Below is a list of resources that I thought may be helpful or interesting. They include both free online resources - published by government, local government and indeed charities - and commercial web sites (because let’s face it, you can’t do family history research without some cost!). There is also a short list of useful books. Book Reviews can be found at the bottom of the page.
The lists are not restricted to family history resources alone, but include background interest about places and occupations of the past, as I am fascinated by what life may have been like for our Catchlove ancestors. This also tends to slow down my research, as I veer off at tangents reading about workhouses and asylums, for example!
Eve McLaughlin (Author). First Steps in Family History. Countryside Books.
Mark D. Herber (Author). Trails: The Complete Guide to British Genealogy and Family History. The History Press.
Nick Barrett (Author). "Who Do You Think You Are?" Encyclopedia of Genealogy: The Definitive Reference Guide to Tracing Your Family History. Harper.
Susan Lumas (Author). Making Use of the Census. (Public Record Office Readers Guide)
Eve McLaughlin (Author). Parish Registers: A McLaughlin Guide.
Eve McLaughlin (Editor). Somerset House Wills from 1858 (Guides for Family Historians): A McLaughlin Guide.
Ancestry.co.uk, The Generations Network (Author). The Catchlove Name in History.
Ancestry produce surname study books based on the information in their records, which are printed to order and available exclusively from Amazon – The Catchlove Name in History does not refer to individuals but looks at distributions and trends, useful for making sure you are looking in the right places!
John Montgomery (Author). West Sussex. (History, People & Places Series)
Kim C. Leslie (Author). A Sense of Place: West Sussex Parish Maps. West Sussex County Council.
A trifle expensive, but a beautiful and informative book with hand-drawn maps, illustrations and photographs that really does convey a sense of place.
Linda Newell (Author). Images of England: Emsworth. Tempus.
Peter Brandon (Author). The Shaping of the Sussex Landscape. (A Sussex Guide). Snake River Press Ltd.
A tiny gem of a volume that succinctly outlines the development of Sussex from prehistoric times to the present.
Roy Porter (Author). Madmen. A social history of mad-houses, mad -doctors and lunatics. Tempus.
An excellent and very readable overview of the history of psychiatric treatment and conditions within the early asylum.
Simon Fowler (Author). Workhouse: The People, the Places, the Life Behind Doors. Illustrated Edition. The National Archives.
Michelle Higgs (Author). Life in the Victorian and Edwardian Workhouse. The History Press Ltd
Babette Smith (Author). Australia’s Birthstain: The startling legacy of the convict era. Allen & Unwin.
Robert Coup (Author) & Sophie Church (Editor). Australia’s Convict Past. New Holland Publishers.
I have not yet seen either of the books about workhouses or those about the transportation of convicts, so cannot comment on them at this stage.
The books listed below are all currently available on Amazon.co.uk.
If you are down this way, you can often find some good second-hand books about old Sussex in Kim’s Bookshop in Chichester.
Electric Edwardians: The Films Of Mitchell And Kenyon
- 85 minutes of original footage arranged in themes: Youth & Education, the Anglo-Boer War, Workers, High Days & Holidays
(including Manchester United’s very first football match under that name) and People & Places.
- 43 minutes of extra material, including a feature on the restoration work.
- Includes an illustrated booklet.
I really enjoyed this dvd and thought it well worth the £6.99 I paid for it. It was funny and touching and sad, to think that all the people in it are now dead, even the children. There isn’t a lot of hard information in it, but it brings the past and the people to life in a way that historical records never can.
