Jill Ball has suggested writing about five books  especially useful in your family history research.

One of my favourites is the Road to Divorce: England 1530-1987 by Lawrence Stone. Stone’s insights on marriage and divorce at different times in history have helped me enormously.

I referred to The Road to Divorce extensively when I was trying to understand the 1849 divorce of my great great great grandmother Charlotte Champion de Crespigny née Dana formerly James. In those days divorces were heard in two courts, the Court of Arches plus a suit for criminal conversation brought before the Queen’s Bench,  and also required an Act of Parliament by means of presenting a private bill before the House of Lords. It was extremely expensive to go through the process, and there were only about four divorces a year in England.

In 1987 Fairfax, Some and Weldon published Australians: A Historical Library. While there have been criticisms of the series, for example a 1988 review by Jenny Lee, I have gained a lot from the Historical Statistics volume edited by Wray Vamplew and to lesser extent to of the Events and Places volume. The statistics volume was useful to me when I was trying to understand more about the age at which women marry.

A most encouraging statistical picture of the reduction in the deaths as a result of pregnancy between 1908 and 1980 (click on image to enlarge).
some statistics on education (click on image to enlarge)

I have often referred to Angus Watson’s Lost & Almost Forgotten Towns of Colonial Victoria. I cited it in my post on Carngham. I bought this book direct from the author some years ago. It is now selling on-line for five times what I paid for it.

The page referring to Lamplough – there is a lot of history in the few facts and statistics. (click to enlarge)

I think reading about the context of our ancestor’s lives can be most illuminating.  At the moment I am reading London in the 18th century: A Great and Monstrous Thing by Jerry White. I borrowed it first from the library in an attempt to curtail my spending on books – but had to own it, it is so full of information and well written.

My husband Greg is reading Michael Cannon’s The Land Boomers which was passed recently to me by my father. He says it is fun. My turn next.

I constantly refer to the family histories written by my relatives. As a way of passing on family history, nothing beats a book!

Some of the family history books written by my relatives
I use LibraryThing to keep track of my books and  the books in my study are organised by the Dewey system.
So many books! So much reading!

Greg tells me however, that the Chinese say, 书山有路勤为径,学海无涯苦作舟, which means, roughly, ‘There is a path through the mountain of books. Work hard to find the way. The ocean of learning has no limit. Work hard to build a boat.’

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References