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REVIEWS OF 4TH EDITION OF The Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy

Ellis Island

If you buy your genealogy books on, we encourage you to read the reviews posted there pertaining to the new 4th Edition of The Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy.  Most of them are written by users/readers of the 4th edition, and generally speaking, they sing the praises of the first new edition since 2000. Reviews are also coming in to us from many of the mainstream genealogy periodicals, e-zines, and such. If you haven’t bought your copy as yet, we encourage you to see how the experts are responding to the 4th edition.

The Researcher's Guide to American Genealogy

“It is nice to see this well-worn genealogical classic refreshed and reprinted. It’s held its worth and value nicely, and this most recent volume has been updated with pertinent information for researching today’s resources.  The 3rd edition came out in 2000, so this 2017 edition encompasses significant updates . . . .

“Each chapter and topic are full of detail. More detail than I thought I would have needed. The calendar/date change section, about 4 pages long, is the best explanation I’ve read about that Julian to Gregorian thing.  All topics are presented from the viewpoint, “Now think about this, be careful, here are the pros and cons of this particular record, so think hard about what it is telling you, or not telling you.

“Mr. Greenwood includes a lot of glossaries; a lot of definitions of words pertaining to the topic in that particular chapter. When glossaries are at the end of the book, I get distracted flipping back and forth. Having these definitions in the same chapter is exactly where I need them . . . .

“This is just a super-great reference book. Definitely a must-have for the beginner group, and always useful for the advanced group. Mr. Greenwood does not publish often, but when he does, it’s a landmark edition.”—Bobbi King, Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter, January 2, 2018.

“It is fascinating to see the same author put out a new edition of the same guidebook forty-four years later. . . . With this fourth edition of nearly eight hundred pages, the author has labored conscientiously to update and expand most aspects of this all-in-one guide, including the technology and theory-of-proof sections . . . . this book, with so many different discussions between the same covers, is an unusually comprehensive first place to look to answer many different types of questions.”—Nathaniel Lane Taylor, The American Genealogist. Vol. 89, No. 3 (July 2017).

“When it was originally published in 1973, The Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy, by Val Greenwood, revolutionized its field. It was the first true textbook ever published about American genealogy. Combining how-to guidance, case studies, and an extremely detailed discussion of genealogical records, [it] was both an instant success and the go-to source for its users during each stage of their research . . . .

“The 4th Edition of The Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy both embraces the changes of the last seventeen years and yet transcends them. Mr. Greenwood has re-written every chapter and added two chapters about technology . . . The fourth chapter deals with evidence and standards of proof—a subject that has been much discussed and modified in the last two decades . . . Greenwood covers all the major changes in the field, including DNA research . . . [He] also shows the reader how to build a family history about actual people . . . Clear, comprehensive, and up-to-date, no sound genealogical project is complete without this new 4th Edition!”—Family Roots Publishing Co., December 15, 2017.

“The new fourth edition is a welcome addition, having an additional chapter, ‘Family History on the Internet’ (which includes a comparison of the major genealogy databases), and updated information on a variety of topics. As one who has been using the third edition, I have a new appreciation for the vast amount of guidance the author has been providing for all genealogical researchers . . . .This monumental work should be a part of every genealogical library.”—Joan Griffis, “Illinois Ancestors,” The News-Gazette, December 27, 2017.

“Arguably called the best book written about family research in the United States, this new revised and expanded (more than 100 pages) version includes the latest information concerning significant advances that facilitate genealogical research . . . [including] updated information about internet websites pertinent to the topic discussed in virtually every chapter. . . . Highly recommended for every library’s genealogical collection . . .”—Marleta Childs, Kinsearching, December 10, 2017.

“I would recommend to those Branches that are considering doing a genealogy program that they add The Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy, 4th ed., by Val Greenwood, to their reference collection. This title could be a valuable tool for staff that are doing this program for the first time. It can also serve as a continuing resource for genealogy.”—Walter J. Scott, Adult Services Librarian, Baychester Library, New York Public Library System, December 8, 2017.