Update: Libraries without Librarians

NOTE: This article contains personal opinions and beliefs.

I have been reading the comments in my earlier “Libraries without Librarians” article at and I believe that many of those newsletter readers have ignored a couple of basic facts when posting comments. I am moved to remind everyone of the facts that I believe are relevant.

Several people have expressed reservations about homeless people, vagrants, and other unwanted individuals having access to the unmanned library and by possible criminal activities by these individuals. Indeed, on first reading, that also was my concern. However, let’s look at the facts.

As stated in the earlier article:

“Self-service libraries are common in Europe”

“In North America, it’s still a novelty. Just five library systems — eight libraries total — have implemented it since 2016.”

“Officials at Bibliotheca, the leading company in North America that sells the required software, counts more than 750 libraries globally as users.”

The fact is that more than 750 self-service libraries are already using this business model today and are doing so successfully.

Libraries without Librarians

Several Twin Cities (Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota) library systems are considering an “open libraries” model that would give patrons access to books, computers and other resources by themselves at times when the library isn’t open and staffed. Two west metro libraries already use the idea on a small scale.

The setup relies on technology — via a central management system — to let people enter the library, check out items and log onto computers — all while video monitors record their actions. There’s a phone connected to a central library or an on-call librarian so patrons can ask questions. Automated systems announce when the library is closing, flick the lights off and on and can even operate amenities like a gas fireplace on a schedule.

Free World War I Genealogy PDF Guide Offered

The WWI Genealogy Research Guide helps trace American military and noncombatant ancestors. It is provided courtesy of the Doughboy Foundation and the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission. It is authored by Debra M. Dudek, with a foreword by Col. Gerald York, grandson of Medal of Honor recipient Alvin York. As well as over 100 pages of information and guidance, it features over 250 links to resources on the Web.

The guide is available in PDF form free of charge to the first 5,000 people who download it at After the download limit has been reached, it can be purchased in book form online or wherever books are sold. Contact David W. Hamon, VSO/military director for the commission, at for more information.

(+) Publishing Your Genealogy Book on Demand

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

Would you like to publish the results of your genealogy research? Does your genealogy society or family name organization want to publish data in book form? Publishing genealogy books has long been an expensive proposition.

Genealogy authors often have paid in advance $2,000 to $10,000 or more to a book publisher in order to have a book privately published. However, new business models today can reduce those “up front” expenses can be as low as zero, thanks to online services. In fact, if your book is ready to be sent to the publisher, you might be able to make it available for sale within ten minutes. Would-be purchasers can order your book directly from you or from your web site, from the publisher’s web site, or from Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

There are a number of publishers specializing in short-run books; that is, the publication of small quantities of books. These short-run publishers traditionally have charged the author for publication costs. Most genealogists who wish to publish their findings as books have used short-run publishers for printing. Family organizations also use short-run publishers to reprint old family genealogy books that have long been out of print. These are the books you normally see on the shelves at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, other genealogy libraries throughout the world, and in the homes of many genealogists.

Self-publishing traditionally has meant paying thousands of dollars and committing to hundreds of copies of the book “up front.” However, today’s companies use print on-demand (POD) technology to print books as they are ordered. The key to making all this work is “on-demand printing.” The publisher does not print hundreds or thousands of books in advance (for which the author must also pay in advance). Instead, books are printed one-at-a-time as orders are received.

Book Review: Women Patriots in the American Revolution

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

Women Patriots in the American Revolution
By Jack Darrell Crowder. Genealogical Publ. Co. 2018. 102 pages.

The participation of women in the Revolutionary War has been historically ignored. Volumes have been written about the militiamen, the military leaders, the regimental soldiers, and the everyday ordinary men who operated the inns, the boarding houses, and the village businesses that served the patriot cause.

Mr. Crowder has put together a book with biographical sketches of eighty-eight women who defied the British authorities, providing aid to the partisan Americans in one way or another.

