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History’s poor relation?
Alison Light

9 Family history: history’s poor relation? Alison Light Family history is everywhere, not only on television shows like the BBC’s extremely popular Who Do You Think You Are? or in the newspapers, which frequently carry family stories and old photographs, but in the form of software, maps, books, magazines and vast events such as family history fairs, where gatherings of thousands of people share knowledge and buy things. It is a booming business across Europe, North America and Australia in particular, and has had a huge impact on information science and the

in Emancipation and the remaking of the British imperial world
A new approach
John Herson

1 Irish emigrants and family history: a new approach ALLEGED MANSLAUGHTER BY AN IRISHMAN. An inquest was held on the death of Patrick Mannion, 61, who died from injuries received in a disturbance in his house in Snow’s Yard on Saturday night. Shortly before midnight his son, John Mannion, and a labourer, Patrick Power, who was lodging there, had a quarrel. Patrick Mannion went upstairs to quieten them. Power struck him in the face and knocked him down. Mrs Mannion fell downstairs and hurt her face badly. A youth, Henry Ferneyhough, saw Power kick Patrick

in Divergent paths
How IPC Data is Communicated through the Media to Trigger Emergency Responses
François Enten

made manifest and touching by the accumulation of details’ – which takes place by the staging of close-up photos of children, and the narration of their singular situation (family history, first name, etc.). In order to be able to ‘merge into a unified representation’ (2007: 37), it relies in particular on statistical instruments that meet the requirements of impartiality and generalisation. This quantified objectification thus makes it possible to tear oneself away from

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
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Family histories of Irish emigrants in Britain, 1820–1920

This book is unique in adopting a family history approach to Irish migration in nineteenth century Britain. Historians of the Irish in Britain have almost totally ignored the family dimension, but this study shows that the family was central to Irish peoples’ lives and experiences. It was the major factor influencing the life choices and identity of the migrants and their descendants. The book documents for the first time a representative sample of Irish immigrant families and uses the techniques of family and digital history to explore their long-term fate. To do this it examines the Irish in Stafford in the West Midlands, a town that was a microcosm of the broader Irish experience in England.

Central to the book is a unique body of evidence about the lives of ordinary families. They were united by their Irish ethnicity and by living in the same town, but there the similarity ended. In the long term they diverged in different directions. Many families integrated into the local population, but others ultimately moved away whilst some simply died out. The case studies explore the reasons why the fate of these families proved to be so varied.

The book reveals a fascinating picture of family life and gender relations in nineteenth-century England. Its provocative conclusions will stimulate debate amongst scholars of Irish history, genealogists, historians of the family and social historians generally. The book also offers some valuable historical parallels to the lives of contemporary immigrant families in Britain.

A history of forbidden relations

This study brings out the norms and culturally dependent values that formed the basis of the theoretical regulation and the practical handling of incest cases in Sweden 1680–1940, situating this development in a wider European context. It discusses a broad variety of general human subjects that are as important today as they were hundreds of years ago, such as love, death, family relations, religion, crimes, and punishments.

By analysing criminal-case material and applications for dispensation, as well as political and legislative sources, the incest phenomenon is explored from different perspectives over a long time period. It turns out that although the incest debate has been dominated by religious, moral, and later medical beliefs, ideas about love, age, and family hierarchies often influenced the assessment of individual incest cases. These unspoken values could be decisive – sometimes life-determining – for the outcome of various incest cases.

The book will interest scholars from several different fields of historical research, such as cultural history, the history of crime and of sexuality, family history, history of kinship, and historical marriage patterns. The long time period also broadens the number of potential readers. Since the subject concerns general human issues that are as current today as they were three centuries ago, the topic will also appeal to a non-academic audience.


This book looks at how local history developed from the antiquarian county studies of the sixteenth century through the growth of ‘professional’ history in the nineteenth century, to the recent past. Concentrating on the past sixty years, it looks at the opening of archive offices, the invigorating influence of family history, the impact of adult education and other forms of lifelong learning. The book considers the debates generated by academics, including the divergence of views over local and regional issues, and the importance of standards set by the Victoria County History (VCH). Also discussed is the fragmentation of the subject. The antiquarian tradition included various subject areas that are now separate disciplines, among them industrial archaeology, name studies, family, landscape and urban history. This is an account of how local history has come to be one of the most popular and productive intellectual pastimes in our modern society.

