Book Review: Mastering Online Genealogy

Prepared by Gena Philibert-Ortega.

There is no doubt that internet research is an important part of the genealogical process. Knowing more about what genealogy websites exist and how to search them can benefit researchers over just stumbling upon relevant websites and taking a "shotgun" approach. Genealogists might be better served by consulting a book that explains how to search and where to search, in their quest to find their ancestors.

What separates Mastering Online Genealogy from other similar books about internet research is that it begins with a discussion of some of the basics of online research you should consider before you start such as primary vs secondary sources; creating a research plan; netiquette and privacy laws. One chapter focuses entirely on computers and what a genealogist needs in a computer, including the opinions of other researchers. Specific website recommendations follow after a discussion on searching and using search engines. So,Mastering Online Genealogy is not just a book about websites but an overall look at how a genealogist should incorporate online genealogy into their research. One of the benefits to beginning genealogists will be Quillen's discussion on researching newspapers that includes where to look for your ancestor in the newspaper and online sources for digitized newspapers. Other record types are also explored including World War I draft registrations and state censuses.

A fellow researcher conveyed that what he liked about Quillen's books is that the author uses examples from his own research and writes for the average person. This easy-going style makes for a quick read.

Mastering Online Genealogy, by W. D. Quillen. Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y: Cold Spring Press, 2011.

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