Tag Archives: George G. Morgan

How to Do Everything: Genealogy, 4th Edition by George G. Morgan

I don’t do too many book reviews, but I found one mentioned online that I would like to share, How to Do Everything: Genealogy, Fourth Edition by George G. Morgan. ISBN #9780071845922

It is currently listed for $20.71 on Amazon Prime; the Kindle version is only $14.49. Surprisingly, the regular Amazon prices begin at about $14.00 plus $4.00 shipping.

I originally purchased the book as a reference book to help me create handouts on various topics for the members of the genealogy group that I teach. I chose this book because it looked like it had enough substance to it that it was beyond the basics for new family history researchers and that assumption was correct.

The book is almost 500 pages long and is divided into three parts containing fifteen chapters:

PART I: Begin Your Family History Odyssey

Chapter 1: What Is Genealogy?
Chapter 2: How Do I Get Started?
Chapter 3: Balance Traditional, Electronic, and Genetic Research
Chapter 4: Analyze and Organize Your Family Information
Chapter 5: Place Ancestors into Context and Locate Their Basic Records
Chapter 6: Use Census Schedules and Records to Locate Your Ancestors

PART II: Expand Your Research

Chapter 7: Extend Your Research with Advanced Record Types
Chapter 8: Use the Many Types of Military Service Records
Chapter 9: Understand and Use Land and Property Records
Chapter 10: Understand and Use Immigration and Naturalization Records
Chapter 11: Discover Where to Locate Evidence About Your Family

PART III: Employ Advanced Strategies and Electronic Tools

Chapter 12: Assess Internet Websites to More Successfully Research Your Ancestors
Chapter 13: Research and Verify Your Ancestors Using Genetic Genealogy (DNA)Chapter 14: Use Alternative Research Strategies to Locate Difficult-to-Find Ancestors
Chapter 15: Incorporate Social Networking into Your Genealogy Research

In spite of PART I being labeled “Begin Your Family Odyssey,” only the first two chapters are really “newbie” chapters. Each chapter after those are a sophisticated blend of beginner information mixed with tons of little gems of information for more seasoned researchers.

For example, the section that addresses church records includes a list of an astonishing 27 different types of records that might be generated by an individual church. Obviously, not every type of record might still exist for each church, but digging past the baptisms, marriages and burials may well yield wonderful nuggets of information not found elsewhere.

Mr. Morgan’s section on death records includes fourteen different types of records and probate is not one of them! Probate is covered in a section of its own. Saturday’s blog post will feature one of these types of death records that I never knew existed and it might help me find out what became of my grandfather’s eldest brother.

I also like Chapter 14, which describes ways to get around brick walls. Yes, most of the suggestions are somewhat common sense, but they include sources and repositories often overlooked by researchers because most of the information is NOT online, sometimes not even accessible by email, and might necessitate using those old time strategies of writing a letter and/or picking up the telephone. 🙂

The book is well organized, easy to browse and easy to read. There are lots of images illustrating points and providing examples. About the only negative comment I would make is that a few of the images are not of high enough quality to read, e.g. a page from the 1820 census. The point was being made that only the heads of household were named with others noted in data categories. That could be seen in the image, but I am nosy enough that I wanted to read the names on that census page, but couldn’t.

Although I purchased this book as a reference for myself, I am going to query the members of my genealogy group to see if they are interested in using this book as a textbook for our class. I think they would not only learn a lot – most of them are beginner to intermediate level researchers – but they will find themselves pulling the book off the shelf for future use, too.

I definitely give George G. Morgan’s book a total thumbs up!