I'm really into genealogy at the moment (and have been for a number of years now), so I often pick up genealogy magazines when I'm in the supermarket or newsagents and Family History Monthly is one of them.
Priced at £3.75, the current issue has around 100 pages, so well worth it's price. There are a few adverts inside but they are all family history related, so I don't mind them.
The front section of the magazine includes the News pages, ranging from what's new with the big websites such as Ancestry.co.uk and FamilyRelatives.com to honoured heros, from new digital archives to current news such as Bletchley Park being under threat due to a lack of funding.
There is also a letters section incouraging readers to contribute to the magazine. The star letter is currently rewarded with a set of archives boxes by I Waterman Box Makers, which are "perfect for preserving the memorabilia and personal treasures in your family collection". The package includes 6 different sized boxes, folders, envelopes and more.
A page of "Dates for your diary" is very useful. Sectioned into counties of the UK, the pages lists various Family History Society events along with courses and other relevant conferences, meetings and events.
Well known presenter/researcher Nick Barratt has his own section, giving his thoughts, knowledge and predictions on various areas of family history.
The magazine also gives us various articles on useful sources such as censuses (before and after 1841), jobs our ancestors used to do, social history, local archives, parish records, work houses, as well as readers personal family history stories and those of others.
Another useful section is the "What's in a name?" section. Each month a different surname is selected, famous people with that surname listed, a coat of arms shown and various information given on the history of the surname. All very useful, especially if you have somebody in your family tree with that particular surname.
The "Real Life " section gives another opportunity for readers to share their family history stories with us. The best Family History Monthly reader story currently wins a free 12 month subscription to the premium Explorer package (worth £89.95) at FindMyPast.com.
The "Expert Advice" section focuses on a different subject each month, this month it's Land Tax Assessments. It gives us a Question/Answer style article , telling us where we fan find the recoards, what's in them and how easy they are to use, as well as showing us what they look like.
The "Photo Detective" section is one of my favourite parts of the magazine (what with being a keen photographer as well as having many old family photos in my possession). Readers are encouraged to send in scanned photos (rather than the originals) for the magazine to help date and maybe give a clue as to the people in the photos. The pointers can be useful when you're looking at your own old family photos.
Again with the encouragement of reader participation, we have the "Questions & Answers" section where readers write in with their various family history problems and brick walls. The answers given are very useful and informative.
The "Reviews" section is where Family History Magazine recommends and reviews recently released books, DVDs and CDs. They are very handy and before Christmas I read one of the reviews and decided to by the book for my Dad for Christmas.
Family History software (and other useful packages) are also reviewed in the magazine and walkthroughs are also given to help some readers use the software.
Another opportunity for readers to interact is the "Help" section. Readers are encouraged to write in with their problems in tracing ancestors. Other readers can then write in or contact the writers to give their help. The letters are headlined with the surname of the person they are researching.
Towards the back of the magazine is a "Local Focus" section where the magazine focuses on an area on the country and their local family history society.
Other sections include Classifieds, competitions, the crossword, Back Issues and more.
The magazine also includes a CD-ROM (for PC & Mac) of useful software, demos, directories, charts, tips and other resources.
I love how reader focused Family History Monthly Magazine is. Readers are encouraged to participate every step of the way! The competitions have great and relevant prizes and sometimes you can find vouchers for family history fairs, events and websites within the magazine.
Definitely a great buy if you're interested in family history!
Family History Monthly magazine (out monthly, priced £2.50) is ideal for beginners. I bought this once instead of Practical Family History magazine. Unlike Practical Family History magazine it does not have many articles which encourage reader participation, but it does give feedback on almost every single readers letter published. The other reader participation idea is Mailbag, which is similar to Family Tree and Practical Family History Magazines? Readers, interests sections. These features are easy to read, easy to understand, and provide plenty of help for the researcher. Any one searching a particular surname such as MELLARD can find other people in the UK and internationally who are researching the same surname in a similar area. This is done by checking out the name interests. If you find one that seems a possible link make a note of the code number and compare this with the list of codes provided at the side of the names and addresses to find the person interested in that Surname. Beginners should be advised that most names interests include the Chapman code for their area e.g. DBY for Derbyshire. A list of CHAPMAN codes is available from most Family history societies and most can easily be deciphered. An exception to the above rule would be WRY which stands for West Riding of Yorkshire, which included the Sheffield/Rotherham area. Yorkshire was split into 3 ridings so before a certain date these areas will be listed under their Ridings rather than North, South or West Yorkshire. To confuse matters the WRY covers parts of the area now covered by South Yorkshire! The readers? letters can be on a variety of topics and make interesting reading. The magazine usually concentrates on a couple of pages of letters per month with the Can You Help section being for small queries such as ?Where can I find details of Wakefield Asylum where an ancestor died 1874?? All the above facilities are provided free of charge.
