Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Learn How To Make Landscape Art Quitts, Step-by-step, with Anne Loveless


Michigan quilters are proud of our own Ann Loveless who won the 2013 Grand Rapids ArtPrize for her Sleeping Bear Dune Lakeshore landscape quilt (seen on the book cover) as well as a viewer's choice award. The dunes quilt is constructed in 5 'x 5' panels. But Ann's techniques also create smaller quilts, and in this book she shares her methods.
Ann Loveless with her prize-winning quilt
Most of Ann's quilts are inspired by Michigan scenes, places, forests and flora: Trillium, sand dunes, Pictured Rocks along Lake Superior, lighthouses, the Mackinac Bridge, birch forests, quiet ponds.

The book is in three parts:
  • Planning, designing, and preparing to make your art quilt
  • A Photo Gallery of Collage Quilts
  • Constructing and finishing your art quilt
Ann also shares her quilt story and resources.

Ann's own quilts help to illustrate basic concepts of color theory and color value, and she covers composition, selection of inspiration photo, and photo transfer methods. She covers fabric choices and threads, supplies, and quilting options.

Ann's approach is improvisational. She does not create patterns, but freeform cuts fabric and places her pieces. The raw edge applique is machine quilted. The result is an "impressionistic" look. She also creates "confetti" quilts with pre-fused fabrics on a fused mosaic background.

Now, for many quilters that sounds impossible. But it is how I created my Shakespeare and Edgar Allan Poe portrait quilts. I hand drew the face, cut out the background face fabric, and free hand cut and placed pre-fused pieces. You have to trust your instinct.
Detail of William Shakespeare by Nancy A. Bekofske

from Landscape Art Quilts by Ann Loveless
Many of the Gallery quilts include her inspiration photographs and details of the quilt. At her website you can see her small mosaic, collage, impressionistic, and large fabric mosaic quilts currently for sale at her shop State of the Art Framing and Gallery in Beulah.

In Part Three, Ann walks you through duplicating one of her art quilts. Lake Collage, 14" x 18", is a typical Michigan view of the lake seen from a sandy lakeshore framed by trees. Photographs and text explain every step in great detail, right through making the binding and rod pocket. It is the best step-by-step guide I have seen.

I highly recommend this book for quilters who want to learn how to make landscape quilts.

I received a free ebook from the publisher in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

Landscape Art Quilts, Step-by-Step
Learn Fast, Fusible Fabric Collage with Ann Loveless
Ann Loveless
Kansas City Star Quilts
ISBN: 978-1-61169-145-0
 Book ($27.95)
 eBook ($19.99

Monday, February 19, 2018

How Democracies Die: How Elected Leaders Subvert Democratic Process and How To Stop It


My photo of How Democracies Die  by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt may be a visual joke, but this book is a sobering consideration of how democratic governments have, through subtle and even legal steps, evolved into authoritarian states. If American norms--political interactions not legislated but tacitly agreed upon--continue to be eroded we, too, could quickly find ourselves watching the last days of a democratic America.

The authors present the histories of countries that were democracies and became authoritarian, highlighting the strategies used by populist leaders to bring the system into their control. Later chapters consider the history of our political parties as gatekeepers as well as the source of conflict. A sad reality is that consensus has only occurred in America when the racist elements have been appeased.

And I am not just talking about slave owning states bulking up their political power by making slaves 3/5ths of a person, or the later repression of voting rights. As my readings in late 20th c political history have taught, the repression of African American, and the poor, is active to this day. I was a young adult when I heard our politicians call for 'law and order' and the end of 'welfare queens' and 'young bucks' drawing the dole. If after the mid-century Civil Rights protests we could not be above board with racism, it morphed into new language.

I was shocked not to have noticed before that recent anti-immigration movements are rooted in a desire to weaken the Democratic party, since most immigrants, along with people of color, vote Democratic. I knew it was overt racism, just missed that connection.

After leading readers through history the authors turn to today's political situation, evaluating the administration's tendency toward authoritarianism. As by the end of 2017, the system of checks and balances appear to be working. BUT, if the Republican party is complicit, the breakdown can and happen here.

In the end, the authors offer how the Democratic party should respond to the crisis--not by imitating the Tea Party methods, or by giving up 'identity politics' and letting the disenfranchised flounder, but by committing to consensus politics, forming a broad coalition, and restoring the basic norms that worked in the past: mutual toleration and forbearance.

I think this is one of the most enlightening books I have read recently. I highly recommend it.

