Book Review: The Spyglass File

The following book review was written by Dina Carson and Bobbi King:

thespyglassfileThe Spyglass File
by Nathan Dylan Goodwin. Self-published. 2016. 282 pages.

The following review was co-authored by Dina Carson and Bobbi King.
(Dina Carson is a tombstone photographer, editor, author, compiler of Boulder county records, Boulder [Colorado] Genealogical Society editor, and owner of Iron Gate Publishing. She has compiled and published numerous articles and books about Boulder County history and residents, and published her own series of books on writing personal family histories and self-publishing.)

The November holidays are behind us, the election is finally over, Black Friday lingers, and CyberMonday lasts only one day, so there are still a few days before the busy Christmas season is upon us to grab some me-time and enjoy a new Morton Farrier novel.

The Spyglass File brings back Morton Farrier, forensic genealogist, and he’s in more danger than ever before.

Providence (Rhode Island) Public Library opens a large Genealogical Collection to the Public

The Providence Public Library has opened a large compilation of Rhode Island genealogical material to researchers. The library acquired the James N. Arnold Collection in November 2015 and archivists have finished processing it. James N. Arnold published an eight-volume set of southern Rhode Island’s history and the first comprehensive set of vital records for the state. When he died, the collection of research, publications, personal papers, and personal library was given to the Knight Memorial Library in Providence.

Black and White Photos Reveal What Life Was Like in England in the 19th and Early 20th Centuries

More than 1,200 black and white photos are published for the first time together in the book Lost England 1870-1930. Some of the amazing images show people dealing with the issues we still face today, including flooding in towns and cities. Others show factory workers, some of them children, lined up and operating huge machinery.


The junction of Steep Steet and Trenchard Street in Bristol in 1866.

The New Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland Contains 45,000 English and Irish Surnames

A team of researchers from the University of the West of England in Bristol spent more than six years sleuthing out the origins of more than 45,000 surnames common to Great Britain and Ireland, with 8,000 of those, like Twelvetrees and Farah, investigated for the first time in the new book, The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland.

According to the publisher, the new book includes every last name in the island nations that has 100 or more bearers including the frequency of the name in 1881 and how common it is today. It even includes immigrant family names.

(+) Authors: Sell Your Books on Amazon

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

amazon-booksDid you write a book detailing your family’s history? Perhaps you wrote about the history of your town or perhaps a Civil War battle or almost any other topic. Another possibility is that your local genealogy society has extracted records from old documents and now wishes to publish them. Perhaps you self-published your book, had it printed, and now you have hundreds of copies stored in the basement. Indeed, one of the most difficult parts of self-publishing books is the marketing: how to advertise and sell the books. You may not know there is a powerful ally that would like to help: Amazon.

Amazon Announces Prime Reading – Unlimited Reading from a Rotating Selection of Books, Magazines, Comics and Other E-publications

This isn’t directly genealogy related although I do know that genealogists often are avid readers. I plan to use this new service a lot and thought I would share the information here.


Amazon Prime members in the United States now have free access to selected books, magazines and more. The selection within Amazon Prime Reading includes more than 1,000 popular books, access to premium magazines, exclusive short content and all of customers’ favorite Kindle features. The list of available e-publications includes The Hobbit, as well as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, but the magazine selection actually sounds potentially more appealing with titles including National Geographic Traveler, People, Sports Illustrated, Popular Mechanics and more. I didn’t see any genealogy publications on the list, however.

Book Review: Story of My Life

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

story-of-my-life-a-workbook-for-preserving-your-legacy-by-sunny-jane-mortonStory of My Life
A Workbook for Preserving Your Legacy
By Sunny Jane Morton. Family Tree Books. 2016. 191 pages.
This volume is an updated version of Ms. Morton’s My Life & Times published in 2011.

Story of My Life is titled as a workbook, and a workbook it is. I can see this as a group project. I’ve noticed that when my mother came with me on research visits to far-flung, long-ago-visited relatives, her memories stimulated their memories, and their memories stimulated her memories, and the stories poured out. The holidays are coming up, and these workbooks could offer opportunities to kindle some very good family information. Each workbook is for one person, but everyone can write in their respective books, and you can record the final results for your genealogy records.

Book Review: Organize Your Genealogy

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

organize-your-genealogyOrganize Your Genealogy
Strategies and Solutions for Every Researcher
By Drew Smith. Family Tree Books. 2016. 239 pages.

When Organize Your Genealogy came into my mailbox and I read the title, my first thought was, Who the heck needs another organize-your-genealogy book?

Recently, I spent an entire day researching a family. When I opened up The Master Genealogist to enter the data, the Person Screen shrieked the awful truth: You already did this research a year ago…bozo!

So who needs another organize-your-genealogy book? Well, it appears, I do.

