Recommended reading

1 Amazon
On this site you will find many specialist as well as general books on genealogy, history - local and social - and archaeology. Just click the link. Alternatively, use the links below to go directly to the specific book.

2 The Phillimore Atlas and Index of Parish Registers
Take a closer lookThe genealogist’s Bible. This publication not only gives you maps of each county and its parishes, but also lists dates of registers and by whom they are held.

3 Swing Unmasked - The agricultural riots of 1830 to 1832 and their wider implications
Take a closer lookedited by Michael Holland
ISBN: 0954818008
Publisher: FACHRS Publications
Price: £16.50 + p&p of £3.50 UK, £4.50 overseas surface; £8.50 overseas airmail
Available from: FACHRS Publications, Pilcot House, Pilcot, Dogmersfield, Hook, Hants RG27 8SY, or via their online shop at:

Also available: Complementary CD of data £10 + p&p of £1.50 UK, £2.50 overseas surface; £3.50 overseas airmail (non-EU), £4.76 airmail Australia, New Zealand, USA. Please send orders to The Archive in Aspley Guise (address above), or via the Society's online shop at

This first publication of the Family & Community Historical Research Society's publishing arm, FACHRS Publications, launched on 21 May 2005 by Emeritus Professor Michael Drake of the Open University, comprises a collection of eleven essays based on the Society's recent national research project into the Swing Riots and refer to incidents in Surrey, Shropshire, Essex, Derbyshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Norfolk, as well as essays of a more general nature, a consolidated bibliography, two appendices detailing alphabetically the victims and protesters with their parishes and offences, a surnames index and a subject index.

A CD-ROM containing databases of law breakers and protesters from the Swing protest era contain 3,521 names of offenders and victims and 3,318 recorded events that complements the book is also available.

4 Archaeology: an Introduction
Take a closer lookAuthor: Kevin Greene Price: £19.99 Paperback ISBN: 0415233550 The archaeology lovers' bible.

5 The Parish Chest: A Study of the Records of Parochial Administration in England
Take a closer lookAn extremely informative book, detailing the role of the English parish over the centuries.

6 Genealogical Research Directory: National and International
A comprehensive list of researchers and their interests worldwide, with added sections on one-name studies, list of genealogical societies, archives, record offices, etc., published annually. Available in Australia, Britain, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Ireland, Netherlands, Belgium, New Zealand, Scandinavia, South and Central Africa and the USA.

Please contact abpublishing stating your country of residence for relevant address. This Directory is also available on CD-ROM.

These directories are no longer being produced due to the authors retiring, but the information is contained on CD.

7 The Well-ordered Town - A Story of Saffron Walden, Essex 1792 - 1862
Take a closer lookThis book is relevant to all those studying 19th century towns. It portrays the social history of a market town in East Anglia during the first half of the century, with the emphasis on the lives of the poor. There are explorations of town politics, old and new poor laws, crime, philanthropy, education, religion and other topics, with widespread use of primary sources. As a case study of a typical market town, in its rural context, it should interest not only those in the locality, but also family historians with connections to the area, academic students needing referenced material on Essex and all those fascinated by the dynamics of relationships between rich and poor. Most of the surrounding villages are also mentioned extensively, and it is generally an exploration of the problems of the poor in north-west Essex during the first half of the 19th century.

Attractively produced, with 288 pages, including 40 illustrations and pull-out reproductions of antiquarian maps, it is good value at just £10 (+pp £2 UK) from the author, Mrs J. Cooper. Enquiries: e-mail: Overseas airmail postage rates to Canada, USA, Australia, New Zealand £7.00 (=total cost £17.00).
It is on sale from Harts'' Bookshop, Saffron Walden Museum or Tourist Information, and from bookshops through the ISBN number, ISBN 1 873669 06 2.

Special Offer - now £10 incl p&p (overseas £15 incl p&p)

8 A Dictionary of English Surnames
Take a closer lookThis dictionary of English surnames provides a guide to the origins of English surnames and how they developed over the centuries. A comprehensive survey of this popular subject, it provides advice on 16,000 surnames, giving full sources and dates. Different forms of names are also cross-referenced for ease of use. A historical and linguistic introduction to the subject is included, along with an appendix on how to trace the origin of a family name.

9 Discover Walden: Saffron Walden Countryside History and Wildlife Walks
Take a closer lookBy Jacqueline Cooper (also author of ''The well ordered town: a story of
Saffron Walden 1792-1862'')

This is a pocket-sized guide to the country walks around the fine medieval
market town of Saffron Walden, north-west Essex. Whereas other walking
guides tend to give just route directions and little information, this book
is packed with fascinating historical detail and wildlife notes about the
places passed en route. It includes clear maps, local photographs and
charcoal illustrations specially drawn by American artist Julie Lynne. There
are 8 walks leaving Saffron Walden in various directions, including the
hamlets of Sewards End and Little Walden, and the ninth walk is an
exploration of the adjoining parish of Ashdon.

