Books

Book Review: International Vital Records Handbook

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

International Vital Records Handbook
By Thomas Jay Kemp. Genealogical Publishing Co. 2017. 756 pages.

Sooner or later, we all need to order vital records. Often from vital records offices far away from our homes. So we need to find the address, find out what they have, what is the time frame for the extant records, and how much do they cost.

Nowadays it’s even more involved than it used to be. Increased security concerns since 2001 have increased the hassle of providing identification and restriction of records that used to be easier to obtain.

This Vital Records Handbook has a printed form and information on each vital records office for each state of the United States. Each state section has that state’s application form for each record, i.e., an application form for a birth record, another page with the form for requesting a marriage record; however many forms you’ll need, there are pages for. You can scan or copy the page and use it to send in a request for the record you need.

Book Review: The Family Tree Irish Genealogy Guide

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

The Family Tree Irish Genealogy Guide
By Claire Santry. Family Tree Books. 2017. 238 pages.

For years, Ms. Santry avoided research of her Irish ancestors because she believed that a 1922 fire had destroyed all Irish records. Once she realized the myth for the obstacle that it was, she launched her family search.

She believes Irish research it a whole lot easier nowadays, what with the availability of online records, along with the myriad libraries and archives that still hold valuable old registers. Ms. Santry’s experience led to writing the Irish Genealogy Guide which she promises “will give you a thorough grounding in genealogical techniques and point you towards the records you need to search, both in the United States and in Ireland. It’s full of tips, essential explanations about the collections, and strategic advice.”

The book is comprised of:

Book Review: In Search of Your German Roots

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

In Search of Your German Roots

by Angus Baxter.
This Fifth Edition was updated and revised by Marian Hoffman.
Genealogical Publishing Co. 2015. 125 pages.

Angus Baxter wrote the first through the fourth editions of In Search of Your German Roots. His daughter Susan Baxter updated the fourth edition (2008), and Marian Hoffman updated this fifth edition. Mr. Baxter died in 2005, and his name remains as author.

This is not a large book, but it’s dense with information about Germans, Germany, and German records research. Chapters and sections are:

Book Review: Map Guide to Luxembourg Parish Registers

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

Map Guide to Luxembourg Parish Registers
by Kevan M. Hansen.
Family Roots Publishing Co. 2016.
180 pages.

Luxembourg is one of the smallest countries in Western Europe, about the size of US Rhode Island or England’s county of Northamptonshire. There are three official languages: Luxembourgish, French, and German.

Luxembourg is comprised of three districts, which are further divided into twelve cantons. The Map Guide has a map of each district showing its constituent cantons (regions). Each canton has a map showing its constituent communes (municipalities), and each commune has a map with its constituent villages. The village names are all listed in the three national languages.

Book Review: Your Family, Your Photos, Your Stories

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

Your Family, Your Photos, Your Stories
by Barb Groth.
Self-published, BarbwireDigi. 2016. 134 pages.

I’d call this a guide for digital scrapbooking.

Traditionally, a scrapbook is a decorated photo album with written journaling that shares the stories connected to the photos. Memorabilia might be attached onto the pages, such as event tickets, achievement certificates, and original letters, all creatively composed with artwork, calligraphic writing, or any decorative embellishments that celebrate the memories.

Ms. Groth’s book gives us ideas for scrapbooking, but in a digital manner.

Her book is divided into several sections, including:

Book Review: German Census Records 1816-1916

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

German Census Records 1816-1916
The When, Where, and How of a Valuable Genealogical Resource
by Roger P. Minert. Family Roots Publishing Co. 2016. 250 pages.

Apparently, there is no other reference book out there addressing these kinds of records. At least, not in this broad, comprehensive form, covering the history of German census-taking and each province affected by the census decrees and practices.

Mr. Minert spent six months in Germany looking for these records, and his book documents the existence, or non-existence, of German census records, as well as he could determine given the complex histories of the provinces.

Book Review: Jewish Community of Long Island

The following was written by this newsletter’s Book Review Editor Bobbi King:

Jewish Community of Long Island
by Rhoda Miller and the Jewish Genealogy Society of Long Island. Arcadia Publishing, Charleston SC. 2016. 127 pages.

This is essentially a picture book, but it’s an exceptional one.

