"Highly Recommended", My History (www.my-history.co.uk), 2007, 2008 and 2009.
Collins’ Need to Know series comprises short versions of its larger, successful reference works. Simply producing a shortened version of my Tracing Your Family History, however, seemed like a missed opportunity.
Instead, I siezed the chance to explore two ideas I have had for a long time. First, there was no guide on the market aimed at tracing a family line back as far as possible, as quickly as possible.
Secondly, as the resident genealogist for Genes Reunited, I receive many messages from people all over the world, asking for help because they are stuck. Some problems are due to genuinely tricky bits of research, or lack of records in a particular area. But many people now are getting stuck because access to records is so easy: within hours of switching on their computers, people can be flooded with information, data, names, details – some from sources that may or may not be reliable, and some from original data whose origin and purpose they simply don’t understand.
This book does not, therefore, assume that you will have any grounding in the subject at all. You’re not going to spend weeks reading up on all the background to the records, or following the traditional steps over a period of months. You’re sitting in front of the computer, eager to make progress, yet you’re completely confused as to how to proceed. This is the book for you.
Equally, you are keen to delve back into the past, as far as you can go. Although family history can keep you absorbed for years as you investigate more and more about your past, it’s also fun to see how far back you can go. By connecting back through ‘gateway ancestors’ to royal lineages – which isn't always as difficult as you may think – you may be able to trace at least one line of your ancestry back several thousands of years. By combining traditional genealogical research with the cutting-edge science of DNA testing, you can find out about where some of your forebears were tens of thousands of years ago.
The book is as up to date as it can be on Internet developments, though it was printed just before the announcement that the 1911 census has been made available for public searching. For more information on this unexpected and wonderful new development, see www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/1911census.