plus, there are the millions of records provided by societies through FamilyHistoryOnline.

What makes this book different is the analysis behind the websites. For example, in the chapters that deal with civil registration, census, and parish registers, the reader is provided with direct comparisons between the different providers, with examples of the quality of the images and indexing, size of files, costs, and more. There are comparisons of the major commercial services, although some have already merged with or been bought out by others.

In addition to the online sources, the reader is given direction for utilizing: archives and libraries; surname interests and pedigrees; social groups (clergy, criminals, armed forces, etc); geography (gazetteers and maps); history; photographs; discussion forums (mailing lists, newsgroups, web forums); search engines; publishing your family history online; the world of family history (societies, events, magazines, blogs, software, online shops, professional services, lookup services); and issues (good practices, using what you find, copyright, and privacy).

There is a lot in this book. Beginners and experienced online researchers alike will find it valuable for the comparisons, explanations and guidance given.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.13 no.6, 2006

Old Parish Boundaries of Staffordshire: A Guide to the Administrative Units of Staffordshire. Volume One: Pirehill by Tim Cockin. Published by Malthouse Press. Purchase from the author Tim Cockin, Grange Cottage, Malthouse Lane, Barlaston, Staffordshire, ST12 9AQ, England 2005. viii, 364 pp. Indexes, maps. Hardcover. £12

This book was a real eye opener in terms of how often parish boundaries have actually changed, at least in Staffordshire. This book covers the Hundred of Pirehill, which is the northwest side of the county. The Hundreds, of which there are five in Staffordshire, were created in Anglo-Saxon times and possibly pre-date the shires. They comprise vills (roughly equaling a manor). These vills or manors largely became the townships of the 18th and 19th centuries. In turn, townships were divisions of a parish, which could levy a separate poor rate and appoint a constable. The author has taken special care in tracing these township boundaries using the First/Old Series Ordnance Survey maps, tithe, estate, and municipal maps. Some of the parishes cross county boundaries (e.g. Drayton-in Hales – Staffordshire, Betley – Cheshire).

The book is arranged by ancient parish for the Hundred of Pirehill, in alphabetical order. Each parish begins with a photograph or image of something illustrating the parish, followed by a quote and a brief description of the parish and/or its administration. This is followed by the townships, providing date of becoming a civil parish, establishment of a parish council, information on local government, and electoral divisions. The most valuable part is the superb maps of the parishes, showing subdivisions and all communities, halls, important houses, churches, and farms within the parish. Most of the places mentioned on these very detailed maps are mentioned in the author’s companion volume, The Staffordshire Encyclopedia.

The major addition is that at the end of each parish listing there is a topical insert of varying length covering various aspects of parish administration. This in effect forms an attempt to localize the material found in W.E. Tate’s classic volume, The Parish Chest. The subjects covered include: vestry meeting notices, monumental inscriptions, oral history, parish books, early population lists, charity and rate accounts, probate records, peculiar probate records, parish mergers, societies, window tax, church rights, tithe maps, bell ringing, parish services, printed parish registers, deserted villages, records in neighboring counties, register of common land, ratepayers, poor law, families in visitation records, early registers, open and select vestries, family papers, village greens, workhouses, and more. This is followed by a comprehensive index to all the locations mentioned on the detailed maps. The index to the chapter abstracts follows the map index.

The supplement to this volume is a chronological listing of all the Staffordshire peerage who were members of the House of Lords (1067–1999), followed by county seats in the House of Commons (1213-1832), followed by the representatives for the succeeding divisions in the county up to the present.

I hope you get the picture that there is a great deal of practical information in this volume for anyone researching in the Pirehill Hundred. The one thing I would have liked, for someone who is not that familiar with this area, is a map of the Hundreds, showing their relationship to one another and to the county boundaries. I had to get out another atlas to help me place these parishes within the county.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.13 no.6, 2006

The Staffordshire Encyclopedia: A Secondary Source Index on the History of the Old County of Staffordshire, Celebrating its Curiosities, Peculiarities and Legends, Second Edition by Tim Cockin. Published by Malthouse Press. Purchase from the author Tim Cockin, Grange Cottage, Malthouse Lane, Barlaston, Staffordshire, ST12 9AQ, England 2006. xxvi, 680 pp. Softcover. £45.

This is an encyclopedia for the enthusiastic local historian, not necessarily the academic historian. The author has let his own interests in the curious, peculiar, and legendary to guide his choice of what materials to include. The encyclopedia follows the format of a gazetteer listing, with details of all known places in Staffordshire that he has been able to find references to in many consulted sources. The individual entries may be one line or a couple of pages in length. The book is large, with each page consisting of two columns of fine text, allowing the author to pack in a lot of detail. Each location and key words within the text are bolded, making them easier to find on the page. For larger communities, the information has been divided up by time period: Early (prehistory to the end of the Roman period); 900 to 1500; 1500 to the present. These time periods are not rigid. For example, evidence of Saxon and medieval society regarding the manor, parish, church, wakes, market, market (butter) cross, fair, gallows, stocks, pound (pinfold), curfew will appear in the section dated 1500, even though the evidence may be associated with a later date. The source of information within the text is identified using a source abbreviation with page number.

The book has a good introduction examining geography, early historical periods, formation of the shire, castles and forests, religion, Civil War, transportation, welfare, county newspapers, parliamentary representation, and some of the county’s curious, peculiar, and legendary personal feats.

The appendices list: population of the county; Neolithic and Bronze Age activity and burial mounds; county families and their houses; commercial premises; collieries, mines and quarries; potteries; public houses; places not located; extra provincial places; cross index; corrections to the first edition; bibliography; general abbreviations.

The author states that the text is the same as in the first edition, but for technical and legal reasons the illustrations and maps have been omitted. This is a shame, as some maps of the county, its major towns, and divisions would have helped those of us not intimately familiar with the county to better visualize the county.

This is a wonderful encyclopedia, and I just wish I had ancestors in Staffordshire, or a similar volume for my ancestral counties. This volume is a great addition to the author’s old parish boundaries book also reviewed here.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.13 no.6, 2006

London Stories: Personal Lives, Public Histories by Hilda Kean. Published by Rivers Oram Press, 144 Hemingford Road, London N1 1DE. U.S. distributor, Independent Publishers Group, 814 North Franklin Street, Chicago, IL 60610. <> 2004. x, 228 pp. Illustrations, index. Softcover. $19.95. This is a book that caught me by surprise and I loved it. Ms. Kean is a tutor in history and a course director of the MA in Public History at Ruskin College, Oxford. She describes how she got into this project, discarding many of her mother’s effects easily when her mother was moving into a home, but being left with the family ephemera that was part of her mother’s life story.

In the introduction she states, “I want to argue that while it is impossible to recreate the past as it really was we can nevertheless create meaning, understanding, and even, interest by drawing on the substance of past lives” (p. 9). In my opinion the author does this wonderfully.

The book accomplishes three things. First, the author gives details about the lives of her ancestors, focusing on each couple and their lives – silk weavers in Spitalfields, agricultural workers in industrial Staffordshire, carriers in Hadlow Kent, and their migration into London and the eventual union in the author’s parents. We learn about the records found within the family, and archives that were used to construct this family history. This is what I expected in the book.

Secondly, we got to see the author as a fellow researcher with all the emotions of the hunt. Like when she was given unidentified photographs by a relative: she wanted them so much to be of the specific family members who migrated into the city. We also learn how she views places differently when she visits rural Staffordshire versus the section of London where she grew up.

Third, and for me the most important part of the book, is we get to see this historian’s thought processes. Throughout the book she raises great questions about what assumptions can and cannot be made about individuals living in the past, how their experience is viewed through the eyes of their contemporaries and through modern eyes. A good example is her silk weaver in Spitalfields, for which there are a lot of official government records about the occupation in this locality, yet she points out that her family were not of Huguenot descent as many of the weavers were, nor did they appear in the poor relief books as many of their neighbors did as the silk industry collapsed. While reading the book my mind would follow the author’s thought processes, and suddenly I was thinking about my ancestors and the assumptions I had been making about what I knew about them.

The integration of the ancestral story, the contemporary emotions and the very thoughtful questions about what it all means, makes this a book worth reading by anyone considering writing about their ancestors. There is also good integration of quotes and thoughts from fellow British historians, many of whom will not be familiar to Americans but fit very nicely.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.13 no.6, 2006

A Cemetery Record: Persons Born in Cornwall and Their Descendants Buried in Jo Daviess County, Illinois recorded by Dorothy Beckwith. Purchase from Dorothy Beckwith, P.O. Box 354, Platteville, WI 53818-0354. 2005. iv, 133 pp. 3-ring binder. $20 plus $4 p. & h.

Ms. Beckwith has relied heavily on the work of Robert Hanson, the first to record the cemeteries in Jo Daviess County, Illinois. This work has been supplemented by the work of others. What makes this compilation interesting is that it the first listing by nationality. Many of the inscriptions tell the researcher that the person was born in Cornwall. However, it is also a listing of their descendants, and so that makes this a huge task, especially when it comes to tracking the daughters who married non-Cornishmen. It also means that Ms. Beckwith needs to really know the families within the county.

The listing is alphabetical by surname, capitalized, making them easy to spot. Often the reader is provided with the person’s full name, date and place of birth, date of death, relationship to other family members, the name and location of the cemetery. Women will be listed under their married name and their maiden name when known. Some entries also identify when the individuals are found in other sources, such as the History of Jo Daviess County.

For those with Cornish ancestors in northwest Illinois or southwest Wisconsin, this is a resource well worth looking at, as it may save you a lot of time and effort searching for missing or dead relatives.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.13 no.6, 2006

The National Archives: A Practical Guide for Family Historians by Stella Colwell. Published by The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU, England. <> 2006. 208 pp. Bibliography, illustrations, index. Softcover. £9.99.

This book is an updated replacement to Jane Cox’s 1997 book New to Kew? The book is divided into three sections, the first of which is an introduction to the National Archives. This addresses the question of whether you should be at the Kew or at the Family Records Centre (which will be irrelevant in 2008 with the pending closure of the FRC), looks at what you need to know, how to prepare both for your research, and what you will need to do when you arrive. There are some nice step-by-step reminders and practical advice here for anyone who has never been, or not been lately.

The second part examines what records are not held at the National Archives, such as civil registration records, parish registers, wills proven nationally after 1858 or locally prior to 1858, electoral registers, directories of names, newspapers, manorial records, or county records.

Part three examines the popular records types used by genealogists. For each topic you are provided with a brief description, information on what you will find, finding aids, what to do if you can’t find your ancestor, other records to try for similar information, and a listing of the TNA research guides to read, and sometimes specific recommended books.

There are 29 varied topics addressed here, covering everything from apprenticeships, military records, change of name, civil war and interregnum, death duty registers, emigrants and immigrants, medieval ancestors, nonconformists, railway workers, state tontines, tax lists, and more. Even as a researcher who has been to Kew numerous times, I found myself saying “I did that but not that.” I therefore took a few notes of things to try on my next trip.

This book is a good introduction to the topics most commonly researched by family historians indicating the wealth of material available at The National Archives. Yet the material described here is only the tip of the iceberg. The book provides good advice on how to prepare for your visit and is thus highly recommended for anyone visiting for the first time.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.14 no.1, 2007

Medals: The Researchers Guide by William Spencer. Published by The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU, England. <> 2006. 224 pp. Bibliography, illustrations, index. Hardcover. £19.99.

This guide is designed to bring together in one publication details about the most important archival sources relating to orders, decorations and medals held at The National Archives and in the India Office Collection at the British Library.

The book has three parts: Part I covers campaign medals and awards for gallantry or meritorious service; Part II covers long service awards, coronation and jubilee medals, and miscellaneous medals; Part III covers research techniques and online resources. The appendices provide details of societies, published resources and where to see medals.

The first medal issued to all who took part in a campaign was the Waterloo Medal. I would love to find, even if it’s in a museum, the medal for my Samuel Milliner of the 4th Regiment of Foot, who survived the Battle of Waterloo. After reading this book, though, you realize the British were constantly fighting all over the world. The book describes, often illustrating, what the medals looked like, what groups of combatants or civilians were awarded the medals, and what records have been created. You are given specific references to search at the National Archives or the British Library when seeking information about the recipient, the event or the medal. When lists of medal recipients have been published or are available, online references are provided.

Throughout the book there are case studies with illustrations of medals, the recipients, document examples, plus details on how and where to search for the relevant documents. These case studies show what can be accomplished, and, in fact, need to be read because part III covering research techniques is actually slim (seven pages) and weak, explaining primarily how to search ADM 12 (Admiralty Index and Digest) which would not have fit easily elsewhere in the book.

The wealth of details in this book makes it a valuable reference book for anyone who has a medal in their family and wants to find out more. However, the reader cannot rely solely on part III for research guidance; the cases will need to be studied.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.14 no.1, 2007

Home Front 1914-1918: How Britain Survived the Great War by Ian F.W. Beckett. Published by The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU, England. <> 2006. 224 pp. Illustrations, index. Hardcover. £19.99.

The British have been going to war for centuries, yet it is the First World War where the Home Front developed for the first time. This is a time when the routines of daily life at home were changed forever. Some of those changes still exist in British society such as British summer time, public house closing times, war memorials everywhere, and Remembrance Sunday.

The book begins by examining the situation in Britain at the beginning of the war, providing a good summary of European politics that pulled Britain into the war. Then the war effort begins.

Ian Beckett does an excellent job of illustrating what the men at home did and how that changed as more men went to war and women took over their responsibilities, though not for the same pay. It also highlights how women’s lives changed as they became involved in the war effort, especially in the ammunition factories, the land army, and nursing. In the midst of these life changes, the social police examined social and family life with questions of morality, the wider use of contraceptives, and pub closing times. Looking at the routine of everyday life, we learn about price increases, queues, allotments, rationing, welfare, and pleasure activities.

The war did encroach into everyday life with enemies, real and imagined, such as the Irish, aliens (foreigners), pacifists, and Bolsheviks, with the resulting internment camps and censors. Then there is the real enemy with the damage brought by bombers and airships. The last two chapters examine the end of the war, its consequences, and costs.

Throughout the text the official government Acts that were used to change and control people’s lives are frequently mentioned and provide lots of context. The photographs and copies of documents are very clear and have detailed captions.

Reading this book gave me a good framework for understanding the lives of my ancestors who stayed home from the war.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.14 no.1, 2007

Tracing Your First World War Ancestors by Simon Fowler. Published by Countryside Books, Highfield House, 2 Highfield Avenue, Newbury, Berkshire RG14 5DS, England. <> 2003. 144 pp. Bibliography, illustrations, index. Softcover. £7.95.

Almost every British family was affected one way or another by the First World War. I have found numerous soldiers among the relatives, unfortunately the easy ones to find are the ones who did not survive. This excellent guide, aimed at researchers new to WWI research, has some nice additions for experienced researchers.

The book begins with an overview of how to get started looking at family photographs, background reading, where the records are located, how to do research and what to do with the results of your research. This is followed by a description of life in the services and how it differed between the different branches, plus between the British and Colonial forces. Along the way it dispels some of the common myths.

The book then gets into the specific records for the Army, Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Women’s Royal Naval Service, Merchant Marine, Royal Flying Corps, Royal Naval Air Service, Royal Air Force, Women’s Royal Air Force, nurses, charity workers, Women’s Land Army and civilians. There is a brief introductory chapter on tracing ancestors in other armies (allied and enemy). The appendices provide useful addresses and details on WWI collections (archival and documentary), an annotated bibliographic guide, web addresses, abbreviations and command structure within the services.

Throughout the book there are numerous references to the materials and online guides to the vast amount of material at The National Archives, but what makes this book so valuable are the additional references to published resources, web sites and collections not at The National Archives. This slim but packed book is easy to read, provides simple guidance on where and how to search for First World War family connections.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.14 no.1, 2007

Tracing Your Second World War Ancestors by Simon Fowler. Published by Countryside Books, Highfield House, 2 Highfield Avenue, Newbury, Berkshire RG14 5DS, England. <> 2006. 176 pp. Bibliography, illustrations, index. Softcover. £9.99.

This book works to dispel the myth that you cannot find out anything about your WWII ancestors, and yes, many of the service records have not been released yet, but much material is available.

The book describes how to get started looking at family photographs, background reading, location of records, how to find what you want and conducting research. The chapter on common sources addresses records common to all branches of the service, such as service records, medals and awards, casualties, prisoners of war and other sources.

Then there are chapters for the British Army, Royal Navy, Merchant Marine, Airmen and RAF Officers, Civilians. The last two chapters address the British Commonwealth and Empire Forces, plus Allies and Enemies. These last two chapters provide a high level overview but point you in the right direction for finding more information.

The book is an easy read, yet is packed with the types of details and pointers that we as researchers are looking for. These pointers include guides and references to resources at The National Archives, along with published and online resources provided by individuals and other institutions. The book’s bibliography is excellent, with very current easily accessible references (most published within the last 15 years, many in the last five years), with both reference and general citations for each branch of the service.

Reading this book gave me the impression that maybe I could find out more about my grandfathers’ service with the Royal Artillery in North Africa. Now to just follow through and put that thought into action.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.14 no.1, 2007

Military History Sources for Family Historians: The Anglo-Boer War 1899-1902 by Phil Tomaselli. Published by the Federation of Family History Societies, Units 15-16 Chesham Industrial Centre, Oram Street, Bury, Lancashire BL9 6EN, England. <> 2006. 48 pp. Illustrated. Softcover. £4.95.

When researching British military ancestors it is easy to get lost in books that cover 400 years of development and all the records that go with that history. Here is a slim book, easy to read, that covers one specific time period, the Anglo-Boer War from 1899 to 1902.

The book begins with an overview of what the war was about, who was involved, and the numbers of soldiers present. Then it addresses the important question of “Did my ancestor fight in the Boer War?” It is here that it is pointed out that almost every British regiment sent men to South Africa, along with men from colonial regiments, the Imperial Yeomanry, and British units raised in South Africa. Many of the records are at the National Archives.

Successive chapters address medals, service records, and other sources. The latter examines the Boers, casualty records, operational records, shipping lists, women, and museums. There is a brief annotated bibliography to guide the researcher further. There is no index.

As the book states it was an “unlucky” soldier who did not serve in the war if he wanted to (p.11). If you have a male ancestor or relative that you cannot find in the 1901 census, you should consider whether they were serving in South Africa. This slim book will give you a glimpse into what records to be examining to find those elusive soldiers.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.14 no.1, 2007

Finding Out About Your Family History by Kathy Chater and Simon Fowler. Published by the Federation of Family History Societies, Units 15-16 Chesham Industrial Centre, Oram Street, Bury, Lancashire BL9 6EN, England. <> 2006. 31 pp. Illustrated. Softcover. £2.99.

This book felt like an introductory article on how to get started in English research and could have been improved with some editing to smooth out the two different writing styles.

The book outlines the first steps in research, talking to the relatives and finding whatever documents you can find. It then progresses to talk about the Internet, record repositories, the Family Record Center (to obtain certificates and examine census returns). It then briefly addresses other sources such as church records, wills, military service records, problem solving, storing of data, next steps, and joining your local family history society. Nothing is covered in depth.

A brief bibliography provides additional sources. BIGWILL members will be beyond this book, but it might be an inexpensive gift you can send to your English cousins who have no idea why you are tracing your ancestors and you want to try to get them interested, or at least to understand.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.14 no.1, 2007

The Cornish Overseas: A History of Cornwall’s Great Emigration by Philip Payton. Cornwall Editions Ltd., 8 Langurtho Road, Fowey, Cornwall PL23 1EQ, England. <>. 2005. 466 pp. Index, maps. Softcover. £12.99.

This is a revised and updated version of Payton’s major study on the great migration of the Cornish people, originally published in a limited hardback edition in 1998. This softcover edition expands on the earlier work, now out of print, and makes it readily available.

This book is a fascinating read, focusing on the migration of the Cornish around the world, especially on the period between 1815 and WWI. Until reading this book I was not conscious of how mobile the Cornish really were, returning repeatedly to Cornwall to reconnect with family and to have more children, before migrating again to some distant part of the world for another term of employment. Many of the miners, having made some money or because of health reasons, returned to retire and die in Cornwall. Have you found your ancestors in the census in Cornwall with missing husbands or fathers? If so, then this book may suggest where in the world they might be.

The book does emphasize the miners who migrated, but the quarrymen and farmers are also included. We are reminded that many Cornish moved between mining and farming frequently, especially in their new countries. You will learn about the impact of religion, especially among the Bible Christians and Methodists.

The migrations take off during the economic downturn following the end of the Napoleonic Wars, with migrations to Mexico, Cuba, and South America. By the 1840s the focus shifted to the U.S., and especially important for us, the development of the Wisconsin lead mining region, followed by the Keweenaw Peninsula of Upper Michigan. The book does a good job explaining this development and the subsequent westward migrations, temporary and permanent, especially to the goldfields. With the discovery of gold and large copper deposits in Australia in the 1850s, the Cornish are migrating again, sometimes directly from Cornwall but also from the U.S. and the Americas.

The 1860s saw the crash of Cornish copper, the faltering of Cornish tin, and the first step in the decline of Cornwall’s engineering prowess. Overseas mineral production was creating problems back home and increasing the incentive to emigrate. The rest of the century saw new mining frontiers in Australia, North America, and South Africa especially, but the Cornish were to be found all over the world, wherever minerals and rocks were to be dug out of the ground.

The book is full of vignettes about real people. It describes their lives, their travels, and their hardships, both for the miner and the families, whether they traveled with them or remained in Cornwall. You are given a picture of their superior confidence in their skills, close ethnic ties, troubles especially with the Irish on the mines, and later with the developing unions. You get a sense of what life was like and how it changed for the Cornish throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries. There are lots of quotes and all sources are included in endnotes. All individuals, families, and many themes are included in the good index. A comprehensive bibliography would have been a helpful addition to the book.

This book is highly recommended for those with Cornish connections, especially those wanting to put their migrating ancestors into a much wider context of the great Cornish migration.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.14 no.2, 2007

The Story of Mining in Cornwall by Allen Buckley. Published by Cornwall Editions, Ltd., 8 Langurtho Road, Fowey, Cornwall, PL23 1EQ, England. <>. 2005. 240 pp. Bibliography, illustrations, index. Hardcover. £45.

This is a beautiful book to look at, with lots of excellent color and black-and-white photographs showing places, documents, maps, mine cross sections, and mining activities (surface and underground, modern and period photographs) in Cornwall, on the surface and underground. The excellent illustrations are combined the most comprehensive and easy to understand history of mining in Cornwall that I have read, and I do have a number of Cornish mining books to compare it with. (Readers need to be aware that I was educated in Cornwall as a mining engineer and worked underground in Wheal Jane one of the mines discussed in the book. I just wish I had Cornish ancestors.)

The book begins by looking at the ancient tin industry (prior to the Norman Conquest), dispelling the Phoenician myth that I certainly heard about and have seen in print, but examining surviving evidence for what is reality. The next two chapters look at the late medieval and early modern periods, examining the changes in management and technology, with an especially good explanation of the Stannaries. Reading the rest of the book moves by century through both the tin and copper industries describing: the changes in mining equipment and techniques; the problems with water and how to remove it from the mines; labor and union issues; religion among the miners; female labor; capitalization of the mines as they grew in size and consolidated; cost book system; global politics and discovery of deposits elsewhere in the world with the effect on tin and copper prices; the rise and fall of the mines that accompanied the rise and fall of tin and copper prices. We learn about the great mines like the Dolcoath, Cooks Kitchen, Botallock, East Pool, and South Crofty, along with many others. The last tin mine, South Crofty, closed in March 1998.

Tin and copper were not the only economic minerals in Cornwall. There is a chapter on the many other unique minerals found within the county, with photographs of some wonderful mineral specimens, plus a description of how they were exploited. There are additional chapters for the china clay and slate industries within Cornwall. The book concludes with a good bibliography and glossary of mining terms.

This book provides an excellent overview of the mining industry within Cornwall. You are not likely to learn about your individual miner, but you will understand the big picture and be able to put the miner and their family into context, learning about the good and the learn years and how they coped. This book is highly recommended for those with Cornish mining connections.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.14 no.2, 2007

Tracing Your Ancestors in the National Archives: The Website and Beyond, 7th Edition by Amanda Bevan. Published by The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 4DU, England. 2006. ix, 566 pp. Index. Softcover. £19.99.

The first edition was issued as a slim edition in 1981 and has continually expanded since then. Since the last edition in 2002, the Public Record Office merged with the Historical Manuscripts Commission to form the National Archives in April 2003. Along with this merger there has been an explosion of resources that have come available online such as the online catalogs “Documents Online” and “Access to Archives,” each approximately equal in size with about 10 million entries. However, once the online records have been explored researchers will need to learn what original records are available for the time period of interest and how to access them. This excellent guide will meet the needs of both beginner and experienced researchers needing to understand what is available in England’s largest archive.

The book is divided into 62 sections. It includes the records at the Family Records Center, currently in central London, such as census, civil registration, and PCC wills. It describes the new additions from the Historical Manuscript Commission. But the bulk of the book describes the records previously at the Public Record Office, including records of: emigration; army; Royal and merchant navies; police; railways; apprentices; lunacy; coroners’ inquests; manors, crown lands and wardship; land transfer; taxation; civil litigation; business records, and lots more. There are so many more topics in fact that I could not think of any records that I, as a family historian, would use and find in the National Archives that is not covered.

Each topic is described in outline format with a good introductory explanation before diving in depth into the records at the National Archives. Each subject has an excellent bibliography, both to explanatory texts and published indexes. One of the delightful features is an explanation on how to search the online catalog in a group of records so that you know whether you can search for the names of individuals (surname, surname with initials, or surname with Christian name) or places or if you are better off searching printed indexes. Reading this book shows that there are many places in the catalog where you can search for the names of individuals.

This book is an easy-to-use reference book that should be used by every serious British researcher.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.14 no.2, 2007

The A–Z of Traditional Cures and Remedies by Dulcie Lewis. Published by Countryside Books, 3 Catherine Road, Newbury, Berkshire RG14 5DS, England <>. 2002. 252 pp. Illustrations. Softcover. £9.95.

