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The Oxford Companion to Local and Family History [Hardcover]

by David Hey
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Oxford Companion to Family and Local History Oxford Companion to Family and Local History
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Book Description

June 20, 1996 0192116886 978-0192116888 First Edition
If, like many Americans, you're curious about your English past, and wish to know what your village, town, or county was like many years ago, or have an overriding desire to uncover the everyday lives of your ancestors, then The Oxford Companion to Local and Family History is the perfect book, an unrivalled new guide to investigating how we used to live before we came to the United States.
The last thirty years have seen a huge growth of interest in local and family history both as a subject for the general enthusiast and as an area of academic study. With over 2,000 entries The Oxford Companion to Local and Family History caters admirably to this growing popularity by providing detailed summaries of the latest knowledge in such fields as social, urban, agricultural, legal, family, and ecclesiastical history. It gives guidance on where to find and how to use documentary sources, suggests books and journals to help the reader in further research, and includes entries which explain terms which may puzzle beginners in the field. Covering a broad canvas, from prehistory to the present day, taking in the whole of the British Isles, the Companion paints a thorough picture of rural and urban life.
There are entries on everything from bear-baiting and Morris dancing to aerial photography and the use of computers. Individuals included range from writers, historians, and social commentators to landscape designers and antiquarians (Thomas Hardy, Richard Jefferies, Samuel Pepys, `Capability' Brown, etc.), while institutions and organizations (HMSO, Armed Forces, trades unions, Inns of Court, etc.) are all fully covered. Cells and cellars combine with entries on cider and cinemas, foxhunting and framework knitting, to provide a invaluable compendium of information and advice for both the amateur and professional researcher, and a fascinating introduction to the subject for the general reader.
Malcolm Airs, Fellow Kellogg College, Oxford and Lecturer, University of Oxford
John Beckett, Professor of English Regional History, University of Nottingham
Anthony J. Camp, Director, Society of Genealogists
Harold Fox, Senior Lecturer, Department of English Local History, University of Leicester
Margaret Gelling, Honorary Reader, Birmingham University
John L. Halstead, Lecturer, University of Sheffield
David Hey (ed.)
Ralph Houlbrook, Reader, Department of History, University of Reading
Richard Hoyle, Senior Lecturer, Department of History, University of Central Lancashire
David Moody, Assistant District Librarian, East Lothian District Libraries
D. Huw Owen, Keeper of Pictures and Maps, The National Library of Wales
David Palliser, Chair of Medieval History, School of History, University of Hull
Charles Phythian-Adams, Head of Department of English Local History, University of Leicester
Nigel Ramsay, Curator, Department of Manuscripts, The British Library
Brian Short, Senior Lecturer, School of Cultural and Community Studies, University of Sussex
Joan Thirsk, former Reader, University of Oxford
Kevin Whelen, Royal Irish Academy, Dublin, and Visiting Scholar, Boston College

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

This work, though limited to U.K. local history, is also of value to Americans engaged in genealogical research or working in the field of British social history. It is a dictionary-type summary of socioeconomic, historical, critical, architectural, and occasionally biographical information on Great Britain during the last eight centuries. Typical entries are Board of Trade; Camden, William (1551^-1623); Docks, Dockyards; Fire Insurance; Irish Emigration; Obituaries; Railways; and Surnames. These articles are usually brief, often only a few lines; a few, such as Local Government and Scottish Local and Family History, may run to six or more pages and are usually signed by one of the 17 contributors, whose names and affiliations appear at the front of the book.

There are almost no see references in the book. For example, there are no references from the words Catholic or recusant to Roman Catholicism, and no reference from U.S. to the single, brief article, America. There are no entries for house or habitation, though there is the entry Medieval Peasant Houses. Asterisks are used to note internal see also references. An example is the entry Abbey, which has nine asterisks, mostly for names of specific abbeys.

Perhaps the greatest lack is in the field of occupations. There is no general entry for it, and only a very few, unusual occupations are defined--Farmer, in its obsolete sense, as a tax gatherer; Jagger, a teamster in charge of heavy merchandise; and Reddleman, one who marked sheep with red ochre. Omitted are more common job titles, such as cordwainer, hostler, and mercer. A useful feature of the work is that whenever an entry notes records housed in the Public Record Office, the precise code letters and numbers at the PRO are given. (See Genealogical Research in England's Public Record Office [RBB Ag 96].) The work concludes with an appendix listing the name and address of the principal County Record Offices in Great Britain, arranged by county or region. For comprehensive genealogy collections.


"Once you have it, the Companion will remain a treasured part of your reference library..." Kitchener-Waterloo Record

`Reliable works of reference are a boon and a blessing to scholars, teachers, amateur enthusiasts and the reading public alike, and this volume will be warmly welcomed ... all historians working in the field of British history should have the book on their shelves as a most convenient and accessible guide: it is ideally useful for the study of much more than 'local and family history' narrowly defined ... a most companionable volume, a guide to current knowledge as well as a stimulus for further work, well produced and excellent value.' G C F Forster, History, January 2000

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA; First Edition edition (June 20, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192116886
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192116888
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,983,589 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5.0 out of 5 stars The Oxford Companion to Local and Family History October 15, 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
From England you learn a lot of things in this book about family history and local history. Karen Kay Ullom
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