I received a free book through Blogging for Books in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

How Democracies Die
By Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt
Hardcover $26.00
Published by Crown
ISBN 9781524762933

Read an interview with the authors, excepts which appears below, at
https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/562246/how-democracies-die-by-steven-levitsky-and-daniel-ziblatt/9781524762933/


 We think two norms in particular carry a lot of weight in the American political system. The first is “mutual toleration”—not treating political rivals as existential enemies, but rather as fellow loyal Americans. The second is “forbearance,” or restraint—by which we mean that leaders don’t “play politics to the max,” using all the legal power you have a right to in order to destroy your rivals.
But there is something else that ordinary Americans must do: Try to build broader coalitions in defense of democracy. To ensure democracy’s survival, we must build alliances that extend beyond traditional party lines.


Hear an interview on Fresh Air at
https://www.npr.org/2018/01/22/579670528/how-democracies-die-authors-say-trump-is-a-symptom-of-deeper-problems

Read an excerpt at New Republic at
https://newrepublic.com/article/145916/democracy-dies-donald-trump-contempt-for-american-political-institutions

Read a review at the Wall Street Journal at
https://www.wsj.com/articles/review-polarized-societies-and-how-democracies-die-1516836739

“We live in perilous times. Anyone who is concerned about the future of American democracy should read this brisk, accessible book. Anyone who is not concerned should definitely read it.”
—Daron Acemoglu, co-author of Why Nations Fail

Sunday, February 18, 2018

The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve by Stephen Greenblatt

I found great enjoyment in reading The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve by Stephen Greenblatt.  He examines the stories humans have created of our first parents, from prehistory's myths to the challenge of scientific evidence shaking a literal reading of the Bible.

Adam and Eve is one of the great stories in Western literature, a tale that has morphed from folklore to Christian canon to inspiration for artistic and literary masterworks and finally become relegated again to myth--a story with meaning--it's historic veracity disproved by science.

In the beginning we humans created stories to explain the world and our place in it. Stories from societies immemorial have come down to us via clay tablets, the Enuma Elish and the epic Gilgamesh. These known four-thousand-year-old tales are but 'later' contributions in human history.

In the Western world, the biblical story of Adam and Eve had its roots in the earlier myths but soon displaced them with the spread of Christianity. Early theologian St. Augustine insisted on a literal reading of the story. Renaissance art focused on Biblical stories, bringing Adam and Eve come to life as real people. John Milton, a radical in many ways, wrote his masterpiece Paradise Lost, which consolidated Christian's vision of the 'real' Adam and Eve.

Greenblatt contends that this very elevation of the story of Adam and Eve from a story with meaning to 'historic truth' was in fact its downfall. There are too many questions that arise. I recall, back in the early 1980s, when a man asked, "Where did Cain get a wife? " He told me he figured that Cain took an ape as wife and that is where people of color come from. This is the awful kind of problem that literalism leads to!

Darwin's observations during his time on the HMS Beagle led to his life's work proving and testing the theory of evolution. Theologians scrambled to reconcile science and the literal reading of the Bible.

I was taught (auditing a seminary class) that a myth is a story with meaning, humanity's endeavor to put into words the unknowable. It is not diminished because it is not literally true. Science holds the Theory of Evolution as a theory, the best understanding that scientific evidence and observation and testing can offer us at this time. Oddly, DNA evidence offers us an "Eve"-- a common first human ancestor.

I enjoyed how Greenblatt brought everything together into a rich narrative.

I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve
Stephen Greenblatt
W.W. Norton
Hardcover $27.95
ISBN: 978-0-393-24080-1

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Lynne O. Ramer Memories of Teachers 100 Years Ago. And Recipes!

Today I am sharing my grandfather Lynne O. Ramer's letter published May 3, 1961 in the Lewistown Sentinel column We Notice That by Ben Meyers. Gramps talks about Milroy, PA teachers 100 years ago.

*****

Dear Ben and Dave Yingling: I got your message via courier (Gilbert McKinley Shirk). So here’s the answer: That other Ramer school teacher at the turn of he century you were inquiring about was Clyde Oliver Ramer, my uncle.

Note the Lynne “O” in my name. It stands for “Oliver,” as both my uncle and I were named after his uncle, Oliver Reed, who was grandmother Rachel’s brother.

I don’t know where Uncle Clyde taught school. He was the last Ramer boy to leave Rachel’s nest.  When I was 4, he taught me how to spell Kishacoquillas. That was followed by such eye-blinders as Popocatepetl, Aurora Borealis, Schenectady, Armagh, Schuylkill, Tuscarora, etc.  Oh, yes, and Susquehanna!

