Your Family History: And How to Discover It

By C.M. Matthews

A detailed guide to the sources available for those who want to trace their family trees, with useful advice on how to conduct research and record results.

ISBN: 9780718825423


Fully revised, This is a practical and comprehensive guide to the sources and methods available for those who want to trace their family trees – both the searching out of the facts and the means of displaying them for the generations to come. Chapters include guidance on how to make use of national records, parish registers, wills, vestry books, churchwardens’ accounts, the records of the professions and of the services, old trade directories, and even the ancient manorial records through which one may – if lucky – glimpse the people of the great medieval hinterland which lies beyond the first Elizabethan registers.

The author provides advice on understanding the historical context of one’s family, as well as practical guidance on such matters as how to read old handwriting and how to make best use of libraries and repositories. In addition, the book includes illustrations such as sample family trees, coats of arms and photographs of historical records which are extremely useful in explaining the processes involved in tracing family histories. A bibliography and a sizeable list of addresses for further research complement this lucid and accessible book on one of the most fascinating and increasingly popular interests of today.

Additional information

Dimensions 234 × 156 mm
Pages 160
Illustrations b&w photos

Trade Information LGEN

About the Author

Constance Mary Matthews was born and educated in New Zealand where her father was the Dean of Christchurch Cathedral. Later, in England, she became interested in local history, and became adept at seeking out and reading early personal records of her neighbourhood.

She has for many years been an active member of the Society of Genealogists, and is well informed of recent developments in this field.


1. How to Begin
2. Keeping Your Records
3. National Records
4. Wills
5. Parish Registers
6. Other Parish Records
7. Drawing Up Family Trees
8. Help From Libraries
9. Occupations and Professions
10. Rank and Heraldry
11. The Remoter Past
12. Reading Old Documents
13. Surnames
14. Christian Names
15. General Strategy

A. Advice To Visitors From Overseas
B. Book List
C. The Will of Henry Hile, 1703
D. Address List
E. Index

Endorsements and Reviews

I cannot readily imagine a more helpful, knowledgeable, entertaining and intensely practical guide.
Birmingham Post

An enjoyable, wholly readable for even those never intending to lift a finger in such matters themselves. A very clear and comprehensive tutor for those who do.
English Country Magazine

The instructions are clear and meticulous; few people would go wrong if they followed the author though from page to page. … the whole work is suffused with an enthusiasm for its subject which is likely to infect the reader, whatever his interest in his own ancestors.
Country Life