Those of you who have followed me for some time may realise that I have a number of seafaring ancestors in my family tree. As the wind this Easter blows up around Force 7 to 8, with the prospect of it reaching Sever Gale 9 as Storm Katie crashes her way into our lives tonight, my thoughts naturally turn to those who make their living at sea and those of my ancestors who made theirs on ships big and small.
Perhaps it was happenstance that this weekend I should get a press release from a publisher notifying me about a new book from Simon Wills that came out in February. This volume is a comprehensive guide to interpreting photographs of seafaring ancestors from 1850 to 1950. It is aimed at helping you identify your ancestor’s roles at sea. and it explains their ranks and medals and will provide the researcher with tips for investigating careers. The book is a fascinating insight into Britain’s maritime history so if you, like me, have sea salt in your blood then it is worth taking a look.
TRACING YOUR SEAFARING ANCESTORS by Simon Wills is published by Pen & Sword RRP: £14.99
172 PAGES • PAPERBACK
Photographs of your seafaring ancestors may tell you more about their lives
than you realise, and Simon Wills’ helpful and practical guide shows you how to
identify and interpret the evidence caught on camera. Since maritime roles have
been so vital to Britain’s prosperity and military might, they are among the
commonest professions depicted in photographs of our ancestors, and this
handbook is the ideal introduction to them.
Maybe your ancestor was a seaman in the Royal Navy, a ship’s captain, a
steward on an ocean liner, or an officer in the naval reserves? This book shows
you how to spot photographic clues to an individual’s career. Whether your
ancestor served in the merchant navy or the Royal Navy or in another seagoing
role such as a fisherman, a Royal Marine, or even a ship’s passenger, Simon
Wills’ book will be your guide.
About the Author
Dr Simon Wills is a genealogist and journalist and a regular contributor to
Family Tree, BBC Who Do You Think You Are? and other magazines. He writes
mainly about maritime history and genealogy, but he also has a special interest
in health and disease in the past. He works as an information specialist, writer
and advisor to the National Heath Service and other healthcare organisations. His
most recent publications are his history of British passengers at sea, Voyages
from the Past, and a well-received novel Lifeboatmen.