Unearthing Family Tree Mysteries

Ruth A Symes

* This book is an updated edition of Ruth Symes' previous book, titled Stories From
Your Family Tree: Researching Ancestors Within Living Memory (2008).

* Uses examples of outlandish stories, e.g. the miner who purportedly went to ‘live with the Red Indians', and explains how to use various family history sources to place the characters in the
Date Published :
July 2016
Publisher :
Pen and Sword
Illustration :
100 illustrations
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding : Paperback
ISBN : 9781473862944

Dimensions : 9.5 X 6.5 inches
Stock Status : In stockPages : 208
Also available as an ebook:
Buy From Amazon Amazon
Buy From Apple Apple
Buy From Barnes and Noble Barnes & Noble
Buy From Google Google
Buy From Kobo Kobo


The intriguing characters in these real family history mysteries include an agricultural laborer who left secrets behind in Somerset when he migrated to Manchester, a working-class woman who bafflingly lost ten of her fourteen children in infancy, a miner who purportedly went to ‘live with the Red Indians’ and a merchant prince of the Empire who was rumored to have two wives.

This book shows how a variety of sources including birth, marriage and death certificates, censuses, newspaper reports, passports, recipe books, trade directories, diaries and passenger lists were all used to uncover more, and how much can be detected by setting the characters from your family tree in their proper historical backgrounds.

About The Author

After a career in academia and editing, freelance writer and historian Ruth A. Symes now writes for several genealogical magazines including Family Tree Magazine and the BBC's Who Do You Think You Are? magazine. She lives in Manchester with her husband and young daughter. This is her fourth family history book.


"Overall, this is a book that can help the researcher think a bit more about how to utilize newspapers in their research, and the most effective ways of doing so."

- Your Family History, July 2016

"Ruth's book gets to the glorious core of what family history research is all about, so sit down and enjoy the read for pleasure or pick out nuggets of wisdom to provide a framework for pursuing your own family discoveries."

- Family Tree, August 2016

“The stories are well-illustrated with examples of records and also photographs of Symes’s ancestors (or others in similar situations) showing work or living conditions… This book is easy to read and designed to get you thinking about your own ancestors—I thought of my ancestors in many similar situations and sources.”


Similar Titles