Category Archives: Mentionable books

Real Advanced Family History

Moving from genealogy and family history to the history of the family is the focus of an interesting course offered by the Open University in Britain and available on-line. Its called Writing Family History but do not be deceived by the title, the course involves some meaty work.

Several years ago the Open University published some interesting books I think genealogy educators ought to study. Continue reading


Evaluating Genealogy Textbooks

I found the most useful discussion on evaluating potential genealogical textbooks was a chapter in Kory Meyerink’s book, Printed Sources: A Guide to Published Genealogical Records (Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1998). Chapter 2, written by my colleague Sandra Hargreaves Luebking, entitled “Instructional Materials” pages 68-92. There is a large table comparing the contents of beginning genealogy texts, and interesting section on how to evaluate and genealogy how-to book, and bibliographies and more bibliographies. Continue reading

Post Script to Transcription

Saw this reference the other day. you might want to check it out:

Michael E. Stevens and Steven B. Burg, Editing Historical Documents: A Handbook of Practice (Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press, 1997)

Apprentice Adventures #8


This week we are looking at another article. My apprentice has been reading and re-reading Kay Germain Ingalls great article, “Cherchez la femme! Looking for Female Ancestors” in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly Vol.88, No. 3 (Sept 2000) pp. 165-176. Her assignment was to create questions to be used either in a discussion group, or in multiple choice form for use in a test, or on-line course situation. The task of creating questions causes the reader to read a little closer. Continue reading

A Self-directed Learning Technique

Ken profile.jpg When I was younger I was proud of the fact that I never let school interfere with my education. Libraries would entice me from classrooms for hours of self directed learning and I immersed myself in arcane studies like solar energy, ancient Roman Britain, World War 2 history, railroad history and expansion, history of photography, etc. No time really for calculus or physics, the libraries called. I was once locked in a research library in Saudi Arabia after closing, totally absorbed in research. But its was in the Social Sciences Library at the University of British Columbia where I learned to follow citations- the backtrail of ideas. Let me explain Continue reading

The Independent Information Entrepreneur


Recently I encountered a professional seminar speaker who called himself an “independent information entrepreneur”. So I Googled the term. What intrigued me was the fact this speaker was not trained in library and information sciences. In the library world the term refers to librarians who contract to do research. Although few librarians are interested and success may be dificult, those with strong reference and research experience and skills may become an independent information entrepreneur. Continue reading

Apprentice Adventures #6


Spent almost three hours with the apprentice on Wednesday. She’s really pumped up from her reading and studies. She’s been finishing an excellent course, “Researching in the Family history Center” developed by Dr. Penny Christensen for the National Institute for Genealogical Studies and has come back every day excited by new discoveries. And while this was great, she was excited to tell me about reading Helen F.M. Leary’s “Problem Analyses and Research Plans” chapter 14 in Elizabeth Shown Mills, Professional Genealogy: A manual for researchers, writers, editors, lecturers and librarians. (Genealogical Publishing, 2001) .  Let me tell you a bit about what she experienced.

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Evidence Analysis: A Research Process Map


Every week I meet one on one with students learning about evidence analysis. Some are sharper than others. Others cannot distiguish between sources and the information contained. Still others have no clue about the distinguishing factors between direct and indirect evidence. Most cannot grasp the notion of adequacy of certain bits of direct evidence they discover. New terms, new concepts casuse confusion. Elizabeth Shown Mills has prepared a nifty reference sheet, colorful, laminated and cheap entitled, “Evidence Analysis: A Research Process Map” published recently by the Board for Certification of Genealogists for about $5. Cheap like Doukhabor borcht, but worth your attention.

If you ever listen to my advice, listen to this: BUY IT. Maybe Elizabeth will buy me an icecream sundae with the profits.

Transcribing and Abstracting Documents

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One of my greaat pleasures in working for the National Institute for Genealogical Studies is the consultations i have with students. My students in Analysis and Skills Mentoring 2 and 3 struggle through transcription and abstracting assignments. Some I am sure will never tackle such tasks again, and neverrise to the great potential they have as genealogists of professional quality. These skills are critical for advanced research.

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Know Your Audience

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The amazing Patricia Walls Stamm has an interesting article in the latest issue of the Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly (APGQ) June 2006, page 83-84 entitled “Know your Audience”.  Take a good look. She writes,

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