Sunday, December 05, 2010

Church Record Sunday: Family History Cultures and Faiths by Michael Gandy

At the NGS conference in April of this year, I picked up quite a few books from the various booths in the vendor hall. One of the vendors was selling book published by the UK National Archives. I bought several of their books in an effort to learn more about English research.

One of the books I purchased was  Family History: Cultures and Faiths by Michael Gandy.  This book focuses on the records of different religious groups in England and how to find the records they left behind. The National Archives bookstore website says this of the book,

"For centuries, the patterns of our ancestors’ lives were shaped by traditions of culture and faith, and they left a rich legacy of documents, registers and possessions. This wide-ranging guide shows how to use religious records of life’s milestones – such as christening, confirmation, marriage and burial – in family history research, drawing on material in the National Archives and elsewhere. It covers the diverse faiths of Britain – Church of England, Catholic, Noncomformist, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and others – and suggests the best sources for each, from the earliest records to more recent times."

"Full of practical advice for all levels of experience, the book offers solutions for common problems and advice on how to find out more. It also explores how and where communities maintained their beliefs, from celebrations and festivals to religious buildings and schools."

This book is really a must have for those with English ancestors.  This very readable reference provides you the information you need regarding  what religious records are available and how to find them. It gives you the knowledge you need to conduct an exhaustive search and almost as importantly, what records are not available so you don't waste your time. The great part of the book is the history it covers so you fully understand why some religious records exist. A bibliography for further reading is also included. I would suggest that if all you know about English research is that you should research parish records, you need to get a copy of this book.

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