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Genealogy Archives - In 30 Minutes Guides

i30 Media releases second edition of award-winning Genealogy Basics In 30 Minutes

By News

Publisher i30 Media today released the second edition of Genealogy Basics In 30 Minutes: The quick guide to creating a family tree, building connections with relatives, and discovering the stories of your ancestors (ISBN: 978-1-64188-051-0) by author and professional genealogist Shannon Combs-Bennett. 

“Shannon’s award-winning book has been a consistent strong seller since the first edition was released five years ago,” said Ian Lamont, president and founder of i30 Media. “We realized that the pace of change in this field is so rapid, and the interest in genealogy and family history is so strong, that an updated edition was required for 2021.”

The revised second edition explains the joys, challenges, and triumphs of researching family origins. The tone is friendly and easy to understand, with many examples and case studies that help illustrate basic genealogy concepts and research strategies. Specific topics include:

  • Why are people so interested in family history?
  • Evaluating clues, facts, and myths in family stories
  • The importance of linking generations
  • Vital records, from birth certificates to death records
  • Non-vital records, from census forms to wills
  • Religious records
  • Five things that can trip up newbies researching family history
  • Best practices for genealogy road trips
  • Interviewing relatives, and dealing with skeptics
  • Pros and cons of online genealogy research
  • Genetic genealogy basics
  • Understanding the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA)
  • The importance of DNA to adoptees and family members
  • Non-paternal events and other skeletons in the genetic closet
  • Research logs and genealogy journals
  • Preserving records and research
  • Genealogy software and GEDCOM files
  • Planning for disasters

The guide also includes charts that illustrate family relationships as well as an appendix of questions that can help children connect with older relatives and learn more about family history. 

More information about Genealogy Basics In 30 Minutes, Second Edition as well as online ordering options can be found on the companion website, genealogy.in30minutes.com. The site also includes blog posts, videos, and other resources for readers. The paperback retail price is $13.99, while the ebook and PDF edition is available for $9.99. A hardcover edition is available for $22.99.

About the author

Shannon Combs-Bennett authorShannon Combs-Bennett is an author, researcher, and lecturer based in the Washington, D.C. metro area. She regularly speaks and writes about genetic genealogy and research methodology. Shannon is a frequent contributor to Family Tree Magazine and Family Tree University. Her blog Trials and Tribulations (T2) Family History chronicles her journey through research and family exploration. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Biology from Indiana University, with an emphasis in genetics, which started her passion for research and genetic genealogy. Shannon completed the Boston University Certificate of Genealogical Research and earned her Professional Learning Certificate in Genealogical Studies (PLCGS) in American Records from the National Institute for Genealogical Studies. She received a Masters in Genealogical, Heraldic, and Paleographic Studies from the University of Strathclyde in 2019. Currently Shannon is working toward her PhD in History with a genealogy emphasis, also from the University of Strathclyde. Genealogy Basics In 30 Minutes is her third book.

About In 30 Minutes guides

i30 Media is the publisher of IN 30 MINUTES guides – “Quick guides for a complex world.” Thousands of readers turn to IN 30 MINUTES guides to understand mildly complex topics, ranging from home-buying to social media. The tone is friendly and easy to understand, with step-by-step instructions and lots of examples. The series has won multiple awards from the Independent Book Publishers Association and Foreword Reviews. Top-selling titles include Google Drive & Docs In 30 Minutes, Twitter In 30 Minutes, and LinkedIn In 30 Minutes. For more information about the series, visit in30minutes.com.

Free resources for family genealogists

By Uncategorized

When we released Genealogy Basics In 30 Minutes last month, we also launched a companion website. This is typical for In 30 Minutes guides—the websites contain additional resources, such as author bios, and free resources such as blog posts and videos. But for Genealogy Basics In 30 Minutes, author Shannon Combs-Bennett and publisher i30 Media wanted to offer something else for free—genealogy forms, which many amateur and professional genealogists use to track their progress and visualize the results.

We are pleased to announce that our free genealogy forms starter kit is now available from the website. It contains a five-generation pedigree chart as well as a genealogy research log. You can see screenshots of the forms below:

Free resources free genealogy forms starter kiti30 Media is not the first publisher to offer blank genealogy forms. A simple Google search reveals scores of free forms, shared by amateur genealogists as well as established giants such as Ancestry.com.

However, one thing we noticed about many of the free genealogy forms is the presentation of information left a lot to be desired. The fields or boxes on the forms were often too small, forcing people to write using tiny script. The explanatory text was also hard to read, owing to “busy” fonts or tiny point sizes.

And then there was an issue of organization. The free forms often left out key information, such as the family group sheet that doesn’t have fields for “occupation” or the inventory logs that don’t ask about the source of a particular record or heirloom. I believe this is an important oversight that can lead to unnecessary headaches down the road when family researchers return to a particular sheet and need more information than was originally recorded.

Working with a professional graphic designer, we tried to correct some of these limitations. For instance, the five-generation pedigree chart (see screenshot, above) contains numbered spaces for people’s names, clearly demarcated from the other details, which allow users to zero in on the names later. The research log has fields that can accommodate two lines of text instead of just one, and asks about website locations where the research may be found.

In addition to the free resources in the genealogy starter kit, we are also offering a paid genealogy forms bundle which includes more than a dozen digital files (PDF and Excel) as well as a paper bundle that is printed on high-quality archival paper. These forms are important tools not only for today’s users, but potentially for the next generation of researchers.

