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General Compendium

  Family and Local History Handbook (10th edition - paperback)
  A family history classic, this compendium includes a comprehensive directory of genealogical services, family history societies, family history centres, libraries, cemeteries, record offices and other archives. Along with this large reference section, it includes around eighty articles on genealogical themes written by well known experts in their respective fields.
  Author Robert Blatchford
  Published 2006
  Purchase online at (for £7.95) or at Amazon (for £8.44)
  Alphabetic Guide to Genealogical Terms
  Family History Companion
  This useful reference guide contains succinct explanations of terms and topics that family historians are likely to encounter. There are several hundred entries arranged in A to Z format, varying in length from a sentence to several pages. The multi-page entries include topics such as census returns, hearth tax, searching parish registers and the like.
  Author Mark Pearsall
  Published 2007
  Purchase online at Amazon (for £5.99)
  Dictionary of English Surnames (paperback)
  An authoritative guide to the origins of English surnames and how they have developed over the centuries, this invaluable book covers the origin and meaning of over 16,000 names. Full sources and dates are provided for each name with cross-referenced entries for variant name forms.
  Author P.H.Reaney
  Published 2005
  Purchase online at (for £10.95)
  National Archive Sources
  Tracing your Ancestors in the National Archives (7th edition)
  Now in its 7th edition, this is an indispensable reference guide to the vast range of material available at the National Archives. It is a rich mine of genealogical information even if you don't personally visit the National Archives at Kew. It is very well indexed and navigating this weight tome (almost 600 pages) is refreshingly easy.
  Author Amanda Bevan
  Published 2006
  Purchase online at the National Archives Bookshop (for £19.99)
  Parish Registers
  Phillimore Atlas & Index of Parish Registers (3rd edition)
  Although not cheap (its full price is £50), this is a beautifully presented and comprehensive guide to parish registers. It includes the famous series of county 'parish' maps produced by the Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies. These show pre-1832 parochial boundaries with colour-coded probate jurisdictions. The index section lists the parishes, with grid references to the county maps. It indicates the present whereabouts of original registers and copies, and whether a parish is included in other indexes. It also gives registration districts and census information. If you can afford it, this is a reference guide par excellence well worth the money.
  Author Cecil Humphery-Smith
  Published 2003
  Purchase online at Amazon (for £45.00)
  Interpreting Latin
  Latin for Local and Family Historians

An easy to read book that helps family historians fully cope with that significant barrier in researching medieval documents - the need to understand medieval Latin. It starts by dealing with basic grammar and goes on to deal with the structure and vocabulary of the records used in local and family research. These include parish registers, marriage licences and bonds, episcopal visitations, church court records, sepulchral inscriptions, wills, manorial court rolls, charters and deeds.This book is essential for everyone needing to understand the astonishing variety of English genealogical source materials written before Latin ceased to be the language of the law.

  Author Dennis Stuart
  Published 2006
  Purchase online at the Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies Online Shop (for £14.99) or at Amazon (for £14.99)
  Interpreting Old Handwriting
  Paleography for Local and Family Historians

This is a well written and produced book that opens the door to paleography for family historians. It provides a very practical guide to translating old handwriting taking the reader through some fifty facsimile reproductions of documents of carefully graduated difficulty.

  Author Hilary Marshall
  Published 1999
  Purchase online at Amazon (for £17.09)
This page last updated: 31 December 2016