Saturday, April 2, 2016

B is for Books (and Battleships)

B is for Books (and Battleships)

Don't forget to read books while researching your family history will you?  And read them over and over.  Any new area of research is challenging...filled with unfamiliar words and phrases.  

Your brain is trained, I think, to look for the familiar.  It's a kind of efficiency mechanism.  We get so flooded with information that our brain, in processing the onslaught, hones in on the familiar - "Look, that's what you've seen before. Is that what you want?"  That's why learning is difficult.  We're looking at new things - a new ontology (there's a big word for you that I learned at Uni - I think it means a ways of capturing and analysing knowledge in a subject area).  Yet our brain scans continually for the old and previously encountered stuff beause it recognises it and, via shorthand, you know how to respond. So keep reading and re-reading until the new information/structure of the new subject matter starts to sink in.  

I have been reading and re-reading Simon Fowler's Tracing your Naval Ancestors - a guide for Family Historians and found many little gems last night which I have flagged to follow up.  Just for example these ones on pages 55 and 56 relating to Officers' Passing Certificates:
Increasingly, copies of Baptismal certificates may be found with the certificates.....
Ask the staff in the Open Reading Room for Indexes to engineers' and surgeons' passing certificates.
I am now a bit more clear about where my great-grandfather and great-great-grandfather fitted into the Navy hierarchy.  They were warrant officers and indeed as engineers, from 1847, they became commissioned officers.   

Simon Fowler also recommends reading Bruno Pappalardo's Tracing Your Naval Ancestors.  I have ordered it but suspect it may be a while before it arrives...sigh.

Yesterday a new book arrived in the mail for me.  Yangtze River Gunboats 1900-1949 by Angus Konstam and illustrated by Tony Bryan published by Osprey Publishing.  It's a slim digestible volume which I look forward to reading.  

I have also looked at NAM Rodger's Naval Records for Genealogists and Ships of the Royal Navy by J.J. Colledge, both available at the QFHS Library.

You will see that I just raided the Kenmore Library this afternoon for their naval books.  If you go to your local library and it uses the Dewey Decimal system, you will find most satisfaction under

359.009 - 359.32



for genealogy guides

or, depending on your area of historical interest look around 


When it all gets too much, I ask my husband to play Battleships with me.  Did you ever play that game?  I loved it.

This was written as part of the A to Z challenge which you can find here.


Aneeta said...

Alex, I see Kenmore in your post. I used to live in Kenmore! A very long time ago. And, yes, I also played Battleships. But I don't think I can remember it now.

Alex Daw said...

Dear Aneeta - that is amazing that you used to live in Kenmore. Wow! Six degrees and all that.

Helen Connor said...

Dear Alex - books and books - I never have enough time - trhanks for the reminder though Alex

ScotSue said...

Yes, I have fond memories of my father teaching my brother and myself how to play Battleships, drawing the squares on paper etc. You don't hear of the game these days - though no doubt it can be found online. .

Alex Daw said...

Dear Helen and Sue - thank you for your comments (somehow I have lost the abiity on Blogger to reply to each individual comment grrrr). Helen - I have to remind myself constantly and I work in a library. As they say, it's not all on the net. Sue - my husband said exactly that.

Wendy said...

Yes, I played Battleship. We even had the game when my daughters were little. I do believe the game is still around and has probably been upgraded for today's techie kids. I am amazed at the resources available to genealogists. It takes some out-of-the-box thinking to discover there are entire books devoted to such a specific topic as researching naval ancestors.
Wendy from
Jollett Etc.

Crissouli said...

If you forget that not all is online, what hope is there for us, dear Alex? 🙄 I do love libraries... 😍

Suzanne McClendon said...

We used to play Battleship years ago. It was always fun to play with the kids.

It sounds like you have some very interesting reading ahead of you!

Have a great day. :)

Kristin said...

We have an old game of Battleship that a family friend gave us and my grandkids still play it sometimes. And yes, books are great.


Finding Eliza

Manisha Awasthi said...

Great tip.. Read new stuff until it sinks in. Well written post.

The Nimble Mime

Alex Daw said...

Dear Wendy, Chris, Suzanne and Kristin - Thank you for your comments. Wendy - I'm not sure that I have out of the box thinking - more like sheer desperation keeps me searching ;) Chris - tragic huh? We've got to get out from behind the computer more. Suzanne - I do have some interesting reading ahead of to carve out the time! Kristin - does your game have model ships or do you have to draw them like I do in my old game?

Alex Daw said...

Dear Manisha - thank you for your kind words !

Anonymous said...

We like books, a lot, and family history. Beautiful frog banner and fun that you gave its history! Have fun with the A to Z Challenge!

Alex Daw said...

Thank you for visiting my blog Nutmeg. I hope to return the favour!

diane b said...

I admire your persistence

Sharon said...

I hate to admit that I have not borrowed a book from a library for decades! I buy them instead! Otherwise, I would end up with fines for not returning them in time!

Cassmob (Pauleen) said...

Yes indeed, books and more books...the secret to learning and understanding. I hadn't thought about learning that way though I do think we use our prior knowledge and experience to understand. Now you've made me wish that I had naval officers not boring old Mariners ;)

Family History Across The Seas

Jill Ball said...

There's nothing better than browsing the shelves of a library. Treasures abound.

Alex Daw said...

Dear Sharon Diane Pauleen and Jill - thank you for your comments. Sharon I know what you mean - I can't resist buying them sometims but I am under strict instructions from my husband (builder of bookcases) to borrow more from libraries! Pauleen the learning process is fascinating to me...if we think of neural pathways as a bit like pathways in the local area that people have used for many years - well worn - easy to see....when I'm learning...I feel like I'm going off the well-known well-travelled path...I feel unsure and uneasy with the new subject matter/terminology. Oh yes Jill...I am at my most relaxed when browsing in a library - except when the books get too heavy to carry.