Tracing Your Ancestors Using The UK Historical Timeline written by Angela Smith & Neil Bertram and published by Pen & Sword Books – £12.99 – Softcover – Pages 154

This handy book is a timeline guide to genealogical resources – what records are available and when they started – as well as an aide-memoire to significant historical events from 1066 to 2020; helping to put family ancestors into an historical context. Each page in this book has a main column with facts of genealogical relevance in the broadest sense; a side column makes mention of events of socio-cultural significance and events relating to the monarchy, the State and the Church. Entries cover historical and genealogical aspects of all four countries of the UK plus Ireland and the Channel Islands, as well as significant historical events in the wider world that had an impact here.

The timeline is especially strong on the contribution of migration, extreme weather, disasters, epidemics, wars, non-conformist religions, taxation, transport, the armed services, famine, empire, organised labour, social writers, mapmakers, political unrest and scientific advances. Genealogically, there is information on changes to BMD certificates and the associated register entries, as well as to censuses and the facts they collected, plus much more. There are also references to earlier records that generated name indexes such as muster rolls and poll taxes, how complete they are and where they can be found. By being reasonably balanced across the centuries, the authors have resisted the temptation to include excessive detail on recent history.

This book will help the family historian to construct a timeline for their ancestors, providing a fairly full set of historical events, developments and records likely to have had an impact on them, their family and community. It is a handy reference guide to a myriad of dates but is also a useful book to study when writing a family history as it offers plenty of contextual information. It should also prompt readers to search out new resources in tracing their ancestors.

What a fantastic little book that would be a great help to people looking at doing their family history. This book is essentially a timeline guide to genealogical family research, the book  records significant historical events in the UK from 1066 to 2020 together with major events taking place in the world that had a significant impact on this country. You also get information about the Monarchy, State and Church. This book has been written and published with your ‘everyday’ person in mind as it easily informs in plainer writing that benefits the ordinary person doing their own family research. This helps the researcher by allowing you to place your family information into the bigger picture and can be of great value to the researcher. While I think this may not be a key point in family research, I do think it can be an important one and can move you along in your research.