It is summer at the university and my trip to the stacks was solitary. There were only one or two students studying at tables as I ventured into the human wilderness of books. After finding the specific book I was looking for, I returned to my old habit of reading the shelves. I quickly located the genealogy related books and found a significant storehouse of books on this subject. Nothing much compared to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, but a significant collection none the less. When combined with the Family History Library upstairs and the Social Sciences Library where I was browsing, there is a useful and impressive collection of books.
As I selected a couple of books to read, I realized that I had neglected this important area of my own background and failed to share my love of books with my blog readers. I did post a list of essential books just recently, but a cold list is no substitute for a review. I do not review books in the traditional way, pointing out the problems or benefits of the book, instead, I usually communicate my own reactions and thoughts about the content. I have been reviewing chapters of the book:
Meyerink, Kory L, Tristan Tolman, and Linda K Gulbrandsen. Becoming an Excellent Genealogist: Essays on Professional Research Skills. [Salt Lake City, Utah]: ICAPGen, 2012.but I realized that I had gained access to a goldmine of information in the BYU Library and that it would be nice to share some of that information with my readers (those I haven't driven away already by my opinions and commentary). My benefit will be to return to my habit of reading two or more books a week. I have been known to read more than a dozen, but that was long before my life became complicated and I began spending so much time writing.
Part of my motivation for beginning a book review feature is that I am acutely aware of how few genealogists or would-be researchers are acquainted with the benefits of reading genealogy books. My observations in both the Mesa FamilySearch Library and here at BYU is that visitors to the Libraries rarely, if ever, look at the books. I was asked a question the other evening and I took the person asking the question over to the shelves nearby and pulled out the book that they needed to answer the question. From what I could tell, the person was dumbfounded and didn't really know what to do with this strange answer to her question. I am sure she was asking, "Does this person really think I will read an entire book just to answer a simple question?" Well, actually the answer her reaction is "Yes, I do expect myself and others to read books and answer their own questions."
One of the books I picked up in the BYU Library (my shorthand name for the Brigham Young University, Harold B. Lee Library) turns out to be a delightful book as follows:
Rogers, Colin, and Colin Rogers. Tracing Your English Ancestors: A Manual for Analysing and Solving Genealogical Problems, 1538 to the Present. Manchester, UK; New York; New York, NY, USA: Manchester University Press ; Distributed in the USA and Canada by St. Martins’s Press, 1989.In this day of instant technology, it is good idea to remember that genealogists are interested in history and even an older book can have an immense value to our research efforts. This pre-computer-technology book will be my first official review in this ongoing series.