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Ancestral Trails : The Complete Guide to British Genealogy and Family History Hardcover – January, 1998

ISBN-13: 978-0806315416 ISBN-10: 0806315415 Edition: First Thus

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 674 pages
  • Publisher: Genealogical Pub Co; First Thus edition (January 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0806315415
  • ISBN-13: 978-0806315416
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 7.2 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,069,130 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Herber's book is billed as "the complete guide to British genealogy and family history," and that is exactly what it is. Thoughtfully designed, this orderly, comprehensive, and elegant work guides the researcher (beginner or advanced) through the entire process of tracing British heritage, from obtaining information from living relatives to drawing family trees and starting research in the birth, marriage, death, or census records. Later chapters guide researchers to records that are more difficult to find and use, such as wills, parish registers, civil and ecclesiastical court records, poll books, and property records. Written for practitioners by a practitioner (Herber is a member of the Society of Genealogists in London), this complete, current, and beautiful guide ultimately helps the researcher focus on how the ancestral trail begins and how to form a coherent picture of past generations and their links to the present. Highly recommended. Howells's Netting Your Ancestors, on the other hand, is less elegant in delivering its guidance to genealogical research on the Internet. Nothing that it covers?the selection of hardware and software, getting a direct internet connection, E-mail, mailing lists, and newsgroups?is tied uniquely to genealogical research. In fact, a good 95 percent of the skills and tools it covers could be gleaned just as effectively from any basic computer book. This seems to be written as a how-to book?how to get to the author's popular web site. Not recommended.?Scott Hightower, Gallatin/NYU
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

No other publication gives such comprehensive and up-to-date guidance on tracing British ancestry and researching family history. Illustrated throughout with more than ninety examples of the major record types, and with detailed lists of further reading, Ancestral Trails will be the essential companion and guide for all family historians. --Anthony Camp, former Director, Society of Genealogists [London] --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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This book answered all the questions that I had, and much, much more.
sootica
Undoubtedly, this has to be one of the best research and information books available for the SERIOUS GENEALOGIST WHO IS RESEARCHING THEIR BRITISH ANCESTORS.
Anne Catherine Proctor
Some authors who use examples from their own research can detract from their work by doing so.
Mark Howells

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 9, 1998
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"No other publication gives such comprehensive and up-to-date guidance on tracing British ancestry and researching family history. Illustrated throughout with more than ninety examples of the major types of records, and with detailed lists of further reading, Ancestral Trails will be the essential companion and guide for all family historians." Anthony Camp, Director, Society of Genealogists.
This excellent publication was created in association with the prestigious Society of Genealogists, perhaps akin to the US' National Genealogical Society. The author Mark D. Herber is a solicitor who began researching his family in 1979. He has successfully traced some of his lines back to around 1580.
Indeed I was impressed with this 674 page "encyclopedia." (Quotes added for emphasis!) The bibliography alone is twenty-two pages. My experience with English records has been limited to early parish records in Devon and some Court of Canterbury wills, so I was most eager to have the opinion of three friends who do extensive English, Welsh and Irish research, and indeed are successful in helping others make strong headway in their research. You can imagine the excitement at our local LDS Family History Center as they poured over the book with uncustomary enthusiasm!
The consensus is that ANCESTRAL TRAILS is as definitive of British research as Ancestry's THE SOURCE is of American genealogy. Lew, a 1st generation Brit, was impressed with the chapter on military records, and made a note to order the book forthwith. Elsie, born of English immigrant parents, had been inquiring previously about manor court records and found this publication provided more than she had found in explanation elsewhere.
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Mark Howells on March 3, 1998
Format: Hardcover
The field of genealogical research in Great Britain is littered with literature. This scepter'd isle has a long history of excellently preserved source records, an enthusiastic community of genealogists, and a wealth of authors willing to guide the enthusiasts through the records. Given this background, it is difficult to imagine that a new work on British genealogical research could quickly become a new "standard reference". Mark Herber has made his Ancestral Trails just such a standard. Ancestral Trails, written in association with the Society of Genealogists in the United Kingdom, is 688 pages of top quality writing, organization, and completeness of coverage. It takes a textbook approach to the subject of genealogical records, leading the reader from the more basic sources such as civil registration and parish records on to the more specialized such as military and educational records. Far from being dry in style, the author uses well chosen examples from his own years of researching his ancestors to explain how the record types in question can be used by the family historian. Some authors who use examples from their own research can detract from their work by doing so. In contrast, Mark Herber has made his personal examples of real research situations enhance the text because of their relevancy to his topics. Nearly one hundred examples of significant records are included as illustrations. Researchers experienced in using British records as well as beginners will find this encyclopedic guide useful. The author covers newly-available resources such as the 1881 Census Index and provides excellent research advice and several clever shortcuts to using this new finding aid.Read more ›
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By sootica on September 25, 2004
Format: Paperback
I checked this book out from my local library because I felt that I was floundering with my British research. This book answered all the questions that I had, and much, much more. I'm not going to write a long review of this because there are a couple of other excellent reviews here already. I just wanted to add that there is a second edition of this book, from January 2004, available in England, but unfortunately not in the US yet. Because the internet is so valuable to those of us trying to do research from abroad, I decided to spend the extra money and order the newer edition from www.amazon.co.uk . It is more expensive, but it seemed worth it to me to have the most recent edition. If that's important to you, check the publication date on the edition advertised.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michael K. Smith TOP 500 REVIEWER on July 27, 2009
Format: Paperback
When a new edition appears of a genealogical reference book I have found especially useful, I don't necessarily, automatically, buy the new edition. If the updated information is primarily new addresses and phone numbers, but the meat of the book has stayed essentially the same, . . . well, one can always look up that sort of thing on the Internet. The first edition of Herber's fine work -- which has already acquired the label "Bible of British genealogy" -- appeared in 1997 and ran to 674 pages of extremely thorough discussion of sources for research in Britain. The second edition, published in association with the Society of Genealogists, is fully one-third longer. After paging through it at a conference, I counted up my pennies and bought it. And I haven't regretted the expense. While most of my own family lines are what some would call "Old American," their progenitors having arrived here before the 19th century, the same is not necessarily true of many of the in-laws and friends on whose behalf I have carried out research. And even though our legal system owes much to the English common law, there are decided differences between the bureaucratic history of Britain's unitary form of government and our own federal system. Until comparatively recently, Britain's principal record-keeping body was the civil parish, and while many of the old volumes from the "parish chest" are now held by the Public Record Office and its branches, they are still organized by the old jurisdictions. Britain never had "public lands" open for claim and settlement, so ownership of real property was traditionally proved by a thick stack of successive title deeds and conveyances. This system, too, has been modernized, but the family researcher will need to understand the older system.Read more ›
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