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These reviews have been provided by members of our Society.

The reviewers are:
JD - Jean Debney, JG - John Gurnett, CMBH - Catherine Harrington, JM - Jill Muir, DS - Daphne Spurling

Please use the links to find cost and information on how to buy the books.

User Guide to the Online Census for England and Wales (1891 & 1901), written & published by G T LEDBROOKE (Sep 2002)
A5 yellow illustrated card cover, screen shots, text & 4 appendices, 29+VII pp
Booklist details (Miscellaneous Pubs)

This is the first publication I have seen explaining the 'how' and 'what' of using the Online Census for 1901 with lots of helpful information to get you started with the minimum hassle. The full table of contents includes the individual section heading for easy location. Although the text appears solely to deal with the 1901 census, the 1891 (and, in passing in the Introduction, the 1881) census have been included in the title to cover their future digitisation. [JD Dec 2002]

Basic facts about ... Descendant tracing, by Tom WOOD (Federation of Family History Societies (Publications) Ltd, 2002)
A5 pale & dk green card cover, 16pp.
Booklist details (Basic Facts)

Having been asked many times how to trace descendants this very concise booklet includes sources I have used or knew about, plus many I hadn't even considered. Go for it! [JD Dec 2002]

<>An Introduction to ... Using computers for genealogy, by David HAWGOOD (Federation of Family History Societies (Publications) Ltd, 3rd edn. 2002)
A5 card pale & dk turquoise illustrated card cover, title on spine, screen shots etc, index, 54 pp.
Booklist details (Internet & Computing) - Enquire about availability

Divided into five sections headed 'Using a computer', 'Typing documents', 'Personal family history', 'Family research' and 'Addresses, bibliography & help' this experienced author starts his preface: "This books aims to held anyone with little experience of computers to start using one for family history". Need I say more! - except to add there is likely to be information for those with more than a little experience as well [JD Dec 2002]

Was your grandfather a Railwayman? A directory of Railway Archive Sources for Family Historians, by Tom RICHARDS [FFHS 4th edn. 2002]
A5 pale yellow & brown illustrated card cover, title on spine, illustrations, 132pp
Booklist details (Miscellaneous Pubs)

The author was a senior officer of the Great Western Railway and, since the 1st edition in 1988, has discovered many more sources for material for railway employees in the UK & Eire, Australia, New Zealand & Tasmania, Canada & the United States of America, India and South Africa each of which is covered in this expanded edition. Full information about the illustrations are opposite the detailed contents page. [JD Dec 2002]

Surrey & Sussex - Genealogical Library Guides by Stuart A RAYMOND (FFHS).
A5, white & green illustrated card covers, title on spine.
Not currently available from our Bookshop. Obtain from FFHS.

These comprehensive guides list printed sources discovered by the author, a former librarian, that [will] include information to assist and complement your researches.

Guide 1: Information for Genealogists - history, archives, journals, etc. (2002) Author, family and place name indexes,
48pp Price £6.00 + P&P. Obtain from FFHS

Details of each county are alphabetical within each section covering County, Parish and Local histories, Bibliography & archives, Periodicals & newspapers, Place names and maps and the Battle Abbey Roll. [JD Dec 2002]

Guide 2: Parish registers, monumental inscriptions & wills (2001); author, family & place name indexes,
71pp. Price £6.95 + P&P. Obtain from FFHS

As well as the topics listed in the title, the third section includes Inquisitions post mortem: enquiries about the lands held by deceased tenants in chief plus names of their heirs. [JD Dec 2002]

Guide 3: Lists of names (2002); author & place indexes
48pp. Price £6.00 + P&P. Obtain from FFHS

Seven sections cover the Domesday Book, Tax records, Loyalty oaths, Poll book & Electoral registers, Census etc, Return of owners of land and Directories. [JD Dec 2002]

Guide 4: Administrative Records for Genealogists (2002); author, family & place name indexes
88pp. Price £7.50 + P&P. Obtain from FFHS

Records of National & County Government, Parochial & Local Government, Ecclesiastical and Estate records are to be found in the four sections. [JD Dec 2002]

Guide 5: Occupations (2001); author, family & place name indexes
46pp. Price £5.60 + P&P. Obtain from FFHS

