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Family Tree Problem Solver [Paperback]

by Marsha Hoffman Rising
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)

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Book Description

January 2, 2005 1558706852 978-1558706859
Proven Methods for Scaling the Inevitable Brick Wall

Complications arising from incomplete or missing records, census irregularities, individuals of the same name, and burned courthouses can stop even the most experienced genealogists dead in the tracks. Learn to break through those brick walls with The Family Tree Problem Solver, which dissects researcher's common problems in case studies with straightforward solutions. You will:

  • Go straight to the answers you need without wading through theory or irrelevant record overviews
  • Find explanations and case studies that will help you overcome your obstacles and move forward in your genealogy
  • Learn what NOT to do to avoid hitting brick walls in the future.
The Family Tree Problem Solver is the best and most accessible book on the market about breaking down brick walls. The mysteries of research before 1850, collateral relatives, and court and land records are thoroughly explored and applied to your research problems. And it's all brought to you by genealogy's most popular publications, Family Tree Books and Family Tree Magazine!

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Rising immediately warns that this genealogical troubleshooting guide is not for the novice family historian. However, those already involved and well versed in genealogical research will benefit greatly from these handy problem-solving techniques, tools, and methods. After hitting an "inevitable brick wall," even knowledgeable researchers are apt to give up too quickly. To avoid this frustrating scenario, the author provides tips for locating missing documents; overcoming census omissions; recognizing and availing oneself of "collateral kin" and neighbors; interpreting court, probate, and property records; distinguishing among individuals of the same name; and finding elusive ancestors who lived before 1850. Although beginners will need to consult more basic handbooks, advanced genealogical investigators will welcome this valuable resource. Margaret Flanagan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

About the Author

Marsha Hoffman Rising CG, FASG, was a professional genealogist who specialized in problem-solving issues that arise while researching nineteenth century ancestors. She also served as vice president of the National Genealogy Society and served on the boards of the Association of Professional Genealogists, the Board for Certification of Genealogists, the New England Historic Genealogic Society, and as president of the Federation of Genealogical Societies and the Genealogical Speaker's Guild. During her thirty year professional career in genealogy, she received the National Genealogical Society Award of Merit (1989), was elected a Fellow of the Utah Genealogical Society (1990), received the FGS George E. Williams Award (1991), the National Genealogical Society Award of Excellence (1992), and the FGS Malcolm H. Stern Humanitarian Award (1999).

Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Family Tree Books (January 2, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1558706852
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558706859
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 8.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #646,020 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
115 of 117 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A first-rate textbook . . . March 27, 2005
We all have "brick walls" -- those situations in which the courthouse records have disappeared, or no census record can be found, or there are four people with the same common name in the same neighborhood at the same time, not to mention people whom we come to suspect must have landed by flying saucer. After failing to find an obvious solution, the inclination often is to throw up one's hands and shift attention to an easier branch of the family. Marsha Rising, however, a well-respected author and long-time speaker in the field of genealogical methodology and case-making, wants us to embrace the brick wall as a challenge to our skills in research and evidence analysis. Her sessions at national conferences are always very popular, and with good reason, so you might think there's good reason to pay attention to anything she thinks is worth saying on the subject -- and you would be right.

She presents here a research model that will focus your work, from reminding us of the distinction between "search" and "research," and identifying the problem blocking the way (which actually may not be what you assume it is), to reevaluating the data you already have (you may simply not have recognized the answer), to identifying the specific evidence you need to solve your problem. And she illustrates each step with cogent case studies. Then she delves into the most common types of brick wall and the best ways to deal with them: The lack of vital records in the period before mandatory civil registration, the best use of the census (especially before 1850), the need to analyze collateral family members and community networks (what's called "cluster genealogy"), finding a replacement for the infamous "burned courthouse," and separating individuals of the same name.
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65 of 67 people found the following review helpful
I disagree with both the author's and the other reviewer's comments that this book is only for the more advanced genealogical researcher. The valuable strategies here should be reviewed by every beginner genealogist, to prevent us from wasting time barking up the wrong trees, and proceeding to previous generations before we've fully exhausted the resources of documents regarding later ones. An invaluable book by an experienced researcher.
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61 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspired me to keep trying March 16, 2005
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A friend ordered this from Amazon and was so impressed that she gave her copy to me and ordered another one. I haven't even finished reading it, but it inspired me to broaden my search for the origins of my g-g-grandfather who has been a mystery to me for decades. The author gives pertinent examples of work she has done on origins which at first seemed impenetrable. I am making good progress now, although the direction I'm heading in has become a bit disturbing and I may just have to join the Black Sheep Genealogical Society...
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is a cut above many popular genealogy "how to" books.