He also taught me the ABC’s backwards---XYZ’s.  And it took Miss Cora Lewis, my first grade teacher, quite a while to unscramble my memory.

Thus it came to be that Uncle Clyde flexed his pedagogical talents on me. Then we’d go to the barber shop or to the restaurant over Laurel Run, Milroy, and the fees I collected were roughly one penny per word or a nickel for the “reversed alphabet.” With the “take” I got for correct spelling, I got myself a “poke” of candy.  On second thought, maybe it was one penny for five words.

Wnt

Esther Mae Ramer and baby Lynne Oliver

Mental Giants

Uncle Clyde and Aunt Ida Ramer took me to raise when my mother, Esther, and my grandmother, Rachel, both died in 1912. He further exercised his teacher talents on me in arithmetic and geography. He “thimble-pied” fractions into my thick skull and taught me to name all the counties of Pennsylvania, starting at Erie and eastward around the border, spelling inward to arrive at Centre County. Then for a review, start at Centre County and spiral outwards back to Erie. If you asked me real quickly nowadays I couldn’t name the county in the northeast corner. Or indeed in any other corner!

As added exercises in those days at school we had to learn the county set and principal towns of all the Pennsylvania counties and the capitals, principal cities and products of every country in the world.

There weren’t so many nations in 1915, so ‘twas an easier job than school kids have today. Besides we had to learn the names of every town, township and county officer, and know the requirements for their offices, and the length of their terms.  They called it “CIVICS”!

Wnt
Lynne's school photo when he was six years old

Tribute to Orrie

One exercise required of us (1916) by Prof. John Benjamin Boyer was to make a census of Milroy.  The “big count” was roughly 1,400.  I was amazed to see a current Pennsylvania road map say the count is 1,403. Where did those extra three come from? Perhaps this has been revised since the census taken in 1960.

We had a subject called “Agriculture,” in which class we would calculate balanced diets of fats, carbohydrates, proteins, etc. for beasts and fowls, even though a lot of us were riding bicycles.  I guess the “horse count” is not as great in K. V. as it was in 1915-20.  But even then there were some Maxwells and Fords, i.e., “tin lizzies.”

Now I had only intended to answer Dave Yingling’s question, just to tell you the name of that Ramer who was his contemporary teacher.  But the pen rambles on!

So here goes for a slight more ramble to pay tribute to another living grammar school teacher, Orris M. [sic] Pecht, who taught thousands of boys in his 30-plus years as an Armagh Township pedagogue?

Most of the older boys and older girls should remember him. I missed out on “Orrie,” since I attended Mr. Manwiller’s seventh-eight grades in Reedsville.

Wnt

Last Dinkey Ride

Oliver Reed’s last trip from Lewisburg to visit Milroy and to see his sister Rachel was made on the day that the last dinkey-and-logger’s trip was made on Reichly Brother’s railroad. I remember it so well, since the dinkey broke an axel and we had to hoof quite a way to get home and I stirred up every hornet’s nest on the right-of-way. We had gone up huckleberryin’ atop Long Mountain.

Ben, I got your batch of clippings from WNT columns.  Many thanks.  To old eagle eye Gilbert M. Shirk and Reed W. Fultz go my thanks too for similar favors.

My wife Evelyn is going to make us a pot of greens done in the style found in the WNT recipe. Get someone to put in the recipes for schnitts and neff and chive dumplings. They are palate twisters.  Aunt Carrie Bobb of Potlicker Flats was a specialist on dandelion, schnitts and dumplings.  She will be 86 this coming June 14. Nammie [his grandmother Rachel Reed Ramer] was the one to concoct the stuffed pig’s stomachs thought!

Sincerely,
Lynne O. Ramer
Royal Oak Mich.

****

NOTES

Cyrus Oliver Reed

When Cyrus Oliver Reed was born on November 5, 1855, in Kelly, Pennsylvania, his father, Jacob, was 44 and his mother, Susannah, was 41. He married Emma M. Dieffenbach in 1885. They had one child during their marriage. He died on March 1, 1925, in his hometown at the age of 69.

from We Notice That column, Lewistown Sentinel, July 16, 1961. Submitted by Lynne O. Ramer to Ben Meyers: "Dave Yingling and my Uncle Clyde Ramer went to teacher's training together in 1899. Then they each taught in rural schools for $30 monthly--and find your own keepins! Ten times $30-- how does that sound for a year's work? Of course this isn't the daily national teaching standard today, but it was a month's pay only a half century ago."

