Editors of Family Tree Magazine. The Family Tree Guide Book.

Cincinnati: Betterway Books, 2002. 336p., softcover. Index, illus, maps. $19.99. ISBN 1-55870-647-X.

I have to be suspicious of a book subtitled “Everything You Need to Know to Trace Your Genealogy Across North America,” because that’s patently untrue. The Introduction by Emily Anne Croom, “Getting Started Tracing Your Ancestors,” is well-written and touches all the methodological bases — documenting your sources, “clustering,” continuing education, etc. — but it’s simply not possible to compress a useful discussion of genealogical techniques into seven pages.

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Published in: on 14 August 2011 at 6:27 am  Comments (2)  

Hoffman, Lee H. (ed.). Getting the Most Out of The Master Genealogist.

Baltimore: Gateway Press, 2003. 309p., softcover. Index, illus. $24.95 ISBN 0-9721567-0-4.

“Which genealogy software do you use?” is often the beginning of what might be characterized as almost a religious argument. Still, there aren’t many products on the market sufficiently complex to create demand for an after-market manual.

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Published in: on 22 July 2011 at 8:27 am  Leave a Comment  

Boyer, Carl, III. Medieval English Ancestors of Certain Americans.

Santa Clarita, CA: Carl Boyer 3rd, 2001. 327p., hardcover. Index. $35.00 + $3.35 s/h. ISBN 0-936124-21-0. (PO Box 220333, Santa Clarita, CA 91322)

Boyer published the 3d edition of Ancestral Lines in 1981, and this volume, concentrating on medieval lineages of broad interest, is a further addition to that. He notes that publishing anything on medieval genealogy is perilous because errors are unavoidable, even among the experts.

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Published in: on 5 July 2011 at 9:43 am  Leave a Comment  

Womack, Annette Carpenter. The Men Who Built Fort Claiborne in Natchitoches, Louisiana: Captain Edward D. Turner’s Company of the 2nd Regiment of the United States Army.

Westminster, MD: Willow Bend Books, 2003. 299p., softcover. $37.00 + $4.00 s/h. ISBN 1-58549-815-7.

Edward Turner was born about 1768, probably near Boston, a descendant of early settlers in the Plymouth Colony. In 1791, he was commissioned an ensign in the U.S. Army, serving thereafter in New England as a paymaster and quartermaster, and being promoted to captain in 1794, with supply duties on the frontier.

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Published in: on 5 June 2011 at 8:11 am  Leave a Comment  

Chamberlin, David C. The Conceptual Approach to Genealogy: Essential Methodology for Organizing and Compiling Genealogical Records.

Bountiful, UT: Heritage Quest, 1998. 264p.; softcover. $24.95. ISBN 1-877677-87-6.

Many novice family researchers forget that locating relevant information is only the first step: In order to interpret and link bits of information meaningfully to each other, it must all be logically organized, correlated, and then evaluated. Heaps and piles of unrelated notes and photocopies just won’t do. One needs a “system.” The author’s extremely detailed system for carrying out research and organizing the results includes most of the steps recommended by other writers:

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Published in: on 13 May 2011 at 6:50 am  Leave a Comment  

Jacobus, Donald Lines. Genealogy as Pastime and Profession.

2d ed., revised. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1991, 1968. 120p., softcover. $8.95. ISBN 0-8063-0188-0.

Jacobus is often regarded as the father of modern, “scientific” genealogy and this relatively slender volume (the first edition of which was published in 1930) is still one of the very best explanations of research principles and guides to types of resource materials published in English.

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Published in: on 30 April 2011 at 5:47 am  Leave a Comment  

Howells, Cyndi. Planting Your Family Tree Online: How to Create Your Own Family History Web Site.

Nashville: Rutledge Hill Press, 2003. 259p., softcover. Index, illus. $19.99. ISBN 1-4016-0022-0.

More than twenty years ago, using only a very simpleminded computer as a glorified typewriter, I put together a thick volume of lineage on part of my wife’s family, the result of more than a decade of close research. Because of my very limited budget, the production values were poor and fewer than two hundred copies were printed and mailed. And it took nearly all my free time for a year. Today, I would be able to compile all that data in a computer program, produce text files for further editing, present the final version in an attractive, readable, completely cross-indexed format, and upload the whole thing to a website where it could be visited by many thousands of other researchers from around the world. I could correct and update the information as new data came to hand. And I could do it all with little or no out-of-pocket expenditure. Is it any wonder genealogists have so enthusiastically adopted the World Wide Web as their medium?

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Published in: on 16 April 2010 at 10:23 am  Leave a Comment