Two years ago I visited Argentina to research for my book Seeking John Campbell. Now in less than two weeks time I will return. Not for further research but to visit places in Argentina, Peru and Chile that have always held a fascination for me.

I have up a new travel blog for the trip Grey Trails: Solo travel in retirement

If you want to follow my trip through South America you can access the blog through the link above.

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Latest Reviews of Seeking John Campbell

The following reviews of Seeking John Campbell have been recently published on Goodreads and Amazon.

“…excellent for anyone who likes reading real-life adventures…”

See full review by Rebecca McNutt HERE

four starsGoodreads

“Written with the verve of a detective, the tenacity of an academic, and the creativity of a novelist…”

See full review by David Lankester HERE

four gold starsAmazon

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Article in Stamford Living – March Edition

stamford livingMarch edition of Stamford Living reviews Seeking John Campbell and explores issues around self-publication/

See the full article at Stamford Living

 

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Latest Review – Family Tree magazine, March 2015 edition

A genealogical quest

Seeking John Campbell: Finding Pioneers & Patriots in the Pampas by John Daffurn

signedThis remarkable real-life story reveals what happened when the author, amateur British genealogist John Daffurn, set himself an heir-hunting exercise that turned into a four-year obsession. The story begins in 2010 when John, on a whim, picked a random name from the Government’s Bona Vacantia list of more than 10,000 people who had died intestate, in a bid to discover why professional heir-hunters had not identified any living descendants to claim the estate. In the process of this ‘intellectual challenge’, which, as John states, is ‘a genealogical jigsaw puzzle that, even if it ended in failure, would enhance my ancestry research skills’, he uncovers the fascinating family histories of three men called John Campbell, all possible candidates for being the father of the deceased 68-year-old widow of interest, (Mary) Isabel Greig, who died on New Year’s Eve 1995. The three John Campbells’ family stories take us on a fascinating journey from Prussia and the Scottish lowlands to Argentina (where Isabel was born illegitimate), then back to Europe and the horrors of World Wars I and II. Covering the history of two families descended from the Symmetry migrants who sailed to Argentina from Leith in 1825, and a third family descended from the town’s Gibson shipbrokers, it details the impact Scottish migrants had on Argentina, and how the later world wars tore families apart. Interestingly, what started as a genealogical experiment turns into a heart-felt quest to record past lives of those lost in the mists of time, or at the very least precariously perched on the peripherals of family memory.

The research undertaken is incredible – the history and biographies are wonderfully detailed, with plenty of photographs too, to picture the individuals and places involved, along with family trees to keep you on track. The delicate process of ancestral discovery – which also contains useful research tips – is woven into a thoughtful first-person narrative that never grows tired or dull. Indeed, the final outcomes of John’s adventures are touching and not entirely expected, and are something from which we can all perhaps learn. So, did he manage to identify Isabel’s family and trace living heirs to her estate? Well now, that would be telling.

 ISBN: 9780993147906. RRP £9.99 paperback, RRP £4.79 Kindle. Eptex. Available from Amazon.

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WDYTYA magazine review of Seeking John Campbell

cover

The March edition of Who Do You Think You Are ? magazine is out today and contains a review in brief of Seeking John Campbell. See Here.

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Latest book review

Review by US blogger T K Sand

I’m the kind of person who can spend whole days sitting at the computer doing research (more or less!) of a genealogical or family history nature. And although my interest began more than a quarter of a century ago, I’ve never run out of things to look up. I’m pretty sure I never will. But sometimes I just feel the need to step away from the computer and stretch out on the couch for awhile, so I’m always on the lookout for some good reading material with a genealogical theme. The recently-released Seeking John Campbell: Finding pioneers and patriots in the pampas by John Daffurn was a great choice in that vein.

John Daffurn began researching his family history many years ago and discovered, as many of us do, that the really interesting stuff is somewhere beyond the names and dates that fill the blanks on your ancestor chart. And when you get to that point, you may find the research process so enjoyable and so stimulating that it ceases to be all about you and your chart. You realize that you’ve learned some skills that are fun to use, and one day–reader, has this happened to you?–you begin to research someone who’s not even related to you.

Daffurn did this when he found Britain’s Bona Vacantia list, a list of deceased persons whose estates had gone unclaimed. Knowing he’d acquired some useful research skills, he decided to try his hand at heir-hunting. He rather randomly selected a name from the list–that of a woman who had died more than a decade before–and set out to discover her family connections and perhaps locate someone who was entitled to inherit her estate.

An illegitimate child, Maria Isabel Pemberton Greig was, Daffurn learned, the daughter of one John Campbell. One, if you think about it, among many! But eventually, Daffurn was able to narrow the field down to three John Campbells. From that point, he researched all three of them in great detail and, reader, from there springs Seeking John Campbell, a fascinating nonfiction page-turner.

I did not expect to learn so much about world history, I did not expect to bump into names I would recognize, and I did not expect to find a John Campbell injured in battle on the west coast of Italy in World War II, where he might have ended up in a hospital bed next to my dad. The world, I learned from this book, is much smaller than I had ever imagined.

I’m sure John Daffurn could not have foreseen the rich and colorful story that would come to him in this project. Maria Isabel Pemberton Greig was just a name on a list–a name with a date of death. There was so much more to be found! Seeking John Campbell is a spectacular example of what might lie beyond the names and dates, and Daffurn’s story is an inspiration for researchers.

I really enjoyed this book! Can you tell?

——

And in case you are wondering, no, I am not being paid to write this review, nor to write any other review appearing at Before My Time.

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Book Signing at Walkers, Stamford

Walkers in Stamford hosted a book signing yesterday.

signing 1

signing 2

The gentleman above was a Campbell and was drawn to the cover of my book Seeking John Campbell.

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Ready for book signing tomorrow

rutland_radio_tWalkers bookshop in Stamford doing a great job with shelf display of Seeking John Campbell prior to book signing tomorrow 11am to 1pm

walkers signing

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Book trailer

Take a look at this short video to promote Seeking John Campbell and if inclined please share or like.

 

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Published Today !!!

Five years after starting some innocuous research, three years after I started writing and one year after starting to edit and work towards self-publication my book is out for all to see.Seeking John Campbell FRONT COVER-page-001

Seeking John Campbell:

Finding pioneers and patriots in the pampas

Amateur genealogist John Daffurn discovers the remarkable family histories of three John Campbells, one of whom could be the father of the illegitimate Isabel whose name was randomly plucked from a UK government list of unclaimed estates. If Isabel’s father can be identified will living heirs, who could claim her estate, emerge?

More information can be found on this website and my social media links (Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter). Please Like me or Follow me to spread the word amongst your own friends and colleagues.

And if you like what you see you can buy the book at :

                    Amazon.co.ukpaperback OR Kindle

                    Amazon.compaperback OR Kindle

                    Barnes & Noblepaperback OR NOOK

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