The 1900 Census shows Clyde, age 22, was a teacher. He lived with his family: father Joseph, age 67 operated a planning saw mill with his son Howard helping; mother Rachel was age 59; sisters Annie, Emma J. and Esther worked in the knitting mill factory; son Charles Perry was a day laborer, and daughter Marcia, 15, was at school. Annie's child Charles, age 4, also lived with them.

The teacher's salary couldn't support a wife and the 1910 Census for Lewistown, PA shows Clyde Oliver, age 31, married to Ida, age 25,  and working as a machinist at the steel mill. In 1930 the Finleyville PA Census shows Oliver Raymer, age 51, owned a garage and Ida worked as a schoolteacher. In 1940 Ida is still teaching, and the census shows she had a four year degree.


Professor John Benjamin Boyer

The 1900 Northumberland, Lower Mahanoy Census shows John age 17 living with his family Benjamin Boyer, farmer b, 1853, mother Lizzie born 1849, and sibling Charles b. 1875. 
The 1910 Mifflin County Census shows he was a boarder and teaching in the high school.
The 1920 Census show he was teaching and living with his mother Elizabeth in Lower Mahanoy, Northumberland, PA
John B. Boyer in 1908 Bucknell University yearbook
History of Northumberland County, Floyds 1911: John is a graduate of the Bloomsburg State Normal School and Bucknell University. He is a highly successful teacher, and at present is principal of the High School at Milroy, Mifflin County, Pa.

When John Benjamin Boyer was born on July 24, 1882, in Lower Mahanoy, Pennsylvania, his father, Benjamin, was 29 and his mother, Elizabeth, was 33. He was living in Northampton, Pennsylvania, when he registered for the World War II draft. He had one brother.

His death certificate shows he was Assistant Superintendent of Northumberland Schools. He died in 1948 at age 65 after suffering an accident with farm machinery.

John's family tree goes back to his immigrant ancestor JOHN HENRY BOYER
born 13 AUG 1727  in Flomersheim, Frankenthal, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany and who died January 24, 1777 in the Revolutionary War in Amityville, Berks Co., PA

Orris Wilmot Pecht (born in 1873 in Siglerville, PA and died in 1966 in Lewistown, PA) appears on the 1920 census as a teacher with wife Sarah Eva Barger (1883-1971)  and children Katherine, Bertha, and Unice [sic, Eunice]. His father was Isaiah (1839-1914) and Katherine Barger (1845-1920). Another child was Dorothy E. (1921-2012). Orris's death certificate shows he was an elementary school teacher. His family tree in America goes back to Frederick Pecht born 1795. His daughter Eunice (1911-2003) was also a teacher.

Orris and wife Sarah were cousins. Jacob (1812-1901) had children James (1860-1935) and Kathleen (1845-1920) Jacob was father to Sara Eva; Kathleen was mother to Orris.

Lloyd Raymond Manwiller (1893-1989) was a career teacher and school principle. His time at Reedsville must have been short lived. The 1920 census shows Loyd [sic] R. Manwiller, age 27, a boarder in Summerhill, Cabria, PA working at the public school. In 1921 he appears in the Hazelton, PA directory as principle at the "Hts Sch".  His parents were Newton H. Manwiller Lizzie Kutz Schlegel. He married Stella Gibboney. He is buried in a Reedsville, PA cemetery.

Reed William Fultz (1904-1962) appears on the 1930 Juniata, Mifflin, PA census as a lumberman married to Bessie M with a child Olive. His death certificate shows he was born in Milroy to parents Harry R. and Bessie Jane Fultz. Reed married Jessie Shotzberger.  Reed died in Juniata and is buried there.

Aunt Carrie Bobb's Chive Dumplings Recipe

  • Take two parts chives and one part parsley. A big colander full. Wash and cut up into small pieces. Fry a few minutes to soften with small amount of shortening and salt.

  • Then break three eggs over it. Cook till eggs set. Take off stove. Put in a pan to cool. Then make dough as for pie crust only not as short.

  • Roll out dough in squares about six inches long and three or four inches wide. Put the chive mixture in between two squares. Then turn and pinch the sides together so no water gets in. Make them kind of flat till they look like an oversize ravioli.

  • Drop them slowly, one by one, into pot of boiling water, but not on top of one another. Like you do in dropping squares of home-made pot pie into the pot.

