Review: The Family Tree Problem Solver


   The Family Tree Problem Solver:
       Tried-and-True Tactics for Tracing Elusive Ancestors 

Review by Don Taylor

There are very few “brick walls.” I don’t have any.  Don’t get me wrong, I have elusive ancestors whose information I am still searching for.  To me, and I believe Ms Rising would have agreed, to think something is behind a “brick wall” you must be able to say you have “tried everything.”  Until you really have tried everything they are just elusive ancestors.  The Family Tree Problem Solver provides tactics and ideas about how to track down those elusive ancestors.  It gives you so many ideas that you will have a hard time ever saying again that you have “tried everything.” 

There are a few structural problems with the book. Sometimes MS Rising uses clear, concise, numbered, steps to follow and sometime not. I would have preferred a little more consistency in her approach. I also think that on a couple of occasions, she, like many genealogical writers, dives deeper into her specific tree research than is necessary to the answer a question or explain the process.  

That said, the book provides information important for both hobbyists and seasoned genealogists.  She has a nice section on land records, one of my personal weaknesses, and provides some excellent tactics for sorting out same name challenges. She postulates “Rising’s Rule” which reminds us to, “Always assume that there is at least one other person with the same name as they individual you are searching living in that community.” She follows up with some great examples and how to sort them out. 
It is the kind of book that will help the beginner remind the experienced genealogist of things that may have been forgotten to be done. I’ll keep this one with a reminder to read it again in a couple years.
Chapter Titles include:

The First Step – Analyzing the Problem and Planning a Strategy for Success
Finding Births, Marriages, and Deaths Before Civil Registration
Why Does the Census Taker Always Miss My Ancestor?
Consider the Collateral Kin
Your Day in Court
What to Do When the Courthouse Burned
Give Me Land – Lots of Land
Sorting Individuals of the Same Name
Finding Ancestors Who Lived Before 1850
Ten Mistakes Not to Make
Analysis of Evidence

I’ll add, The Family Tree Problem Solver is rated #4 in the Amazon Best Seller’s for Genealogy, Education and Reference books.  For a book that is an update of a previously published book and one that is over a year old in this publication run, being #4 is excellent. Also the average customer rating on Amazon is 4.5 our of 5 which is also excellent.

Definitely worth purchasing, keeping, and rereading. Many thanks to my son for gifting the book to me for Christmas.  I liked it and highly recommend it for others who want to add some tried and true tactics for tracing those elusive ancestors to their tool bag.

The Family Tree Problem Solver: Tried-and-True Tactics for Tracing Elusive Ancestors

Paperback: 256 pages

Publisher: Family Tree Books; Revised edition (April 19, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1440311935
ISBN-13: 978-1440311932
Retail Price: $24.99
Amazon Price: $18.99