Instant Information on the Internet! A Genealogist’s No-Frills Guide to The British Isles by Christina K. Schaefer. Published by Genealogical Publishing Company, 1001 North Calvert Street, Baltimore, MD 21202. 1999. 117 pp. Index. Softcover. $9.95 plus $3.50 p&h.

This book begins with a good introduction to the history and development of counties and local government. This is important as it helps to understand where the records of our ancestors may be physically located now, given many have moved in the last few years as jurisdictions changed.

The book is organized by country and thereafter by county. Under each county there are five categories:

  1. Record office or facility that hold official records such as local authority archives, larger public archives, plus parish and non-conformist archives
  2. Libraries, museums, societies and other resources
  3. Information sites listing how-to information, local history sources, etc.
  4. Selected documents and indexes
  5. Lists and links to other sites and lists of addresses

The England section has to be read for it is here that UK-wide resources are included without being repeated under Wales, Scotland, Ireland, or the islands. This fact is only stated at the beginning of the England section as is not repeated under the country sections. This important information is not repeated, yet the web site and long descriptive paragraph for the Highland Council Highland Archives Service is repeated five times. Most entries consist of the name of the facility and the web page address, some might have a sentence or two of description added. Sites which provide links to other sites are marked with an *.

There are other inconsistencies about what is included. For example, why was the Regimental Museum for the Queen’s Own Highlanders (p.71) singled out for inclusion when many regimental museums have a web presence. There is an index to place names, but a topical listing would have also been helpful.

This is an inexpensive tool to get you started and focused in your web search for information about a particular location or topic. However, you will also need to do online searches for the web is constantly changing and being added to.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.6 no.3, 1999