Two other titles are available (which I have not yet seen):
The Lost World Of Mitchell And Kenyon: Complete BBC Series 
Mitchell And Kenyon In Ireland
Sources for Genealogical Research
FreeBMD - free online search of UK Births Marriages & Deaths Index
http://www.freebmd.org.uk/ Official registration of births, marriages and deaths began in 1837; records are available from September 1837 onward. Prior to this, it is necessary to sear parish records for baptisms, banns, marriage and burials. Note that baptisms could sometimes be delayed for a few
Vicar-General Marriage Licence Index - for those married by Licence rather than Banns
Central Database for UK Burials & Cremations - pay-per-view
Freereg - free online search of parish records for UK
http://www.freereg.org.uk Please note that as this service is reliant on donated material and volunteers to transcribe the data it still has large gaps.
online search of non-conformist records - pay-per-view
http://www.bmdregisters.co.uk/ Non-conformists were those members of the community who did not belong to the Church of England and therefore would not appear in the parish records; registers would be kept by their own places of worship.
online marriage index for marriages recorded in UK parish registers before 1837
Freecen - free online search of UK census
Sussex County Record Office
Sussex On-line Parish Clerks
Hampshire County Record Office
Hampshire On-line Parish Clerks
British Army & Royal Navy Lists
Index of Place Names for Registration Districts in England & Wales
International Genealogical Index - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - free searchable index
Historic newspapers (UK) - pay-per-view
transportation of convicts to Australia
emigration worldwide from UK, 1890 - 1960
South Australian passenger lists, 1836-1851
Bound for South Australia by Diane Cummings
Historic newspapers (Australia) - free
Immigration into Australia: Online Indexes and Passenger Lists
a resource bank for immigration to Australia by Cora Num
Australian shipping 1788-1968
World Burial Index - £10 per annum
for old photographs and maps:
transportation to Australia and conditions of convict life:
Royal Victoria Military Hospital:
Sussex County Lunatic Asylum:
cottage life and agriculture in Sussex:
South Downs National Park:
social & economic changes:
Shipbuilding at Buckler’s Hard:
History of Australia (1788- 1850):
Historical Maps & Directories:
Help Starting Your Family Tree
My Heritage - family tree tools and search facilities – free of charge
Ancestry - family tree tools and search facilities – fee payable
Findmypast - family tree tools and search facilities – fee payable
Genes Reunited - family tree tools and search facilities – fee payable
general information on places, parishes, records etc.
Family History UK - family tree tools and search facilities – free of charge
The Genealogist - family tree tools and search facilities – fee payable
Ancestor Search - free advice and guidance on tracing English & Welsh ancestors
Dynastree - family tree tools and search facilities – free of charge
The Guild of One-Name Studies
Lost Cousins puts you in touch with long-lost (or previously unknown) relatives through matching your ancestors in the census entries from Britain & Ireland, the USA and Canada.
Ancestral Atlas is an online mapping service that allows you to plot your ancestors on a map of the world at different points in their life - useful for tracing migrations! The basic service is free or you can subscribe to access additional layers of historical maps of England, Wales & Ireland.
Jennifer Newby (2011) Women’s Lives: Researching Women’s Social History 1800-1939 Barnsley: Pen & Sword Family History. ISBN 978 1 84884 368 4
This is a book that I keep dipping into and coming back to as it produces little nuggets of knowledge, some of which are quite surprising: “In the late Victorian era more women were elected to local government positions than today.” Covering the lives of working class women, middle class women and gentry, Jennifer Newby introduces us to the surprisingly wide range of resources for researching the lives of women in 19th century and early 20th century Britain. She draws on women’s memoirs, newspaper reports, women’s reform groups and even parliamentary reports to explore women’s lives in factories and mills, in service and working on the land and in the home. She looks at living conditions, health, education, employment, suffrage and convicts. Each section is supplemented by a list of resources useful to the family historian or those simply interested in social history. The narrative style is easy to read, supported by numerous quotations and illustrated with black and white photographs and illustrations from newspapers and magazines. This book is a gold mine of information and a fascinating read. Highly recommended.
Sue B, 16 June 2012
The Catchlove Name in History Presented by Ancestry.co.uk as part of the Generations Network Inc. Offered by Amazon.co.uk.