With the formation of the National Health Service in 1948, the English obtained unlimited access to doctors and hospitals. Prior to 1948, our ancestors relied on home cures, herbal remedies and ancient superstitions. The author provides, in alphabetical order, a listing of ailments, cures, potions, and remedies that would make sense to our ancestors. Some of these we now know would kill us (foxglove, highly poisonous, used in the treatment of dropsy), while others are unbelievable (killing a toad with a sharp pointed instrument and hanging it in a bag around your neck to cure a nosebleed), and even humorous (mutton suet and hog’s lard used as hand cream to cure chapped hands or diaper rash). The wealthy, who could afford medical treatment, were often worse off, for the doctors – seeing money – did not spare the patient anything and thus administered bleeding, purging, leeches, vomits, and enemas.

This book is a fascinating look at a specific part of our ancestor’s lives. The entries in the book are written with humor and clarity (not technical medical terms), making it both an enjoyable read and a nice reference tool. This is a part of social history that affected all our ancestors’ lives and thus can be enjoyed by everyone.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.14 no.2, 2007

A Dictionary of Old Trades, Titles and Occupations2nd edition with additional entries by Colin Waters. Published by Countryside Books, 3 Catherine Road, Newbury, Berkshire RG14 5DS, England. <www.countryside>. 2005. 320 pp. Illustrations. Softcover. £12.95.

Here is another valuable reference book from Countryside Books, with a listing of nearly 4,000 old trades, titles, and occupations. The terms listed in alphabetical order are taken from a variety of primarily English sources covering many time periods, pre-Norman conquest to the present. There are over 70 illustrations, ranging from woodcuts and line drawings, to photographs of different occupations. The terms may describe occupations easily understood by everyone, to terms that are specific to one region of the country. Would you understand what your ancestor was if you learned that he was a bell swagger, a benshi, a cocarius, a coctiliarius, a deemster, a mueman, or a mull carver? You will learn about these and hundreds more in this excellent resource.

This book provides for the modern reader the most comprehensive and easily accessible listing defining obscure occupations.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.14 no.2, 2007

Tracing Your Family History: The Comprehensive Guide to Discovering Your Family TreeFourth Edition by Jean Cole and John Titford. Published by Countryside Books, 3 Catherine Road, Newbury, Berkshire RG14 7NA, UK. <>. 2004. 256 pp. Illustrations, index. Softcover. £11.95.

Here is an excellent, well-written, practical book about researching your English ancestors. I particularly liked it because it is easy to read, comprehensive, and full of practical tips and good illustrations. I sat down and read this book in one weekend; I enjoyed it and learned from it.

The book begins with the search for home sources, which for modern English families will be slightly different than what American researchers look for. Then we move on to civil registration, census, parish registers, bishop’s transcripts, and monumental inscriptions, all of which are appropriate for all families.

Then the book examines: non-conformists; the IGI; probate records; parish chest records; diocesan records; county records for crime, charities and the coroner; contemporary printed sources; manorial and landholding records; taxpayers; education and apprenticeship; sailors, soldiers, airmen and police officers; emigrants and immigrants; local records in county record offices; national records, publications and societies that can assist in research; with final chapters looking at computers and heraldry. For each subject addressed, the historical and legal background is described, providing context – which I liked – along with practical advice on how to access and interpret the records.

Most chapters provide a section of hints and reminders, which are a good refresher to read before going to do research in a particular set of records. Then if you don’t understand a point you can re-read that section of the chapter.

Each chapter concludes with a current extensive bibliography, directing the reader towards other sources for going further into any specific area. It should be pointed out that research in Scotland, Ireland, and Wales is mentioned – but the focus is clearly on English research.

The book concludes with appendices for addresses; historical terms, abbreviations and colloquialisms; historical dates; civil registration district reference numbers; and National Archives classification codes. The book has a good table of contents with chapter descriptions and a subject index to make it easy for you to find what you are looking for in the book.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.14 no.3, 2007

Victorian Derby: A Portrait of Life in a 19th Century Manufacturing Town by Harry Butterton. Published by Breedon Books, Breedon House, 3 The Parker Centre, Derby DE21 4SZ, UK. <>. 2006. 176 pp. Illustrations, index. Hardcover. £14.99.

Mr. Butterton studied what was happening in Derby during Queen Victoria’s reign by reading one year in every ten of the Derby Mercury, the main local newspaper. From this reading he wrote a three volume series, Derby Victorians. This book condenses that series.

As Mr. Butterton points out in his introduction, this volume is a portrait, a decidedly impressionistic one. He gives us, the reader, an impression of what Derby – a growing manufacturing town – was like from 1837 to 1901, beginning with a great picture of the town describing the changing city skyline. There are even photographs of the town and its streets and contemporary art that illustrate these changes. Mr. Butterton then looks at aspects of the peoples lives, like how they traveled, what life was like on the street or in their home, and looking at what was changing and how life was advancing.

We learn about places of learning and the churches in the town and how much new construction there was in the city as it grew. We read about the workplace and how it changed with attempts to keep the Sabbath, and half-day closings of the shops and factories. Then when the workers did have time off, we read about where they went, and how they spent their time positively (sports) or negatively (crime).

The final chapter, describing the effect on the city that Queen Victoria’s death, also contains an excellent reflective letter from the newspaper telling an imaginary Derby citizen from early in the nineteenth century how good things were now. Obviously the writer did not know what was to come, but it is an excellent summary of some of the changes that occurred during the queen’s reign.

The book opens with a map labeling the key streets and buildings within the city. This was very useful to someone who does not know the city. The many period black-and-white photographs are excellent and have reproduced well. There is a good subject and every-name index, making it easy to find the people, high and low in society, that are mentioned within the text.

For readers with Derby, or Derbyshire connections, this book will make a fascinating read, as it will for those seeking to understand life in a growing English manufacturing town. Comparisons are made within the text to other manufacturing towns, especially in terms of dates when services became available (e.g. piped water supply, tram service, etc.). This is an excellent local history with broad appeal.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.14 no.3, 2007

Exploring Northumberland History by Philip Nixon. Published by Breedon Books, Breedon House, 3 The Parker Centre, Derby DE21 4SZ, UK. <>. 2006. 208 pp. Illustrations. Hardcover. £17.99

Here is a beautiful book by a professional photographer and historian. The many color photographs are outstanding.

The book divides the county into regions: Newcastle; Newcastle to the Coast; Mid-Northumberland; North North­umberland; Northumberland Coast; and The Tyne Valley. The table of contents provides access to the five (Newcastle to the Coast) to 51 (North Northumberland) locations identified in each of the regions. For each location there is an excellent color picture, which might be of a castle, a church (inside or out), an important house, a village, a monument, a ruin, a ceremony (Fire Festival at Allendale), scenery, even rock markings and caves. If it is important to Northumberland’s history it is probably included here. The text for each location is well written and provides a good summary of the local history, mentioning the significant people, dates, and events connected with a particular location. The text often mentions that a place is open to the public (Cragside) or hints that it might not be (Bamburgh Castle is now luxury apartments).

I know Northumberland fairly well since I have ancestors from there and relatives still living in the county. I visit somewhere in the county almost every time I am in England. I found this a delight to read and have identified some additional places I plan on visiting in the future. However, there are a couple of drawbacks to practical use of this book. The first is the nice color map in the front of the book that divides the county up into different sections. Unfortunately, the map sections bear no resemblance to how this book divides up the county. Nor are all the places mentioned in the book identified on the map. In fact there are even places on the map not included in the book (Otterburn). The other handicap is there is no index. For a book of this type, this is a serious drawback, especially if you are interested in the people. So, for example, you would need to know that the Blacketts are connected with Cambo and Wallington to find them. If you are looking for the Percys and the Fenwicks, two among many important Northumberland families, then you are out of luck as they are scattered throughout the book. You are also out of luck if you are looking for information about a particular event (e.g. Jacobite Rebellions) and don’t already know the place to which it might be connected.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.14 no.3, 2007

Military History Sources for Family Historians: The Crimean War 1854-56 and Military History Sources for Family Historians: The Zulu War 1879 by Phil Tomaselli. Published by the Federation of Family History Societies (Publications) Ltd, Units 15-16 Chesham Industrial Centre, Oram Street, Bury, Lancashire BL9 6EN, England. <>. Both published in 2006, 48 pp. Illustrations. Softcover. £4.95 each.

Here are two wonderful little guides to get you started if you know or think your ancestor served in the Crimean or Zulu wars.

Each book follows a similar format, beginning with a good short summary of each war. It then addresses the question: “Did my ancestor fight in the war?” looking primarily at the medals and the medal rolls. The following two chapters identify specifically which records and indexes need to be searched to identify and find information about your soldier, sailor, or marine. The final chapter, which can be very helpful, examines other sources.

So, for example, in the Crimean War book we find out about the Great Crimean War Index created by Brian Oldham, indexing all officers and soldiers who served in the war created from the medal and muster rolls. For the Zulu War we learn about the Rorke’s Drift Research Project to create the definitive database of information relating to the battle itself and the people involved, including the desire to contact any descendants of any of the participants. Rorke’s Drift is a famous battle for which more Victoria Crosses were issued than for any other single battle, and it has been immortalized for modern historians by the movie Zulu. The appendices list the British regiments serving in each war, and for the Zulu War identified the ships involved plus the locally raised troops. Recommended reading lists and websites are provided for each war, along with details about how to make the most of your trip to the National Archives at Kew, where many of the records are held.

What makes these books so helpful is that they are focused on a particular war, point you specifically to the records you need to search, and give examples of what information you are going to find. You do not need to read a larger book about researching British Army ancestors, having to figure out whether a particular record group is going to hold information about your ancestor and whether it applies to this particular time period or not. Here you are told where to look.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.14 no.3, 2007

From Ulster to America: The Scotch-Irish Heritage of American English by Michael Montgomery. Published by the Ulster Historical Foundation, Unit 7, Cotton Court, Waring Street, Belfast BT1 2ED, Northern Ireland, UK. [new address]. <>. 2006. xxxviii, 210 pp. Softcover. £14.99.

This volume is described as “the first lexicographic work devoted specifically to linguistic connections between the British Isles and North American” (p.xvii). It is actually looking at the language connections between Ulster and North America, with an emphasis on the words that came with the colonial immigrants to Appalachia and the Ozarks. Many of these words have infiltrated the American language; many have only local usage but have often survived in these regions. Prof. Montgomery has searched in many sources from: moral and religious poems; local fiction; church records on both sides of the Atlantic; collections of humor; contemporary Ulster newspaper articles; recent works on Irish lexicography.

The book examines nearly 400 words or expressions that have contributed to the American vocabulary, arranged in a dictionary format. Each entry consists of five parts: (1) the word as primarily used and any variants in alphabetical order; (2) the part of speech (e.g. noun, verb, adverb, conjunction, etc), but it is also pointed out that a word may be a noun in Ulster but a verb in the U.S. (e.g. granny); (3) the definition, indicating both what is shared between Ulster and America and what is not; (4) the etymological summary often using the much larger language dictionaries such as the Oxford English Dictionary, Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue, Scottish National Dictionary, Dictionary of American Regional English and Webster’s Third New International Dictionary; (5) the citations, often excerpted from written material in Ulster with written and oral sources from the U.S. with strong use being made of the author’s earlier compilation Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English. The two sets of citations, arranged chronologically, show form and meanings that are identical or similar enough to make a case that the American usage grew out of the Ulster usage. The source citations are very extensive, showing the wide disparity of sources used to create this volume.

This volume will not necessarily help you trace your Scotch-Irish ancestors, but will assist you in understanding their culture and language. You will also recognize words you use and better appreciate where they have come from.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.14 no.3, 2007

The 1712 Land Tax Assessments and the 1710 Poll Book for Rutland General Editor T.H. McK. Clough. RLHRS Occasional Publication No. 7. Published by the Rutland Local History & Record Society for the Village Studies Group for Rutland. Purchase from Rutland Local History & Record Society, Rutland County Museum, Catmose Street, Oakham, Rutland, LE15 6HW, UK. 2005. 68 pp. Indices. Softcover. £5.95 plus £2 p. & h.

    Many English researchers will be familiar with the Land Tax Assessments (LTA) that have survived in their thousands for many counties for 1780-1832, and can often be found on microfilm through the Family History Library. However, the origins of the LTA go back much earlier.  
    Following the 1688 “Glorious Revolution,” England was established as a constitutional monarchy, and Parliament became fully responsible for the nation’s finances, instead of sharing that duty uncomfortably with the Crown. As a result of the need to raise money, the land tax originated in 1692, with the Treasury initially providing guidance on the calculation of rental values in order to determine individual tax assessments. In 1698, fixed quotas were introduced at all levels, from the national level downward. These quotas stayed in place, even with major changes within a given community, until the last remaining vestiges of the land tax were abolished in 1963.  
    Unusually, for the county of Rutland, the 1780-1832 LTAs have not survived, but for 1712 the LTA has survived for the whole county. That assessment has been transcribed and fully indexed here by the Village Studies Group. These assessments – arranged by parish – list the individuals who paid the tax, as well as the payment: a quarterly or annual figure depending upon the community. The owners of the land were responsible for the tax, but it was easier to collect from the occupiers, with the occupiers expecting a rebate from the ­land­owners. One problem with this assessment is that it rarely indicates whether the person is the occupier and/or the owner. Later assessments usually provide the names of both owner and occupier. 
    On 16 October 1710, a poll was taken for the election of two knights of the shire of Rutland. These names, arranged by parish, are provided following the parish LTA transcription. The names in the poll list are resident land owners, and so can help identify the real landowners – versus land occupiers – within a given parish. 
    The book includes five indexes: clergy; trades and occupations; field names, topographical and administrative references; places divided into those within Rutland and then in other counties; and personal names. 
    For anyone with early 18th century Rutland ancestors this is a valuable index. For me, with no Rutland ancestors, the opening essay entitled “A General Introduction to Land Tax Assessment,” by Dennis Mills; plus “A Commentary on the Land Tax and Poll Book Transcripts,” by T.M. McK. Clough; along with the bibliography; make this book a valuable resource. I have used the Land Tax Assessment records in Kent, Surrey, and London, but I know I will not look at them the same way after reading these essays.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.14 no.4, 2007

Scots in Canada by Jenni Calder. Published by Luath Press Ltd., 543/2 Castlehill, The Royal Mile, Edinburgh EH1 2ND, Scotland. 2003. 183 pp. Index, maps. Softcover. $14.95.

    Jenni Calder, the author, was born in Chicago, so she has local connections. She was educated in the U.S. and England, and has lived in or near Edinburgh since 1971. 
    Scots in Canada examines the challenges and obstacles that the Scots encountered upon arrival, and how they were overcome to create a solid foundation for future generations of Scots in Canada. 
    The book begins with a good overview of Scots migration to North America, focusing on Canada. The following chapters then focus on particular sections of Canada. The first describes the early Scots coming into Nova Scotia, the Loyalists of Scottish heritage who settled in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the Eastern Townships of Quebec; and the succeeding waves of Scots who followed. 
    The next chapter addresses the Scots moving into Upper Canada (Ontario). The next two chapters move north and west, first describing the large Scottish involvement in the Hudson Bay Company and the North West Company, and how their activities were initially opposed to settlement; yet settlement did occur. The final two chapters address the involvement of Scots in the creation of the Dominion of Canada, and how many modern Canadians are proud of their heritage. 
    The emigration and assimilation story flows well throughout the book. Good use is made of autobiographies and local fiction, and these are identified and quoted from to show clearly the experience of the Scots in Canada. Unfortunately, from a researcher’s perspective, other sources are rarely identified. For example, on page 35 we learn about the formation of the British American Land Company (formed in 1833), recruiting Highland settlers for the Eastern Townships, but no source is identified and nothing is easily recognized in the good bibliography that the book has. 
    The book contains a map of Scotland and maps of the Canadian provinces, showing the places where the emigrants came from and – most importantly – where the strong Scottish settlements were. This is especially helpful when describing the more widely dispersed settlements of the Canadian prairies and west. The book is well indexed, including the names of individuals mentioned in the text, places, battles, and topics. 
    The book provides researchers with a good overall picture of Scottish migration to Canada, but will frustrate those who find something specific and want to know where to find more.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.14 no.4, 2007

Scots in the USA by Jenni Calder. Published by Luath Press Ltd., 543/2 Castlehill, The Royal Mile, Edinburgh EH1 2ND, Scotland. 2006. 262 pp. Index, maps. Softcover. $14.95.

    I like the early chapters in this book that create a good picture of migration process for the Scots, examining the issues that both pushed them out of Scotland and pulled them to the U.S. It describes the fact the Scots were here before 1707, when, with the Union of the Crowns, it became legal for the Scots to trade with the colonies. We learn about the settlement in Perth Amboy, New Jersey; the destroyed colony of Stuart’s Town, South Carolina; criminals and political prisoners to New England; the tobacco lords and merchants in Virginia and Maryland; the soldiers and settlers in the Mohawk Valley of upstate New York; Scots acting as border guards in Darien, Georgia against the Spanish; settlers in the Cape Fear River region of North Carolina; the Ulster Scots who came into Pennsylvania, Virginia and the piedmont areas of North and South Carolina; and the short-lived state of Transylvania. During the Revolutionary War, we see the struggle and consequences of being Loyalists or Patriots. We also learn about how the Scottish Enlightenment was affecting the ideas that shaped the U.S. thinking and its constitution. 
    The following chapters look at westward expansion by the explorers, trappers, settlers, soldiers, cattlemen, railroad builders, and business developers. We learn about the involvement of the Scots in the anti-slavery movement and the Civil War. Reading these chapters, we have lots of vignettes of famous and ordinary Scots who succeeded in the U.S. You get the impression that Scots were important in anything and everything that was important in U.S. history. Liberal use is made of both autobiographies and fiction – all clearly identified – to give the reader a contemporary view of the events of the time. 
    All the people mentioned in the text are included in the comprehensive index. Unfortunately, there are no footnotes within the text to tell you where the information came from, so you have to guess at what sources listed in the bibliography might provide the answers. Doing this is easy for the early migrations, but not for the 19th and 20th century vignettes. The book provides a map of Scotland, showing most of the migration points; and seven maps of the U.S. The U.S. maps show key reference cities – but unlike in her Canadian book, do not mark the towns with Scottish connections. So, for example, they do not show where Scotch Grove, Iowa, or New Harmony, Indiana, are located; and there are numerous other examples. 
    Jenni Calder, the author, was born in Chicago, so her placement of the town of Dundee, Ill., 60 miles northeast of Chicago is both humorous (at the bottom of Lake Michigan perhaps) and an editing oversight, especially since it happens twice in the book (p. 95 and 175).

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.14 no.4, 2007

Tracing Your Yorkshire Ancestors by Rachel Bellerby. Published by Pen & Sword Family History, 47 Church Street, Barnsley, South Yorkshire, England S70 2AS. U.S. distributor is Casemate Publishing, 1016 Warrior Road, Drexel Hill, PA 19026 <www.casematepublish>. 2006, 162 pp. Illustrations, index. Softcover. $19.95.

    As researchers, we spend a lot of time looking for birth, marriage, and death records. But what about the rest of our ancestors’ lives – their childhood, their working and social lives? What Ms. Bellerby has done is focus on the sources to search to put flesh on the bones of our ancestors in Yorkshire, the largest of England’s counties. The ideas she generates on what type of records to look at will be applicable anywhere, but she gets specific for Yorkshire repositories. 
    First, we are introduced to Yorkshire pre-1974, with its three ridings (North, East and West), divided into administrative units called “wapentakes,” with the cities of York and Kingston-Upon-Hull being separately administered. After 1974, we have Cleveland, Humberside, North Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, and West Yorkshire. We are given details about and instructions on how to access the online catalogs of the: county record offices; university, museum and business archives; registry of deeds; and Borthwick Institute. Many of these processes are applicable for anywhere in England. 
    The early chapters focus on records associated with making a living: fishing, shipbuilding, mining, engineering, steel, railways, confectionary, textiles, farming, and estate management. Then the book addresses what life was like on the streets, at sporting venues, during leisure activities, or their worship. We learn what the schools were like for children and for adults. Then, since many of our ancestors spent time in a uniform, Yorkshire sources are highlighted (as opposed to the records of The National Archives). There is also a chapter on tracing immigrant ancestors and those who moved, highlighting settlement certificates, workhouse records, letters, and other records connected with the poor. These chapters, forming the bulk of the book, give the researcher lots of ideas on how to put flesh on their ancestors bones to make them come alive; how and where to look, with lots of examples and some case studies. 
    The last chapter of the book lists the specifics for each of the archives, museum archives, libraries, family history societies, and some miscellaneous record keepers within the county. We are given the name, address, web site, and description and size of some of the major holdings. I was surprised at how many good and large institutions there were; and most have their catalogs accessible through Access to Archives (<>). 
    The table of contents is good – listing all the headings, making topics easy to find – which is valuable, as the book’s index is poor. You will, for example, not find listed places mentioned in the text like Kiplin Hall (p. 47) or Wharton estate (p. 57). One weakness is that, for those wanting to learn more about a specific topic in the book, there is no bibliography or any recommendations for further reading. 
    Overall, I liked the book, as it got me thinking about our ancestor’s lives. For those with Yorkshire ancestors, it is very specific and helpful, but for those in other parts of the country, you will need to do your own digging on where to look. Luckily, Access to Archives makes that easy.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.14 no.4, 2007

Military History Sources for Family Historians: The Second World War 1939-1945 by Phil Tomaselli. Published by the Federation of Family History Societies (Publications) Ltd, Units 15-16 Chesham Industrial Centre, Oram Street, Bury, Lancashire BL9 6EN, England. <> 2006, 47 pp. Illustrations. Softcover. £4.95.

    Mr. Tomaselli has gotten the formula down for providing a good introduction to a particular war and how to research ancestors who served during that time period. Here he discusses how to get started recording memories, and possibly having the veterans themselves apply for their service records (though they are likely to still have their discharge papers). Then he examines medals, with descriptions – for they are numerous, depending upon where a person served. Then the casualty records: for unfortunately, it is often easier to locate the ancestors who died in action rather than those who survived. Guidance is given on how to access at The National Archives the unit records in which a person may have served. 
    A brief summary is given on other services such as: home guard; women in the different service branches; British resistance movement; MI5; Special Operations Executive; civil defence; Bevin Boys; and land army. Guidance is given for additional sources to use. Unfortunately, at this time, details on specific individuals can be difficult to obtain, especially for those who are not immediate family members. But the individual can be put into context with lots of supporting information.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.14 no.4, 2007

Military History Sources for Family Historians: Nelson’s Navy 1793-1815 by Keith Gregson. Published by the Federation of Family History Societies (Publications) Ltd, Units 15-16 Chesham Industrial Centre, Oram Street, Bury, Lancashire BL9 6EN, England. <> 2006, 32 pp. Illustrations. Softcover. £3.95.

    Nelson’s Navy grew rapidly from approximately 45,000 men in 1793 to over 145,000 in 1815. This book gives you background information on the navy of the period explaining life on board ship, the separation between officers and men, the hierarchy among them, and the role of the marines. The book then provides chapters on the primary and secondary records available at The National Archives, the National Maritime Museum along with some additional institutions. The book provides a good up-to-date bibliography and listing of useful websites. I have done research in some of the records included in this book. It serves as a good introduction to the subject of Nelson’s Navy and will point you in the right direction on where to go next for background or access to records.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.14 no.4, 2007

A Handbook of Devon Parishes: A Complete Guide for Local and Family Historians by Helen Harris. Published by Halsgrove, Halsgrove House, Lower Moor Way, Tiverton Business Park, Tiverton, Devon EX16 6SS. <>.

    If you have Devon ancestors, then this is a book designed to help you. It is a reference tool aimed at local and family historians. All 422 civil parishes (plus Lundy and the Authorities of Exeter, Plymouth, and Torbay) are included alphabetically. The listing begins with a map of the county overlain by a grid, used to locate any parish in the county. In the listing itself the name of each parish is followed by a grid reference, the name of the district authority of local government, and then comparative population figures for 1901 and 2001. 
    The description usually begins with access information describing the area and the roads that run to the community from recognizable towns. We are given information about the church, the key land owning families, and important historical or industrial events. The author visited all the parishes in the county, taking many pictures used to illustrate the book, checking her facts and descriptions for the book. 
    The standard descriptive directory of Devon, which the author mentions she used, is by W.G. Hoskins, published in 1954, but reprinted in 2003. Some comparisons show that there is a lot of similarity in the historical information, as you would expect, but this book brings the material up to date and includes new civil parishes (e.g.,Copplestone, Gulworthy). The other much appreciated addition in this book is reference to any local histories that have been published. 
    Even if you have the classic by W.G. Hoskins you will find this book of value in creating a vision of the parishes of Devon. 
Note: Some publication data were not included in the original review – hardcover; 192 pp.; year of publication was 2004; price (Aug.2008) was £19.99.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.14 no.5, 2007

Introducing Family History by Stuart A. Raymond. Published by Federation of Family History Societies, Units 15-16, Chesham Industrial Estate, Oram Street, Bury, Lancashire BL9 6EN, England. <> 2006. 148 pp. Illustrations, index. Softcover £8.95. [£4.50 on sale at <> under “special deals for beginners”]

    Family History is going beyond the names, dates and places to put our ancestors into context. This book, aimed at beginners, is good for this purpose, yet as an experienced researcher, I also found it helpful as it gave me some new websites and books to check out. 
    The book begins by encouraging you to research properly by recording and documenting everything. It progresses by explaining where to go, who to ask, and what to read; highlighting the internet, books, libraries, archives, record offices, and family history societies. Then we get the commonly used sources: civil registration, church records, census, monumental inscriptions, and probate. These sources help us find the names, dates and places, but also provide the clues that will help the researcher fill in the details. 
    The book aims to lead the beginner to filling in the details by examining: official lists of names; land surveys and estate records; local government records created by the parish, county, diocese, and poor law; occupational sources; army lists; army ancestors; educational records; contemporary sources such as newspapers, directories, and parliamentary papers; and migration. There is a chapter to help you find places, understand surnames, read documents, and dates. There is a very brief section to point you towards sources for the rest of the British Isles. 
    Each sub-section or topic in the book concludes with colored boxes. It is these boxes that make information easy to find: yellow for websites; blue for books; green for addresses; red for false assumptions that can easily lead you astray; orange for reminders. The books and websites here are relevant and current, although some websites have already changed (p. 64). The one major error in the book is the lack of understanding of what is contained in the British Isles Vital Records Index (BIVRI), which is not the International Genealogical Index (IGI) on CD as this book implies, it is parish register extractions that supplement the IGI, and thus both indexes need to be checked (p. 53). 
    In spite of the error, I liked this book, both content and layout. It is not stated, but this may be a suitable replacement to Beginning Your Family History by George Pelling.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.14 no.5, 2007

Dorset ~ America. The Story of Dorset’s Links with North America Through the Centuries by Rodney Legg. Published by Dorset Books, Halsgrove, Halsgrove House, Lower Moor Way, Tiverton Business Park, Tiverton, Devon EX16 6SS. <>. 2006. 160 pp. Illustrations. Hardcover. £19.99.

