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Genealogical Summer Reading 2009

It's that time of the year again. Time to grab a book and set out for the beach or the air-conditioning and read, read, read! Having trouble figuring out what genealogy books you would like to read? The following are some ideas.


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It's that time of the year again. Time to grab a book and set out for the beach or the air-conditioning and read, read, read! Having trouble figuring out what genealogy books you would like to read? The following are some ideas.

Google your Family Tree by Daniel Lynch

(available from

This is one of my favorite genealogy books. I think many people assume that they know how to use Google, so why should they buy a book on it? But let me tell you, unless you work at Google, you will benefit from this book. Lynch provides information that will help you conduct more efficient searches using the Google search engine that will net you better results. But Google is so much more than a search engine. Google has mapping programs, language tools, photo editing software, word processing software, blogs, alerts, and even more. This book is written in a clear straightforward manner that isn't too like a "computer book." Believe me, the last thing that I would read is a computer book. I highly recommend this book.

Social Networking for Genealogists by Drew Smith.

(available from

Drew Smith might be better known as the co-host, with George G. Morgan, of the Genealogy Guys podcast. Besides genealogy pursuits, he is Director of the Federation of Genealogical Societies; Drew is an academic librarian with the University of South Florida in Tampa. His book, Social Networking for Genealogists comes at a time when more and more genealogists are using social networking websites to further their genealogical research, networking, and education. If you are interested or curious in learning about Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites, you may want to read this book first.

According to the Genealogical Publishing Company's website, "This book describes the wide array of social networking services that are now available online and highlights how these services can be used by genealogists to share information, photos, and videos with family, friends, and other researchers. Each chapter guides you through a unique category of social networking services using genealogy related examples."

From the Genealogical Publishing Company's website listed above, you can look at the table of contents for this book and read a sample chapter.

Genealogical Resources of the Civil War Era by William Dollarhide

(available 22 June 2009 from Family Roots Publishing at

William Dollarhide is the author of several great genealogical books including New York State Census and Substitutes, Map Guide of the U. S. Federal Census 1790-1920, and Census Substitutes and State Census Records, Vol. 1 and 2. His newest, Genealogical Resources of the Civil War Era, looks to be an essential reference book for all of us who have Civil War era ancestors. His friend, Leland Meitzler of Genealogy Blog, writes this about Dollarhide's newest effort:

Most genealogical records during the decade of the Civil War are related to the soldiers and regiments of the Union and Confederate military. However, there are numerous records relating to the entire population as well. This new volume by William Dollarhide identifies the places to look and documents to be found for ancestors during the decade, 1861-1869, as well as the post-war veterans. This books is laid out first by nationwide name lists and then by state listing in alphabetical order.

For information about this book's contents, consult Family Roots Publishing.

How to Do Everything, Genealogy, 2nd Edition by George G. Morgan.

(available from various online booksellers)

This is another one of my favorite books, now in an updated and revised edition. This 2nd edition, George G. Morgan's How to do Everything, Genealogy provides readers with the ultimate how-to guide. A book that would be great for beginners, it has something for even intermediate genealogists with its overview of land, immigration, and military records. Morgan has added to the importance of his book by adding some of the more recent genealogical developments like genetics and social networking.

One of my favorite aspects of the first edition was the comprehensive information provided. Not only were there graphic examples of documents but Morgan added case studies so that you could truly understand how to apply what you were learning. To read more about this book, including a sample chapter and hear an interview with George G. Morgan, consult the publishers website at

Some Family: The Mormons and how Humanity Keeps Track of itself by Donald Harman Akenson

(available from various online booksellers)

While not a genealogical how-to book, this is a book that looks at how genealogy is done and compiled specifically by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This is a book that looks at the Church's collective interest in genealogy and the many aspects of genealogical research.

According to the press for this book, the appendices will be of interest to genealogists, historians, and ethnographers. Topics in the appendices cover genetics, false-paternity, and cousin marriage.

The Blood Detective by Dan Waddell.

(For more information, see the author's website at,

While it is good to brush up your research skills with the newest in genealogy how-to books, it might be time for a little break from the more educational material. What better time to read a good genealogical mystery?

Waddell is the author of the companion book for the UK genealogy series, "Who Do You Think You Are?" He became interested in researching his family history after the birth of his son. During his initial research he found a scandalous family secret that piqued his interest even more. From his own experience researching his family history and crime writing he had an idea for a book that would become The Blood Detective.

The Blood Detective is the story of some modern day murders in Notting Hill that are steeped in a Victorian serial killing from 1879. It is through family history research that the mystery is solved. According to a review by author Tate Halloway at,

Fans of British police procedurals will enjoy a new twist on an old favorite as Dan Waddell combines a serial killer investigation with genealogical research in his engaging and entertaining first novel, The Blood Detective . . . Waddell, who obviously understands the process of family history research, gives readers enough detail to appreciate the work's importance to the plot without boring them with the tedious realities of poring over old records and newspapers. While genealogists might roll their eyes a bit at Barnes' luck (the genealogist in the book) and Foster's ability (the detective character) to get him into any archives, day or night, with a phone call, the mystery lovers in the crowd will forgive Waddell as Barnes' expertise is crucial to solving the crimes.

There's nothing better than reading a mystery about genealogy (and of course most genealogical research is about solving family mysteries). For more ideas for genealogical fiction books, see's article on the Top 10 Fiction Books for Genealogical Lovers at

Source Information: GenWeekly, New Providence, NJ, USA: Genealogy Today LLC, 2009.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Genealogy Today LLC.

*Effective May 2010, GenWeekly articles that are more than five years old no longer require a subscription for full access.

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