For 26 weeks I will take you on a family history journey through the alphabet, one letter at a time. I have decided that each post will be educational in nature, focusing on topics related to resources, methodology, tools, etc. Although the challenge is complete, there are still some people who are finishing up and Alona, the host, is encouraging others to participate anyway. Additional information on the challenge, can be found at Take the ‘Family History Through the Alphabet’ Challenge.
A lot of times we learn how to do genealogy research by trial and error. We eventually seek out resources to help us learn more about how to research and how to use certain record types. When we are really stuck, or exploring a locality that is new to us, we may look for resources to help us with research in a particular country or state. Below is a list of references that you may find useful in guiding your genealogy research adventure.
General Genealogy How-To
- BCG Genealogical Standards Manual
- Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace, Second Edition
- Genealogical Proof Standard: Building a Solid Case, 2nd Edition
- Mastering Genealogical Proof
- Professional Genealogy: A Manual for Researcher, Writers, Editors, Lecturers, and Librarians (Don’t be intimidated by the title. This book is for everyone, not just professionals!)
- The Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy, Third Edition
- The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy, Third Edition (Also available through the Ancestry.com Wiki.)
- Unpuzzling Your Past, Fourth Edition
Record-Specific and Topic-Specific
- The Beginner’s Guide to Using Tax Lists
- Courthouse Research for Family Historians: Your Guide to Genealogical Treasures
- History for Genealogists: Using Chronological Time Lines to Find and Understand Your Ancestors
- Land & Property Research in the United States
- Reading Early American Handwriting
- Walking With Your Ancestors: A Genealogists Guide to Using Maps and Geography
- Your Guide to Cemetery Research
- Legacy QuickGuides (guides available for a variety of topics) – I currently have two guides available and a third in progress.
- Genealogy at a Glance (guides available for a variety of topics)
- Finding Italian Roots: The Complete Guide for Americans, Second Edition
- Finding Your Italian Ancestors: A Beginner's Guide
- The German Research Companion, Third Edition
- Germanic Genealogy: A Guide to Worldwide Sources and Migration Patterns
- How to Trace Your Irish Ancestors: An Essential Guide to Researching and Documenting the Family Histories of Ireland's People
- In Search of Your Canadian Roots
- Polish Roots
- Tracing Your Irish Ancestors, Fourth Edition (new edition just release earlier this month!)
- Legacy QuickGuides (guides available for a variety of countries)
- Genealogy at a Glance (guides available for a variety of countries)
- Michigan Genealogy: Sources & Resources
- Red Book: American State, County & Town Sources, Third Edition (Also available through the Ancestry.com Wiki.)
- Virginia Genealogy: Sources & Resources
- NGS Research in the States Series
- Legacy QuickGuides (guides available for a variety of states)
- Genealogy at a Glance (guides available for a variety of states)
This list is by no means all-inclusive. If you are looking for something about a topic I did not mention, you might try to search for books using one of the following websites. They are all good places to start to see if books exist for a particular topic. When you find a particular book title, you can either see if a library near you has it among their collection, ask your local library to borrow it through inter-library loan, or, if still in print, look for places to purchase the book.
- WorldCat – This is a massive online catalog showing the collections of participating libraries. The book’s detail page lists what libraries have a particular book.
- Google Books – Even though you probably think of digitized out-of-copyright books when you think of Google Books, it’s important to note that they do include other books in their “catalog,” including those published recently.
- Genealogical Publishing Company – Publishes tons of genealogy-related books including how-to books. Browse the General Reference and Guides and Manuals categories for how-to books.
- Amazon – This is a major online book retailer, but they often include listings of out-of-print books. You may be able to purchase a used copy through individual sellers through their website.