Bill Dickinson has written one of the most original genealogy guidebooks in years, one that is especially beneficial to researchers about to embark on a research trip and/or researchers with ancestors in colonial Virginia--America's most venerable state for genealogical investigation.
Mr. Dickinson, who lives in California--indeed, some of the material in his book originally appeared in the newsletter of the Contra Costa County, CA Genealogical Society--was inspired to write Diggin' for Roots in Old Virginia out of his own experience hunting for ancestors whose records were 3,000 miles away. Understandably, his book begins with sections on starting one's search, sources, and pre-trip planning. Having transported us to Virginia, Mr. Digginson then takes us on a genealogical excursion. Making ample use of illustrations, the author shows us what 17th- and 18th-century handwriting looks like and how we are to go about deciphering it. The bulk of this section, of course, is devoted to an excellent survey of the principal record repositories and source records figuring in Virginia genealogical research, records such as wills, administrations and inventories, land records, court records, and scores of other lesser record groupings.
The final three chapters of the book take us through the research and writing process in very original ways. First Mr. Dickinson advises us on how to organize and present our findings, including an extensive, illustrated section devoted to the pros and cons of the various genealogical numbering systems. This is followed by a finished mini-genealogy on Bill's Loudoun County,Virginia ancestor, Elijah Dickinson, complete with end notes and sources. At the very back of the book we find a glossary of genealogy terms, and a bibliography of valuable sources.
In conclusion, Diggin' for Roots in Old Virginia is guaranteed to demystify the research process for you and make it tangible. If you don't have Virginia ancestors, it will make you wish you did.