Friday, March 3, 2023

Book Review: "Generation By Generation"

Know any newcomers to genealogy? I encourage you to point them toward a new book designed specifically for people just starting their journey into family history: Generation By Generation, a Modern Approach to the Basics of Genealogy by Drew Smith, from Disclosure: Although I received a free copy from the publisher, the opinions in this book review are entirely my own.

Drew is well known as co-host of the Genealogy Guys podcast, founder of the Genealogy Squad Facebook group, and a frequent speaker on genealogy topics. One of his innovations is to organize the research chapters according to how we actually trace a family tree--starting with ourselves and going back in time, one generation at a time:

  • Generations after 1950 in the US
  • Generations from 1880 to 1950 in the US
  • Generations from 1850 to 1880 in the US
  • Generations from 1776 to 1850 in the US
  • Generations in British America before 1776

He also assumes that today's genealogy newbies will be relying on technology, both for research and for documenting family history. Chapter 4 is all about getting organized, with software, bookmarks, etc. Chapter 7 focuses on the four major online genealogy platforms (FamilySearch, Ancestry, MyHeritage, FindMyPast). Truly a modern approach! 

At 170 pages, this large-format book is well-illustrated and highly readable, making the genealogy process more accessible to newcomers. In short, I highly recommend Generation By Generation.

Note: In the introduction, Drew reminds readers to share family history so it can live on, a philosophy dear to my heart. Drew, if you ever write a second edition, my suggestion is to add a brief chapter with a few ideas about how newbies can do that, so ancestors will not be forgotten in the years to come. 

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