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Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Discover Your Ancestors Review

Launching a new family history publication may be considered a brave step by some following the recent demise of the online Discover My Past (back issues still available), and the much lamented Family History Monthly.   

However, the new Discover Your Ancestors Periodical is hoping to build on the success of the glossy annual bookazine, available from newsagents or the publisher. The monthly magazine is published in association with theGenealogist.

The first issue (May) had an article on tracking down archives by expert author Simon Fowler, social history articles on the early aviators and on child labour, a look at records available for Essex, book reviews and more.The June issue focussed on the suffragette movement, records for the legendary Dambusters squadron, how to research Welsh Anglican and Nonconformist ancestors, plus a look at Birmingham resources and more.

Looking at the first two issues, I would say that the magazine is initially aimed at those starting out in family history.  However, hardened campaigners should still find the social history articles and focus on particular records valuable, particularly if you like to put your ancestors’ lives in context. Next month's features are listed here, including one on vaccination registers by yours truly.

Subscribers can download the whole magazine in pdf. format or you can just browse each article online. Unfortunately I can’t comment on how easy the magazine is to read on mobile devices as I am old-fashioned and just use my phone for texts and calls!

The monthly periodical is 20 pages long, fully illustrated, and comes with free subscriber data.  It costs £1 per month (£12 for a year’s subscription). 
This compares with £4.99 for BBC Who Do You Think You Are? (100 pages long).  Your Family History and Family Tree are both £4.99 I think (the latter is £3.99 for its digital edition).  These magazines also have subscriber offers and offer free data sets.

As always with the family history magazines, I think which you choose very much depends on your budget, how experienced a researcher you are, and which datasets are useful for your personal research.  You may like to flit between each magazine according to which records are being discussed that month, or you may prefer to treat yourself to a subscription so that you don’t have to remember to buy it each month, and so that you can keep up with the latest news.  

Do you prefer a print magazine which you can thumb through (in or out of the bath!), or do you prefer to read articles on your mobile device or PC?  I’d love to hear your views!

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