Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Book Review: How to Do Everything Genealogy

How to do Everything ___” is a popular series of books in the same vein as the “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to___” and “___For Dummies” introductory subject guides. George G. Morgan wrote the original How to Do Everything (with Your) Genealogy and also updated the second edition featured here.

The title is no joke. Morgan somehow manages to touch on every aspect one might encounter in the general genealogy field. Chapter subjects include topics on why one should do genealogy, family tree organization, traditional & electronic resources, accessing different types of records (military, land, etc.), DNA, problem solving, research trip planning, technology and more.

Each chapter includes “Did You Know?”text boxes with handy facts for benefit of readers. Morgan also shares documents from his private collection and features them as examples throughout the book.

The center of How to Do Everything Genealogy contains a highlighted section that includes a brick-wall research problem. In “Getting Past Penelope Swords,” Morgan shares some hurdles in a genealogy quest and provides alternative research strategies readers can employ in their own family history pursuits.

The vast level of content covered in this book makes it a good starting point for those just beginning their genealogy quests. Morgan does not go into depth with these topics (there’s simply not enough room), but he introduces the terms, explains them and provides suggestions for further information. Intermediate researchers may also learn some new tricks and be reminded of old ones.

“Become an expert genealogical researcher,” claims the book’s cover. This ambitious statement is more likely from the publisher’s art department than the author himself. Reading How to Do Everything Genealogy will not make you an expert, but it will provide a solid foundation on which new genealogists can build.

How to Do Everything Genealogy by George G. Morgan

McGraw-Hill Osborne Media

ISBN-13: 978-0071625340


  1. Can't wait to get a copy! Thanks Amy for a great review!

  2. Amy, you are ahead of the game and very well organized indeed