Reader Reviews: Family Treasures

Amazon Customer Rating: 4.9 out of 5 Stars

The following are customer reviews from Amazon for the book “Family Treasures, 15 Tips and Tricks for Discovering Your Family History,” Barry J. Ewell.

Amazon Reviews:

Amazon: Paperback and Kindle

Review:  Great Instruction for the Beginning Io Intermediate Genealogist
Most books about Genealogy fall into one of two camps: the first camp includes books that are all about feelings and anecdotal stories of how wonderful the author’s ancestors were and provide little to no useful instruction, while the second camp includes books about the best way to solve difficult research problems in a specific area of research and overwhelm the beginner. However, this book sits in neither camp. In this book the research process is introduced as a repeatable process divided into fifteen manageable and repeatable steps. After reading this book, I finally feel as if I can tackle the mounds of paperwork left to me by my great-aunt!—G.

Review:  Best over All plan Doing Genealogy
It has helped me a lot to understand how to not get overwhelmed in doing genealogy. I have already put into practice several of the ideas in this book.—Jamie

Review:  Full of Information
This is an easy to follow book. Full of information! It reminds all family historians, from beginners to advanced that you need to be methodical and record everything, and where you got the information from. Also to keep your records tidy! A very good resource for all!—JE

Review:  Great Starting Place
I have been to a class taught by Barry. This book was a lot easier to read than my notes from that class. I am sure I will go back time and again to refresh my memory. There is so much info and it is all good. I love having it on my Kindle but might have to buy another dead tree copy to have nearby as I work on my family tree. The only way it could be better is to do the research for me!—Amazon Customer

Review:  Family Treasures is Just that, A Genealogical Treasure
From the beginning, this is a book that is designed to help the genealogy researcher accomplish more and in a more logical way. After starting two family tree projects about eighteen months ago, I adopted suggestions from a handful of newsletters along the way. What I found was a mixture of methodologies that didn’t always work together well. My solution was to stop using the ineffective processes.

The author, Barry Ewell, has the insights, ideas, and methods that seem to have evolved over years of genealogy researching. Most important for me is his way of keeping track of the work. “Where is it?” is a phrase that comes up too often in my conversations and thoughts. Maybe you can remember every research project you’ve taken on in the past year or more. I have too much going on to recollect what I’ve worked on, what the results were, and how it fits with my current work. Thank you, Barry Ewell, for making my genealogy work better, more efficiently, and faster.—Dennis

Review:  Excellent Book
This is an excellent book for the beginning genealogical Research. Full of great ideas, tips and resources to complete your research projects. I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in doing research on their families.—Kathy

Review:  Better Than An Expo
I just returned from spending two days at a genealogy expo – $75.00 dollars to attend. Add in a half tank of gas and two days of convention center food!

And in two days, sitting at my desk in my bathrobe, I learned more from Barry Ewall’s book, Family Treasure’s, than at the expo. Plus the book was extremely well organized…the topics flowed smoothly and every chapter led to the next one. From organization to how things fit into the organization to what things need to be search for and included to where to find those documents. Dozens of tips that Barry has picked up along the way in his own research. Lots of Ewall’s personal stories which added proof to the pudding.

It’s a book you’ll refer back to time and again. Full of information you’ll wish you had a long time ago.—Mike

Review:  Family Treasures: a Treasure
This is a very comprehensive book of genealogical resources and organization tips with a step by step approach ideal for the beginning genealogist. I was captivated by the introduction. Anyone who has done genealogy has experienced some of these same miracles. The author explains how to fill out family group and pedigree sheets. I do feel it would have been nice to see a copy of the sheets he was explaining, rather than just an explanation. One illustration is worth a thousand words, especially for the beginning genealogist. I also would have liked an illustration of mapping.

Barry Ewell has used his personal experiences to tell what does and does not work in genealogical research. He teaches us how to use the internet in our research and cautions that not everything on the internet is correct. He has some great ideas of where to search on the internet. Also not all the information you receive from family members is correct. You can never take someone else’s word for facts. Barry teaches you how to research these facts for yourself and stresses the importance of documenting your findings. He tells places to look, who to talk to, how to organize a research trip, and how to make journal writing more interesting to ancestors who will read it. Barry has gone into detail on how to write your own life story.

