Porter, Pamela Boyer & Amy Johnson Crow. Online Roots: How to Discover Your Family’s History and Heritage with the Power of the Internet.

Nashville: Rutledge Hill Press, 2003. 310p., softcover. Index, illus. $19.99. ISBN 1-4016-0021-2.

Regular readers of my columns and articles will know that I cast a chary eye on books that purport to introduce the reader to the miracle of “Internet genealogy.” I’ve read and reviewed dozens of such titles from the viewpoint of a researcher of more than thirty years’ experience (beginning in the days of spiral notebooks and 3×5 cards) who is also a thoroughly wired computer geek and a heavy user of the Internet. I have long maintained that online research is simply the (sometimes) more convenient continuance by other means of traditional tried and true methods. There is no “royal road to genealogy,” no universal database from which you can immediately download your entire lineage back to Adam. Most of the books I’ve seen fall into two categories: Introductions to traditional genealogy with a thin icing of information on genealogical software and Internet how-to, and “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Computers and the Internet”-type volumes that include a few specific genealogical applications as an afterthought. There are a few, like Elizabeth Powell Crowe’s Genealogy Online: Researching Your Roots (1998), Matt Helm’s Genealogy Online for Dummies (1998), and Pamela Hahn’s The Unofficial Guide to Online Genealogy (2001), which actually are quite useful and are worth reading (though all three are inevitably becoming dated), but these are very much the exception. The rest are simply exercises in marketing.


Published in: on 14 March 2010 at 9:22 pm  Leave a Comment