Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge: R is for … Reference Books and Rainbows...

Behind every researcher there is a great big, huge, pile of reference books that they constantly use to help them along the way. This pile of reference books can start right from the beginning when you are an amateur researcher, and continues right through to the professionals. And just to be clear, I’m not confining this habit of collecting reference books just to family history researchers … but shall go as far as saying that it encompasses ALL researchers, in ALL fields. So for R my post in the Family History Through the Alphabet challenge R is for REFERENCE BOOKS Now to bring this topic back to genealogy … well, I for one know that I would be lost without my reference books. These aren’t books that you read from cover to cover, but they are there waiting to be grabbed off the shelf every so often to answer that question that has just arisen. What parish is that place in? Were they in Australia that early? What on earth is that occupation? Was that place under German rule at that time?  Who were the kings of Scotland? Where is that place? How did that town get its name? You know the norm for a genealogist … Anyway I do find reference books (and CDs for that matter) invaluable, but rather than ramble on about how useful they are, as I’m pretty sure I’d be preaching to the converted, I’ve decided to list my top 6 reference books (yep, for this post, I’m excluding the reference CDs, and it’d be just WAAAY too hard to choose), so books only it is. These are the ones that I grab off my shelf the most (in alphabetical order): 1. Australian Biographical...

Ten, Eleven, Twelve Commandments of Genealogy...

As I was packing my bags, getting ready for the Queensland Expo next week, I picked up my all-time fav genealogy book “The Zen of Genealogy” and wondered if I’d have another read of it on the flight up. In short the answer was yes … so it’s going in the suitcase. After a flick through it again, I rediscovered the list of Ten, Eleven, make that Twelve Commandments of Genealogy liste, and decided I wanted to share them with you. I have not copied the descriptive paragraphs that each of these have under them, but rather if you want more, you should grab yourself a copy of the book. 1. Thou shalt start with thyself and worketh thy way backwards. 2. Thou shalt never leap back a couple of generations just because it sound-eth like fun. 3. Thou shalt take a class, yea verily, and thus shalt thou learn from experts. 4. Join-eth thine local genealogical society, go-eth to meetings and ask-eth questions of the nice people there. 5. Thou shalt keep a research log. 6. Thou shalt cite thy sources or blush in everlasting chagrin. 7. Thou shalt not accept any information uncritically just because you find it in books or on the Internet. 8. Thou shalt regard all family legends with the same skepticism as in the Seventh Commandment. 9. Thou shalt respect the privacy of all living persons, and publish nothing concerning others without their permission. 10. Thou shalt treat research facilities, materials and tools with care, knowing that thousands of future researchers will need to use these very same facilities, materials and tools after you, and one them might be me. 11. Thou shalt bookmark the following web site www.cyndislist.com 12. Be nice to...

Great Genealogy Books – in my opinion!...

2012 is the National Year of Reading here in Australia, so I thought I’d share with you some of my great genealogy books. Yes it’s is true that I work for a genealogy store, and I am one of their best customers (*giggle*) but in this case I’ve opted to go with titles that I’ve bought elsewhere that we don’t sell at Gould Genealogy & History. So here’s snippets of five titles that I believe are great genealogy books. 1. THE ZEN OF GENEALOGY: The Lighter Side of Genealogy – Beth Maltbie Uyehara This has to be one of my all-time fave genealogy books. It is not a how-to book, or even a book choc full of websites saying where to look. But rather as the subtitle suggests it is a look at the ‘Lighter Side of Genealogy’, and is totally hilarious from start to finish, but it really does have useful, practical advice throughout. From genealogy yoga, to seeing how fast your relis run when you mention the word ‘fascinating’, to the genealogy Olympics, and a confession from a geneaholic, and how a non-g (ie. non genealogy spouse) puts up with us, and our insatiable need to find more … and so much more. Here’s some snippets. … Plow Pose. Posture: Position a tall stack of index books on a library table. Crouch in front of the stack. Action: Make a fist of your left hand, with the index finger pointed. Slowly run the extended finger down page after page of the first book. Close book, set aside and repeat with next book. Plow through the whole stack, the drag the stack in front of you again and repeat. Continue until the library closes. Mantra: (Repeat silently) Where?...

Australian Government Gazettes – Have You Discovered Them?...

If you are researching your Australian ancestors, one record that doesn’t get the recognition that it deserves is Government Gazettes. I know it has the word “government” in it, so it automatically “sounds” boring, but trust me the Government Gazettes are a truly fascinating read! And if you haven’t discovered them, now is a good time to do so. I know I shouldn’t call them ‘Australian Government Gazettes’ as technically they’re not, but for ease of understanding, I’m choosing to. First up, a little background history on them … These Gazettes were first issued in the 1800s, by the governments of the various Australian colonies (this was way before Federation, as we didn’t have States then), and used the Government Gazettes as a means of communication to the general public. They’re kind of like a newspaper, but without the whole journalism style we get these days. Instead they contained lots of facts (names, dates, places and events). These were generally issued one a week, but from time to time “Extraordinary Issues” or “Supplements” were released in between if there was a need. What information is in an Australian Government Gazette? The first question that everyone asks is “what will I find in them?” which as you would expect if a very valid question. The answer however isn’t as simple, as it tends to vary between the different Australian colonies, and between the years as well, but I won’t go into the nitty gritty as Archive Digital Books Australasia has done their own analysis on this, which you can read. However some information tends to be the same no matter what Australian colony, and no matter what timeframe, such as: – Land transactions: records of land purchased, who by, who...

The Guide to FamilySearch Online...

I wanted to let you know about this fabulous new book I bought recently “The Guide to FamilySearch Online” by James L. Tanner. After reading about this title on James’ Genealogy’s Star blog, I went right ahead and bought my copy through the BYU Bookstore for US$39.95. I admit that I did cringe at the $30.00 freight, however that was forgiven when I received it within 3 days. I see that it is also now available through Amazon.com, though I haven’t checked out the freight. FamilySearch is largely what has MADE genealogy!! Is that too bold a statement? I don’t think so. The collecting and indexing of records, and making them available has aided in the interest (or more recently the phenomenal boom) of genealogy, and has changed the way people do genealogy, and FamilySearch is changing along with it. I will say I haven’t read this book from cover to cover yet, as it’s going to take quite some time to work my way though it all, as it not only covers FamilySearch.org, but also New.FamilySearch.org, Wiki.FamilySearch.org, Forums.FamilySearch.org, Indexing.FamilySearch.org and more. I’m not sure my head can digest it all, but I’m gonna try. I’m not going to write down the whole of the contents list as it runs to about 4 pages. But there are clearly defined chapters, many screenshot photo, as well as a glossary and index included. For anyone wanting to understand FamilySearch and all of its facets, this is a must read book. Anyway this book is being published in short runs, so it can be constantly updated as needed, which if you ask me is a very wise move. And just to be clear, no this isn’t a book that you can get...