The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Genealogy, the Internet, and Your Genealogy Computer Program
By Karen Clifford. Published by Genealogical Publishing Co. 2011. Approx. 350 pages. An update of the 2001 edition.
This is quite an ambitious title, an all-encompassing title, but Karen Clifford has delivered on her promise.
An Accredited Genealogist with solid teaching credentials, Ms. Clifford is a professional genealogist who maintains her business while holding a faculty position at Monterey Peninsula College in Monterey, California. She was founding president of the Monterey County Genealogy Society, director of the Monterey California Family History Center, served for several years on the board of FGS, and is involved with AG examination and accreditation.
I suspect her several years of preparing student handouts and schooling the novice have been major reasons this book is so easy to comprehend and serves as a very helpful guide toward leading us into the records we need and appreciating their contents.
The Genealogy: nearly every page is splashed with text boxes that define phrases, explain concepts, offer examples of the subject matter, and some corny clip art that nonetheless gets the point across. This makes for visual variety that keeps the eye engaged as the brain tries to absorb the concepts. Some pages are full-size examples of pedigree charts, census sheets, vital records, and the like.
The Internet: There are useful web sites at the end of each chapter. I checked a few of the links, and they are still relevant even two years after publication of this book.
Your Genealogy Computer Program: One chapter is devoted to software programs with practical suggestions such as: “Can you locate a function key or a drop down list of localities which will duplicate the entry you just made so you don’t have to retype it?” Boy, you don’t know how important that feature is until you start typing “Pottawattamie County Iowa” fifty times at 2 o’clock in the morning. These tips are general enough in nature that this is not an outdated chapter.
All in all, the explanatory text and complementary visuals are easy aids in learning the genealogical research process incorporating the accepted principles of good research, proper citation formats, and productive strategies for successful searching.
Ms. Clifford’s book is LDS-tilted, her being a member of the Church, but definitely not LDS as sole-resourced. She has a chapter titled “Major Databases of the Family History Library” but also a chapter titled “National Archives and Regional Records Services Facilities.”
One sidebar text box reads: “Look at it this way…When you finish with census records, probate records will be a breeze.”
When you have this book in your hands, much of your genealogy work will be a breeze.
The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Genealogy, the Internet, and Your Genealogy Computer Program by Karen Clifford is available from the publisher, Genealogical Publishing Company, from Amazon.com, and from many other genealogy bookstores.