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Genealogy & History Resources

BOOK - Tracing Your East End Ancestors (London, UK), A Guide For Family Historians
By Jane Cox
Published by Pen and Sword Books, S. Yorkshire, UK (2011)

Softcover... 32.95 (C$)

"East Enders are a very special breed and tracing your East End ancestry is going to be tremendous fun. Everyone has got some East End ancestors - and if they haven’t they invent them, rollicking chaps, larky and resourceful, talking a funny language to keep “them” guessing, eating at eel and pie shops, shouting out their wares in clattering, colourful markets. Their wives and masters (“ ‘er in doors”) are brazen lassies, smart as paint, tough as their men folk, presiding over an undoubted matriarchal society where Mum rules OK? The good tales are of bright little kids, unshod and street-wise, rising above their origins and making a mint. The bad ones are of indescribable horror - children dying in diseased heaps, infant sex for sale and gangs of armed bandits terrorising the neighbourhood".

As author Jane Cox writes in the preface, the East End of our great grandparents’ days was another world, and her fascinating and accessible guide to East End ancestry will help you find out about it. She takes readers through the maze of courts and alleys that was the home of their ancestors, bringing to life that vibrant, polyglot society, and describing the many sources researchers can consult – archives, records, books, the internet – in order to discover the lives of individuals who lived in the area or passed through it.

The following reviews shed much light on the exceptional content and quality of this fine book:
  • Jane Cox offers a comprehensive volume to East End ancestry. - Family Tree Magazine, June 2011

  • This is an excellent guide not just to the East End, but also to the vast majority of Londoners who were poor. Who Do You Think You Are Magazine, July 2011

  • This starts with a case study of Tower Hamlets, before discussing research and sources, and the varied groups that made up the East End's population. Again, this will probably be most use to family historians - British Association for Local History

  • People love to boast about their east end ancestors whether they actually existed or not and perhaps until recently there weren't many ways to tell if they actually did. Tracing Your East End Ancestors allows this information to be uncovered, delving into the world of cheeky chaps, eel pies and pie shops. The book describes everything from the good such as stories of kids from nothing rising to riches to the bad such as child prostitution and disease ridden houses. Through clever bullet points and amazing images including ones of letters, the book is able to inform yet entertain the reader by detailing the many aspects of the east end and what their ancestors may have experienced. Through archives,records and books, Jane Cox utilises her twenty five years experience at The National Archives well and creates a comprehensive guide so useful maybe even a few northerners would dare to pick a copy up. - John (Reader Review)

  • Jane Cox has already written a book on East End history, and she is an experienced genealogist. Her new book covers the area of the modern borough of Tower Hamlets, and the title page helpfully lists the parishes and hamlets involved. The author gives us a lively and authoritative history of the area, then guides us through its many sources for family history. The East End brims with history - medieval manors, pilgrim fathers, shipwrights and tailors, social reformers, strikes, workhouses, wave after wave of immigrants, the Blitz - and Jane Cox knows it all intimately. She also has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the relevant records and where to find them, from the marvellous collections in the Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archive to the ever expanding internet and national sources such as TNA, where the author used to work. The result is a pleasure to read. In any book like this, there are always going to be long sections of bare facts, but Jane Cox has a habit at just the right moment of enlivening her text with a moving story or quirky gravestone inscription. Overall this is a marvellous book, one which will serve any East End researcher well for years to come. - Federation of Family History Societies (FFHS)
256 Pages
6 X 8.25"
Table of Contents
Photos and Illustrations
ISBN: 9781848841604
Published by Pen and Sword Books, S. Yorkshire, UK (2011)

Also see: Tracing Your London Ancestors, A Guide for Family Historians

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