I'm really picky about genealogy books, and this one is excellent. Most books don't discuss carefully evaluating evidence and really thinking through problems associated with conflicting information, burned counties, brick walls etc. The "thinking" in this book and the examples of alternative sources one may not be familiar with are what is outstanding. In addition, Ms. Rising's examples are clear, easy to follow and informative, and there are many of them. Her research methods are applicable to ANY time period you are working in. I disagree with another reviewer who complained that this book won't help someone with "late" immigrant ancestors.

I'm an experienced genealogist and a trained researcher who has been working for 25 years on my family lines. The land chapter, in particular, and the chapter on working in the years between the Revolutionary War and 1850, gave me several directions to go in knocking down some brick walls.

Beginners as well as experienced researchers will benefit from this book. What will help doing genealogy research most of all is knowing how to evaluate what you have and how to recognize what else you need. This book does much more!
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brick Walls September 22, 2007
This book is excellent to assist the serious genealogist. It requires some dedication to follow through the suggestions but if you do, you will learn a lot. Unfortunately, for all my dedication, I still have not uncovered my paternal grandfather's secrets. But I have not finished traveling all the paths the book suggests. Some I have, some are still waiting. I would recommend the book to give you a serious and straight forward path to follow rather than randomly searching.
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49 of 61 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too narrow in focus, and dated. November 18, 2006
By Ann
If your brick walls are the immigrant generation, do yourself a favor and get a book specializing in that country's research rather than this one. Despite the 2005 copyright, the majority of the advice would have still held true a decade ago. And the emphasis on early American record issues is a real minus for those with later arriving ancestors. Despite the introduction's suggestion, the problem-solving techniques alone weren't worth the lack of examples in my problem areas.

However, if you've been working on your genealogy for decades, need a refresher, and are working on your DAR application... you might love this book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Problem Solver
This has not yet solved any of my Family Tree problems. But then I don't stay as involved as I should.
Published 2 hours ago by Ron Yancey
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Resource for the Genealogist
This book is a great reference source for genealogy. It has very clear and practical tips on issues that are frequently encountered by the researcher. Great book.
Published 2 months ago by Bonsai Gardener
5.0 out of 5 stars Broke Through the Wall
For those who do genealogy, you know the problems you can run into. This book helps you to get around those problems.
Published 5 months ago by V. Eicke
2.0 out of 5 stars Not much help
This book was published in 2005, so it's already 8 years old. While it cited some specific cases, it just wasn't much of a help to me. I won't be using it.
Published 11 months ago by Michael C. Helm
5.0 out of 5 stars Family Tree
This helped in looking for errors and looking further for information where i do not know or needed to find our family
Published 12 months ago by Michael Thomas Philips
4.0 out of 5 stars The Family Tree Problem Solver: Proven Methods
Interesting book that provides the reader with ideas about different avenues of researching those problematic and elusive ancestors we all seem to have in our trees. Recommend.
Published 14 months ago by Gary Biggs
5.0 out of 5 stars Family Tree Problem Solver
This is a terrific book. THe day I received the book, I sat up most of the night reading and making notes. Strongly recommend for someone with a "brick" wall ancestor.
Published 15 months ago by B. Morris
5.0 out of 5 stars Super!
Genealogy is my hobby. I collect genealogy books for my library. I found this to be a very helpful book on how to handle information collected and what to do with it all.
Published 15 months ago by Catherine K. Minor
2.0 out of 5 stars Fair contents but methods would be very time consuming
The first thing I would like to point out is this book and "The Family Tree Problem Solver: Tried-and-True Tactics for Tracing Elusive Ancestors " are THE SAME BOOK although the... Read more
Published 23 months ago by K. Sturgill
5.0 out of 5 stars The Family Tree Problem Solver: Proven Methods for Scaling the...
This was the best book I have found by far to help me with some of the problems I have come across with tracking my family genealogy. Read more
Published on July 9, 2011 by B. L. Davis
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