Price: £5 incl. p&p (overseas rates on request)

Special offer: order ''Discover Walden'' and ''The well ordered town'' at a
joint price of £12 (normally £14) + postage.

10 Bishop’s Stortford: A History
This is the first fully-illustrated chronology of Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire, to be published for many years, covering the entire period from pre-history to the present-day. From its beginnings as a Roman wayside settlement further upstream, Stortford grew in medieval times to become an important market town and later a coaching centre. With the coming of the Turnpike and then the Navigation in the 18th century, and the railway in the 19th century, it grew even more prosperous. The story of Stortford reflects how transport and communications can shape the growth of a community, even up to the present day when the expansion of Stansted Airport continues to affect the town which lies nearest. The author has uncovered much original material on the town's past, and uses many examples from primary archives. In addition there are 150 illustrations, both old and contemporary, many seldom seen before, and maps produced specially for the book.

Jacqueline Cooper
Fully indexed, with a bibliography, 'Bishop's Stortford: a history' is published by Phillimores, the leading publishers of local history in the UK.
144 pages; 150 illustrations; hardback; price £16.99 + £2.00 postage

For details on how to obtain your copy please e-mail the author on

11 The Schools on Benenden Green 1609-2009: Benenden Church of England Primary School and its Predecessors
Take a closer lookby Ernest Pollard, Dawne Bailey and Valerie Moore,
published by Ladoga in 2009.
Illustrated. 44pp. ISBN 978-0-9552554-1-0

This book was written to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the schools on Benenden Green. The Gibbon Free School for boys was founded in 1609 by a wealthy local clothier. The trustees’ book (1688 – 1890s) provides, for much of the period, a record of the school and the school farms. The original schoolhouse is still in use. The National School for girls was founded in 1860 as an Industrial School, where the girls learnt home-making skills. A Victorian log book came to light during research for the book. The two schools were amalgamated under Kent County Council in 1925. The joint school, which became the village Primary school, was described in detail in the1930s by a student teacher who had been a pupil there. The war period, with pupils on watch for flying bombs, is included in another log book and in the collected memories of former pupils which complete the book.

Available from E.Pollard at , price £6 (including p&p) in the UK. For other countries contact E.P. for the price. Proceeds go to the Primary School.

12 The Pollards of Beeston: A century of lacemaking
Take a closer lookThe importance of this booklet as a record of machine lace making in Beeston cannot be overstated. It tells the story of four generations of Pollards, lace makers and their factory, Swiss Mills. The book was a cooperative effort by the five surviving children of John Pollard, the last of the family to make lace in Beeston. They were able to draw on a body of family memories and a unique archive of family and factory papers, photographs, wages books, lace pattern books and ledgers.

It describes the early growth of the factory, which included two strikes, something of the process of lace making, its marketing and its workers - including designers, draughtsmen, improvers, card-punchers, twisthands, threaders, jackers off and menders. Finally, it describes the slow and inevitable decline of the factory, and indeed of the lace trade, a victim of changes in fashion, the depressions of the 1920s and 1930s, and two World Wars.

John Pollard, the last of the family to make lace , saw the factory at its peak in his boyhood in the early 1900s, but spent most of his working life during the decline of the trade. He oversaw the sale of machines in the 1950s and the eventual sale of the factory. Much of the complex was destroyed in a spectacular fire in 1984, which many Beeston people will remember. John died in 1997, aged 97; his long life and knowledge of lace made him an invaluable source for Sheila Mason’s Nottingham Lace 1760s to 1950s, by far the most complete history of the factory industry.

This book, ISBN 978-0-9552554-0-3, is available from Ernest Pollard, priced at £5 including post and packing in the UK, ( £5.50 to Europe and £6.00 elsewhere in the world) All proceeds, excluding p&p, will be donated to Ataxia UK. Contact the author at: to ask for details of how you can pay by cheque.

13 Breaking New Ground: Nineteenth century allotments from local sources
Take a closer lookThis book offers important new evidence about the history of 19th century allotments, and shows how deeply embedded they were in rural society. Based on a nationwide research project, Breaking New Ground reveals that allotments were numerous and widespread, cherished not only by agricultural labourers, but also by tradesmen, artisans and industrial workers. They were not just a means of alleviating poverty, but a major institution of Victorian village life.

The fifteen chapters include detailed local studies of how allotments developed all over England – in East Anglia, the West Country, southern England, the Midlands and elsewhere. Aspects of allotment history, little explored before, come under the spotlight: the moral dimension of allotment rules, the link between allotments and riots, the intervention of paternalistic employers and the people’s desire for allotments to replace lost rights of common.

Accompanying the book is a CD containing a database of over 3,000 allotment sites, by far the most comprehensive yet published, and nearly 1,000 allotment tenants, of particular interest to local and family hsitorians. This important new book, the outcome of work by the Family & Community Historical Research Society, will change the way we look at 19th century allotments.

