Book Review: Family Tree Pocket Reference

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The Family Tree Pocket Reference, from the editors of Family Tree Magazine, is just that, a small reference volume for genealogists researching their American ancestors. While at first glance this type of reference book may seem like something that only a beginner would need, on closer inspection this work has excellent charts and lists that any genealogist could benefit from.

The book's information is divided into Research Basics; States; Libraries and Archives; Names; Online Genealogy; Computing; Census; Immigration; Military; Cemeteries; Genetic Genealogy; Geography; Social History and Photography. Some of my favorite charts are the Relationship Chart; the U. S. State Fast Facts (which includes the year vital records began for each state); Passenger List Availability for Busiest U. S. Ports; and War Records to Search For. This book has a little bit of everything and could also serve as a good how-to book with information on using the Soundex; reading old handwriting; a genealogy glossary; census search tips; where to look for military records; and a genealogy records checklist.

Because this is a book you will want to reference often, I suggest purchasing some tabs that you can insert in the book to help you refer back to information that you will be needing the most. (You can purchase removable sticky-note-like tabs from any office supply store that are meant to be used in books). Unlike other books that are meant for reading and then sticking back on the book shelf, this book is one that you will want to customize because you will be finding yourself referring to it over and over again.

Family Tree Pocket Reference, by Diane Haddad. Cincinnati, Ohio: Family Tree Books, 2010.

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