Give a Christmas Gift: Access to Half a Million eBooks

This article is not about genealogy although I do know that many genealogists are also avid readers. I assume their friends and relatives also may include people who love to read books. If you are late in buying a holiday gift for such a person, read on. You can give the gift of a half million books. Even better, there is no need to brave the crowds at a local shopping mall to purchase this gift.

Oyster is a leading streaming service for books. In fact, it operates like a lending library. An Oyster member can electronically “check out” a book and read it on an Apple iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch as well as on any Android device or a Nook HD or a Kindle Fire. The Oyster member can also read ebooks in a web browser on any Windows, Macintosh, Linux, or mobile computer. An Internet connection is required for reading books in a web browser. However, Apple mobile devices, Android devices, Nook HD, or Kindle Fire devices can download ebooks, save them, and the Oyster subscriber can read the books later at any location, such as when riding the commuter train or at the beach.

Book Review: Alex Haley’s Roots An Author’s Odyssey

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

Alex Haley’s Roots: An Author’s Odyssey
by Adam Henig. Self published. 2014. 110 pages.

This is a brief biography of Alex Haley.

Sixty pages are devoted to Mr. Haley’s success as a writer for Reader’s Digest, Playboy magazine, co-author of the Autobiography of Malcolm X, and very significantly, Roots, the book and the miniseries, whose impact was seminal on the renaissance of interest in family history. And not to pass unnoticed, Roots‘ unflinching saga of slavery brought home the incalculable tragedy of human bondage.

Mr. Henig focusses on events after the triumph of Roots. Haley’s difficulties with the press, the accusations of plagiarism, and the challenges of flaws in his genealogy, were all factors that contributed to Haley’s troublesome last years of life. Mr. Henig references the events through newspaper accounts, interviews with those who knew Haley, and Haley’s papers.

Using WorldCat to Find Genealogy Books

WorldCat is the world’s largest network of library content and services. It is an online library catalog that lets you look up items in libraries around the world. The items available include books, electronic documents, journals, microform, and audio and video recordings.

Best of all, WorldCat is available to everyone free of charge. WorldCat libraries provide access to their catalogs on the Web, where most people start their search for information. By using the catalog, you can search the collections of libraries in your community and thousands more around the world.

Book Review: Silent Legacy

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

Silent Legacy
by Diana Church. Self-published. 2014. 298 pages.

Silent Legacy opens with the discovery of a recently deceased, spinsterish eighty-five-year woman who lived and died alone, leaving behind a box of genealogy papers, an 1888 journal, old photos, a 1902 death certificate, and her last will and testament. The will bequests a considerably large amount of monies to a local heritage association, pursuant to the investigation and resolution. A last will and testament is deemed valid. The requirements, before disbursing a considerable amount of money to a heritage association, are to identify why her brother was confined to the Mercy Hospital for the Insane as the Bureau of Indian Affairs took away his land, and to identify the family history of her parents to determine why her mother insisted Helen and her brother never marry. Once the questions are answered, the estate will disburse the remaining amount of monies, to the San Francisco Heritage Association. Ellen O’Donnell is hired to solve the mysteries.

Book Review: The Lost Ancestor

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

Click on the above image to view a larger version

The Lost Ancestor.
By Nathan Dylan Goodwin. Published by the author. 2014.

The book is subtitled “A Genealogical Crime Mystery” and we see that this is another Morton Farrier, Forensic Genealogist, story.

Mr. Goodwin has published one previous novel called Hiding The Past, where he introduces Farrier, the investigative genealogist. This is the second volume in the series, and perhaps Mr. Goodwin is cluing us in that an entire set may be in the works.

In the gardened British countryside, Farrier is called to the home of Ray Mercer, where he asks Farrier to take on the mystery of the 1911 disappearance of his great aunt, Mary Mercer. Farrier agrees, and so begins the story, tracking Farrier’s progress, discoveries, search, and revelations. And the unexpected circumstance of being spied upon himself. Farrier becomes the target of unknown persons more interested in stopping his work than letting the mystery unfold.

Book Review: Starr Roll 1894 (Cherokee Payment Rolls)

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

Click on the above image to view a larger version

Starr Roll 1894 (Cherokee Payment Rolls). Three volumes.
Transcribed by Jeff Bowen. Published by Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore. 2014.

The Starr Roll contains the names of the recipients of the payout by the federal government to Indian members of the Cherokee Tribe who had ceded their rights to access to the lands of the Cherokee Outlet (Indian Territory, now Oklahoma) to the federal government. On March 3, 1893 Congress enacted legislation authorizing payment to eligible Cherokee tribe members of $265.70 per capita. In exchange, the Outlet was opened to white settlers. On May 3, 1894, the Act of the National Council affirmed the agreement.

Adoption Factbook, Polish Roots, and Welsh Names Among New Books from

The following announcement was written by the folks at Genealogical Publishing Company: is the leading publisher of genealogy books in the U.S. Our award-winning titles include hundreds of how-to books and manuals, and more than a thousand collections of source records. Our newest titles cover Adoption and Donor Conception, Polish roots, and Welsh naming practices.

