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The Family Tree Problem Solver: Tried-and-True Tactics for Tracing Elusive Ancestors Paperback – April 19, 2011
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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).
Top customer reviews
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There is a branch of my family that has told a very romantic family story for generations, involving my 3x great grandparents' lives in a volatile area in Southwest Missouri during the Civil War. I love family lore, but I wanted to find the documentation that would either support the stories, or clarify the actual events as they truly occurred because the truth means more to me than stories that can and DO get embellished over the years. I had many challenges to overcome (courthouse burned TWICE, leaving practically zero trace of them), and this book has helped me enormously in looking at the bigger picture of not just names and dates, but the people who lived lives as we do today, as members of a family and a community, which can open floodgates of information to explore where previously there was only a brick wall. As a result of following Ms. Rising's tactics I have found documented facts that I wouldn't have found otherwise and the picture that's forming is far more intriguing than the family lore!
Whether your challenge is, like mine, no county records, or family from the difficult years prior to the 1850 Federal Census, or a family with a dozen men named John, this book can help you navigate the unknowns. There are no magic answers, of course, and I have several ancestors I doubt I'll ever get to the bottom of, but this book has helped me tremendously in knowing I have uncovered every crumb trail my ancestor may have left behind. And in the case of my burned courthouse family, I have found a much deeper story than I think I would've found had those county records been readily available because being new to family research, I probably wouldn't have thought to dig even deeper or wider into their community to find the nuggets I have found, including the documentation to support them! Highly recommended!
The book lays out case studies on the use of a number of different types of records. Records beyond the census and vital records. It also covers the concept of cluster genealogy. Is your specific brick wall going to be in the book? Likely not. But the point is that the author is providing tools and examples which you can then adapt to scale your own personal brick walls. While there are a couple of reviews here from beginning genealogists who say the book was not helpful - I suggest that perhaps they have not been researching long enough to fully understand the difference in technique that the author proposes from what most people do in their research. I know I wouldn't have been able to aprpeciate this book early on like I can now.
It should also be noted that the book focuses on research problems at about 1850 or before. Research after that time period is comparatively easier in most cases (not all) because of the introduction of more resources--vital records, every-name censuses (both federal and state) and so on. However, you can still use the principles presented in the book to solve problems. Research the whole family and the whole community. Look for records aside from census and vitals. Don't rely only on indexed or searchable records. If you want to knock down the brick wall, you're going to have to put in some time going line by line or page by page through unindexed records at some point. This book gives some guidance as to what those records may contain and what may be worth that slower search.
This work is an invaluable research tool for anyone investigating family histories, and an historically accurate and provocative look into the facts and realities of the women daily lives, legal and religious rights, and contributions to our personal lives, as well as American history.
As we research the distaff side of our family trees we are often left with tantalizing clues, that lead us down the garden path to brick-walls. Hoffman provides historically accurate, fact based, well researched and tested strategies for scaling those walls, and locating the women in our past. Her methods work!
Hoffman demystifies research techniques,and provides state - by - state historical and legal information that I have never found compiled elsewhere.
Her friendly style makes the book easy to read, and her recommendations easy to follow. Most importantly, she provides an accurate, no nonsense, historically accurate view of womens history.
I wish I had found her work earlier in my own genealogy searches! I would highly recommend this author, and her works for anyone seriously looking for their fore-mothers.
This fine book is a "must have," for every genealogist, whether amateur or pro!