Blank Genealogy Forms Library - 8 PDF and Excel genealogy forms

Genealogy Basics In 30 Minutes now available!

By News

Genealogy Basics In 30 Minutes launchPublisher i30 Media today launched Genealogy Basics In 30 Minutes: The quick guide to creating a family tree, building connections with relatives, and discovering the stories of your ancestors (ISBN: 9781939924681). Authored by professional genealogist Shannon Combs-Bennett, the book explains the joys, challenges, and triumphs of researching family origins. It aims to help people who are new to genealogy as well as those who have casually gathered information about their ancestors over the years and want to take their research to the next level.

While many people assume genealogy research starts online, Combs-Bennett shows the importance of getting started with family research using documents that can be found in one’s own home or with the help of relatives. She also emphasizes how to build a family tree the right way—instead of entering random ancestors’ names into Google or Ancestry.com, it’s critical to start at the base of the tree with one’s own family and then work back in time using vital records and other documents. As Combs-Bennett explains in the book, online research and genetic genealogy can play an important role once the most recent generations have been identified.

Genealogy Basics In 30 Minutes is written in a friendly, easy-to-understand style that avoids complex jargon. There are lots of examples, case studies, and advice that can help would-be family historians quickly get up to speed. In addition to listing best practices for conducting genealogical research, Genealogy Basics In 30 Minutes also warns readers about the many pitfalls of family research, from “brick wall” mysteries to time-wasting online searches. Topics include:

  • Why are people so interested in family history?
  • Evaluating clues, facts, and myths in family stories
  • The importance of linking generations
  • Vital records, from birth certificates to death records
  • Non-vital records, from census forms to wills
  • Religious records
  • Five things that can trip up newbies researching family history
  • Best practices for genealogy road trips
  • Interviewing relatives, and dealing with skeptics
  • Pros and cons of online genealogy research
  • Genealogy communities and continuing education
  • Genetic genealogy basics
  • Understanding the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA)
  • Genetic genealogy and adoptees
  • Non-paternal events and other skeletons in the genetic closet
  • Visualizing family history with charts
  • Research logs and genealogy journals
  • How to create good source citations
  • Preserving records and research
  • Genealogy software and GEDCOM files
  • Planning for disasters

Genealogy Basics In 30 Minutes is not a comprehensive guide. Nevertheless, readers will be able to quickly understand key research basics that will serve them well as they embark on a journey to figure out their family origins. Creating a strong family tree will not only satisfy their curiosity, but will also serve as a record to share with relatives and future generations.

More information about Genealogy Basics In 30 Minutes as well as online ordering options can be found on the companion website. The site also includes a genealogy blog and other resources for readers. The paperback retail price is $11.99 while the ebook edition is available on the Amazon Kindle and other devices for $7.99.

About the author

Author Shannon Combs-BennettShannon Combs-Bennett is an author, researcher, and lecturer based in the Washington, D.C. metro area. She regularly speaks and writes about genetic genealogy, Virginia genealogy, and research methods. Shannon is a frequent contributor to Family Tree Magazine and Family Tree University, serves as the Creative Director for The In-Depth Genealogist, and owns T2 Family History. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Biology from Indiana University, which started her passion for research and genetic genealogy. Shannon completed the Boston University Certificate of Genealogical Research in 2013 and is a student at the National Institute for Genealogical Studies, earning a certificate in American Records. Shannon also serves as a staff genealogist at the National Society Colonial Dames 17th Century in Washington, DC. Follow her on Twitter or Facebook.

About In 30 Minutes guides

i30 Media is the publisher of In 30 Minutes guides – “Quick guides for a complex world.” Thousands of readers turn to In 30 Minutes guides to understand mildly complex topics, ranging from genealogy to software. The tone is friendly and easy to understand, with step-by-step instructions and lots of examples. Top-selling titles include Google Drive & Docs In 30 Minutes, Twitter In 30 Minutes, and LinkedIn In 30 Minutes. For more information about the series, visit in30minutes.com

New genealogy book now available for preorder

By News

Genealogy basics bookGenealogy Basics In 30 Minutes is now available for preorder via Amazon (Kindle/Paperback). This genealogy book is a great resource for people who are interested in learning about their roots, but are concerned about confusing tools and ancestry research methods. Genealogy Basics In 30 Minutes breaks it all down, starting with a simple approach to building out a family tree. It also describes various ways to gather information, including:

  • The types of vital records and non-vital documents to look for
  • Best practices for connecting with relatives, from gathering documents to conducting interviews
  • Researching family history on genealogy road trips
  • Technological tools, including online databases, GEDCOM files, and genetic genealogy
  • Using charts and forms to track research and share the results
  • How to store digital and paper records
Shannon Combs-Bennett

Shannon Combs-Bennett

Genealogy is a topic that we’ve wanted to turn into an In 30 Minutes guide for many years. In 2015 we connected with an up-and-coming genealogist and genealogy blogger, Shannon Combs-Bennett. Shannon is not only knowledgeable about researching family history, she has a science background and a deep understanding of genetic genealogy. Best of all she is a great storyteller, which helps to relate various research concepts into real-world situations.

It’s a fascinating genealogy book, and publisher i30 Media hopes you can preorder your copy today on the Genealogy Basics In 30 Minutes website!