Monday, March 10, 2014

Telling HerStory 2014: The Family Tree Problem Solver by Marsha Hoffman Rising

The Book:

The Family Tree Problem Solver: Tried-and-true Tactics for Tracing Elusive Ancestors by  Marsha Hoffman Rising. Cincinnati, Ohio: Family Tree Books, 2011.

What's it about:

There are a lot of genealogical how-to books out there. The Family Tree Problem Solver is, in my opinion, one of the best. It’s not aimed at the beginning genealogist simply because it strives to help people who currently have hit a brick wall in their research. Any genealogist who has some research and problem solving under their belt will benefit from the ideas in this book. More advanced genealogists can also benefit from chapters on problem solving and analysis, researching ancestors before 1850 and sorting through individuals with the same name.

This book, now in it’s 2nd edition, was originally written by genealogist Marsha Hoffman Rising who passed away in 2010. She was the author of many articles and works about Arkansas genealogy.  She worked as a professional genealogist for 25 years.

Why you should read it:

Whether you purchase a used copy of the 1st edition or buy the  2nd edition, your genealogy will benefit. The 2nd edition  includes updates on Internet genealogy, DNA and genealogical terms written by genealogists Sharon DeBartolo Carmack, Laureen Gamber and the editors of Family Tree Magazine respectively. This is the type of book that you do not have to read from cover to cover. You can choose sections that would best help you with your own genealogical problem and then go from there.

One of my favorite sections can be found in the chapter entitled The Critical Connection: Finding Ancestors who Lived before 1850, this chapter includes a list, Tenets for the Tenacious: Suggestions for discovering the origins of pioneer ancestors that outlines 15 steps for tracking these early ancestors.  This 15 step tip list is one that should be laminated and kept by every genealogist’s computer to help remind them of methodology when they hit the proverbial brick wall. Advice contained in this list includes focus on families, not surnames; search surrounding areas; and learn all you can about your ancestor and his community.

Your research will benefit from this book. Your work uncovering the stories of female ancestors will benefit from this book. Read this book!

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