Saturday, December 30, 2017

Review: The Family Tree Cemetery Field Guide by Joy Neighbors

Title: The Family Tree Cemetery Field Guide: How to Find, Record, and Preserve Your Ancestor's Grave
Author: Jun Asuka
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: October 20th 2017
Source: Netgalley

Book Description:

Not all research can be done from home--sometimes you have to head into the field. Cemeteries are crucial for any genealogist's search, and this book will show you how to search for and analyze your ancestors' graves. Discover tools for locating tombstones, tips for traipsing through cemeteries, an at-a-glance guide to frequently used gravestone icons, and practical strategies for on-the-ground research. And once you've returned home, learn how to incorporate gravestone information into your research, as well as how to upload grave locations to BillionGraves and record your findings in memorial pages on Find A Grave.

Detailed step-by-step guides to finding ancestors' cemeteries using websites like Find A Grave, plus how to record and preserve death and burial information
Tips and strategies for navigating cemeteries and finding individual tombstones in the field, plus an at-a-glance guide to tombstone symbols and iconography
Resources and techniques for discovering other death records and incorporating information from cemeteries into genealogical research



I'm pretty interested in cemeteries and history, so I was happy to get my hands on this book. It was a solid read- just a bit basic for my personal needs.

The book is divided into four main parts. Part One is planning your trip. It's sort of the 101 course of what you'll need to do and what you'll need to know on your expedition. Part two is researching on hallowed ground. It's how to read grave markers and tombstones, what the different symbols mean, etc. Part three is making sense of your research and delves into how to dig into all your data. Part four is digging deeper, and deals with things like records and preservation. There's also a final appendix, which includes worksheets and more records/information to help you organize better.

The book is a little scattered, and information can be a bit hard to find. The part divisions are more of guidelines than hard rules, and sometimes topics switch seemingly at random. It's a bit irritating.

It wasn't as dry as I was expecting to be. It's certainly more of a guide book and less of a text book. That said, in some spots the tone of the book was a bit condescending. Again, just mildly irritating.

This is probably a really good guide for people who have never done any genealogy before, or who are unfamiliar with cemeteries in general. But for those who already know a bit about it, it's a fair bit of information that you probably already know. It's a good basic start, but is not all encompassing (though I'm sure that'd be nearly impossible). There are icons and grave types, for example, that aren't mentioned. I was actually hoping to find more information about a specific style that's prevalent in my area, but no dice.

If you're new to this field of study, this is a great place to start. There's resources, worksheets, advice, and helpful tips. But if not, this book may have limited offerings for you.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.


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