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Books by Chris Paton
Genealogy & History Guides



About Chris Paton
Originally from Carrickfergus in Northern Ireland, Chris Paton holds an HND in Design (Communication) from the University of Ulster, a degree in Time Base Media from the University of the West of England, and a Postgraduate Diploma in Genealogical Studies from the University of Strathclyde. Today he runs the Scotland's Greatest Story family history research service and maintains the British GENES news blog. He regularly writes for several British and Irish genealogy magazines and is the author of several genealogy based publications. In addition to research and writing, Chris also teaches Scottish genealogy courses through Pharos Teaching and Tutoring Ltd, and previously tutored on the University of Strathclyde's postgraduate programme in Genealogical, Palaeographic and Heraldic Studies. He previously worked for twelve years in the television industry, as a researcher, producer and director of primarily history based documentaries, mainly with the BBC in Bristol and Glasgow, and for Scottish Television's network production department STE.




BOOK - A Beginner's Guide to British and Irish Genealogy
By Chris Paton
Published by Unlock the Past, Australia, 2016
This edition printed and bound in Canada by GlobalGenealogy.com Inc., Ottawa

Chris Paton takes you through the key record sets that will help you get underway with your family history research. He will introduce you to the family history societies and archives that can assist your efforts, and provide a little context to the ancestral landscape within which your ancestors once lived, and into which you will soon be immersed. Along the way he points out some of the major differences in record types to be found in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, and the Crown Dependencies of the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. In each chapter Chris also provides a steer towards further books which can further develop your skills as you become more experienced with the subject matter, making this an invaluable introduction. ISBN 9781925323573     More Information
Softcover...18.00 (C$)

BOOK - A Decade of Centenaries: Researching Ireland 1912-1923
By Chris Paton
Published by Unlock the Past, Australia, 2016
This edition printed and bound in Canada by GlobalGenealogy.com Inc., Ottawa

As the issue of Home Rule reared its head for a third time, its supporters and detractors raised militias to defend their positions, whilst women fought for the vote and labourers fought for better terms from their employers. The First World War would soon dramatically change everything, leading some to see England's difficulty as Ireland's opportunity. When an independent republic was proclaimed through force of arms at Easter 1916, the response would see a brutal guerilla war fought between the British forces the Irish republicans, a partitioned island, and a nation divided. A century on, in this book from Unlock the Past, Northern Irish born family historian Chris Paton will help you to discover whether your ancestors were caught up in the events of that period - whether they were Suffragettes, unionised workers, Ulster or Irish Volunteers, fighting with the British Army and Crown forces, against them as rebels and revolutionaries, and in the ensuing civil war on both sides of the Treaty divide. With improved cataloguing by archives, and better access to the records, both online and offline, a new gateway has been opened into one of the island's most tumultuous, tragic, exciting, and utterly desperate periods of the 20th century. In this book he will show you how to step through it. ISBN ISBN 978125323436     More Information
Softcover...17.00 (C$)

BOOK - Discover Irish Land Records
By Chris Paton
Published by Unlock the Past, Australia, 2015
This edition printed and bound in Canada by GlobalGenealogy.com Inc., Ottawa

The questions that drive us with family history research in Ireland are no different to those asked anywhere else in the world. We need to find the records that tell us who our ancestors were, when and where they lived, and how they related to others. In Ireland, however, many of the records necessary for the task have sadly been lost across time, of were woefully restrictive in how they were created in the first place. Whilst some of the basic vital records do not survive, however, there are plenty of others that will compensate, in this guide book, Northern Ireland born family historian Chris Paton takes a look at the potential to be found within Irish land records. Amongst documents of ownership and tenancy, valuation and tithes records, documents for inheritance, censuses, and many other resources, there are ancestral stories lying dormant and waiting to be found. In this guide, he demonstrates how to find them. ISBN 9781925323245     More Information
Softcover...19.00 (C$)

BOOK - Irish Family History Resources Online - Second Edition
By Chris Paton
Published by Unlock the Past, St Agnes, Australia, 2015
This edition printed and bound in Canada by GlobalGenealogy.com Inc., Ottawa

There is a popular belief that Irish family history research is virtually impossible because 'all the records were burned in the civil war'. But as Northern Irish born family historian Chris Paton demonstrates, the glass is most definitely half full rather than half empty when it comes to research in the Emerald Isle. Many records still exist which can help with your ancestral pursuits, and for those unable to make their way to Ireland to carry out research, the internet is finally coming to the rescue, as more and more material is increasingly finding it's way online by the day. This revised and fully updated Unlock the Past guide explores the key repositories and records now available online, and will prove to you that if you have been put off with Irish research in the past, now is absolutely the time to take another look. ISBN 9781921956928    More Information
Softcover...21.50 (C$)

BOOK - Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet
By Chris Paton
Published by Pen and Sword, Barnsley UK, 2013
Ireland has probably experienced more tragedy when it comes to the preservation of resources for family historians than any other region of the British Isles. Many of the nation’s primary records were lost during the civil war in 1922 and through other equally tragic means. But in this new book Chris Paton shows that not only has a great deal of information survived, it is also increasingly being made available online. As well as exploring the various categories of records that the family historian can turn to, Chris Paton illustrates their use with fascinating case studies. He fully explores the online records available from both the north and the south from the earliest times to the present day. Many overseas collections are also included, and he looks at social networking in an Irish context where many exciting projects are currently underway.
ISBN 9781781591840    More information
Softcover...29.95 (C$)

BOOK - British and Irish Newspapers
By Chris Paton
Published by Unlock the Past, St Agnes, Australia, 2014
This edition printed and bound in Canada by GlobalGenealogy.com Inc., Ottawa

