Two very popular books stand out in mind when discussing reading (understanding) and writing genealogies and family histories. The first is  More What Did They Mean By That? A Dictionary of Historical and Genealogical Terms Old and New. Genealogists cannot begin to write about their ancestors if they don’t fully understand and appreciate what they have read about them. More What Did They Mean By That? provides an understanding, in modern terms, for words used in the past. Many of these words, used historically in everyday conversation to describe items, jobs, events, and the technology of the day, are no longer in use, or are used today with a different meaning. This book provides the background family historians need to grasp the meaning of letters, documents, and sources from the past.

More is 193 pages of terms, words, and phrases come and gone in the English language. Many of the terms are derived form foreign words and others from various Native American languages. Other words may have appeared in certain areas, usually loosing out over time to another derivative. For example, schnecke was a popular pastry from Pennsylvania Dutch. Today, we would recognize the more English sounding name of sticky buns or cinnamon rolls. Click here to read a complete review of this book.

Once the genealogists fully understands the mean of what they have read about, or in the words of, their ancestors, then the they may ready to write about their forebearers. Helping make the writing process easier, and thus more enjoyable, many have turned to the ever popular Genealogical Writing in the 21st Century: A Guide to Register Style and More. The book contains just about everything a person needs to begin writing down family stories and genealogies.

Preserving the past is so much easier with expert guidance and this book could come from better experts. Through this book the reader learns to write with style and skill from New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) staff and expert contributors. There are tips for writing article for genealogical journals and magazines, compiled genealogies, and even websites. There is even a chapter on using Microsoft® Word. Click here to read a full review, including Table of Contents.

Together, these two books make an excellent choice as a holiday gift for your favorite genealogist, even if that person is yourself. Through implementing the knowledge and skill learned in these books, one can prepare and write fabulous family histories, a gift left for generations to come.

Find both books at Family Root Publishing:

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