    Here is an interesting book for those with Dorset connections, although I admit it was not that I expected. The connections go both ways, with people from Dorset going to America, or Americans going to Dorset. 
    The book is arranged alphabetically by the name of the community. The headings also provide an ordnance survey map reference and the connections. So, for example, at Steeple we have the subheading Lawrence Quartering Washington, St. Michael’s Church – SY912809. In the following description we learn the stars and stripes (correctly bars and mullets, heraldically) joining the crusader cross of the Lawrence family when Edmund Lawrence married Agnes de Wessington, in 1390. This is a design identical to George Washington’s signet ring and is found above the church door, and numerous places inside the church. At Sherborne we read about Sir Walter Raleigh and his connections with Virginia, tobacco, and potatoes. For Lyme Regis we read about Thomas Coram, who emigrated to the U.S. and made a fortune as a ship builder at Taunton, Massachusetts, between 1693 and 1704. Thomas, along with James Edward Oglethorpe, played a leading role in the founding of the colony of Georgia. 
    We also read about the Americans coming to Dorset, as at Christchurch with USAAF Station 416, and at Crossways with USAAF Station 454, while Portland was the staging ground for Force O that landed at Omaha beach during the Normandy landings in 1944. There is also a D-Day memorial at Weymouth. The most recent event was the 2006 emergency landing of Steve Fossett at Hurn in February 2006, when he set the record for the longest-ever flight.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.14 no.5, 2007

The Self-Contained Village? The Social History of Rural Communities 1250-1900. Volume 2 in the series “Explorations in Local and Regional History.” edited by Christopher Dyer. Published by University of Hertfordshire Press, College Lane, Hatfield, Hertfordshire AL10 9AB, England. <>. 2007. xii, 148 pp. Illustrations, index. Softcover. £14.99.

    The image that exists for many is that the English village was a self contained community. This image was broken by Peter Laslett’s research on mobility in the 1960s, yet for many the image persists. 
    The introduction to the book states that the focus is “on the idea of the ‘self-contained’ village. Were villages self-sufficient in the economies? To what extent did village populations persist from generation to generation? Did some periods see more intense migration than others? To what extent did villages practise endogamy, or did they marry outsiders? Was land inherited through families who were attached to specific holdings? Were villagers aware of life beyond the parish boundary? To what extent did they develop a strong sense of local identity? Did the wider changes in the economy and government erode or strengthen the village’s own institutions and society? Did antagonisms between the social strata within the village damage cohesion? Can the history of the village be summed up as a continuous erosion of the original peasant communities, providing for their own needs from the village fields, and living (except for their duties to the lord and state) an almost autonomous existence?” (p.2). 
    The editor continues by issuing a warning about generalizations over a diverse countryside, and to remind us that there is even a problem among researchers about how to define a village. The introduction provides a helpful overview of the questions and definitions. 
    The book contains six papers presented at a 2004 conference at the University of Leicester. The papers address a variety of topics including demography, migration, agriculture, inheritance, welfare, politics, employment, industry, and markets. The authors use specific examples such as: mobility through changes of surnames among villages in Gloucestershire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire in the late medieval period; mobility in rural Norfolk among landholders, 1440-1600, using church court depositions, manorial records listing bondmen and bondwomen; the politics of destitution and settlement in the 1590-1660 period, highlighting Warwickshire communities; mobility, lineage and identity 1600-1750, using Richard Gough’s classic book on the History of Myddle and modern research on two villages in Essex and Dorset, examining how long people stayed and at what level in society; continuity and change in 1750-1850, focusing on Westmoreland villages using a unique 1798 census, and evaluation of the impact of enclosure and changes in agricultural practices; rise of the industrial society 1760-1900, with examples of changing communities from across the country. 
    The articles are all well worth reading to put the overall questions in perspective. Which of the articles will be the most relevant to your research will depend upon the time period and the geographic location in which you are researching. 
    These articles are thoroughly researched, well footnoted, give good examples of the records that can be used in your research, and provide examples with which you can compare and contrast your ancestors community. Each paper has a conclusion, so it is easy to go back to the papers to refresh your memory on the conclusions and examples. 
    Needless to say, the opening questions are all addressed in this book and the reader concludes that villages were not self-contained, but rather in a state of flux in most time periods for a variety of reasons depending on time and geography. This is a good book to get you thinking about the context of your ancestral communities.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.14 no.5, 2007

Brewers in Hertfordshire: A Historical Gazetteer by Allan Whitaker. Published by University of Hertfordshire Press, College Lane, Hatfield, Hertfordshire AL10 9AB, England. <>. 2006. xxi, 304 pp. Illustrations, indices. Softcover. £14.99.

    This book begins with a substantial introduction (37 pages) that explains the historical brewing process and gives an overview of the industry within the county, especially from 1700 to the present. For non-aficionados, it explains the differences between ales and beers, the reasons for differences in alcohol content, and the importance of the barley malting and brewing processes. 
    We are provided with a listing of all the breweries with their location, years of operation, and names of owners. We learn about tied estates, where breweries bought properties, freehold and leasehold, and thus restricted the sale of only their beer within the tavern. We learn how these property arrangements and numerous government acts provide a wealth of documentation for researchers. Some brewery ownership ran in families for more than two hundred years, making the associated records great for family history. A significant number of Quakers made fortunes in the brewing industries and then became bankers. 
    This valuable historical introduction is relevant for any historian with brewing connections, and includes a thorough bibliography. 
    The bulk of the book lists the Hertfordshire towns and villages in alphabetical order. For each community it gives the history of any breweries in that community. There are numerous lists provided of companies owning tied houses scattered across the area, inside and outside of the county. There are many excellent photographs of inns, public houses, and breweries, with detailed maps of the breweries, identifying the individual buildings and their purpose, plus maps of the communities showing where the breweries, malting houses, and public houses were located. It is here also that you develop a picture of the rise and fall of particular families, with fortunes made and lost. The descriptions for each community conclude with detailed references. A final section gives similar information for breweries outside the county in Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Essex, and Greater London that had significant numbers of tied houses within the county. 
    To make information easy to find within the book, there is a general index which includes subjects and names of families and individuals, a place index, and a public house index. 
    This is an excellent source for anyone with brewing connections, and a must if those interests are in Hertfordshire.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.14 no.5, 2007

Greater London History Sources, Volume 1: City of London. 2000. 232 pp. £9.95. Greater London History Sources, Volume 2: Middlesex, part 1. 2005. 235 pp. £11.95 Series editors Richard Knight and Kathleen Shawcross. Published by Guildhall Library Publications in association with the Greater London Archives Network, Guildhall Library, Aldermanbury, London EC2V 7HH, UK. Index. Softcover.

    These two volumes are the start of a series forming a guide to printed and visual materials, archives, and manuscripts held in publicly-funded local record offices and local studies collections in and around London. The intent is to cover the City of London and the 32 London boroughs, which together form Greater London. A map shows the boundaries of the boroughs involved. This series is being produced because records are not always held in localities where you might expect them. The content of each volume was a result of a survey to the different institutions. The results varied in depth, but the editors have put the results into a consistent easy-to-read format. 
    Each institution was asked to address its records in the following categories: books, pamphlets, and periodicals; special collections and printed materials; newspapers; cuttings collections; directories; electoral registers and poll books; illustrations; maps; audio-visual items; museum objects; local authority records and predecessor authorities; central government; other public authorities; courts of law; dioceses, archdeaconries, and rural deaneries, cathedral and ecclesiastical jurisdictions; parishes; non-Anglican places of worship; religious organizations; livery companies and related organizations; almshouses; hospitals, asylums, and dispensaries; orphanages, refuges, and penitentiaries; schools and colleges; prisons; other institutions; cemeteries and crematoria; fire and salvage brigades; military and armed bodies; associations, clubs, and societies; theatres and cinemas; business associations and market exchanges; fairs and markets; businesses; personal papers and records of private estates; manorial records; manuscripts; antiquarian collections; and copies of source material held elsewhere. This is the information that all historians and genealogists are seeking. 
    It needs to be remembered that London guilds, hospitals, and institutions held land and administered other institutions all over the British Isles, so the records you are seeking from elsewhere in the British Isles may be here. The introduction does warn that space restrictions mean that not everything in the institutions is included and that researchers should assume that each will hold many smaller and less significant deposits of personal, family, and estate papers, along with large collections of title deeds for their locality. But this may just be what you are looking for. Even with this limitation, these volumes are full of records for you to examine. 
    Volume 1 includes the records of the London Records Office; Guildhall Library; St. Bartholomew’s Hospital Archives and Museum. Not included in this volume is the London Metropolitan Archives, which is hoped to be a separate volume in the series. Volume 2, part 1 for Middlesex, covers the London boroughs of: Barnet; Camden; Ealing; Hackney; Hammersmith and Fulham; Hillingdon; and Hounslow. Each volume is well indexed. For London researchers, this series forms a valuable tool to know what has survived and where it is located.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.14 no.6, 2007

The Scottish Family Tree Detective: Tracing Your Ancestors in Scotland by Rosemary Bigwood. Published by Manchester University Press, Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9NR, UK. 2006. 292 pp. Index. Softcover. £9.99.

    This book is so good that it will become my first choice when seeking an answer to a Scottish research question, or an idea on what to examine next (after my own book, of course). I like the logical layout of the book, its approach to laying out a road map to solving problems with in-depth suggestions, and its encouragement to follow the clues. I recommend this book highly for those doing Scottish research. 
    The book begins with an introduction on how to do research in general, using Scottish examples. The second and largest section of the book, from birth to death, examines the main ‘facts’ of life – birth, marriage, and death. Here the book examines the statutory registers, census returns, and old parish registers, suggesting ways of solving problems in these areas. When the records have gaps or deficiencies, then alternatives are suggested. It is this problem-solving approach, with very specific practical suggestions, that I particularly liked. 
    The third section profiles an ancestor; examining and exploring a wide range of sources, always with the intent of finding out more about people in the past, both in terms of tracing ancestors beyond the parish registers and putting flesh on the bones. Here three questions are examined. “Where did they live?” examines which individuals, groups of people, or authorities may have come into contact with our ancestors, making records at the local or national level. “When did they live?” examines what was going on around them, looking at war, politics, religion, or economic changes that may have had an impact on their lives. “What did they do?” examines sources for various occupations or persons of a particular class within society, broadening research on individuals and their backgrounds. 
    The final section helps the researcher to understand legal documents, giving guidance to understand complex records such as sasines, deeds, and court records, looking at what they contain, their terminology, and form. There are a number of cross-references within the book to this chapter, making it nice that the complex legal materials are pulled together in one place. 
    The book concludes with a number of practical appendices. The first, largest, and most valuable is a listing of each parish in alphabetical order, providing: its unique number; the pre-1974 county; its current local authority; the applicable sheriff court with class reference number; commissary court with class reference number; and relevant burgh, town or village. Other appendices provide addresses for Scottish archives, names of Scottish family history societies, National Archive of Scotland class reference numbers for sources of Scottish family history; and information on Scottish money, numbers, and dates.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.14 no.6, 2007

Victorian Village Life: A Warwickshire Schoolmaster’s Record by Anne Langley. Published by Stretton On Dunsmore History Society, 12 Squires Road, Stretton On Dunsmore, Rugby CV23 9HF, UK. 2004. 34 pp. Illustrated. Softcover. £3.50.

    Here is a delightful, well written little book portraying life in an English village during the second half of the nineteenth century. The book examines the: people; work; village school; leisure; local and national events; illness; support of the poor; church and chapel; crime and punishment; transport; and the weather. The village could almost be anywhere in England and provides a model for what good writing can do for any community. 
    In reality this is Stretton On Dunsmore in Warwickshire, lying between Coventry and Rugby, near where the Fosse Way crosses the A45. In Victorian times this was a village of about 600 people, with the green at its heart where the post office and the shops were situated. Rows of cottages radiated from the village center, with a scattering of larger buildings. What makes this village and its people come alive are the details extracted from the records created by the schoolmasters. Thus this village history has a focus on the children, their families, and how they were part of a larger community. This is a nice book, easy to read and worth emulating for those seeking to put their ancestors into context.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.14 no.6, 2007

Berkshire Overseers Papers: A Calendar of the Surviving Records of the Berkshire Overseers of the Poor 1601-1834
. Produced by members of the Berkshire Family History Society, Yeomanry House, 131 Castle Hill, Reading, Berkshire RG1 7TJ, UK. £19.75 includes overseas airmail postage.

    This is a great comprehensive resource for those with Berkshire connections. This CD-ROM brings together all 26 volumes, previously published on microfiche, of the overseers papers for the county. The original volumes are divided up by parishes within the Poor Law Unions as they would have existed in 1834. Some volumes include part of one parish, while others include multiple parishes, depending upon the numbers of records that have survived. Here they have all been collected together. 
    The overseers papers include: overseers accounts of receipts and disbursements; settlement examinations and certificates; apprenticeship indentures; bastardy allegations, examinations and bonds; and militia documents. There are more than 10,000 documents in total. The introduction provides a history of the poor law acts as they developed after the Reformation, especially as they relate to the Settlement Acts. Scans of six sample documents are provided so that researchers new to these records will know what they will see and why they can be so valuable. 
    There are three comprehensive indexes to the 26 volumes, covering names, places, and occupations. The introduction should be read to understand the benefits and limitations of each. Because the files are stored as pdf files, Adobe Acrobat’s search fund can also be used and in certain circumstances is recommended. The original documents are often long, with standardized verbiage; the overseers or churchwardens or justices of the peace fill in the appropriate blanks. The extracts here provide all names of individuals mentioned, including the names of parish officials or justices; thus people at all levels of society will be included. 
    The value of these records can be illustrated by one sample entry from the parish of Aldermaston which reads: “Date: 27 Dec 1773 Settlement Certificate from Kingsclere, Southton Overseer(s) and/or Churchwarden(s): John CANE [+] Robert MARRINER [+] with Witnesses: Charles TOMLINS [+] and Frances TOWN [+] to Aldermaston acknowledging legal settlement of Jasper Tyler, Ann his wife, Charlotte their daughter aged 5 years and John their son about 1 ?. JPs: E GODDARD [+] and Tho OBOURN [+] on 29 May 1774.” 
    As with all indexes and abstracts, the reader is advised to obtain copies of original documents. A warning is provided noting the change of document numbering that occurred at the Berkshire Record Office while creating this index. This means that the modern document number provided here may not align with the numbering on the older microfilming. Researchers should still make the effort to get copies of the original records. This is a comprehensive source covering all of Berkshire for all levels of society, and is thus highly recommended for those with Berkshire connections.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.14 no.6, 2007

The Church Explorer’s Handbook: A Guide to Looking at Churches and Their Contents by Clive Fewins. Published by the Open Churches Trust and Canterbury Press, St. Mary’s Works, St. Mary’s Plain, Norwich, Norfolk NR3 3BH, UK. <>. 2005, second impression with corrections 2006. xii, 340 pp. Illustrations, indexes. Hardcover. £14.99.

    When visiting England and Wales there are two obvious reasons for visiting the parish church. The first is that it is the one place connected with our ancestors that is easy to find – usually still exists – and that we are likely to know because we have researched our ancestor’s baptism, marriage, and burial. The second is because that is where the history of a community is recorded, often almost a thousand years, even in small isolated villages. There are some 16,000 parish churches in England and Wales, so there is plenty of variety and history to explore. 
    The book is divided into four sections. The first looks at the church from the outside, giving you direction as to the features to examine to help determine the age and history of the church. This process can be fun or confusing as you try to solve the living-history puzzle presented before you. 
    The second describes basic church design and architecture, so you can identify the common features of churches from the different periods: Saxon (600-1066); Norman/ Romanesque (1066-1200); Early English (1200-1300); Decorated (1300-1350); Perpendicular (1350-1550); Reformation; 18th Century; 19th Century; and 20th Century. 
    The third section goes inside, first addressing the main features common to the majority of churches; but with additional chapters looking at screens, lofts, chantries, roofs, ceilings, windows, stained glass, pillars, arcades, wallpaintings, and monuments. The final section examines the churchyard with its lynchgate, buildings, crosses, and monuments. 
    Each feature of the church is thoroughly described, then illustrated with photographs or line drawings. Then at the end of each feature there is a shaded box containing a listing of churches that have fine examples of that particular feature, arranged by county (post-1974 counties). These boxes make it easy to find the examples. 
    There are six appendices: the most significant for travelers is the list of churches by county that includes the authors’ favorites, those that incorporate different periods of architecture or are different, and the truly significant churches. What the list avoids doing is listing all the churches within the county that are mentioned within the text of the book. For American tourists, or anyone from outside the particular county, this is a real disadvantage. You could be a mile away from a really nice church, but unless you looked up that particular parish by name in the index of church names and places, you will probably miss it. 
    The other appendices include: a listing of churches in Scotland (short), useful contacts, further reading, a glossary, and a bibliography. The book includes a subject index and an index of churches by names and place that are mentioned within the text. 
    When reading the book the early English font at Bridekirk was mentioned. This is about 10 miles from my mother’s home in Cumbria, and I made a mental note to go and see it next time. That opportunity came sooner than expected, for in October I needed to return to England for a funeral. I made the trip to Bridekirk to see the font – which was very nice – but also got to see a very nice and unusual church with a stone exterior and brick lined interior (not mentioned in the book) but very nice. I also got to visit the church in Aldermaston, Berkshire, where an ancestor was the minister in the 1680s. I also and got to see the 12th century glass and wallpaintings mentioned in the book. 
     This book is designed as a practical handbook that can be carried in your coat pocket, backpack, or car while traveling. It is easy to dip into to look up something specific or can be read through to get a good overview of English churches and what to look for. As a former minister, I have a number of books on English church architecture, and this one is very practical and highly recommended.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.15 no.1, 2008

Researching Ancestors in the East India Company Armies by Peter A. Bailey. Families in British India Society Research Guide No. 1. Published by the Families in British India Society, c/o Mrs E.V. MacGregor (treasurer) 14 Gableson Avenue, Brighton, Sussex BN1 5FG, UK. <>. 2006. vi, 106 pp. Softcover. £6.95.

    This book successfully provides guidance for family historians seeking information on ancestors who served in the army of the Honourable East India Company (HEIC) in India or the associated territories. It provides a systematic approach for your research and guidance for those who want to learn more. It is not, however, an academic book about the history of India or the armies of the HEIC or the Crown. 
    The family historian is the focus and, thus, it largely lists and describes useful records, plus gives examples of the information you will find in the records. The bulk of the HEIC records are now in the ‘India Office Records’ (IOR) in the Asian and African Studies Reading Room at the British Library at St. Pancras in London. Many of the library catalogs are online and can best be searched through the “Access to Archives” (“A2A”) website at <>. For researchers outside London, it should be noted that many of the important records – but not all – in this collection have been microfilmed by the Family History Library. This book guides you to the relevant film numbers. 
    After some short introductory background chapters on history, structure, and demise of the HEIC army, the book moves into Officers records, focusing on the records associated with their entry into service and their service records. This is repeated for soldiers (all non-officers) looking at their recruitment, service, wives and children, plus their discharge. Pension schemes and records are discussed for both officers and soldiers. Additional chapters cover records for baptisms, marriages, burials, wills, administrations, inventories, and further sources. 
    The chapters in this book are packed with ideas and suggestions of where to look for information. One slim chapter that is helpful gives guidance on where to start and shows, through an example, the wealth of information that can be found in these records for one particular soldier. This soldier is just one of over 200,000 who served in the HEIC. 
    The book concludes with a number of practical tables, such as: chronology of major EIC acquisitions in India and the East; major wars and battles of the EIC Armies; development of EIC armies structure 1795-1857; composition of major units in the EIC Army 1857; transfer of EIC forces to the British Army in 1861; divisional headquarters of the EIC armies (1857); list of principal sources; glossary of military ranks and terms. 
    The book contains no index, but the table of contents is very detailed, with each chapter divided into short sections, making it easy to find the subject you are looking for. The book is a must for anyone with ancestors in any army of the Honourable East India Company.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.15 no.1, 2008

Mutual Self-Help in Southern England 1850-1912 by Audrey Fisk. Published by the Foresters Heritage Trust, Foresters House, 29-33 Shirley Road, Southampton SO15 3EW, UK. <>. 2006. 183 pp. Illustrations Softcover. £12.

    Prior to implementation of the National Insurance Act in 1912, mutual self-help was the only resource for workingmen to protect themselves and their families in sickness and at death from having to apply to the Poor Law Guardians for assistance. This was something to be avoided, especially after the introduction of the New Poor Law in 1834. After 1834, outdoor relief was not allowed and assistance meant entering the Workhouse, whereupon families were separated. These mutual self-help groups allowed small regular contributions from many to provide support in times of sickness or bereavement. 
    The largest mutual self-help groups are the Ancient Order of Foresters and the Independent Order of Oddfellows (Manchester Unity), but others include the Independent Order of Rechabites, the Orders of Druids, Shepherds, and Gardeners, in addition to which many companies, large and small, also created their own groups. This book focuses on the Ancient Order of Foresters and its expansion to the south of a line drawn from Bristol to the Wash in the period 1850 through 1912. 
    Other than the already established centers in London, Bristol, and Southampton, expansion was into primarily agricultural areas, which was new territory for the Foresters, who were strong in the industrial areas of the north. The study looks at the forces driving the geographic expansion, but also examines: the contributions of friendly society members to local and national life; the thorny question of the relationship between friendly societies as institutions and national politics; methodology and diversity; and how the societies operated. 
    The early chapters set the scene, with later chapters discussing expansion and activities within the Home Counties, along the south coast, then into Devon and Cornwall. The rest of the book describes the methodology used in the study, with some specific case studies, each set into local, regional, and national context. It explains how the societies operated, grew, declined and sometime failed. 
    This is both a good book and a frustrating one. The book provides the context for expansion of the Foresters, at least in the south of England. It provides a good description of how the self-help groups formed, operated, and grew. But at times I wanted to know more. At the same time, there is no index, so cross-referencing material is hard. For example, I am particularly interested in the Foresters Court operating in Snodland in Kent among the cement workers (p.40), because this is one town and industry in which I have ancestors working. If it’s mentioned elsewhere in the book – and I don’t think it is – I did not catch it, but an index would have helped to make sure. Other readers will need to read the book to find out if any Foresters Courts operated in the area of their ancestors, whether it is a one-word mention, like Snodland, or a multi-page case study.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.15 no.1, 2008

Dorset Quarter Sessions Order Book 1625-1638: A Calendar. Dorset Record Society Volume 14 edited by Terry Hearing and Sarah Bridges. Published by the Dorset Record Society, c/o Hon. General Secretary, Dorset County Museum, High West Street, Dorchester, Dorset DT1 1XA, UK. <>. 2006. xxi, 503 pp. Illustrations, indices. Hardcover. £25.

    The book begins with a good description of the activities and operation of the Quarter Sessions. The Quarter Sessions originate in the fourteenth century. It was a meeting four times a year of the justices of the peace at Epiphany (January), Easter (March or April), Trinity (June or July) and Michaelmas (September or October). Their jurisdiction covered the county, except the boroughs that had their own courts, although the boroughs tended to pass the more serious crimes on to the county. 
    The Quarter Sessions Order Book for Dorset covering 1625 through 1638 is substantial, consisting of 642 numbered folios with some additional sheets and is the earliest surviving volume for Dorset. No other documents for the Quarter Sessions have survived for the County prior to the Civil War, thus it is a valuable source for the history of local government in the early seventeenth century. Its wealth of names from all levels of society makes it a valuable source for early family history research in Dorset. 
    The Quarter Sessions moved around the county to Blandford, Sherbourne, Shaftesbury, Beaminster, and Bridport. The Quarter Sessions had judicial and administrative functions, although the two tended to merge. The criminal offenses were divided into felonies (grand and petty) and misdemeanors. Often the grand felonies, such as murder and robbery, were turned over to the Assizes by this time period. Administratively, the county was split into an Eastern and a Western Division, with a treasurer in each. The court addressed: rates; relief for plague areas or maimed soldiers; licensing of ale houses; control of wages; upkeep of the roads and bridges; supervision of trade and punishment for market offenses; permission to build cottages without the required four acres; Poor Law collection, assessment and distribution; bastardy; vagrancy and begging; cash relief for emergencies such as fires; recognizance’s; and administration of the County Goal and the Houses of Correction. A careful reading of the introduction, editorial practices, and the use of the practical glossary will make interpretation of the many documents, transcribed from Court Hand, Secretary Hand and Latin into modern English, more understandable. 
    The appendices provide: dates and places of the Quarter Sessions; names of the justices with their status, dates, domicile and number of sessions attended; facsimiles and transcripts of the first few pages of the Order Book to provide a flavor of the original document. There are indices for place names, justices of the court, and names of people. 
    The bulk of the book puts particular individuals, from all levels of society, into a particular time and place doing something. For example, we find: George Starre of Sherbourne, a gentleman, paying in 1627 a £40 surety to appear at the next sessions on a charge of bastardy; or John Randale of West Lulworth, a tailor, paying in 1628 a surety of £40 not to sell ale without a license. Other entries provide fuller descriptions. 
    This is a well-indexed detailed source, covering individuals at all levels of society, and is thus recommended for anyone with early Dorset connections.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.15 no.1, 2008

Family History in the Wars: How Your Ancestors Served Their Country by William Spencer. Published by The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU, UK. <>. 2007. x, 246 pp. Illustrations, index. Softcover. £7.99.