Alphabetical list from 'Advertisers' to 'Wool merchants' via 'Cricketers', 'orphans' and the 'Wimbledon Light Horse' in 'Local Rolls of Honour', etc. etc. [JD Dec 2002]

Guide 6: Family histories & pedigrees (2001); author, family & place name indexes
80pp. Price £6.95 + P&P. Obtain from FFHS

The main surnames are alphabetical within five sections: Pedigree collections (including heraldic visitations), Biographical dictionaries, Heraldry, Diaries, letters, household accounts, etc. and Family histories & pedigrees. Each book listed will include an enormous number of other names - including, perhaps, your own! [JD Dec 2002]

Current publications on microfiche by Member Societies, comp. by John P PERKINS (Federation of Family History Societies (Publications) Ltd, 5th edn 2002);
- A5 red, white & blue card cover, title on spine, 264pp

Enquire about availability

This extraordinarily useful guide has grown from a measly 23 pages of publications in the 1982 edition to separate volumes covering printed and microfiche (including CD-ROM) titles listed in this massive tome.

The member societies and the categories they publish on microfiche are listed aphetically in the contents. As well as most English and Welsh societies there are entries for the Isle of Man, the Anglo-German FHS and some from Australia. It is worth noting that 1. Unlisted societies may do not produce microfiche and 2. Only currently available items are included: details of earlier publications may be in previous Current Pub. editions. [JD Dec 2002]

Enquire about availability

Identical to the book, you require a PC running Windows 95 or later with a minimum 10Mb RAM & a CD drive. The data has been created using PDF files which can be read using Adobe Acrobate Reader 5.0 software. This can be downloaded from the CD (double-click on the ar505enu file), or downloaded free of charge from the website at The disc (which has a silver title side making it difficult to identify the 'business' side when extracting it from the pocket) includes a full description on how to use and navigate the date in the ReadMe file. [JD Dec 2002]

The Saga of the BECKINGHAMS & Kaiser Bill (1914-1919), by Alex J McGAHEY (2002 The author, "Agiparo", 2 Vane Road, Thame, OXF, OX9 3WE).
A5 red, white & blue card cover, illustrated, 115pp
Not currently stocked in our Bookshop
Price £5.50 inc UK P&P, + £2 O/S airmail, from the author.

The author, a member of the Guild of One-Name Studies for BECKEN(G)HAM & BECKIN(G)HAM, started with his grandfather & went on to trace all with the name in the WWI records. The fascinating contents include biographical details for 46 men, some with photographs. [JD Dec 2002]

Eton Union & Registration District: Workhouse births, 1837-1838 & Burnham Sub-District births 1893-1897; 44pp; Price £2.50 + P&P 50p UK, £1.20 O/S airmail from The Eureka A Partnership.
Eton Union & Registration District: Workhouse deaths 1848-1900 & Eton & Burnham Sub-District infant deaths 1879-1885; 64pp; Price £3.50 + P&P 50p UK, £1.40 O/S airmail from The Eureka A Partnership.
Amersham, Aylesbury & Eton Registration Districts: Marriage notices 1837-1843; 20pp; Price £1.50 + P&P 40p UK & £1.30 O/S airmail from The Eureka A Partnership.

Transcribed & published by The Eureka A Partnership (2002), 19a Station Road, Stoke Mandeville, Aylesbury, Bucks, HP22 5UL.

All have A5 bright pink illustrated card covers, a parish map & surname index.
Not currently stocked in our Bookshop - contact The Eureka A Partnership about purchasing
Copies are available to read in the BerksFHS Research Centre Library

These booklets include records of Eton which, since 1974, has been part of Berkshire. They are just three of an increasing number of Buckinghamshire finding aids published so far by this knowledgeable and enthusiastic pair. [JD Dec 2002]

Surnames & Genealogy - a new approach by George REDMONDS [FFHS (Publications) Ltd, 2002]
6 x 9", beige & brown illustrated card cover, title on spine, 5 chapters, 5 appendices, illustrations & surname index, 292 pages

The author, who has studied surnames since 1970 and is author of "Yorkshire Surnames" (1973) published as Vol.1 in the English Surname Series, is an acknowledged expert in his subject. In this book he talks about the origin and meaning of surnames, heredity, changes of name, the linguistic development and the study of surnames. The appendices include a dictionary of difficult names and variants. Altogether a fascinating and comprehensive book which will definitely find a place on my bookshelf. [JD Dec 2002]

