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How to Do Everything with Your Genealogy

Book review by Janet Mobley

The Osborne web site tells us: "Anyone interested in discovering their family genealogy should carry a copy of this book everywhere. Written by internationally recognized expert, George G. Morgan, this book is an irreplaceable resource for beginner to expert knowledge gatherers. Not only does Morgan explain how to get the search started—creating a family tree, locating and evaluating documents, selecting the appropriate hardware and software for the search—he goes steps further and dedicates an entire section to research methods and strategies where he discusses, among other topics, getting past 'dead ends,' and organizing possible research travel."

I think it is in the introduction that Mr. Morgan suggests that you don't sit down and try to read from page one through the entire book of nearly 500 pages, and I didn't. This is the same philosophy that Robin Williams suggests in her computer books and it is certainly a valid one. However, I did go through the nine page table of contents to get an idea of how the book was organized.

The author begins with the basics: Start with yourself and work backwards. Talk to all of your older relatives. And don't wait until you are middle aged, or older, to start your family history. It is never too late but so much easier if you are young and have older relatives to interview. He suggests you start by going through your home and finding baby books, vital records, military records, school records employment records, letters, diaries and so on. Many of these things are items that would not have occurred to me. I don't think I want copies of my report cards in my genealogy book! But scanning yearbooks might be a good idea.

Mr. Morgan gives dozens of Web sites for finding genealogical information and also for maps and historical references. Those are two areas that I find fascinating. Also the parts on immigration are very interesting. When I think that traveling by airplane to Europe can take 13 hours, it seems like nothing compared to what some of our ancestors lived through traveling by ship-and little ships at that—from Europe to this country.

Mr. Morgan gives the URL's of many sites where one can download maps to pinpoint your ancestors´ places of origin. Locating ancestors by way of the Internet is thoroughly discussed and the resources the author gives make it possible to do extensive researching from the comfort of your home. But then he tells us how to make a very successful genealogical research trip: how to determine the scope of your trip, what to take and how to develop a research plan.

This is a book that will become your genealogy guide, bible and all around helper. I highly recommend it. And if you are interested in genealogy, you might want to consider joining our Genealogy Special Interest Group.

Author: George G. Morgan
McGraw Hill\Osborne $24.99
GEORGE G. MORGAN (Odessa, FL) is an internationally recognized expert in the field of genealogy and a widely published author of books, magazines, and journal articles.