    This is an excellent guide, small enough to slip into your pocket, for anyone searching for 20th century connections in the British military (including the Merchant Marine up to 1945). The first four chapters address the records by time period: 1899-1919; 1919-1939; 1939-1945; 1945-1953. For each period it discusses where the British armed services were fighting (and they were always fighting somewhere in the world). The focus is on records of service (though many post 1919 personnel records are still with the Ministry of Defence), operational records, medals and awards, prisoners of war, courts martial, and casualties. For World War II it also examines the Home Guard, the Women’s Land Army and conscientious objectors. 
    For each time period Mr. Spencer addresses which records exist at the National Archives, how they are organized, which have been indexed (on index cards, on microfilm, in the online catalogue, on DocumentsOnline), which documents can be downloaded, and how to approach the records depending upon what you know. 
    A fifth chapter examines the consequences of war, addressing records for personnel leaving and returning home; plus those whose lives were changed, such as aliens and internees, refugees, and evacuees. The final chapter provides practical research advice, with case studies showing what can be learned about an ancestor with some diligence and the use of various sources. 
    Some good practical warnings are given here, such as the reminder that someone could have served in the Army, left anytime between 1883 and 1913 and still served in the First World War (volunteer or conscript), and thus his earlier records may have been destroyed. This section also contains some valuable quick references, such as a listing of record groups to examine when searching for officers or other ranks, depending upon the particular branch of service. This listing includes the branches of the service that may be less familiar, such as the Militia, Imperial Yeomanry, Royal Garrison Regiment, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserves, Special Operations, and more. Other listings show where to look for operational records, and there is an order of precedence for the Army at the start of WWI. 
    I personally have worked with a number of these indexes and records groups and can affirm the practical advice given here. One of the big plusses of this book, for those who know they have only twentieth century military connections, is its narrow focus ignoring the complications of explaining the many options for earlier military ancestors. There are other books that provide the information contained in this book, but this is a small, clearly focused book that I liked and can recommend.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.15 no.2, 2008

Shops, Shambles and the Street Market: Retailing in Georgian Hull 1770 to 1810 by Ann Bennett. Published by Oblong Creative Limited, 416B Thorp Arch Estate, Wetherby LS23 7BJ, UK. 2005. 162 pp. Illustrated, index, maps. Softcover. £10.75.

    Hull is a major town in the East Riding of Yorkshire, on the north bank of the River Humber, which forms the county boundary with Lincolnshire. In this book we have a wonderful detailed description of retailing in a provincial town in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. If you have an ancestor in a trade that dealt with the public in this time period, then this is well worth reading. 
    The book begins with a description of the town – crowded by its town walls – and how the town expanded its housing and population with the destruction of those walls and the building of new docks. Yet most of the town’s business was still carried out in the market place and the surrounding area in the older part of the town. There are separate chapters focusing on the: Shambles and the Butchers; Street Market; Shops; Organization of Trade; Shop­keepers – Failures and Success; and Consumers in Hull and Beyond. 
    For modern readers there is a lot here discussing life as it was – and it was very different from ours. We learn about open-air meat markets, products being sold from hand carts (legally and illegally); the importance of and destructive nature of credit both for the shop owners and the shoppers; taxes; effects of inflation; inspections; price fixing; illegal activities (forestalling, engrossing, and regrating); shortages of goods; changing habits in the good times and the bad (especially during the war); effects of changing fashions; changing distributions as goods came from other parts of England or from around the globe. 
    The businesses that are discussed in detail include: butchers; clothing, textiles and footwear; groceries and provisions; wines, spirits and beer; household furnishings, metal goods, books and medicines. The book also illustrates well the limitations of creating a picture of the community from trade directories as other records show that many others were selling items on the streets or from their homes to make extra money, and these might be legal or illegal. One of the surprises for me was the wide variety of different items a storekeeper might carry. 
    This book is a fascinating, detailed read and recommended for anyone with ancestral connections in shop-keeping in this period, even more so if the connections are to Hull or East Yorkshire.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.15 no.2, 2008

Little Ireland: A Family’s Journey from Co. Sligo to Co. Durham by Philip Lees. Published by the author, Philip Lees, 39 Old Millmeads, Horsham West Sussex RH12 2LP. <>. 2004. 236 pp. Illustrations, index, maps. Softcover. £11.95.

    Here is an interesting, very well written story of the migration of the Mattimore and Gaffney families of Aughanagh, County Sligo, to Gordon Gill, known as Little Ireland, in the Parish of Ramshaw in the Bishop Auckland area of County Durham. 
    The migrant, Thomas Mattimore, is born in 1833, but the line is extended back a couple of generations in Ireland. This family is put into context with potentially related, similarly named families in the area. One nice feature is that events that affected the family are put into both a national and a local context, for example using extracts from local government health reports and newspapers. 
    After surviving the famine, the family moves in 1867 to County Durham to work in the coal mines. We then learn the story of Little Ireland, a small community in which numerous Irish migrated to, settled and grew up. There are excellent, detailed ordnance survey maps (1:2500) showing how the community changed with time as the coal mining and associated railways expanded and declined. The effect on the families who stayed and left is described well. The book is well illustrated with 135 family photographs and an additional 33 modern color photographs of the communities in Ireland and County Durham. 
    This book is a very engaging read, even for those not related to the family. I do have Irish who also migrated to work in the Durham coal fields. I only wish I could find a fraction of the records and photographs that the author has found. I did find much to help put my Durham coal mining Irish into context. There are a couple of drawbacks to the book in that it does not include an every name index and there are no source citations, so you do not know which facts have been documented or which are just part of oral tradition.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.15 no.2, 2008

Moota – Camp 103: The Story of a Cumbrian Prisoner of War Camp by Gloria Edwards. Published by Little Bird Publications, High Moor House, Hill Street, Cockermouth, Cumbria CA13 0AU, England. 2005. 45 pp. Illustrated. Softcover. £5.99.

    Growing up in post-war England, I rarely heard about any of the nearly 500 prisoner of war camps that existed in the British Isles. Most of these camps have fallen into disrepair or have disappeared. Here is the story of one camp – Camp 103 at Moota. The former site of this camp is along the old Roman road between Cockermouth and Carlisle in Cumbria, the present A595, a few miles from Cockermouth, and is currently occupied by a hotel and garden center. 
    What Ms. Edwards has done is to gather photographs of the camp and some of its people, interview some surviving occupiers of the camp, and some of the locals who remembered the camp. She has pulled it together into a well-illustrated local history. 
    Land for the camp was requisitioned in 1942 from the Lawson family. The camp itself was designed to hold 1,200 men and was built by Thomas Armstrong. The first occupiers were Italian POWs, followed in 1944 by Germans, some of whom were still there in 1946 after the end of the war. Following the war, the camp was used by tens of thousands of displaced persons from Europe, especially Ukrainians, Poles, Latvians, Lithuanians, Estonians, Yugoslavs, a few Romanians and Czechoslovaks. 
    The camp is famous for its chapel, with its paintings all over the ceiling and walls. Unfortunately, the chapel has not survived, but photographs of the beautiful paintings have survived and are included here in the book along with their story. Very few official documents survive about the camp except for a few items in the National Archives and International Red Cross reports. These mention only a few of the people who were stationed in the camp during and after the war. Their names are mentioned in the text but there is no index to the book. 
    There is a nice interview with a former German POW. One of the items that surprised me was the way so many of the POWs and displaced persons (DPs) were put to work on the farms in the area, during and after the war. There are numerous photographs of the DPs in the camp and in the surrounding communities. 
    This is a slim, large-format, well-illustrated book describing a part of England’s history that is rarely mentioned, yet affected a lot of people inside and outside the camps.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.15 no.2, 2008

A Taste of Tudor Ilkeston: A Brief Look at Life in a Sixteenth Century Town. 2006. 36 pp. Maps. Ilkeston Families of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries. Volume One: Courtby, Day, Flamstead, Harvey, Hellot, Horsley, Lowe and Par. 2007. 34 pp. Both by Stephen Flinders. Available from the author at 17 Richmond Avenue, Sandiacre, Derbyshire NG10 5GY, England. Author contact <>. Booklets with saddle staples. Both Indexed. Each £5 includes overseas postage.

    Ilkeston is a town in southeast Derbyshire near the boundaries of Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire. Here are two books in what promise to be an excellent series about the town of Ilkeston. A Taste of Tudor Ilkeston gives a brief early history of the town, identifying its descent through blood and marriage from the Saxon Thane Ulf Fenisc, through a variety of family intrigues, murder, betrayal and beheadings before being transferred to the Savage family following the Battle of Bosworth (1485). 
    A map of the township exists for 1598, and this is used for the basis of a descriptive tour of the township, which includes the villages of Ilkeston and Little Hallam. The maps provided are good, but the detailed descriptions in the text make you realize that more details on the maps are needed for the outsider to know exactly where the places being described are located. 
    The book continues examining: the Church of St. Mary’s; the vicars; the church wardens; life and death in the community; the manor court; hearth and home (describing two homes specifically); local families; local occupations and local terminology. 
    Ilkeston Families examines the local families of Courtby, Day, Flamstead, Harvey, Hellot, Horsley, Lowe and Par. Even for researchers not connected with these families, the booklet shows what details can be found on 16th and 17th century families in England. Good use is made of fully transcribed wills and testaments. The author does a good job of highlighting how phrases might have been interpreted differently in the period, and thus creates a different picture of the family tree. When there is conflicting information or possible omissions, this is noted in the text. Drop line family tree charts are used to help the readers visualize the families. 
    These two slim booklets highlight what can be done in reconstructing a family or community even in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and thus they have a wider appeal. For those with connections in the area, they provide a nice resource. More resources can be found on the Ilkeston History Society website at <>.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.15 no.2, 2008

Family History Companion: Fast-forward Your Family History Search by Mark Pearsall. Published by The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU, UK. <>. 2007. 250 pp. Softcover. £7.99.

    Here is a practical compact companion offering an A-Z for those new to family research as well as the more experienced. The introduction outlines three goals: “to provide succinct explanations of the terms and phrases that family historians will encounter; to point out the most useful and relevant record sources – what they are and where they are; and to round out the picture with selected historical sidelights that illuminate the lives our ancestors lived” (p.1). 
    Obviously, with any book explaining terms and phrases, a selection process is involved with what to include and what to omit. All the obvious terms are included with brief explanations, often with recommendations to websites or publications for further information. One test for any companion explaining terms is to address the question: do I find terms explained here that I do not find elsewhere? 
    I did some testing against three other British genealogical dictionaries I have on the shelf and found terms here not included in the other volumes, such as: akerman, arkwright, ayah, exhibitioner, gan-wife, hayward, lanebegot, merrybegot, and potwalloper. I know there are probably more here – and certainly more in the other two larger volumes not included here. However, any book that provides the answer to those obscure terms is helpful. This one is valuable and practical because it addresses most of the common terms you will need, plus some obscure ones; points you towards additional sources; and importantly, it is physically small enough to slip into your pocket and take with you.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.15 no.3, 2008

Will’s Will: The Last Wishes of William Shakespeare by Simon Trussler. Published by The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU, UK. <>. 2007. 112 pp. Illustrated, index. Hard­cover. £7.99.

    This is a really creative way, that I liked and think is worthy of emulation, to write a biography of an individual using his will as the starting point. William Shakespeare’s will is completely transcribed and photographed in the beginning of the book. Eight phrases are taken from the will to provide the setting for his life: “In the county of Warr’” – examines generally and specifically the places in Shakespeare’s life both in London and Stratford; In the “Blackfriers in London” – examines the theatres themselves and how they operated; “To My Fellowes” – describes his relationships with his friends, fellow actors and how they were involved in his life, when known; “My second best bed” – outlines the relationship with his wife and what the rules of inheritance were in the period; “Unto the Poore of Stratford” – looks at his relationship with the poor, but also looks at how he earned and invested his money; “Heiries Males of the Bodie” – looks at his family and the consequences of no surviving male heir; “Jesus Christe my Saviour” – looks at religion and why we know little about his personal faith and why God is mentioned so little in his plays (1606 Act against mentioning God); “By Me, William Shakespeare” – addresses the Shakespeare enigma whereby we know so little about his life, yet so much has been written about him. In all the chapters hint about what we understand about Shakespeare are gained from the comments and contexts provided by his plays. This is an excellent read for anyone interested in genealogy and Shakespearean literature.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.15 no.3, 2008

Liverpool 800: Culture, Character & History edited by John Belchem. Published by Liverpool University Press, 4 Cambridge Street, Liverpool, L69 7ZU, UK. <>. 2006. 532 pp. Illustrations, index. Soft­cover. £14.95.

    Liverpool in 2007 celebrated its 800th anniversary, and in 2008 is designated as a European “Capital of Culture.” In these celebrations, Liverpool is reinventing itself, looking forward while also learning from its remarkable history. 
    This book examines in six chapters, written by a variety of authors the history of Liverpool: Small beginnings – Liverpool 1207-1680; Civic Liverpool – 1680-1800; Living in Liverpool – the modern city; Maritime Liverpool; Cosmopolitan Liverpool; ‘City of Change and Challenge’ – Liverpool since 1945. 
    The book begins with its obscure medieval beginnings, remaining a small village for centuries but rising to become one of the world’s greatest seaports, partly as a result of the infamous slave trade. For many Americans, though, it is known as the port through which many of our Europeans immigrants sailed, especially in the second half of the 19th or early 20th centuries. 
    By 1907 Liverpool was the proud second city of the empire at the height of its fame and fortune. After that, though, things go downhill, with Liverpool being stigmatized even with a brief renaissance in the 1960s at the height of Beatles fame. 
    Things are turning around for the city, recently designated by UNESCO as the Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City World Heritage Site. One symbol of that is the renovated Albert Docks, a symbol in the early 1980s of the docks’ decay but now completely renovated and contains the Merseyside Maritime Museum and Beatles Museum, which I can personally recommend when you visit Liverpool. 
    This book is a biography of the city looking at society, politics the economy and culture over eight centuries. It is well written and lavishly illustrated with 100 color plates and 200 halftones. There are numerous endnotes leading readers to further sources for Liverpool history. It provides the big picture of the rise and fall of a changing city, set in the local, national and international context.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.15 no.3, 2008

The Victorian Naval Brigades by Lieutenant Commander Arthur Bleby. Published by Whittles Publishing, Dunbeath Mains Cottages, Dunbeath, Caithness KW6 6EY, Scotland, UK. <>. 2006. 184 pp. Illustrations, maps. Hardcover. £20.

    A ‘naval brigade’ is a generic term used to define a body of seamen and Royal Marines drawn from their ship or ships and landed for active service under the orders of an army commander. The numbers are immaterial, as a naval brigade is not comparable to an army brigade – and, in fact, often it was not even of battalion strength. Armament was generally what was drawn from the parent ships to supplement the arms provided by the army commander. Naval uniform was worn except during the Boer War. 
    Naval brigades were used in ten Victorian wars: Crimean War 1854-1855; Indian Mutiny 1857-1858; Abyssinian Rescue 1867-1868; Second Ashanti War 1873-1874; Zulu War 1878; First Boer War 1880-1881; Battle of Tel El Kebir 1882; Siege of Khartoum 1884-1885; Second Boer War 1899-1901; and Boxer Rebellion 1900. There are three known uses of Naval Brigades in minor activities (Burma and twice in South Africa) not described in the book. Each chapter provides the historical setting leading up to the battles, describes who was involved and how, especially the role of the naval brigades. Each chapter is illustrated with detailed maps, contemporary drawings usually from the Illustrated London News, and contains a specific bibliography for the particular action. The names of individuals, other than leaders, are rarely mentioned and there is no index to find them or the places mentioned in the text. 
    If you know your ancestors served in a Victorian naval brigade, this is a well written book to put those into context and learn about what they did and when.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.15 no.3, 2008

Tracing Your Air Force Ancestors by Phil Tomaselli. Published by Pen & Sword Ltd., 47 Church Street, Barnsley, South Yorkshire S70 2AS, England. U.S. Distributor is Casemate, 1016 Warrior Road, Drexel Hill, PA 19026. <>. 2007. 211 pp. Illustra­tions, index. Softcover. $19.95.

    Here is a densely packed, well-illustrated guide to tracing your ancestors who served in the British Air Force from its beginnings through 1962 with the end of National Service. 
    The book is arranged chronologically, separating the book into sections devoted to the different services that have formed British military aviation. In the early days it was possible for an officer or man to enlist in one service (Army or Royal Navy) then to be transferred to the Royal Air Force, or even to join one part of the Army (the Royal Engineers) then be transferred to another (Royal Flying Corps) and then into the Royal Air Force. Readers are alerted to these options, but this book will not help in finding army or navy records relating to individuals. It will, however, help find records relating to the operations of the air force within army and navy records with excellent practical advice on how to search The National Archives online catalog. 
    The book begins with the early pioneers of military aviation, the Royal Engineers who flew balloons during Queen Victoria’s reign, followed by manned kites, dirigible (steerable) airships, and then experimental powered aircraft. In 1912 the Royal Flying Corps were established, with the Royal Naval Air Service forming in 1914; and their amalgamation in 1918, forming the Royal Air Force. The service split during WWII, with the navy creating the Fleet Air Arm, the army using light aircraft for artillery spotting, and the formation of the Glider Pilot Regiment; then in the 1950s the creation of the Army Air Corps. For the Royal Air Force itself, the chapters examine officers and other ranks, Women’s Royal Air Force, RAF Nurses, Women’s Auxiliary Air Force, and the division into flight command, bomber command, and coastal command. 
    All the different branches of the air services are addressed, providing an outline of the history, indications of what records are accessible (publicly or through next of kin), and there are numerous case studies showing how the many fragments of information can be put together to create a picture of an ancestor and his or her career. 
    For those with ancestors who served in Britain’s Air Force this is an excellent research guide.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.15 no.3, 2008

The Memorial to the Missing of the Somme by Gavin Stamp. Published by Profile Books Ltd, 3A Pine Street, Exmouth Market, London EC1R OJH, England. <>. 2006. 214 pp. Illustrations, index, maps. Softcover. £8.99.

    This is a fascinating, easy to read book about the Great War and the inter-war years from the perspective of how those killed were remembered. We are reminded that Britain and her Dominions had 1,104,000 killed, France 1,700,000, Italy 460,000, Germany 2,000,000, the Austro-Hungarian Empire 1,500,000, Russia perhaps 1,700,000 while the death toll for Turkey is unknown. Plus we learn that one in three of all men who were between nineteen and twenty-two when war began were killed. Even among the survivors many subsequently died of the effects of wounds or of being gassed, or were left unable to work or function [p.31]. 
    This book begins with the Battle of the Somme giving an overview of its goals and the losses that occurred. The book reminds us that on the 1 July 1916 the British had 19,240 killed and 35,493 wounded, with 2,153 missing and 585 taken prisoner for the greatest loss of life in British military history. The book continues with a brief history of war memorials and how their focus changes from remembering military victories to remembering the soldiers who had given their lives in the Great War. The book focuses on the memorial at Thiepval by Edwin Lutyens the architect who also designed and built the Cenotaph in London. He is however put into context with the other architects of the period who were also designing and building war memorials on behalf of the Imperial War Graves Commission (later Commonwealth War Graves Commission) around the world. This is also the first war where all soldiers, officers and ranks, were regarded as equals in death and the families were not allowed to retrieve the bodies to be reinterred back in Britain or the Colonies. All were buried together as equals. 
    A number of memorials to the missing were created, of which the Somme memorial at Thiepval is the largest recording the names of 73,357 men carved into fifty-six stone wall panels. There is a poignant scene from the book Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks that is used to set this number into context whereby Elizabeth one of the characters is told that these are the lost, those that were never found, for whom no body could be found to be buried in the cemeteries and these were the men who would have died in the fields close by Thiepval [p.173]. 
    The book provides a good discussion on the design and construction of the monument, how to look at it and what makes it such an outstanding piece of world architecture. This book is one in a series entitled Wonders of the World by this publisher. The text makes you want to visit the memorial and I certainly do for my great uncle is one of the names carved in stone on the monument having been killed on the 1 July 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.15 no.4, 2008

Captain Swing in Sussex and Kent: Rural Rebellion in 1830 by Mike Matthews. Published by Hastings Press, PO Box 96, Hastings TN34 1GQ, England. <>. 2006. 118 pp. Illustrations, index. Softcover. £7.99.

    Here is a book designed for the general reader who wants to know more about the rural rebellions of 1830 in England, popularly known as the Swing riots after their mythical leader Captain Swing. The book paints the big picture but gets specific by focusing on the events as they occurred in Kent and Sussex. The scene is set by describing the poor agricultural economy following the following with Napoleonic Wars and the fear of loss of jobs created by the use of threshing machines. At first the rural workers want the machines destroyed, and if the owners will not destroy them then the workers will. This then escalates into mob violence and the use of incendiaries where barns, equipment and homes of the gentry, farmers or justices of the peace (who sentenced those caught) are burnt. As the groups move across the countryside intimidation is used to force other farm laborers to join the mob. Some of these groups had hundreds of men involved. 
    The big picture of what is happening in Kent and Sussex is painted, but some of the individual stories are told through the use of reports in newspapers. These reports are woven into the text, and then the originals are used as illustrations. We learn about the trials, the sentencing and the politics involved both locally and nationally. These people who initially worked at night to destroy and burn often had the same skills as other night occupations of smuggling and poaching. As the troubles increased destructive activities were carried out in daylight. The troubles begin in Kent and move west. We are given stories of specific individuals, including that of an innocent man hanged 
    Good use is made of the county newspapers to provide the stories, all of which are cited. A combined every name, subject and locality index is provided but you are unlikely to find your ancestor here. However, for any with agricultural laborers in the early nineteenth century, especially in Kent or Sussex, then this easy to read book puts their lives into context because these riots were taking place all over the two counties, and in many other locations in England.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.15 no.4, 2008

Scottish Highlanders on the Eve of the Great Migration 1725-1775: The People of the Northern Isles. 2008. 98 p. $16.50. Scottish Highlanders on the Eve of the Great Migration 1725-1775: The People of Inverness-shire. 2007. 169 p. $21.50 by David Dobson. Published by Clearfield Publishing Company, 3600 Clipper Mill Road, Suite 260, Baltimore, MD 21211. <>.

    Here are two more books in the series to identify Scots in the Northern Isles (Orkney and Shetland Islands) and Inverness-shire during the period 1725-1775. Neither claim to be comprehensive directories of all people in those localities in the time period. Rather they are designed to show what type of information can be gathered from a wide variety of sources, excluding the Old Parish Registers of the Church of Scotland. All individuals identified are in alphabetical order by surname, and provide information about that individual with full source reference. The information provided might be occupation, death date, name of husband, relationship to landlord, date and place of emigration, rank and military history, education, and name of father. The sources used vary widely The Lochiel Inventory, Culloden Papers, Book of Dunvegan, Scottish Forfeited Estates Papers, Hudson Bay Company Archives, Scots Charitable Society records of Boston, House of Commons Sessional Papers, and more. As is common with books by David Dobson these are well worth examining to see if your ancestors are included because if they are it is more likely to be an unusual source which you may not have examined yet.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.15 no.4, 2008

Scottish Transatlantic Merchants, 1611-1785 by David Dobson. Published by Clearfield Publishing Company, 3600 Clipper Mill Road, Suite 260, Baltimore, MD 21211. <>. 2007. x, 147 pp. Softcover. $20.

    From the seventeenth century Scottish merchants were the vanguard of Scottish emigration to Colonial America. In the seventeenth century the success of the early trading voyages in the colonies led to factors and their servants settling in the colony. The following merchant ships would carry both goods and passengers, often indentured servants contracted for work in the colonies. With the expansion of the transatlantic economy the Scottish ports, especially Glasgow grew in importance. The most important commodity in colonial times was tobacco with the Glasgow “tobacco lords” controlling the import of tobacco into the British Isles and the re-export to continental Europe. Many of the Glasgow families had branches in both the colonies and Scotland; this was especially true in the Chesapeake Bay area. This was an important network connected by blood and business. 
    This book identifies many of the merchants, many with branches on both sides of the Atlantic. The names and details have been gathered from many different primary sources in America and Scotland, all fully referenced. In fact the list of archives searched, burgess rolls and sources used is probably the longest of any of Dobson’s books of names. You will find references to Scotsmen in all of the colonies plus the Caribbean Islands, many indicating where they were from in Scotland. Some merchants listed in Scotland identify which colony they traded with. 
    A sample entry reads: HUNTER, JAMES, a merchant from Edinburgh who emigrated to Va. In 1767, merchant at Smithyfield, James River, and later in Southampton County, partner of George Blain 1778. [3 references provided]

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.15 no.4, 2008

Workhouse: The People • The Places • The Life Behind Doors by Simon Fowler. Published by The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU. <>.2007. 288 pp. Illustrations, index. Softcover. £8.99.

