Essential Reading

'I have been a family historian for more than 40 years, and a professional historian for over 30, but as I read it, I was constantly encountering new ways of looking at my family history....Essential reading I would say!' Alan Crosby, WDYTYA Magazine

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

 ‘Just when you think there are no new ways into exploring family history, someone offers a new perspective. Stepping back from the records we use to piece together the jigsaw of the family tree, Ruth A. Symes looks instead at the wider context of our ancestors’ lives, but also the little details that make people individuals. The refreshing result is a book with chapters on topics such as teeth, beards and tattoos. Why did your greatgrandfather wear a beard in old photos but his sons were cleanshaven? Why didn’t people ever seem to smile for the camera? These little nuances are explored by looking at social changes, and how they are reflected in documents, heirlooms and family albums. Other chapters in this entertaining  and erudite book look at simple details, - buttons, cufflinks, perfume (and even keeping pets) – which can provide remarkable insights into our forebears. Read it for: A unique guide to the details that can bring our ancestors to life.' Andrew Chapman in Your Family Tree, February 2014.
My new book, It Runs in the Family: Understanding More About Your Ancestors (The History Press, 2013) is available through all good bookshops, directly from The History Press (www.thehistory or direct sales:01235465500) and at Amazon both as a paperback and as a Kindle download. (Click on )