Review: The Family Tree Polish, Czech & Slovak Genealogy Guide by Lisa A. Alzo

Genealogy author and educator Thomas MacEntee reviews The Family Tree Polish, Czech & Slovak Genealogy Guide by Lisa A. Alzo - “your guide to finding your Eastern European ancestors!”

What if you needed a guide to take you through a landscape where everything including the history, the geography, the language and the customs were difficult to understand . . . yet you still had a deep connection with that place? I bet you would want someone or something that understood not just what you were looking for, but what those discoveries would mean to you.

If you have family history rooted in Polish, Czech and/or Slovak heritage, then I highly recommend the new book, The Family Tree Polish, Czech & Slovak Genealogy Guide by Lisa A. Alzo available in print and as an e-book ($26.99 USD).

An Eastern European Genealogy Guide That Makes Sense

There are many genealogy guides on the market, including ones for Eastern Europe, but the information is not always easy to understand or well-organized. That’s not the case with The Family Tree Polish, Czech & Slovak Genealogy Guide: the book is easy to use due to the fact that the progression of topics are well-organized and explained clearly by the author.

I’ll admit that I don’t have deep roots in Eastern Europe, but I do have German ancestors who I know lived in those areas that were Poland at one time. So as I read this guide, I starting taking notes about my 3rd great-grandmother Franziska Herger and how I can find out more about her life and her family.

Features Abound!

Here are the features I found most useful in The Family Tree Polish, Czech & Slovak Genealogy Guide:

  • There is strong focus on localities and the author explains why this focus is so important in your research.
  • The migrations of Poles, Czechs and Slovaks to the United States are traced in detail.
  • There are fillable forms if you purchase the PDF e-book version! Forms such as Cluster Research Worksheet, Name Variants Worksheet, Polish Partition Tracker Worksheet, Vital Records Checklist, and more!
  • Surnames and naming patterns
  • Vital records: the various types of records, where they are held and how to get copies.
  • The Research Trip chapter is outstanding! Alzo goes into great detail with helpful advice on how she planned a successful trip to Slovakia that really opened up her research.
  • And can I say that the Appendices are amazing? They include:
    • Understanding Czech, Understanding Polish, Understanding Slovak
    • US Genealogy Archives and Libraries
    • Civil Record Archives in Europe
    • Church Record Archives in Europe
    • Archives: Sample letters to request records – written in Czech, Polish and Slovak with English translation
    • Genealogical and Historical Societies
    • Websites, Books and Articles

Conclusion

The Family Tree Polish, Czech & Slovak Genealogy Guide is 242 pages in length and is invaluable if you have ancestors in Eastern Europe. It is one of those books that you’ll be referring to constantly as you progress through your genealogy research and build your family tree. Thanks to author Lisa A. Alzo, what once seemed like a daunting challenge of trying to interpret various pieces of evidence in my research, can now be a solvable puzzle unlocking even more information about my family history.

Click here for more information or to order your book.

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Disclosure statement: I have material connections with various vendors and organizations. To review the material connections I have in the genealogy industry, please see Disclosure Statement.

©2016, copyright Thomas MacEntee. All rights reserved.

Review: How to Use Evernote for Genealogy

Genealogy author and educator Thomas MacEntee reviews How to Use Evernote for Genealogy by Kerry Scott - “A complete guide to mastering Evernote and making it work for your genealogy research!”

[Editor’s note: SAVE! Pre-order your copy of How to Use Evernote for Genealogy today via Shop Family Tree and remember to enter promo code SFTTHOMAS15 for an exclusive 15% additional discount – you’ll save over 30% total on this great book! Click here for more information!]

Are you intimidated by technology, but feel like you are “missing out” when friends and family rave about a brand new app or program? Have you heard about Evernote and always wondered how others are using it for genealogy research? In the new book How to Use Evernote for Genealogy, author Kerry Scott employs an approachable and comfortable writing style to “demystify” the Evernote product, cut through all the hype, and show you how to get up and running with the most popular note taking product currently on the market.

Scott is a skilled writer who can cover all the “getting started” basics as well as advanced features and make the reader feel confident enough to start using Evernote. I loved the various “personal observations” Scott has included in each chapter; you can tell from all of these real-life experiences that the author is a serious Evernote user who has figured out a way to leverage the program for genealogy research success.

