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55 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From a librarian
As a reference librarian specializing in genealogy I was very eager to get this book. The quality of this book far exceeded my expectations. For beginners in family history and genealogy this is an excellent get started book. More experienced researchers should not ignore this book though, they too will find helpful information. While not a large book, it covers a broad...
Published on April 2, 2010 by booklizzy

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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Who Do You Think You Are?
I have been researching and working on a family history book for the past two years. It is too bad I didn't know about this book sooner.

I purchased this book a few weeks ago and have gone through it and find, because I have been at my research so long, it wasn't much help to me. If you are a new comer to genealogy then I would highly recommend it. All of the...
Published on May 5, 2012 by LeRoy W Bloom


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55 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From a librarian, April 2, 2010
This review is from: Who Do You Think You Are?: The Essential Guide to Tracing Your Family History (Hardcover)
As a reference librarian specializing in genealogy I was very eager to get this book. The quality of this book far exceeded my expectations. For beginners in family history and genealogy this is an excellent get started book. More experienced researchers should not ignore this book though, they too will find helpful information. While not a large book, it covers a broad range of topics that I found to be most helpful. This is a book that I have and will recommend to my patrons. Fans of the television show will also discover that each show has been recapped for them in a special section.
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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, fun to read, beginning guide, May 24, 2010
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This review is from: Who Do You Think You Are?: The Essential Guide to Tracing Your Family History (Hardcover)
Although promoted as a "companion" to the popular TV series, this good and enjoyable guide to beginning genealogy really has little to do with the show, except for a color section in the middle covering each of the participants. Instead it's a nuts-and-bolts guide to 1) getting started on your family-history quest, and 2) the most commonly-used (and some not-so-common) records.

Smolenyak writes enthusiastically and well. She is passionate about her subject and it shows.

In some ways, the book suffers for the same reasons that the TV show suffers: it makes it look too easy. This is probably unavoidable in a beginning guide or a popular TV show since covering all the caveats might turn off the audience. That said, I wish there had been at least some emphasis on how one might go about developing skills, such as taking classes (which are often free or inexpensive), attending conferences, etc. Also lacking is any meaningful discussion of evaluation of and analysis of all of the various pieces of evidence one finds; obviously this can't be done thoroughly in a book like this, but it should at least be addressed.

The author works for [...], the giant online genealogical service; although it is noted on the jacket blurb, in the interest of full disclosure she could have been a little more forthcoming about that relationship throughout the book when one of ancestry's features or databases takes center stage. Her recommendation of [...]'s member tree feature (as her first suggestion for software to use for your data) is ludicrous; I would be very surprised if that is her own database software of choice. (Save the comments: I'm a whole-world subscriber to ancestry.com and think it's a fabulous and essential resource.)

What I especially like about this book, in addition to the writing, is its begin-at-the-beginning approach (start with yourself and work back); this may seem obvious, but it's not obvious to many beginners. There is a good section on home sources, talking to relatives, etc. The record examples and illustrations are great: generally from the famous or infamous (Chef Boyardee and Al Capone, to name a couple). Smolenyak's chapter about her search for President Obama's Irish ancestors is one of the best parts of the book because it illustrates difficult aspects to resolving a genealogical problem and, in this case, doesn't make it look easy.

I recommend this book for anyone who wants to begin researching their family and to more experienced researchers who will probably find, as I did, some new (particularly online) resources.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Genealogical Aid!, March 20, 2010
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This review is from: Who Do You Think You Are?: The Essential Guide to Tracing Your Family History (Hardcover)
"Who Do You Think You Are?"

"Who Do Think You Are?" The Essential Guide to Tracing Your Family History, A companion To The NBC Series

By Megan Smolenyak [2], Chief Genealogical Consultant

Viking Penguin

2009

ISBN 978-0-670-02163-5

When my preordered book arrived, it was probably one of the most anticipated books I had ordered in quite some time!

Having been a fan of Megan's for a long time, I already knew it was going to be good.

Megan takes us on a journey, in plain, simple language, and easy understanding, to find our ancestors.

She fully explains the "tools of the trade" for someone who knows absolutely not one thing about genealogy, other than having a desire to trace their family history. But she does it in such a way that those of us who have been doing just such research for many years, finds it a pleasant recall and entertaining! Never is it boring, stuffy or redundant.

She touches on each of the NBC series participants, without giving so much away that we are let down when we actually watch the appropriate episode. Instead, we find ourselves saying, "I'm so glad she didn't give too much away! What a great show!"

In nine, easy-to-read chapters, Megan takes us through preparing for the search; using the Internet to assist us in our search; how to utilize the census records; using vital records [birth, marriage and death]; military records; performing research in other countries; and passing on our research through sharing.

