About this site
This site started as a facility to display our own family history online back in 1998, and as we grew we realised that we had books in our collection that were rare and of interest to other researchers. We scanned a couple of them and put the images online free. It wasn't long before we started getting requests to buy the books on CD-ROM, so naturally we obliged, and the shop was born.
The proprietor, Nigel Batty-Smith, has always wanted to ensure that the site did not lose its' original focus which was to provide access to original rare books and documents online as free reference material to fellow researchers. Over the past few years we have amassed quite a collection of rare books and documents, which we have purchased through the proceeds of CD-ROM sales. Some of these we have already put online as you will see when you navigate the site. One of the major works we purchased was the 6 volume set of The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5 which included all English and Welsh counties, as well as the Channel Island and Isle of Man.
After that purchase we decided to restructure the web site around the gazetteer and transcribe it completely. The present site is still based around this structure and in addition we have also added the Irish pages with descriptions from Samuel Lewis' Topographical dictionary; we have also purchased The Comprehensive Gazetteer of Scotland, circa 1841 for the Scottish pages. As you may notice we are still only part way through the transcription process, but that is now being resolved as our focus is brought back to the original cause.
We have spent the past few months completely re-writing the site, so that it is now PHP based, with our own custom content management system in the background. This major change means that we can now instantly update pages, instead of having to run a script to create pages and then load them to the server.
We recently took the decision to start advertising on the site as a means of income to further add to the list of resources, and we are now working to put the vast majority of what we sell on CD-ROM online in free, fully indexed databases, linked to images of the original books and documents. This is a major process and will take time to complete. Yes there are many links to external authentic genealogy resources, but we hope to make the vast majority available free on this site.
We hope that you will continue to support us and help to achieve our aim of being one of the best UK genealogy web sites on the internet.