  • Boil four or five minutes. Then remove from pot and fry them in a pan with shortening till both sides are nice and brown. When they are browning, you can refill the pot with another round of dumplings and be ready to repeat the process. After they are browned, the chive dumplings are ready to eat.
They may be eaten hot or cold. Some like ‘em hot, some vice versa. If you like ‘em hot and there are some left over, warm them in a pan over slow heat and a little shortening and a small sprinkling of water. Makes them as good as new!


Pennsylvania Dutch Schnitz in Knepp

6 oz. dried, skin-on and cored apple slices
3 lbs. smoked ham with bone
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 pinch ground cinnamon
2 cups flour
4 tsps. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground white pepper
1 egg, well beaten
3 Tbsps. melted butter
1 cup whole milk

Cover the dried schnitz apples with water; soak overnight. In the morning, cover ham with water and simmer for 2 hours. Then add the apples and water in which they have been soaking and continue to simmer for another hour. Remove ham from the pot and use a slotted spoon to remove the apples. Add the sugars and cinnamon to the remaining liquid. Reserve this juice in the pot until you're ready to cook the dumplings.

To prepare the dumplings, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and white pepper. Mix together in a separate container the beaten egg, melted butter and milk and quickly stir this into the flour mixture. Stir just until blended (over-stirring will make the dumplings tough). Let dough rest 30 minutes. Drop the dumpling mix by tablespoonful into the simmering cooking liquids. Tightly cover the kettle and cook for 20 minutes. Serve hot on large platter with cooked schnitz apples and sliced baked ham. Makes about 8 servings.

Here is another version:

3 pounds ham
1 quart apples, dried
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 cups flour
1 cup milk
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 egg, well beaten
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon salt

Pick over and wash dried apples. Cover with water and let soak overnight or for a number of hours.
In the morning, cover ham with cold water and let boil for 3 hours. Add the apples and water in which they have been soaked and continue to boil for another hour. Add brown sugar.

Make dumplings by sifting together the flour, salt, pepper and baking powder. Stir in the beaten egg, milk (enough to make fairly moist, stiff batter), and melted butter.

Drop the batter by spoonfuls into the hot liquid with the ham and apples. Cover kettle tight and cook dumplings for 15 minutes. Serve piping hot on large platter.

Recipe Source: "Pennsylvania Dutch Cook Book: Fine Old Recipes," Culinary Arts Press, 1936.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

I was very pleased to have listened to the audiobook of George Saunders novel Lincoln in the Bardo

I read that Saunders was inspired, in part, by Thornton Wilder's play Our Town. Which play always leaves me in tears. This novel lends itself extremely well to being read as a play. 

The plot, in short: President Lincoln's dear son Willie has died. The Civil War has been going on for a year and 3,000 young men have just lost their lives in a Union defeat. On the day of the funeral the President returns to the crypt to hold his son once again. Willie cannot leave his father but remains with other shades in the limbo of the graveyard.

The story of Willie's death on the day of a magnificent party at the president's mansion and the day of his funeral is told through snippets of historical writings that link into a loose narrative, sometimes contradicting each other.

The denizens of the Bardo are rooted to their old lives, wrapped up in self -entered concerns. They include all kind of folk from various times past, class, and race. Some are unable to accept they are dead. Some are vulgar, some giving over to sin. There is a clergyman who fled from the judgement place in fear. Into this motley crew comes this blessed, innocent, boy. Several shades make it their concern to help the child move on.

I was so moved by the scene where the shades enter President Lincoln to inspire him to tell his son to leave this place for the home of glory Lincoln  imagines for him. And in this community of shades and living man they feel each other's pain and understand each other's burdens. They realize that Lincoln is president and filled with doubt, staggering under the immense weight of a nation and all the deaths of war, other families also grieving over sons.

Willie realizes his truth and in excitement and understanding, shouts out his readiness to move on. The shades begin to understand, and forgetting their worldly concerns, let go and move on into the afterlife.

Now I want to read the book again, pencil in hand to mark it up and note the passages that move me and make me sigh. This novel of grief is also a celebration of life.

I thank the public library for the audiobook through Overdrive.

Missing Isaac: A Story of Family, Community and Faith

Missing Isaac is a vivid portrait of a community in the 1960s South, concentrating on the story of a boy growing up and learning about class, love, family, faith, and community.

In the opening scene Pete's father has died in an accident; his field hand Isaac tried to save him. Isaac befriends Pete; later he disappears.

I expected Isaac's story to be the main one, but instead it is placed on the back burner while we watch Pete grow up. Looking for Isacc, Pete meets a girl from an isolated family group who stay away from town folk. The children secretly meet, but when found out their parents cooperate to monitor the children's relationship, expecting that come puberty it will blossom into something more than friendship.

