> Researching from Home > Books > Beginners



from home


There is currently a glut of books aimed at newcomers to family history (triggered no doubt by the interest raised by the BBC programme series Who Do You Think You Are). Some are excellent, some not so good and some are a total waste of money. The following are ones that we favour:

  Starting your Family History
  An excellent guide for complete beginners. It is written in a concise, straightforward way with plenty of sensible practical advice. It includes helpful guidelines on establishing the scope of your research, how to keep records, what a pedigree looks like in progress, what common abbreviations mean and the like. Early chapters cover births, marriages, deaths, census records, parish registers, non-conformist records and wills. Later chapters cover more specialist record types. This is clearly a book written by someone who has been there herself.
  Author Margaret Ward
  Published 2006
  Purchase online at (for £5.95)
  The Family Detective
  A useful and trustworthy guide for beginners. The book breaks down into two sections - the first on getting started and the second on going further. The first section focuses on developing a proper research plan along with practical advice on interviewing family members, using archive repositories and transcribing documents. The second section deals describes the sources for more in-depth research. The information provided is clear, well presented and full of handy tips.
  Author Nick Barratt
  Published 2006
  Purchase online at the National Archives Bookshop (for £12.74)
  Tracing Your Family History (Collins 'Need to Know' Series)
  Very much an internet savvy guide for beginners. The author has geared his book to tackling ancestry in the order newcomers actually encounter them in today's internet world. In most cases web-based routes to records are discussed first and then the offline versions second. Wisely however the author warns against the variable quality of online indexed and/or transcribed information.
  Author Anthony Adolph
  Published 2007
  Purchase online at (for £9.95)
  My Family Tree Book
  Activity book for children to help them build up a picture of their family and create their very own family tree. Encourages the child reader to have fun finding the answers to questions geared to helping him or her build up a family tree.
  Author Catherine Bruzzone
  Published 2006
  Purchase online at (for £4.95)
This page last updated: 31 December 2016