My first session at the Fairfax Genealogical Society's annual conference today was given by Audrey Collins of The National Archives (UK) titled "Researching England from the US". Among her suggestions was a fascinating website:
British History Online http://british-history.ac.uk/
Audrey brought this to our attention as a resource for volumes of county histories and indeed, I did find these of particular interest for personal research:
- A History of the County of Berkshire: Volume 3 (1923)
- Victoria County History: Middlesex The local history of the county, organised by parish. 12 volumes.
- Victoria County History: Staffordshire The local history of the historic county, organised by parish. 7 volumes.
"Don't just look for the name, look for the place."From a description of Bisham, Berks we read:
"The River Thames divides the counties of Berkshire and Buckinghamshire and forms the northern boundary of Bisham. The land near the river is from 90 ft. to 100 ft. above the ordnance datum. It rises abruptly to the south-east, where the average level is 300 ft. The district is richly wooded, the principal plantations being known as the Quarry Wood, Bradnam, Goulding's Wood, Fultnes Wood, Carpenter's Wood, Inkydown Wood, High Wood, Park Wood and Dungrovehill Wood. There are a few chalk and clay-pits in the parish."
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There are distinctions, but do sign up for the free version at the very least. Then you have authority to save search results to your personal "bookshelf" at the website, noted in the bottom right portion of the catalog description, shown below. Note that this catalog entry appear above each page as one views the county history, in this case A History of the County of Berkshire: Volume 3.
Note the ability to "edit" your keywords and notes for each item saved to your "bookshelf" at this website. This would be a great place to leave yourself reminders about what else to do with a particular item. For instance, you may elect to note the last page read of a county history, so the next time you visit the website, you can easily start up right where you left off.
Also sign up for the any of several blogs -- basically designed to tell you more about what's new on the website.
British History Online deserves more detailed review, so for those DearREADERS with British roots -- get cracking, and let me know what you find that helps you fathom the life and times of your ancestors.
Happy family tree climbing!
Your friend in genealogy.