Ancestral Trails: The Complete Guide to British Genealogy and Family History

According to initial reviews, the newly updated book by Mark Herber, “Ancestral Trails: The Complete Guide to British Genealogy and Family History”, is bigger and better with the new and expanded edition. And it is also available in paperback.

“Ancestral Trails: The Complete Guide to British Genealogy and Family History” has also received The Library Association’s McColvin Medal for “an outstanding reference work” and is considered by many to be the “most comprehensive and up-to-date tool for ancestral research in the United Kingdom.”

With a huge number of English descendants in the United States, this is an invaluable reference for tracing your English family roots. There are historical records tracing more than 90 examples of British-American family record groups.

The book includes advice and guides for researching the often overwhelming British archives, and digging into various records such as personal recollections, photographs and other memorabilia to civil, legal and religious records, newspapers and directories. The book helps the beginner genealogist as well as is invaluable to the more advanced researcher.

Research guides are not exclusive to England, but cover the whole United Kingdom including Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Isle of Man, and the Channel Islands. A CD is also included as well as more helpful Internet information and resources.

We’re still digging into our British family connections and this book might help us cross the sea more informed and prepared for our trip to England, searching for more of our family’s ancestors.

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Lorelle VanFossen hosts Family History Blog covering her ancestors and related family members. She is one of the top bloggers in the world, and host of the Lorelle on WordPress, providing WordPress and blogging tips for bloggers of all levels. A popular keynote speaker and trainer, she is also editor, producer, contributor, and official disruptive thinker for Bitwire Media which includes WordCast, Making My Life Network, Stories of Our Journeys, Life on the Road, WordCast Conversations, and the very popular WordCast Podcast.
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4 Responses to Ancestral Trails: The Complete Guide to British Genealogy and Family History

  1. Ed Swales says:

    Hi, trying in vain to source the origin of family name Swales. Family tells that it is Norse or Scandanavian in origin, possibly from Rogaland, pronounced Svele or Svala and meant Swallow as in bird.Resulting in place names on East coast of England such as Swaledale and River Swale in Yorkshire, The Swale and Swalecliff on the Thames Estauary and possibly Swalwell on River Tyne at Newcastle. The name is very local to Yorkshire and doesn’t really occur anywhere else in concentration although I see from web there are lots who went to America. I bumped into a Swales in Australia, brandishing family trees. I live on the Northumbrian Coast of England, near Lindisfarne, where Norse raiders overran the monastery there in the 800s I believe. Trying to contact any Swales’ I can find from around the world as am going to get a Longship sorted out and sail from Norway or Denmark to Lindisfarne. Ancestor was Sir John Swales, beheaded by Cromwell during Civil War, for supporting the Royalist cause, (didn’t do him much good!) and family crest is the White Greyhound of Richmond(on River Swale in Yorkshire) Any help or volunteer oarsmen (or women) much appreciated, thanks Ed

  2. Have you tried contacting the various email mailing lists for brickwalls, Norway, Denmark, or even Yorkshire? I recommend that you start with Cindi’s List, the most incredible listing of genealogy resources in the world, searching for the names and then the locations. There are bound to be links that will help you there. I’ve found incredible help there.

    The mailing lists are excellent ways to ask specific questions about your family. Just pick the lists that are most likely to bring you success.

    I’ve a few resource sites that have helped me listed in my Genealogy Research Resources links list.

    Good luck and let me know if you find success.

  3. Stephen Swailes says:

    Ed, my own enquiries into the origin of the surname lead me to believe that the name was taken by people living at or near Swaledale in Yorks. Early tax records show several people as ‘de Swaldale’ ,ie, of Swaledale, and the name later occurs as Swale or Swales.

    There is also a large Bedfordshire contingent of Swales folk but they may be descended originally from Yorkshire.


  4. Anne Riach says:

    Try tracking down the movements of the family of Jon Svaleson Smor (with line through the “o”, Norwegian style) who lived around 1420-1483. (His father was Svale Jonson Smor) He and his wife Gudrun Olavsdatter may have had children, though these are not on official records. He drowned at Jersoy near Tonsberg. There were Sawles (“of Swale”) in Shetland around that time as the family had land there and in Faroes as well as Norway. Of course, the name pre-dates this particular Norwegian branch, and in England may be a relic of the 10th century invasions.

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