November 2008 Book Report

By Sharon DeBartolo Carmack Premium

Required Reading: Classic resources you shouldn’t research without.

Uh-oh… How can you end up with three different birth-dates from Grandpa Burt? And five possible marriage dates for Aunt Ernestine? Genealogy research is rarely cut-and-dried, and sometimes it’s difficult to know which record is most likely correct. But Christine Rose helps you weigh and analyze your sources in Genealogical Proof Standard: Building a Solid Case (CR Publications, $8.95). This guide packs a lot of solid advice into 58 pages, showing you step by step in case studies how to evaluate evidence and resolve your genealogical discrepancies. It’s a must-read for all genealogists.

HOT OFF THE PRESS:New books to heat up your family history search.
1. One day, you’ll become an ancestor. What are you leaving for your descendants? In You Don’t Have to Be Famous (Writer’s Digest Books), Steve Zousmer takes the intimidation out of writing your life story, so you can leave a legacy for future generations. Zousmer’s message: Whether or not you’ve led an adventurous life, your life story is meaningful because it’s unique. Get going with this practical guide.

2. Combining history, biography and memoir, Bill Griffeth traces his family tree through the history of Protestantism. By Faith Alone: One Family’s Epic Journey Through 400 Years of American Protestantism (Harmony Books) follows Griffeth as he travels to England, the Netherlands and Massachusetts in search of his roots — and discovers how faith shaped his ancestors’ lives as well as his own.

3. Between 1761 and 1853, a steady stream of Irish came to Canada. Erin’s Sons: Irish Arrivals in Atlantic Canada, 1761-1853 by Terrence M. Punch (Genealogical Publishing Co.), offers listings of those Irish immigrants from passenger lists; censuses; newspapers; military, church and prison records; and tombstone inscriptions. The book also gives a brief history of Irish settlement in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Pros’ Picks: Genealogy gurus share their reading recommendations.

Wilderness at Dawn: The Settling of the North American Continent by Ted Morgan (Simon & Schuster)

• Recommended by: Laura G. Prescott, vice president of the Association of Professional Genealogists <> and a 10-year genealogy veteran.

• Book summary: As its tide indicates, this book is about the settling of North America, from before recorded time to the end of the 1700s.

• Likes and dislikes: I admire the writer’s storytelling style. Too many people are ignorant of history because it’s often presented in a dull manner. Morgan makes it exciting and relevant — presenting not only influential characters but also leading roles played by the common man (and woman).

• Behind the scenes: While at Dartmouth, I naively focused my history major on Europe, not realizing how much of our nation’s history my ancestors experienced or helped shape. After I immersed myself in genealogy, I discovered it’s vital to have a deep understanding of American history to create family histories and understand the records we use.

• Lasting impressions: Anyone working with US families — especially those with early American roots — needs a good awareness of events, social patterns and historical trends to locate records, decipher relationships, and appreciate an individual’s or family’s role. This book is a terrific primer for these purposes.

• Best bonus: This book has given me a better appreciation of the roles our ancestors played in shaping the continent’s cities, hinterlands and wilderness.

From the September 2008 Family Tree Magazine