"Beyond the age of information is the age of choices." Charles Eames. Hartman, Carla and Eames Demetrios. 100 Quotes by Charles Eames, p. 40.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Review: Genealogy Offline: a Beginner's Guide to Family History Records That Are Not Online

Breland, Claudia C. Genealogy Offline: a Beginner's Guide to Family History Records That Are Not Online. 2013. 131 pp. ISBN 978-1490463889, paper, $12.95; Kindle eBook, $7.95.

Although the title clearly states this helpful book is designed for beginners, many experienced genealogists will also be delighted with Breland's guide to tracking down original records that are not online.

Why the emphasis on offline records? Breland is definitely not PC or Mac-phobic. As a librarian and teacher she knows the value of online research as well at its limitations. Her primary goal is to encourage all researchers to seek out original documents from archives and other institutions if/when online material is inadequate. While transcriptions, indexes, and abstracts of original documents may be found online, they are often incomplete or contain errors. As part of a thorough research, the conscientious genealogist always pursues the original record.

Each chapter in Genealogy Offline is devoted to a different U. S. record type, such as adoption, land, probate, and naturalization records. The author provides quick, highly readable descriptions of each record type, what you can learn from them, how to locate original documents, and even which online tools will facilitate your searches. Lots of examples explain her techniques, although accompanying photos are often unclear and hard to read. 

While newbie genealogists will certainly gain from using this book, more experienced genealogists will gain tips on how to track down the records from which derivative abstracts, indexes and transcriptions are created. In the near future, Breland also plans a sequel, Genealogy Offline 2, which promises to show us how to track down even more elusive records, such as photos, hospital records, and manuscripts.

For this review, I purchased a paperback copy. At the time of writing this post, the best way to read this book is to buy it since availability through public libraries is limited. With both Kindle and paperback formats for sale at amazon.com, I am sure you'll find this a worthwhile, inexpensive purchase.