Polish Roots. 2nd Edition, by Rosemary Chorzempa
Since the publication of the original Polish Roots in 1993, the Internet has made the task of locating Polish ancestors much easier, as more information and images are made available online. There has also been a marked rise in interest in genealogy in Poland, resulting in a great increase in the number of Polish genealogical societies and the amount of helpful information disseminated. The second edition of Polish Roots addresses these developments, with a new Introduction, brand-new chapters, several new maps and charts, and more.

Kindle Unlimited: Obtain Unlimited Access to over 700,000 eBooks for only $9.99 a Month

One of the best bargains I know is almost unknown. Amazon offers Kindle Unlimited, a service that allows you to read as much as you want, choosing from over 700,000 titles and even from thousands of audiobooks.

Not all Kindle books are available on Kindle Unlimited but I suspect most people will find plenty to keep them busy for a long, long time. You don’t need to own a Kindle device to enjoy Kindle Unlimited. With the free Kindle reading apps for the iPad, iPod Touch, iPhone, Android phones and tablets, Windows, and Macintosh OS X, you can read ebook or listen to an audio book on any device with the free Kindle app installed. Of course, you can always read or listen to the books on your Kindle.

For many people, $9.99 a month is probably cheaper than purchasing the gas required to visit your local library several times a month to check out “free” books.

Guide to DNA Testing: How to Identify Ancestors, Confirm Relationships, and Measure Ethnic Ancestry through DNA Testing

Richard Hill has released version 2 of his Guide to DNA Testing: How to Identify Ancestors, Confirm Relationships, and Measure Ethnic Ancestry through DNA Testing. The ebook is available as a Kindle book. It sells for the modest price of 99 cents (U.S.)

The Guide is a brief overview designed to help people (1) see the benefits of genetic genealogy and (2) take the right tests for their needs. By offering this to the huge Amazon audience, Richard hopes to get many more genealogists to take the leading tests. As these databases grow, we will all get more and better matches.

As described on Amazon:

Get the 2014-15 Texas Almanac eBook — FREE!

The Texas State Historical Association is making a valuable reference book available free of charge to everyone. It is a useful guide for anyone researching Texas ancestry as well as for many other purposes as well. It has long been considered “the go-to guide for all things Texas.”

The Texas Almanac is a 752-page guide to everything you ever wanted to know about the Lone Star State. It is packed with hundreds of articles, color photographs, maps, and data tables, making it the premier reference guide for everything Texan. This digital version is optimized for your iPad, Kindle, or eReader device.

(+) How To Self Publish Your Own Printed Book or eBook

The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman. 

Many genealogists dream of publishing the results of their research efforts. Whether it is to be a collection of childhood memories of time spent with grandparents or a scholarly study of all the descendants of a family’s immigrant ancestor, publishing books is still the best way to distribute information amongst relatives as well as to preserve the information for future generations.

Publishing most genealogy books has always been done by the use of “vanity press” publishers. A vanity press, vanity publisher, or subsidy publisher is a publishing house in which authors pay to have their books published. Unlike mainstream publishers, a “vanity press” publisher requires the author to pay in advance to have the book published. The price usually includes publishing some predetermined number of books. In many cases, the author takes immediate delivery of all the books, stores them, and then sells the individual books as best he or she can. The vanity press publisher may or may not also make the books available for ordering in the company’s catalog.

Genealogy Gems Launches Free Genealogy Book Club

The following announcement was written by Lisa Louise Cooke:

October 21, 2014

Lisa Louise Cooke’s Genealogy Gems is pleased to announce the launch of the FREE Genealogy Gems Book Club, which features great reads for genealogy lovers.

“This is an idea we’ve been percolating on for quite a while,” says Gems owner-producer Lisa Louise Cooke. “People are always sending me the names of books they love. I also hear from publishers and the authors themselves. We thought it would be great to share these books more widely.”

Book Review: A Genealogist’s Guide to Discovering Your African-American Ancestors

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

A Genealogist’s Guide to Discovering Your African-American Ancestors.
By Franklin Carter Smith and Emily Anne Croom.
Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, 2008 reprint, (original Betterway Books, Cincinnati, 2003). 250 pages.

Emily Croom has several well-written genealogy guides under her belt. For this publication, she co-authored with Franklin Carter Smith, graduate of the University of Houston Law Center, who has researched his slave ancestry back to 1760. Their combined work has produced a well-written guide for African-American genealogy.

The authors emphasize the importance and relevance of the post-Civil War records. The 1870 census for the first time recorded names of African-Americans, and the great majority of African-Americans served in the military and naval forces after 1861.

Colonial Comics: New England, 1620-1750

Would you enjoy a comic book dedicated to history? Colonial Comics: New England, 1620-1750 may be the answer.

Edited by Jason Rodriguez and created in partnership with the Massachusetts Historical Society and the Concord Museum, Colonial Comics: New England, 1620-1750 features tales about free thinkers, female business owners, Jewish settlers, and other little-known real-life characters.

