Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Product Review: Genealogy At a Glance

From time to time someone will send me something in hopes that I'll provide a review of it on my blog. I've been a little slow to do that (ok, so I've never really done that) but I've decided to give it a shot. I've also decided to be very honest in my perspective. Here goes...

Last night when I got home from the office I had a package from waiting for me. Inside were two nicely laminated 8 1/2" X 11" bifold Genealogy at Glance guides. The first was Genealogy at a Glance: Scottish Research by David Dobson. The second, Genealogy at a Glance: French-Canadian Research by Denise R. Larson.

The Genealogy at a Glance series is intended to provide succinct review of the critical information to keep in mind when performing research on ancestors from are particular part of the world. They are quick reads, just 4 pages, that are somewhat reminiscent of restaurant menus. In both the Scottish Genealogy Research and French-Canadian Genealogy Research aids, the authors did a great job distilling the pertinent details into consumable chunks of information. I was able to review the information in a matter of minutes and come away feeling like if I were to embark into researching ancestors from either location I would know where to begin. If you're someone that prefers printed materials and is interested in Scottish or French-Canadian research these might be very helpful for you. I could also imagine that these would be very helpful in a library setting or for a family history center that wanted to provide quick information for people starting into a new area of research.

It did seem like the format and approach to providing the information assumed at least a basic understanding of how to do genealogy. If you're just getting started, you'll probably need more help than one of these sheets can give you. If you're experienced with genealogy but inexperienced with the nuances of a new location the information is exactly what you'll need.

For me however, this particular approach is not a good fit. I'm a very technology oriented person. The chances of me packing these sheets around with me is fairly low. Put the same content into a mobile format - say an iPhone or iPad app and you'd have a product I'd be interested in.

In summary, if you're an experienced genealogist but are new to Scottish or French-Canadian research and you like or don't mind the physical format, these are probably worth the low investment. These would also be a nice add to any library or Family History Center.