How To Trace My Ancestors? Useful Books To Help You

By | January 25, 2017

Tracing your family history can bring up some unlikely connections to people that you thought might not have existed in your family tree. This ‘How To Trace My Ancestors‘ guide will show you how you can find illegitimate children, Freemasons, gentlemen, gypsies or lunatics in your family. That is not to say that there are such in your family. But if you do suspect that anyone of these in are in your family tree then the following guides will help you.

My Ancestor Was A Bastard

* Affiliate Disclaimer *

I have covered various different categories of guidebooks that can be used in your quest to trace your ancestors. However, in this post I wanted to cover an area that is not so much talked about. And if you are struggling to find any information on an illegitimate child or a lunatic in your family then these guides are for you.

Five Books That Will Help You Trace Your Ancestors Working Lives:

My Ancestor Was A Bastard     My Ancestor Was A Freemason     My Ancestor Was A Gentleman

My Ancestors Were Gypsies     My Ancestor Was A Lunatic

Please note:

Although these books are available to you in the US and the UK, they discuss how you may find such people within the United Kingdom. Tips are also included on how you can search records and get the information that you are after.

Also, these books are available in the Kindle format. So once you have purchased them then you can immediately start to trace your ancestors. There is no waiting for a book to arrive in the mail.

If you do wish to purchase a paperback then there are links available when you go through to the Amazon product.

==> Check Out The First Part of Ancestry Jobs <==

My Ancestor Was A BastardMy Ancestor Was A Bastard

When tracing our family history we may come across the proverbially skeletons in the closet. Having a bastard ancestor will certainly be classed as a skeleton that we might not want to acknowledge.

But this illegitimate child that is born out of wedlock should not be forgotten.

As negative as this skeleton may appear to be he or she is still apart of your family history. So with that in mind we shouldn’t just disregard this person and the circumstances behind their existence and their parents. We should accept it for what it is.

A Bastard
Book Type Kindle
File Size 5888KB
Pages 110 pages
Author Ruth Paley
Publisher Society of Genealogists Enterprises Ltd
Published March 9, 2015
Where to Buy Amazon
Also available for Amazon Prime customers!

Finding illegitimate children in your family!

Truth be told I have found a number of illegitimate children within my family tree. Not many but a few. So rather than sugar-coat or gloss over this fact I too have learned to accept it. I want to preserve any part of my family history no matter what I do find.

If you do happen to find an illegitimate child in your ancestry I suggest that you try to find their true biological father. After all they are just as much your ancestry too, and they should not be forgotten.

This guidebook can help you immensely!

This is a great guide book for you if you too find a bastard child in your family. It will help you to formulate a research strategy and also show you resources that you can use to find these children. There are guides as well that will show you where to find these members of your family, how to use these resources and what information maybe contained in them.

There is also a very useful directory of websites that you can check out that will help with your research. A rather useful and somewhat weird glossary is included that lists all sorts of terms that you may encounter when researching for an illegitimate child in the family.

Finally, within the book there is a step by step guide that will help you plan a research strategy that is tailored to you and your family.

Finding information about our illegitimate ancestors is literally not straightforward, unless if you are extremely lucky. But we all know that we will find brick walls in our research. It is inevitable.

This book will help you to understand the cultural, economic and legal boundaries that have shaped the world of the unmarried mother and her child. By understanding the circumstances you can then make educated guesses and search in the right area and get results.


My Ancestor Was A FreemasonMy Ancestor Was A Freemason

Freemasons, or just masons, are members of a ‘secret’ organization of fellow members. It is the oldest fraternity in the world. Despite being considered secret, members do not actually hide the fact that they are members of this society.

Although handshakes and grips that are used as passwords are kept private.

Members will regularly attend gatherings or meetings at a Masonic Lodge. This building is the basic organizational unit of Freemasonry.

Their are two parts to these meetings. The first part is to take care of business. This is the followed by initiating canditates and promoting members. All of this is done in a formal ceremony that is centuries old.

A Freemason
Book Type Kindle
File Size 22440KB
Pages 46 pages
Author Pat Lewis
Publisher Society of Genealogists Enterprises Ltd
Published November 20, 2014
Where to Buy Amazon
Also available for Amazon Prime customers!

The secrets of Freemasonry originated as early as the Middle Ages. Essentially stonemasons needed a way to show their level of skills and expertise. This meant that they would be paid with respect to their skill. Also, lesser skilled masons could not expect to be paid as highly as more experienced stonemasons.

Was Your Ancestor A Freemason?

If you know or suspect that an ancestor of your was a Freemason then this short guide book is for you. The book will go into more detail about the history of this fraternity within England and Wales.

The book also covers what publications you can find about Freemasons. This is followed by listing female Freemasons, details about lodges, and then prisoner of war and record repositories.


My Ancestor Was A GentlemanMy Ancestor Was A Gentleman

This book focuses on helping you to find English and Welsh gentry that are in your family history. So if you know or suspect that you do have a ‘gentleman’ in your family tree then this guide is for you.

As yet I have not found such gentry within my family. But that is not to say that someday that I will not find one. I have traced many branches of my family tree, but as genealogists you will know full well just how incredibly dense your tree gets the further back you go.

A Gentleman
Book Type Kindle
File Size 4168KB
Pages 170 pages
Author Stuart A Raymond
Publisher Society of Genealogists Enterprises Ltd
Published July 24, 2014
Where to Buy Amazon
Also available for Amazon Prime customers!

