Monday, 14 February 2011

Tracing Your Family History on the Internet

My next book, Tracing Your Family History on the Internet, has been published early by Pen and Sword to take advantage of Who Do You Think You Are? Live next week. (It was originally due to be published March 24th). The book will be available there from Feb 25th, though not sure yet when pre-orders may be going out.

Here's the official blurb:

The internet is revolutionizing family history research. Every day new records and resources are placed online and new methods of sharing research and communicating across cyberspace become available. Never before has it been so easy to research family history and to gain a better understanding of who we are and where we came from.

But, as Chris Paton demonstrates in this straightforward practical guide, while the internet is an enormous asset, it is also something to be wary of. Researchers need to take a cautious approach to the internet information they acquire. They need to ask, where did the original material come from and has it been accurately reproduced, why was it put online, what has been left out and what is still to come?

As he leads the researcher through the multitude of resources that are now accessible online, Chris Paton helps to answer these questions. He shows what the internet can and cannot do, and he warns against the various traps researchers can fall into along the way.

The chapter headings are:



Chapter 1: Gateways and Institutions
Recording information; Gateway sites; Key institutions; Commercial vendors

Chapter 2: Genealogical Essentials
Births, marriages and deaths; Church records; censuses; Probate and confirmation; Directories; maps and gazetteers; Nobility and gentry

Chapter 3: Occupational Records
The Armed Forces; Merchant seamen; Workers' rights; Mining; Communications; The Church; The Law; Theatrical; Medical; Business;

Chapter 4: England
Useful resources by county

Chapter 5: Wales
Useful resources by county

Chapter 6: Scotland
Useful resources by county

Chapter 7: Northern Ireland
Useful resources by county

Chapter 8: Crown Dependencies
Useful resources by island

Chapter 9:Empire and Migration
Immigration; emigration - Canada; USA; Jamaica and the Caribbean; South America; Australia; New Zealand; South Africa; India; Gibraltar

Chapter 10: Social Networking
Sharing data; Other networks; Chat; Blog; Twitter



I just want to take this opportunity to thank top genie Simon Fowler, former editor of Ancestors magazine, for suggesting that I have a go at the book initially, and for his many comments subsequently on the text (he didn't make me move mountains as such, but did suggest I rearrange a few islands! lol); to Rupert Harding at Pen and Sword for eternal patience in awaiting the book's delivery; to Brian Elliott for his skilful editing of the material; to Emma Howe, Lisa Hooson, and others at Pen and Sword for marketing etc, and to the many genies, students, blog readers and more who have been in touch to alert me to new developments online, and to all those who supplied images and permissions for screengrabs. And of course, on Valentine's Day, to my lovely wife Claire, and to Calum and Jamie, for their eternal support and constant tea supply!

The book can be ordered from Pen and Sword at or from

Professional genealogical problem solving and research
Researching Scottish Family History (New book)


Geniaus said...

Congrats. Sounds like a good Easter present for myself.
Hope the will have stock - they include free shipping to Australia so lots of us like to buy from there.

Chris Paton said...

Hope so! I had a query about it from Canada last night also - I'd better check on how it can be bought overseas!