A Walk round our Village - compiled by Shinfield & District Local History Society (2002). A5, pictorial maroon/white card cover, photographs, maps, 56pp.
booklist details (Berkshire Places)

The text, lavishly illustrated with old photographs leads you round this parish, which was so drastically changed by the M4 in 1971. There is a map of the area to help those unfamiliar with the area. [JD Sep 2002]

Berkshire Old and New, No.19 (Berkshire Local History Association, 2002). A5, white/green illustrated card cover, illustrated, 56pp.
Enquire about availability

Another interesting collection of locally based articles including: 'The village & the road' (Woolhampton), 'For innocent enjoyment & improving the mind: a Victorian benefaction' (Durning Library, Ascot), 'Berkshire overseers accounts in the eighteenth century', 'Waters that went' (lost streams, etc. around Slough) and 'Berkshire Bibliography 2002' (recently published books). [JD Sep 2002]

The Story of Newbury, by Tony Higgott (Countryside Books, 2001). A5, blue/coloured pictorial card cover, illustrations, index.
booklist details (Berkshire Places)

The author, who recently retired as Curator of Newbury Museum, writes with authority about Newbury - and the surrounding area - from early times to the twentieth century. A must for anyone with interests in the area. [JD Sep 2002]

Cheapside in the Forest of Windsor, by Christine Weightman (Cheapside Publications, 2000). B5, pictorial green card cover, illustrations, index, 214pp.
booklist details (Berkshire Places)

The author traces the history of the small hamlet of Cheapside within the Royal Borough of Windsor and the oldest part of Sunninghill. The detailed chapter headings and appendices provide much information for both local and family historians. [JD Sep 2002]

Diary of a village school, 1873-2000, by Monica Lawson (2001). A5, colour/beige pictorial card cover, illustrations, 164pp.
booklist details (Berkshire Places)

This is the history of 'Hagbourne Primary School, 1873-2000'. Written by the headmistress, it is an affectionate account of a school founded as a result of the 1870 Education Act, using old documents, photographs and memories of former pupils to trace its history up to the present day. There is much interesting information here especially for past and present pupils. [JD Sep 2002]

A photographic history of Eton Wick and Eton, Eton Wick Local History Group (Robert Boyd Publications, 2000). A5, blue/yellow pictorial card cover, illustrated, 192pp.
booklist details (Berkshire Places)

This local history group, which has been meeting since 1992, produced this history of Eton for the Millennium. Formerly in Buckinghamshire, the parish was transferred to Berkshire in 1974. There are lots of photographs in the text, a chronology of events from 1797 to 1999, and a clear sketch map of the parish at the back of the book. [JD Sep 2002]

Pangbourne and Whitchurch, 1910 - Old Ordnance Survey Map, Berkshire Sheet 28.12 (OXF sheet 55.12) (Godfrey Edition, 2002).
booklist detail (Old OS Maps)

This map, originally surveyed in 1875 and revised in 1910, has been reduced from 25 inches to the mile; as usual there is an essay about the area on the reverse, together with extracts from local directories (1911 and 1891). In this series and still available from Berks FHS Bookshop are maps for Maidenhead (two maps), Marlow, Newbury, Oxford (two maps), Reading, Slough and Windsor (two maps), plus a small-scale i" map of Mid-Berkshire 1885 which covers the Pangbourne area. [JD Sep 2002]

Local Newspapers 1750-1920, England and Wales, Channel Islands, Isle of Man, compiled by Jeremy Gibson, Brett Langston & Brenda W. Smith (FFHS, 2nd edn. 2002). A5, red card cover, 72pp.
booklist details (Miscellaneous Pubs)

A Gibson Guide. This is a welcome return of a very useful publication that has been, for far too long, out of print. It lists, county by county, local newspapers with a run of at least four years which can be seen either at the British Library Newspaper Library at Colindale, London or (for many papers) in the relevant county library. Local newspapers are excellent sources for obituaries or just to check the weather and local events when your grandparents were married. [JD Sep 2002]

Probate Jurisdictions - Where to look for wills, compiled by Jeremy Gibson & Else Churchill (FFHS, 5th edn. 2002). A5, blue card cover, 71pp.
booklist details (MiscellaneousPubs)

