Saturday, March 14, 2015

Genealogy Reading - Collecting Free Material Part II

In April 2014 was the first posting under this title. It reflected the reading of periodicals that were picked up from free reading materials at the Genealogical Forum of Oregon. With the reading of those materials there was a wealth of knowledge about the periodicals themselves and about the contents. Recently my visit there gleaned a few books and a copy of Family Tree Magazine and a copy of New England Ancestors. One book was, "A Guide to County Records in the Illinois Regional Archives" and while it is a bit dated, it will provide a glimpse of the holdings of some great resources. For today though my focus in sharing is on the books received from a dear friend who is disposing of her genealogy books. Her life is moving on into another direction and she very kindly is allowing me to distribute her books to repositories where they will benefit other researchers. Before doing so, this is availing me the opportunity to read some great works by some very well-known genealogy professionals and other writers.

The first book of focus is, "Producing a Quality Family History" by Patricia Law Hatcher, CG, published by ancestry. The book is currently on sale at Family Roots Publishing Co. for $28.76 and normally sells for  $31.95, so you can see the value of a fantastic book published in 1996. In reading the book the first thing that keeps coming back to me time and again is how relevant her information is for those of us who write blogs. Remember in 1996 there was very little on the Internet related to genealogy and blogs had not really even been thought of. My original interest in the book was because she is very well respected in the genealogy community and someday my hope is to write a book. One of the classes taught in my series is, "How to Write a Family History Your Children Will Enjoy."

Her chapters cover the following:
what to write and when to write it
writing process
understanding types and fonts
book design
page layout and formatting
organizing and presenting family information
how do you know
turning paper into people
illustrations, charts and photographs
opening the door to your book
developing an editorial eye
preparing camera-ready art
turning camera-ready art into books
options from technology

While my reading is only at page 48 of 248 pages of text, it is amazing how much is being reinforced in my knowledge of genealogy policies, terms, and other important concerns when publishing anything, be it an article, blog, or book. Her comments are to the point and well explained. This is probably a book that will stay on my shelf.

The second book of focus is, "Family History Made Easy," by Loretta Dennis Szucs. She is also a very well respected professional genealogist. When teaching a class on using last week this book was presented. The comparison was made that doing family history is not really easy, but with all the new material on the Internet, it is much easier than it has ever been before. This book was published in 1998 by ancestry, and while much of it is outdated, there is still plenty to be gained in reading it. For the most part it is a step-by-step introduction to doing genealogy research before we have the tools that we have today. It is a walk in the past of what those researchers of that time period had to do to gain information on their ancestors. Most local repositories would not keep a copy on the shelf due to the time period it covers.

The third book of focus is, "The Dixie Frontier" by Everett Dick, published in 1948 and reprinted in 1993. Again my reading is only to page 128 of 339 pages of text. This book is absolutely fascinating. It is going to a friend after it is finished, as she does much more southern research. It is an opportunity to see history through a well-researched author. When first published others disagreed with some of his conclusions. For me it is just a great opportunity to view a time and place that my high school classes lightly glossed over. We all need to really explore history more and the cultures of our ancestors. This book somewhat reminds me of "Albion's Seed." It is a much smaller book and the print is very readable.

So for now my focus is on finishing book three and then going back to book one to finish reading it. There are stacks of books in my office and two boxes in our living room that await my attention. In between reading there are family histories and genealogies to work on. For me it helps to take a break from these activities and spend time doing just one or the other. Then there is such a thing as housework and family activities to maintain as well. What are you reading and where do you find your reading material? For serendipity, you never know what you might find in between the cover of a book or periodical. Reading is one of the best resources for gaining and maintaining an education in genealogy.

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