- File Size: 38474 KB
- Print Length: 240 pages
- Publisher: Family Tree Books (March 20, 2018)
- Publication Date: March 20, 2018
- Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B079PLCBD8
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,017,940 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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The Family Tree Historical Newspapers Guide: How to Find Your Ancestors in Archived Newspapers Kindle Edition
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From the Back Cover
The Family Tree Historical Newspapers Guide features:
- Tips and techniques for finding crucial genealogy records in newspapers, such as birth announcements, obituaries, and even news reports
- Step-by-step guides for using popular online newspaper databases such as GenealogyBank and Newspapers.com
- Case studies that will put information found in newspapers to use
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I expected the book to be more readable. What may have occurred is that it did not go through a more rigorous last draft or two before publication. It happens. What could have been polished and flowing is clunky. I expect, because of the nature of the information that this publication holds that it could be revised every few years with a new edition. So perhaps my critique will be of value to the author and publisher then.
First a little background on my choice to obtain and plow through the guide. A favorite brick wall of mine is stuck but good. I have vital records, census records, military records, church records and homestead records aplenty. I have searched county histories and published trees to no avail. My thought was to be able to be more comprehensive in the historical newspaper domain.
Beidler’s methods will assist. He answers the questions: “How can one find out which newspapers were published in the areas and times of my interest?” “What are the online newspaper repositories?” “How can I effectively and comprehensively track my newspaper research?”
I like chapters six through nine on the repositories and the research templates that go with them, Appendix A Newspaper Research Flowchart, and Appendix C Creating a Newspaper Chronology (using an Excel spreadsheet template). The templates are online and can be downloaded. To me these are the core components of the guide and make it of value.
So, what are my complaints? What makes for the clunky read? It’s time to wield bulleting for my top issues.
• Can you believe that on page 40 Beidler writes, “Hopefully, these examples are enough to convince you that research in historical newspapers is worthwhile for any number of reasons”? It isn’t the only in-book marketing verbiage in this first part of the book, there are many and they are like speedbumps preventing a good narrative flow. I bought the book. I am reading it. I do not need to be sold on it.
• Many of the reproduced images of newspaper pages are illegible because they are too small. Why bother?
• Beidler jumps around in person in the narrative: first person singular, first person plural, second person, third person. One is enough and makes for smoother reading. This problem likely would have been rectified in another draft revision.
• Chapter 13 is on how the reader can preserve newspapers. It is way out of scope. If Beidler felt compelled to include such information, he could have handled it with a footnote.
• The state by state resource list is at best representative. If it was meant to be, as opposed to exhaustive, a lead-in to that section could have explained its purpose and creation. It seems like filler.
• There is an uneven and dramatic range of perspectives, from 10,000 meters, e.g. a history of American newspapers with insightful asides, to the minutia of doing Boolean searches (step by painful step).
Despite the shortcomings, recall that I wanted a quick fun read, I recognize this volume as a useful tool-book, that I will use. I recommend it for those researching their families in the papers.
The book is full of resources and information. There are chapters on how to find newspapers and what to look for (not just obituaries!). There's info on how OCD (optical character recognition) works and doesn't work and how to tailor your searches to find the hits a typical search might miss. James Beidler goes into the history of newspapers and what types of information you might look for and find. He breaks down the largest providers of online newspaper archives, which are free and paid, the strengths and weaknesses.
All of this is well worth the price of the book already, but Beidler also includes some links to very useful worksheets and research logs so you can stay organized while doing newspaper searches. On top of that, he includes a really excellent appendix of online newspaper archive sites. There's also a massive bibliography of further resources organized by country and state. He didn't mention one of my favorites, the Bowling Green State University Historical Newspapers List, which is a state-by-state list of free newspaper archives.
I learned so much from this book and couldn't wait to try out some of the sites that were new to me, and use the tips on Boolean operators (NEAR and ADJ were new to me). Five Stars!
(Thanks to NetGalley and F + W Media for a digital review copy.)