About Genealogy Basics In 30 Minutes

If you have ever wanted to research and document your family history the right way, then Genealogy Basics In 30 Minutes is for you! Authored by professional genealogist Shannon Combs-Bennett, this genealogy book explains the joys, challenges, and triumphs of researching your family’s origins. While many people assume genealogy research starts online, Combs-Bennett shows the importance of starting a family tree using documents that can be found in your own home!

The second edition of Genealogy Basics In 30 Minutes is written in a friendly, easy-to-understand style that avoids complex jargon. While not a comprehensive guide, 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, in a single reading you will be able to understand some important research basics that will serve you well as you embark on a journey to figure out the origins of your family. Creating a strong family tree will not only satisfy your own curiosity, but will also serve as a record to share with relatives and future generations!

The Independent Book Publishers Association awarded Genealogy Basics In 30 Minutes a silver Benjamin Franklin award for excellence in publishing.

This easy-to-understand genealogy guide is a great way to get started with researching your family’s history. Buy it today!

I liked the concept that the title implies — a concise guide that will distill what I need and allow me to complete a task quickly.


The In 30 Minutes series demystifies and simplifies topics that leave non-techies scratching their heads for insight, if not plain old comprehension.

Jessica Lipnack

I have found these books to be very helpful as they deal with the important items that allow one to get up and running quickly with a minimum of side issue discussion.

Dr. B. W. Langer

Excerpt: Introduction to Genealogy Basics In 30 Minutes

When I was a child, I liked to listen to my family share family stories. At six years of age, sometimes I would hide away, just out of eyesight, as the adults discussed a memory or a special someone from decades past. The tales were often exciting or funny. Others were serious or sad. The characters—so interesting! And they were all connected to me and my family!

I found out that my maternal grandmother’s father was 61 years old when she was born. She said that when my great-grandfather was a child, he could recall holding his mother’s hand, watching his older brothers in their Union blues marching off to fight in the Civil War. My imagination ran!

Fast forward a few decades, and my love of family stories has blossomed into a full-fledged career as a professional genealogist. Now, in addition to researching my own family history, I help other people learn more about their families’ histories. This book is another way for me to help people learn about their ancestors and become effective stewards of their families’ histories.