I would definitely recommend this book for beginning genealogists and also more advanced genealogists can benefit from it. I found a lot of ideas in the book to help me in my research. I am especially interested in using Mary Hill’s color coding system for filing. It was great to have a step by step approach to it. I felt I have to actually do it to understand it, but having it written down in such an organized approach will help me do that. The ideas for organizing your work are worth having the book.—Susan

Review:  Inspiring For Every Genealogist!
Found the book inspiring and touched with his personal stories. Would have loved to see more personal stories scattered throughout the how-to information. The personal stories–much like those used in “Who Do You Think You Are” series, inspires us to look for more….be more specific, more accurate, and showing the possibilities to find more. This book does that and the excitement builds because it opens up more doors to find those missing puzzle pieces. Could hardly put it down. My only thoughts as I read how to keep ‘paper’ genealogical records if that will change in the near future and expand to meet our needs as genealogists. Original copies will always be necessary but the digital media now allows us to capture stories by a quick swipe of a paragraph and paste into our genealogy program. How much will things change as more and more records become digital. I’m anxious to continue and pick up tips that help continue my search. In order to inspire budding genealogists we have to show how it can be easily done and with just a few minutes allowed every day while they continue to work full-time jobs, working hard at stay-at-home mothers,and other obligations in our lives. We also have to appeal to those who have limited income, can’t afford to travel or purchase the original documents and records. Loved the ideas of keeping documentation on the locality…something I wish I had done early on in my research because when I finally had the opportunity to visit the area, I wasn’t prepared. As I continue reading, I will write down more ideas…but this is what I’ve gotten so far. I will definitely have to get a paper copy because I want to mark in the book and highlight things I want to go back to later.—Ramonyca

Review:  Great Information!
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. My favorite chapters were Start Organized, Stay Organized; Every Record has Value; How to Search the Internet like a Genealogist; Field Work is required; Cite and Verify Every resource; If Sherlock Holmes Were a Genealogist; Learn to network; Stay Connected to the Network; and The Oral Interview is the most Valued Research. I have been doing family history for 20+ years and I was able to find at least one tidbit of information that I didn’t know or had forgotten about. This book is great for the beginning Genealogist. It is a very easy read. The information is presented in a clear, concise and easy to follow manner. Barry sprinkles his real life research experiences throughout the book. This book is also really good for the intermediate and advanced genealogist because it will remind you of things you may have forgotten or not seen the value of before. I highly recommend this book.—Jacqui

Review:  Great Reference
I read the book before Christmas and really enjoyed it, had a hard time putting it down. Learned a lot of new things, and reinforce other things I already knew. It was easy to understand and will be a great reference book that I can go back to to check something out. It was easy reading and give it 5 stars.—Georgie

Review:  Quintessential Tool for Every Aspiring Genealogist
A quintessential tool for every aspiring genealogist to avoid years of wasted effort. At a reasonable price, one is introduced to the art of genealogy as an ongoing activity that adds exciting dimensions to the exploration of one’s forebears. There’s a lot of background information on historical, ethnic, and migration and other considerations.

Ewell’s approach includes sharing his own experience since 1998, only rarely lapsing into the trap of terminology that an average reader might not comprehend. But these are a rare exception in a book that is unique for its comprehensiveness and extreme readability. Of course, it is a reference work, and most us are not going to sit down and read all information-packed 458 pages at one sitting. Rather, savoring one section at a time and coming back to it, like genealogical search itself, are fully warranted.

The work is replete with helpful charts directing one to sources and types of information, questions to be asked or recorded, and so forth. It is up-to-date, with current Internet tools such as Wiki groups, RSS feeds, podcasts, and useful websites. Ewell lays out effective strategies for maximizing on-the-ground exploration, including libraries, government records, newspaper archives and the like. If there is anything left out, this reviewer can’t think of it.

