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The Organized Family Historian: How to File, Manage, and Protect Your Genealogical Research and Heirlooms (National Genealogical Society Guides) Paperback – Deluxe Edition, March 1, 2004

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Product Details

  • Series: National Genealogical Society Guides
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (March 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401601294
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401601294
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,046,687 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

133 of 134 people found the following review helpful By Michael K. Smith TOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 15, 2004
Format: Paperback
As every genealogist knows, as soon as you start to gather original documents and photocopies and family photos and correspondence and research notes, it begins reproducing secretly, at night, all by itself. Pretty soon, your two ring-binders have become a packed four-drawer file cabinet and you haven't seen your dining room table in months. Ann Fleming, president of NGS and a family researcher of wide experience, wants to save you from all that. The question is whether it takes an entire book to do it. She begins with all the reasons and ways you should organize your work and your results from the very beginning, including a discussion of file folders versus ring-binders, spiral pads versus a laptop computer or PDA, keeping to-do lists and a research notebook to focus you on the particular task at hand, and so on. Then she proceeds to the proper use of those basic research-tracking forms we all learned about in our first genealogical month: Pedigree charts, family group sheets, and research and correspondence logs. In the following chapters, she expands the discussion to more specialized forms and record-keeping methods, including those for federal and state census schedules, courthouse-type vital records, military records, wills and probates, land research, city directories, church records (though I'm not sure how such a diverse body of information can be handled on a standardized form), immigration and naturalization files, cemetery records and surveys, and school and medical records, among others. And all those forms appear as PDF files on the CD that accompanies the book.Read more ›
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115 of 122 people found the following review helpful By JulyBaby on November 25, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What a DISAPPOINTMENT! This book is NOT for you unless you are a beginner geneaolgist. The book does NOT LIVE UP TO THE HYPE ON THE COVER!!!

If I wanted a book about "how to DO genealogical research," this book would be okay. However, this book is SUPPOSED to be about "how to ORGANIZE, FILE, MANAGE & PROTECT YOUR GENEALOGICAL RESEARCH AND HEIRLOOMS" which is what the cover of this book CLAIMS it does. IT DOES NOT!

For example, in the chapter about census records, there is NOT ONE iota of information about how to "file & manage" (as promised on the cover) the information gleaned from census records. The book only discusses what info is supposed to have been included in each of the census years and wholly fails to give one pointer about how to organize your census extractions -- it does not even discuss the pros and cons of organizing census extractions by year or by ancestor or by location much less how to transfer them to the computer.

The author includes only one small chapter about protecting research and heirlooms and there is precious little information that is of any actual use. However, the author goes to great lengths to discuss why the diaries of our ancestors are so valuable and must be preserved --- but any genealogist worth her salt will know that already!

This is a book for BEGINNERS ONLY!
If you are looking for more than a beginners' book, DON'T BUY THIS BOOK!

My money was wasted because I was MISLEAD as to the contents and because I relied on the alleged reputation of the author! If the book's cover accurately reflected what the author actually discusses, I would not have purchased it. The author and the National Genealogical Society have betrayed my trust.

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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By L. Schultz on April 6, 2006
Format: Paperback
I agree with Michael K Smith's in-depth review. My very short impression is: The book contains useful information, but it is short on hard advice. If you've never considered how to file information, this book would be very useful.
However, I consider myself to be very organized and logical but I keep coming across a roadblock of how to organize female ancestors. When the female is a fairly close relative, I manage to remember the maiden name and cross-reference it to the married name. But what do I do with female relatives more than two generations back? (my mental limit). I'm not great at remembering computer-generated reference numbers. (And, my computer is not always on.) I need a way to track females based on names. I did not find any helpful hints. Perhaps this is a roadblock for everyone. I can only say I was dissappointed as I believe this is a common problem. There should be a solution in a book claiming to help organize info.
I did like the section on heirlooms, although it is pretty much common sense.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By E. Morano on January 15, 2007
Format: Paperback
I wish I had purchased this book when it first came out. It would have saved me alot of time and effort. I did learn some new tricks however and find it valuable enough to keep near my desk. Well written and easy to understand.
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34 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Linda Kleback on September 7, 2004
Format: Paperback
Written by Ann Carter Fleming, CG, CGL, The Organized Family Historian is part of the guidebooks series being published by the National Genealogical Society. Ann is the current president of NGS and a very experienced genealogist. Her book addresses a lot of a new genealogist's concerns: how to interview relatives, how to fill out genealogy forms, etc. If you are a new researcher, you will benefit from all her advice on basic topics as well as the sections on organization. It is so much better to be organized from the beginning! But for those of us how began research before the Internet was invented (Yes! There was such a time), there are lots of good things to learn as well. Do you have a personal business card to hand to people at libraries and conferences? This is much better than trying to exchange addresses and phone numbers in a hurried manner. You can even print some of your main surnames on the back so the recipient will remember why they have your card in the first place. She also gives great ideas on creating a list of the research materials in your home library so you know what you have and won't buy a book twice. The chapter "Objects of My Affection" has lots of great guidelines for handing family photographs and ephemera. The book also includes a CD of the forms and worksheets, saving us the trouble of creating them ourselves. We can use that time for organizing!
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