Genealogical Research in England's Public Record Office: A Guide for North Americans by Judith Prowse Reid. Published by Genealogical Publishing Co., 1001 N. Calvert Street, Baltimore MD 21202. 1996. 148 pp. Illustrated, Index. Hardcover. $22.50 plus $3.50 shipping ($1.25 for each additional book).

The Public Record Office (PRO) in London is one of the richest genealogical repositories in the world. This book begins by addressing the general question of when to use the PRO and why. It provides very current references for books to get you started on your English research. Some references so current that they have not been published yet. The book progresses to talk about the logistics of getting to and working at the PRO. This is basic information found in many books but is very current acknowledging the many changes that are occurring with the movement of records from Chancery Lane in London to Kew.

The following chapter provides a good explanation of the class lists which are used to organized the material and are created by the originating government agency. This section is especially strong in citing published records and tools for US Colonial research.

The next two chapters dealing with Emigration, Immigration and other records is where this book excels. A good overview is given of lots of sources and record classes helpful to the North American researcher but often omitted as not relevant in books written about the PRO for English researchers. To learn more specifically what these record classes contain the researcher is directed to other resources.

The appendices provide useful tools for the researcher including a listing of addresses, telephone numbers and guidebooks for the county record offices. However, not all guide books are listed, for example the 1993 Cumbrian Ancestors which is especially important for the records in Cumbria are scattered across three offices. As with all address lists it is soon out of date, the Shropshire Record Office relocated in May 1995.

Overall this is a must if you want to know what records are available in England for helping you get from North America back to England.

Note: This book is now in its second edition (2000), which has also been reviewed in this newsletter.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.3 no.4, 1996