The Book Report: July 2008

By Sharon DeBartolo Carmack Premium

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

Greatly expand your German research opportunities in just the time it takes to read the fourth edition of In Search of Your German Roots by Angus Baxter (Genealogical Publishing Co.). Whichever German-speaking area of Europe your family called home — from Liechtenstein to Lithuania — you’ll get pointers on researching through traditional correspondence and e-mail, using the Internet and tapping resources at libraries, archives and churches. Baxter also covers the 1850-to-1934 Hamburg passenger lists, microfilmed Nazi files at the US National Archives, and digitized International Tracing Service records pertaining to Holocaust victims.

Hot Off the Press: New books to heat up your family history search.

1. The new wave of genealogy is combining traditional genealogical research with DNA testing. Flemish DNA & Ancestry: History of Three Families Over Five Centuries by Guido Deboeck (Dokus Publishing) presents both disciplines in this chronicle of the Flanders-Flemish DNA study. Deboeck’s story is a good model for what you could accomplish in your own DNA study.
2. You’ve likely used its resources, but have you ever thought about how the Family History Library in Salt Lake City came to be? In Donald Akenson’s Some Family: The Mormons and How Humanity Keeps Track of Itself (McGill-Queen’s University Press), you’ll discover the remarkable history and operation of the world’s largest genealogy library — based on the research of an independent scholar.

3. At a dead end and not sure how to get around it? The Desperate Genealogist’s Idea Book edited by Jeannette Balleza (DeadFred Genealogy Photo Archive from <>) could have the answers. In this e-book, 10 professional genealogists share the methods they used to solve some of their tough-to-crack cases.

    Pros’ Picks: Genealogy gurus share their reading recommendations.

    The Genealogists Question and Answer Book by Marcia Yannizzee Melnyk (Betterway Books)

    Recommended by: Ann Eccles, editor of the Irish Genealogical Society International’s journal, The Septs, and a genealogist for five-plus years.

    Book summary: The 12 chapters describe specific records — vital, census, military, immigration, naturalization, cemetery and funeral home — in a question-and-answer format that allows the author to fully explain each topic. Plus, she gives valuable information on documentation, record reliability, and definitions of genealogical terms.

    Likes and dislikes: The index is great. When I have a question on a topic, I look there first to find the pages that address my question.

    Behind the scenes: I found this book while browsing the shelves of my public library. I was looking for a book suited to a beginning to intermediate researcher that would review genealogy basics yet provide direction for future research.

    Lasting impressions: There’s much for a beginner to learn and retain. This book presents basic information in a simple manner, yet provides good coverage of the topic, frequently with recommendations of additional resources.

    Best bonus: I usually return to genealogy guidebooks in my collection when I’m at a dead end and need to review my options. In checking this book, I sometimes find a piece of information that seems totally new to me. I might’ve heard or seen it in the past, but it “clicks” in the proper context of my research.

    From the July 2008 Family Tree Magazine