Exploring family history on a Kindle


A couple of self-published family history tales available on Amazon’s Kindle have come my way recently (via Facebook). Oh, aren’t I up with the trendy stuff. These prompted me to think about how such e-book devices make it easy for genealogy folk to release stories based on their researches for a wider public, at low cost. Getting the material known to a wider audience isn’t always so straightforward though, if it is hidden in the depths of the popularity contests of the Kindle Store, for example.

These particular two were free for a while but are now back to a small charge:

  • Olga A daughters tale £1-98. While some of this deals with experiencing WW2 in London, more of it is fact about a mixed race family growing up in Jamaica, using diary extracts and letters as a well constructed way of giving several personal viewpoints.
  • Born on the Graig – was 77p for an excerpt, or perhaps an intro,  from My Welsh Childhood by Colin Gronow (£1-99) – both no longer on Amazon at Dec’12.

I’ve had a look on Amazon for similar material, which I list below. While these all cost something, the out-of-copyright classics which are available for free on Kindle, and I guess elsewhere, are also worth a look. For example Charles Dickens tales give a good feel for Victorian London, and Kent, but also elsewhere – for example David Copperfield’s early chapters in the Lowestoft area.

I am expecting to come back to this item more than usual, to update and expand. And perhaps review some of the books/extended articles, if I get a chance. All links are to the Kindle version (some, generally the more expensive ones, will have printed editions).

Childhood Memories

Bombsites and Lollipops: My 1950s East End Childhood Not a typical childhood, by all accounts. £1-37

Working life

Call the Midwife On which successful BBC series was based. £4-99

Life in a Victorian Household 85p

Life in Nelson’s Navy (Sutton Life series). 89p

Social History

Daily Life in Victorian London : An Extraordinary Anthology £1-85

London and Londoners in the 1850s & 1860s  98p

Crime and Punishment in Victorian Edinburgh 77p

The Stories Behind London’s Streets £3-78

Shadows of the Workhouse – the Drama of Life in Post-War London. Same author as Call the Midwife. £4-99

Beyond the Tower: A History of East London £16-30.

Outside Britain

Coal & Coca-Cola: Small Town USA 1949 77p – Short True Story with Photos.

Research Guides

It looks like some of the cheap guides are rather short, thrown together and their web links may be dated. But for under a pound, may be worth a punt by the beginner.

Researching Your Family History Online For Dummies, UK Edition £7-91

If you are reading this on a Kindle

Using the Kindle as a web browser has limitations but text based sites are fine.

George Orwell’s diaries on the Road to Wigan Pier, transferred blog style.

Notes

Prices correct at time of first publication, but can change.

Don’t overlook the facility to copy/email your own research notes to the Kindle or send them on to relations to read at their leisure, in type size of their choice.

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