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Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Advanced Genetic Genealogy: Techniques and Case Studies by Debbie Parker Wayne (Editor), paperback and eBook, 414 pages, Wayne Research, 2019 (ISBN:1733694900) (ISBN13: 9781733694902).

This is a great addition to the literature on DNA for genealogy. There are fourteen chapters by different experts in the field. Having several specialists gives the book a significant advantage by highlighting the varying expertise of each of the contributors. Although the title does let readers know it has advanced techniques, it has very good background for those with a more elementary understanding. Most chapters include basic explanations, which makes the work usable by a larger audience. For example, there are explanations of the various DNA tests. There were several chapters that I thought especially added to the field. The chapter on X-DNA by Kathryn Johnston, MD was very thorough and is the best I have seen in telling about X-DNA and how it can be better used. The chapter by Ann Turner, MD, on “Would You Like Your Data Raw of Cooked?” was also especially good. A weakness of some chapters is their emphasis on the interpretation of tools, rather than how to use them. I would like to have seen better explanations on using DNA Painter and how to do nodal graphing. The book is fairly expensive, but it is printed in color, which is necessary for understanding the tables and graphs. I highly recommend the book for those who want to delve deeper into the field, as it is an exceptional overall reference work for genetic genealogy.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Marriage Law for Genealogists: The Definitive Guide ...What Everyone Tracing Their Family History Needs to Know about Where, When, Who and How Their English and Welsh Ancestors MarriedMarriage Law for Genealogists: The Definitive Guide ...What Everyone Tracing Their Family History Needs to Know about Where, When, Who and How Their English and Welsh Ancestors Married by Rebecca Probert
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

First, I want to emphasize that this book is about marriages that took place in England and Wales. That does not mean it is not of interest to a wider audience. The author, Rebecca Probert, is a well-known British legal historian on marriage. She is currently the chair in the Law College at Warwick University. Research libraries throughout the world have many of her books. This work covers the interrelation of the marriage laws and how the courts enforced those laws. What you get is what the laws said, but what really transpired. She did diligent research and discovered some surprising findings. The book reads very nicely and even though I do not have any English or Welsh marriages to ponder, I find it excellent reading. It would be great to see a similar work on American marriage laws.


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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic GenealogyThe Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy by Blaine T Bettinger
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The genetic genealogy community has been anticipating the publication of the newest DNA book on the block. Blaine started a blog on DNA and genealogy in 2007. Since then he has become one of the genetic genealogy gurus. I immediately ordered a copy as soon as it became available. The book does not disappoint. He covers selecting the right DNA testing, how to use the various tests: mitochondrial, Y, autosomal and X. One of my favorite parts is a chart showing the odds of a fourth cousin match in each of the major testing companies. He has very helpful charts throughout the book. He even discusses how to use those ethnicity estimates companies give. For me I especially liked the part on third-party tools. I have used some, but he has a nice section on one I have not used, yet. This book is excellent for anyone just starting DNA in genealogy or who has need for some higher level basics.


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Monday, August 29, 2016

Organize Your Genealogy: Strategies and Solutions for Every ResearcherOrganize Your Genealogy: Strategies and Solutions for Every Researcher by Drew Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I saw this book promoted and decided to find a copy to review for my local genealogical society newsletter. Is there a genealogist that doesn’t want to be more organized? Fortunately, my local Barnes and Noble had a copy for me to assess. I was so impressed by it that I bought a copy. The table of contents is a good way to hone in on where you especially feel you need more help. Drew starts by suggesting ways to organize ourselves. He uses psychology and suggests habit building to make the best use of our time. His different approach to organizing is refreshing. This isn’t the same old “color-coding” filing we often read and hear about. It covers how we use our space at home or office, goals, organizing notes and ideas, files, research processes, communication, online research, research trips, and organizing your learning. I am very impressed to see that it even has a chapter on organizing your volunteering. This has my highest recommendation for a library or for your personal collection. I feel it is worth the extra money for the print copy.


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Thursday, July 28, 2016

Orange Lilies: A Review

The Orange Lilies (The Forensic Genealogist #2.5)The Orange Lilies by Nathan Dylan Goodwin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have reviewed some of Nathan Goodwin’s Forensic Genealogist books. The protagonist, Morton Farrier, is a forensic genealogist who is renowned for solving other people’s family histories, but he knows very little of his own ancestry. It is set at Christmas time. Morton and his girlfriend are staying with his “Aunty Margaret” and uncle for the holiday on the coast of Cornwall. Goodwin’s description of Cornwall in the winter is very good. I won’t write much more on the plot, as if you haven’t read the earlier books, I would be putting in a spoiler. This is Goodwin’s best work for me. It is not a murder mystery, but Morton does solve some family mysteries with an almost Agatha Christie denouement. I recommend it for its genealogical appeal, mystery, and for anyone interested in World War I.


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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Betsy Ross and the Making of AmericaBetsy Ross and the Making of America by Marla R. Miller
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Miller did this as an academic endeavor. She pointed out that even though Ross was so famous, there were surprisingly few documents in which she is directly mentioned. It points out how difficult it is to research women historically, even though she ran a very successful business. It is a good read and I recommend it.


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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Digging for Ancestors: A Review

Digging for Ancestors: An In-Depth Guide to Land RecordsDigging for Ancestors: An In-Depth Guide to Land Records by Michelle Goodrum
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Our local genealogical society newsletter editor saw a reference to Digging for Ancestors: An In-depth Guide to Land Records, by Michelle Roos Goodrum and suggested it as a book to review. I purchased a Nook Book copy and had it is seconds. It is also available in print. Land records are one of the best sources for a genealogist. The book is very strong on examples, which are very valuable to me when I am trying to learn about records. It is a good book for anyone who is trying to understand the basics of land research. My fault with the book is using the term in-depth, as I would call it a very good overview. I highly recommend it for anyone just starting to use land records, it does have some helpful advice for more advanced researchers, too. For those who want a true in-depth book, I recommend Land and Property Research in the United States by Wade Hone.


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