The Jewish Genealogy Society of Long Island, New York, has put together an album of photos, but with plenty of story, that narrates the history of Jewish settlement in the Nassau and Suffolk Counties of Long Island. What makes this particular book so interesting is the large number of photographs of temple congregations, synagogues, businesses, notable persons and family celebrations with caption biographies, Jewish participation in the world wars, and the summer pleasures of the Jewish community along the shore.

Book Review: Tips and Quips for the Family Historian

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

Tips and Quips for the Family Historian
By Elizabeth Shown Mills and Ruth Brossette Lennon.
Genealogical Publishing Co., 2017. 173 pages.

On a lighter note……Elizabeth Mills has collaborated with her granddaughter Ruth Brossette Lennon in producing a smallish book of “tips and quips,” presenting a more lighthearted approach to words from the wise.

Ms. Lennon typeset the book and created the look. Her innovative style gives a cheerful and sunny air to the deep thoughts of master genealogists: “Genealogy can not only help kids understand the world but can give them respect for their elders, bridge generation gaps, and heal family wounds.” (Tony Burroughs.)

Book Review: Evidence Explained, Third Edition

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

Evidence Explained
Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace
Third Edition Revised. By Elizabeth Shown Mills. Genealogical Publishing Co., 2017. 892 pages.

Now, this is a TOME.

Heavy in weight, thick in size, and rich in content. It’s so dense and daunting that the author wrote a comforting QuickStart Guide on the very first pages, to wit: don’t be intimidated by the book’s size, read chapters 1 and 2 (on the basic principles of history research), then go back to doing your research and refer just to the parts of the book that you need right when you need it.

This is the third edition of Evidence Explained, which hardly needs an introduction to the vast number of genealogists who have been working in the field for some time. For new genealogists may not know what the fuss is all about, Evidence Explained has influenced the genealogy world beyond measure. , Eventually every genealogist worth his or her salt acquires the book as a most necessary aid for citing the genealogy histories.

Book Review: The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy
By Blaine T. Bettinger
Family Tree Books. 2016. 238 pages.

Blaine Bettinger publishes his blog “The Genetic Genealogist” where he writes the relevance and worth of genetics testing used alongside the methodology of traditional genealogy research. He updates the readers on the latest approaches to the science and its applicability to our work. His long and close association with genetics genealogy qualifies him as a most apt author for a guidebook.

Guide to DNA Testing offers a lot of information for the beginner and advanced researcher alike.

Getting a Whiff of History – Do You Like the Smell of Old Books?

Most long-time genealogists know the smell of old books. Now a new study in the journal Heritage Science, claims that the odors of the past are part of our “cultural heritage.”

Old books (specifically the historic paper and other materials used) give off unique moldy or sweetly musty scents that readers and history buffs know intimately and find pleasurable.

Reading a digital image of an old book on Google Books just isn’t the same!

Watch the British Library Digitize One of the World’s Largest Books

Most experienced genealogists are familiar with over-sized books. Vital records, deeds, maps, and more are often published on larger-than-normal pages. Digitizing those books can be a challenge although several companies have already done a great job at digitization.

However, how do you digitize a book that is nearly six feet by seven and a half feet when open? It is so big that it even has wheels fixed onto it to make it easier to move around!

Book Review: The Missing Man

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

The Missing Man
By Nathan Dylan Goodwin. Self-published. 2017. 132 pages.

Reviewed by Dina C. Carson and Bobbi King

Morton Farrier, forensic genealogist, is back with a new, much more personal case to solve.

Will a three-week honeymoon in America be long enough for him to find his biological father and discover the secret he is keeping? What will the records in Boston untangle? A former life? A former wife?

Morton’s investigation will lead him through a twisted tale of family, mysterious fires and murder! What could lead him to his elusive father when disappearing is the family business?

How to Find Someone Who Has the Book You Seek

Perhaps the full title of this article should be How to Find Someone Who Has the Book You Seek and Also Let Everyone Else Know About the Books You Own and Also Catalog Your Own Personal Library with Minimal Effort.

You can find dozens of programs that will help you catalog your personal book collection. Some of these will create a list that you can print or store on your own computer or store on your smartphone or even upload to the World Wide Web. Some products also keep track of the books you want to read (sometimes called a wish list) and will also keep track of books you have loaned out to others, including the date loaned. Some cataloging products will also track other media, such as CD and DVD disks, video games, and more. However, one online service does all that and lots more. You can access your information from a web browser on a desktop computer, a laptop computer, or even from a smartphone. The last feature is very useful when you are at a bookstore or flea market or genealogy conference and are wondering, “Do I already have that book?” Best of all, you can share your catalog with others and also see what others have in their collections. The service is available either free of charge or for very low fees.