National Genealogical Society Publishes the First Workbook on Genetic Genealogy

The following announcement was written by the (US) National Genealogical Society:

gginpARLINGTON, VA, 6 September 2016—The National Genealogical Society (NGS) announces the publication of Genetic Genealogy in Practice, the first workbook on genetic genealogy. Written by Blaine T. Bettinger, PhD, JD, and Debbie Parker Wayne, CGSM, CGLSM, the book provides family historians and genealogists who have just begun to explore genetic genealogy practical, easy to understand information that they can apply to their research. As Wayne notes in her blog, Deb’s Delvings in Genealogy, “DNA can seem complex to many of us, but this book will guide you and help build your knowledge level one step at a time.”

At their own pace, readers learn the basic concepts of genetic genealogy. They then build on that knowledge as they study the testing, analysis, and application of Y-DNA, X-DNA, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), and autosomal DNA (atDNA) to reach and support genealogical conclusions. Each chapter includes exercises with answer keys for hands-on practice.

A Genealogist’s Guide To Springfield, Illinois Released

The following announcement was written by Terri O’Connell, known as “The In-depth Genealogist”:

The third in a series of guides to popular research destinations

The In-Depth Genealogist is pleased to present their newest book in the research series by writer, Jane Gwynn Haldeman entitled A Genealogist’s Guide to Springfield, Illinois. The guide describes little known, and well known, research facilities in Springfield, Illinois in addition to leisure and family activities.

These guides are designed as a resource for genealogists when traveling away from home. Included are maps, dining options near research facilities, places to see or visit, in addition to information on archives, libraries, and research facilities. It is a convenient pocket sized, 5” x 8”, so it will easily fit in your bag or jacket.

National Genealogical Society Releases Research in Pennsylvania, 3rd Edition

The following announcement was written by the folks at the (US) National Genealogical Society:

ARLINGTON, VA, 23 August 2016—The National Genealogical Society (NGS) announces the publication of the newly revised and updated Research in Pennsylvania. This essential guide book introduces family historians to a wealth of historic documentation that can aid their genealogical research. Written by Kay Haviland Freilich, CGSM, CGLSM, FNGS, Research in Pennsylvania, 3rd edition, is part of the NGS Research in the States series and is available for purchase in the NGS online store in both PDF and print versions.

Guide to New York City’s Treasured Archives Released

The following announcement was written by the folks at the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society:

The publication unlocks key resources for anyone tracing New York City’s vast
history to leverage the hundreds of key collections housed at the Municipal Archives.

New York City Municipal Archives- An Authorized Guide for Family HistoriansNEW YORK, NY — The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society (NYG&B) is pleased to announce the release of New York City Municipal Archives: An Authorized Guide for Family Historians.

The 245-page guide will make research at this vital facility far more approachable and will introduce researchers to many previously-unknown record collections housed there.
As one of the world’s largest repositories of city records, the holdings of the New York City Municipal Archives offer untold resources for those tracing the history of New Yok City and its families. But until now, it has remained difficult for anyone but the most experienced researcher to navigate more than the basics of this essential archive. This new guide, created with the assistance of the New York City Municipal Archives, will make it possible for genealogists, family historians or anyone researching New York City’s vast history to leverage the hundreds of key collections found there.

Book Review: The Life and Times of Charles Leonard Holton

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

Life and Times of Charles Leonard HoltonThe Life and Times of Charles Leonard Holton
by Joan A. Hunter. CreateSpace. 2016. 412 pages.

Life and Times of Charles Holton is a benchmark title for family history books. The book is big, measures 8 ½ x 11 inches in size, at least one inch thick, and heavy. Once you open the book, you’ll appreciate why.

It’s a well-written family history book. It’s composed in an easy-to-read style, written as a story, not in a dry straightforward genealogical study, but as a reader-friendly narrative form that unveils the lives of her pioneer families.

Dialogue adds to the novella aura of the story. Dialogue that is well-substantiated by Ms. Hunter having had access to an enviable collection of personal diaries and letters authored by the persons she writes about. This narration is a testament to the merit of examining personal letters and papers and bringing their reports and observations forward into today where we can sense their time and place.

Prince Edward Island Historian Jean Bernard Publishes Last of 7-Volume Acadian Genealogy

JeanBernard_2I suspect a lot of people will be scrambling to look at these new books. P.E.I. historian Jean Bernard says he has completed the last volume of his books on Acadian genealogy.

The seven volumes contain 4,600 pages and are all in French. Bernard has begun translating the first volume into English.

You can read more in an article by Gail Harding in the CBC News web site at

Book Review: Tracing Your Irish Ancestors

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

Tracing Your Irish AncestorsTracing Your Irish Ancestors
by John Grenham. Genealogical Publishing Co. 2012. 579 pages.

My cousin does a lot of Irish research, she says the online records these days are terrific resources for finding family members.

But we both agree, a solid foundation rooted in the basic concepts of Irish research is a must before believing that the internet is going to give you all your answers in resolving your genealogical problems.

