Friday 31 August 2012

Welcome new editions of old(ish) books

I'm not in the habit of plugging books (apart from my own, which comes out next month - you'll see some shameless self-promotion then!). But there are some books where a new edition is worth shouting about, and this is one of them. There is a lot of interest in Caribbean family history, but there is relatively little in print, compared to other areas of research. It's quite some time since the last edition of Guy Grannum's Tracing your Caribbean Ancestors appeared, and it has been out of print for a while too, so the new edition is particularly welcome. If you are interested in the subject, Guy's website Caribbean Roots is also worth a look.  

This book is a National Archives Guide, from Bloomsbury Publishing, I knew that publication was imminent, so I was pleased to see a few days ago that it had arrived in The National Archives bookshop - I could hardly miss it, it's Publication of the Month. This means that you can buy it at a bargain price, £11.99 instead of £16.99, if you follow the link above. Like a number of other new publications it is also available as a e-book, which you can buy direct from Bloomsbury.

I also noticed a new edition of another established title that first appeared 25 years ago, Bound for Australia by David Hawkings. Most of the records he mentions are held in The National Archives, and David Hawkings is extremely good at finding relevant ones. Since the first edition appeared in 1987 he has discovered a victualling list for the First Fleet among Treasury records, which he reproduces in full in Chapter 1 (TNA ref T 46/22). This edition has 8 more chapters than the original 1987 work, with 22 appendices, a bibliography and separate indexes of personal names, place names and ships.

Although the title and the cover illustration suggest that this is a book about convicts, the subtitle 'A guide to the records of transported convicts and early settlers' shows that its scope is wider than that. One of the items that caught my eye on flicking through the book was an extract from 'A List of Free Passengers on board the Convict Ship Merchantman at Swan River on the 15th February 1863' (TNA Ref: MT 32/5). Among the Wives and Families of Pensioner Guard , the conduct on board of Mrs McCourt is described:
'A violent and most unmanageable woman. She was reported to me by her husband for keeping company with single men on board and refusing to come to bed at 10pm.'
Oh dear. So it wasn't just convicts who caused trouble.

Bound for Australia is published by The History Press and is also available from The National Archives bookshop, and although it isn't Publication of Month, it too is on sale at a bargain price if you buy it online.


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