It was probably one of the first guidebooks I ever read and it’s one of the best. But it’s not one with quick answers, fancy images, and little sidebars to keep readers entertained. Genealogy research isn’t filled with any of those things either.
Most of my genealogy research skills are self-taught. I didn’t attend seminars, workshops, and classes when I began my research. Back when I started my genealogical research in the early 1980s there was no internet or way to easily connect with other researchers working on similar areas and problems as I was. Living in rural America did not make it any easier (at the time one had to leave the county to see a stoplight or visit a movie theater). Aside from those limitations, I was fortunate that I lived near the county seat in the county where many of my family had lived for generations and that the local librarian was a genealogist–and she encouraged me to read The Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy.
I was very glad that I did.
The Guide is an overview of American records. It’s comprehensive, somewhat broad, and not intended for the beginning researcher. It is used as a text in many genealogical classes and is something I’ve re-read several times, either completely or in part. There’s little in the way of online methodology discussed in the book although the latest edition has a section on the internet. That’s not a limitation.
Some research guide books get too detailed in how to access records online, how to cite records, etc. Those are important details but there are books that cover those details ( Evidence Explained comes to mind for the citation process). Greenwood’s overview is recommended for those with American ancestors who want to understand a little more deeply court, probate, land and other records utilized in the research process.