Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Book Review: "Google Your Family Tree"

Daniel M. Lynch sent a review copy of his new book, Google Your Family Tree (published by FamilyLink.com, Inc., 2008) to me while I was on vacation.

I have had a chance to read through it, but haven't yet grasped every nuance and technique mentioned in the book. The reason for this is that it is so chock full of excellent demonstrations, suggestions and tips for genealogists to use in searching the Internet for information about their ancestors and relatives -- my brain hurts!

There is a companion web site at www.GoogleYourFamilyTree.com which has the Table of Contents and the Foreword by Paul Allen, Accolades from other reviewers, some PowerSearch examples, and a page to reserve the copy of the book ($34.95 retail, plus shipping).

Dan patiently explains, and demonstrates, how to effectively perform genealogy searches on the Internet using Google's Basic and Advanced Search boxes. The use of keywords, quotes, and commands are shown using real genealogy oriented examples. He also shows how to obtain results in Web, Images and Video, Books, News, Language Tools, Maps, Blogs, etc. There are chapters on using Google Alerts, Google Earth, Google Notebook, the Google Toolbar, and Tips and Tricks (e.g., flight status, weather, current time, currency, population statistics, patent search, tracking parcels, stock prices, mathematics, unit conversions, etc.).

The adage that "we don't know what we don't know" certainly applies to Google! I didn't know that Google could be used to do ALL of those things, and have not explored every one of them YET, but I will! I use Google mainly for web and image searches, and use the Books, News and Maps features when I remember that they are available to use.

I think that this book should be on the desk of every genealogist doing online research. With a book like this, dedicated to use by genealogists, I will be able to do my searches more efficiently and faster, and be able to investigate more avenues in my research.

The book includes appendices on "Getting Started in Genealogy" and "Top Sites for Genealogists" that are basic but useful (although I disagree with some of the cited top 10 best "free" web sites to use for genealogy). There are also appendices for other Internet Search engines, the history and evolution of search engines, a syntax summary and quick reference pages.

My conclusion is that this book is a vital addition to the library of beginning genealogy researchers, and is a great reference book for experienced researchers. It's a keeper for me, and would make a great Christmas gift for the genealogist in your life (or yourself - tell your friend, spouse or partner about it).

My thanks to Dan for the preview look at the book.

No comments: