The Street-wise Guide to Doing Your Family History
by Lady Teviot
Over 50 years being a family historian and professional genealogist is explored in what is a very readable and highly informative book, published as one of a series of Street-wise guides by EER.
The adjective ‘Streetwise’ according to one online dictionary means: ‘….having the shrewd awareness, experience, and resourcefulness needed for survival in a difficult, often dangerous urban environment….’ This book certainly lives up the first part of the definition- how to deal shrewdly and resourcefully with the problems encountered when carrying out family history research.
Lady Teviot is well known from her association with the FFHS – former President and now life Vice-President- and her lectures especially overseas. This book distils the wisdom and information contained in those talks.
The format is interesting. Part is in effect an autobiography, referring to her experiences and those of her husband, Lord Teviot, in their family history researches. Part is an explanation of sources, which are regularly used by family history researchers: parish registers, censuses, the parish chest. However, the bulk of the book concentrates on sources and facts which will be unknown to most of its readers. The Chapters on Underused Sources of Genealogical Research, as well as those on Medicines and Illnesses, Baby Farming, Workhouses, Lunatic Asylums and Hospitals are quite a revelation.
In the chapter entitled ‘Sight Unseen’ the author gives a very good appraisal and overview of how Websites can assist the researcher, who uses the internet and a selection of Key Websites concludes the book. Almost worth buying for these chapters alone.
The book will appeal to researchers at all levels: everyone who reads it will learn something new and it will assist them to carry out their hobby in new directions. A first class read!
Reviewed by David Lambert, June 2018