Besides a wealth of historical and ethnic background information that helps contextualize one’s discoveries, Ewell stresses the importance of giving back through helping fellow explorers, as well as the power of prayer as an effective technique for discovery.—Eugene

Review:  Top Notch Resource
My first pleasant discovery was the open and honest approach that Barry takes to reveal how he personally was drawn into the study of Genealogy. This is not just an author sharing facts – they are there – but rather, it reveals his driving love for knowledge of his past. This is that which motivated him to press on.

The introduction tells of his personal experiences that moved him forward to learn about his ancestors – one at a time. This book shares his personal experience, step by step. It not only includes successful events, but also the mistakes from which the reader can learn what not to do.

In Chapter 3 Barry goes into minute detail to describe a system for organizing your files and records. This is a sophisticated color coded system which gives the user complete control of his work as it progresses. It may be a little over-powering for some researchers.

The store of information included in Family Treasures is almost limitless. One can find the answer to almost any inquiry regarding how to research, where to research and how to source each fact discovered, giving integrity to all of one’s efforts. I couldn’t find a stone unturned and will use it as an invaluable resource for any of the number of questions that will arise in my family history venture.—Pat

Review:  The Book will Enrich Your Research
I have enjoyed reading Barry J. Ewell’s book Family Treasures 15 lessons tremendously. i was expecting just another “how to book”.It is that but much more. I would not hesitate to buy this book for my tool chest of family history helps. He gets into the nitty gritty of how to do the work in a complete and detailed manner. the work is many years of his efforts and it is easy for the reader to understand. Whether you are a beginner or an advanced student its applicable to you. The book starts with a personal experience about his Mother. Personable accounts are the fuel of family histories and the drive to find our ancestors .The book then explains how to to be organized and educated in this work. My favorite part of this book is the personal accounts of his ancestors as well as the great ideas such as his color coding system. This system helps you locate your ancestors in a quick manner by each group of ancestors having a color. it’s ingenious and easy to do. Even more than the great tips and instructions, the book is rich in experiences he has had over the years. Such as trips to see areas and to see relatives in his family. He meets many relatives who want to help him and do. Then he meets a few who don’t want to help at all. He explains how he handled each situation. This book will enrich your research, teach you fast and concise ways to do things, as well as give you new ideas. i recommend it —Janet

Review:  Inclusive Resource
If you are looking for an inclusive resource to begin your journey into Family History this is the place. The format is excellent, great flow from one Chapter to the next. The section Start Organized Stay Organized was excellent, the method is easy to understand and adapts as your work progresses. Source Citation is covered well as is the advice to stay on task with one ancestral question at a time. This book was timely for my area of expertise, and will be used again and again, I had it re-bound to a coil spiral backing for ease.—Bookworm

Review:  Very Helpful Resource, Especially for Beginners.
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in genealogy, but especially new genealogists. With his easy, clear narrative style, I enjoyed reading Ewell’s book. With his well organized approach to family history research, Ewell walks us step by step through the process that helped him become an avid genealogist. He breaks down his processes and hints into easy to follow steps. And I love how Ewell intermingles personal experiences with practical information. His stories have made me excited to do more to research my family history. Finally, his concise tips and charts will definitely help me become more focused and productive in my family history work.—Monifa

Review:  Guides You in Your Research to Find that Elusive Ancestor
Those serious about finding and accurately documenting their ancestors, their families, and fleshing out a picture of their lives together now have a volume designed to enable them to do that. From setting up a filing system so you can keep track of all you find and making it available to you forever, to using current technology, guiding you to those who can help in your area of interest, and where to find resources you don’t even currently know about — this is the book. Family Treasures guides you in your research to find that elusive ancestor while continuing to be an “easy read”. As a bachelor’s degree in college allows you to focus your mind in your profession, Family Treasures is like getting an advanced degree, one which enhances all that you already knew and opens up vistas you never expected to find. The author includes personal experiences at all levels that helped him grow as a researcher and how that experience might be helpful to you. I will keep this book close and take it with me as I go, that I might re-read applicable sections in order to find that ancestor, document him/her, and then make that person even more real to me.—Richard

