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Practical Family History

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      23.01.2003 02:00
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      Practical Family History magazine (out monthly, priced £2.20) is the sister magazine of Family Tree magazine and ideal for beginners. Family Tree magazine is more suited to slightly more experienced researchers or genealogists. The magazine has a special feature, designed for beginners, in every issue, inside the front and back covers, with several useful addresses and websites. As a beginner I found these addresses to be most useful, as if you purchase or borrow a book from the library the addresses tend to be outdated, but the addresses in the cover are up-to-date and amended as required. It has many articles which encourage reader participation, such as 1. "My great-grandparents were...." 2. Practical Medley - names interests 3. Practical Picture Dating 4. Readers Lettters 5. Help wanted articles 6. Unwanted certificates adverts These features are easy to read, easy to understand, and provide plenty of help for the beginner. 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 names 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 eg 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 ar
      ea now covered by South Yorkshire! The Practical picture dating facility allows people to submit a copy of a picture that they want more information about. The author of the article presents his or her views about when, where and why the picture/photo was taken and includes tip on how to spot the many interesting clues about what people were wearing at the appropriate times. The readers letters can be on a variety of topics and make interesting reading. The magazine usually concentrates on 2 or 3 letters per month with the Help wanted section being for small queries such as "Does anyone know the whereabouts of Meersbrook Park, Sheffield?" etc. If you purchase a birth, marriage or death certificate and later discover that you have inadvertently bought the wrong person's details, then you can offer the certificate to interested parties through the Unwanted certificates section. All the above facilities are provided free of charge. So far, I have had 4 responses from my articles in the first two items in the numbered list above, with limited success in tracing people researching my particular family branches. However, a service I was not aware of was brought to my attention when the Tower of London contacted me, explaining they can (for an £8 fee) check surnames in their records, many of which are not held in the Public Record Office. Other articles range from war records, recommended websites, computer advice, book reviews and items on events to be held on Genealogy, Family History fairs, occupations etc. The regular items include a feature on a museum which may be of interest to genealogists/family tree researchers as it talks about local people, customs, occupations which no longer exists, religions, etc. What I find interesting about this article is that they do not concentrate on London archives and museums but discuss museums all around the country. Readers can submit ph
      otographs to be used on the front cover of both the Practical Family History magazine and the Family tree magazine. In addition, there is another feature called ‘Shot in the Dark” where readers submit photographs of unknown people with a view to finding out who they are or returning them to their rightful owners. I have had an article in the Practical Picture dating section but the answer was vague and not very helpful but it was a shot in the dark, as I have acquired a picture from my late grandfathers collection which is not named. I wanted further information on the date of the picture and to see if the author thought it may be the father of my grandfather, as there is a family resemblance. It was a disappointment that the author could not accurately date the picture or state categorically that there was a resemblance – they said it could be either the father, a brother or maybe even just a friend. In my view the text is interesting and informative but the actual font is too small and late at night or when I am tired the words blur (I am getting old!!). I prefer the font on the Family History Monthly magazine which is slightly more expensive but also a good read. However, I prefer Practical Family History magazie overall because of the features whereby readers are actively encouraged to participate and the writing style is aimed at beginners, the style of writing and the cost. 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 yo
      u 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. Werewolf

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