Book Review: In Search of a Fair Wind – The Sea Letters of Georgia Townsend Yates, 1891-1892

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

In Search of a Fair Wind
The Sea Letters of Georgia Townsend Yates, 1891-1892
By Georgia Townsend Yates and Clint Cargile.
Zea Mays Publ., Sycamore, Ill. 2017. 229 pages.

I find memoirs to be extraordinarily engaging, even when the central topic is of no great interest to me.

Being pulled into someone else’s life, reading the private thoughts, feelings, perspective, reactions to family, fears, insecurities, being privy to someone who has had a life different from mine, and shares it so unpretentiously, feels like a privilege.

Georgia Townsend Yates wrote letters home to her mother from the Willie Reed, an ocean vessel that sailed from the East Coast to Japan and Singapore from 1891 to 1892. Captain John Elvin Yates, Georgia’s husband, commanded the ship, and she sailed with him for fifteen months, accompanied by their toddler daughter Dorothy.

Where to Download Thousands of Free eBooks

It would be a stretch to say this article relates to genealogy; however, I have found that many genealogists are also avid readers with a broad range of literary interests. With this in mind, I thought I would share some ideas for those times when you want to enjoy reading a good book on a different subject.

Did you know you can obtain thousands of free ebooks to read online, download to your computer, or transfer to your Kindle, iPad, or other ebook reader?

Many of the available ebooks are electronic versions of classic literature. In other words, they are old books and are out of copyright. However, mixed in with these are quite a few more modern books where copyright permission has been obtained.

Most of these books can be read on a Kindle, iPad, or Nook, as well as on the screen of any Windows, Macintosh, Chromebook, or Linux computer. This is a great way to obtain a lot of reading material.

Check out these web sites:

4th edition of the Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy is now Available

Val D. Greenwood is one of the best-known and most respected genealogy authors of our time. His book, the Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy, is one of the best “how to” manuals for beginning genealogists and advanced researchers alike. It is the text of choice in colleges and universities or wherever courses in American genealogy are taught.

The Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy identifies the various classes of records employed in that research, groups them in convenient tables and charts, gives their location, explains their uses, and evaluates each of them in the context of the research process.

“The challenge I give to the genealogist is to reach beyond the vital statistics to a new world of understanding, both of his ancestors and of himself. . . . Someone has said that there is little point in digging up an ancestor if you are not going to make him live”– Val D. Greenwood

Val has updated his classic work and the 4th edition of the Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy is now available from the publisher, Genealogical Publishing Company, at: as well as from other genealogy bookstores.

Book Review: Take Control of Your Digital Legacy

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

Take Control of Your Digital Legacy
By Joe Kissell. An ebook, published at TidBITS Publishing, Inc., 2017. 127 pages.

At my age, those disagreeable, irksome end-of-life medical, financial, and genealogy issues raise their ugly heads. I dutifully pay attention to them for awhile, but after a time, I stop dealing about them and go back to working on more of the fun stuff. But I have to say, it never, ever, occurred to me that I needed to consider the legacy of my personal digital life.

You know, Facebook, LinkedIn, My Heritage, Ancestry, it’s quite a list once you make it. My personal computer, my genealogy software, my photo files, my research files, my subscriptions, my email accounts; what was paper in the 20th century is digital in the 21st century. And it still needs to be dealt with, if I want any of it to survive outside a Dell. My decades of photos, research, and genealogy reside in what my kids will see as a hard, gray laptop containing nothing they’re interested in. They will never open it, unless I convince them to care about what’s in it.

Book Review: The True Story of the Acadians

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

The True Story of the Acadians
By Dudley J. Le Blanc.
A reprint by M.M. Le Blanc .
BizEntine Press. August 2016. 271 pages.

Recently, I visited and marveled at the rugged coastline and forested beauty of Acadia National Park. Located in the northeastern region of the native state of our well-regarded Mr. Eastman, in Maine, Acadia National Park is where the rays of the rising morning sun, in the winter months, first reach the United States, striking the peak and a few shivering souls atop Mt. Cadillac.

The word ‘Acadia’ sparked a memory of a poem I had read in elementary school, “Evangeline” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The poet eulogized the young Acadian woman Evangeline’s loss and lifelong search for her love Gabriel. The poem memorializes the actual events of the forced banishment of Acadian peoples by the English to their southern New England colonies.

Not that many miles away and to the east and north of Acadia National Park, is the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. There is Acadia.

