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The Family and Local History Handbook 12

The Family and Local History Handbook 12, edited and compiled by Robert Blatchford and Elizabeth Blatchford, UK 2009

Available for order online from Gould Genealogy and History

ISBN 978 0 9552399 3 9 (Pbk) AU$37.50

ISSN 1745-3887

The Handbook, 448 pages, consists of five parts:

  • Family and Local History - 63 articles
  • Digital Genealogy - 10 articles
  • Military History - 18 articles
  • Genealogical Services Directory - 13 sections
  • Index

Family and Local History Articles

The list below shows the diversity of the articles in this section with something for everyone. Many of the authors are well known and write for family history magazines in the UK. Most articles are 2-3 pages long and there are some really interesting illustrations and photographs accompanying the text.  Even articles that weren’t of direct interest to my own research were interesting to read and gave me more of an understanding of that topic. 

  • Starting Out - A Beginners Guide to Family History by Doreen Hopwood
  • Tracing Down Your Family Tree by Geoff Swinfield
  • Odds Bits of Paper by Glenys Shepherd
  • The Truth, the Partial Truth and a Lot More Besides the Truth by Joseph O’Neill
  • Guild of One Name Studies by Cliff Kemball
  • They’ve Disappeared by Doreen Hopwood
  • Caught on Camera by Doreen Hopwood
  • Medieval Town Life by Arthur Percival
  • A Murder Mystery as the Archives by Stephen Wade
  • Crime in the Age of Enlightenment by Fred Feather
  • The Power of The Press by Karen Foy
  • Memories of the Night Soil Men by Brian Elliott
  • Stan Laurel’s Complex Family History by Ged Parker
  • The Secret Cemetery of Inner London by Doreen Berger
  • Who Did You Think You Were? or: Pandora’s Box by Audrey Buxton
  • Leading The Way Pioneers of the Mormon Faith by Kath Jones
  • Always Amongst us - Beggars in the 19th Century by Joseph O’Neill
  • Medical Matters in the Age of Enlightenment by Fred Feather
  • Love and Sex in the Age of Enlightenment by Fred Feather
  • Regency Newspapers 1811 – 1820 by Prudence Bebb
  • ‘CAN-U-LIFTER?’ The Curious Story Revealed by Anne Batchelor
  • A Real Red Herring - The Women of The Fishing Industry by Karen Foy
  • Plumstead Poisoning Case by Pauline Wales
  • The Wellington Pit Disaster by Jenni Lister
  • The Building of a Community by Colin McCourt
  • A Brush With The Law by Joan Horton
  • The Wiltshire Society For Apprentices by Jenna Redwood
  • Court Cases involving Women & Children in the Age of Enlightenment by Fred Feather
  • A Rural Place of Work by Ray Whitehand
  • The Mingins Family of Cumberland by Ian White
  • Food Memories by Jill Groves
  • Arthur Wharton - A Latent Sporting Legend by Brian Elliott
  • Dates, Dates and more Dates by Maggie Loughran
  • The Jeffersons of Whitehaven - Cumberland’s Merchant Adventurers by Brian Parnaby
  • A Stitch in Time by Kath Jones
  • Why Was My Father a Yorkshireman? by Kathy Martin
  • The General Strike 1926 by Brian Parnaby
  • Detention! Reformatories & Industrial Schools by Doreen Hopwood
  • Twinkle Twinkle Little Star by Jane Batchelor
  • Augustus and the Black Hand by Anne Batchelor
  • Grandma’s Family by Susan Broadhurst
  • Wolverhampton’s Cockshutts Lane Jewish Burial Ground by Martin Rispin
  • Nine Williams, But Scarce a Duke in Sight by Anthony Adolph
  • The General Register Office - Certificate Services
  • The General Register Office - Adoptions
  • Stand First by Chris Webber
  • Disease & Health Care Through The Ages by Joan Horton
  • The Rise & Decline of the Deep-Sea by Len Barnett
  • Suffolk’s Charities by Ray Whitehand
  • Engineering Britain’s Waterways by Martin Limon
  • Death in the Age of Enlightenment by Fred Feather
  • Archives & Heritage in Birmingham by Patrick Baird
  • Fast and Furious by Martin Limon
  • James Stuart
  • The Hunger Marchers - 1932
  • Sources for Welsh Family History by Beryl Evans
  • Weave Truth with Trust by Chris Paton
  • The Genealogical Origins of The Scots by Anthony Adolph
  • The Mount Stewart Murder by Chris Paton
  • Scottish Parish Listings by Rosemary Bigwood
  • The General Register Office for Scotland
  • Landed Estate Papers & the Search for Farming Families in Ireland by William Roulston
  • The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland by Valerie Adams and Ann McVeigh

