Many people interested in the history of their town or village want to undertake research into its past. Although they can find a lot of information from the work of others, many local historians need to use primary sources sooner or later. The growth of material available via the World Wide Web makes this task easier than ever, but a lot of original documents have still not been digitised - and nothing quite equates with the thrill of reading a letter, diary, set of accounts or other records written in the past. Some sources, such as parish registers, census returns, wills, etc., are well known, but others are undiscovered treasures. This new book introduces the reader to the enormous range of documents available for the local and family historian, many of them unknown to all but a few academic historians. The authors convey their own enthusiasm for the material and explain what it contains and the information it can reveal. They concentrate on English and Welsh archives, but also include some discussion of records in Scotland and Ireland.
Their unique background - working for The National Archives and for local record offices - gives them an unrivalled knowledge of archival sources, and both of them have used much of this material in their own research. The chapters are arranged thematically and deal with subjects such as the land, the people, poverty, health, crime and family life. Published works that have used archives are cited as exemplars of the sort of information to be found in primary sources. This is an essential guide for the local or family historian needing to consult original documents.