Suggested Reading (Genealogy and History)
I've read many of these books, and the others are recommended by friends and colleagues. Within each category - 'Family History and Genealogy', 'Historical Background for Family Historians' and 'Genealogical crime mysteries (fiction)' - titles are arranged by author's surname. Links open in a new window. Most titles are available from The Book Depository, my favourite online bookshop, with free shipping worldwide. A few of these books may be available only as secondhand copies via Abe Books.
Family History and Genealogy
- The Family Tree Polish, Czech and Slovak Genealogy Guide: How to Trace Your Family Tree in Eastern Europe (Lisa Alzo).
- The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy, 2nd edition, 2019 (Blaine T. Bettinger). [This plain-English guide explains what DNA tests are available (with up-to-date pros and cons of the major testing companies), how to interpret DNA test results and ethnicity, and how to use third-party tools to analyse your data.]
- Tracing Your Insolvent Ancestors: A Guide for Family Historians (Paul Blake). [Very detailed, so not a book for beginners.]
- Tracing Your East End Ancestors (Jane Cox).
- Tracing Your Welsh Ancestors (Beryl Evans).
- Tracing Your Irish Ancestors, revised 5th edition, 2019 (John Grenham).
- Unofficial Guide to Ancestry.com: How to Find Your Family History, 2nd edition, 2018 (Nancy Hendrickson).
- Ancestral Trails: The Complete Guide to British Genealogy and Family History, 2nd edition (Mark D. Herber).
- Tracing Your Ancestors Through Death Records: A Guide for Family Historians, 2nd revised edition (Celia Heritage).
- Tracing Your Servant Ancestors (Michelle Higgs).
- A Guide to Tracing Your Family History Using the Census, published 2020 (Emma Jolly). [Censuses in England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are all examined and the differences explained. Particular emphasis is placed on the rapidly expanding number of websites that offer census information.]
- Tracing Your British Indian Ancestors (Emma Jolly).
- Family History for Kids (Emma Jolly & David Popey).
- Unofficial Guide to FamilySearch.org: How to Find Your Family History on the World's Largest Free Genealogy Website, 2nd edition, 2020 (Dana McCullough).
- Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians, 2nd edition, 2019 (Chris Paton).
- Tracing Your Scottish Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians, published 2020 (Chris Paton).
- Marriage Law for Genealogists, revised 2nd edition (Rebecca Probert). ["An indispensable guide for tracing marriages of English and Welsh ancestors between 1600 and the twentieth century."]
- Advanced Genetic Genealogy, published 2019 (Debbie Parker Wayne). [For intermediate and advanced researchers. If you're a beginner, start with The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy.]
- Tracing Your Lancashire Ancestors (Sue Wilkes).
- Tracing Your Georgian Ancestors: A Guide for Family and Local Historians (John Wintrip).
- Tracing Your Pre-Victorian Ancestors: A Guide to Research Methods for Family Historians (John Wintrip).
Historical Background for Family Historians
- Greater London: The Story of the Suburbs (Nick Barratt).
- The Tyranny of Distance: How Distance Shaped Australia's History (Geoffrey Blainey).
- At Home: A Short History of Private Life (Bill Bryson). [To write this book, the author "researched the history of anything and everything, from architecture to electricity, from food preservation to epidemics, from the spice trade to the Eiffel Tower, from crinolines to toilets."]
- Empty Cradles (Oranges and Sunshine) (Margaret Humphreys). [The book that exposed the heartbreaking scandal of Britain's 'child migrants' who were deported from children's homes in Britain and sent to other countries including Australia.]
- Weevils in the Flour: an Oral Record of the 1930s Depression in Australia (Wendy Lowenstein). [This magnificent account of the experiences of ordinary Australians during the 1930s Great Depression will help you to picture what life was like for your ancestors. No matter how many times I cull my book collection, this is one that I will keep forever. For a cheaper copy in used condition, try here.]
- (ADDED) The Story of English (Robert McCrum, Robert MacNeil and William Cran). [Originally paired with a major TV miniseries, this book is a stimulating and comprehensive record of spoken and written English, from its Anglo-Saxon origins to the present day. From Cockney, Scouse and Scots to Gulla, Singlish, Franglais, and the latest African American slang, this sweeping history of the English language is the essential introduction for anyone who wants to know more about our common tongue.]
- Lark Rise to Candleford (Flora Thompson). [This immortal trilogy, based on the author's experiences during childhood and youth, is a heartwarming portrayal of country life in Oxfordshire at the end of the 19th century.]
- Call The Midwife: A True Story of the East End in the 1950s (Jennifer Worth). I enjoyed this so much that I immediately bought the two books in which the story continues: Shadows of the Workhouse: The Drama of Life in Postwar London and Farewell to the East End: The Last Days of the East End Midwives.
Genealogical crime mysteries (fiction)