Monday, August 08, 2011

Tracing Family History Magazine

Tracing Family History Magazine by midgefrazel
Tracing Family History Magazine, a photo by midgefrazel on Flickr.

A few weeks ago, Megan Sagar, of Your Family History, (Warncliffe History Magazines) shot me an email across the pond asking if I would like to review the magazine pictured here, Tracing Family History. 

Before I replied, I went looking for the UK magazine I bought last summer at Barnes and Noble bookstore. I found it easily, with a page of notes inside (a bit sandy from the beach). I sat down and looked them over. My initial reaction was positive except for one thing. The price. It cost me $11.50. In fairness, the other "foreign magazines" cost that much and they didn't have a free software CD inside the shrinkwrap.

I replied to her that I would very much like to review a copy of the magazine. She immediately sent me, not ONE issue as I expected, but three issues!  I sent her an email to tell her they arrived and packed them in my beach bag. (She sent me Issue 2: June 2010, Issue 6: October 2010, and Issue 16: July 2011)

I only had time to read one of them while I was on vacation. The rest waited until this past week. I have highlighted all three and taken notes! Still, my favorite is the July 2011 issue because of the article about the Agricultural Labourers.  I have farming on my mind these days.

There is so much information in these magazine that I didn't know about researching in the UK. I became mesmerized by the ads and the table of contents. You wouldn't think a person like me, who had many,. many ancestors from England and Scotland would find so much to learn in each article? 

Each magazine places the Editor's Comments and the list of people to contact with email addresses on the first page of each issue. I really like that. This is followed by the Table of Contents. This makes it easy to locate articles which you have read and which ones are yet to be read. 

In Issue 2, I found drawn to the How To article on "Researching Shipwrecks" and the History Mysteries article on "Jack the Ripper".  To my delight, they both featured research techniques besides fascinating topics. What American is not fascinated by pirates, shipwrecks and murder?

In Issue 6, I immediately turned to the Feature Article on "Parish Registers" because this is likely where I will need to turn to understand my own English ancestors who came to America before 1650. I have used the same information given to search for my Scottish ancestors. It didn't hurt to have the gravestones on the cover. I adore gravestones. I read with interest in all the issues the few pages of questions and answers in "Ask the Experts". While reading the photograph expert questions and answers I was impressed with how much I have learned from my friend The Photo Detective.

In Issue 16: the photo of Judi Dench caught my eye because I enjoy her acting and the article made her even more fascinating. It was a must read. However, the How To on researching your the "Ag Lab" ancestors was one of the best articles I have read ever in any genealogy themed magazine. I am sure those ancestors of mine who farmed would never have thought I would find them special, would they? 

I am grateful to Megan for sending me these issues and for the great hours I spent reading them as I would recommend that all my genealogy and family historian friends buy and read them whether by subscription or at a bookseller. (Currency Converter)

By the way, I didn't mention the articles about software because as this is one of my specialties, readers of my blogs expect me to focus on that. I didn't, did I? I skipped them to read as a treat after writing this review.

But, I hope, in the future, to see an article about English churchyard cemeteries. 

No sooner than writing this review, I read a blog post about my ancestor Henry Cobb who came to America from Kent, England. I KNEW I had an ancestor from Kent. Now back to Issue 2: Spotlight on Kent for my afternoon reading.

What serendipity!

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