Beginning with a chapter that compares genealogy and family history, the book progresses logically through basic methodology (group records and pedigree charts, etc.), advice on evaluating sources and tools (including computer programs), locating records (family, neighborhood, town, state, country), learning about ethnic origins, and writing a family history. Sample charts and examples from records illustrate many chapters. The bibliography includes solid classics as well as publications as recent as 1994. The index seems thorough and includes cross-references. The author acknowledges that the appendixes are not exhaustive: "Genealogical Research Centers" covers selected sources in the U.S. and Canada, while "Ethnic and Immigration Research Centers" lists centers in 20 states and 5 foreign countries.
All of this information can be found in other good genealogical sourcebooks, and true beginners will probably still want to start with Angus Baxter's how-to books. But what makes this one special--and working with its practitioners a joy--is its emphasis on fleshing out the images of the ancestors identified and on comprehending how their existence influenced present lives.