Arranged alphabetically by county for England, Wales, Isle of Man, the Channel Islands and Scotland, this updated edition contains additional information about probate indexes, etc. held at the Society of Genealogists Library in London. There is a useful introduction, information about the documents (including probate accounts) and the probate procedure, and an invaluable glossary. The county maps illustrate the various church courts which proved wills prior to 1858. Wills, both of direct ancestors and their relations, are an extremely important source of family history; they not only confirm family relationships not clear from parish registers but may also indicate occupations and social and economic status. [JD Sep 2002]

Dorset & Beyond, the Wilsher family history, AD 1550-2000 by John Wilsher [Scotforth Books 2002]
8 x 6", hardback, coloured dust wrapper, illustrated, index; 308pp.
Price £15.00 (post-free UK) from the author, 166 Chiltern Rd, Dunstable, Beds. LU6 1EU
Not currently in our booklist

This is a well-presented and lavish family history. The author has made a brave attempt to interest both family and non-family members by including local and social history, together with some explanation about some of the sources which enabled him to make the link to his ancestors in a sixteenth century Dorset village. However such an impressively produced publication could have benefited from some professional editing. [Jun 2002]

Our Village of Spencers Wood [Spencers Wood Local History Group 2001]
A5, black & white card cover with photograph, illustrations, bibliography, 96pp.
booklist details (Berkshie Places)

Written and produced by four enthusiastic members of this local history group it contains much local information and photographs relating to the history and people in this part of Swallowfield, south of Reading. A must for anyone with an interest in or ancestors from this area. [Jun 2002]

The People of Didcot - Images of England (part of the Archive Photographs series). Compiled by Kenneth Caulkett [Tempus Publishing Ltd, Gloucs, 2000]
B5, illustrated card cover, photographs, 128pp.
booklist details (Berkshire Places)

This is one of an expanding series which contain a collection of local photographs (many dated) with a short, explanatory text to each. This publication is divided into chapters relating to The Barn, People & Places, Sports and Pastimes, Schools and Outings, The Railways and The Military. [Jun 2002]

The Town of Reading & its Abbey by Dr Cecil Slade [Local Heritage Books 2001]
B5, laminated pictorial card cover, illustrated, index, 162pp.
booklist details (Berkshire Places)

A professor at Reading University, Dr Slade was a local boy who had made a lifetime study of this subject. He traces, with academic skill, the development of Reading's relationship with the Abbey from its foundation in 1121 to its downfall in 1539 continuing through to 1997 with an Epilogue. Unfortunately he died before the book went to print and the text was read and the foreword written by his colleague, Professor Brian Kemp. [Jun 2002]

Wokingham & Bracknell (Francis Frith's Photographic Memories) by Trevor Ottlewski [Frith Book Co Ltd. 2001]
7fi x 8fi", illustrated card cover, photographs, index, 92pp.

booklist details (Berkshire Places)

The publication follows the format of others in this growing series and includes details of Francis Frith, the Victorian photographer, and the archive collection on which this series is based. The author has written the introductory historical text for the local area which is followed by many pages of dated photographs, each with a short text. The areas covered include Wokingham and Nine Mile Ride, Bracknell and the neighbouring parishes, around Ascot, Crowthorne village, Finchampstead and Eversley. [Jun 2002]

Thatcham Road Names by Roy Brian Tubb [The Author 1991]
A5, yellow pictorial card cover, illustrated (maps & photographs), 258pp.

Enquire about availability

Thatcham may have consisted originally of East, South and West Streets which need little explanation. In this book, the author has traced the history and meaning of 265 old and new road and building names, which only became 'official' from 1928. The alphabetical list includes such intriguing names as Spackman Close, Roman Way, Pipers Lane and Bowling Green Road. In addition to various historical maps there are five modern road maps so you can search for an individual road with ease. [Jun 2002]

Tithe War: 1918-1939, The Countryside in Revolt by Carol Twinch [Media Associates]
6.8" x 9.6". B/W illus., 303pp UK. Available from the author at eMail Address.
Enquire about availability

