Tracing Your Family History with the Whole Family

Book review

By Robin C. McConnell; reviewed by Trevor James, published 14th June 2022

Tracing Your Family History with the Whole Family: A Family Research Adventure for All Ages, Robin C. McConnell, Pen and Sword, 2022, 151p, £14.99. ISBN 9781399013888.

This is a very well-intentioned book, based on the exceptionally strong idea of inter-generational collaboration. Robin McConnell is very persuasive in his proposition that there are enormous merits in having different generations sharing to pursuit of coherent family history. The idea is that the involvement of you people will widen their perspectives and they will also bring added vigour to the process.

A complete repertoire of helpful approaches and potential sources are provided. What is suggested is extremely thorough and carefully presented. My concern is that this is not a book written in an accessible manner for young people. It will work well for adult leadership of the process but its tightly argued contents will not easily motivate a young reader. For example, there are over one hundred potential questions provided for a young person just to put to a grandparent. There is almost a case for a parallel book which could help the young reader realise the potential excitement of what family history research can reveal. The idea of young cousins, for example, comparing and contrasting what they have gleaned from their older relatives could itself be a positive exercise is evaluating what might be seen as the same data from different perspectives.

This book presents a very good idea which, it is hoped, will inspire some parents and grandparents to implement.