    The workhouse existed in one form or another for over two hundred and fifty years but this book largely focuses on the period between 1834, with the introduction of the New Poor Law and the First World War by which time the workhouse in its traditional form was becoming a historical curiosity. There are references to how the Old Poor Law worked, especially in terms of similarities and differences with the New Poor Law. The book looks at how the institution appears to contemporaries, from writers such as Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy and George Orwell, to those who ran, inhabited and strove to avoid them. There are numerous extracts from parliamentary papers, newspapers, guardian reports and diaries. 
    There is a strong emphasis on the Victorian perception that the workhouses were built for able bodied idlers and shirkers, a class of people that hardly existed outside the imagination of a generation of political economists. This perception led to strict rules designed to make the workhouse a place of last resort. It took many years before the reality of the situation changed. 
    The book addresses the issues of: why was the Poor Law regarded with such horror; was every workhouse as bad as Andover workhouse; and were the paupers as badly treated as we suppose. In examining each question lots of anecdotal illustrations are provided showing that the 650 or so workhouses scattered across the country operated independently of one another and the government, that the government provided guidelines but had limited powers to enforce them. Thus, the experience within a particular workhouse varied greatly. The book examines the roles and behaviors of the guardians and staff in the workhouse, shows how the paupers, vagrants, children and elderly were treated and how that changed over time. The book is well researched and full of written illustrations from a wide variety of sources. Unfortunately there are no footnotes or end notes so you will have to work hard to find where a particular piece of information came from if you are fortunate enough to have your specific workhouse mentioned. 
    The appendices describe which workhouses have been converted into living museums that one can visit, and explain what type of original records exist and where to find them. The book does have a good bibliography of general works, articles, newspapers, parliamentary papers, National Archives materials, although it is weak on non National Archives materials, and websites. 
    Many of our ancestors will have had connections with the workhouse, either as guardians, workhouse staff, inmates or they worked very hard and stubbornly to avoid a hated institution. For this reason this book will have wide appeal, and is well worth reading to better understand a significant institution found in many communities.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.15 no.5, 2008

Poor Cottages & Proud Palaces: The Life and Work of the Reverend Thomas Sockett of Petworth 1777-1859 by Sheila Haines and Leigh Lawson. Published by The Hastings Press, P.O. Box 96, Hastings TN34 1GQ, England. <>. 2007. 294 pp. Illustrations, index. Softcover. £14.99.

    For North Americans the Reverend Thomas Sockett is of interest for he was the organizing person behind the Petworth Emigration Committee assisting over 2,000 emigrants to Canada between 1832 and 1837. The emigrants came heavily from West Sussex but also included people from Cambridgeshire, East Sussex, Isle of Wight, Hertfordshire, Norfolk, Surrey, Wiltshire and London. Two books about this emigration scheme were published in 2000 by McGill-Queens University Press, of which Ms. Haines was also a co-author on one of the books. 
    Even for those without emigrant connections to the Petworth scheme this book is a fascinating, detailed read. It describes the son of impoverished bookseller, born in East London, to Nonconformist parents, who because of his education and interests is introduced to William Cowper, the poet in Buckinghamshire, and William Hayley, the writer who took him to Sussex. Later, Thomas moves into Petworth House becoming the tutor for the sons of the third Earl of Egremont with whom he is connected for the rest of his life. It is Thomas’s diary, copies of his letters, along with the writings and archives of these three important people that provide the wonderful details that form the text for this book. While a tutor Thomas kept a diary from 1805-7 and it is transcribed here in full with commentary (45 pages). From the diary we learn what he is teaching and reading, his interest in books, contemporary literary journals and botany. He also seems comfortable moving in all levels of society, the locals, gentry and nobility all of whom visit Petworth House. 
    Thomas became the rector at three of Earl of Egremont’s churches: North Scarle in Lincolnshire; Petworth and Duncton in West Sussex. The Earl of Egremont wanted him close and so he resided in the rectory for Petworth, performing most of the services at Duncton and hiring curates for North Scarle and Petworth, although he did perform the services for anything connected with the Earl’s family. We learn a lot about the life of a country rector, his daily life using the rooms in his room as the focal points for various descriptions, e.g. the nursery to describe his children, or the study to learn about his voluminous letter writing. 
    We learn about Thomas’ involvement in changing society, such as the transition from the Old Poor Law to the New Poor Law, seeing the differences between the laws themselves, the local and national politics that effected how it played out locally. Thomas was important here and gave testimonies before parliamentary committees to explain why the New Poor Law was not a good law. We certainly learn about his involvement in the Petworth Emigration Committee and his activities to safely get emigrants to Canada and get them established. 
    With the establishment of Civil Registration in 1837 we learn about the resulting loss of revenue for the Church of England and its ministers. The 1838 Act of Parliament regulating pluralism, meant that ministers like the Rev. Thomas Sockett could no longer earn a living from parishes so distantly geographically separated, although Thomas managed to get an exception to the rule and hold his parishes together until he died, but it came with additional burdens. This same law also affected the outside secular interests and income of the Anglican clergy, including restrictions on farming the ministers glebe lands. All of these changes affected the household income. 
    The book has numerous family trees for families connected with both the Sockett and Wyndham (Earl of Egremont) families. The Sockett family dies out in West Sussex, but a son George emigrates to Eramosa, Upper Canada and this branch of the family blossoms and is discussed extensively in a supplemental chapter. There is “who was who” chapter that helps to keep the players in this story straight. There is a combined subject, place and every-name index. Some of the names also have additional identifiers in the index such as housekeeper, artists, judge, etc. 
    You can plug into this book because you are connected to the families involved, you want to know more about the situation for your emigrants, or you want to more about the life of a country rector with connections to a big house. Whatever your connection it is a good read. 
    [For my review of the two books about the Petworth Project - Assisting Emigration to Upper Canada: The Petworth Project 1832-1837 by Wendy Cameron and Mary McDougall Maude - plus English Emigrant Voices: Labourer’s Letters from Upper Canada in the 1830’s by Wendy Cameron, Sheila Haines and Mary McDougall Maude see FGS FORUM Vol. 13, No. 3, Fall 2001, p.41-42]

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.15 no.5, 2008

Campden: A New History by members of CADHAS, edited by Allan Warmington. Published by Campden and District Historical and Archaeological Society, c/o Allan Warmington, The Old Police Station, High Street, Chipping Campden GL55 9TH, England. <>. 2005. xiv, 359 pp. Illustrations, index. Hardcover. £18.50.

    The book uses the term Campden to refer to the parish, and uses Chipping Campden when referring to the market area of the old tightly constrained borough which was the custom right up to the end of the nineteenth century and beyond. The small market town of Campden lies in a bowl shaped valley at the northern tip of the Gloucestershire Cotswolds. It is close to the county boundaries of Worcestershire in the west, Warwickshire to the north and Oxfordshire to the east. 
    This is a history written by a variety of knowledgeable writers, who are acknowledged but the reader is not told who wrote which chapters. Each writer has focused on their own special interests, but the book holds together very well and the editor has done an excellent job in smoothing out differences in writing styles. This is not the first history of the community, but this brings it up to date, highlights new research and findings on the community (including a reproduction of a recently located 1722 map of the community), making corrections where needed. 
    The book, written in twenty-nine chapters is divided into six periods: Campden before the Conquest; Medieval Campden; the 16th and 17th Centuries; the 18th and 19th Centuries; The Artistic Invasion; the 20th Century. Additionally there are two appendices describing the descent of the manor from 1232 to 1540 and 400 years of separation between Combe and Broad Campden. There is an extensive select bibliography for those wanting to research further. 
    I don’t have any Gloucestershire ancestors but this book was still a fascinating read. As you would expect with the earlier periods the history focuses on the landed families, but it gives a good indication of what types of records can be found to reconstruct these families. With the later periods I kept thinking was this similar or different to what happened in the areas where my ancestors lived. This was especially true when I read about the: Civil War (Campden was a Royalist town with a lot of Parliamentarians close by); agricultural unrest; treatment of the poor (before and after the Poor Law Reform); election reform; religious unrest (even found for the first time the longest non-technical word in the English language used appropriately in a book — antidisestablishmentarianist, p.200); religious diversity; and community development. 
    This book is well illustrated, some in color, and includes a good index. It is a must for anyone with ancestors in north Gloucestershire, but will be of interest to those with ancestors in the area of these four counties. It will also have wider appeal because it is a quality local history book.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.15 no.5, 2008

The Scottish Covenanter Genealogical Index (1630-1712) by Isabelle McCall MacLean. Published by iUniverse, 2021 Pine Lake Road, Suite 100, Lincoln NE 68512. <>. 2007. xiv, 696 pp. Softcover. $52.95.

    The Covenanters were followers of John Knox believing that the function of the government did not belong to one person or one class of people, rather the government belonged to the citizens, and spiritual government belonged to the whole body of the faithful, plus the few who led the government were selected by the people. The Covenanters represented the Presbyterians who held most firmly to these truths and were unwavering in their defense of them, sacrificing their lives to uphold their beliefs. There were numerous covenants during the 1600s in Scotland. The “killing times” occurred after Charles II was restored to the throne in 1660. He reneged on his promises to defend Presbyterianism and to be a friend of the Covenanters. He repealed acts of parliament and placed Episcopal ministers into the Scottish churches. The ousted ministers had their supporters and followers. Those who did not attend church and were unwilling to take an oath of allegiance to the king were persecuted. Civil War broke out in Scotland. The Royalists and their Highland Host (soldiers of fortune from the Highlands and Ireland) searched ruthlessly for the Covenanters. When caught they were often dismembered or transported. Those hiding the Covenanters, including women, children and the elderly, were tortured to reveal the whereabouts of those in hiding. Many of those who were martyred for the cause are remembered in stories and diaries, more rarely in official records. 
    One of the author’s ancestors is John Whitelaw, the Covenanter Martyr of Monkland who was executed, in 1683, in Edinburgh. His story was found in Scots Worthies by John Howie. As a result of searching for information on her ancestors the author has indexed the names in twenty-four books about the Covenanters, most of which will be available via inter-library loan. The alphabetical index provides: surname and given name; an approximate birth date; birth or location place; notes which includes a book reference number and page number, and some comments. The comments might include when and where he was captured, if he was examined or banished, if he was a minister, or to whom he was related or worked for. 
    For those with Scottish connections, especially in the lowlands of Scotland, in the mid to late 1600’s this index may provide an easy access to stories about them, and thus is worth a look. The author expects to continue to add to the index.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.15 no.5, 2008

The Oath and the Covenant: The “Killing Times” in Scotland. A Historical Novel by Isabelle McCall MacLean. Published by iUniverse, 2021 Pine Lake Road, Suite 100, Lincoln NE 68512. <>. 2006. xvi, 295 pp. Softcover. $18.95.

    I have not in the past reviewed historical fiction, but this book by the same author as the above Scottish Covenanter Genealogical Index is worth a read if you do not know much about the “killing times” in Scotland. The book’s introduction provides a very nice chronological explanation of the different Presbyterian Covenants, when and why they were signed. 
    This historical novel is fiction. No explanation is given of how much is based on fact and how much is conjecture. It is the story told through the eyes of Lizzie Whitelaw, the daughter of John Whitelaw, the Martyr of Monkland. It describes the hunting of the Covenanters by the Royalists, the burning of property and torturing of the people who hid those on the run. It tells of the defeat at the Battle of Bothwell Bridge and the slaughter that followed. It gives the reader a sense of what the times were like, what happened when a Covenanter was caught and what life on the run was like. It tells of what banishment meant, what a journey across the Atlantic might have been like. This particular group avoided time as ‘slaves’ on the East New Jersey plantations, were befriended and hunted by Indians, eventually settling near Quebec. As fiction it has a nice ending with all the loose ends neatly wrapped up and is a good story to give you a flavor of the times.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.15 no.5, 2008

Henry VIII: Court, Church and Conflict by David Loades. Published by The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU, UK. <>. 2007. 240 pp. Illustrations, index. Hardcover. £18.

    There are many books about Henry VIII but for family historians this one is well worth reading. A major event for British researchers in this period is the introduction of parish registers in 1538 by Thomas Cromwell which is not mentioned in the book. But we do learn a lot about Thomas Cromwell, Thomas Cranmer, Thomas Wolsey, all important people in this period and their relationship to King Henry VIII. We read about the laws leading to the dissolution of the monasteries and the effect on the local parishes, the poor law, and the differentiation between the unfortunates (sick and impotent) and the vagabonds, ‘masterless men,’ those who should be able to work.  
    The book is arranged in ten chapters examining: his life as a prince: the court: the king at war of which there were a number; the ‘Great Matter,’ which was his efforts to attain a divorce from his first wife, the real issue of course being the need for a male heir; laws; government, especially with the elevation of Parliament and control by appointees; enemies, of which there were many inside and outside of the country; Ireland and the difficulty in controlling it; his religion; and his final years. Throughout the book there are italicized sections which are transcripts or abstracts of original documents such as Henry’s Will, instructions to the commissioners for the Dissolution of the Monasteries, Act of Supremacy. In addition there are extracts from contemporary letters, often published later, through which you get a real feel for what the people were thinking at the time.  
    This is an excellent read for researchers wanting to understand or know more about what was happening in Britain during the sixteenth century and how Henry VIII related to or fought with the contemporary rulers in Europe.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.15 no.6, 2008

My Ancestor Was a Bastard: A Family Historian’s Guide to Sources for Illegitimacy in England and Wales by Ruth Paley. Published by the Society of Genealogists Enterprises Ltd, 14 Charterhouse Buildings, Goswell Road, London EC1M 7BA. <>. 2004, reprinted 2008. 90 pp. Illustrations, index. Softcover. £6.50.

    We all have illegitimate children on our family tree, even if we don’t know it yet. This book is designed to help family historians find the sources that hopefully solve the parentage problem, but it is also designed to help you understand the problem by giving it a wider historical context.  
    The guide is divided into four parts. Part one provides an introduction to the social history of illegitimacy and the author points out that those wanting to know more will need to explore the good bibliography that ends this section. Having said that, this is an excellent introduction to help you define illegitimacy, it is not as simple as you might think. It is designed to see the many connected issues such as courtship, marriage, divorce, separation, re-marriage, cohabitation, and bigamy; the problems with inheritance, child maintenance and how that changed over the centuries, plus the issue of unwanted children. 
    Part two examines the need to prepare for the search and the problems created by the fact that social attitudes were not uniform, changing with geography, social class and time period. Part three presents how to find and use the sources needed to solve the problem. The sources are presented in alphabetical order so read them all the first time through to see which are relevant for your time period. The final part, titled ‘finding your way around’ provides a good bibliography of guides to records and research, a select list of useful websites and useful addresses. For researchers new to working with British records one of the books most practical items, an appendix, is a simplified research plan where you answer yes or no questions and are guided to suggested sources to examine. 
    Throughout the book there are some great comments, for example during the mid-nineteenth century 20-30% of brides were pregnant when married, while in Lamplugh, Cumberland (near to where I grew up) 60% of the brides were pregnant in the early seventeenth century. Unfortunately for us the sources of items like this are not provided. 
    Illegitimacy is a problem we all have; with this book guiding you it does not have to be the end of the line.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.15 no.6, 2008

The Great Northern Coalfield: Mining Collections at Beamish Museum by Aiden Doyle. Published by Northumbria University Press, Trinity Building, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 8ST, UK. <>. 2005. 104 pp. Illustrations. Softcover. £11.99.

    Beamish Museum, set in 300 acres in County Durham, is 12 miles north-west of Durham City and 8 miles south-west of Newcastle upon Tyne. The book mentions that in 2004 it won the prestigious “Living Museum of the Year 2004” award from Good Britain Guide but in reality the museum continues to win awards such as the “Best UK Attraction for Group Visits" 2008 and five of the prior seven years; 2007 “Visitor Attraction of the Year — Gold Award.” The museum’s stated purpose is “the studying, collecting, preserving, interpreting, and exhibiting to the public, buildings, machinery, objects and information illustrating the development of industry and agriculture and a way of life in the North of England.” It presents a living, working experience of life in the Northeast in 1825 and 1913. I can personally recommend this living museum, having visited twice, as a place well worth visiting to get a sense of working class life in these two periods. 
    This book focuses on the mining collection. There is a brief history of coal mining in the Northeast where the coal field stretches from Warkworth in the north to close to Barnard Castle in the south. It covers an area of 725 square miles, with another 200 square miles under the sea, has 24 named workable seams, and has been worked certainly since Roman times. The four most important chapters describe the material and paper collections. The material collections include super-large items that require cranes to move such as the third oldest locomotive in the world, a ‘Coffee Pot’ locomotive, Egg-ended and Lancashire boilers, steam pumps, chaldrons. Smaller items include mine rescue tools, surveying equipments, lamps, medals and tokens. The paper collections include books, printed materials, maps, manuscripts and ephemera (songs, poems, music, and oral histories). For the genealogist examples are given of miners bonds listing everyone working at a mine at a particular date and account books listing miners getting paid, and lists of those killed or injured in disasters. The other important chapter simply titled ‘illustrative material’ covers the significant collection of pictures, banners, paintings, prints, watercolors, engravings, technical drawings, certificates, films, videos, maps, photographs, events. Additional chapters briefly cover disasters, and the end of coal mining. Appendices provide a mining glossary, 1872 and 1899 description of mine working, banners and specific disasters. There is a bibliography but no index. 
    When researching your coal mining ancestors this book is not going to guide you to a particular item or record for a specific mine. What it does do though is give you a sense of what items were created physically or on paper that you can search to see what has survived. The collection at Beamish Museum is certainly worth contacting for those with northeast mining connections.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.15 no.6, 2008

A Dictionary of North East Dialect, second edition by Bill Griffiths. Published by Northumbria University Press, Trinity Building, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 8ST, UK. <>. 2005. 204 pp. Softcover. £9.99.

    Mr. Griffiths provides a good introduction to the development of dialects in general, but specifically as it relates to the North East of England. He points out the development and conflict between Old Norse and Old English in the region, the making of Middle English, and the growth of standardized English. The dialect though was influenced by migration and contact with outsiders, especially the Scots and Dutch. Words in northeast dialect first appear in print in the early 18th century but have continually evolved and changed throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. Adults moving into the area rarely adopt the dialect, but their children do so readily to fit in and belong. 
    The bulk of the book is an alphabetical dictionary of dialect words with definitions and examples of how and where they have been used. Some of the words I readily recognize as they were used by my parents and grandparents, such as: bairn, bubble, canny, gaffor, kilter, marra, neep, and there are hundreds more here. For each word you get a definition, then examples of how the word is used in context and the source of the quote. There are many words here that you will not find in the Oxford Dictionary but many that are included will have a different meaning in the northeast. This is a useful and interesting compilation for those with Northeast of England connections.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.15 no.6, 2008

British Historical Documents: 325 B.C. to 2006 A.D. by Alan Avery. Published by Blackthorn Press, Blackthorn House, Middleton Road, Pickering YO18 8AL, UK. <>. 2007. 158 pp. Illustrations. Softcover. £7.95.

    This 158-page volume presents 105 items (primarily documents) that the author believes to be of historical performance in British history. The items are arranged chronologically beginning with a brief comment from a visit to Britain by Pytheas of Massilia in 325 BC and ending with the complete text of Tony Blair’s farewell speech to the Labour Party Conference in 2006. The longest items are full transcripts of: the 63 articles in the Magna Carta signed in 1215 at Runnymede; Winston Churchill’s 1940 speech after Dunkirk; Margaret Thatcher’s Brugges Speech given in 1998 outlining her political thinking about Britain’s relationship to the European Community; and Tony Blair’s farewell speech, already mentioned. Most items are short, possibly just the highlights of a significant Act, letter, written description, document, speech or an image (fragment of the Bayeux Tapestry, cartoon, coin). Each item begins with a couple of sentences to provide context. The goal though is to get the researcher to actually read the original document. 
    For family historians there are some good items in here to spark your interest because they relate to laws that produced documents of interest to family historians or they affected your ancestors. Documents you might enjoy reading include: Magna Carta, 1215; Peasants Revolt with the death of Wat Tyler, 1381; Act of Supremacy, 1531; Beggars Act, 1598; Scottish National Covenant, 1638, leading directly to the ‘Bishop’s War’ of 1639; The Solemn League and Covenant, 1643; First Test Act, 1673; Act of Settlement, 1701; the Workhouse Act, 1722; Act of Union, 1800; Poor Law Act, 1834; Old Age Pension Act, 1908; Parliament Act, 1911; Edward VIII’s Abdication Speech, 1936; Earl Spencer’s funeral tribute to his sister Princess Diana, 1997. There are of course many more to read, but these documents certainly hit a good cross section of British history. There is a bibliography indicating where each document originated.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.15 no.6, 2008

My Ancestor was an Agricultural Labourer by Ian H. Waller. Published by Society of Genealogists Enterprises Ltd., 14 Charterhouse Buildings, Goswell Road, London EC1M 7BA, UK. <>. 2007. 136 pp. Illustrations, index. Softcover. £7.50.

    The book begins by acknowledging that many family historians give up looking for anything about their farm laborers beyond the census, registration certificates and parish registers. The reality is that a lot more can often be found with perseverance and guidance on where to look. 
    The book is divided into two parts. The first examines the lifestyle of the agricultural laborer focusing primarily on the period from the late 1700s through the First World War. We read about the Tolpuddle Martyrs, Swing Riots, trade unions, the agricultural depression, different aspects of the life of a laborer and his family, gang labor, regional differences, migration, emigration, changes and old age. This is a good introduction to the life of a farm labor and will give you ideas of what subjects to explore for your ancestors. Unfortunately, there are no suggestions for further reading on the various subjects and the bibliography is weak. 
    The book’s second part categorizes the records to examine for research. There is a short section on the basics—census, civil registration, parish registers, wills and newspapers—which most researchers will already be familiar with. It is the rest of this part that provides the value. We learn about: records of employment, such as estate records, diaries, trade unions and hiring fairs; rural pauperism, of which there are many records, such as old and new poor law, workhouse, apprenticeship, outdoor relief, settlement, illegitimacy, militia relief, parish charities, etc.; vaccination records; local records, such as quarter sessions, assizes, ecclesiastical and manor courts; school and militia records; other useful records, such as land enclosure, tithe redemption, photographs, maps, Royal Commissions on labour, riots, museums and archives. 
    This is a good book to put your ancestor into context and expose you to all the records created by and about your agricultural laborers. It will not answer all your questions, but rather exposes you to what is available. You will probably need to seek additional reference materials to understand the suggested sources fully.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.16 no.1, 2009

Banbury Past through Artists’ Eyes compiled by Simon Townsend and Jeremy Gibson. Published as Volume 30 in the ‘record series’ in celebration of the Society’s 50th Anniversary by the Banbury Historical Society, c/o Banbury Museum, Spiceball Park Road, Banbury OX16 2PQ, UK. <>. 2007. 128 pp. Illustrations, indexes. Hardcover. £15.

    Many photographic books are being published showing what a community looked like in the late nineteenth, early twentieth centuries. The question should be asked, but what about earlier time periods? 
    Banbury is a town in north Oxfordshire on the boundary with Northamptonshire, and near Warwickshire. This book is an excellent example of what can be accomplished for a specific community by dedicated compilers. This book goes far beyond the typical illustrated book to create a superb, well-illustrated history, many in color, of Banbury in times past. In fact there is only one photograph in the book and that is from 1855. The endpapers in the book show a bird’s-eye view of the community in 1828 with maps of west and east Banbury in 1900. The maps have page numbers showing where illustrations of that part of town are located in the book. Both of these tools help to orientate the outsider. 
    The over 200 paintings, drawings and engravings, gathered from public and private collections, mostly from the 18th and 19th centuries, include both naïve and accomplished works by local and national artists. These pictures are the reason for publication and so the accompanying historical descriptions or notations about the pictures are good but kept minimal. The context and citation for the illustration itself is provided. There are numerous references in the text to the society’s newsletter Cake & Cockhorse, back issues of which are online so you can follow through on information provided. The compilers do remind us that paintings can be used as a good historical source, but still need to be used with caution as they may portray events that never occurred (e.g., 1859 Official opening of the Cross, portrayed on page 62, never occurred), or are created to draw attention to social issues (e.g., 1808 painting of Banbury with both poor and rich portrayed, p. 120). 
    The book concludes with short biographies of some of the artists and period historians quoted in the text. Separate indexes are included for: places; people mentioned in the text; architects, artists, commentators and contributors (mostly deceased). A copy of the indexes and additional purchasing options can be found online at <>. 
    This is a beautiful book to look at, is full of historical pictures, with good accompanying text and is worthy of emulation by other societies. It is well worth getting if your ancestors are in this part of north Oxfordshire.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.16 no.1, 2009

Pitmatic: The Talk of the North East Coalfield compiled by Bill Griffiths. Published by Northumbria University Press, Northumbria University, Trinity Building, Newcastle Upon Tyne NE1 8ST, UK. <>. 2007. 274 pp. Illustrations. Softcover. £9.99.

    Pitmatics is a term from the 1870s and 1880s with various meanings including the technicalities of colliery working, an everyday language of the region or the ‘private’ language of the pitmen. The last North East colliery closed in 2005. This book aims to recapture the language, experience and terms of the coal mining industry before they are lost forever. Many of the local words and expressions used in northeast England have been filtered through the vocabulary of the coal miner. 
    The chapters in the book address different aspects of the miners experience, such as: pit-surface features; the shaft; underground; ventilation; drainage; coal; the officials; work practices; hewing; putting; automation; safety and health; and finishing with everyday life. Each chapter is further subdivided into different aspects of the job, for example in the chapter on putting there are divisions addressing hand putting, tubs, rails, the route to the shaft, sets, ponies, power assisted hauling, ropes and wires. For each topic you will find specialized terms with descriptions (historical or current) each being put into context. In any given section the terms being defined are in bold and usually in alphabetical order, but there are many such listings within the book so it cannot be used as a dictionary to look up the term unless you already know roughly the context in which the word would be used. The book has a detailed table of contents but no index. 
    As you read the book you get an excellent sense of what coalmining was all about during various time periods. There are selections from official reports, personal memoirs, dictionaries, and dialect poetry to really give you a rounded picture. For anyone with coalmining ancestors this book builds a comprehensive picture of how they lived and worked, especially if there were in Northumberland or Durham. You will learn their specialized language which you may have heard or read.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.16 no.1, 2009

Medal Yearbook 2008 edited by James Mackay and John W. Mussell and the editorial team of Medal News. Published by Token Publishing Ltd, Orchard House, Duchy Road, Heathpark, Honiton, Devon EX14 1YD, UK. US Distributor: Worldwide Military Exchange, Inc., PO Box 745, Batavia, IL 60510. <>. 2008. 584 pp. Illustrations, index. Softcover. $29.95.

