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Books for Beginners

The Society’s Family History Centre in Yeovil is still closed to members and other visitors, but we are very pleased to have reopened our bookshop for online sales and orders by post, only – please do not come to the Centre to buy books.


Whilst many of these publications date from around the year 2000, and therefore don’t take account fully of what is today available on the internet, they do still provide valuable guidance for beginners to family history research.

The prices of all the Basic Facts series books have been reduced.

Basic Facts about Using Marriage Records for Family Historians

(Pauline M Litton with Colin R Chapman)  This guide outlines the various types of marriage record which the family historian is likely to encounter during research and in which type of record repository they can be found. Some of the…..


Basic Facts about Research in London

(Lilian Gibbens)  The large area that most family historians now consider to be London covers parts of the old counties of Essex, Kent, Surrey, Hertfordshire and Middlesex.  However, the reader should bear in mind that until the early part of…..


Basic Facts about Family History Research in Lancashire

(Rita Hirst)  An explanation of where records are likely to be deposited.  Family History research within the county can be complicated as more than one repository may be involved in research into the records of a single parish. Consideration is…..


Basic Facts about Using Record Offices for Family Historians

(Tom Wood)  This updated edition of the booklet about using record offices includes sections on preparations beforehand, reserving a research place, dos and don?ts, rules and regulations, using your time efficiently, getting help, making notes, and alternatives to County Record…..


Basic Facts about Using Merchant Ship Records for Family Historians

(Peter L Hogg)  Records of merchant ships are very detailed and there are fairly comprehensive listings of ships from the middle of the 18th century, particularly of British ships.  The records are all accessible to the public, but the main…..


Basic Facts about Methodist Records for Family Historians

(Richard Ratcliffe)  This booklet explains the various branches of Methodism and when they broke away from the early Methodists, and then reunified to form the modern Methodist church. The records that were kept are detailed and the repositories detailed. A…..


Basic Facts about Sources for Family History in the Home

(Iain Swinnerton)  Many families possess documents or artefacts which can help to put together names, dates and places for our ancestors. A surprising number of everyday objects around the house can give us vital information about our ancestors, and the…..


Basic Facts About Archives

(Susan B Lumas)  Before coming into Family History, you may have only a very hazy idea of what archives are all about, and perhaps regard them as a useless pile of old parchment. When you need them, however, your attitude…..


Basic Facts About Descendant Tracing

(Tom Wood)  Most of us are familiar with our living first cousins, and some of us may know our second cousins.  But by the time we get back to more distant cousin ancestors – tracing their living descendants through ten…..


Basic Facts about English Nonconformity for Family Historians

(Michael Gandy)  An introduction to nonconformity with a guide to the records available for the various denominations. Includes a bibliography for further reading. 16 pages.  Soft covers.  Reduced price.


Basic Facts About Using Wills after 1858 and First Avenue House

(Audrey Collins)  This useful booklet explains the uses of wills and administration to family historians, and gives information on District Probate Registries, indexes held elsewhere, and ordering copies by post. There is also a section on the new search room…..


Basic Facts about the Wesleyan Methodist Historic Roll

(Richard Ratcliffe)  The Wesleyan Methodist Historic Roll is a unique set of fifty large leather-bound volumes, which are located at Methodist Central Hall in Westminster. This contains the names of over one million people who donated a guinea to the…..


Basic Facts about Heraldry for Family Historians

(Iain Swinnerton)  Heraldry can be very useful to the family historian as it can show marriage alliances, descents and occupations; it has rightly been called the shorthand of history. The booklet sets out to explain the basic principles of heraldry…..


Basic Approach to Illuminating your Family History with Picture Postcards

(Philip J Chapman)  Apart from the few old photographs you may have already, it is difficult to describe adequately the way of life, the occupations, street scenes or churches of yesteryear. Picture postcards are one of the best source materials…..