07 April 2010

Great Books: Gary Boyd Roberts

I really enjoyed last week's episode of Who Do You Think You Are?, and I was especially happy to see Gary Boyd Roberts briefly as he showed Ms. Shields her pedigree.  I've met Roberts a few times, all at the Southern California Genealogy Jamboree.  The first time was in 2005, when I asked him to sign my copy of Best Genealogical Sources.  At that exhibit hall, he also offered a research consultation for a small fee.  I used it to have him look at my New England pedigree chart; the experience was incredible!  Not only did he add names, but he wrote down sources with page numbers included--all from off the top of his head!  I had chatted with him in intervening years when he attended, but last year, I took my pedigree chart back again.  I was purchasing a copy of the new Ancestors of American Presidents, and he volunteered to take it and my chart back to the hotel overnight.  The next day, he gave me both back with a wonderful, long inscription in my new book and lots & lots of annotations all over my chart.  It will take years to follow up on all the leads.  Gary Boyd Roberts is truly one of a kind!

The Best Genealogical Sources in Print: Essays by Gary Boyd Roberts, Vol. One (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2004)
500+ pages, hardback, index; not always the easiest reading, but absolutely packed with sources for New England research;  last year I was very unhapy to hear that he no longer thinks he will ever get to a second volume

I really enjoy reading this book and it is my absolute favorite for good sources on New England genealogy.  It is a selected collection of some of Roberts' writing from 1976 to 2004 but then updated for this publication.  I especially use the chapters on Western Massachusetts, major publications, Torrey, and compiled genealogies.  There really is too much of great value to list it all here.  I believe all serious genealogists researching early New England need this book. 

Ancestors of American Presidents (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2009) 
830+ pages, hardback, index; oodles of charts & pedigrees; some photographs; extensive bibliography

This book is worth using for the reliability of the research.  I wanted this book because of the bibliography and the pedigrees including Alice Freeman, one of my early New England ancestors.  I am not a descendant of any presidents, but can apparently call several of them 'cousin.'  It's very , very interesting to see how many of our presidents have been each others cousins! 


DISCLAIMER, Etc.
Jamboree this year is June 11-13; early bird registration has started.  I am a member and volunteer of the society but receive no other consideration. 

I am a member of NEHGS but receive no other consideration from them.  I paid for my copies of each book.

I am a subscriber to ancestry.com but receive no other consideration from them.  I watch WDYTYA but have no other connection to the show.  I do wish they would work on my ancestry....

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