Open Access (free)

This book can be described as an 'oblique memoir'. The central underlying and repeated themes of the book are exile and displacement; lives (and deaths) during the Third Reich; mother-daughter and sibling relationships; the generational transmission of trauma and experience; transatlantic reflections; and the struggle for creative expression. Stories mobilised, and people encountered, in the course of the narrative include: the internment of aliens in Britain during the Second World War; cultural life in Rochester, New York, in the 1920s; the social and personal meanings of colour(s). It also includes the industrialist and philanthropist, Henry Simon of Manchester, including his relationship with the Norwegian explorer, Fridtjof Nansen; the liberal British campaigner and MP of the 1940s, Eleanor Rathbone; reflections on the lives and images of spinsters. The text is supplemented and interrupted throughout by images (photographs, paintings, facsimile documents), some of which serve to illustrate the story, others engaging indirectly with the written word. The book also explains how forced exile persists through generations through a family history. It showcases the differences between English and American cultures. The book focuses on the incidence of cancers caused by exposure to radioactivity in England, and the impact it had on Anglo-American relations.

Patriarchy, piety, and singlehood in early Stuart England

A microhistory of a never-married English gentlewoman named Elizabeth Isham, this book centres on an extremely rare piece of women’s writing – a relatively newly discovered 60,000-word spiritual autobiography held in Princeton’s manuscript collections that she penned circa 1639. The document is among the richest extant sources related to early modern women, and offers a wealth of information not only on Elizabeth’s life but also on the seventeenth-century Ishams. Indeed, it is unmatched in providing an inside view of her family relations, her religious beliefs, her reading habits, and, most sensationally, the reasons why she chose never to marry despite desires to the contrary held by her male kin, particularly Sir John Isham, her father. Based on the autobiography, combined with extensive research of the Isham family papers now housed at the county record office in Northampton, the book recreates Elizabeth’s world, placing her in the larger community of Northamptonshire and then reconstructing her family life and the patriarchal authority that she lived under at her home of Lamport Hall. Restoring our historical memory of Elizabeth and her female relations, this reconstruction demonstrates why she wrote her autobiography and the influence that family and religion had on her unmarried state, reading, and confessional identity, expanding our understanding and knowledge about patriarchy, piety, and singlehood in early modern England.

Open Access (free)
A descendants’ history

Afterlives of war is a study of the generations in Britain, Germany and Australia who were born after the First World War and lived in its shadow. They experienced the effects of the global cataclysm in their homes as young children before they knew the conflict as history. Yet because they were not direct witnesses, and their testimonies were ‘second hand’, the war’s impact on them was often hidden. Drawing on ninety interviews, observation of the First World War Centenary and research on the First World War past in the author’s own family, Afterlives documents the personal legacies of the conflict and the rich historical culture that descendants create. It investigates the letters, photographs, trench art and official records they hold in private archives, reconstructs their relationships with members of the war generation, and reflects on how the war past in the family shaped them as children and throughout their lives. It describes their efforts to piece together the war stories of their parents and grandparents and how they interact with national traditions of remembrance. Motivated by the experience of coming after, descendants have played a key role in the cultural memory of the First World War since 1918.

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Family histories in the Caribbean
Mary Chamberlain

11 Legacy and lineage: family histories in the Caribbean Mary Chamberlain My first research in Caribbean history, which I began shortly after I arrived in Barbados, involved the 1840 Masters and Servants Act, the punitive legislation and restrictive practices put in place after slave emancipation to ensure the planters a continuous, cheap and ‘located’ labour force. Commonly known as the Contract Law or, more colloquially, the tenantry system, to which it gave rise, the Act was not repealed until 1937. In 1989, when I began the research, there were still people

in Emancipation and the remaking of the British imperial world