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
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
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and also for maps and historical references.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
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
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