Book Review: Unofficial Workbook

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

unofficial-ancestry-workbookUnofficial Workbook
A How-To Manual for Tracing Your Family Tree on the #1 Genealogy Website
By Nancy Hendrickson. Published by Family Tree Books. 2016. 191 pages.

In leafing through the pages of this workbook, a variation on an old commercial came to mind:
Subscribing to Ancestry……199 dollars.
Finding that elusive record…..priceless.

This is a workbook that could be very useful when you’re working and poking around on Ancestry. It’s filled with guidance on navigating the various tabs and links in order to get the most out of Ancestry. There are examples of records you’ll find, the various dialog boxes you’ll come across, sidebars containing explanatory text and image graphics to present clues and hints for your searches, and worksheets that are nicely formatted for recording your data. There are links for downloading more copies of the worksheets, nicely avoiding copyright infringement.

I’ve always had trouble, bumbling through the Search procedures of the genealogy-research web sites. The very first chapter in the workbook addresses this issue, ably covering how-to-get-to-what-you-want topics, along with a very nice (and thoroughly helpful) description of the Card Catalog, which contains an extensive list of the Ancestry collections. So within the first chapter, in my opinion, the book has paid for itself. The Card Catalog is probably little used and dismissed, to a researcher’s detriment. This chapter reminds us why we do not want to skip over the Card Catalog.

The next chapters cover Census Records; Birth, Marriage and Death Records; Military Records; Immigration Records; Historical Maps, Images, Newspapers, and Publications; Social History; Ancestry DNA; and appendices of useful quick links, checklists, worksheets, and forms.

Each chapter begins with instructional material, followed by exercises to help you practice the guidance notes, consider some new ideas in search strategy, and concluding key point summaries.

I have to say that the graphics are rather faded, lacking in contrast, which would make it hard to deal with if you were working at home in the evening relying on normal house lamp-light. But the graphics are numerous and do illustrate very well the key points in the accompanying text.

The content is undoubtedly going to help you navigate Ancestry. Beginners and advancers alike will uncover nuggets of information that cause one to be astonished as what one missed all these months of research.

This workbook is targeted specifically for Ancestry, of which there are a few users out there who are reading this article today. So it’s definitely a first-rate reference manual for ferreting out the hidden gems within the records collections, and a handy-dandy method of keeping your work organized.

This would be a great way to maximize your Ancestry membership, beginners and advanced users alike.


Unofficial Workbook – A How-To Manual for Tracing Your Family Tree on the #1 Genealogy Website by Nancy Hendrickson is available from the publisher at as well as from Amazon at


I just order a copy, but ordered from the Amazon site. It was much cheaper there, and since I’m a Prime member, shipping is free. The publisher site is about $7 more than Amazon. Can’t wait to get it. Thanks!


I can’t get any of the colored words to open anything, what gives ?


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