Lines of Defense
I appreciate the educational articles that appear in Family Tree Magazine, but feel compelled to respond to Sharon DeBartolo Carmack’s review of my book In Search of Confederate Ancestors in the June issue.
For more than a decade, this book (11,000 copies now in print) has assisted novice family researchers in finding their Southern soldier roots. Positive reviews have been published in genealogy columns in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and The Clarion (Miss.) Ledger. John B. Wells, past president and genealogist in chief for the Sons of Confederate Veterans <scv.org> says in his review: “I recommend this book without reservation as the best of its kind.”
In the introduction, I disclose that “this guide was never intended to be a comprehensive, all-embracing instructional manual.” Instead, the work is designed to be a basic resource that assists researchers with honest, easy-to-understand information.
In the long run, criticism from any reviewer — justified or not — is what it is: one person’s opinion. The real measure of a book’s value will rest upon the lips of the buyers who fork over their hard-earned money and are satisfied with the purchase.
Take a Fresh Look
It astonishes me that a magazine such as yours would publish an article telling its readers of the many resources available on a “fresh-faced” Cyndi’s List <cyndislist.com> without warning them that the site has not been seriously updated since mid-2003 (“Upping the Ante,” June 2006). By looking at the new, temporarily uncategorized links, you’ll see that Cyndi Howells hasn’t been moving these links into her main index for almost three years.
I’m not knocking Cyndi Howells — she provides a free Web site, and we should be willing to take what she gives us. But a publication such as yours has an obligation to alert its readers to this fact, so they can browse through the unindexed items if they so choose.
To make sure I stay up to date with new Web sites — in addition to subscribing to your magazine, which generally does a very nice job in this area — I check the new submissions to Cyndi’s List daily. In this way, I have discovered numerous sites over the past few years that I wouldn’t be able to find by a search of the site’s index.
Editor’s note: Though we did mention that the new Google search on Cyndi’s List can help you tap uncategorized links, our article didn’t discuss just how many useful sites are “hiding” in the monthly new links lists. Thanks for pointing out the value of checking those additions. Another way to stay up to date: Sign up for e-mail alerts at <cyndislist.com/maillist.htm#howto>.
The State Research Guides section is a feature of the magazine I am very pleased with. I was delighted when the April issue arrived in the mail, and I found that Minnesota was one of the featured states.
As there is an issue or two I have missed, I would appreciate knowing what states have appeared to date. And could you provide a schedule of which states will be featured in future issues?
I thought the publication was excellent when I first started buying copies, but each issue just keeps getting better and better!