One example: Mary Murry:

Book Review: The People of…series of books by David Dobson

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

The People of…series of books by David Dobson.
Genealogical Publishing Co.

The prodigious compiler David Dobson continues to memorialize the Scottish and Irish peoples, and some others.

The People of Strathmore 1600-1799
2017. 212 pages.
The name Strathmore is derived from the Gaelic words An Srath Mor, meaning broad or big valley. Located in eastern Scotland, the region is home to several small towns and farming communities.

This book identifies people living in the burghs of Kirriemuir, Forfar, and Brechin, as well as area parishes lying within the county of Angus. A previous book The People of Lowland Perthshire covers the western part of Strathmore that lies in Perthshire.
The author notes here the Davidson family of Harley-Davidson motorcycle fame, and the Carnegie family, ancestors of Andrew Carnegie.

Book Review: Abstracts of the Debt Books of the Provincial Land Office of Maryland

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

Abstracts of the Debt Books of the Provincial Land Office of Maryland
By V.L.Skinner, Jr. Published by Genealogical Publishing Co. 2017.

Vernon L. Skinner, Jr. has put together a set of books representing a remarkable amount of work, for our reference.

The Maryland Provincial Land Office dispensed land from 1634 to 1777. The Rent Rolls and Debt Books record the annual rents due to the Lord Proprietor from the person to whom the tract was granted.

The original Debt Books are arranged by county, then by year, then by name of the person paying the rent. Each liber contains information for only one county, but for multiple years.

Book Review: Finding Family

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

Finding Family
My Search for Roots and the Secrets of My DNA
By Richard Hill. Published by Familius LLC. 2017. 290 pages.

In 1964, Richard Hill, recently graduated from high school and preparing to go to college, stood in his doctor’s office exiting an examination when he heard the doctor’s casual question, How do you feel about being adopted?

A better question might have been, How do you feel about hearing for the first time ever in your entire young life, that you are not the child of your parents?

So heralded the beginning of Mr. Hill’s search for his biological mother and father using conventional genealogical methods, and later DNA, to eliminate and confirm the possibilities as candidates for his biological parentage emerged among old stories told decades later from characters out of the past Mr. Hill was digging up.

Book Review: The Royal Descents of 900 Immigrants to the American Colonies, Quebec, or the United States

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

The Royal Descents of 900 Immigrants to the American Colonies, Quebec, or the United States. Volume I and Volume II.
By Gary Boyd Roberts. Published by Genealogical Publishing Co. 2018. 1611 pages.

This is a remarkable compilation of genealogies of the descendants of British royalty who are themselves notable in some way or another. Notables considered for the book include those persons in the American National Biography, the Dictionary of American Biography, Who’s Who in America, Who Was Who in America, or the National Cyclopaedia of American Biography. The notables were settlement and colony founders, nineteenth and twentieth century figures (such as Treasury Secretary Albert Gallatin and Audrey Hepburn), politicians, authors, journalists, and diplomats, among others.

These volumes are successors to The Royal Descents of 500 Immigrants and The Royal Descents of 600 Immigrants.

Book Review: Advanced Genetic Genealogy: Techniques and Case Studies

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

Advanced Genetic Genealogy: Techniques and Case Studies
Edited by Debbie Parker Wayne. Published by Wayne Research (Cushing Texas). 2019. 382 pages.

When you’ve moved beyond reading the beginner how-to-do-DNA-genealogy books, this will be the next book for you to pick up.

Advanced is unequivocally for the intermediate and advanced DNA researcher. If you’re new to the subject, acquire a solid foundation of DNA analysis skills first. Then you can tackle this book’s higher-level focus on the analysis DNA results, the integration of your work with the principles of the Genealogy Proof Standard, and some essays on the emotion of DNA results, of how DNA discoveries may affect some personal and family relationships in unexpected ways.

This is a tough book, but if you’re serious about DNA analysis and credibility, then you can’t work without it.

Book Review: Grow Your Own Family Tree

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

Grow Your Own Family Tree
by Pauline Golds. Published by Emerald Publishing. 2018. 163 pages.

