Monday, August 7, 2006

Book Review - "The Sleuth Book for Genealogists"

I bought four genealogy books several weeks ago in order to upgrade my personal library.

The first one I read was "The Sleuth Book for Genealogists" by Emily Anne Croom, published by Betterway Books, Cincinnati OH, 2000, list price $18.99.

The book concentrated on providing information for the "detective" part of the search - when you're stuck and against a brick wall and need help. The chapters included:

* Developing a Research Plan
* Broadening the Scope: Cluster Genealogy
* Documenting Research
* Gathering Information
* Examining Evidence
* Arranging Ideas
* Reporting

Each chapter provides a wealth of information and lists of research ideas to try and execute. There are many nuggets here, for the beginning to advanced researcher, to mine and use in the search for elusive ancestors.

However, the "cute" idea of using quotes of famous historical or fictional sleuths (Sherlock Holmes, etc) to enliven the narrative became a distraction to me.

For me, the most interesting part of the book was the three case studies in the last 62 pages:

* Finding the Parent Generation: The Search for Isaac Heldreth's Parents (10 pages)
* Finding Slave ancestors: The Search for the Family of Isaac Davis Sr. (12 pages)
* Finding the Parent Generation: The Search for Ann (Robertson) Croom's Parents (40 pages).

These three chapters were excellent examples of putting to use the principles and ideas described in the content part of the book. Each case study described the research steps taken to solve a difficult research problem. Cluster genealogy research concepts were used in all three case studies.

The book includes an overview of basic research resources and techniques, and a guide to documenting research.

All in all, it was a useful and helpful book for me, and I recommend it highly.

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