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This is a selection of basic reading available on the internet, which extends a background to our family genealogies: where did our ancestors come from, why are we here in this place, what influenced our ever-changing culture. What caused our antecedents to migrate, from the evolution of Modern Man in Africa to every corner of the world.

These are works on specialist subjects and require dictionary explanations of words not in everyday use by the layman. It is highly recommended that readers down-load the free program GURUNET as an on-line reference which is quick and easy to use: hold the ALT key down while you click on a word for the desired meaning. 

These web pages are typical of a great amount available; there is a wide variety to be found by Googling.

Lord Ernle 1912, 5th edition 1936

This is a scholarly work on farming and the living conditions it imposed on the countryside of England. It brings to light some of the basic reasons for migration to the overseas colonies of America and Australia.

Scroll down to the contents section and browse through the subjects of each chapter for material of interest. Chapters 14, 15 and 16 contain much to explain the problems of rural living in England from 1780 to 1837.

500 Years of Poor Laws, 1349-1834
William P Quigley

A History of endeavours to handle poverty by legal means; welfare is difficult to apply in a class system.

A Dissertation on the Poor Laws
Joseph Townsend 1786

This is a contemporary essay, full of interesting, sometimes amusing, anecdotes and parables on the problems of dealing with the welfare of the rural population. 

Ditto similar by Hale 1683

 Life in Rural Wiltshire 18th & 19th Century
Lab1 Agricultural Labour in 1700s  
Lab2 Wilts Agricultural Labourer 
Lab3 Organised Migration to Australia from Wilts

The Neolithic Diaspora in Europe
Peter Bogucki, 1997, PrincetonUniversity

Big words! 
Neolithic: Of or pertaining to the cultural period of the New Stone Age. It was characterised by the fashioning and use of polished stone tools and artefacts and the development of agriculture which spread from the Middle East into Europe and Asia about 10,000 years BC. 
Diaspora: The dispersion of populations to new homelands.
Long past population movements are now being traced through the DNA in present day peoples.


The history of groups of people from which our families arose has a bearing on our culture. By present day standards our ancestors endured much hardship and brutality in their survival. Where there was conflict there were atrocities, where men were murdered and women were raped; so was the human heritage perpetuated, and we discover now our ancient roots in our genes.

Genghis Khan

The genetic heritage left by the brutal hordes of Mongols across Asia is widely spread today.

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
Originally compiled on the orders of King Alfred the Great, approximately A.D. 890, and subsequently maintained and added to by generations of anonymous scribes until the middle of the 12th Century. The original language is Anglo-Saxon (Old English), but later entries are essentially Middle English in tone. These are the bare and basic facts and legends of the invaders from north eastern Germany Jutland and Friesland who occupied England after the Roman Empire abandoned it. 


The Roman Legions in Britain

The Romans were a literate people and left much detail of their activities and time in Britain, written on tombstones and tiles and coins and other artefacts. Much of our law is based on that of the Romans. The legions included men from all over the Empire which extended throughout Europe and Asia Minor and into North Africa. Consequently we need not be surprised that a great mixture of genes from all over the Empire diluted that of the Britons and Celts. 

The history of the Roman invasion and occupation of Britain.

Aspects of life and events in the Roman army, much of which are in the words, translated, of Roman writers of the time.


Migration out of Africa

How Ancient Humans Spread Across the Earth 

The Emergence of Intelligence

Evolution gradually brought a development of the potential of the brain. Language and communication, logic and reasoning, imagination and invention, foresight and planning, control of the emotions and a thousand other things which civilised the instincts of survival.

Language and Evolution

Perhaps the most important contributor to Intelligence

Climate History

Brief summary of the world climate over the last 100,000 years


Very big volcanic eruptions have been seen in the past to affect the climate of the world. Mt Tambora in SumbawaIndonesia, erupted in 1815 with great force hurling 150 cubic kilometres of lava and ash into the air, with a resultant dust cloud to screen the earth. Because of this 1816 was known in England as the year without a summer, a year of poor crops and hardship in rural communities. It added to the economic woes following the end of the Napoleonic Wars. 

Toba Volcano, Sumatra

About 70,000 years ago this volcano erupted, throwing 2,800 cubic kilometres of rock and ash to tremendous heights and forming a dense dust veil around the earth. The resulting effect on the climate was devastating to all forms of life for many years after.

According to Rampino's research, Toba blasted a crater 100 kms long, sending 3 billion tonnes of sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere and a dense cloud of volcanic dust around the globe. He also suspects that Toba's super-eruption was responsible for the population crash of 70,000 years ago, when the number of people fell to no more than 10,000. 

Michael Rampino warned that this kind of super- eruption occurs every 50,000 years.Other research indicates that as the cooling of the earth had already commenced, Toba then was the indicating point for the commencement of the ice-age. 

Homo Sapiens Sapiens Events
A timeline for mankind

Evolution of the Earth and life

A timeline for the Earth.