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Short Guides to Records: First Series-Guides 1-24 edited by L. M. Munby. Published by The Historical Association, 59a Kennington Park Road, London SE11 4JH, England. Copyright 1994. Softcover. 120 pp. £8. Tel: 011-441-171-735-3901, Fax: 011-441-171-582-4989.

This is a collection of short guides originally published between 1961 and 1971 and now collected together and reissued in this guide. The papers cover a wide range of subjects providing a variety of historical records from mediaeval times to the nineteenth century. The topics include: rate books; poll books; probate inventories; estate maps and surveys; guardians' minute books; chantry certificates; hearth tax returns; Episcopal visitation books; estates acts of parliament; wills; recusant rolls; deeds of title; glebe terriers; enclosure awards and acts; records of commissions and sewers; land tax assessments; parliamentary surveys; turnpike records; fire insurance policy registers; tithe apportionments and maps; chapter act books; port books; quarter session order books and local reports to the general board of health.

The guides provide an excellent and fascinating introduction to the different classes of records. Each guide provides an example of the record and a description of the document's format. This is followed by an explanation of where the researcher can find the records and how to use them for genealogical and historical research. Each guide concludes with a bibliography which is now dated, but still provides valid recommendations for further research.

This is an excellent, inexpensive book providing whole classes of documents that researchers here in the US rarely attempt to search. Some of these record groups are available here on microfilm for many counties. If you are stuck and want new ideas on where to look, or are planning research in a county or diocesan records office in England or Wales, I would highly recommend this book.

Note: You can join The Historical Association, at the above address, and receive a discount on all its publications. The membership year runs from October to September. For £23 receive quarterly copies of The Historian. For £39 receive The Historian and the journal History. For £57 receive The Historian, History and the Annual Bulletin of Historical Literature.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.4 no.1, 1997