Monday, 3 December 2012

Book Review: Welsh Genealogy

Welsh Genealogy
Bruce Durie
288 pages (pb), Kindle edition
Publisher: The History Press Ltd (13 Nov 2012)
ISBN-10: 0752465996
ISBN-13: 978-0752465999
Cover Price: £17.99

If asked who had written a new book on Welsh genealogy I doubt many people would have Bruce Durie near the top of the list. He's well known for his book Scottish Genealogy, now in its third edition, and as former Course Director for Genealogical Studies at the University of Strathclyde. I enjoyed a presentation he gave "Inheritance in Scotland – testaments and retours", at TNA last year. It's available as a podcast. Scotland yes, but Wales?

You can see Durie's plan of attack in the table of contents:
Preface
  1. An Introduction to Genealogical Research 
  2. The Welsh – A Genealogist’s Perspective 
  3. Welsh Surnames 
  4. Administrative Areas and Local Records 
  5. The Welsh Censuses of 1841 to 1911 
  6. Statutory Registers of Birth, Marriage and Death Post-1855 
  7. Parish Registers Pre-1837 
  8. Nonconformist and Other Church Records 
  9. Welsh Emigration and Immigration 
  10. Taxation and Representation 
  11. Welsh Heraldry 
  12. Dates, Money and Measure 
  13. Occupations and Professions 
  14. Military Records 
  15. Welsh Language for Genealogy 
  16. Organising Your Research 
  17. Degrees of Kinship 
Envoi
Index
Things are approached very much from a Scottish genealogical perspective with considerable detail on Scottish records and how they differ from the Welsh/English. It gets a bit much. A chapter heading mentions "after 1855" which has no significance for Wales but is when civil registration started in Scotland. The are more than 100 pages mentioned in the index for Scotland or Scottish.

Durie gets carried away in areas that seem to particularly interest him; 33 pages on Welsh Heraldry, the second longest chapter, seems excessive.

The longest chapter, on the census, introduces a case study which is carried on later in the book and helps draw resources together.

Canada or Canadian are mentioned on 18 pages but if you're looking for insight into the Welsh in Canada this is not the resource. The chapter on Welsh Emigration and Immigration to Canada rates a quarter page, America (the US) 5 1/2 pages, Australia 6 pages and Patagonia half a page.

He also ventures into areas rather unusual for a genealogy book, including units of measure, coins and currency. It makes the treatment a bit of a miscellany, fun to browse in the same way as the Guinness Book of World Records.

If you can accept the approach and despite problems which should have been fixed in editing, the treatment is comprehensive and content sound.

The book is not due for release in North American until February, but can be ordered directly from the publisher The History Press for mailing anywhere.

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