Digital Genealogy

These ten articles were also interesting and well written with lots of new URLs for me to explore. This section was more hands on, in that it is better to read it sitting next to a computer so that you can follow articles and explore the sites at the same time.

  • Surname Distribution Maps by Malcolm Pether
  • UKBMD - a website for family historians by Ian and Sharon Hartas
  • The National Register of Archives by Len Barnett
  • Census Returns
  • 1911census.co.uk by Debra Chatfield
  • Genetic Genealogy by Kathryn Senior
  • UKGDL - a website for family historians by Ian and Sharon Hartas
  • Useful British & Irish Websites by Alan Stewart
  • Designing & Printing Family Trees by Ron O’Neill
  • The Scotland’s People Internet Service by Raymond Evans

Military History
This section had the least interest for me personally as I don’t have British military research interests. However, the articles were still well written with wonderful illustrations.

  • The Anglo Zulu War 1879 by Robert Blatchford
  • Tracing An Anglo Zulu War Ancestor by Rosemary Dixon Smith
  • Looking for Great Uncle Robert by Paul and Sue Hoddinott
  • The Battle for Food - The Women’s Land Army by Joseph O’Neill
  • When the War Was Over by Sandra Hargreaves
  • The Royal Observer Corps by Stephen Rickitt
  • Holyhead’s Tragic Tomb by Karen Foy
  • The Ruhleben Prison Camp, 1914-1918 by Chris Paton
  • Writing Your Military History Book by Ryan Gearing
  • ‘The Bombay Buccaneers’ by Len Barnett
  • Army Regimental Numbers by David Barnes
  • Army Service Numbers by David Barnes
  • German Fleet Sunk!
  • How The Unknown Warrior Came Home at Last
  • The Cenotaph - Whitehall, London
  • Tracing West Indian Service Personnel by Sarah Paterson
  • Tracing Royal Flying Corps & Royal Air Force Ancestry by Sarah Paterson
  • What's New at The Imperial War Museum by Sarah Paterson

The Genealogical Services Directory
Like any directory, this section of the Handbook has lots of addresses and contact details. You could spend hours exploring this section and linking to sites online.

  • Family History Societies - England, Wales, Scotland, & British Isles
  • Specialist Societies & One Name Societies
  • Family History Societies - Rest of the World
  • Local History Societies & Organisations
  • Libraries
  • Record Offices & Archives inc Land Registries
  • Registrars of Births, Marriages & Deaths - England, Wales
  • Registrars of Births, Marriages & Deaths - Scotland & Ireland
  • Probate Records Probate Registries & Sub-Registries
  • Cemeteries & Crematoria
  • Museums
  • Military Museums
  • Police Records & Museums


Finally there is an index to advertisers and a not quite three page index to content.


Summing up, this publication is a good read on its own with lots of variety and interesting topics. Plus, there are lots of articles and sections that you would go back to time and time again for reference purposes.  

I managed to find an earlier copy of the Handbook, (8th edition 2004) and it follows the same format of articles and directory entries. I now have to find time to read these articles!

What was interesting is that although there is 5 year difference between the volumes, the 2009 edition is 50c cheaper although they are almost the same size. Not sure if the cost of printing has gone down, but I suspect that it probably has more to do with the exchange rate and the value of the Australian Dollar. Either way, this publication presents value for money and is an excellent way to keep up to date with new trends in Britain.

What is even better value is that Editions 1-10 are also available as an omnibus CD for only AU$47.50. The only drawback with that is that I still prefer curling up for a good read with a book, not my laptop! 

Shauna Hicks

Shauna Hicks History Enterprises