    Many of our ancestors who served in the British Military received medals for serving in a particular war, battle or for length of service and occasionally for valor. Many of the pre-WWI medals are individually engraved with the name of the ancestor making them unique. There are also many decorations and medals awarded to civilians. You are definitely one of the fortunate ones if the medal(s) or decorations have been passed on down to you. This book will help you accurately identify what the medal or decoration is and give you a price range for its value. 
    For each of the hundreds of medals issued the book provides color photographs of both sides of the medal (or indicates if the reverse is the same as another medal), plus the ribbon. The medal description provides specifics for: date of issue; campaign; branch of service; ribbon description; metal; size in millimeters; description of both obverse and reverse; clasps issued; and a detailed comment section putting the medal into context. The description is followed by a valuation table showing value ranges varying depending upon if the medal is named, unnamed, impressed, engraved, specific clasps, full size or miniature (usually, but not always of lower value). 
    Some medals are so valuable that buyers are warned to be aware of forgeries, for example an officially impressed Crimea Medal for someone known to be in the charge of the Light Brigade is valued at between £10-12,000 and even more valuable when combined for the same person with a Mutiny or Long Service Good Conduct medal. Sets of medals awarded to an individual are worth more than the medals alone, especially when the history of the soldier has been researched. The book is of value also if you want to start searching for an ancestor’s medal as there are many adverts for auctions and search services. My Samuel Milliner was awarded a Waterloo Medal in what is categorized here as an “Other Foot Regiment,” not one of the regiments heavily involved in the battle, yet I would still expect to pay in the range of £1,500-2,000, assuming I could locate his medal. Not all medals are expensive, for example a British pattern WWI Victory medal would be £10-14 with its miniature £3-4. 
    The book itself highlights what has been happening in the medal market over the prior year suggesting market trends and reviewing auctions. You are provided with instructions on how to wear the medals and what is the prescribed order of wear. The medal photographs and descriptions are arranged by: orders of knighthood; decorations; mentions and commendations; campaign medals; long and meritorious service medals; coronation and jubilee medals; miscellaneous medals; medals for saving life; foreign medals found in British groups; awards of the British Commonwealth (Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa); unofficial medals; and medal ribbons. The book also covers: abbreviations and initials; current regiments; how to research your medal with an excellent bibliography; listings of societies, auctioneers, dealers, booksellers, fairs, and museums. The book concludes with an index of medals and a cumulative index of articles in the magazine Medal News from March 1989 to 2007. 
    This is a must have reference book for anyone seeking information on medals or decorations.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.16 no.1, 2009

Fishing and Folk: Life and Dalect on the North Sea Coast compiled by Bill Griffiths. Published by Northumbria University Press, Northumbria University, Trinity Building, Newcastle Upon Tyne NE1 8ST, UK. <>. 2008. 266 pp. Illustrations. Softcover. £11.99.

    Do you have ancestors who were fishermen or worked along the coast? If you do then this is a great book for you, especially if they lived in the northeast of England. This book is divided into four sections: coastal terminology; the boats; fishing; communities and the sea. Each part is further sectioned into numerous short chapters dealing with specific topics and this is what is used to navigate the book, as there is no index. 
    Many of the chapters contain alphabetical lists of local dialect words related to the specific topic. The reader is provided with definitions, sentences to show context and source citations. Throughout the book there are examples of local poetry, samples of descriptions about specialized topics and transcripts of oral history that are especially strong in the last section of the book dealing with communities and the sea. There are many photographs of local fishermen and their families at leisure and at work. There is also an excellent diagram of a coble, a specialized local fishing boat now almost extinct, which names all the parts. This is helpful as the coble and its parts are often mentioned in wills, inventories and local deeds. This book is well worth reading for those with fishing connections, especially along England’s east coast, to put your ancestors into context and to learn and understand their language.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.16 no.1, 2009

How to Trace Your Irish Ancestors: An Essential Guide to Researching and Documenting the Family Histories of Ireland’s People by Ian Maxwell. Published by How to Books, Spring Hill Road, Begbroke, Oxford OX5 1RX, UK. <>. 2008. xii, 196 pp. Index. Softcover. £9.99.

    The book divides Irish research into nineteen subjects each with its own chapter. This includes both the expected and the lesser-used records such as: administrative divisions; census and old age pension claims; census substitutes; election; board of guardians; schools; migration; emigration; landed estates; taxation and valuation; law and order; local government; and researching online. Each chapter is broken into shorter sections with clear titles and bullet liking it easier to find what you are looking for within a chapter. There are no illustrations so you will need to look elsewhere to get a sense of what the documents might look like, but I did not find this a loss because the description and background writing is good. 
    Ian Maxwell is a former Research Officer in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland. He thus knows his records and can communicate well in writing. He understands and explains how to do research in both the north and the south of Ireland, but he is more thorough and many of his examples are from the north. I found that he gives good background information on many of the records and actually goes into more detail. For example, in this book, a section on tithe defaulters covers three-quarters of a page. I compared it with James Ryan’s Irish Records where there is one sentence on the subject, while I could not find it mentioned in John Grenham’s Tracing Your Irish Ancestors. Mr. Maxwell acknowledges that records in Ireland can almost be found anywhere not jut in the national repositories. For example in the chapter on Board of Guardian records he highlights the records to be found in county libraries, county council archives, regional archives, county museums, which is in addition to the major collections in the national Archives of Ireland, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland and the National Library of Ireland. 
    Mr. Maxwell provides thorough background information for you to understand how to use and find the records you need. This is a good Irish research text to add to your personal collection.

Note: This book is now in its 2nd edition (2009).

Reviewed by Paul Milner.
BIGWILL v.16 no.2, 2009

Collins Tracing Your Family History, Revised Edition by Anthony Adolph. Published by Collins, 77-85 Fulham Palace Road, London, W6 8JB, UK. <>. Revised edition. 2008. 320 pp. Illustrations, index. Hardcover. £20.

    This is a major revision and upgrade from the 2004 edition by Mr. Adolph highlighting the advances within DNA technology, the increasing emphasis on the Internet and Britain’s increasingly multicultural roots. The book is divided into four parts: Getting Started; the Main Records; Taking it Further; and Broadening the Picture. 
    The brief first section addresses getting started and is aimed at the beginner helping them to get organized, discussing briefly the need to document sources, but with no explanation of how. The section on major sources addresses: civil registration; censuses; major websites; directories and almanacs; lifestyles (illegitimacy, divorce, name change, etc); parish records; manorial records; wills; gravestones and memorials. The largest section addresses almost everything else from: newspapers; land records; slave ancestry; elections; parish chest; hospitals; military; legal accounts; education; immigration and emigration; religious denominations and more. The last section broadens the picture addressing genetics, names; royalty, heraldry and psychics. The use of psychics was a little too far for me but was I suppose to support the viewers of the author’s TV program Antique Ghostshow. 
    Most of the chapters are short, well presented and very well illustrated. There are lots of both color and black & white illustrations, which may be of documents, contemporary people or places, and classic art portraying events in peoples lives (christening, elopement, in the workhouse, hanging, and many more). The chapters are full of colored sidebars highlighting: where to search; lifetimes; important items; and quick reference. It is unfortunate that the colors for a particular item are not consistent throughout the book. Many of the chapters have mini case studies highlighting an example from the author’s own family or often a television personality for whom research has been done. Many of the stories highlight overseas origins. 
    This is an up to date book full of details, examples and illustrations. It should be read fully, but it is one that is easy to dip into to find a specific topic. This should be on the shelf along with Mark Herber’s Ancestral Trails and David Hey’s Journeys in Family History. There are a few research errors in the book and it could have been improved with some good copyediting, but overall it is recommended.

Reviewed by Paul Milner.
BIGWILL v.16 no.2, 2009

Researching British Military History on the Internet: The British Army and the Armies of the Commonwealth, Empire and Dominions by Dr. Stuart C. Blank. Published by Alwyn Enterprises, P.O. Box 356 Paignton, Devon TQ3 1WR, UK. <>. 2007. 135 pp. Index. Softcover. £12.50.

    It is obvious that you can find material on British military history on the Internet without this book, but the book will make your searching so much easier and more rewarding. The book aims to present the best and most well known sites for specific military research. For each website it provides its name, web address and generally one to three paragraphs about the site. The book focuses on the army, excluding naval and air force history. 
    The book is divided into fourteen chapters and six appendices; The chapters cover: introduction to the internet; regiments, units and formations; wars, battles and campaigns and related associations; army research and history societies; associations for ex-service personnel; medals and awards; archive facilities; national museums; graves, war memorials and rolls of honor; publishers, newspapers and magazines; battlefield tours; re-enactment groups; miscellaneous; discussion groups. The appendices are especially valuable and thorough covering: popular search engines; regimental rosters and histories; regimental associations on the internet; summary of campaigns and conflicts involving the British Army; regimental collections by museum; museums for regiments and formations. Given the restructuring and mergers both historically and recently within the British Army the appendices on where to look for records are current and especially valuable. 
    The book quickly points you in the right direction for specifics whether your interest lines with the English Civil War, Waterloo, the Crimea, the Somme, or any other of the many battles or wars fought by the British around the world. There is a detailed table of contents and an index that helps you quickly find the reference you are seeking. This is a helpful book for those with British army connections. [Dr. Blank is a professional researcher specializing in military records and history and can be contacted through his website]

Reviewed by Paul Milner.
BIGWILL v.16 no.2, 2009

At the Overseer’s Door: The Story of Suffolk’s Parish Workhouses by Ray Whitehead. Published by Historical Suffolk Publishing, 28 Lincoln Avenue, Saxmundham, Suffolk IP17 1BZ, UK. <>. 2007. 96 pp. Illustrations, maps. Softcover. £9.95 plus £4 postage to North America.

    The dissolution of the monasteries in 1536 changed the medieval social structure. Caring for the poor moved from a voluntary action to a compulsory system driven by taxation in the form of poor rates. Parliament created a series of Poor Relief Acts beginning in 1564 with additions in 1597 and 1601. 
    This book addresses the system by which parishes cared for the poor in Suffolk prior to the New Poor Law Act of 1834. The first parish workhouses in Suffolk were in Hadleigh and Ipswich by 1575. As the book points out the workhouse in Hadleigh was so successful that it was used as a model in a report leading to the 1601 Act. “The three primary elements of this Act were: 1) To seek to bring up unprotected children in habits of industry; 2) To provide work for those capable, but unable to find any; 3) To provide materials such as flax, hemp and wool as a means of employment for those able bodied poor.” (p.9). The book describes how these needs were addressed over the next 300+ years using Suffolk examples. In 1722 Knatchbull’s Act, gave parishes the option of refusing ‘out relief’, it allowed parishes to unite in order to provide a workhouse (a house of industry) for the poor, and care for the poor could be contracted out. The inside front cover provides a parish map of Suffolk showing those with a parish workhouse in the late eighteenth century. While the inside back cover using the same map shows which parishes united and incorporated a house of industry. 
    The book describes: how the parish or union workhouses were acquired or built; looks at how they were equipped, maintained, and managed; who was employed there and how they were recruited; who were the inmates and under what conditions they lived. There are a few case studies showing how the records can be used to reconstruct the lives of workhouse families. An appendix lists all the parish workhouses, when they were operational and for many their capacity. The book is full of extracts from a wide variety of documents used to tell the story, all thoroughly documented with 224 footnotes. The book provides illustrations for some of the documents you will find in your research. The one major drawback to the book is that there is no index for names or places. This is a good book for anyone seeking examples of what can be found in the Old Poor Law records, especially if you have Suffolk connections. [My Whitehead is a professional researcher, if anyone is looking for a researcher in Suffolk, and can be contacted through his website]

Reviewed by Paul Milner.
BIGWILL v.16 no.2, 2009

Scorched Earth: The Earliest English in North Wales by Keith Nurse. Published by the author, 44 Tandridge Drive, Orpington, Kent BR6 8DA. <>. 2007. 56 pp. Illustrations. Softcover. £8.50.

    This short booklet examines: key post-conquest aspects of the military campaigns of Edward I in Wales during 1277–83; settlement patterns that followed the English victory; establishment of the castle towns and the seizure of Welsh lands. The records that form the foundation of this story are accounting records, Lay Subsidy Rolls, compiled by the clerks in the royal exchequer. The records include compensation payments made by the Crown for war damage often as a result of the king destroying the property outside the walls to deprive the attaching Welsh of cover and plunder. Many of these were English settlers who moved to Wales in the wake of the conquest. The names of these settlers have survived in two late thirteenth century parchment documents, in Latin, relating to the Flintshire castle-boroughs of Flint and Rhudlan. These were the first in the chain of castles built by Edward I along the borders and coastal areas of North Wales in the late 13th century that includes Caernarfon, Conwy and Harlech. 
    The names of these settlers, anonymous except for these accounting lists, are put into the context of what was happening in Wales and England at the time. It is an interesting story but confusing at times with the writer repeating himself. A little more editing would have helped to clarify the story. The book includes some color photographs of the ruins of the major castles; unfortunately they have a distinct blue caste to them. There is no index to the names or places. The book includes in the appendices copies of the names from the Lay Subsidy Rolls for 1292 for Rhudlan and Flint. Some of the names include English locality identifiers to show the migration of these English settlers into the area. Now if we could only get this far back in our family research.

Reviewed by Paul Milner.
BIGWILL v.16 no.2, 2009

Census: The Expert Guide by Peter Christian and David Annal. Published by The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU, UK. <>. 2008. x, 262 pp. Charts, illustrations, index. Softcover. £14.99.

    The 1911 census returns have just become available online so this is a great time to produce an experts guide to the Census, and this book certainly meets that need. 
    How we search the census returns has changed drastically in the last few years because of the availability of online indexes and images. Often we search the indexes without thinking about how they are working as long as we find the people we are seeking. It is only when we can’t find the people we want that we start to think about what are we actually doing. Here is the reference guide to understanding the content of the original census returns, how the different online search engines work, who or how the indexing was done, what the differences are between black & white versus grayscale images, and how to make the most of your money. 
    The book begins by examining the Victorian census returns and their contents, with a couple of case studies, one of a normal traceable family, and one a brick wall family and how they were eventually overcome. The following chapter addresses the newly released 1911 census along with its similarities and differences to the earlier census returns. For example, in 1911 we see the original census schedules with our ancestors writing and signature (unlike the earlier census enumerator books), plus we learn about the families fertility, more detailed occupation information, again supported by two good case studies. The book continues by examining why people can’t find there ancestors: civil disobedience (especially in 1911); under enumeration; beyond the seas; name unknown; missing censuses (list provided); census is wrong; reading the writing; ignorance, errors and lies; names; ages; birthplaces; the family of Charles Darwin which provides an excellent case study and is one of two case studies illustrating the problems encountered. 
    The rest of the book examines the online census records with chapters for each of the online services, free and pay. For each service a search flow diagram is provided to help you visualize what is happening and where the costs are incurred. There are numerous screen captures in these chapters showing what the search forms and the results tables look like. I found it very helpful to understand when the same data sets are shared between different services, e.g. and, or to see when one company operates two sites with the same data, but provides different search options and different payments structures, e.g. and Also covered are: Ancestry; ScotlandsPeople; Genes Reunited and 1901censusonline; FamilySearch; and the National Archives of Ireland. There are chapters on each service with a chapter that compares the services, which is very useful as it makes it easy to see what is unique to a particular service, e.g. Findmypast is the only one you can search from a reference citation. The final chapters describe which what is available on CD-Rom and explain how to search the census on microfilm or microfiche for there are times when it is still appropriate to return to the old search options. 
    This book is highly recommended for those who want to understand the census and the online services that now provide us with access.

Reviewed by Paul Milner.
BIGWILL v.16 no.3, 2009

Collins Tracing Your Irish Family History by Anthony Adolph. Published by Collins, 77-85 Fulham Palace Road, Hammersmith, London W6 8JB, UK. <>. 2007. 223 pp. Illustrations, index. Hardcover. £17.99.

    This book is divided into four parts: Tracing back to Ireland – First Steps; Tracing back to Ireland – country by country; Tracing roots in Ireland; and Tracing ancient Irish roots. The first brief section examines sources that are likely to lead you to an understanding that you have Irish roots to begin with. The second section provides information for tracing your immigrant from overseas, using foreign sources, to find places of origin in Ireland. Countries covered are: England and Wales; Scotland; United States of America; Canada; Argentina; Australia; and New Zealand. The third section introduces us to the basics of Irish research, provides an understanding of Irish geographic divisions and then explains the fundamental sources: Griffiths Valuation and Tithe Applotments; civil registration; censuses; religious registers; occupational records and then a dictionary of Irish sources to highlight the other sources one should examine. The final section looks at tracing ancient Irish roots and is more speculative in nature for it will be beyond most Irish researchers. It examines the history of Irish names, the recorded pedigrees (doing a good job of describing their strengths, weaknesses and biases, which is important as some of these sources are readily available here in the US); heraldry; ancient Gaelic pedigrees connecting to Milesius; ancient Irish roots and the invasions of Ireland. 
    The book is very well illustrated with numerous color and black and white photographs of documents, people and places. There are numerous colored side boxes that highlight: how to overcome problems; items online; further reading; plus lots of material that explains an item or terms in that chapter (such as old age pensions; occupational dictionaries, land measurements). Case studies are used through the book. This is a book that because of its layout is easy to dip into the find what you are looking for.

Reviewed by Paul Milner.
BIGWILL v.16 no.3, 2009

My Ancestor was a Coalminer by David Tonks. Published by the Society of Genealogists Enterprises Ltd., 14 Charterhouse Buildings, Goswell Road, London EC1M 7BA.<>. 2003, reprinted 2006. 136 pp. Illustrations, index. Softcover. £8.50.

    This excellent little guide book is divided into three sections. The first examines the lifestyle of the miners and puts them into the context of mining in general. It provides: a brief history of coal mining in Great Britain; explains why the miner is different examining questions of housing, lodgers, mobility, in-breeding, disasters and more along with the sources that support these assertions; an explanation of the work in general, along with the dangers, disasters, unions, strikes and sources. Shorter pieces look at how he lived, whether he belonged to church or chapel, what he did with his leisure time, was he a Bevin boy, a woman working underground or on the surface. The second part highlights the multitude of documents created around a disaster that can be used for family history, using the Elemore Colliery, Easington Lane, County Durham disaster of 1886 as a case study. These two sections provide context and ideas for what is available and parts of the miner’s life that can be examined. There are good bibliographies for each of the sections./sub>
    The final section examines the collections and sources. The mining industry is much regionalized and this section gives an overview of national collections, but then focuses on the many regional or local collections. These may be in archives, libraries or heritage parks. Each regional section closes with a geographically specific bibliography looking at general descriptions, mining histories, social histories, union histories, biographies / autobiographies, and websites. Many of us with eighteenth – twentieth century ancestors will have mobile coal mining ancestors and this book is an excellent guide on tracing them.

Note: This book is now in its second edition (2010).

Reviewed by Paul Milner.
BIGWILL v.16 no.3, 2009

The Medical Professions and Their Archives, 2nd Edition by Peter C. Amsden. Purchase from the author at Dunstaffnage Mains Farm, Dunbeg, Oban, Argyll PA37 1PZ, Scotland. 2007. 52 pp. Softcover. £4.90.

    This booklet is divided into two sections. The first provides a brief history of the medical profession focusing especially on the different courses taken by the physicians, surgeons, nurses and apothecaries or pharmacists. These groups were often in competition with one another. The early history is discussed but the emphasis is on the different groups and their organizations within the UK. There is also a short comparison between the UK and the US medical professions. The second part of the book has its own table of contents for the archives and associated bodies connected with the medical profession. For each organization it lists the: name, address, telephone numbers; an email and web address; a very brief description of holdings; fee range for any work requested. For many, more information is likely to be found online, but this booklet pulls identifies the major medical holdings with titles that would be unfamiliar to many American researchers. The book has a short bibliography to assist researchers looking for more history about aspects of the medical profession. The book has no index.

Reviewed by Paul Milner.
BIGWILL v.16 no.3, 2009

Wills & Probate Records: A Guide for Family Historians, Second Edition by Karen Grannum and Nigel Taylor. Published by The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU, UK. <>. 2009. 160 pp. Illustrations, index. Softcover. £12.99.

    In English research when a death occurs we tend to focus on finding a copy of the will. Reading this book really opens the door to the many other records that may exist created before or after the death of an individual. The other records include: administrations, bonds, inventories, accounts, debts, death duty registers, litigation. Wills and all their possible associated records are described in detail. You will learn under what circumstances the records were created, what they look like, how to access them, how to correctly interpret what you are reading and where to go next. 
    The book provides an in-depth, practical guide for researching within the National Archives, but includes information on the records at the Borthwick Institute of Historical Research, at the University of York and in the county and diocesan record offices. Additional records covered include those at the Bank of England and the British Library, along with a chapter addressing probate records in other parts of the British Isles. 
    Since the first edition, published in 2004, the internet and ongoing cataloging have greatly increased access to these records. The reader is pointed towards new online sources and many new indexes within the National Archives catalog are mentioned where you can search for individuals by name. The book has to be read carefully to find all these indexes and it would have been nice to have seen a consolidated listing as an appendix, and to have it available as a research checklist. 
    The records are well illustrated, and so thoroughly explained that as a researcher you want to go looking for these records to see if any exist for your ancestors. This book is highly recommended for anyone doing English probate research who wants to understand what they have found and what else might exist.

Reviewed by Paul Milner.
BIGWILL v.16 no.4, 2009

Exploring Solway History by Philip Nixon and Hugh Dias. Published by Breedon Books, Breedon House, 3 The Parker Centre, Derby, DE21 4SZ, UK. <>. 2007. 191 pp. Illustrations. Hardcover. £16.99.

    This is a history book about the western end of the border area between England and Scotland. The eastern extremity of the area covered is Lanercost Priory and Naworth Castle around Brampton. Moving west the area is split in two by the sea area known as the Solway Firth. On the northern side, in Scotland, the book goes west to Castle Douglas, while on the southern side, in England, the book goes along the coast to Maryport. Most locals, including me, would say the Solway Firth extends further west and south, but the authors point out that they hope they have not offended readers ending where they did, for they had to end somewhere (p.15). 
    The book is divided into five sections: the first two covering the English and Scottish sides of the Solway, the third looks at both sides (explained in a moment), and concludes with sections on the towns of Carlisle and Dumfries. The first two sections are organized as gazetteers highlighting some of the communities and historical places within the area. The stories include local history about how the communities developed, often into thriving ports, to die off, and in some case to be flourishing again. Other stories highlight the important families who developed and built the communities, or tore them down because of their fighting, and many include stories of the Romans and King Arthur for which there are many connections in the area. The book in a number of places describes the dangers of the sand flats created in the Solway when the tide goes out, the real danger of quick sands, constantly changing channels and the speed at which the tide returns often cutting people off on the sands. 
    The section addressing both sides looks at the events and places that are important because they straddle the border, such as the Border Reivers, border ballads, the debatable lands, the Battle of Solway Moss, the Battle of the Sark, the Jacobite rebellions, smuggling, Gretna Green and more. The remainder of the book highlights the important landmarks and history within the border towns of Carlisle and Dumfries. 
    The text provides a good introduction to the history of the people and places of the area, but it is the stunning photographs that make this a really nice book to dip into. All the places in the book are well photographed and the colors are rich in spite of many of them being taken on typical cloudy days. The one draw back is that the book has no index so if you want to find the places associated with particular families such as the Senhouse’s, the Percy’s, the Armstrong’s, you will just need to read the book. This is a nice, well-illustrated book about this border area of England and Scotland.

Note: This book has also been published as Exploring Solway Firth History.

Reviewed by Paul Milner.
BIGWILL v.16 no.4, 2009

Exploring Border Reivers History by Philip Nixon. Published by Breedon Books, Breedon House, 3 The Parker Centre, Derby, DE21 4SZ, UK. <>. 2007. 192 pp. Illustrations. Hardcover. £16.99.

    For approximately 400 years, between the 13th and 17th Centuries the Borders were a wild area between England and Scotland, often disputed and fought over by both countries, but also by the families who lived there. Mr. Nixon in his introduction states that he is providing an overview of the way of life in the Borders during this time period, plus providing information linking many of the sites and events in the area, some well known and some obscure. The text is fully supported with excellent photographs showing the buildings (castles, abbeys, bastles, towers, etc) and places, in the process aptly demonstrating how remote much of this area is and was with its moorland and marshes. 
    The first part of the book provides the historical background and describes the life of the typical warring families of the Borders. It highlights the role of the wardens, the operation of the law, the lawlessness of the area, the Hot Trod (the rules for pursuit to recapture stolen goods), the days of truce, There are two useful maps the foundation of which is the same showing the major rivers of the Borders along with the boundaries of the English and Scottish Eastern, Middle and Western Marches. The first map has superimposed on it the geographic distribution of many of the Reiver family names, while the second lifts up the places mentioned in the gazetteer section of the book. 
    The larger section of the book discusses Border history by presenting an integrated listing in alphabetical order of events and places. This arrangement makes the book very easy to dip into to read about one of these events or places, all of which are listed in the table of contents. Each of the mini essays is well illustrated. The disadvantage with this is that you do not get an integrated story or history by reading the book, rather you get a collection of anecdotes and you have to make the links. The author states that this is not an academic book, and there are no footnotes, references, bibliography or index. You thus have to carefully read the book to make the connections between the different families, their history and the places with which they are connected. You will however enjoy the reading and the beautiful photographs, especially if you have ancestors living in the Borders.

Note: Breedon Books has been absorbed by DB Publishing, which no longer lists this book for sale. As of July 2010 it was still available via the website.

Reviewed by Paul Milner.
BIGWILL v.16 no.4, 2009

My Ancestor was a Lawyer by Brian Brooks and Mark Herber. Published by Society of Genealogists Enterprises Limited, 14 Charterhouse Buildings, Goswell Road, London EC1M 7BA, UK. <>. 2006. xiv, 215 pp. Illustrations, indices. Softcover. £10.50.

