Sunday, April 8, 2012

A Genealogist's Guide to Discovering your Ethnic and Immigrant Ancestors : Featured library resource for April 2012

Subtitled "How to find and record your unique heritage," this book is one of two by certified genealogist Sharon DeBartolo Carmack in our collection.  It's a folio-sized (large) paperback of 260 pages published in 2000 by Betterway Books, and was a gift from the late Phyllis Koscsco, former President of CCGS and one of our longtime Library volunteers.

The book is in three major sections:

  • Getting your genealogy research started; 
  • Major ethnic groups in America; and 
  • Leaving a legacy.  

While the middle section constitutes the majority of the contents, the first section provides a thorough inventory of the sources available to the researcher, starting with family, moving through the various types of published records, computer resources, and ending with foreign records.

The book is copiously illustrated with examples of records, and has useful tables, including for example "Chronology of American Immigration Policy, 1882-1960."  It is also studded throughout with icons, over 20 symbols calling attention to important tips, definitions, methods, further information, and more.  Much of the information is reinforced through the use of case studies, real stories provided by other contributors about the twists and turns in their research.

The main body of the book is the extensive middle section on ethnic groups, from African-Americans to Welsh and Cornish.  Many sections are further broken down, such as the Scandinavians into Swedes, Norwegians, Danes, Finns and Icelanders.  Each ethnicity has a general section of commentary and ends with a copious listing of resources:

  • Research guides 
  • Social histories & historical sources
  • Sources and finding aids 
  • Organizations, periodicals and internet sites.

The final section covers tips for writing your family history, especially as regards the immigrant experience.  The book has an index, and an appendix listing Ethnic Archives and Libraries in the United States. There is a lot of good information here, well organized and appealingly presented.  We hope you'll stop by the Library and have a look!

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