Edited by Jeremy Burchardt and Jacqueline Cooper
ISBN: 978 0 9548180 1 2
Publisher: FACHRS Publications
Publication date: 8 May 2010
Price £12 + p&p of £4.00 UK including complementary Data CD

Available from: FACHRS Publications, Pilcot House, Pilcot, Dogmersfield, Hook, Hants RG27 8SY or via their online shop at:

Family History Sites

14 Ancestry
An American-based site with some free access to selected databases.

15 Archive CD Books
The Archive CD Books Project exists to make reproductions of old books, documents and maps available on CD to genealogists and historians, and to co-operate with libraries, museums and record offices in providing money to renovate old books in their collection, and to donate books to their collections, where they will be preserved for future generations.
The project began in March 2000, and has now started to develop world-wide, with each country scanning and producing its own books on CD.
All of these are now made available to the public on CD at very reasonable prices.

16 Cyndis list
A categorized & cross- referenced index to genealogical resources on the Internet.

17 Family Tree Magazine
A British-based magazine with a wealth of useful information for the novice and experienced researcher.

18 GENUKI - UK & Ireland Genealogy
One of the most comprehensive internet sites for British-based research.

19 My Trees
This site gives you the option to search through a number of databases.

20 Origins
This site gives you the option to search through a number of databases, including SOG records.

21 Rootsweb
A comprehensive site for international research.

22 S&N Genealogy Supplies
A British-based company for all your genealogical supplies.

23 Surname Web
This site gives you the option to search free through a number of databases.

24 The Federation of Family History Societies
FFHS is an international organisation, established
in the UK as a non-profit making charitable company.
It represents, advises and supports over 220 family
history societies and other genealogical organisations
world-wide, with a total Membership of over 180,000.

General and Local History Sites
 covering various aspects of history

25 Archaeology
This is your gateway to the world of British archaeology.

26 British Association for Local History
Is the national charity which promotes local history and serves local historians. Publishes both The Local Historian, quarterly journal, and Local History News, a topical magazine. Publishes books and pamphlets on local history. Organises regular guided visits to major repositories, libraries and museums. Arranges regular conferences in London and the regions. Commisions a prestigious annual lecture. Issues the Local History Catalogue. Offers benefits to society members, including access to events at the members' rate, and an insurance scheme. Provides a Web Site and a mailbase for local history.

27 Council for British Archaeology
The CBA is the prinicpal UK-wide non-governmental organisation that promotes knowledge, appreciation, and care of the historic environment for the benefit of present and future generations.

28 English Heritage
English Heritage is the Government's statutory adviser on the historic environment. Officially known as the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England, English Heritage is an Executive Non-departmental Public Body sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

29 Family and Community Historical Research Society
This society aims to promote and communicate research in family & community history within a scholarly framework, with particular emphasis on the contribution of locally based and micro studies to the understanding of the wider picture (and vice versa).

30 Local History Magazine
The Local History Press aims to promote local history in all its forms among as many people as possible, and to encourage local historians to communicate with each other and with the widest possible public, so that the relevance of local history to all sections of the community can generally be appreciated.

31 Mr Photo Fix
This is a new site where you can get your old family photos restored digitally at reasonable prices. They will also do colourisation of old black and white photos, so you can see the colours of clothing and backgrounds.

32 Oral History Society
Oral history records the living memories and feelings of all kinds of people, many otherwise hidden from history, and creates a more vivid picture of our past.

33 Recorders of Uttlesford History
A local history site relating to the Uttlesford District in Essex, and maintained by 'ruth' the Recorders of Uttlesford History

34 The British Records Association
Founded in 1932, the British Records Association aims to encourage and assist with the preservation, care, use and publication of historical records.

35 The History Gateway
A history journal published solely and exclusively on the internet for History Societies, Historians, Academics, Archivists, Researchers, Students and anyone interested in topics of History.

36 The Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies
The Institute was founded in Canterbury in 1961 by Cecil Humphery-Smith as the first centre to provide a school for the study of the history and structure of the family and of subjects generally auxiliary to historical applications. The work of The Institute has developed to encompass all aspects of genealogical and heraldic research, art and practise.

37 The National Archives
The National Archives (TNA) is the national archive of England, Wales and the United Kingdom. It brings together and preserves the records of central government and the courts of law, and makes them available to all who wish to consult them. The records span an unbroken period from the 11th century to the present day.

Surname Sites


39 Helena Coney's Bladon family site
This new site gives details of the Bladon family from the west of England and Wales. Access a great deal of information via the blog.

40 Karen Proudler's Bladen Website
This is a new family website still under construction, but already with a wealth of information regarding this ever-expanding family.

41 Lishman Research
Other surnames covered in varying degrees by this site are: Wright, Cockburn, Denholm, Shiell, Sleigh, Smith, Taylor, Snowball, Parkinson and Davis.

This site hosts invitation-only family sites. If you have connections to the Blaydon/Blayden/Bladon/Bladen/Bleadon/Blaidon/Blaiden (or other variant) family and would like to join this site, please click on the link to send an email to request an invitation to the site.