Reviews for Complete Beginner's Guide to Genealogy, the Internet, and Your Genealogy Computer Program

Booklist Reviews 2011 May #2
It has been 10 years since the first edition of this guide. Now, author Clifford replicates the successful format of the 2001 edition. Divided into 14 chapters, the book takes a novice through the basics of doing genealogical research. Each chapter is replete with basic information, graphs, and charts and seeks to not assume any knowledge on the part of the user. For instance, in each chapter call-outs entitled "Terms to Understand" define terms such as genealogy, ancestral file, bibliographic notation, and the like. Each chapter includes a "your turn" section, with questions prompting readers to apply what they've learned, as well as assignments to ensure that information has been comprehended. The strength of this book is that it seeks to act as a self-contained, self-paced lesson in learning how to do effective family historical research, and it succeeds admirably in this. One quibble: the discussion of public library resources in chapter 9 ("State Vital Record Offices, Public Libraries, Courthouses and Local Repositories") features a picture of a card catalog. The reader is instructed that if the library's catalog is on a computer, "look at the instructions in order to see if it is set up by locality, subject, or author-title." This seems strange, as every OPAC will have a keyword or Boolean method to search its contents. Also, even though the author has extensive bibliographies at the end of each chapter, WorldCat is not mentioned in the entire book as a way to identify where some of these resources may be found. The more modern ways of communicating with reference staff through texting and online chat are not mentioned either. Still, The Complete Beginner's Guide to Genealogy, the Internet, and Your Genealogy Computer Program has much to offer the rookie right up through the experienced family-history seeker. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.