Book Review : “The Family Tree Problem Solver 3rd Edition”

Book Review : “The Family Tree Problem Solver 3rd Edition”

The cover of “The Family Tree Problem Solver” seemed so bright and cheerful, it grabbed my attention from the start. Early on in the book the question was asked “Has your family history research hit a brick wall?” Why yes, it has hit some brick walls, a few of them if I’m being honest. I’ve also had other problems with my family tree, so I was eager to see what solutions were available inside the pages. This is the 3rd Edition, which has been revised to include guides and recommendations on recording hints from and other genealogy websites. There is also an added chapter on DNA results and a glossary of genealogy terms.

Inside you will find many research tips and learn the difference between search and research. You will learn how to avoid common mistakes in your research, and where to find valuable information in unlikely places. There is ample information on gathering data and evaluating the information you compile. “Analysis is the most crucial step in the research process.” The author(s) goes into great detail using case studies and examples on how pursuing the trail of clues (often overlooked the first time) will lead you to find the solution to your problem. It inspired me to start back at the beginning of my research. I highly recommend having a notepad ready while you read this book. My mind was spinning with ideas that I was eager to write down.

When I began my journey up my family tree, I was so excited to find ANY information. I would attach sources and censuses to my growing family tree, eager to just keep moving back further and further. I was on a mission to go as far back in time as I possibly could. In my haste along the way, I can see how I neglected to properly analyze what I was saving. What had I missed the first time? I learned to Read. Every. Word. Don’t just skim, but read it. I have my work cut out for me, but I am very excited to see where it leads. Who knows, I might just break through a few of those brick walls.

I found the book informative and useful, although I have to admit that in reading through all of the case studies in the The Family Tree Problem Solver, I found myself wanting to skip ahead to the “good stuff.” But then, I had a lightbulb moment… isn’t this skipping ahead what got me into trouble in the first place? Wanting the trophy at the end without actually having to run the entire marathon myself? Couldn’t I just piggyback? The short answer is no, nothing good comes easy. If I want a complete, and more importantly accurate family tree, then I need to take each step along the way.

Just another quick note on the formatting… I think that I would have preferred the physical version of the book over the digital. I tried to read it on both my iPad and my Kobo and found the formatting to be choppy. Sometimes it was a word or two jumbled, sometimes sentences were interspersed and choppy. The physical book looks to be much more clean and neat, including the charts, map, screenshots and photographs.

I received an advanced digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. #TheFamilyTreeProblemSolver #NetGalley