    The authors are experienced genealogists, plus a notary public and a lawyer respectively. Their personal experience and attention to details comes through clearly in this volume and makes it a must have for anyone with a lawyer in the family. 
    There are several histories describing the two main branches of the legal profession – barristers and solicitors – but this book is designed specifically for family historians examining the records, particularly those of the law courts, in which you are likely to find information about an individual lawyer. The focus is on the English courts but there are chapters for lawyers in Wales, Scotland, Ireland and British India. 
    The book begins with a short, but detailed general history of the legal profession in England and Wales. This is followed by specifics about lawyers, their societies, institutions and records. This is done by examining the different roles a lawyer might have such as judge, barrister, solicitor, serjeant at law, doctors of law, proctors, conveyancers, notaries, scriveners, clerks of the peace, vestry clerks, stewards of manors, coroners, plus examining where and how they trained or worked, discussing the Inns of Court and the Inns of Chancery. This is followed by published records of lawyers such as: law lists, biographical dictionaries, directories, school registers, business histories and military service records or rolls of honor. 
    The largest section of the book, the most detailed and the most unique is the examination of records of the courts that provide information about the lawyers. This is not a discussion of the records of court proceedings. What the list of courts does in this section is remind the reader how many different court systems there are in England in which your lawyer ancestor may have worked. This includes the Courts of: Common Pleas; Chancery; King’s Bench; Exchequer; Admiralty; Bankruptcy; Insolvent Debtors; Star Chamber; Requests; Ward and Liveries; King’s Palace; the Palatine or Duchy courts; criminal courts, ecclesiastical courts; House of Lords; and more. Most of these records are at The National Archives. The book does not include every court for some of the national courts mentioned in the introduction do not include records about individual lawyers. Then when you get to the county, ecclesiastical or local courts what has been generated or survived will depend upon local circumstances and will often be in local depositories, but you are given guidance on the types of records to ask about. 
    The final sections of the book cover miscellaneous sources in which you might find information about lawyers, plus a discussion of the differences in the legal systems, their records and how to access them for Wales, Ireland, Scotland, and India. The book includes three indexes: subject; sources and resources; and names.

Reviewed by Paul Milner.
BIGWILL v.16 no.4, 2009

The Signing of the Magna Carta. Pivotal Moments in History Series by Debbie Levy. Published by Twenty-First Century Books, 241 First Avenue North, Minneapolis MN 55401. <>. 2008. 160 pp. Bibliography, illustrations, index. Hardcover. $38.60.

    Not every good history book has to be a scholarly tome. Here is an excellent, readable history book designed for teenagers, grades 9–12, which actually makes it useful for Americans with limited knowledge of early British history wanting a good overview. 
    This book succeeds in providing a good overview of the kings and their political activities from 1066 into the 1300’s, plus how the Magna Carta has been used and interpreted subsequently in history. The book providing historical context for the signing of the Magna Carta covers the reigns of the Norman Kings (William the Conqueror, William II /William Rufus, Henry I, Stephen) and the Angevins (Henry II, Richard I / Richard the Lionheart, John). It is made very clear how the power and financial needs of these kings led to and were derived from leadership problems, external conflict with the Kings of France and the Pope, along with internal conflicts with the barons and other contenders for the throne. The troubles increase and come to a head when the barons rebel against the unpopular King John. The demands of the barons result in a charter, the final charter, the Magna Carta signed on June 19, 1215. Some of the important clauses within the Magana Carta are explained and put into the context of the time, and this is different from how it was subsequently used. 
    The signing of the Magna Carta produces peace for a short while, while King John prepares again for war which breaks out with the barons by September 1215. King John dies in 1216 and the charter is reaffirmed by Henry III and his successor Edward I. However it has already started to evolve into a living changing document designed to meet the needs of the leaders, not yet the common people. Later interpretations and its significance for the development of English common law and for the founders of America are highlighted in the final chapters. 
    The book places historical documents and quotes onto a parchment background making them stand out in the text, which is also supplemented by beautiful brightly colored medieval paintings. There is a good timeline, who’s who, selected bibliography including internet sources and index.

Reviewed by Paul Milner.
BIGWILL v.16 no.4, 2009

Tracing Your Scottish Ancestors: The Official Guide: A Guide to Ancestry Research in the National Archives of Scotland, third edition by the National Archives of Scotland <>. Published by Mercat Press 10 Coates Crescent, Edinburgh EH3 7AL, Scotland. 2003. vii, 213 pp. Illustrations, index. Softcover. £9.99.

    The first edition of this book appeared in 1990, written by Cecil Sinclair, with a revised edition in 1997. The format of the book is the same with the book divided into numerous short topical chapters with each paragraph being numbered, making cross referencing very easy. In fact much of the text is the same as in the first edition – the records have not changed. There are some stylistic changes making for easier reading, for example: larger text; class codes are now in upper case capitals replacing the small capitals used previously; and catalogue replaces the term repertory. The topics covered include all the normal ones for getting started in tracing your ancestors, but quickly get you beyond into more advanced topics for which the records are at the National Archives, with minimal reference to the records are the regional archives. The book assumes that you are working onsite in the National Archives of Scotland so there are no indications as to which records may be on microfilm and available through the Family History Library. 
    So what is different? There are new chapters addressing Scottish Research on the Internet and Court of the Lord Lyon. The internet chapter is very important Scottish research and constantly changing for this chapter is already dated but still highlights some important sites to visit. Also scattered throughout the text are references to new finding aids and to which series of records may now be searchable, by name or by place, within the online catalog, e.g. witnesses in trials who of course provided written depositions. One of the valuable tools included in the book are the lists of commissariat and sheriff courts arranged by county, along with a listing of particular registers of sasines that have been indexed and published. 
    What makes this book so valuable is that there are lots of tips from the in-house experts explaining how to search the records, where the gaps in the records are and what alternatives exist at the National Archives of Scotland. Limited mention is made of what records may exist in the regional archives. Occasional mention is given to records that have been published but I don’t sense that this is thorough and could be improved for the next edition. The book assumes you are working on site in Edinburgh and is a must for anyone planning a visit to do research in Edinburgh. However, because of the practical tips and the fact that the book gets into lesser used records I will be taking this book with me to Salt Lake City later this year when I go to do some more Scottish research.

[Editorial comment: Since this book was obtained for review Mercat Press has been bought by Birlinn Limited <>. and it appears that an updated version of this book is in production. You may however see copies of this available through vendors or libraries and wish to read]

Note: This book is now in its fourth edition (2009).

Reviewed by Paul Milner.
BIGWILL v.16 no.5, 2009

Rooted in Scotland: Getting to the Heart of Your Scottish Heritage by Cameron Taylor. Published by Luath Press Ltd., 543/2 Castlehill, The Royal Mile, Edinburgh EH1 2ND, Scotland. <>. 2007. 168 pp. Softcover. $13.95.

    Cameron Taylor became involved in ancestral tourism when he co-founded the 1999 Orkney Homecoming and then was chairman of the Orkney Homecoming in 2007. This book is designed to get Scots all over the world excited and motivated about the idea of returning to Scotland to visit their ancestral homeland. This it succeeds in doing. He gives ideas on how to put ancestors, for whom we may only know their names, dates and places of birth, marriage and death, into a historical and geographical context. He even gives a sample 8-day itinerary, with driving directions and historical context, for travelers wanting to explore the 1745 Rebellion. 
    So many of Scotland’s records for getting started in research are online so there is a heavy emphasis on these records and so is current in what is available. This book is not designed as an expert guide to doing Scottish genealogy but it is a guide to get someone with minimal knowledge of Scottish ancestors started in the research process. There is a chapter in the book highlighting some sources in the major countries to which the Scots migrated but this is so basic as to be not useful at all. Because the book is geared towards ancestral tourism emphasis is added on how to find local resources for a particular locality such as maps, museums, events, festivals, arts, sport, etc. The book contains a chapter on the Ulster connection, which is obviously targeting the North American readers who return to Ireland. It highlights ancestral research and historical tourist sites worth visiting, but also encourages tourists to go further back to visit their Scottish ancestral homes, even if they don’t know exactly where in Scotland their connections lie.  
    This book is suitable for someone starting their Scottish research to lightly encourage them. It is more valuable for its practical ideas and suggestions for someone planning to visit Scotland to put their ancestors into a geographical and historical context.

Reviewed by Paul Milner.
BIGWILL v.16 no.5, 2009

The Scottish Graveyard Miscellany: Exploring the Folk Art of Scotland’s Gravestones by Hamish Brown. Published by Birlinn Limited, West Newington House, 10 Newington Road, Edinburgh EH9 1QS, Scotland. <>. 2008. xii, 159 pp. Illustrations. Softcover. £10.99.

    Among genealogists there is a strong emphasis on the information, the writing, providing names and dates carved onto gravestones. This is especially important in Scotland where the burial and mortcloth records can be so poor. This book does a superb job of focusing on the art work carved into the stones that can often tell us much about our ancestors and the times in which they lived. The book is well illustrated. 
    The book is divided into two sections. The first provides general background information such as: early history; carvings; recycling of stones; errors; styles – Celtic and Victorian; resurrectionists and the various means to stop them. The second section of the book, “The Great Eighteenth Century Folk Art” examines in detail, most illustrated, the symbols of mortality and immortality, bible stories, trades and some modern creations. I was familiar with most of the symbols used on gravestones but the book puts them into a Scottish context. I particularly liked the section on trade symbols. 
    A major drawback to this book is the lack of an index or geographic compilation. The author illustrates the text with great examples from all over Scotland, but there is no easy way, other than re-reading the book, to determine which examples are in the part of Scotland you are going to visit. Nor is there an easy way to find the answers to your questions, for example in the introduction the author raises the question as to why there are so many Yew trees in graveyards. I seem to recall from reading it had something to do with cows, but there is no index to be able to quickly find again the answer in the book. 
    In spite of the lack of an index, this book is highly recommended for anyone going beyond the casual search in Scottish graveyards to understand what they are seeing.

Reviewed by Paul Milner.
BIGWILL v.16 no.5, 2009

Tracing Your Textile Ancestors: A Guide for Family Historians by Viven Teasdale. Pen & Sword Family History, 47 Church Street, Barnsley, South Yorkshire S70 2AS, England <>. US Distributor: Casemate Publishers, 1016 Warrior Rd, Suite C, Drexel Hill, PA 19026. <>. 2009. xii, 209 pp. Illustrations, index. Softcover. $19.99.

    If you have ancestors in any time period (medieval through to the present) in England or Wales who worked in the textile industry then this book is a must have. It will take you beyond the usual genealogical records into sources specific to this group of industries. Even in the getting started chapter you have the obvious records but Ms. Teasdale soon gets you into records of guilds, taxation, estates, mechanic’s institutes, trade journals, mill histories and more. The following two chapters focus on sources for workers and then the owners with the later generally being the easier to trace. For the workers we read about: school leaving certificates; Factory Regulation Acts; wage books; young person registers; apprenticeships; disputes; union records and more. For the owners we read about: business records; deeds; bankruptcy (of which there were many); prospectuses; share books; registers of owners; co-operatives; fire insurance; Goad fire maps; company minute books, patents; solicitors; estate agents; employer associations; trade directories and more. The book continues by looking at life in the textile industry in general and then specifically for the cotton, linen, lace, silk, wool and other textile materials and associated industries (machine manufacturing; rope, twine and sailcloth; carpets and rugs; leather; and hatting). The author examines each industry describing its needs and where in the country it was important and who were the important companies involved. There are lots of historical clues in these chapters both to potential employers, locations and changes in the industries over time and where the workers may have moved to continue to find work. 
    The final chapters in the book identify record office by area that have textile related collections, then go on to identify places to visit and websites to use using the same geographic areas. These listings are not designed to be exhaustive but rather to provide starting points and ideas. Much use will need to be made of Access to Archives at The National Archives website to locate materials in these local and regional archives, once you have identified companies or individuals you are seeking. Because many textiles companies were bought multiple times often by larger companies you as a researcher will not know what records may have survived or where in the country they are. 
    The book concludes with a helpful glossary of terms and occupations specific to the textile industry along with an extensive bibliography. The table of contents is very detailed with numerous subject headings being listed, which helps compensate for the poor index which identifies business source types, records by region, the major London guilds, and the different textiles. But you will not find the names of specific companies mentioned within the book, nor specific people (only 15 key players indexed); and many places mentioned with the text are not included in the index (for example, linen mills in Cockermouth and Whitehaven are mentioned and illustrated, p.82–83, but it does not mention the county therefore they are not in the index – both are in Cumbria). The index is weak but this book is still highly recommended.

Reviewed by Paul Milner.
BIGWILL v.16 no.5, 2009

A Cotton-Fibre Halo – Manchester and the Textile Districts in 1849. An Eyewitness Account of Textile Workers’ Conditions in Manchester, Ashton-under-Lyne, Oldham, Egerton, Macclesfield, Middleton and Saddleworth. 2007. 207 pp. Illustrated. Softcover. £7.99.

Fabrics, Filth and Fairy Tents – The Yorkshire Textile Districts in 1849. An Eyewitness Account of Textile Workers’ Conditions in Huddersfield, Dewsbury, Batley, Halifax, Bradford & Leeds in 1849. 2007. 103 pp. Illustrated. Softcover. £6.95.
Both written by Angus Bethune Reach and edited by Chris Aspin. Published by Royd Press at The Book Case, 29 Market Street, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire HX7 6EU, England. <>.

    These books work best as a pair for the longer introduction to their context is in Cotton-Fibre Halo. In October 1849 the Morning Chronicle newspaper announced “the first of a series of communications, in which it is proposed to give a full and detailed description of the moral, intellectual, material, and physical conditions of the industrial poor throughout England.” The London section of this project by Henry Mayhew is well known, but most of the other reports have been forgotten although one historian describes the reports as “the most impressive survey of labour and poverty at mid-century which exists.” The context for the stories was a severe cholera outbreak in the summer of 1849; changes during the decade regarding factory legislation and attitudes of local authorities to health and sanitation; strengthening of voluntary help for the working classes especially by the Sunday schools; and the recent passing of the Ten Hours Bill. 
    This is not typical Victorian prose and is both enjoyable and very descriptive to read. The author, focusing initially on Manchester describes in great detail the workers homes; the mills with their owners, operators and workers; health; the role of drugs in high infant mortality; the desire for and means of getting an education; the role of Sunday schools; the lodging houses; music and music halls. The reporter interviewed many people at all levels within the textile industry so you learn firsthand about their living conditions, wages, food and what issues concerned them. Comparisons are made between the different textile industries and the different locations. The books include both contemporary and modern illustrations of the mills, the workers and their living conditions. 
    These reports were originally edited by Chris Aspin in 1972 and published by the Helmshore Local History Society, and have been republished to give them wider distribution. I can recommend both these volumes specifically for anyone with ancestors working in mid-nineteenth century textile industries in Lancashire or Yorkshire, but anyone with workers within the industrial north of England will find them beneficial to understanding the context of their ancestor’s lives using contemporary documents.

Both books reviewed by Paul Milner.
BIGWILL v.16 no.5, 2009

Essential Maps for Family Historians by Charles Masters. Published by Countryside Books, 3 Catherine Road, Newbury, Berkshire RG14 7NA, UK. <>. 2009. 127 pp. Illustrations, index, maps. Softcover. £12.99.

    For American researchers it can often be difficult to understand or determine what types of maps are available for researching communities in England and Wales. This book provides a current picture of what is available both in print and online for some major groupings of maps, especially those importance to genealogists. No attempt has been made to cover every type of map. 
    The book begins with a general chapter discussing the importance of maps, problems with dating, who they were created by, created for and why. Sometimes maps show what is planned rather than what is, and sometimes they are just copies of earlier existing maps without any updates or corrections. The book continues by examining: county maps; estate surveys; enclosure maps and awards; town maps; tithe maps and awards; valuation office survey 1910–1915; and national farm survey 1941–1943. Each chapter puts the topic into historical context, provides superb color reproductions of maps and supporting awards or documents, explains how to use the maps and what problems may be encountered. Each chapter concludes with a section on locating the maps, which is often The National Archives or county record offices, but also includes commercial vendors and specific websites. 
    Even, if like me, you have other books about using maps for English and Welsh research you will still benefit from this book because of the quality of the color illustrations, the clear explanations and the up to date online sourcing.

Reviewed by Paul Milner.
BIGWILL v.16 no.6, 2009

Researching Local History: A Guide to Sources Held by Dumfries and Galloway Council. Published by Dumfries and Galloway Council, Cultural Services, Central Support Unit, Catherine Street, Dumfries DG1 1JB, Scotland. <>. 2009. 128 pp. Illustrations, maps. Softcover. £5.99.

    This is the type of research tool that I wish was published by more local or regional councils and Dumfries and Galloway are to be commended for this fine example. The book covers resources available in the old Scottish counties of Ayrshire, Wigtownshire and the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright. Outline maps of the parishes in each jurisdiction are provided at the back of the book. 
    The writers of the publication, not identified, acknowledge that there has been a major increase in tracings one’s ancestors especially with the popularity of the BBC program Who Do You Think You Are?. This book is designed to explain and identify what records survive and are available in local repositories for family and local history research. It does not identify which records for the region may exist in repositories outside the area such as the National Archives of Scotland. 
    The records identified include: agricultural and estate records; allegiance oaths; building and planning records; burgesses; burial records; census returns; church records; council minutes; court, criminal and police records; customs and excise records; directories and guide books; education records; family and genealogical papers; graveyard surveys; health reports; irregular marriage records; literary records; maps and plans; military records; national sources; newspapers and journals; old parochial registers; photographs, prints, paintings and drawings; poor and welfare records; registration of births, deaths and marriages; sasines; service of heirs records; special collections; testaments; trade and business records; transport and infrastructure records; valuation and taxation records; voting records; addresses for contacts within and outside the area likely to hold records of interest. For each topic there is a brief description of the record, usually followed by a listing of surviving records by time period and where they may be found locally. The local repositories identified are the: Dumfries Archive Centre; Annan Museum; Dumfries Museum and Camera Obscura; Ewart Library; Stewartry Museum, Kirkcudbright; Langholm Library; Lockerbie Library; Stranraer Museum and Stranraer Library. 
    Recent contact with the Stewartry Museum in Kirkcudbright found the staff very cooperative and helpful. Using a guide such as this will assist researchers in determining ahead of time what records existed, and what has survived for specific locations in southwest Scotland.

Note: This book may be listed elsewhere as Researching Local History: A Guide to Local Studies Materials Held by Dumfries and Galloway Council. It has very limited availability, but may be available from online booksellers such as Blackwell <> or WHSmith <>.

Reviewed by Paul Milner.
BIGWILL v.16 no.6, 2009

Allotments by Twigs Way. Published by Shire Publications Ltd., Midland House, West Way, Botley, Oxford OX2 0PH, UK. <>. 2008, reprinted 2009. 56 pp. Illustrations, index. Softcover. £5.99 or $12.95.

    Allotments are small areas of land rented to individuals to grow their own food. This is a simple definition of a sight common enough in England expanded upon very nicely in this book. Allotments have their origins in a philanthropic movement tied to social and moral control of the poor, which later became fashionable for the urban middle class. Their origins go back to the enclosure of the land which began in the seventeenth century but escalated during the 1750–1830 period. Enclosure was heralded by agricultural reformers, benefited the aristocracy and the squirearchy, but was in most instances detrimental to the poor. Social unrest sometimes combined with genuine philanthropy led to private initiatives to address this need among the poor with the setting aside pieces of land that could be sub-divided into allotments for the poor. The 1819 Select Vestries Act empowered parish wardens to purchase or lease up to 20 acres of parish land for the poor. This was increased by 1831 to up to 50 acres with allotments of up to one quarter of an acre. Allotments were not widely accepted and the book continues to give a very good description of how they were viewed, developed and expanded over time. In the Urban areas it was the new respectable middleclass who sought allotments. They wanted space to grow their own food, to escape the confines of the city and to share in the nineteenth century obsession with gardening. 
    In 1914, at the outbreak of war there were between 450, 000 and 600,000 allotments provided by private landowners, councils and the Church. By the end of 1917, the Cultivation of Land Order led to over 1,500,000 allotments with everyone being encouraged to grow food. After the war much public land was returned to prior usage, in some cases with opposition. Use of and interest allotments continued during the interwar years, with the Allotments Act of 1922 standardizing the definition of an allotment that survives for the rest of the century as “an area not exceeding a quarter of an acre in extent which is wholly or mainly cultivated by the occupier for the production of vegetable or fruit crops for consumption by himself and his family”. The use of land for food production started immediately during WW2 with the “Dig for Victory” campaigns. After the war their vitality continued for a while but gradually were seen as part of the wartime austerity to be forgotten and many became casualties of urban growth in the 1950s. 
    This book has excellent color and black and white photographs both of allotments, but also the posters and postcards that were used to promote or make fun of allotments. My grandparents, and great grandparents worked allotments and this book does a good job of putting them into context. I learnt a lot from this slim book and can recommend it.

Reviewed by Paul Milner.
BIGWILL v.16 no.6, 2009

Evacuees of the Second World War by Mike Brown. Published by Shire Publications Ltd., Midland House, West Way, Botley, Oxford OX2 0PH, UK. <>. 2009. 64 pp. Illustrations, index. Softcover. £5.99 or $12.95.

    During the last days of peace in 1939 nearly two million people, most of them children, were evacuated from British cities, towns and ports to the countryside or across the Atlantic to the USA and Canada. My mother was one of those children evacuated from the city of Newcastle-upon-Tyne on 1 September 1939, before war was declared, to the town of Whitehaven on the northwest coast of England. 
    This book looks at the history of bombing on civilian populations with the early effects during WWI, and how it was anticipated that it would only get worse in the future. Close observations were made of the effects of bombing during the Spanish Civil War during the mid 1930’s and the need for planning became obvious. The book discusses the process of the first evacuation in September 1939, describing how it was proposed, who was involved and how it operated focusing on the movement of children by school rather than by families (unless young children were involved). The lives of the evacuees are described along with the problems and uncertainties created by the lack of bombing during the early stages of the war. Later evacuations are also described highlighting the movement of businesses, school camps, later evacuations or relocations of children, overseas evacuations and evacuation from the Channel Islands and Gibraltar. The final chapter addresses the return home and its mixed effects. The evacuation greatly affected my mother, her relationship with family members and where she would ultimately choose to live. This book helps to put that experience into context. If your relatives were child evacuees and many were, then this book provides a good introduction to the events and experiences.

Reviewed by Paul Milner.
BIGWILL v.16 no.6, 2009

The Routledge Companion to the Stuart Age, 1603–1714 by John Wroughton. Published by Routledge, 270 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016. <>. 2006. vii, 314 pp. Index, maps. Softcover. $33.95.

    If you have seventeenth century ancestors in the British Isles this book is going to help you put them into context with lots of easy to access facts and good recommendations. It is easy to use, easy to dip into and easy to find information on a specific topic or person. It is designed as a book to get a quick perspective on the Stuart period without having to read a text book and yet it is also designed as a companion volume for serious readers of the period seeking help to clarify facts and put people or events into context. 
    The book itself is divided into seven sections. The first provides chronologies for domestic affairs examining political events, religious change, military events in England (English Civil Wars, Penruddock’s Rising, Monmouth’s Rebellion and Glorious Revolution), plus cultural developments. The second provides chronologies for foreign and colonial affairs examining foreign policy, trade and colonies (with frequent mention of the North American and Caribbean colonies), plus an extensive section on relations with Scotland and Ireland. The third section lists the people holding major offices of state. Section four is a very practical glossary of constitutional, political and religious terms important in this period. Section five provides biographies of the major players in the period. Section six, is for me at least probably the most important for it provides an annotated bibliographic guide to further reading on different subject important to the period including: general books; biographies; English political history; central and local government; foreign policy; military history; the localities; economic history; social history; religion; science and the arts; Scotland, Ireland and Wales; and documents. The book concludes with a genealogical table of the House of Stewart and the succession of the English throne, along with some maps.

Reviewed by Paul Milner.
BIGWILL v.16 no.6, 2009

Scottish Genealogy by Bruce Durie. Published by The History Press, The Mill, Brimscombe Port, Stroud, Gloucestershire GL5 2QG, UK. <>. 2009. 319 pp. Illustrations, index. Hardcover. £25.

    Here is a book billed as the comprehensive guide to tracing your family history in Scotland, produced especially for the Homecoming. The book comes from courses in genealogy, family history, heraldry and related subjects at the Universities of Strathclyde and Edinburgh. It is intended as a working manual for genealogists interested in Scottish records, firmly based in the praxis of a genealogical educator, with worked examples, templates, and methodologies. 
    So how does it live up to these expectations that it sets for itself? In the first three chapters, 45 pages, the book quickly goes through: census; statutory registers for birth, marriage and death; and Old Parish Registers with wills and land records being left till later in the book. The census chapter is good explaining how and who collected the census returns and highlighting problems with online indexes and what can be done about it. The statutory registers chapter is very brief focusing on changing boundaries within registration districts over the years. The book does not explain what information you will find on a certificate, how it changed over the years, what the indexes contain and provides no examples for illustration purposes. Yes, this information can be easily located elsewhere, but this book bills itself as comprehensive. The Old Parish Registers chapter describes the limitations of the records the options for accessing the indexes and images and what are alternatives for working around gaps such as the Kirk Session records which are all being scanned to be put online soon. 
    The rest of the book addresses: census substitutes; trades, crafts, professions and offices; courts and the Scottish legal system; charters; local records; Scottish wills and testaments; land; feudal land tenure and baronies, and titles; church and religious records; paleography; DNA testing and genealogy; clans, families, crests and tartans; resources; internet resources; Scottish monarchs – reigns and genealogies; organizing your records. The chapters are very uneven and often brief, for example only two pages to discuss church and religious records. The chapter on local records is actually a discussion about jurisdictions (counties, regions and unitary authorities) but is made very confusing by trying to describe and compare what was happening to the geographic reorganization in the rest of the British Isles. The local records chapter does provide a very helpful table showing the names of the different jurisdictions in the different periods arranged by historic county, but the tables for the English and Welsh counties although nice are not needed in a Scottish companion. The chapter on the Scottish legal system is also confusing and would have been helped with some diagrams of the hierarchy of the different courts. The chapters on Wills and Testaments and Land are very good describing the records, the printed or online indexes and provide some good examples. The resources chapter is the largest, 112 pages and provides some great reference lists not easily available elsewhere, including: British money and coinage with illustrations and descriptions of Scottish coinage; a table of relative values showing the effect of inflation in Scotland; old Scots weights and measures; Gaelic words in English with a brief pronunciation guide; a very extensive Scots legal and genealogical glossary; Latin glossary for genealogy and history; list of occupations; and abbreviations. 
    This is a book that I will use to assist me in my Scottish research. However, it is not the comprehensive guide that I was hoping for. There are some definite omissions, weaknesses and some subjects are poorly explained. Guidance for further more advanced research is almost non-existent with very few bibliographic citations. The unevenness of the chapters almost suggests that the book came to market too quickly to meet the deadline of the Gathering. The format is good but I hope the author considers a more expanded, thoroughly prepared second edition as he certainly appears to have the knowledge to write the comprehensive guide, but it’s not there yet.

