This book is hands down the best beginner's guide to genealogical research if you have ancestors from the United Kingdom. The writing is clear and concise and the examples given are crystal clear representations of the topic under discussion. The illustrations are purposeful and not simply gratuitous eye-candy. The organization of the book is superb. It begins with the most basic and general record types a new researcher would need to access such as information from home and relative sources, civil registration, national censuses & parish registers. Each subsequent chapter introduces more complex and specialized record types in descending order of overall importance to the average researcher. It is as if Jean Cole and John Titford, two giants in U.K. genealogy world, are right with you holding your hand each step along your research path. This is not a detailed reference work such as Mark Herber's "Ancestral Trails". But if you could purchase only a single beginner's guide to genealogical research in the United Kingdom, "Tracing Your Family Tree" is the one to get.
While I haven't read the other books for beginners in detail, those I have looked at in the shops (remember the 'real world'?) are often glossy and superficial.
This title is well written and covers a lot grond that will not be at all obvious to a beginner (it wasn't to me). Having spend a while now researching, I am very glad I have this book to point the direction.
Beyond that it is well provided with detailed experience that will help me over the coming months (years!) - for example it stresses the variation in spelling of surnames, explains why census dates are variable, disucsses Julian calendars and gives many explanations for the discrepancies that litter historical records and their transcriptions.
It also references out to many detailed works, and mentions the Internet though wisely allows that to be the topic of other works (e.g. Genealogists Internet).
I know I will be referring back to this for some time.
I searched for and bought this book on the recomendation of a friend and I have not been disappointed in any way. I haven't read it all yet but I have found it very informative and, I am sure, I will continue to refer to it for many years to come.