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Pocketmags Digital Magazines
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Pocketmags Digital Magazines

Local history for family historians

Exploring the local history of the area where your ancestors lived will help you grow and enrich your family history research. Delve into the past with Karen Clare and watch your family’s past spring into life…
Explore the history of the place your ancestors called home to breathe new life into their stories

Few of our ancestors existed in isolation unless they were stranded on a desert island which, for most of us, is pretty unlikely. John Donne realised this in his poem and, nearly a century later, Daniel Defoe decided Robinson Crusoe shouldn’t suffer his shipwrecked years in solitude but created a companion, Friday. It’s thanks to Friday that aspects of the character’s personality that we might otherwise never have known are brought to the fore, making him more authentic.

Crusoe and Friday may be extreme (not to say fictional) examples, but their lives were shaped by one another as well as their environment. And so it was with all our ancestors, whether their home was a blue-skied remote island or smog-ridden industrial city.

Seasoned family historians well know that building a family tree is much more than merely a collection of names. We want to get to know our ancestors, learn how they lived, where they were born, married and brought up their families, their schools, churches, court hearings, pubs frequented, occupations, and how and where they died. Exploring local history is the next step to colouring in the grey areas of their lives. And if you’re serious about pursuing local history research, you’re in luck as it requires many of the same detective skills you have already honed on your genealogy journey.

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About Family Tree

It’s time to dig for victory, see what clues your delving can unearth! Turn the clock back to 1939 with our special issue and discover your family’s story. This month we’re commemorating the 80th anniversary of the start of World War 2, and are researching and celebrating our ancestors’ lives from the time. To help you trace your family tree we’ve got: a packed guide to the essential family history records all you need to know about researching family in Second World War and first half of the 20th century and a bumper crop of tips to help you create your own family history home archive – filled with carefully stored photos, stories, notes and treasures. Beginner or expert, there’s plenty to discover and do as your learn more about your family’s story. Enjoy!