As an historical narrative the Tithe War firmly sides with the farming community, but despite that it provides an illuminating insight into a largely forgotten and bitter campaign fought against the 'iniquitous' tithe rents imposed to finance the established church. The campaign began at a particularly difficult time for farmers during the agricultural depression in the final quarter of the nineteenth century. In the early 1920s more than £3 million was still paid in tithe rents in England and Wales. Many farmers were unable to pay tithe rents and had their stock sold by auctioneers. In one case furniture and even baby beds and clothes were sold. On Midsummer's Day in 1936 5,000 farmers marched through London, for a mass meeting attended by political leaders. The campaign effectively ended tithe rents but not before many farmers had paid the price of trying to live off the land while paying substantial amounts to the church. [JG - Jun 2002]

The Jarvis Chronicles: a family history by Carol Jarvis [published by the author, 2002]
5.6" x 8.1" illus. P/B.
booklist details (Berkshire Places)

Some family historians are like jackdaws collecting dates and documents which they hope will lead them to a promised land of a family tree stretching back generations. As a result we are left with hundreds of certificates and papers, but little history. However, more and more family histories are being written, setting out the story of individual families. The Jarvis Chronicles by Carol Jarvis is a family saga from the seventeenth century to the Millennium. The Jarvises had their origins in the village of Shinfield and each chapter tells the story of a single generation. Eminently readable with many illustrations and family charts, this paperback should become a guide for those wishing to write a similar opus. [JG - Jun 2002]

Sonning Common in the Nineteenth century - 'A Little World Apart' by Jill Kendal [2000]
A4, gold card cover, illustrated, 58pp.

Enquire about availability

Although the text doesn't make it very clear, it seems that Sonning Common, which lies on the north side of the river Thames, was formed at an unrecorded date from part of the Liberty of Eye & Sonning in the parish of Sonning (Berkshire), part of Shiplake (Oxfordshire) and a little bit of Kidmore End. The text, arranged in two columns, is easy to read although there are occasional uncorrected 'typos' when the text was scanned. Different nineteenth century sources are dealt with in turn, analysed and illustrated with maps, facsimile documents and photographs. The sources are detailed inside the back cover. Of special interest is a three-page list of residents with a map of who lived where and when between 1842 and 1891. For family historians there are lots of names (unindexed) which makes it a 'must-have' if your ancestors came from here - or even if you just have a more general interest in the district. (JD - March 2002)

Public Record Office - Pocket Guides to Family History.
Wh/lam covers, 4.5" x 6.8"/250 x 300mm, 64pp.
booklist details (Pocket Guides)

Getting started in family history by David Annal [2000, revised edn. 2001]
Using Birth, Marriage & Death Records
Using Census Returns
Using Wills - Karen Grannum
[2000, revised edn. 2001]
Using Poor Law Records
by Simon Fowler [2001]
Tracing Nonconformist Ancestors
by Michael Gandy [2001]
Tracing Catholic Ancestors
by Michael Gandy [2001]
Using Army Records
Using Navy Records
Using Medal Records
by William Spencer [2001]
Tracing Irish Ancestors
by Simon Fowler [2001]
Tracing Scottish Ancestors
by Simon Fowler [2001]
Using Criminal Records
by Ruth Paley [2001]
Using Education & Apprenticeship Records
by Simon Fowler [due 2002]

This has now become a very useful series of fourteen small guides that can be slipped into the pocket for easy reference during a research trip. Some of the topics may be found in other basic publications but others are a first in such a format and all contain something of interest. Identical in size and format, their white
laminated covers have a fresh, distinctive style. The detailed contents list includes each sub-section for easy location. There is definitely something to be found here for everyone - from beginners to experienced family historians. (JD - March 2002)

One-Place Genealogy by David Hawgood [2001]
A5, black on blue card over, 64pp

Enquire about availability

This small booklet is a very useful first attempt to list those local history researchers who have knowledge both of a particular place and also the records that contain lists of names. This means that such studies, where known, will be invaluable to those family historians who, finding their ancestor originates from a particular place, can access further information.

In chapters two to four, the author discusses access to information by post, email, websites and printed sources, different types of study, where to look for information and, finally, how some one-place studies started. This is followed by a list of studies by county (only two for Berkshire so far) and an index of topics and researchers' names. (JD - March 2002)

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© Berkshire Family History Society 2001-2003

updated 23rd June 2002
reorganised 26th February 2003
amended 14th October 2004