Records of births, marriages and deaths provide a fantastic starting point for identifying our ancestors' names and where they lived, but in terms of trying to understand how those ancestors once lived there is no better resource to plunder than a good newspaper. Over the last two centuries in particular newspapers have recorded the events that have shaped our forebears' lives, and in many cases noted anecdotes, notices and advertisements directly concerning them and their local communities. In this Unlock the Past guide, family historian Chris Paton reviews the availability of newspapers from across the British Isles, describing how to find those that have been digitised and made available online, and explaining how to locate considerably more that have not within the various libraries and archives across Britain and Ireland. ISBN 978-1-77240-005-2    More Information
Softcover...20.50 (C$)

BOOK - Discover Scottish Church Records - Second Edition
By Chris Paton
Published by Unlock the Past, Australia, 2016
This edition printed and bound in Canada by GlobalGenealogy.com Inc., Ottawa

In this greatly expanded second edition of Chris Paton's popular title, he explores the history and records of the various churches in Scotland prior to 1855, the year in which civil registration commenced within the country. He describes the theological changes imposed by the Reformation of 1560, the nature of the state's battles with the Kirk, and the Kirk's subsequent battles within itself. Most importantly, he also discusses the nature of the records generated by the various Scottish churches, how to interpret them, and above all else, how to find them. Whether you are looking for tales of ministers carried into the air by Scotland's fairy folk, the fire and thunder of John Knox, a detailed explanation of the online offerings of the ScotlandsPeople website, or the treasures waiting in the National Records of Scotland, this is the definitive research guide to help anyone with Caledonian connections.
ISBN 9781925323351     More Information
Softcover...28.00 (C$)

BOOK - Down and Out in Scotland: Researching Ancestral Crisis   
By Chris Paton
Published by Unlock the Past, St Agnes, Australia, 2015
This edition printed and bound in Canada by GlobalGenealogy.com Inc., Ottawa

In this latest Unlock the Past guide, genealogist Chris Paton goes in search of the records of ancestral hardship in Scotland, to allow us to truly understand the situations that our ancestors had to endure and overcome across the generations, to help us become the people who we are today. There were many battles that our forebears fought for and against in Scotland, both on a personal level and as a part of the society within which they lived. There were the laws of the local parish church and the punishments awaiting those who breached kirk discipline; the struggles to avoid poverty and the stigma of being a debtor; the darkest moments of the soul, from mental health issues and illness, to murder and suicide; and the dramatic moments of rebellion, when our forebears drew a line in the sand against a perceived tyranny or democratic deficit. Illness, death, bigamy, abandonment, accidents, eviction, ethnic cleansing – a dramatic range of challenges across a lifetime, and at times, outright tragedy. ISBN 978-1-921956-98-0    More Information
Softcover...18.50 (C$)

BOOK - Discover Scottish Civil Registration Records   
By Chris Paton
Published by Unlock the Past, St Agnes, Australia, 2013
This edition printed and bound in Canada by GlobalGenealogy.com Inc., Ottawa

This guide from family historian Chris Paton takes a look at the vast world of Scottish civil registration records. Scotland commenced the statutory registration of births, marriages and deaths within the country in 1855, some seventeen and half years after a similar process had already got underway in England and Wales. The information lost to the family historian by such a late start is, however, more than made up for by the fact that Scottish registration records are the most detailed of all those found within the British Isles. But what was the law behind Scottish registration, and how did it differ to England, Wales and Ireland? Who was legally obliged to do what and when, what were the penalties for default, and how might such knowledge help with our ancestral research? Why were all the forms of Scottish irregular marriage not abolished in 1939, and what angered the country's doctors? Where are the records not found online via ScotlandsPeople, such as those for adoption, vaccination, civil partnerships and divorce - and what vital records does the General Register Office in England hold for Scots as far back at the 1760s, and far beyond Britain's shores? ISBN 978-1-926797-99-1    More Information
Softcover...17.00 (C$)

BOOK - Discover Scottish Land Records   
By Chris Paton
Originally published by Unlock the Past, St Agnes, Australia, 2012
This edition printed and bound in Canada by GlobalGenealogy.com Inc., Ottawa

This guide from family historian Chris Paton takes a look at the complicated records concerning land and property based research in Scotland. For centuries property transactions within the county were governed by feudal tenure, a system which was abandoned in England and Wales in the Middle Ages, but which continued in Scotland until 2004. But feudalism was not the only method by which land was held, with udalism, duthcas, leasehold and more competing as forms of tenure across the country at different times. Connected with the rules surrounding property transactions were those associated with the inheritance of land and heritable estate, all of which is explained in great detail. From sassines to skat, from retours to precepts of clare constant, and from apparent heirs to heirs apparent, this concise guide will help you get to grips with one of the most exciting and useful topics within Scottish family history. ISBN 978-1-926797-97-7    More Information
Softcover... 19.00 (C$)

BOOK - Researching Scottish Family History
By Chris Paton
Published by The Family History Partnership, Lancashire, UK, 2010
Researching Scottish Family History is a detailed introductory guide to those wishing to explore their Caledonian roots. Filled with handy tips throughout, the book also provides many useful contextual asides on various aspects of Scottish history relevant to your ancestral pursuit – why are there no bishops’ transcripts for Scotland, for example, and how do you prove whether your ancestor really was a Jacobite soldier? Completing the book are handy appendices listing the contact details of all Scottish based county archives, family history societies and comainn eachdraidh, making this an absolute essential for your personal genealogical library. 120 pages.
ISBN 978-1-906280-22-2 (Softcover)    More Information

Softcover... $22.95 (C$)


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