Book Review: Research Like a Pro

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Research Like a Pro: A Genealogist’s Guide
by Diana Elder, AG, with Nicole Dyer, isn’t just a book for professional genealogists. It’s for anyone who wants to improve the quality of their genealogical work. It’s down to earth and easy to follow. Perfect for someone new to the field of genealogy or a professional wanting to polish or brush up on a few skills.

The author devotes a chapter to each of the following topics:

  • Research Objectives
  • Analyze Your Sources
  • Locality Research
  • Research Planning
  • Source Citations
  • Research Logs
  • Report Writing

The author gives lots of examples and exercises for the reader to work through. If there’s an area you want to delve deeper into, she provides references to works for that particular subject. For example, readers wanting to study citations more in-depth are referred to Evidence Explained, by Elizabeth Shown Mills and Mastering Genealogical Documentation by Thomas W. Jones.

One of the most important topics Diana discusses is formulating a research question and objective. It’s a basic step but many genealogists fail to do. Instead, they often choose to try to find everything out about an ancestor. Developing a question and objective is crucial to keeping your research focused and will increase your success.

Also provided are many forms and templates the reader can download or use to develop their own form. My favorite is the “Locality Guide Template.” It’s easy to skip creating one on the excitement of chasing down an ancestor. But taking the time to make one and update it will help you perform thorough research in the long run.

Whether you are new to genealogy or a seasoned researcher, there’s something for everyone in Research Like A Pro. The book is available in paperback and Kindle from Amazon. For more information check out Diana and Nicole’s blog post at Family Locket

Disclaimer: The author provided me with a free pdf version of the book for this review. All opinions are my own.

About Terri O'Connell

Terri O’Connell is a professional genealogist in the Chicago area, focusing on Midwestern United States Genealogy, with a main focus in Illinois and a special interest in Irish research. She is also the owner of Cruise Planners – O’Connell Cruise and Travel (, a full service travel company. Their mission is to encompass the full family: vacations, reunions, and history travel. Terri is a travel enthusiast with a passion for genealogy and enjoys bringing the two together to assist her clients in their travel needs. You can find Terri online at, or you can find her at for all things genealogy. Terri is the Executive Director of The In-Depth Genealogist.

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