Stories From Your Family Tree: Researching Ancestors Within Living Memory

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Media: BOOK - paperback, 192 pages
Author: R. Symes
Year: 2008
ISBN: 9780750950824
Other: b&w photos, bibliog, index
Publisher: The History Press

Why did so many of great-great-grandmother's children die young? Were those great aunts really on speaking terms with Mr Marks and Mr Spencer? Did great-grandfather actually run away to live with Native Americans? and what was 'the piece of gold' that grandfather once owned? Every family is packed with stories like these about ancestors: some shocking, some humorous, some sad. 'Stories From Your Family Tree' will inspire readers to pursue and explore the stories in their own trees.

Starting with snippets of gossip, anecdotes, hunches, sayings, heirlooms and documents, Ruth A. Symes sets out to investigate twelve of the tantalising family tales with which she grew up. This book uncovers the secrets of lives that were lived in Britain and its empire from the reign of Queen Victoria, through the early years of the twentieth century and up to the Blitz. Through careful use of a range of sources, from cookery books and ornaments, to more formal certificates and census returns, the stories are confirmed, disproved, shown to be exaggerations and - in some cases- revealed to be less odd than the truth.

These stories will shed light on many aspects of the social history of the last 150 years, including matters which may well have affected your family such as disease and childhood mortality, emigration, women's work and funerary customs. Brimming with useful research tips, this book will enable as well as entertain.

1. 'He Didn't Come From Round Here'
 - Key source: Commercial  and Trade Directories
 - Focus on history: Migration within Britain
2. 'Great-Great Granny Was a Rum 'Un'
 - Key sources: Birth, marriage and death certificates
 - Focus on history: Poverty and disease
3. 'So Poor They Took in Lodgers'
 - Key source: The Census
 - Focus on history: Working-class living conditions
4. 'Coal and Canals Polished Them Off'
 - Key sources: Local newspapers
 - Focus on history: The dangers of industrial towns
5. 'Daddy Saw it All'
 - Key source: Diaries
 - Focus of history: The Second World War
6. 'She Had a Really Good Send-Off'
 - Key sources: Records related to death (particularly obituaries) 
  - Focus on history: Death and burial
7. 'We Come Alive Behind Shop Counters'
 - Key source: Company newsletters, company archives
 - Focus on history: Working for big companies
8. 'Great-Grandfather Lived with the Red Indians'
 - Key source: Passenger lists
 - Focus on history: Emigration to America
9. 'Grandfather Owned a Piece of Gold'
 - Key source: Passports
 - Focus on history: The British Empire an immigration
10. 'She Supported the Family'
 - Key source: Oral history
 - Focus on history: Domestic service
11. 'He Always had his Nose in a Book'
 - Key source: Books and the Bible
 - Focus on history: Cultural Tastes and Family Relationships
12. 'You Are What They Ate'
 - Key source: Recipes, Food and Eating Habits
 - Focus on history: Geography, culture, religion and wealth
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Stories From Your Family Tree: Researching Ancestors Within Living Memory


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