Note: This book is available in both paperback and hardback versions.

Reviewed by Paul Milner.
BIGWILL v.17 no.1, 2010

Cornish Wills 1342–1540 edited by Nicholas Orme. Devon and Cornwall Record Society New Series, Volume 50. Published by Devon and Cornwall record Society, 7 Cathedral Close, Exeter, EX1 1EZ, UK. <>. 2007. 294 pp. Index. Softcover. £25 includes overseas postage.

    This compilation of all known surviving wills of personal property relating to Cornwall up to 1540 grew out of a project for the Victoria County History of Cornwall to study religion in Cornwall up to the Reformation. The wills originally in Latin have been translated, while those in fifteenth and sixteenth century English are presented with modernized spelling. 
    What distinguishes this volume is that it is a compilation attempting to collect Cornish wills from many repositories. Four types of will are included: (1) wills made inside Cornwall; (2) wills made outside Cornwall but containing a substantial number of references to places or people inside the county; (3) wills made outside the county (e.g. bishops of Exeter and citizens of London) that contain only a few references to Cornwall; (4) Cornish expatriates or people linked with Cornwall that make no mention of Cornwall, usually because they are stated as being of Cornwall. 122 wills of type one and two appear as complete transcripts in part one of the book, while for 66 wills of types three and four the references are extracted and are in part two and are all actually from the Prerogative Court of Canterbury. 
    The book’s introduction provides a good explanation of the differences between a will and a testament, for in this period they are separate. What we have in this book are the testaments, which provide for the transfer of personal property, but are called wills in the book for simplicity sake. The introduction describes the normal probate process, where wills of Cornishmen might have ended up, why and when the process might have been different. 
    The wills are arranged in chronological order of date of writing, when that is unknown the date of probate is used. The headings provide the name of the testator, his place of origin, date of will, the source of the will with manuscript number, whether an original or registered copy and whether in Latin or English. Modern grammatical customs, such as sentences, punctuation, capitalization and paragraphs make the text much easier to read. However, surnames are transcribed as found in the original, forenames are usually translated or modernized with original forms italicized in brackets when significantly different. Other transcription conventions used are described in the introduction and should be read. 
    The wills are followed by two additional sections. The first is a section or notes on the wills and their makers, presented in alphabetical order. Here we find supporting genealogical information such as notes on first or second marriages, children from other marriages or illegitimate children, positions held, political involvements, where information may be found in other medieval records or transcripts, all vital clues for genealogists. There is also a very practical glossary of words and expressions identified in the wills. 
    The book provides a compilation of principal unpublished sources, plus a listing of published sources and aids. There is a combined index to names and places, but for the wills section only for it does not include the additional people from the notes section. There is a separate subject index. With this book the hard process of transcribing and translating the early wills has been done for you and is thus a very valuable source for anyone with early Cornish connections. 
    If you are fortunate enough to have medieval Cornish ancestors then your research has been made easier by this excellent transcription.

Reviewed by Paul Milner.
BIGWILL v.17 no.1, 2010

Army Records: A Guide for Family Historians by William Spencer. Published by The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU, UK. <>. 2008. 168 pp. Illustrations, index. Softcover. £12.99.

    This book is a major update and expansion of Army Records for Family Historians originally published by the PRO in 2000. Some of the WWI army service records had only been partially released in 1998 when the earlier edition was written. There are new and expanded sections and appendices covering records of the First World War, plus information about the Second World War, and on the armies of the East India Company and the Indian Army (primarily in the British Library). There is also a strong emphasis on the records that have now been released digitally either by The National Archives or in partnership with other vendors. 
    The book is arranged in 21 chapters that cover almost anything you are likely to want to research about your ancestors in the British Army. The book begins by providing an excellent overview of the organization and restructuring of the Army. It continues with chapters covering: records of the army before 1660; commissioned officers; other ranks; Royal Artillery; Royal Engineers; militia, yeomanry and volunteers; casualty returns and operational records; medals and awards; courts martial; the British Army in India and the Indian Army; colonial and dominion forces; foreign troops in British pay; records of support services; prisoners of war and war crimes; First World War; Second World War; other twentieth century campaigns; general genealogical records; records held by other institutions; research techniques; appendices and index. If you are overwhelmed by all the options of where to research the final chapter on research techniques can provide some suggestions on where to start. If you are only interested in the First World War use William Spencer’s new First World War Army Service Records: A Guide for Family Historians (see review below). 
    Each chapter is divided into sections making it easier to find specific topics. All chapters are well illustrated with sample documents, and often provide additional citations to published background materials, name lists or finding aids. There are also a number of case studies used throughout the book. 
    One key to military research is being very specific about where your ancestor served, with whom and when. If these facts are known then you can determine which records were created, are likely to have survived, and thus where you (or a researcher you hire) need to look. This is an excellent guide to get you into the fascinating world of British Army records.

Reviewed by Paul Milner.
BIGWILL v.17 no.1, 2010

First World War Army Service Records: A Guide for Family Historians (4th Edition) by William Spencer. Published by The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU, UK. <>. 2008. 160 pp. Illustrations, index. Softcover. £12.99.

    The National Archives guide to the records of the First World War continue to expand as additional records are released, digitized, indexed or additional finding aids are developed. The first set of service records were only released in November of 1996 and a short guide to the records was published. The 2nd edition published in 1997 contained 77 pages, the 3rd edition published in 2001 had grown to 112 pages, and this the 4th edition grows further to 160 pages. Mr. Spencer has been the military specialist at The National Archives since 1996, has been involved in writing all editions of this guide and is an expert on the War and its records. That knowledge comes through clearly in this book covering all released records, but also those recently made available, or soon to be available, online including: service records of hundreds of thousands of soldiers; war diaries; medal index cards; the WAAC; updated sections on Dominion records; overseas records; the London Gazette; the Nursing Times; repatriated prisoner of war debriefs. 
    As the introduction states “this guide is designed to help anyone with an interest in the men and women of the First World War to find out something about them – when they served, where they served, where they fought and died, where they are buried or commemorated, what medals they were awarded, and much more” (p.12). For anyone with twentieth century British connections you will find numerous relatives involved in the First World War and the issue will be determining which soldiers you want to focus on in which order. 
    This book does an excellent job of providing guidance on how to access the records. The book, like many National Archives guides is very easy to use and dip into to find the records you need. The book provides chapters on: records of those who served in the First World War; officers’ records of service; other ranks’ records of service; nurses; Indian army records of service; records of service of the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Air Force; unit war diaries and operation records; trench and other maps; campaign medals; awards for gallantry and meritorious service; courts martial; prisoners of war; casualties and war dead; records of the dominion forces; records held outside the National Archives; research techniques; appendices, and index. For those unsure of where to start the last chapter on research techniques provides some good guidance and will direct the researcher to the relevant section within the book. Each chapter is broken into parts making subjects easy to find, is lavishly illustrated with sample documents, contemporary photographs, and trench maps. Numerous bibliographic citations also provide guidance on where to get additional background information. Many of the chapters contain case studies illustrating how to use the records and what information they can provide to build a picture of your ancestor. 
    This book is highly recommended for those wanting to research First World War ancestors, even if you have earlier editions of this book.

Reviewed by Paul Milner.
BIGWILL v.17 no.1, 2010

Prison Life in Victorian England by Michelle Higgs. Published by Tempus Publishing, Cirencester Road, Chalford, Stroud, Gloucestershire GL6 8PE, UK. (This publisher is now part of The History Press, The Mill, Brimscombe Port, Stroud, Gloucestershire G15 2QG, UK). <>. 2007. 160 pp. Illustrations, index. Softcover. £16.99.

    If you have any Victorian ancestors who spent time in convict or local prisons, either as an inmate or an employee, then you want to read this book. It will put their life into context with lots of details. I had a much clearer picture of prison life after reading this book. 
    Prior to 1877 when local prisons came under government control there were two systems that were run very differently. The convict prisons, always run by the government, were for prisoners convicted of a serious crime or who were convicted of several offences and were serving out long sentences of three years or more. These prisoners were more likely to experience cleaner accommodations, better living conditions and more humane treatment. The local prisons, run by the local justices of the peace, were for prisoners having short sentences, which might only be for a few days to a maximum of two years. The experience varied markedly from one location to another, with some justices seeing prison as a deterrent and thus providing harsh treatment, while some justices saw prison as an opportunity to reform thus emphasizing religion and education. The reality for many of our ancestors is that they would willingly give up their freedom in return for better food, accommodation and care that they had at home. Thus many petty criminals would intentionally commit a more serious crime intent on being sentenced to time in a convict prison. 
    There were many differences in the staff pay and working conditions between convict and local prisons. Local prison officers were paid significantly les and endured less favorable working conditions than their convict counterparts. This disparity continued even after the changes of 1877, when local prisons came under government control, up to the end of the century. 
    Information has been gathered from prison records, contemporary sources and testimony from convicts, prisoners and prison officers to examine every aspect of the Victorian English prisons bringing this period of social history to life. The book is very well illustrated. Structurally the book is divided up into numerous short chapters, in four parts covering: the prison system; prison life; prisoners and convicts; and prison staff. The sources for the many quotes and comments are detailed in the book endnotes, and there is a good bibliography for further reading.

Reviewed by Paul Milner.
BIGWILL v.17 no.1, 2010

My Ancestor was a Royal Marine by Ken Divall. Published by Society of Genealogists Enterprises, 14 Charterhouse Buildings, Goswell Road, London EC1M 7BA. <>. 2008. 110 pp. Index. Softcover. £6.95.

    Here is an excellent guide, part of the familiar My Ancestor Was series, for tracing your Royal Marine ancestors. It provides a good brief summary of the history and organization of the Royal Marines and its predecessor the Admiral’s Regiment. Marines have been recruited as ‘sea soldiers’, i.e. soldiers to serve on ships. They are soldiers but are administered by and serve in the Royal Navy. This means for example that the information on officers will be found in both the Army and the Navy lists. This unusual position within the armed services means that records can be in a variety of different places. 
    This book guides the researcher in where to look for the records; original, manuscript and published. This is accomplished by examining in turn the primary collections for marines at the: National Archives; Society of Genealogists, Royal Marines Museum Library and Archives; Fleet Air Arm Museum; National Maritime Museum; Imperial War Museum; Newspaper Library; and some smaller repositories. These individual chapters provide a sense of what is in the collections and why you need to be looking in multiple, geographically scattered locations to create a comprehensive picture of your ancestor’s life and career. 
    Especially useful is the longest chapter with multiple case studies, describing the careers of ordinary marines and officers, covering a variety of time periods. They provide examples of what to look for, what can be found among official and family papers, but also illustrate how to right up the military career of a marine to make the story interesting and yet include all the details family historians’ desire. Concluding chapters address what research can realistically be accomplished on the internet; provide a glossary and a select bibliography. 
    I already have a lot of information on my Royal Marine, but this book suggested a few additional places for me to search. It is indexed and organized in such a way that it will be easy to dip into to look for specific details when I prepare for my next trip to England.

Reviewed by Paul Milner.
BIGWILL v.17 no.2, 2010

Six Hundred New Churches: The Church Building Commission 1818–1856 by Michael Port. Published by Spire Books Ltd., P.O. Box 2336, Reading RG4 5WJ, England. <>. U.S. Distributor: David Brown Book Company, P.O.Box 511, 28 Main Street, Oakville, CT 06779. <>. 2006. 386 pp. Illustrations, index. Hardcover. $100.

    Most English parish churches are associated with the Middle Ages, but there have in fact been four major church building episodes in England since the Middle Ages ended. The first was the result of the Great Fire of London which we associate with Christopher Wren; the second, also metropolitan, was inaugurated by the Act for Fifty Churches of 1711, often associated with Nicholas Hawksmoor; the third, are the Church Building Commission churches which is the focus of this book; while the fourth was the High Anglican church building movement of Victoria’s reign, climaxing in the 1870’s and being associated with Augustus Pugin. 
    This book is a major revision and update of a book originally published in 1961. The text has been expanded and Spire books have lavishly illustrated it with 249 excellent photographs of the churches themselves, church plans and period sketches, all with extensive detailed captions. The churches in this period have not met with much notice or sympathetic review but this book should change that. 
    The Church Building Commission was set up in 1818 to solve social, political and religious problems and to bring the Anglican Church to the godless towns and cities of the world’s first industrial nation. We read about the setting up of the Commission, the trials and tribulations of its labors, the buildings it erected, and the architects who designed them. In 1818 the government set aside one million pounds for the building of churches and the resulting buildings are often called Million pound churches. Unfortunately, some of the regulations for building were so restrictive that some communities could not meet them. Another act was passed in 1825 setting aside half a million pounds and loosening the selection requirements. In the appendices there are separate listing by original county of the churches built under the 1818 Act and the 1825 Act identifying the: church: architect; contractor; cost; grant; date; pew and free accommodations; building style with remarks. As you might expect the longer lists are in counties where the population was expanding rapidly due to industrialization such as Lancashire, London, Staffordshire, and Yorkshire, but most counties are represented. An additional listing identifies all the architects employed on the Commissioners’ Churches, often including their years of birth and death, plus naming all the churches in which they were involved. 
    Many of the key recorded events in the lives of our ancestors occurred within churches. This is an excellent book to understand the history and architecture of six hundred churches built in England and Wales during the first half of the nineteenth century.

Reviewed by Paul Milner.
BIGWILL v.17 no.2, 2010

Memories of Lincolnshire Farming by Alan Stennett. Published by Countryside Books, 3 Catherine Road, Newbury, Berkshire, England. <>. U.S. Distributor: David Brown Book Company, P.O.Box 511, 28 Main Street, Oakville, CT 06779. <>. 2009. 192 pp. Illustrations, index. Softcover. $23.95.

    Mr. Stennett is a descendant of a long line of Lincolnshire farmers, an agricultural journalist and the producer of Farming Today and Lincolnshire Farming for BBC Radio, so is well placed for contacts, pictures and to write about farming in this eastern England county. The book’s introduction describes the county and puts farming into its historical context, but this book clearly focuses on the twentieth century, the living memory that is dying off. 
    The first part of the book divides the twentieth century up into different phases describing how farming in general changed throughout the century and was affected by events such as the First and Second World Wars, the Depression, joining with the European Union, and which governmental party was in power. We read about the role of the National Farmers Union, a variety of Agricultural Acts and the annual negotiating to set the prices of subsidies. Some of these events and their effects will apply to farming in other parts of the country but the more localized you can be in your research the better. A map of the county showing the different farming regions would have helped the reader understand better the differences between for example boulder clays of the northern valleys, the chalk and limestone uplands, the silt and peat soils of the Fens, the Marsh and the Isle of Axholme. 
    The rest of the book examines different types of farming and how it changed over the century. There are chapters dealing with: horses and tractors; cultivation – horse plough to no till; markets and shows; haymaking and silage; cattle – the Lincoln Red; sheep – the Longwool and beyond; pigs – the Lincolnshire Curly Coat and others; cereals – barley, oats and wheat; potatoes – salvation of the fens; sugar beet; field vegetables; bulbs and flowers; sporting life; and a final chapter addressing the biggest changes. You read this section of the book and you see the effects of the reduction in the labor force, increase in mechanization, the constantly changing profit margins and market demands, the changing politics and government policies, the effects of the elimination of the yeoman farmers and the development of big agri-business, the changing role of local merchants and supermarkets. It’s a fascinating read for anyone with twentieth century English farming connections, especially in Lincolnshire.

Reviewed by Paul Milner.
BIGWILL v.17 no.2, 2010

Tracing Your Police Ancestors: A Guide for Family Historians by Stephen Wade. Published by Pen & Sword Family History, 47 Church Street, Barnsley, South Yorkshire S70 2AS, England. <>. U.S. Distributor is Casemate, 908 Darby Road, Havertown, PA 19083. <>. 2009. x, 146 pp. Illustrations, index. Softcover. $19.99.

    Tracing British police ancestors can be a complicated, time-consuming, but rewarding process because of the multiplicity of changing and merging constabulary jurisdictions along with later archive consolidations. This book focuses on the English and Welsh police forces since the creation of the Metropolitan Police by Sir Robert Peel in 1829. However, there is also some material dealing with the police in Scotland, Ireland, the Channel Islands, the Palestine Police Force (1920–1948), some colonial forces, the Special Constabulary and the non-geographic forces such as the transport police. 
    The book provides a brief history of the development of the police from the Watch and Ward system of the Middle Ages to the modern police force. It provides a detailed look at the different categories of the records that may have survived and what they contain, highlighting what to look for in the National Archives, county record offices or local police museums. Illustrated are examples of the contents from almanacs, reference works, professional journals and periodicals. 
    It is going to be easier to find information about policeman who did not just blend into the community in which they worked, but rather did something special, such as: involvement in a prominent police case, especially murders; becoming a notable athlete (e.g. police teams competed in the 1908 Olympics); being awarded a medal; or rising through the ranks to be an officer. 
    There are valuable guides to police museums and archives, websites about police history, publishers of crime history, and how to access academic monographs and journals. 
    If you have British police ancestors this well-illustrated book will make your research process a lot easier by highlighting what records were created, what might still be available and where to look for them.

Reviewed by Paul Milner.
BIGWILL v.17 no.2, 2010

Tracing Your East Anglian Ancestors: A Guide for Family Historians by Gill Blanchard. Published by Pen & Sword Family History, 47 Church Street, Barnsley, South Yorkshire S70 2AS, England. <>. U.S. Distributor is Casemate, 908 Darby Road, Havertown, PA 19083. <>. 2009. 224 pp. Illustrations, index. Softcover. $25.99.

    This is a practical and informative handbook to help you trace your ancestry in the traditional counties of East Anglia – Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex. The book begins with an overview of where the archives are in each of the different counties providing a high level view of the collections, but helpfully pointing out some of the anomalies, such as the Norfolk parish registers to be found in the Cambridgeshire archives and the Cambridgeshire parish records to be found in the Norfolk archives. This overview also covers specialized archive and university collections, with descriptions of some of the practical and informational records to be found in the collections. The book provides a brief physical and historical description of each county that will be especially valuable for those who have never been to the area. 
    One of the author’s hopes is to guide the researcher to put flesh on those ancestral bones. There is thus a large section addressing work, trade and commerce. The major occupations covered include: agriculture; coast and waterways; wool and textiles; and miscellaneous other industries. Each occupation is addressed separately, comparing and contrasting within each county. The rest of the book covers a variety of subjects of potential interest to the life of an ancestor such as: conflict; crime; parish poor; workhouses; charities and healthcare; migration, local government; education; railways; urbanization and housing; and religion. For all of these topics guidance is given on where to find more information and how to bring those occupations to life through local museums and historical sites. These sections will be especially valuable if you are planning to visit your ancestral home. 
    The book concludes with a resource directory of: archives, libraries and local studies centers; web resources (general and specific); museum, heritage centers and places to visit. 
    For those with East Anglia ancestry this book focuses not on the birth, marriage and death records of our ancestors but rather the records connected with the rest of their lives and it is good to have a local expert to guide you on local records that get you beyond the basics.

Reviewed by Paul Milner.
BIGWILL v.17 no.2, 2010

Scotland during the Plantation of Ulster: The People of Dumfries and Galloway 1600–1699 by David Dobson. Published by Clearfield Publishing Company, 3600 Clipper Mill Road, Suite 260, Baltimore MD 21211. <>. 2008. viii, 134 pp. Softcover. $19.50.

    This book is designed to provide clues for researchers who are trying to get from Ulster back into Scotland, or those who are already back into seventeenth century Scotland. It is thus a volume for libraries with Scottish collections or for individuals with connections to the area. It covers the territory now known as Dumfries and Galloway, which covers the old counties of Dumfries, Kirkcudbright and Wigtown. 
    Mr. Dobson has extracted names from many sources at Scotland’s National Archives to put individuals within a specific place at a specific time, even some prior to prior to 1600. All entries are arranged alphabetically and fully sourced. However there is no index, so if another individual is mentioned within an entry they cannot be found, and, inexplicably, they do not have their own entry. One example reads: GLEDSTANES, HERBERT, burgess of Kirkcudbright, spouse Marion Dalziel, testament, 1594, Commissary of Edinburgh [NAS]. This book providing vital clues of origins from multiples sources may be useful for only three of the 86 Old Parish Registers of the Church of Scotland in these counties begin before 1685.

Reviewed by Paul Milner.
BIGWILL v.17 no.2, 2010

Air Force Records: A Guide for Family Historians, Second Edition by William Spencer. Published by The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU, UK. <>. 2008. 160 pp. Illustrations, index. Softcover. £12.99.

    This is a greatly expanded edition of an important research guide if you are seeking information on the activities of a particular branch of the Air Force, or on individuals who served in the Air Force. You will find information addressing the: Royal Engineers Balloon Section; Royal Flying Corps; Royal Naval Air Service; Royal Air Force; Women’s Royal Air Force; Fleet Air Arm; Glider Pilot Regiment; Army Air Corp. There are chapters putting each of these service branches into historical context, describing operation records and importantly what service records were created and have survived for officers and service men. Additional chapters address: casualties and air crashes; medals and awards; courts martial; prisoners of war and war crimes; medical records; photographs; and importantly for this topic, records held in other repositories. As you would expect there is a strong emphasis on both WWI and WWII, but the book also addresses the inter-war years where the Royal Air Force was active in: North and South Russia; Somaliland; Mesopotamia; Kurdistan; Iraq; India and Afghanistan; Palestine (many of which are today’s global hot spots). The final chapter addresses search techniques pulling together in one place the many resources mentioned throughout the book and putting them together in one logical sequence. However, where you enter the sequence and what you look for will depend upon what you already know and which branch of the service you are searching in. 
    Accessing these records is now much easier than it was five years ago with the development of the online catalog, allowing name and keyword searches, and the many records in these branches of the service now available for download through DocumentsOnline <>. The book is well illustrated with a wide variety of documents regarding operations and personnel in the Air Force, from the TNA collection giving the reader a sense of what records to search for. There are also a number of case studies for the different service branches showing what can be put together for a particular individual. 
    This clearly written, updated guide is a must for anyone with Air Force connections.

Reviewed by Paul Milner.
BIGWILL v.17 no.3, 2010

New Lives for Old: The Story of Britain’s Child Migrants by Roger Kershaw and Janet Sacks. Published by The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU, UK. <>. 2008. 256 pp. Illustrations, index. Hardcover. £18.99.

    The book’s introduction divides child migration into two distinct phases. The first and early phase began in 1619 with the Virginia Company taking street children from London to Virginia to supply the need for workers on the plantations. This was followed by the transportation of thousands of children (and adults) as criminals to the colonies 1615–1776 to America and 1787–1868 to Australia. Until the early nineteenth century the transportation of children, even by the philanthropists involved, was seen as a way of solving crime. 
    The second phase, begun in 1869 and continuing through the 1960’s saw a new wave of children who were frightened, excited, vulnerable moving across the Atlantic and around the Empire. This phase was led by the evangelicals, philanthropists, reformers and business people who aimed to rescue and dispatch children to a better life and to build the Empire. It is a misconception that all of these children were orphans for they were not. Many were from families who could not support them, or had been removed from their families for various reasons, and often they were incorrectly told that they were orphans to then be sent across the world. Even those old enough to know they had family or siblings were often separated from them. 
    This second phase begins clearly with two pioneering women Marie Rye and Annie Macpherson, leaders of two very different organizations taking girls to Canada. These women established the model for later schemes. In the 1870s schemes were established by Father Nugent, Thomas Bowman Stephenson, William Quarrier and John Throgmorton Middlemore and in the 1880s by Dr. Bernado (the biggest emigration organization), James Fegan, and later the Catholic Emigration Association. With the movement into the twentieth century the focus changed to one of building the Empire providing a different motivation for those involved in emigration schemes. 
    The book has chapters focusing on the pioneering women of Marie Rye and Annie MacPherson, Dr Bernado, the Catholic Emigration movement, the farm schools and Kingsley Fairbridge, Second World War Evacuees, and the final phases leading to its ending in the late 1960s as a result of changing social attitudes and increasing preference for fostering in family units rather than large institutions. Controversy about these child migration schemes arose in the 1980s and 1990s with efforts being made to reunite families. This has led to an increase in records being indexed and agencies with records working with families. An appendix provides guidance on where to find the records associated with child migrants in England, Canada, and Australia, though children were certainly sent to other countries in the Empire. 
    This book is a fascinating read about a part of British history that has been hidden for many years yet potentially had impact on many of our ancestors’ lives.

Reviewed by Paul Milner.
BIGWILL v.17 no.3, 2010

English Accents and Dialects: An Introduction to Social and Regional Varieties of English in the British Isles. Fourth Edition by Arthur Hughes, Peter Trudgill and Dominic Watt. Published by Oxford University Press, 198 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016. <>. 2005. Xiii, 159 pp. CD-ROM, index, maps. Softcover. $55.

    This is a book designed to help you understand the spoken language within the British Isles. It examines dialects whic