Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Family Tree Problem Solver

The Family Tree Problem Solver: Tried-and-True Tactics for Tracing Elusive Ancestors by Marsha Hoffman Rising (Family Tree Books, Rev. 1st ed., 2011, Paperback, 255 pages). TFHC Call no. 929.1072 R494.

“This book is not intended for those who are just beginning their genealogical research…[it] is intended to give each reader new ideas for tackling those knotty problems that have been sitting on the backburner of the research schedule for months or even years.” (Introduction, p. 13).

Rising assumes that we are very familiar with the use of land records, probate records, pre-1850 census records, tax lists, etc. She relies heavily on using collateral lines and cluster research and teaches us how to use those records in that context. In addition to the wonderful ideas presented by Rising, the book includes a Forward and an appendix on how to Find Your Ancestors Online by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack, an appendix on DNA Facts and Myths by Lauren Gamber, a Glossary of Genealogy Terms from the editors of Family Tree Magazine, and 18 pages of blank forms that the author uses in her research. Each chapter is loaded with examples and case studies from her own research to illustrate the techniques she is teaching.

I am not a beginning researcher, but I am not an advanced researcher either. I have to admit that I did not understand everything that Rising discussed. I did, however, understand enough to put some of her techniques into practice on breaking down some of my brick walls. And for those record types in which I am weak, she recommends several books to help us learn more about them. This is one of those books that I will want to go back to as I encounter new obstacles in my research—an excellent reference book for the experienced genealogist.

Table of Contents. Click image to enlarge.

Contributed by: Sherri Hessick