Generation by Generation – A Modern Approach to the Basics of Genealogy by Drew Smith: Book Review

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book for the purposes of review and I have received other books from Genealogical Publishing Company, also for review. However, my opinions are my own and not influenced by outside sources.

Generation by Generation – a Modern Approach to the Basics of Genealogy is a brand new, hot off the press book by Drew Smith which explains the processes of preparing to tackle genealogy research and then how to actually work one’s way back through the records with a focus on U.S. censuses.

The chapters are in an interesting order, too, as research guidance is given in reverse order of time. In other words, it is in the exact order in which a researcher would, in the real world, work backwards through time, assembling records that document ancestors in the family tree.



Part I For All Generations : Preparing to Research

Chapter 1: Names, Places, Dates, and Events
Chapter 2: Relationships
Chapter 3: the Genealogical Research Process
Chapter 4: Tools and Methods to Keep Us Organized
Chapter 5: Looking for Previous Research
Chapter 6: DNA Testing
Chapter 7: Using Online Repositories

Part II Generation by Generation: Doing the Research

Chapter 8: Generations after 1950 in the U.S.
Chapter 9: Generations from 1880 to 1950 in the U.S.
Chapter 10: Generations from 1850 to 1880 in the U.S.
Chapter 11: Generations from 1776 to 1850 in the U.S.
Chapter 12: Generations in British America Before 1776
Chapter 13: Generations Outside the U.S. (in English)
Chapter 14: Generations with Records in Other Languages
Chapter 15: Now What?


I have to say that I really like this book. Drew Smith presents the information in clear, clean, concise ways, making it easy for a beginning researcher (the target group for this book) to understand how to begin research with a strong set of skills and knowledge.

There are tons of illustrations, which spotlight the resources, record types and online websites that make researching so much easier.

Part II provides an excellent breakdown of time periods in American history, based on the types of documents and historical items that are commonly found during each era.

I also really like the fact that, although online depositories are an important part of the research process, there is enough emphasis on all the different types of records that might be found in our families, that anyone will quickly understand that not everything is found online.

Chapter 14 mentions resources in other languages, but the emphasis of this book is centered on American research with a small net of information encompassing records located in other English-speaking countries.

This book would be a fabulous textbook in a beginning genealogy class, but it’s also valuable as a guide for intermediate level genealogists.

Generation by Generation – A Modern Approach to the Basics of Genealogy by Drew Smith can be purchased online from Genealogical Publishing Company for $29.95, which would be money well spent.


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