This is the fourth edition of Tracing Your Irish Ancestors. John Grenham seems exactly the right person to consult for authoritative information on the topic. He publishes his “Irish Roots” blog, has published numerous volumes on Irish research, and describes this edition as reflecting “the profound change in the connection between Irish research and the internet…the internet is at the heart of any Irish family history research project, and the entire edition has been rewritten to incorporate that change. Where online transcripts exist, these are listed alongside the descriptions of the original records, and research strategies are supplied for any major dedicated websites.”

Book Review: Jefferson County Georgia Inferior Court Minutes

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

Jefferson County Georgia Inferior Court MinutesElbert County Georgia
Inferior Court Minutes
February 4, 1791-July 14, 1801

Jefferson County Georgia
Inferior Court Minutes
November 1807- January 1814

Jefferson County Georgia
Inferior Court Minutes
February 1814-July 1820

by Michael A. Ports. Published by the Genealogical Publishing Co. 2015.

In a previous newsletter, I described several publications compiled by Michael Ports. His transcriptionist labors continue.

These three volumes represent records of the Inferior Courts in these respective counties. The Inferior Courts were each comprised of five justices of the peace for the county. They were responsible for those civil cases not involving title to land.

Colonial Roots Announces Two Prize-Winning Publications

The following announcement was written by the folks at Colonial Roots:

BeyondDamnedQuarterMillsboro, Delaware: Colonial Roots, genealogy book publishing firm
specializing in the Mid-Atlantic region, is pleased to announce two prize-winning
books. Dr. John F. Polk Jr. was awarded the Sumner A. Parker Prize by the
Maryland Historical Society for his publication Beyond Damned Quarter: The
Polk/Pollock Family of the Chesapeake Eastern Shore in the Colonial Era. The
Sumner A. Parker Prize was awarded for the best genealogical work concerning
a Maryland family published in 2015.

In addition, Michael R. Marshall’s two series of books, Charles County, Maryland,
Wills and Charles County, Maryland, Land Records, have been selected to
receive the Maryland Historical Society’s Norris Harris Prize for the best
compilations of genealogical source records of Maryland published in 2015.

Book Review: Georgia Free Persons of Color

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

Georgia Free Persons of ColorGeorgia Free Persons of Color
by Michael A. Ports. Genealogical Publishing Co. 2015 & 2016.
Four volumes.

In 1818, the Georgia legislature required free persons of color to register with their counties of residence in the inferior court. Registers for only twenty-one counties survive.

The clerks recorded names, ages, places of nativity, residence, time of coming into the state and occupation of each free person of color.

Mr. Ports transcribed these entries from LDS microfilm of the original county registers.

The books each have an introduction describing the records and his transcription methods.

Also of note in the introductions: Mr. Ports describes and writes out certain sections of the Georgia statutes regarding slave manumissions and free persons of color. The summaries of these applicable laws to the registers sets the stage for appreciating the significance of the records.

The Georgia Free Persons of Color volumes are:

Book Review: Trace Your German Roots Online

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

Trace-Your-German-Roots-OnlineTrace Your German Roots Online
by James M. Beidler. Family Tree Books. 2016. 207 pages.

Mr. Beidler writes in his introductory pages:

Just five years ago, devoting an entire book to online sources for genealogists with German-speaking ancestors wouldn’t have been a particularly fulfilling exercise. Relatively few genealogical problems could be solved “beginning to end” on either German- or American-based websites.

But oh, what a difference those five years have made. Whether it’s the “big kahunas” of the online genealogy world, such as and, adding more German content, the digitization of church registers that play such an important role for this ethnic group, or any of the other solutions the Web has provided to the myriad genealogy questions that arise– the availability of Internet sources for German research has come of age.

Boy, he hit that nail on the head. The Internet is now a robust genealogical research  tool with an abundance of credible records and scanned documents convincing the researcher that nowadays, online research is definitely worth the effort and expense.

Mr. Beidler is the Big Kahuna of German research and writing. He’s led research tours to Germany, acquiring along the way a broad base of knowledge and experience, and combined with his knack for good composition, his books are strongly written, flow smoothly from point to point, and make German research learning easier than you realize even as you’re doing it.

National Library of Scotland Adds Almost 400 Digitized Books relating to the Histories of Scottish Families

HouseOfDrummondThe National Library of Scotland has recently digitised a selection of almost 400 printed items relating to the histories of Scottish families, and you can read them all in the Library’s Digital Gallery at

You can search the text of the books for particular words or phrases. All areas of Scotland are included, from Dumfries to Shetland, and many different families and places are represented – in fact many more than the titles might suggest, as a keyword search by place or name will reveal. Many of the books cover multiple families, so even if your family name is not listed in a book’s title, it’s worth performing an electronic search for that name anyway.

Click on the image to the right to view a larger version.