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

fnw4Every author has a pedigree. Yes, they all have a family history, but I mean a work pedigree. Each has a resume of work and life experiences that are echoed in their words and teachings. These words, these guides and books can help lead the student, the reader, the researcher, down new roads to greater success. However, when it comes to an author’s, a professional’s, experiences, few can match the curriculum vitae of Marsha Hoffman Rising, author of The Family Tree Problem Solver: Tried-and True Tactics for Tracing Elusive Ancestors. There are many books designed to help genealogists get over difficult research problems, and most serve their purpose well. Few, however, come with the pedigree of experience Rising had when she wrote this book. She was very well prepared indeed to help others find answers to their research questions.

Here is just a portion of Marsha Hoffman Risings bio:

“…a professional genealogist who specialized in problem solving related to nineteenth century research…She served as”:

  • Vice President of the American Society of Genealogists
  • Vice President of the National Genealogical Society
  • Board Member of the Association of Professional Genealogists
  • Board Member for the Certification of Genealogists
  • Board Member at the New England Historic Genealogical Society
  • President of the Federation of Genealogical Societies

She was a lecturer, and taught the Advanced Methodology class at the Institute of Historical Genealogical Research at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. She also received many awards, including:

  • The National Genealogical Society Award of Merit
  • Elected Fellow of the Utah Genealogical Society
  • The FGS George E. Williams Award
  • The National Genealogical Society Award of Excellence
  • the FGS Malcolm H. Stern Humanitarian Award

Why do I bring up all these credentials? I merely want to show the type of experience and caliber of problems solving skills you will encounter when reading The Family Tree Problem Solver. Even though the author died just before this revised copy went to print, her life experience is captured in her work.

In this book you will find:

  • “Ideas on how to find vital records before civil registration
  • Tips for finding “missing” ancestors on censuses
  • Instructions for investigating collateral kin to further your pedigree
  • A look at advanced court records and how they can help you find answers
  • Work-arounds for lost or destroyed records
  • Techniques for correctly identifying and researching ancestors with common names
  • Methods for finding ancestors who lived before 1850
  • Case studies that show how to apply the author’s advice to real-life research roadblocks
  • Strategies for analyzing your problem and creating a successful research plan”

Rising considered hitting the proverbial brick wall as the fun part of genealogy. Her positive attitude is revealed the pages of her book. You too will find answers as you learn from this master of research.


Table of Contents

Foreword by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack


1 The First Step: Analyzing the Problem and Planning a Strategy for Success

2 Finding Births, Marriages, and Deaths Before Civil Registration

3 Why Does the Census Taker Always Miss My Ancestor?

4 Consider the Collateral Kin: Genealogical Research in the Full Family Context

5 Your Day in Court

6 What to Do When the Courthouse Burned

7 Give Me Land—Lots of Land

8 Sorting Individuals of the Same Name

9 The Critical Connection: Finding ancestors Who Lived Before 1850

10 Ten Mistakes Not to Make in Your Family Research

11 Analysis of Evidence

Appendix A – Finding Your Ancestors Online by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack

Appendix B – DNA Facts and Common Myths by Lauren Gamber

Appendix C – Glossary of Genealogy Terms from the editors of Family Tree Magazine

Appendix D – Research Logs and Charts



Order The Family Tree Problem Solver: Tried-and True Tactics for Tracing Elusive Ancestors from Family Roots Publishing; Price: $24.49.


Canadian Documents Showing Aboriginal Persons Needed

John Reid (Anglo-Celtic Connections) is reporting this morning that Janice Nickerson is needing documents for an upcoming book – and she’s willing to pay for them. The deadline is January 25. Janice is looking for:

“A copy of a Civil Registration, Will or Estate Record, Newspaper item, School Record, Land and Property record, Notarial record from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI, Newfoundland and Labrador, in which an Aboriginal person is featured.”

For more information, see John’s blog.