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Tracing Your Ancestors' Childhood (Paperback)

A Guide For Family Historians

Family History

By Sue Wilkes
Imprint: Pen & Sword Family History
Pages: 230
ISBN: 9781781591666
Published: 2nd September 2013

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Every family historian has child ancestors, and childhood experiences and records are an essential aspect of research into a past life. That is why Sue Wilkes's detailed and accessible handbook is such a useful guide for anyone who is trying to find out about the early years of their forbears.

In Tracing Your Ancestors' Childhood she explores the history of childhood and education and brings together information about relevant records and archives into one handy reference guide. She outlines ancestors' childhood experiences at home, school, work and in institutions, especially during Victorian times.

In the opening chapter she reviews basic family history sources, then she discusses records of childhood in detail. Specialist archives, published sources, recommended reading and other resources and documents are covered. She focuses primarily on England and Wales and covers the years 1750–1950.

The second part of her book is a directory of archives and specialist repositories. Databases of children's societies, useful genealogy websites, and places to visit which bring the social history of childhood to life are all included.

As seen in Discover Your History Magazine.

Specialist archives, published sources, recommended reading and other resources and documents are covered. She focuses primarily on England and Wales and covers the years 1750 1950. The second part of her book is a directory of archives and specialist repositories. Databases of children s societies, useful genealogy websites, and places to visit which bring the social history of childhood to life are all included.

Read the full review here

Parish Mouse

Sue Wilkes author article on childhood records as featured in

WDYTYA? Magazine, April 2017

As featured in part of 'further reading'

Your Family History, September 2016

As referenced in

Who Do You Think You Are? - February 2016

As seen in...

Family Tree

As mentioned in.

Your Family Tree 2015

This detailed book will help to provide a broad brush picture of your life for your ancestors as children in a particular period.
Definitely one for your bookshelf to dip into now and in the future as a reference source.

Federation of Family History Societies

An excellent research guide.

Bristol and Avon FHS

Northwich author Sue Wilkes' book looks at how we can discover more about the childhood of our forebears. That opens the door to some fascinating social history...This book is a good primer, explaining the basics of researching history, but then going into detail about lines of inquiry specific to children, from school records to hospital admissions to wartime evacuation records. Appendices list archives and repositories, plus many useful websites which may help with your quest.

Cheshire Life

“Detailed and accessible handbook and a useful guide for anyone who is trying to find out about the early years of their forbears”
“She explores the history of childhood and education and brings together information about relevant records and archives into one handy reference guide”
“Reviews basic family history sources and discusses records of childhood in detail. Specialist archives, published sources, recommended reading and other resources and documents are covered.”

Kent Family History Society Journal Vol 14, No.1

Pulling off the now fashionable - and it must be said, deeply satisfying - meshing of the two genres of social history and genealogy with aplomb. Vibrantly wittten.

BBC Who Do You Think You Are?

Explores our ancestors' childhood experiences at home, school and work. It contains a directory of archives and useful resources to help with your own research.

Discover Your History

Vibrantly written, peppered with examples and case studies. An unrivalled resource pack for the family historian.

Who Do You Think You Are?
 Sue Wilkes

About Sue Wilkes

Sue Wilkes is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. She has written extensively on social history, and industrial history and heritage. Sue was born in Lancashire, and has lived in Cheshire since the early 1980s. She read Physics at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. Sue is married, with two grown-up children.


She is the author of nine books and is a well-known family historian. A regular contributor to Jane Austen’s Regency World for over two decades, Sue has written many articles for history and family history magazines such Who Do You Think You Are?. She loves exploring Britain’s history and heritage, and is a keen gardener. 

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