Did You Know That You Can Borrow Books From Internet Archive?

Sure, you can read books that are out of copyright on or even download the same books and save them to a hard drive or a flash drive. But did you know that you can even borrow current books that are still within copyright?

Books in the collection may be borrowed by logged in patrons for a period of two weeks. Internet Archive offers borrowable books in BookReader, PDF and ePub formats. BookReader editions also may be read online immediately in any web browser.

Diane L Richard describes how to borrow newer books from in an article in the NGS Blog at:

Announcing Unlock the Past Handy Guides

The following announcement was written by the folks at Unlock the Past, a division of Gould Genealogy:

Adelaide, South Australia, 18 October 2017 – history and genealogy company, Unlock the Past, has launched a new series of handy guides to add to its popular guide books series. These are low cost A4 four-page guides on quality heavy card stock, concise, but packed full of key facts and clear information – intended for handy reference.

The series has launched with six titles from well known genealogists and Unlock the Past presenters and authors, Kerry Farmer, Eric Kopittke and Chris Paton. Current titles are listed at

They are priced at AU$5 (US$4 and £3) — for ready sale by authors themselves, societies and other resellers. Ebook editions are available for AU$3.95 from The range of titles is expected to grow considerably in coming months.

We welcome:

The Internet Archive Now Claims that Libraries may Legally Scan, Digitize, and Republish Books from 1923 to 1941

For many years, genealogists have believed that all books published in the U.S. prior to 1923 are now public domain, meaning those books can legally be copied and sold. Anything published in 1923 or later might be under copyright. The keyword here is “might.” The subject became a bit complicated starting in 1923. I wrote about that in an earlier Plus Edition article that is still available at: (A Plus Edition user name and password is required in order to read that article.)

Now the folks at the highly-respected Internet Archive have made a claim that Section 108h of the U.S. Copyright laws are even less restrictive, at least for libraries. That may not be the same as for private individuals, however. Here is a brief quote from the statement:

A Dictionary of Occupational Terms Based on the Classification of Occupations used in the Census of Population [for Great Britain], 1921.

A Dictionary of Occupational Terms Based on the Classification of Occupations used in the Census of Population, 1921 was published in 1927 and, as the full title indicates, it was based on the classification of occupations used in the 1921 UK census. It obviously is a great resource when tracing ancestry in Great Britain. However, many of the occupations listed in this book also were commonly used in all the other English-speaking countries so the use of this reference book is not limited to only the “mother country.”

Originally published as a printed book, the Dictionary of Occupational Terms is by far the most comprehensive dictionary of British occupations, with almost 30,000 terms, and includes (sometimes very detailed) descriptions of the activities that each occupation involves.

A Dictionary of Occupational Terms Based on the Classification of Occupations used in the Census of Population, 1921 is extremely rare. In the British Isles, copies are available in only three of the six legal deposit libraries, four university libraries, two public libraries, and the London Library. The UK National Archives has two copies, one in the document collection and one on the shelves in the Research & Enquiries Room. Copies occasionally surface in the second-hand book trade.

Free Guide to DNA Testing

Richard Hill has written a genealogist’s Guide to DNA Testing. Best of all, the Guide is available free of change from now through September 2 as a Kindle ebook from Amazon. The ebook will revert to its normal price on September 3, 2017.

NOTE: Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers. You can read Kindle format ebooks on Kindle devices as well as on iPads, iPhones, Android phones and tablets, Windows, Macintosh, and in any sort if computer that can open a web browser and use the Kindle Cloud Reader. For more information about reading Kindle ebooks on non-Kindle devices, see my earlier article at:

Richard Hill’s Guide to DNA Testing is now available as version 3, updated to cover new tests and additional information. The Guide is intended to be a short, easy-to-understand introduction for people who aren’t yet interested enough to devote more time to the subject. Links to longer books and many other resources are useful to anyone.

Book Review: Genetic Genealogy in Practice

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

Genetic Genealogy in Practice
By Blaine T. Bettinger and Debbie Parker Wayne.
National Genealogical Society.
2016. 196 pages.

This is a workbook type of book. I’ve heard this so many times from my genealogy friends: “Well, I finally got the results of my DNA testing, but now I don’t know what to do with it.”

This workbook should solve that dilemma. There is plenty of instruction along with the “work” part of the book. The early sections cover the biology and basics of genetics, and then continues on with instruction on applying the DNA results to your research.

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.