5 Recent Reads

Whether you’ve got a program at your library or are just looking for a something to do at the beach, it seems like summer is a time for reading. Good or bad, here are five recent genealogy-related books I’ve read and a quick review of each.

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1. Archive Photography: How to photograph oversize photos, curled documents, and heirloom treasures by Gary W. Clark

What is it? A how-to manual for capturing digital images of your items that are too big or too 3D to put on a scanner.

How was it? Gary Clark, of PhotoTree.com, does a fantastic job laying out your options for digitizing three-dimensional or oversize family mementos. From specific lists of equipment and DIY setups to disassembling fragile oval frames to avoid glare, this book is a comprehensive overview of archival photography. After reading it I feel confident purchasing the supplies I will need to preserve large items in my family collection! If you’re interested, I also recommend checking out his other books about photo dating and negative scanning.

Where to find it? Amazon. http://a.co/bsDx1ED

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2. The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy by Blaine Bettinger

What is it? A beginner’s guide to DNA from inheritance to test selection to application of the results.

How was it? I hope you didn’t wait as long as I did to read this book! It was on my list of Genealogy Goals for 2018 so I took the plunge a few months ago and read it cover to cover. Overall, the book is very useful for genealogists who are new to DNA and might be a good refresher for those who have already tested. I consider myself an intermediate level genetic genealogist. I found the chapters about types of tests, inheritance patterns and case studies interesting, however, I found the tool and application chapters to be a little too basic for my skill level.

Where to find it? Amazon. http://a.co/7OyPIcG

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3. Writing Your Family History: A guide for family historians by Gill Blanchard

What is it? The book provides an overview of the process of writing about ancestors and publishing the writing project.

How was it? I have been drawn to books about writing lately and I manage to glean something new from each of them. The most enjoyable part of the book was the section on publishing, which is not a common topic to address in books about genealogy writing. The author gives a step-by-step explanation of the publication process and even how to publish an ebook, which I appreciated and might refer to again in the future. Nevertheless, this book felt scattered. Some information felt repetitive and some felt out of place. The exercises disrupted the text and many of the suggestions were redundant. I think I would have appreciated the content more if it were organized differently.

Where to find it? Amazon. http://a.co/fC7g05e

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4. Living With What You Love by Monica Kosann

What is it? An inspirational gallery of images about displaying family heirlooms and collectibles in your home.

How was it? This book is filled with beautiful photographs of immaculate and obviously-professionally-designed home interiors. The author’s work with photographs and heirlooms is stunning. That being said, the vast majority of these ideas will be impractical for the average homeowner. They require excessive amounts of space, expensive and appealing sentimental items, and a naturally beautiful home. I also found the author was fixated on justifying large family photo displays as a way of influencing children’s emotional development. The repetition of this theme throughout the book quickly alienates childless readers.

Where to find it? Amazon. http://a.co/fgugXJm

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5. Researching Masonic Records by John S. Yates

What is it? A brief but thorough guide to locating, requesting and understanding Masonic records of your ancestors.

How was it? I was impressed with the author’s concise communication of the pertinent information for Masonic research. He gave a brief overview of the Masons then explained the types of information records might contain, where they might be held and how to approach the process of tracking them down. I had previously thought locating Masonic records for my ancestors might be impossible, but when I closed this book I felt inspired. I quickly navigated to the websites for local chapters and jotted down their contact info so I can pursue the information for myself. If I’m successful, you can bet you’ll see it in an upcoming blog post. If you had ancestors who were Masons, I highly recommend this!

Where to find it? This book is currently out of print. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/39764480

Have you read any good books lately? Share your reviews in the comments!

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