This is the second edition of Ms. Golds’ book. In her first edition, she focused on research in the British Isles, but in this follow-up edition, she expands her instruction to the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, and Europe.

So contrary to most of the books I receive to review, this one is not U.S.-centric. Its emphasis is on British research.

I would call this a beginner’s guidebook. It’s not long, so the reader won’t become overwhelmed with the task ahead, but Ms. Golds offers words of encouragement that help the apprentice genealogist get going along with hope and expectation that carried us all through our own dark days and nights.

Book Review: In Their Words, A Genealogist’s Translation Guide to Polish, German, Latin, and Russian Documents

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

In Their Words, A Genealogist’s Translation Guide to Polish, German, Latin, and Russian Documents
Volume IV : German
By William F. Hoffman and Jonathan D. Shea. Published by Language and Lineage Press, Houston, TX. 2017. 655 pages.

This volume examines German documents, including documents created in places not now considered Germany, such as Poland and Austria, and other regions formerly ruled by Germany.

Previous books in this series are: In Their Words…Volume I: Polish; In Their Words…Volume II: Russian; and In Their Words…Volume III: Latin.

As any German researcher knows, “German” has a broad meaning. My own German research involves Prussia, now Poland. And this reference has been a terrific help to me.

Press Release: Visiting Your Ancestral Town: Walk in the Footsteps of Your Ancestors (3rd edition) Now Available

The following announcement was written by Footsteps Media LLC:

(SEATTLE, April 9, 2019)—Discovering your family roots has become a booming business with the rapid expansion of consumer DNA testing and popular TV shows in which celebrities learn the secrets of their families’ past. “Visiting Your Ancestral Town” (Footsteps Media), will help you dive in to discover your own family history, even if you’re not sure where to start.

Written by Carolyn Schott, veteran genealogist and lifelong traveler, the third edition adds new information on getting started with DNA genealogy (adding to the toolkit of practical research advice in the previous edition) and how to explore the social fabric of your ancestors’ lives through food, culture, and local history in your ancestral homeland. Demonstrating her own passion for travel, Schott’s practical tips and travel stories urge you to go beyond musty files and online images of old records. The book creates an easy approach for finding and visiting the places your ancestors once called home.

Does Your Genealogy Society Publish eBooks? If Not, They Should.

Today I stumbled across the web site of the Upper Shore Genealogy Society of Maryland. The Society covers Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s, and Talbot counties. What caught my eye was a listing of ebooks of local records the society sells on CD-ROM disks. I started thinking, why don’t more genealogy societies do the same?

Here are the ebooks sold by the Upper Shore Genealogy Society at

Book Review: The Cowkeeper’s Wish, a Genealogical Journey

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

The Cowkeeper’s Wish, a Genealogical Journey
By Tracy Kasaboski and Kristen Den Hartog.
Published by Douglas & McIntyre (Madeira Park, BC). 2018. 447 pages.

The opening pages show the Charles Booth Poverty maps of the London boroughs of St. Saviour, Southwark, and Whitechapel. The legend denotes the streets and residences of: “Lowest class. Vicious, semi-criminal.”; “Very poor, casual. Chronic want.”; “Poor.”; “Mixed. Some comfortable, others poor.”; “Upper middle and Upper Classes. Wealthy.” Seeing a poverty map on the first pages of a story clues us in that this may not be a joyful tale.

The authors tell the story of their ancestors’ taking leave of rural poverty in Wales seeking a better life in urban London. Benjamin Jones gathers a few of his cows, the only manner of livelihood he knows, and along with his soon-to-be wife Margaret Davies, walks the distance from their impoverished rural homes to what becomes their impoverished urban home in the borough of London. The story follows the lives of their children and grandchildren who gradually pull out of their own difficult situations to achieve a measure of comfortable living in England and later, in London, Ontario, where a great-granddaughter Doris, who serves as a focal character of the saga, emigrates out of England to begin and live out her own life in London, Ontario, Canada.

