Marleta Childs
P. O. Box 6825
LUBBOCK, TX 79493-6825

     As this column has stated many times, the study of genealogy and history are intricately intertwined. Usually, when genealogists wish to find historical facts, they may have to look at various history books concerning the specific topics they need or perhaps they visit several different websites. Family researchers, therefore, will welcome the publication, HISTORY FOR GENEALOGISTS: USING CHRONOLOGICAL TIME LINES TO FIND AND UNDERSTAND YOUR ANCESTORS by Judy Jacobson. First printed in 2009, this latest version contains a 2016 addendum incorporating editorial corrections and two new chapters by Denise Larson.

     As Jacobson points out in the preface, placing one’s ancestors in a historical context is an often overlooked aspect of genealogical research. Yet that context provides valuable insight into the lifestyles and character of individuals and the reasons why families lived in a particular place at a particular time and why they did what they did. Knowing such information makes dead forebears more than statistics or entries on a pedigree chart. In other words, they become, in their descendants’ minds, real people who loved, laughed, cried, suffered illnesses, faced hardships, and overcame adversities.

     HISTORY FOR GENEALOGISTS provides answers to many fundamental questions. For example, did a family leave their homeland because of war, famine, or an epidemic? Was a family’s moving to Iowa before 1880 the result of the Economic Panic of 1873?

     Utilizing one’s knowledge about history also furnishes valuable clues for further research when one hits the proverbial “brick wall.” For instance, if an ancestor migrated from Kentucky to Texas in the 1840s, was he or she a part of the “Peters Colony?”

     Other questions that arise pertain to how families got to a specific area and what route they took. Beginning with data about the early trails, the author supplies the history of transportation from roads to canals to railroads to air travel.

     Jacobson’s work is a rare history book--one written specifically with genealogists in mind. Through series of time lines focusing on specific eras and subjects, she manages to consolidate an enormous amount of historical dates, places, and other facts into one convenient volume, saving people valuable research time. A copy of the revised HISTORY FOR GENEALOGISTS: USING CHRONOLOGICAL TIME LINES TO FIND AND UNDERSTAND YOUR ANCESTORS should be in the library of every family researcher and in the holdings of all public genealogical libraries.

     The 310-page has soft colorful covers, a preface, charts, a bibliography, an addendum, and an index to people, places, wars, and battles. To the book's price of $37.50, buyers should add the cost for postage and handling charges. For U. S. postal mail, the cost is $5.50 for one book and $2.50 for each additional copy; for UPS, the cost is $7.50 for one copy and $2.50 for each additional book. The volume (item order #8250) may be purchased by check, MasterCard, or Visa from Clearfield Company, 3600 Clipper Mill Rd., Suite 260, Baltimore, Maryland 21211 (for phone orders, call toll free 1-800-296-6687; fax 1-410-752-8492; website ).

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