Friday, September 21, 2007

The Everything Family Tree Book

This summer while I was at my local public library, I picked up a pile of books for reading at my leisure. I perused the "new book" section, and came across Kimberly Powell's The Everything Family Tree Book (2nd edition, 2006, Adams Media). I "know" Kimberly from her Genealogy blog, and I'd read some nice reviews about her book. So I checked it out as well, and took it with me to the lake cabin in August.

First of all, I liked the clean, concise outline of the book. Everything is well-organized and easy to find. Even more important are the clear, detailed steps of researching. The explanations of various records and how and where to find them are invaluable. The more I read, the more I liked. I wish I had had this book back when I started my genealogy! But even though I've been researching my family tree for over 20 years now, have read a number of genealogy how-to books, and attended many seminars and workshops, this helpful guide is still pertinent to my research. For more experienced researchers, it's a great refresher for overviews on various types of records, research approaches, and the latest in technology (DNA, Internet research, etc.).

Here are the list of chapters:
  1. 1. Family Tree Basics
  2. 2. The Journey Begins at Home
  3. 3. Growing the Family Tree
  4. 4. The Name of the Game
  5. 5. Where Do I Look for That?
  6. 6. Vital Records
  7. 7. Clues in the Census
  8. 8. Marching Papers [military records]
  9. 9. A Nation of Immigrants
  10. 10. Clues in the Cemetery
  11. 11. Following in Their Footsteps [land records]
  12. 12. Probate and Estate Trails
  13. 13. Branching Out [other record types]
  14. 14. Special Situations in Family Trees
  15. 15. Walking the Web
  16. 16. Shelves of Possibilities [research facilities]
  17. 17. Tools for Taming the Family Tree
  18. 18. Assembling the Pieces [methodology]
  19. 19. When You Get Stuck
  20. 20. Uncovering Your Genetic Roots
  21. 21. Sharing Your Family History

What really clinched it for me that this was a book worth owning was that during the week at the lake, I caught both my 13-year-old son and my 16-year-old daughter picking it up where I had left it open on the table and start reading it! Aha! While my daughter has always been interested in history, and they've both had a mild passing interest in any family stories I've shared, to actually witness them reading a genealogy how-to book was enough to send me into raptures! When I got back home, I immediately ordered a copy through Tim Agazio's Genealogy Reviews Online Bookstore at Amazon.

I'm so happy with this book that I've e-mailed all 51 people on my e-mailing list that have taken my Beginning Online Genealogy course the last few years through the Community Colleges of Spokane's Institute for Extended Learning, and recommended this book as a must-have for their personal home library. I'm also using it as a reference for my new Intermediate Online Genealogy course that I'll be starting during the Winter Quarter.

If you're looking for a great book for a friend or family member that has shown interest in genealogy, or you want a handy, easy-to-use, economical reference guide for your own home library, I recommend picking up a copy for yourself! Remember, the holidays will be here soon!

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