How to Use Evernote for Genealogy is not another technical book that you will review once and then never use. Most likely, you will be consulting various chapters and sections for days and weeks as you build your Evernote skills and find new ways to use the program for genealogy.

Evernote Templates that ROCK!

Lately there has been a dearth of free Evernote e-books on the Web, but they really don’t solve problems encountered by genealogists and family historians. How to Use Evernote for Genealogy has three different appendices at the end of the book, filled with useful Evernote templates.

Not only can your review each template, there is a convenient link to a text version so you can start creating your own Evernote forms for genealogy. These include Census Extraction Templates for the US Federal Census, Genealogy Conference Planner (to plan your classes when attending a genealogy conference), and Research Worksheets and Templates, including a family group sheet.

Structured to Get Things Done!

I’m a bit of a “techie,” and perhaps this is a “guy thing,” but I usually don’t read the directions or knowledgebase when I start using a new product. Instead, I like to “kick the tires” and “poke around.” Well if this is how you learned Evernote, I recommend using the Keys to Success segment at the end of each chapter of How to Use Evernote for Genealogy. Review each item and make sure that you are familiar with each concept before you move on to the next chapter.

Also, don’t forget that there are checklists, templates and “value added” features at the end of each chapter as well.

Conclusion: A Must Have Guide for Evernote Users

You name it, author Kerry Scott has covered it when it comes to using Evernote for genealogical research. This includes the use of audio and video files from interviews, synchronizing data between multiple devices, using photos with Evernote, creating tables and more.

With How to Use Evernote for Genealogy, you can be up and running with Evernote as your personal genealogy virtual assistant. In addition, after a few hours, you will wonder how you ever got by without Evernote all these years!

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Disclosure statement: I have material connections with various vendors and organizations. To review the material connections I have in the genealogy industry, please see Disclosure Statements.

©2015, copyright Thomas MacEntee. All rights reserved.

Review: Unofficial Guide to FamilySearch.org

unofficial guide to familysearch.org

Recently, I had the opportunity to read and review the Unofficial Guide to FamilySearch.org – How to Find Your Family History on the World’s Largest Free Genealogy Website, by Dana McCullough. Even as a long-time genealogist, if you thought you knew FamilySearch, this guidebook brings you the latest, up-to-date information on a treasured resource for family history.

FamilySearch: A Hidden Gem for Genealogy

As the author notes at the outset, many beginning genealogists are completely unaware of FamilySearch and it remains a hidden gem for them. McCullough’s format for the book is to cover the major aspects of FamilySearch, including Trees, Historical Records, User-submitted Genealogies, Family History Books, Wiki, Catalog, Memories, Indexing and more. The author also devotes special side bar sections to tracing the roots of specific FamilySearch resources. This includes the background and origins of the Ancestral File, Pedigree Resource File and the IGI (International Genealogical Index).

In reading the Unofficial Guide to FamilySearch.org, I felt guided by a genealogist who honestly confesses to the same mistakes that many of us have made in the past, such as not citing sources. I appreciated the special attention MCullough devoted to sources, their importance, and even how to save sources from other websites to FamilySearch.

Other nice features of the book are the Keys to Success and Getting Started checklist sections at the end of each chapter. Too many genealogy “how to” books don’t offer this type of “call to action” to the reader. Anyone purchasing this book has no excuse not to get started with FamilySearch since all the tools are laid out for them!

The Unofficial Guide to FamilySearch.org is filled with little gems and bits of advice covering many different areas. In the Family Trees chapter, the author reviews how to upload photos and documents and covers in detail how copyright is handled. In addition, she covers the collaboration aspect of Family Trees and how to protect your privacy and the privacy of your family.

Get to Know FamilySearch In-Depth and Up Close

At 242 pages, the Unofficial Guide to FamilySearch.org is not just substantial, but also comprehensive. It is suitable for those just starting to explore their family history as well as seasoned genealogists who want to extract every bit of knowledge possible from the FamilySearch site and its affiliated sites.

The Unofficial Guide to FamilySearch.org can be purchased online at ShopFamilyTree.com – click here for more information.

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Disclosure statement: I have material connections with various vendors and organizations. To review the material connections I have in the genealogy industry, please see Disclosure Statements.

©2015, copyright Thomas MacEntee. All rights reserved.