The National Archives in England has released an update of a very popular book, The Genealogist's Internet by Peter Christian. I read the first edition of this book when it was first published four years ago, so was quite curious to see what had changed in the latest Third Edition.
The first change I noticed is the size: the First Edition was 208 pages, but the new Third Edition has grown to 340 pages. That was a hint of all the additional information added to this book in the past four years. I wasn't disappointed. Indeed, there is more of everything in the latest edition.
The Genealogist's Internet tells how to "consult genealogical records and contact others all over the world from your desktop." It was written by Peter Christian, a person well known in British genealogical circles and mentioned in this newsletter several times in the past few years. Peter has excellent credentials for this effort. He has been researching his own genealogy for over 20 years and is a Fellow of the Society of Genealogists. From 1996 to 2001 he was editor of the Society's computer journal, Computers in Genealogy, and was also responsible for designing and setting up the Society's Web site. Peter Christian has also written several other books about high-tech genealogy, along with numerous magazine articles. He is employed as the Computer Documentation & Training Officer at Goldsmiths College. He regularly teaches Web design and lectures on the use of the Internet for genealogy. He also contributes a regular Internet column to the National Archives' Ancestors magazine.
This book focuses on U.K. genealogy. That's no surprise, as the author lives in England and the book is published by the National Archives there. In fact, most other Internet genealogy books are written with a U.S. bias. For U.K. residents or for anyone else anywhere in the world who is researching U.K. ancestry, this book is a refreshing change.
The early pages of The Genealogist's Internet assume that the reader already knows how to navigate to a Web page and how to send and receive e-mail. However, it assumes very little else about the reader's technical expertise. The book also assumes that the reader is a genealogy novice, although this is not a "how to get started in genealogy" tutorial. Instead, it focuses on how to use the Internet for genealogy purposes.
The Genealogist's Internet then continues to provide details about the major sources of online primary data available to U.K. family historians. The book describes genealogy gateways and then describes the various sites that contain images, transcripts, and indexes of original records. It goes on to describe online resources available for civil registration, censuses, parish registers, and other online resources. The book also describes hundreds, possibly thousands, of online resources, including discussion groups, search engines, how to publish your own genealogy information online, and much more. It also describes the (offline) holdings of various archives and libraries in the United Kingdom.
The third edition includes a lot of new information, including:
- hundreds of fully-updated URLS
- developments in the indexes to births, marriage and deaths on-line
- the expansion in the census and wills data available on-line
- the new websites of the National Archives and General Register Office
- new sites with historical maps and photographs
- the Online Parish Clerk schemes (for putting parish data on the Web)
- the lottery-funded projects relating to historical material which have come to fruition since the previous edition
- sites on the use of DNA testing in genealogy and DNA surname studies
- genealogy blogs, a type of on-line journal which has become popular
- major changes in the world of search engines
- future developments in on-line genealogy
- a timeline of on-line genealogy resources for the British Isles
The Table of Contents of The Genealogist's Internet may be found at http://www.spub.co.uk/tgi3/contents.php. The book also contains a glossary of terms, a short bibliography, and an extensive, eight-page index.
I spent quite a bit of time with this book and found it to be "a good read." I have met Peter Christian a couple of times and found him to be a friendly and spirited conversationalist. His writing style is quite similar to his conversational style: easy to understand and full of good information.
Until now, almost all the books I have seen about Internet genealogy have been written for a US readership; the few booklets that I have seen from the UK have been quite short. Most of them have simply been lists of Web sites with a little supplemental description. Peter Christian's The Genealogist's Internet is an excellent book that provides comprehensive information for online UK genealogy research. While this book will obviously sell well in England, I also suspect that many Americans, Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders, and others will find this new book to be equally valuable.
All in all, The Genealogist's Internet is an excellent book for anyone using a computer to research ancestry from the British Isles. It is aimed at newcomers and seasoned veterans alike. I can highly recommend this 339-page paperback to anyone researching ancestry in the British Isles.
The Genealogist's Internet sells £12.99, roughly $23.00 in U.S. funds. You will need to add in postage as well. The book is available directly from the National Archives. You can find an order form at http://www.spub.co.uk/tgi3/order.php
The book is also available from Amazon UK. I found that Amazon discounts the book significantly: £9.09. Almost any other book store can order it for you if you specify ISBN 1-903365-83-X.
For more information about "The Genealogist's Internet" or to order this great book online, look at: http://www.spub.co.uk/tgi3