Review:  Great Help, Great Read
Mr. Ewell’s book will be a constant part of my genealogy tool bag from this moment forward. It is easy to read, understand and inspirational all at the same time. I especially liked the sections Every Record Has Value, How to Search the Internet Like a Genealogist, Cite and Verify Every Source, If Sherlock Holmes were a Genealogist, and Learn to Network. As someone who has been cultivating and growing my family roots and tree for many years, I wish I had his book at the beginning of my journey, as I have made many of the mistakes and false starts (stops) he discusses. More importantly is his method for rectifying and moving on. After reading the section on newspapers I went back and looked again on all pages and found ancestors listed in the Left letters section that I never would have done otherwise.—MKR

Learning My Lessons
This is one of those books that I wish I had been able to read when I first began researching my family history. The first lesson I could have learned was to develop a research plan that would help me answer the questions I had about my family. Barry’s suggestions about ways to keep the answers to those questions organized would have helped me to make better use of my research time. Using his approach to research, focusing on events rather than records, might have made my ancestor hunting a little more fruitful. His advice to record accurate source citations would have saved me many hours of asking and answering the question, “Now, where did I find that record?” Lucky for me, “genealogy is a repeatable process” and I can begin to implement the important lessons I learned in this book today. Lucky for you, you can, too!—Sherry

Review:  Great “How To” for Beginning Genealogist & Great Refresher Book
I wish this book had been around six years ago when I first began my genealogy research. I was so lost and didn’t know where to begin. I was fortunate enough to go to a Family History Fair where Mr. Ewell spoke. I was impressed by his knowledge and expertise in researching and how to organize your research plan BEFORE you go to a source. I am very excited to have this book in my research library as a “go to” when I am stuck or come up against those dreaded brick walls we all inevitably hit.

I can’t recommend this book highly enough! Mr. Ewell is extremely knowledgeable and knows how to speak in terms that everyone can relate too. I truly appreciate having this book.—Lamb

Review:  For Any and All Genealogists!
Why I recommend buying Family Treasures: I would challenge any seasoned genealogist to read this and not find some new tip or a clearer explanation of something they already knew about.

I feel this book will make your research blossom anew for you, your uninterested-in-genealogy relatives, your clients or your students. I’ve been researching awhile and I took copious notes for myself in reviewing Family Treasures.

Brief Summary: The chapters are titled Lessons; this isn’t meant to simply adorn someone’s coffee table. What a waste that would be!

Family Treasures is a very comprehensive guide which includes (among many other subjects): methods for finding that elusive brick wall ancestor; oral interviews; organization; photos; a chart for what records to search for when looking for their age, for example; Field Research; Citing Sources; even the best time of day to shoot tombstones based on which way they are facing; and the value of prayer in research.—Donna

Review:  Chockfull of Treasures
Ewell’s Family Treasures is, indeed, chockfull of treasures for genealogical researchers regardless of their level of expertise. It will be especially valuable to beginners who may not be aware of the wealth of resources, information-gathering procedures and data-tracking methods Ewell discusses in great detail and depth.

The book is well written in an engaging style, and contains several of Mr. Ewell’s own experiences to illustrate his methods, his logic in approaching a research task, and even the instances of inspiration that sometimes steer us in the right direction.

I did wonder about the inclusion (in Chapter Two) of an extremely detailed explanation of forms and filing systems, much of which is unnecessary for today’s researchers, who use genealogical software such as Family Tree Maker to store, organize and retrieve information and images alike. However, it may be helpful to beginning researchers to develop an understanding of and appreciation for the hierarchy of information that we used to manage in hard copy, but now turn over to affordable database applications.

The book has two shortcomings, which I hope will be corrected in future editions. First, a genealogist’s basic building blocks–the Family Group Sheet and the Pedigree Chart–are not illustrated in this book, although Mr. Ewell’s narrative goes to great lengths to describe them fully; a picture is, of course, worth a thousand words. (Note, however, that these and many other forms and resources are available at a companion website, […]. Second, there is no index; this will not pose a problem for those who access the book in electronic form so that they can search for key words, but it is a tremendous drawback for those reading a print edition.—Mary