This book is unique in that it is produced by Ancestry and can only be bought from Amazon. It uses the records available on Ancestry to create a book of facts concerning Catchlove families in the British Isles, which follows a standard format that can be used for any family name. It uses census data to produce a number of distribution maps that are useful for getting an overview of the spread of Catchloves as well as the range of occupations in which they worked. As such, the book is based on statistics and no individuals are mentioned by name, but it is useful for seeing broad changes over time. Each section is accompanied by a short article which helps to see the information in the social context of the time, such as working conditions or the onset of war. There are sections on migration, death, illegitimacy, life expectancy and war medals.
However, there are a number of disappointments. The section on Name Origin appears to have been included only because it is part of the standard format and includes no information about the Catchlove name, only a general short article about the development of surnames. The section about Migration is substantial relative to other parts of the book, but excludes many Catchlove records we know of. For example, it states that only one Catchlove convict was transported, when there are two that we know of; this is not actually a mistake when one reads the text and sees that it refers only to a specific time frame - why did they not expand the time frame to include them all? Similarly, the list of ships is limited to “the most common ships with Catchlove emigrants” (i.e. those with the most Catchlove passengers), thus omitting those Catchloves who migrated in the first wave of colonists to Australia and founded a dynasty.
I would suggest that these shortcomings are due to using a standard production method for all surname books, which limits the records searched to a manageable number which can be automated. The final third of the book is dedicated to general advice on family history research with photocopiable record sheets and a glossary, which would be useful for beginners but is covered in many other family history publications and online; the space could have been better used to focus on the records of Catchloves which are, after all, the subject of the book. Given the cost of the book, I would say we are being short-changed and while it is of general interest to those who want to know about the spread of Catchloves and the times they lived in, it carries the danger of trapping one into thinking that these are the only records of Catchloves that are available.
Sue B, Sept 2012
Jonathan Brown (2011). Tracing Your Rural Ancestors: A Guide for Family Historians. Barnsley: Pen & Sword Family History. ISBN 18484227-9
Tracing Your Rural Ancestors is a valuable guide both to understanding the background to rural life in previous centuries and to the many sources available for researching those of our ancestors who worked on the land.
The book covers a wide range of occupations other than the obvious agricultural ones, including market gardeners, village craftsmen and tradesmen, teachers, clergy and gentry, as well as the migrant poor. Brown states up front that the chances of finding an ancestor by name in the many records is small. But any good family historian will want more than a list of names and dates, and will want to expand their family history by understanding the background to their ancestors’ lives. Tracing Your Rural Ancestors gives us a head start with that.
Brown explains the economics of farming in an easily accessible way and shows how the agricultural labourer fitted into rural society alongside all the other rural occupations. He discusses the roles of small holders and tenant farmers as well as the great landed estates. After reading this, when we next find an Ag Lab in the census, we’ll no longer dismiss it as guy with a hay fork, but have a little more understanding of the conditions in which they may have lived and how these changed over time due to a range of outside influences.
Brown lists a wealth of records and resources which could help family historians to flesh out their family histories, but it his powers of description that make this book such a delight.
Sue B, March 2013
Jenny Hartley (2009). Charles Dickens and the House of Fallen Women. Methuen ISBN-10: 0413776441 ISBN-13: 978-0413776440
Professor Jenny Hartley's book Charles Dickens and the House of Fallen Women, published by Methuen, tells the intriguing story of Urania Cottage, Shepherds Bush, West London from 1847 to 1862. Urania Cottage was the result of an idealistic collaboration between Charles Dickens and Angela Burdett Coutts, a wealthy philanthropic heiress of the banking family. Dickens idea was to give these 'fallen women' an environment where domestic skills could be learnt, in preparation for the opportunity of a better life in the colonies. A number of women who were able to re-invent themselves there were destined for the shores of Australia, in particular the young city of Adelaide. Dickens kept extensive records on Urania Cottage's inmates and many of the female characters in his novels draw heavily on his observations of them whilst at Urania.
Jenni Sundheim, April 2013