This guide is essentially for you if you already know that you have notable blood in your ancestry. It can help you for example help you trace back to a 17th Century Lord, (if such a connection exists).

Guides to different records that will help you include:

  • Title deeds
  • Heraldic records
  • Taxation records.


My Ancestors Were GypsiesMy Ancestors Were Gypsies

If you know that your ancestors were travelers, vagrants or hawkers then quite possibly they may have been gypsies. A person’s occupation may very well indicate that they were a gypsy.

Together with a person’s occupation there are three other characteristics that can help you.

Do you know whether there were any gypsies in your family? If not then why not ask an older relative and find out? Who knows what you will discover.

Book Type Kindle
File Size 6041KB
Pages 90 pages
Author Sharon Sillers Floate
Publisher Society of Genealogists Enterprises Ltd
Published November 6, 2014
Where to Buy Amazon
Also available for Amazon Prime customers!

The four characteristics are:

  • Surname
  • Occupation
  • Evidence of mobility
  • Unusual forename

Surnames such as Cooper, Smith and Lee are signs that your ancestors may have been gypsies. The same can be said about a person’s occupations, as mentioned above.

Unfortunately these two characteristics cannot always be guaranteed to tell that your ancestor was indeed a gypsy.

The next characteristic is whether they were listed as a tent dweller, a van dweller, a stroller, itinerant or had no abode. Different places listed for each of the children is also a telltale sign.

Does your ancestor have an unusual name?

The last characteristic is quite common for gypsies where the children are given unusual forenames. This is with respect to the settled community around them.

This guide will be essential to you as it will help you to access and understand records about this subject. The book also includes a list of over one hundred Romani surnames found throughout England. This therefore could help prove your connection.

So if you have encountered a brick wall in your gypsy heritage then this book is for you!


My Ancestor Was A LunaticMy Ancestor Was A Lunatic

In the past mental illness was something to be concealed. These people may have been locked up for not only their safety but also for the people around them.

For this reason you may have found some people that absent for a period of time within your family tree. However, sometimes people will just disappear permanently.

If your ancestor suffered a breakdown in their health then they would have been put into an institution. This could have been temporarily or may have been for a permanent stay.

A Lunatic
Book Type Kindle
File Size 8825KB
Pages 115 pages
Author Kathy Chater
Publisher Society of Genealogists Enterprises Ltd
Published January 15, 2015
Where to Buy Amazon
Also available for Amazon Prime customers!

Typically people that had a mental illness and the mentally handicapped were put together. Even though there were distinct differences between the two they were still held within the same institution.

The aim of this guidebook is to help you locate surviving medical records. These records will show you whether your ancestors were mentally ill, had a disability or were cared for by others.

The history of how mental illness was perceived from the medieval times up until the present day.

Chapters that you will find in this book include:

  • Criminally insane
  • Suicides
  • Records in Scotland and Ireland
  • Finding your ancestors who cared for and treated people in asylums.



Thank You and Please Leave A Comment

I hope you enjoyed this review that asks the question ‘how to trace my family history‘ and helps you to discover the unusual members of your family tree. If you think that this post will be helpful to others then please share it with friends and family using the social media buttons below.

If you have any questions or comments then please leave a comment below. I would love to hear from you.

10 thoughts on “How To Trace My Ancestors? Useful Books To Help You

  1. Francis Donaghy

    Another comprehensive review, of such diverse areas. Well presented. I can now predict how you will describing your work. The formula works Owain, keep it up!

    1. Owain Post author

      Thank you Francis. I thought with this post that I would review the more unusual it’s regards to family history.

  2. Kevon

    Interesting books and a very interesting topic to cover on your blog. Do the books only work for the US and the UK or can they give general pointers for people in other countries? I would guess that the research to be carried out should be more or less the same in most countries, right?

    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Owain Post author

      Thanks for your comment and your questions Kevon.

      I have shown how you can purchase these books from Amazon through either the UK and US sites. They do cover though cover British history and how to find your ancestors within England, Scotland and Wales.

      However, they can still give you tips and strategies for such ancestors in your respective country.

      Hope this information is of use to you Kevon.

  3. Eric Cantu

    I think it’s the coolest, looking back at your own ancestry. Thinking about all the factors that had to work exactly as they did to turn first time meetings into relationships that eventually brought us here. Amazing. Nice article.

    1. Owain Post author

      That is so true Eric. I often think about the encounters that my ancestors made. If it wasn’t for a chance meeting or a specific event in the history of their lives then you or me may not be here today. It makes me appreciate my ancestors even more so.

  4. rebecca kosmidou

    Interesting books about finding your ancestors! I am disappointed though that they cover British history and how to find your ancestors in England, Scotland, and Wales. You see I am Greek and I would like to know if you are aware of any book has to do with finding my ancestors! I look forward for your answer!
    Best wishes,

    1. Owain Post author

      Hi Rebecca,

      I couldn’t find any book about finding Greek ancestors. I did come across a section though on the Family Search website. Check the link here.

      All the best with your search,

  5. Craig

    Hi Owain, wow! Who would’ve thought books like this even existed? I bet some of these will make a very interesting read. I’m very curious about the Freemasons book but I can’t tell you why 😉
    On a serious note, are you saying that we can really find actual names of Freemasons in this book? Where do they get this information form? Each Lodge has a ledger but I don’t think this is public information. There is a lot of information on Freemasonry on the internet now.

    1. Owain Post author

      The Freemason book is more of a guide than an index of sorts. It gives a brief introduction to Freemasonry and will also help you find your Freemason ancestors.


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