Monday, March 14, 2011

New on the Shelf : Genealogy, the Internet, and Your Genealogy Computer Program

Those of us who regularly use the computer and the internet for our genealogical research will benefit from the updated edition of The Complete Beginner's Guide to Genealogy, the Internet, and Your Genealogy Computer Program, by Karen Clifford.

As someone who works with visiting researchers, I especially liked Chapter 3, "Becoming Acquainted With Your Genealogy Program".  Karen lists thirteen key points about why it's a good idea to migrate from a total paper system to a genealogical program for organizing your family notes.  To highlight a few of those:

3.  The program acts like a handy notepad and pencil where you can jot down any ideas or a research plan

6.  Good genealogy programs have the ability to "accept" information [easy migration from one program to another]

7.  Create pedigree charts, family group records, descendancy charts, and other handy aids

9.  Additions or corrections [easily made]...eliminating hours of typing [or writing]

11.  The ability to search all notes for a particular word or string of words [people, places, dates]

I'm a believer in using a paper filing system and genealogical program in tandem, and Karen addresses personal filing systems in Chapter 6, "Your Family History Notebook".  She describes one system using file folders, notebooks, index cards & charts.

Beginners & experienced researchers alike have encountered discrepancies in names, dates or places.  Chapter 8, "Resolving Conflict" discusses problem-solving methods and provides a nice overview of different types of sources, allowing the reader to evaluate evidence based on the "weight" of that evidence.

Other chapters address data gathering techniques, the importance of documentation, and placing your ancestors into historic context.  Chapters 10, 11 & 12 all pertain to using the Family History Center's [Salt Lake City] online resources and their local centers.  The author talks about setting goals in your research and some of the best ways to network with other researchers.  Also, unique to this book are a series of "Your Turn" note cards with activities that help the reader apply what they've learned to their own research.

Genealogy, the Internet, and Your Genealogy Computer Program is one of this year's must reads for anyone using a computer or the internet to extend their family tree.  A copy is available for checkout to any Van Buren District Library patron or request it via interlibrary loan through your local library.