In the end, the mystery of missing Isaac is revealed. He did not fall victim to the KKK, but to something more insidious.

The novel is nostalgic and idyllic, showing the best of the community but also revealing the evil that hides behind careful facades.

I am not used to reading Christian books and the scenes in church worship seemed uneventful. The vilification of town youth culture and the division between the Hollow folk and town folk were definitely us vs them terriroty. Racism was barely lurking in the background, as Pete's family respect all people, regardless of color or class, as equals.

Pete and Dovey are too sweet and their long courtship is very respectful--but they marry ASAP.  I had friends who believed in courtship and whose children married too young; one was divorced within a year. The problem of course is that young adults want more than pristine kisses, lust into marriage, and discover they are not prepared for reality. 

Still, for readers who want old fashioned values and a story with no graphic violence, sex, profanity, this is  a lovely book. It is what my mother -in-law wanted to read when she was in her 90s.

I recieved a free book from Bookish First in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

Missing Isaac
by Valerie Fraser Luesse
Revell
Feb 16 2018
ISBN: 9780800728786

Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Researcher's Guide to American Genealogy by Val D. Greenwood

I became involved with genealogy after inheriting my grandfather Lynne O. Ramer's personal papers, including genealogy research on the Ramer family by Grant L. Schadle.

In the early 1990s I began my own research through the Internet and Family Tree Maker. I already had Robert Evan's published book on Jacob Gochenour and His Family and Grant Schadle's Ramer family tree research. I wanted to find out about my British roots and my husband's ancestry.

Looking back, my early work was shoddy. I relied on family trees that lacked supporting documentation and my record keeping consisted of saved "Favorites" on the search engine, saved files to my computer, and printed off copies of documents, trees, and other sources.

I later committed to World membership with Ancestry.com and the family tree I have created there is my main source of records keeping.

What I needed at the beginning was a better understanding of family history research. A 'researcher's guide.'

Val D. Greenwood's first published The Researcher's Guide to American Genealogy in 1973, selling over 110,000 copies. Because of the huge impact of the Internet in research, he revised the book for the 4th edition published in 2017.

It is massive in size, nearly 800 pages. It is a comprehensive reference book that covers every aspect of family research. Part I addresses Background to Research and Part II Records and Their Use. Greenwood has included illustrations and charts.

The 4th Edition specifically is updated to reflect the new sources available in research provided by the Internet. Greenwood includes overviews of  all the major family history websites, including Ancestry, Family Search, Find My Past, and My Heritage, explaining what they offer and how to use them.

As he notes in his Preface, "though it is a great boon to this work, it [the Internet] is still an imperfect tool. Many important records...are not on the Internet." I know this for a fact! I have been the gracious recipient of help from researchers who have visited places I could not and shared their findings with me. A researcher who visited my grandfather's hometown courthouse shared information with me through Ancestry. In this way I discovered my great-grandmother on the 1910 census under a married name--a marriage I was ignorant of!

Greenwood separates family research as a compilation of another's work and true scientific, systematic, documented research. Of course, my early work was merely compilation of other's findings.

I can at least feel good that I have created family trees that includes not just my direct ancestors but their families. Greenwood promotes a complete family as most important. He also urges researchers to consider all the spelling variations.

"Family history...is a "marriage" of sorts between history and genealogy--what seemed like a most unlikely union in years past....Family history also includes...demography, geography, psychology, sociology, and literature." --A Rearcher's Guide

My interest in family history is rooted in my lifelong fascination in history and biographies and understanding the past. When I learned that my great-grandfather Greenwood's nephew died in the Ranua death march during WWII it brought to life a history of which I had been ignorant. When I learn about ancestors who immigrated across Europe to Volyhnia, and note the social and political conflicts they were leaving behind, I realize the root causes of immigration have always been a part of population migration.

There is so much information in Greenwood's book I realized it was not meant to be read it cover to cover. It is a remarkable acheivement.

I received a copy of the book through Book Review Buzz in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

Good instructional guidance is critical to the success of family history research, and this is where The Researcher's Guide is unsurpassed. It is both a textbook and an all-purpose reference book, designed to help the present generation of family history researchers better understand the methods and principles of family history research, and learn how to utilize all available resources. As Val Greenwood writes, "These are our ancestors we are talking about here; we owe it to them to get it right." from the publisher
"Recommended as the most comprehensive how-to book on American genealogical and local history research."—Library Journal