My Tangent – Tracing Family History – My Review and Thoughts

19 August 2011

Good Day,

Over a bowl of congee this morning, and thinking about all the outstanding emails that I must respond to, I figured that I had better respond to one specifically, if not in part. I was asked to review the August 2011 Issue of Tracing Family History magazine. The request came as result of a Tracing Family History staff member who just happened to chance upon my Blog, A Genealogy Hunt. Pretty slick! So’s the magazine.

You need to know something from the get-go. I am a subscriber, and have been for some time to Tracing Family History. I really do like Tracing Family History… I am an immigrant and a naturalized US citizen, but I was born a Brit, in a British colony, now independent country. When I did get hooked with this past-time, actual full-time, hobby of genealogy some seven years ago, I learned quickly that the American publications were good but did not fit that which I needed to help me to pursue my ancestral search from some major distance. I needed to learn how to investigate and research by British roots, especially my English and Scottish ones.

My ancestral trek did not start at Ellis Island nor did I have the wherewithal to claim some ancestral passenger on the Mayflower. I’m not saying that I do not have any Plymouth-landing forebears. I just know that entered the United States of America through Houlton, Maine some years ago, and set up house and shop in Tampa, Florida. I have the copies of my subscription of Tracing Family History mailed to my home in Tampa, Florida.

Each issue is jammed packed with articles, stories, regular contributions, and a wealth of knowledge that at most times may touch a specific area that may be relevant to any of my searches, especially in and of the United Kingdom. The August issue certainly provides a compendium of articles and stories. Below the portrait of Daniel Radcliffe on the front cover, certainly apropos for the release of the latest and last Harry Potter film, and byline title “Harry Potter’s Diamond Roots: get inspired!” my eyes catch a new “How To” headline “How To – Scottish Records Civil Registration and Censuses.

The catch of the white on red “How To…” on the front cover is a wee bit misleading when I open to the Contents page. The two “How To’s…” on the Contents page are “Housing The Working Classes” and “You Are Legend: Ancestors Who Fought In The Spanish Civil War”. The Scottish “Civil Registration And Censuses” article, the first part of a series by Chris Paton, is actually listed under the “Beginner’s Guide” for page 14. The Daniel Ratcliffe article is listed as a “Cover Story” and is about “the South African diamond mining industry in the roots of Harry Potter star…

I immediately go to page 14; Civil Registration and Censuses by Chris Paton. A first in a new series, great... but I’m not sure a series of what, and I am predisposed to believe that it is of, in a broad sense of Scottish genealogy research. And let me assure you, this is exactly what I need.

Immediately and into the first few paragraphs I have learned that at a point in time “it was, for example, actually enough for two people to simply declare themselves as marrying in front of witnesses without a minister present.” And of course this throws some sort of monkey wrench into my research, assuming that there is no related documentation. Ah well… lesson learned.

Chris Paton’s article is a good and concise first part. I am definitely looking forward to his next installments in future issues of Tracing Family History.

Stay tuned for more thoughts and my own comments. I am always still learning.




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