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Tracing Your Potteries Ancestors (Paperback)

A Guide for Family & Local Historians

Family History P&S History > Social History

By Michael Sharpe
Imprint: Pen & Sword Family History
Series: Tracing Your Ancestors
Pages: 226
Illustrations: 30
ISBN: 9781526701275
Published: 3rd April 2019


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Tracing Your Potteries Ancestors introduces readers to the wealth of information available to those wishing to trace their North Staffordshire roots. Michael Sharpe gives a fascinating insight into the history of this part of the Midlands which was for so long dominated by the pottery industry. The six pottery towns Tunstall, Burslem, Hanley, Stoke, Fenton and Longton are at the heart of the story. His handbook is an essential guide for anyone researching the life of an individual or family connected with the area, bringing together all the relevant local and national archives for the first time. In a series of short information-packed chapters it describes the lives and experiences of ordinary people in this most extraordinary of landscapes. It charts the transition of the Six Towns from scattered farming communities to a thriving industrial conurbation. The living conditions of the urban poor, health and welfare, the influence of religion and migration, education, leisure pursuits, and the traumatic experience of war are all explored, and the many different archives and sources that are open to family history researchers are explained.

Featured in

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - Issue 180, Summer 2021

Author article, ‘Nail-Makers’, as featured by

WDYTYA? Magazine, March 2021

As featured in

Nottinghamshire Family History Society

Author article 'Potters' as featured by

WDYTYA? magazine October 2019

Finally, a compendium of sources from legal and ecclesiastical archives to the records of the local government, employers, institutions, clubs, societies and schools, written for novices and experienced researchers alike.

Cumbria FHS

Featured in

Glasgow and West of Scotland Family History Society

In total, if your family comes from that area, you will find everything you need to know about their everyday lives. For anyone else, it is a fascinating read with loads of things we didn’t know.

Glamorgan Family History Society

Author Q&A with Michael Sharpe

Family Tree, June 2019

As featured by

WDYTYA?,July 2019

The book closes with two impressive appendices: the first, a very helpful ‘Timeline of Potteries History and Genealogy’, the second, a well considered ‘Directory of Archives and Resources’. The timeline seamlessly blends key events in our national history with major genealogical enactments; the directory provides a comprehensive catalogue of local archives, family history societies, relevant publishers and web sources.

Alde Valley Suffolk Family History Group, June 2019

It's not only extremely well-written, but crammed with useful information - and not just about the pottery manufacturers who dominated the area, but also coal and iron mining (which began as early as the 13th century), the canals, and the railways...It's an excellent book which I can thoroughly recommend.

Read the full review here

Lost Cousins

Impressively researched, expertly written, deftly organized and presented, "Tracing Your Potteries Ancestors: A Guide for Family & Local Historians" is an extraordinarily informative and thoroughly 'reader friendly' resource that is unreservedly recommended for personal, community, and academic library Genealogy instructional reference collections & British History supplemental studies reading lists.

Read the full review here

Midwest Book Review

The author is a professional genealogist whose enthusiasm for his subject leaps off the page. Overall, this is an exhaustive, thoroughly researched and thoughtfully presented piece of work, that deservedly lives up to the publisher’s billing as an ‘essential handbook for anyone researching the local and family history of the Potteries’.

Alde Valley Suffolk Family History Group

If your ancestors lived or worked in the North Staffordshire area and want to undertake research into the lives of people in Tunstall, Burslam, Hanley, Stoke, Fenton and Longton this book will help you to focus your attention into the Industrial Diversity of the region.

Michael Sharpe guides us through various elements of the pottery industry by looking at the jobs of the employed people in this specialised field. Men, women and children (the children could be very young, 5 or 6 years of age) had numerous skills to learn in order to survive in this expanding industry.

He indicates how the Civic Society operated in the Workhouses, Children’s Homes, Hospitals, Asylums, Schools, Prisons etc. We also see how some of our ancestors moved from the rural areas into the harsh reality of the urban areas.

The author examines how people relied upon literature, festivals and later the cinema to alleviate the pressures of hard work in the factories. He even discusses the food which was available in shops and markets, a novel approach which some writers tend to ignore. Tracing your Potteries Ancestors will certainly help researchers looking for information through using websites, archives and the various types of resources. Make a space on your bookshelf and dip into the book when you are seeking guidance.

East Yorkshire FHS

The book nicely fills the knowledge gap for the researcher familiar with basic family history research who needs to dig more deeply into the history and resources of the Potteries.

Read the full review here

Canada's Anglo-Celtic Connections, John D Reid

Author article as featured by

Family Tree, May 2019
 Michael Sharpe

About Michael Sharpe

Michael Sharpe is an independent family history writer, researcher and lecturer who has been working in the field since 1984. He is a member of the Society of Genealogists and of several local family history societies. Family Matters is the result of years of research in national and regional archives and interviews with leading figures in British genealogy, including family history organisations, businesses and public bodies.

Go to: www.familymattersbook.net

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