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BerksFHS
Book Reviews 2003



E-mail enquiries but NOT orders can be sent to
eMail address for Bookshop
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.

BERKSHIRE OVERSEERS PAPERS - Vol. 18: St Giles, Reading (part) in Reading Union,  comp by Brian HUNT (Berks FHS (2003)
ISBN 0-946099-88-X; 2 mfc, Introduction & map in card folder
Booklist details (Berkshire Overseers Papers)

This is the 3rd of 4 volumes covering the densely populated parish of Reading St Giles.  This includes abstracts of 141 Settlement Examinations and 489 Apprenticeship Indentures, all indexed by name, place and occupation.  The series will be completed with vols. 19, (St Giles (pt) and 27, the index to all 26 volumes. [JD Dec 2003]
EASTBURY, a Berkshire village, Eastbury Millennium Association (2003); ISBN 0-9545221-0-9;  7.5" x 9.8" [190mm x 250mm], flexiback, illustrated, indexed, 130pp;
Booklist details (Berkshire Places)

This is the combined work of a large number of people (all listed) and, following introductory chapters about its history and streets, they then examine life in the last (20th) century, eight homes, some local characters and Eastbury in 2001.  It’s illustrated with maps, tables and lots of photographs. [JD Dec 2003]
HENLEY RURAL, the history of a Rural District Council in Oxfordshire, 1894-1932, Brian READ (ELSP, 2003)
ISBN 1-903341-85-X; 6" x 9.1" [153mm x 232mm], flexiback, 131pp
Booklist details (Berkshire Places)

This traces the gradual improvement in rural services in about 20 rural parishes in south Oxfordshire and includes a list of council members up to 1974.  Find out how your ancestor lived (or survived?) in the conditions of the time compared with today. [JD Dec 2003]
GENEALOGY FOR BEGINNERS, Karin PROUDFOOT (Phillimore & Co. Ltd, 7th edn 2003)
ISBN 1-86077-268-4; 8.5"x5.4" [215mm x 137mm], flexiback, some illustrations, index, 126pp.

This is an update of the popular ‘how-to-do-it’ book by Arthur WILLIS first published in 1955.  It is full of all the vital source information that beginners need to trace their ancestors, now including the internet. [JD Dec 2003]
TRACING YOUR 20TH CENTURY FAMILY HISTORY, Stuart A RAYMOND (Federations FHS (Publications) Ltd, 2003)
ISBN 1-86006-176-1; small (4.1" x 5.9") flexiback, indexed, 136pp

A small, but beautifully formed, pocket-sized book to help you trace your ancestors during the past 100 years.  The 22 chapters cover lots of sources, further reading, the internet and ‘useful’ (land-based) addresses to help you on your way. [JD Dec 2003]
FIRST NAME VARIANTS, Alan BARDSLEY (Federation FHS (Publications) Ltd, 3rd edn 2003)
ISBN 1-86006-177-X; A5 flexiback, 108pp

This is an extremely useful source to discover how the oddly-spelt forenames you find in a record should have been spelled or what they’re a pet form of.  First find your name in the first part, note the 3-letter code, then check the second part for the variations.  For example ‘Purly’ is coded ‘mar’ which includes Margaret as well as Daisy, Greta and Megan amongst the variations.  The main name is bolded but is not necessarily the ‘correct’ spelling. [JD Dec 2003]

MY ANCESTOR WAS A COALMINER, David TONKS (Soc of Genealogists Enterprises Ltd,  2003)
ISBN 1-903462-71-1; A5 flexiback, illustrated, indexed, 136pp
Booklist details (My Ancestor series)

The author has mining ancestors and grew up in a mining village and knows his subject.   The history of coal mining, the miners’ home and work conditions, a glossary of mining terms, etc. are included together with the sources needed to research your ancestor.  Look out for the other fifteen titles in the “My Ancestor Was” series.
[JD Dec 2003]
HISTORY’s MIDWIVES, Joan E GRUNDY (Federation of FHS (Publications) Ltd, 2003)
ISBN 1-86006-175-3; A5, flexiback, illustrated, indexed, 136pp

This fascinating book traces the history of midwives, their licencing and role in England in the past, and details of the delivery and lying-in period which used to last for a month.  The sources quoted are very detailed.  Eight appendices include the qualifications required and some  documents.  There is also a long alphabetical list of Yorkshire Midwives’ Nominations for Diocesan Licences (1662-1732) needed before they could practise.
[JD Dec 2003]
A DICTIONARY OF OLD TRADES, TITLES and OCCUPATIONS, Colin WATERS (Countryside Books, new expanded edn 2003)
ISBN 1-85306-794-6; A5 flexiback, 320pp
Booklist details (Occupations)

