Professional organizer Janine Adams writes the blog, Organize Your Family History. She also has produced a bundle of publications to help genealogists keep themselves on track as they gather more and more information about their family. Janine recently reviewed Generation by Generation: A Modern Approach to the Basics of Genealogy, by Drew Smith. Here is an excerpted version of her review, which appeared on her blog, on August 30, 2023.
“When I was offered a review copy of the new book, Generation by Generation: A Modern Approach to the Basics of Genealogy, by Drew Smith, I was happy to accept. I’m a big fan of Drew’s work (and was thrilled when he did one of my How They Do It interviews back in 2017). I ended up receiving two copies of the book, so I’m offering a giveaway for one of them.
“Drew Smith has been doing genealogy since the 1990s and has been working as a genealogy educator for decades. This genealogy book, written for beginners, is the book that he wished he’d been able to read when he was first learning how to research his family. It’s divided into two parts. Part I For all Generations: Preparing to Research discusses preparing to do research. It provides a foundation of understanding about various facets of research, starting with Names, Places, Dates and Events and ending with a chapter on Using Online Repositories. You can bet I first turned to Chapter 4: Tools and Methods to Keep Us Organized. . .
“Part II Generation by Generation: Doing the Research is where things get innovative. Beginner genealogists are often advised to start with themselves and move up their family tree as their research progresses. Drew organizes Part II of this book in the same way, offering information about sources and record types for various time periods. Chapters include information about different types of records in each of these generations:
- Generations after 1950 in the U.S.
- Generations from 1880 to 1950 in the U.S.
- Generations from 1850 to 1880 in the U.S.
- Generations from 1776 to 1850 in the U.S.
- Generations in British America before 1776
- Generations outside the U.S. (in English)
- Generations with Records in Other Languages
“Like Drew, I wish a book like this had been around when I started doing genealogy research. It’s so clearly laid out and clearly written, with bits of humor tossed in. The depth of information is broad and Drew doesn’t go down rabbit holes, but he doesn’t just skim the surface. His explanation of the various types of DNA was one of the most easy to understand that I’ve read. The generational approach of Part II is very useful friendly and easy to apply to the moving-up-the-tree way that many people (including me) research. I’m not a beginner genealogist, but I benefited from the book!”