I have not submitted any articles to this magazine, as I do not generally read this magazine ? I bought a couple of copies when the topics on the front cover have appealed to me e.g. Tracing First World War ancestors. . Other articles range from war records, recommended websites, computer advice, book reviews and items on events to be held on genealogy, family history, occupations etc. Regular features include 1. "The Surname?", which concentrates on information about a particular surname each month including the distribution in the UK, prominent people with that name, and a general discussion on where the name originated, etc. July 2002 concentrated on Jackson, for example. 2. Occupations ? each month a particular occupation gets discussed e.g. in July 2002 it was Newsreels cameramen and I have also seen one on Framework Knitters. 3. Family History Calendar ? a list of dates of society fairs, meetings, etc 4. Family History Society ? concentration on a particular family history society including contact details, recent events, what projects they are undertaking etc. The July 2002 issue was on Pontefract District so they do not specialise in just London topics. 5. Web wise ? a page full of suggested websites that may be of interest to the family or local historian 6. A Heraldic Symbol for a particular surname on the back of the magazine. Readers can not submit photographs to be used on the front cover as you can for both the Practical Family History magazine and the Family tree magazine and there are no photo dating services etc. As many beginners are struggling to get back before 1899, I was lucky in that when I was about 10 I had to do a family tree as part of a project and I kept the original paper I scribbled the tree on. My late grandfather gave us details of 2 sisters, my father and uncle were unaware of because they died young and as my grandfather was born in 1899 I was back before the
100 year rule for most of my research. I now regret not having asked him more questions before he died ? a common complaint you will hear from family tree researchers! If you are thinking of starting tracing your tree ? ask your oldest relatives as much as possible now and get a copy of either Practical Family History magazine or Family History Monthly magazine. In my view the text is interesting and informative and the actual font is just right for late at night or when I am tired as the words don?t blur as easily and there are plenty of photographs/pictures to break up the monotony. (I am getting old!!). I prefer the font on the Family History Monthly magazine to that of the Practical Family History magazine.. However, I prefer Practical Family History magazine overall because of the features whereby readers are actively encouraged to participate, the writing style is aimed at beginners, the style of writing and the cost. The Computer Section is aimed at the beginners which is to my liking ?as although I am fairly au fait with computers I do not like articles which use jargon, abbreviations, or assume you have a computing degree! Not all family historians and genealogists are keen on using computers and this section could be very off-putting if it assumes that everyone is on a higher level of knowledge and expertise in this field, but in this case it does not. I was thinking of changing to the Family Tree magazine but the writing style assumes that the reader knows a lot about computers, family history research and often uses jargon that is difficult for a beginner to understand. If I was going to change from Practical Family History, it would be to Family History Monthly. I have not found a website detailed in the magazine but there is an email address of email@example.com and subscriptions can be ordered from Janice@dpgsubs.co.uk . The Family History monthly is published on the 3rd Thursday of every month and in t
he front of the magazine it tells you what date the next magazine is out ? if you do not arrange to have it delivered with your paper! The article I especially enjoyed in the July issue was the Top Compact Discs for Family History ? using an old theme of Top of the Pops top twenty but for useful compact discs for use with family history research. However, I was shocked at some of the prices ? £250 for a copy of ?Who?s Who 1896-1998? or the Dictionary of National Biography ? compared to £30 for a copy of the National Burial Index or the 1881 census index ? which are of much more use to the family historian, I have found one of my grandfather?s sisters by using the National Burial Index and traced several generations through the 1881 census ? although the latter has a lot of spelling errors e.g. SLATON instead of STATON. Werewolf