Ever wondered what a ‘nib separator’ did for a living?  No, not dismantling pens but someone who worked in the chocolate industry separating the ‘nibs’ from the ‘germ’ & husk of a cocoa bean.  Other entries explain ‘notcher’, ‘pop man’ and ‘jerk butcher’ to name but a few in this useful dictionary. [JD Dec 2003]
FAMILY FEUDS - an introduction to Chancery proceedings, Susan T MOORE (Federation of FHS (Publications) Ltd, 2003)
ISBN 1-86006-163-X
A5 flexiback, glossary, useful addresses, 95pp

The Court of Chancery had jurisdiction not only in England and Wales but also dealt with Colonial cases and those relating to Scotland and Ireland.  The first part describes why and how these records can be so useful for family history and the second looks at the records themselves.  They are held in the National Archives (the PRO at Kew) with name indexes on the open shelves and on their website. [JD Dec 2003]
A CALENDAR OF FAIRS & MARKETS held in the Nineteenth Century, Pat LOVERIDGE (Romany & Traveller FHS, 2003)
A5 flexiback, indexed, 132pp; ISBN 900660-18-0
From RTFHS Book Sales, 4 Portway, Ewell Village, Epsom, Surrey KT17 1SU. <http://website.lineone.net/~rtfhs> or Romany & Traveller FHS.

A fascinating and very useful list of places and dates to enable you to find either your itinerant or gypsy ancestors, or, perhaps, suggest where your ancestors met their marriage partners. It is indexed by county, place and type of fair and includes many references to pre-1974 Berkshire. [JD Dec 2003]

Brightwalton, A Downland Village, by June Osment, Sue Sayers and Jean Stephens (JSB Publishers, 2002).
A5 bound card, white on tan illustrated card cover, photographs, maps, indexed, 117 pp.
Booklist details (Berkshire Places)

Dating from Saxon times, this is a fascinating history of a parish that lies between Wantage and Newbury. Illustrated with many old photographs there are chapters about the parish, churches, farms, education and families, followed by a list of Rectors and a postscript by the authors. [JD Jun 2003]

Those were the days! recollections of Shinfield, by six local residents (Shinfield and District Local History Society, 1995, reprint 2002).
A5 bright green card cover, line drawings, map, 58pp
Booklist details (Berkshire Places)

Dedicated to the memory and enthusiasm of Jack Spink who founded Shinfield and District Local History Society, this popular booklet contains articles compiled from the memories of six senior inhabitants tape-recorded in 1982. A sketch map shows the locations of the buildings mentioned, some of which no longer exist.
Research Aids [JD Jun 2003]

Reading Registration District — Marriage Notices 1837-1848 (The Eureka Partnership, 2003).
A5, grey card cover, map, index, 44pp.
Price £2.50 + p&p UK 50p, 0/S airmail £1.30.

Henley, Wallingford and Wokingham Registration Districts — Marriage Notices 1837-1856 (2003). A5, pale green card cover, maps, illustrated, 28pp
Price £2.00 + p&p 50p UK, 0/S airmail £1.30.

Both the above available from: The Eureka Partnership, 19a Station Rd, Stoke Mandeville, Aylesbury, Bucks HP22 5UL.

From the start of Civil Registration on 1 July 1837, any intended marriage not conducted in a parish church by banns or licence had to be notified at the local Register Office. It was then read out at three consecutive meetings of the Poor Law Union Guardians. These are indexed transcriptions of the names, dates and any other details of the parties recorded in the Union Minutes in the Berkshire Record Office. A useful source of information. [JD Jun 2003]

Criminal Register Indexes (HO 27) 1807-1816: Vol. CDP2
- South-Central by Stuart Tamblin (Family History Indexes, 2000), CD ROM.
Not currently available from our Bookshop. Please enquire.

This volume covers the counties of Berkshire, Wiltshire and Hampshire and the searchable index contains all the identifying details found in the originals: name with age, date, court, crime, sentence/acquittal and the PRO reference. Ten other volumes cover the remaining counties of England. This is a very useful source to use in finding stray ancestors from the early nineteenth century. [JD Jun 2003]

Reading: Snare’s Post Office Directory 1842-3 (Berks FHS, 2002)
(CD-ROM, BRK0201)
Booklist details (Directories)

Facsimile copy of the original directory containing over 2,000 street addresses, listed alphabetically by occupier and address, comprehensive trade directory, an essay about the town and its surrounds, train, coach, carrier and barge directories, train timetable and general information with names of councillors, 18-man police force, etc. [JD Mar 2003]

Berkshire Burial Index, 2002 ( Berks FHS, 2002).
(CD-ROM, BRK0202)
Booklist details (Berkshire Burial Index)

This 17,673-page index contains over 210,000 burials from 114 parish, nonconformist and cemetery registers in the pre-1974 county of Berkshire. Over two-thirds of the entries are new and will later appear in the 2nd edition of the Federation FHS’s National Burial Index.

