Book Review: My Family History Toolbox, by Paul Larsen

Prepared by Gena Philibert-Ortega.

Paul Larsen's newest book is subtitled, "Illustrated Guide to Cutting-Edge Tools, Gadgets and Apps to Make Your Family History Research Easier, Faster, and More Fun." That's quite a promise for a 135-page book but it delivers by sharing what tools genealogists could benefit as they research their ancestors. Not convinced that you need to incorporate today's technology into your family history? While some may be reluctant to embrace new technologies for various reasons like privacy issues, cost and the learning curve, there can be no doubt after reading Larsen's book that these tools will help you save time, find more information and allow your research to be shared and portable. While books focused solely on technology can be dry and difficult, Larsen's is a guide that even the most novice of us will find easy to understand and a quick read.

Larsen's book includes topics such as the following :

  • 10 essential family history tools you need today

  • 23 valuable, cutting-edge tools to help discover your roots

  • 101 Free web services to make your research easier and faster

  • 11 handy family history gadgets and gizmos

  • How to use your SmartPhone for family history

  • 32 time-saving family tree apps for your iPad and SmartPhone

  • Grave site and Facebook family history apps

  • The best computer 'tablet' for you

  • E-Readers, apps, and sources for free e-books

  • How to use GPS for your family history

  • A new Google face recognition tool to search for your ancestors

  • How to use Google Plus+ and Google Alerts for your genealogy

  • What is 'cloud computing'

  • How to preserve your family history records digitally

There's no doubt that technology, social media and cloud computing is where genealogy is and will continue to expand. In order to conduct research in this age, family historians need to know what is available to them. Larsen's book does this in chapters that shed light on tools such as Google, Dropbox, Evernote, online photos sharing websites, PDFs, digital voice recording, eReaders, GPS, scanners, digital cameras and mobile apps. The book ends with a helpful tech glossary that defines words that are musts for every family historian to know as they navigate the world of technology and genealogy.

When I sat out to read this book my first thought was that this was a good beginner's book to help those who are not into technology learn about that and where to find tools that can help them with their research. Larsen's books tend to have attractive and heavily illustrated pages which I think appeals to those who want to read something that isn't too dense and difficult to understand. His readers also benefit from website screenshots and hyperlinks. I have to admit that even though I originally thought this book was strictly for beginners, I did learn about some websites and features I was unaware of.

This eBook is available in the ePub format and as a PDF. It is hyperlinked and includes You Tube videos thus making the book an enhanced reading experience. This eBook is available from the author's website Easy Family History.com

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