Colonial Comics is a graphic novel collection of twenty stories focusing on the colonial period from 1620 through 1750 in New England. Created in partnership with the Massachusetts Historical Society and the Concord Museum, the illustrated stories will focus on tales normally not documented in most history books. The books will include stories about free thinkers, Pequots, Jewish settlers, female business owners and dedicated school teachers, whales and livestock, slavery and frontiers, and many other aspects of colonial life.

Book Reviews: Your Stripped-Bare Guide to Historical ‘Proof’ and Your Stripped-Bare Guide to Citing Sources

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

Your Stripped-Bare Guide to Historical ‘Proof’ and Your Stripped-Bare Guide to Citing Sources.
By Elizabeth Shown Mills. Published by Genealogical Publishing Co., 2014. One page, 8×11, laminated.

The four-page laminated “at-a-glance” guides published by Genealogical are pretty handy instruction brochures, and now Genealogical has published a couple new one-page guides that are similarly meant to be quickie references on specific topics. These guides are offered under the heading of “Your Stripped-Bare Guide to ….”

One of the most noticeable pieces of the new publication is the graphic on the front page up in the top left-hand corner. A happy character wearing nothing more than a delighted grin and a graduate’s mortar board, tassel a-flutter in the breeze, with a bit of heinie showing beyond the borders of the covering document, is somewhat startling to see.

GenBiz Solutions™ Guides Released

The following announcement was written by Thomas MacEntee:

Chicago, Illinois: GenBiz Solutions™ Guides hit the marketplace today to meet the demands of the business owner with a genealogy-related business focus. Independent of developing genealogical research skills, today’s successful genealogy-related business owner must develop or enhance specific business skills. Each GenBiz Solutions™ Guide, geared towards the business side of genealogy, addresses a specific business topic. Initial guides released include:

NEHGS announces Robert Charles Anderson’s Exclusive, Must Have Genealogical Guide, Elements of Genealogical Analysis

The following announcement was written by the folks at the New England Historic Genealogical Society:

How to Maximize Your Research Using the Great Migration Study Project Method

September, 23, 2014 – Boston, Massachusetts – New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) announces the publication of the latest work by renowned author Robert Charles Anderson, FASG. Detailing the author’s process, the work consists of 124 pages of genealogical expertise and principles used throughout his illustrious career.

In his new book, Robert Charles Anderson presents his step-by-step process for solving genealogical problems—a methodology thirty years in the making. Developed by Anderson and perfected through his work as director of the Great Migration Study Project at NEHGS, this systematic approach considers each source, each record, and each possible linkage before making a genealogical conclusion. Clearly defined tools, checklists, and logically ordered steps throughout the book help make this method both accessible and effective. Examples of actual research problems and continuing case studies, accompanied by easy-to-follow diagrams, walk you through steps of effective genealogical analysis.

Book Review: Scots-Irish Genealogy Research

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

Scots-Irish Genealogy Research.
By Brian Mitchell. Published by Genealogical Publishing Co., 2014. 4 pages.

Brian Mitchell is a familiar name, author, and authority on Irish records. He has contributed to the online, searchable, and very sizeable database of County Derry church and civil records; his affiliation with the Derry City Council offers his expert research services to queries that come into that office; and his several Irish references A New Genealogical Guide Atlas of Ireland, A guide to Irish Parish Registers, Irish Passenger Lists 1847-1871, and Genealogy at a Glance: Irish Genealogy Research, are highly regarded research guides.

Scots-Irish Genealogy refers to the people whose ancestors originated in Scotland and settled in Ireland.

Book Review: The Parrett Migration

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

The Parrett Migration.
by Dawn Parrett Thurston. Published by the author. 2014. 315 pages.

Ms. Thurston recites the story of her ancestor Joseph Frederick Parrett of Ohio, whose origins were in the Rhineland of Europe. His river journey took him out of the Old Country of the Switzerland region and across the sea to the port of Philadelphia. He and his families settled in the eastern states, moved into Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, on to eastern Tennessee, Fayette County Ohio, Locust Grove Iowa, and finally to California.

Ms. Thurston proceeds to chronicle their lives. She enhances the stories with detailed period cultural and geographic descriptions. She writes her stories with the authority of meticulous, scrupulous, and extensive research, shifting the storyline beyond genealogy into historical reporting of keen interest to us.

Book Review: Research

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

Click to view a larger image Research by George G. Morgan. Published by Genealogical Publishing Co. 2014. 4 pages.

This is one of the latest “Genealogy At-A-Glance” condensed guides published as short, 4-page laminated 8×11 reference brochures. These are meant to be quick reference resources on major topics of research, and the authors are top-notch authorities in their respective fields.

George G. Morgan elaborates here on FamilySearch, which traces its own roots back to the Genealogical Society of Utah (GSU), the microfilming arm of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, whose films we still read today. Digitization has overtaken the world of microfilm, and FamilySearch evolved out of GSU to oversee the monumental task of transferring from microform to digital media the collected filmed images, and to continue preserving records in digital form as the LDS locates new resources and repositories.


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