Don't Overlook Books!
By that I don’t mean just the ‘How to Research your Family History in Outer Mongolia’ genre. They are, without doubt, very useful and have provided me with much essential information. However, I want to draw your attention to other, much less obvious, books where there are mines of information. Local histories and travelogues, books about sports teams and shipwrecks, particularly if they predate the internet, can contain the actual information you need and not just a reference to a website.
For over a year now I have been trawling through such books. The memoir that Sam McAughtry wrote his brother Mart who perished when the Kenbane Head was sunk, lists the entire crew by name, their role in the ship and where they came from. Many books about local sports teams contain not only the names of team members but photographs, as well. Local travelogues, harking back to the days of a ‘motoring’ trip, describe the road layout, pre motorways, and provide information about the land on either side of the road and the families who lived there. There are parish histories, more lists of names and photographs, this time of church organisations, clergy, church wardens and so forth. Local histories are absolute goldmines. My guess is that the authors realised that their readers wouldn’t be able to access the original records referred to in the books so added them on at the end as appendices.
I have started recording the appendices of one such book, Capt. Richard Linn’s ‘History of Banbridge’. There are lists of tenants on Solomon Whyte’s estate at Ballyvally in 1728 and again in 1771, and there’s a map. There is a list of residents in the Banbridge area who signed a petition in favour of Catholic emancipation in 1824 and a list of the Protestant housekeepers in 1740. There are 17 appendices in all to this book. The first is attached with the rest to follow.
I have found so much information that completes the stories of my family members. My best, although tragic, find so far is an eyewitness account of the bombing of my granny’s cousin’s house during the 1941 Blitz. It was written at the time by a local Air Raid Warden and his story was included in a booklet about the area which was published nearly forty years later. There is more detail included than could be found anywhere else.
A short word of caution, if you do find anything and wish to publish, and remember that could be in your family tree online, or share your find, do remember to comply with copyright regulations.
Evelyn - FM22