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.