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The Oxford Guide to Family History

Hey, David
Publisher:  Oxford University Press
Year Published:  2002   First Published:  1993
Pages:  246pp   Price:  $19.95   ISBN:  0-19-280313-1

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This book was first published in 1993 and revised in 1998. There is a claim in the book that this is a reissue of the 1998 edition, although the bibliography seems to be updated through 2001. Strange. Anyway, Hey has taught local and family history at the University of Sheffield, and he is the author of other Oxford reference books in this area. He clearly shows how to trace family origins through the basics of research: where to begin, where to find records, how to decipher early styles of handwriting. And, of course, it all happens in Britain. The first 150 pages is a history of British family names, mobility and stability of families, society and attitudes, immigration and emigration. The balance of the book is a guide to the records that exist in Britain (census, marriage-death-birth records, trade directories, parish registers, probate records, tax assessments, military records, apprenticeship, health tax, poll tax. The work concludes with an index to surnames.

Some interesting facts: A section presents an interesting history of the movement of Brits around the world.

What I don't like about this resource: it is only useful for poking around in Britain, although Hey does write about general search principles that can be applied elsewhere. Maybe if the title had the word "British" in it#

What I do like about this resource: there are many illustrations of typical documents, archive records, grave markers, people, houses, estates, and monuments.

Quality-to-Price Ratio: for researching your ancestors in Britain, give it a 93.

[Review by Dean Tudor]

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