The Genealogist’s Internet – Peter Christian

The Genealogist’s Internet: The Essential Guide to Researching Your Family History Online
– Peter Christian
$25.45 for paperback via Amazon, $15.39 for Kindle. For things that I need to reference I prefer print.
Planned release date is September 15, 2012.

I received the e-galley through NetGalley.

The Genealogist's Internet: The Essential Guide to Researching Your Family History OnlineI got a bit over excited when I requested this and didn’t realize that it was aimed at UK genealogists. Whoops. That’s alright though.

Why did I request this book?
Here’s where you get a bit of background on me. My first love is history and one of my degrees is in history. My grandpa got me interested in family history when I was very young by telling me stories about his great-grandfather who had 20 kids (he wasn’t exaggerating) and some of them fought for the North and some fought for the South and one of them stayed out of the whole mess and farmed on an island in the middle of a river in Tennessee. I’ve been doing genealogy for over 10 years and it was one of the things I did at one of my jobs. I loved that job. I still occassionally take on clients (this is not a plug, I’m a bit too busy to take on anyone right now.) and I really enjoy getting to know them and seeing them get excited over random things that I find. I am hoping to become a CG (certified genealogist) in the next 10 years or so. The preparation for that looked like it would take longer than a master’s degree, so I got the master’s first.

I digress. Let’s get back to the book. Just looking at the index I can see that this book as been arranged with sense and care. When I taught Intro to Genealogy classes I advised people to start looking in two places- the census and vital (birth, marriage, death) records. This is exactly what they start with. They do have a small section on how to get started but this is not a book for the newest newbie.

We are an instant gratification society, and some people expect that they can just type in a name and some magical program returns every little bit of information about that person down the their favorite color. Not so, friends. “The fact is that if you are only beginning your family tree, you will have plenty to do ofline before you cantake full advantage of what is online.” ARC p2. True that!! So many things are *not* digitized or transcribed. Just recently I was looking for a relative in a cemetery and he wasn’t appearing on any indexes but that cemetery was the one listed on his death certificate. I contacted the diocese in charge of that cemetery and they mailed me the information on everyone with that last name in any of their cemeteries in that city. It was lovely of them and just goes to show you that just because you can’t find something online doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

This is a large book about about 430 pages, so I’m just going to highlight some cool things that I discovered while reading this.

  • There is a link for those of us unfamiliar with the administrative subdivision of Britain. <www.jimella.me.uk/counties.cfm>
  • The British Archives has podcasts going back to 2006! This will be something for me to listen to on long drives.
  • There is a Family Search Wiki that has lists of genealogical words in 20 European languages. I do a lot of German research and even though I know a little, I still run into words that I can’t decipher.
  • I already knew about this one, but the Griffith’s Valuation is a vital resource for those searching in Ireland because of the destruction of the census records.
  • I like that there are a lot of screenshots, showing the site in action. Some genealogical sites are uh, not very user-friendly. A vast number of family historians are older and are less comfortable with technology. Screenshots can really go a long way to help them.
  • If someone is interested in a particular subject, say sailors or ethnic Welsh, this book provides the location of many listservs to join.
  • Although things living on the internet can have a very short life span I was pleased to see that all of the links I checked still work!
  • I found the chapter on photographs to be very informative and I’m pleased that it included information on preservation. People, don’t store your photos in the basement/attic! Use sleeves!!!

I think this is a great resource for researchers in the UK/Ireland. Some of the information is more generalized and can be used by anyone but the specific resources that Christian talks about make this a handy desk reference for intermediate to advanced genealogists.

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