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My Ancestors Were Londoners: How Can I Find Out More About Them? by Cliff Webb. Published by Society Of Genealogists, 14 Charterhouse Buildings, Goswell Road, London EC1M 7BA. 1996. 61 pp. Maps. Softcover. £3.55.

If you are stuck in London and want to know where to start, this book if for you. One sixth of the population of England and Wales live in the London area, and a high proportion of the population have always lived in London. If you do much research in England or Wales, sooner or later you will find ancestors or their siblings going to London to live or work.

The book begins by clearly stating what is meant by London, and in this case the research covers the area covered by the city of London and the metropolitan boroughs. A listing is given of all the boroughs and the ancient parishes which they contain.

The records most appropriate for research in the city are discussed, along with their relevant indices and limitations. These records include: civil registration; census; parish and non-parochial registers and records; directories, lists of tax-payers, voters and other name-lists; poor law records; wills and administrations; apprenticeship, livery company and occupational records; newspapers; manorial and other records of land ownership; criminal and civil legal records; and, depositions.

The appendices include: listings of London record repositories; parishes of Greater London; plus a directory of the suburbs and the smaller areas of London. The book concludes with maps of the City of London and the Metropolitan Boroughs 1900-1965 and then since 1965.

The book is not designed to give you all the answers for doing London research, but rather is designed to point you in the right direction. To that end it certainly does an excellent job.

The one detracting feature of the book is the table in appendix 2. This is a table of 8 columns showing the name of the parish, county, hundred, registration district, metropolitan borough, London borough, probate district and family history society for that parish. The problem is that the last four columns are on the reverse of the page rather than on the facing page, making it difficult to know which parish is being referred to for the last four columns.

This book contains information and pointers for both the novice and the experienced researcher. I highly recommended this book if you are researching London ancestors.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.4 no.3, 1997