The following publications have resulted from my research into family history.

  • Downloads - PDFs of most publications are available here. Copies of most PDFs have also been deposited with the Internet Archive:

    Note: Downloads permitted for private use only. All Rights Reserved. (c) Geoffrey Barber.

Manorial Records for Family Historians (2017)

The manorial system, introduced to England and Wales by the Normans, lasted until 1926 and the surviving records can provide wonderful insights into the personal lives of our ancestors. Henry Chandler wrote in 1885 that manorial records "enable us to drop down suddenly on an obscure English village five hundred year ago, and almost to see with our own eyes what the inhabitants are doing".
However, it seems that few genealogists understand manorial records and how the manor operated. The aim of this book is to cut through a complex mix of social and legal history to give family historians the knowledge and confidence to start utilising these records. The rewards are immense.
The book also contains many examples of how records from the manors of Rotherfield in East Sussex and Datchurst alias Hildenborough in Kent were used by the author in his own research.

Published in Australia by Unlock the Past

Published in the UK by My History


History of the Old House (Originally Marden's Farm) in Hildenborough, Kent (2014)

This booklet documents the history of the property now known as the Old House in Hildenborough, Kent, England.
It is a late 15th Century Grade II* listed property indicating that it is of particular importance, with only 8% of listed buildings
being Grade II* or higher. It was originally part of an 18 acre farm known as Marden's Farm and almost certainly the original farm house.
The booklet includes a history timeline, maps, transcriptions of surviving documents and a family tree concerning the Gilpin and
Waite families, both previous owners of the property. John Waite, who inherited the property in 1726, is my 7xgreat grandfather.



Barber alias Nynne - Five Hundred Years of Family History in Rotherfield, Tonbridge and Brighton (2015).

This book is the culmination of a journey I started in the early 1980s when I began to explore my family history.
In this book I find the earliest Barber families and discover how they might have lived, putting "flesh on the bones" so to speak.
The book starts in 1530 in Rotherfield in Sussex moving forward one generation after another to the present day.
The amount of historical information discovered for these ordinary lives is quite amazing and I believe that the book serves as a
great example of how the combination of church records, manorial records and legal documents can be used to learn about the
lives of our ancestors in England in the very early period of the 1500s - 1700s.
See main page on how to purchase this book.


George Meek's Grandfather (2016).

George Meek (1868-1921) lived a life of poverty in Eastbourne, East Sussex, yet in 1910 he published the book: "George Meek,
Bath Chair-Man, By Himself" with the support of famous author and fellow socialist H.G. Wells.
This booklet is about Benjamin Knibbs otherwise Humphries, the grandfather who raised George as a child and is frequently
mentioned in the book although not by name (and who is also my 3xgreat grandfather). It provides a comprehensive family
background for George Meek and integrates it with the information in his book. A detailed family tree is presented in the appendices
along with a transcription of the settlement examination held in 1864 for Benjamin's daughter Rose Hannah which reveals much of the family history.


Great Grandmother's Secrets Revealed via DNA (2016).

An article published in the Sussex Family Historian journal in March 2016. The story illustrates the usefulness of the developing area of DNA genealogy.





Harriet Gladman's Embroidery (2017).

An article published in "Sussex Past & Present", December 2017 (issue no. 143) published by the Sussex Archaeological Society. The article describes the history behind this embroidery, held in the society's collection and on display at The Priest House in West Hoathly.  Extensive research on the Gladmans of East Sussex is published on this website (see Highlights).




The AKEHURST Wills of East Sussex 1541-1858 (2018).

A book of transcriptions/abstracts of all the known AKEHURST Wills in East Sussex 1541-1858. The book has been published in digital form only (PDF). 
The wills in the book have been thoroughly indexed (names, locations, etc) and in addition, each will includes a family tree placing the will in context and showing how other wills are connected. The trees are based on many years of research using parish records and the information gleaned from these Akehurst wills. The book is updated from time to time but the current version is always available here.



The Secret Life of Hesketh Davis Wells - by  Hilary Darque (2019).

This article explores the life of Hesketh Davis Wells who had a long term relationship with Mary Esther Barber with whom he fathered six children but never married. It explains the origins of the Barber family that went to the USA and founded the Barber Shipping Line, becoming very wealthy in the process. This article has been well researched and is published here with Hilary Darque's permission and is available for download below.



Benjamin Jeffery 1844-1912 - Life and Letters of an Otago Settler (2020).

Ben Jeffery was born in 1844 in Sussex, England. He started his working life as an agricultural labourer (gardener) and in 1872, at 27 years of age, emigrated alone to New Zealand. Six of his letters to his mother and father survive describing his voyage and first three years in the colony. These letters were doubtlessly kept by his mother Harriet who would have treasured them knowing she was never to see her son again. The letters came to the author in a handkerchief box that had been passed down through the family, a treasured reminder of an uncle who had had the courage to search for a better life but, after a few years of correspondence, was never heard from again.

Ben came to New Zealand under the Brogdens’ immigration scheme in the early 1870s, a short-lived but significant period in New Zealand’s growth as a nation, and consequently his letters are worthy of preservation and publication. His letters and his life story help to bring the history of his time to life.