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The Book Report
12/18/2009
Top tomes for your roots research.
Required Reading
Essential resources for every researcher.
 
Enjoy a good mystery? The Sleuth Book for Genealogists by Emily Anne Croom (Genealogical Publishing Co., $34.95) is an entertaining way to learn tested techniques for tracking down elusive ancestors. Croom shows you how to apply the deductive powers of Miss Marple, Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot to your own genealogical quest. Learn to organize your research, establish clear research goals and utilize Croom’s principle of “cluster genealogy” for the best results. Croom’s Documentation Guide also takes the intimidation and agony out of citing sources. The book is filled with inspiring case studies to help you solve your genealogical mysteries.
 
 
Hot Off The Press
New books to heat up your family history search.
 
1. A genealogist’s dream: to open an old box and find long-forgotten love letters. Daniel Tyler did just that and published the correspondence as Love in an Envelope: A Courtship in the American West (University of New Mexico Press, $34.95). The 54 letters exchanged between Leroy Carpenter and Martha Bennett in 1870 and 1871 reflect not only their budding courtship, but a look into the private world of middle-class rural America.
 
2. Kathleen Kent grew up with stories about her ancestor Martha Carrier, a Salem, Mass., woman accused of witchcraft. But Kent took a unique approach to writing about her forebear in The Heretic’s Daughter (Little, Brown and Co., $24.99): She penned a family history novel from the viewpoint of Martha’s daughter, Sarah, as Sarah confides the family secret in a letter to her granddaughter.
 
3. It’s the most widely used search engine, and now you can tap all the powerful capabilities in your family history search. Google Your Family Tree by Daniel M. Lynch (FamilyLink, $34.95) shows you how to use basic and advanced search operators, set up automated searches and use language tools to translate foreign content—and that just scratches the surface.
 
 
Pros’ Picks
Genealogy gurus share their reading recommendations.
 
Psychic Roots: Serendipity and Intuition in Genealogy by Henry Z Jones Jr. (Genealogical Publishing Co., $19.95)
 
Recommended by: Larry J. Clark, genealogy department head of the Porter County, Ind., Public Library System and a 34-year genealogy veteran
 
Book summary: Psychic Roots is a collection of true stories involving researchers’ amazing coincidences and eerie occurrences while doing their genealogical research.
Likes and dislikes: I especially enjoyed the section involving hunches. It was something I could relate to, especially in helping others look up information and in my own research, as well as the feeling that departed family members do want us to find them.
Behind the scenes: I’ve had some of my own special experiences while doing research and liked comparing them with other people’s incidents.
Lasting impressions: The book helps genealogists relate to all types of unusual situations that may develop while they’re hunting for information. It has given me a wider perspective on methods of doing things. I’ve adopted some of the research ideas that people mentioned using in their own family history searches, and that’s helped me become a better researcher.
Best bonus: Psychic Roots makes you realize that you might not be crazy when serendipitous situations develop in your genealogical investigations.
 
 
 
 
 
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