Indexed three ways - by name, place and date, and place and name - the information you require can be easily identified and copied. Owners of this CD can apply for a large discount on annual updates. [JD Mar 2003]

PARISH REGISTER on MICROFICHE - BARKHAM, St James, 1538 - 1998 (BFHS, 2002)
(3mfc, PR/07)
Booklist details (PRs)

In a cream card cover with printed pages of contents, notes about the parish history, registers and indexes and a county map highlighting its location. 3 miles SW of Wokingham and within Windsor Forest, its registers include the Civil War and Commonwealth periods. George Washington’s maternal ancestors may be buried here. [JD Mar 2003]

PARISH REGISTER on MICROFICHE - COMBE, St Swithin, 1560 - 1985 (BFHS, 2002)
(1mfc, PR/08).
Booklist details (PRs)

In a cream card cover with printed pages of contents, notes about the parish history, registers and indexes and a county map highlighting its location. A small village on the SW county boundary, it has had a chequered history. In 1895 it was transferred from Hampshire to Berkshire, in 1912 combined with Buttermere, WIL and transferred to Salisbury Diocese (WIL), returned to Winchester Diocese (HAM) in 1933 and combined with Faccombe and, finally, in 1967, moved to Oxford Diocese (OXF) and united with Inkpen. [JD Mar 2003]

19th century St Nicholas Hurst - glimpses of parish life, Jim BELL (author, 2002)
A5 illustrated green cover, 52pp.
Booklist details (Berkshire Places)

This booklet consists of chronological sections of interesting extracts from the ‘Hurst Magazine’ between 1862, when it was first published, and 1899. It is illustrated with facsimile pages, advertisements, pictures and photographs. Presumably published by the author, no contact address has been given. [JD Mar 2003]

“The Bobby’s Notebook” - on the beat in early Victorian Sunninghill, Christine WEIGHTMAN (Cheapside Publications, 2002).
A5, white cover, two maps inside the back cover, 53pp.
Booklist details (Berkshire Places)

Found in a local attic and still in private hands, this book contains a transcript of a notebook kept by an unnamed constable in Sunninghill in 1841. Using the 1841 census, local rate books and other sources, the author has researched the history and background of this small east Berkshire parish containing Ascot Racecourse, policing in Berkshire and how she identified the constable. The final pages detail the people and places mentioned in the transcript. [JD Mar 2003]

More of the Tilehurst we remember (History of Tilehurst Group, reprint 2001, 1st pub.1999).
A5 illustrated cover, illustrated with line drawings and photographs, 103pp.
Booklist details (Berkshire Places)

Fascinating interviews, arranged under a named road, farm or school associated with that person. Each person relates memories from the first half of the twentieth century. [JD Mar 2003]

Rural life in the Vale of the White Horse 1780-1915, Nigel HAMMOND (Rectory Orchard Books, reprint 1993: 1st pub. 1974)
A5, blue pictorial cover, 166pp.

Dealing with a variety of activities in the Vale, principally in the towns of Abingdon, Faringdon, Wallingford and Wantage, plus the many rural settlements, all part of the pre-1974 county of Berkshire (since then in Oxfordshire). The author writes about the Berkshire Pig, village fêtes, the Great Western Railway among many other interesting subjects. The numbered illustrations are in two sections with the captions listed at the front of the book. At the back is a bibliography, 5 tables and the index. [JD Mar 2003]

Vale of the White Horse 1893, Old Ordnance Survey Map (Alan Godfrey Maps, 2002)
Booklist details (Old OS Maps)

Another old Berkshire OS map joins the growing number currently available. This reprint is of the one-inch map 253 (revised 1893). On the reverse is a street map of Faringdon in 1910 (from the 25-inch map VIII.9, reduced to about 15") and a fascinating historical essay by Tony Higgott. [JD Mar 2003]

<>Eye & Dunsden - two centuries of change, Brian R LAW (author, 2001).
B5, illustrated cover, 142pp.

Copiously illustrated with old and new, black and white and colour, photographs, including some aerial pictures, maps and documents, the author has skillfully researched and written the history of this rural parish. Although the main text deals with the 19th and 20th centuries, the first chapter describes the history of ‘The early years’ of this liberty in the parish of Sonning, Berkshire.

The text and presentation are an excellent model for any local historians going into print. [JD Mar 2003]

Monumental Inscriptions on the Web - a Directory, Stuart A RAYMOND (Federation FHS, 2002).
A5 portrait, pale green cover, 88pp.

With his usual thoroughness, the author has found many informative sites. The results are alphabetically arranged by place within each English then Welsh county. Each entry includes the site address and a very brief note of its contents. A must-have for computer-buffs. [JD Mar 2003]


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© Berkshire Family History Society 2003

updated 31st December 2003
amended 3rd September 2004