F+W Media, Citing Debt, Decline, And Mismanagement, Files For Bankruptcy Protection

F+W Media is a publisher of many popular magazines, books, digital products, videos and other content. Within the genealogy community, the company is best known as the producer of Family Tree Magazine, Family Tree University and the Family Tree website. Sadly, F+W Media filed for bankruptcy protection a few days ago.

Facing near-term liquidity issues with only about $2.5 million in cash available and $105.2 million in outstanding debt, F+W Media filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the federal bankruptcy code, citing in various documents a perfect storm of secular industry decline, poor investments, and even mismanagement.

NOTE: Family Tree Magazine published by F+W Media in the U.S. should not be confused with a magazine of the same name published in England by Warners Group Publications Plc. (See for the “other” Family Tree Magazine.) The two magazines may share a name but nothing else. They are owned and published by totally different companies.

Book Review: Suicide by Army Life

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

Suicide by Army Life
by Ozzie Sollien. Self-published. 2017.

In 1861, Olaus Hansen immigrated to Iowa, like thousands of his European contemporaries, seeking a better life. He was born in rural Norway, idyllic in imagination and appearance, but tough in climate and opportunity. Brothers Ole and Hans Hansen emigrated also, but their lives had far different outcomes than the life of their middle brother Olaus.

Mr. Sollien spent decades researching the life and times of Olaus Hansen. It’s not a story of a successful man, but rather, it’s a study of a man’s life spent enduring battles of the Civil War, and serving through the West’s dusty summers and brutal winters riding with Gen. George A. Armstrong’s 7th Cavalry unit as they pursued and fought the Sioux Wars.

Book Review: The Asylum by Nathan Dylan Goodwin

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

The Asylum
By Nathan Dylan Goodwin. Self-published. 2019. 56 pages.

Mr. Goodwin is a familiar name among readers of genealogy fiction of the mystery-detective type. He has written several books recounting the trials and tribulations of the intrepid genealogy sleuth Morton Farrier.

A note for those attending RootsTech this week: Mr. Goodwin will be at his booth in the Exhibit Hall talking to his readers and signing books.

Mr. Goodwin won’t be signing this book. It’s a downloadable e-book, and it’s free if you download it from his website. It feels like both a reward for being a faithful Farrier fan, and an introductory gift for a new audience of readers.

The Asylum is a prequel to The Hiding Place.

The Friends of Irish Research Announces the Opening of the David Allen Lambert Library in Brockton, Massachusetts

The following announcement was written by the Friends of Irish Research:

Breaking News – Brockton, MA: The Friends of Irish Research is pleased to announce its partnership with the Alliance of Massachusetts Genealogists in the opening of their enhanced research library located at 899 North Main Street, Brockton, MA. Often times the naming of something is a difficult choice and for someone who is no longer with us. This is not the case for us. We are thrilled to be able to introduce you to the David Allen Lambert Library. David is a good friend of the organizations here in Brockton and a name that is synonymous with genealogical and historical research here in New England.

We invite those interested in a research center south of Boston to come join us at 1:00 pm on Saturday, February 23, 2019 for the dedication of the David Allen Lambert Library. The library hosts a growing collection of books, thousands of digital books, periodicals, maps, newspapers, microfilm collections, and researchers to help others in tracing their family trees.

Book Review: Genealogy at a Glance Brochures

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

“Genealogy at a Glance” New Brochures Available
Genealogical Publishing Company. 2018.

There are some new state research titles available in the “Genealogy at a Glance” periodical series. These are 4-page, laminated 8 ½ x 11 fact sheets that offer abridged research information on various topics of genealogical interest. Sturdy, folded, and coffee-and-crumb resistant, these little research aids pack well in a bag as you head out to the library.

The new titles, all authored by Michael A. Ports, are:

Alabama Genealogy Research
Kentucky Genealogy Research
South Carolina Genealogy Research
Tennessee Genealogy Research
Mississippi Genealogy Research