If you haven't purchased your copy of "Who Do You Think You Are?" yet, I highly encourage you to get one now. Even if you've been researching for a long time, you're going to find some great vital information that you either didn't know about, or you have forgotten about! And if you are new to the "genie" bug, then I can't think of a better book to help you get started!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Who Do You Think You Are?, May 5, 2012
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I have been researching and working on a family history book for the past two years. It is too bad I didn't know about this book sooner.

I purchased this book a few weeks ago and have gone through it and find, because I have been at my research so long, it wasn't much help to me. If you are a new comer to genealogy then I would highly recommend it. All of the sources are there and the author does a good job of explaining how to use them. I was pleasantly surprised that the author did not just use her book as a shill for Ancestry.com. It appears that she is either a permanent, or sometime employee of the company, and the book cover also notes that the book is a companion for the TV series of the same name. The TV program is an offshoot of the website. I have never watched the program since it seems they only deal with celebraties and not just ordinary people like me.

Although I have not found much use for the book at the moment, I intend to hang on to it since I think it would be foolish to overlook some potential source that I haven't thought of in a while. As I stated earlier; if anyone has been at this type of research for any lenght of time, then they probably are well acquainted with all the sources described. On the other hand if someone is just starting out, then this book would be very helpful.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Newbies to Oldies--It's a Winner!, April 2, 2010
This review is from: Who Do You Think You Are?: The Essential Guide to Tracing Your Family History (Hardcover)
Whether you're not sure how to spell the word "genealogy," know what a pedigree chart is, or you're a long-time pencil to computer genealogist, this book is for you. Meagan's writing is clear,up-to-date, and enlightening for both beginners and experienced searchers. I read it cover to cover, only stopping a couple of time to pull up my laptop and check out a couple of suggested on-line sites. In my opinion, this makes a good present for all ages from middle-schoolers up.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you ever wanted to know your roots, this is the ONLY book you will ever need!, May 3, 2010
This review is from: Who Do You Think You Are?: The Essential Guide to Tracing Your Family History (Hardcover)
Meagan's real strength is her ability to put Genealogy in layman's terms. I found the many hidden mysteries and unanswered questions of my family tree were common questions that Meagan gives clear direction with each turn of the page. Before finding this book, I had no idea where to start. There were so many missing questions about my family history that have bothered me for years. This book is so readable, with numerous examples that it made it easy to apply to my own family. Meagan calls it a "Treasure Hunt" but the reality is I have been searching for answers for the last 60 years and Meagan has given me the tools to come full circle with the family I never knew.
Thank you Meagan for a brilliant book.

Jim Cardis
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Solid Book, April 21, 2010
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This review is from: Who Do You Think You Are?: The Essential Guide to Tracing Your Family History (Hardcover)
I first got this on my Kindle and then bought the hardback. This is a great book for the beginner and the more experienced family historian/genealogist. The information is solid and as up to date as it can be. The style is easy to read AND it is difficult to put down once reading begins! I am using it with a group from our local Sons In Retirement (SIR), yep, old guys who are interested in their ancesty and leaving a legacy. This book is a big help for them.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully written book!, April 6, 2010
This review is from: Who Do You Think You Are?: The Essential Guide to Tracing Your Family History (Hardcover)
I was at the bookstore killing time, decided to see if any new genealogy books were out, and this one stood out at me! I am a big fan of the show, and thought it would be a good read.

In less than a day, I had devoured this book! I have been doing research on my family for a few years, trying to get all the sources possible together. There are some ideas and websites in this book I didn't even think of!

Whether you are new or not to the world of genealogy, I would highly recommend this book as either a starting point or refresher. Now can't wait for the next episode! BTW, I read they renewed WDYTYA for a second season! (...)

Enjoy!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great reference tool, April 28, 2010
This review is from: Who Do You Think You Are?: The Essential Guide to Tracing Your Family History (Hardcover)
I've been doing genealogy research for close to five years, and this book still helped me find more. It's entertaining to read and also informative. It covers so many areas and points you directly to where you need to go to find what you need, whether you consider yourself a seasoned researcher, a casual hobbyist, or just a beginner. Any other book I've tried to use for genealogical reference just sat around collecting dust, but this one has a permanent spot on my desk next to my computer.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Book any new genealogist would benefit from!, April 25, 2010
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This review is from: Who Do You Think You Are?: The Essential Guide to Tracing Your Family History (Hardcover)
This is by far the best book on tracking your family tree/genealogy that I have ever purchased! Highly recommend it! It is full of great hints, web sites, etc and wish I had it many years ago!!
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