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Family history is one of Britains most popular pastimes. Around six million people in Britain are researching their family trees, and genealogy is one of the top categories for online searches. The opening up of public records, the growth of family history societies and the introduction of computers and the internet have made the subject accessible to everyone.As a popular history of the subject, rather than yet another how to guide, Family Matters puts the study of family history itself into a historical and social context. The book traces the rise of genealogy from an esoteric interest of gentlemen and scholars to a mainstream hobby enjoyed by millions. It describes in vivid detail the landmark events and the personalities behind them, telling the story of the evolution of family history through the eyes of those involved. It also looks forward to some of the challenges facing family history in the future, as a result of factors such as commercialisation, legislation and new technologies. This original and highly readable work offers a fresh perspective on an activity that is not just a fast-growing leisure pursuit but also a rapidly expanding business sector and an important field for public policy.Family Matters will be fascinating reading for family and local history enthusiasts, providing them with an engaging account ofthe development of their favourite pastime. It will also appeal to social historians and to everyone who is interested in the role of public information and archives in popular culture.

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