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The Family Tree Problem Solver: Tried-and-True Tactics for Tracing Elusive Ancestors Paperback – April 19, 2011

4.4 out of 5 stars 102 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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).

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Family Tree Books; Revised edition (April 19, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1440311935
  • ISBN-13: 978-1440311932
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.7 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (102 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,052 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is a comprehensive guide to tackling difficult problems in genealogy research, and gives very specific examples and suggestions for tactics to use when confronted with the inevitable "brick walls". I was impressed by the level of detail and the intelligent commentary. However, be aware that the focus of this book is entirely on early American genealogy, specifically mid-19th century and earlier. If your family immigrated to the US in the 1880s or later, the specific issues will not be of much help.

Even so, there are some valuable insights for everyone:
1) Census records have notoriously bad spelling and transposed letters, sometimes in the census record itself, other times introduced in the indexing. Because census searches do not allow for "soundex" or phonetic search, researchers should search by many alternate spellings.

2) Cluster genealogy is an important concept to keep in mind. That is, don't only focus on your direct family members, but consider the wider family unit, friends and neighbors.

There is an excellent table "Common errors found in genealogical evidence" that rates the likely accuracy of various genealogy sources. The least reliable, rated "Poor", are oral family traditions, folklore and stories, and past news features (when the even was long before). There is a brief DNA chapter at the end of the book, which appears to have been included as an afterthought.
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Format: Paperback
I checked this book out at the library because it was one of the newest additions and I have read almost everything else. I was pleasantly surprised about checking this book out. I read it from cover to cover and learned a lot of new techniques for difficult research on my ancestors. I will recommend this book to my genealogy friends, for sure. This book is highly recommended reading for all genealogists, no matter if they are beginners or experts. You will learn something in this book. If you have a little problem or a stubborn problem trying to find someone in your family tree, check out this book and see if it doesn't help you come up with a solution or at least give you some ideas where to start your search. I guarantee you that you will find some place that you didn't look. And it has great stories, some that are funny. So check it out just to read it and laugh a little. I truly enjoyed this book!!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've been using genealogy to search for ancestors for about a dozen years, and this book provided me with different ways to approach the chase (particularly valuable for those of us who are searching in periods when records are scarce). I've already followed the suggestion to "broaden areas of interest to entire families instead of direct line ancestors." I think that other suggestions to look at land records and tax rolls will also prove valuable. I would recommend this book to seasoned genealogists who want to take their search to a higher level.
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Format: Paperback
The Family Tree Problem Solver: Tried-and-True Tactics for Tracing Elusive Ancestors - don't buy if you already have The Family Tree Problem Solver: Proven Methods for Scaling the Inevitable Brick Wall as they are essentially the same books, just with different covers. Enjoyed the Problem Solver book immensely so was thrilled to see another book by the same author. Didn't now it was going to be the same book with a different title! Very dissappointed with this purchase for that reason. It is a good book, so rated highly.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There is no question this is a very well-written book. Marsha Hoffman Rising presents her ideas with practical examples that anyone who is entrenched in genealogy can implement immediately. The two main concepts which I took from her include: Dealing with the problems in the years before 1850 and using information from collateral lines, neighbors, and community to help uncover information about your direct line and provide clues to migration patterns.

The only disappointment I have does not involve the main ideas she put forward, as those were well-done. As she says on the cover, these are "Tried-and-True Tactics for Tracing Elusive Ancestors." Her ideas are not new. I was hoping there would be new, innovative, out-side-the-box ideas to use. For those of us who have been engaged with trying to break through those walls, we have heard these ideas before in one form or another.

I don't want to discourage anyone from purchasing this book, because it is a worthwhile read. However, if you are an advanced genealogist, looking for novel ideas to break through a brick wall, you may be disappointed.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Kudos to author Marsha Hoffman Rising!

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!
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