Tracing Your British Ancestors by Colin R. Chapman. Published by Genealogical Publishing Company, 1001 N. Calvert Street, Baltimore MD 21202. 1993. USA edition 1996. 108 pp. Appendix, Bibliography, Index. Softcover. $15 plus $3.50 shipping ($1.25 for each additional book).

This excellent, easy-to-read, slim book has something for the beginner and experienced British Isles researcher. For the beginner, this book provides a good overview of the conventional methods and sources used in British Isles research including: civil registration, census, parish registers, bishop's transcripts, probate, other church records, old and new poor laws, land records, military records and heraldry. It is important to realize that this book covers each topic in a succinct manner noting the differences for each part of the British Isles - England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, plus the often ignored Isle of Man and Channel Islands. Topics such as land records and the old and new poor laws are usually kept for more advanced books, but Colin Chapman's easy style help us understand the value of these records.

For the experienced researcher there are great research tips throughout the text, such as warnings about why an age at marriage may be adjusted by the Victorian bride and groom to make it "proper," or how, after 1810, the Bank of England affected where a will for a businessman or merchant would likely be probated.

The book concludes with a good list of useful addresses, but the list of further reading is very short.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.3 no.2, 1996