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Book Review: Roots for Kids

14 Jan 2021 8:55 PM | Anonymous

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

Roots for Kids
A Genealogy Guide for Young People

By Susan Provost Beller. Published by Genealogical Publishing Co. 2020. 104 pages.

This could be a useful guide and topic for stay-at-home teachers/parents who may have exhausted the list of topics to keep the kids engaged in these at-home learning days.

Ms. Beller has updated this third edition of her books. It contains brief, but plentiful descriptions and examples of records to be found, worksheets, drawings apropos to family research (I especially like the drawing of a triumphant young genealogist discovering his family tombstone), and offerings of ideas in the logical progression of starting to look for sources at home to eventually traveling abroad to visit a home village.

The first few chapters explain how genealogy is like a jigsaw puzzle with pieces around the home and family that give no clue to the big picture until a person starts to connect the pieces together. The family chapters offer ideas for recording family stories and reading old documents, then gathering the information together and discovering how all the parts fit together.

Following chapters explain the kinds of records found locally, such as vital records, wills, and court records, manuscripts, and newspapers. “Finding Local Records on the Internet” might be especially attractive for digital-savvy kids.

State and national records are the next topics covered, including a section on finding such records on the internet. Moving on, the following chapters cover “Research Around the World on Your Computer.” Winding up, the final chapter features the author’s description of her own trip to her ancestral Ireland, introducing the idea that maybe the reader too, can someday visit a place of mystery and family.

Ms. Beller includes a chapter explaining the need for critical evaluation of the sources, always a good topic for consideration.

This could be a guidebook for beginner adult researchers as well as for kids. The ideas and research steps could invite a family adventure staying within the pandemic guidelines: an outdoor trip to a cemetery, reading newspaper articles online, or viewing the census records online, many available for free.

This could be the beginning of whole new aspects of history and family.

Roots for Kids is available from the publisher, Genealogical Publishing Co., at as well as from Amazon.

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