Book Reviews: Three More Resources for Georgia Researchers

The following book reviews were written by Bobbi King:

Families of Southeastern Georgia
By Jack N. Averitt. Genealogical Publishing Co. 2009. 457 pages.
Originally published as Volume III of Georgia’s Coastal Plain: Family and Personal History (New York, 1964). The numerous illustrations in the original book are not reproduced in this reprint.

This is a book of strictly biographical sketches; no historical background text, timelines, nor Georgia history.

There are approximately 1,000 biographical descriptions of families offering names, places and dates of birth, spouses, marriage places and dates, children, parents, and places and dates of deaths. Additional personal information commonly includes careers, civic affiliations, church affiliations, and military service, some back to the Civil War.

The index contains approximately 3500 names.

Volumes I and II of the series contain historical information, while Volume III contains the family summaries, hence the reprint of only Volume III. A complete list of the families named can be found at Genealogical.com, Search: Families of Southeastern Georgia.


1864 Census for Re-organizing the Georgia Militia
by Nancy J. Cornell. Genealogical Publishing Co. 2000. 843 pages.

IDG Introduces their Newest of In-Brief Research Guide: “Pennsylvania Genealogy” by Elissa Scalise Powell

The following announcement was written by the In-Depth Genealogist:

The In-Depth Genealogist (IDG) is pleased to present their newest in-brief research guide in the research series by writer, Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL, entitled “An In-Brief Guide to Pennsylvania Genealogy.” Elissa is a western Pennsylvania researcher and co-director of the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP). She is a past-president of the Board for Certification of Genealogists and coordinator of the IGHR “Professional Genealogy” course since 2007 She was an instructor for Boston University’s Genealogical Research Certificate course (2008-2016) and co-coordinator of SLIG’s 2013 “Credentialing: AG, CG, or Both?” course. Elissa’s familiarity with Pennsylvania history and research helps make this research guide a real value to anyone wanting to go further with their Pennsylvania ancestors.

Book Reviews of Three Books by Michael A. Ports Concerning Georgia History and Genealogy

The following book reviews were written by Bobbi King:

Georgia Free Persons of Color
Volume V, Richmond County 1799-1863

by Michael A. Ports
Genealogical Publishing Co. 2016. 166 pages.

Beginning in 1818, Georgia law required free persons of color to register with the inferior courts of their counties of residence. This book holds transcriptions of Richmond County, from four registers, from original records available at the Georgia Department of Archives and History in Morrow, Georgia.

Each register was different in format and information provided; introductory paragraphs explain the contents and format of each. All names are transcribed as accurately as possible as recorded, with no corrections for misspellings. The entries are arranged in a table format, with typical columns of name, age, nativity, place of residence, how long in Georgia, and occupation. Later years’ records note the names of guardians.

Book Review: Publish Your Family History: A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing the Stories of Your Ancestors

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

Publish Your Family History: A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing the Stories of Your Ancestors
By Dina C. Carson. Iron Gate Publishing. 2015. 369 pages.

I’m not a good storyteller. I’ve ruined many a good yarn with a lot of pointless detail and too much talk.

I haven’t a clue how to design a book cover except by stealing the ideas of others.

I have no idea how to put together a book except by reading the instructions written by Dina Carson.

Ms. Carson is a Colorado genealogist, gravestone photographer, writer, and publisher. Her books on self-publishing are so helpful, easy to read, full of direction and inspiration, I simply don’t try to write a book without her references nearby.

Book Reviews: David Dobson’s Books

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

DAVID DOBSON continues his work compiling names into published lists which are absolutely indispensable to our genealogy work. Featured here are some of Dobson’s more recent publications.

The People of Belfast 1600-1799.
Genealogical Publishing Co. 2016. 155 pages.

Belfast, Ireland, grew from small village to important city after receiving a Royal Charter in 1613. The population stood at about two thousand residents. This volume contains lists of about two thousand names of Belfast residents transcribed from forty-five primary sources in Ireland, Scotland, England, and elsewhere, which are listed in the back of the book. A short introduction describes the history of Belfast.

The People of the Scottish Burghs.
Genealogical Publishing Co.

This set comprises a series of eleven Genealogical Source Books. Two recent examples are:

Book Review: Unofficial Ancestry.com Workbook

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

unofficial-ancestry-workbookUnofficial Ancestry.com 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.