Sunday, July 15, 2007

Book Reviews: Guides to Ancestry and Rootsweb

Two major aspects of genealogy are finding records and information about your ancestors, and connecting with other people related to you or searching in the same geographic area. The online world can make things easier, but it can also be frustrating. Too much information to sort through? Not enough information? Too hard to find the right things? Two of the major online genealogy websites, Rootsweb and Ancestry, are about connecting with people, and finding information and records. And since they're both very large, sorting through all they contain may seem difficult at times. Two new books have recently been published to help you find things and connect at these two popular websites...

The Official Guide to Rootsweb.com
by Myra Vanderpool Gormley, CG, and Tana Pedersen Lord

This book discusses the major features of the free-to-use Rootsweb genealogy website, including message boards and mailing lists, setting up a website using Rootsweb's Freepages, the Social Security Death Index, and more. The opening chapter has a brief section on searching for things on Rootsweb. There are also brief stories from Rootsweb users scattered throughout the book, describing how Rootsweb helped them find a lost relative or ancestor.

One chapter discusses WorldConnect and even includes a bit of history of the project. WorldConnect allows you to upload your family tree (from a GEDCOM file) to the Internet, and view and search family trees uploaded by other genealogists. Don't know what a GEDCOM is? The book will tell you. It even tells you where to go on Rootsweb to learn how to create one. Really basic. Really easy.

The Official Guide to Ancestry.com
by George G. Morgan

This book provides a nice overview of the major features of Ancestry's website, providing examples and search tips. If you're an Ancestry subscriber you may find some things from reading this book that you perhaps hadn't tried out, such as the Learning Center or their fairly new Database Card Catalog. The Learning Center has articles and tips about a variety of topics to help you learn more about records sources and genealogical resources both inside and outside of Ancestry. The Database Card Catalog helps you search for Ancestry databases by record type, keyword and geographical location. Even if you already knew about some of these features you might find helpful tips about them in this book. Never tried "My Ancestry"? There's a whole chapter on it in the book.

George Morgan has done an excellent job of providing an overview of Ancestry's large collection of genealogy records and resources. He covers many topics, from things like Ancestry's immigration records collection to searching and posting on message boards. It's great for beginners, and in-depth enough for more advanced users. And even if you've used Ancestry for a long time, you just might find some cool feature you didn't already know about.

For information on purchasing either book at Amazon see:

The Official Guide to Ancestry.com

The Official Guide to Rootsweb.com

Or you might try your local bookstore or library.

1 comment:

Stephanie Barko said...

Joe-

Do you know of a site that reviews actual genealogy-type biographies?
Not how-to's?

Thanks,
steffercat (at) austin.rr.com