Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Genealogy Books - My Favorites

(This is an actual picture I just took of my desk and some of the books that I own).

People often ask about my favorite books. I have to admit that I am not a big reader but I do try to stay up-to-date with my genealogy education. I thought I would throw out a small list of books that I recommend when it comes to family history research. I am not going to point out books for individual counties or cities - I might start doing that in others posts in the near future. For now, I am going to point out a few items that have taught me a thing or two.

I would suggest these books for both new and experienced genealogy hobbyists. You can click on the link for each book and it will bring up their listing at There you can see reviews that others have made about the book and you can even get a copy if you are so inclined. Keep in mind that you can probably get most of these at your local library. If they do not have one at your library, you can always get it on ILL from another facility.

(The books in my list are in no particular order).
  1. The Researcher's Guide to American Genealogy, Third Edition
  2. Evidence! Citation & Analysis for the Family Historian
  3. Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace
  4. The BCG Genealogical Standards Manual
  5. More Brickwall Solutions to Genealogy Problems
  6. A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing)
  7. Dating Old Photographs 1840-1929
  8. More Dating Old Photographs
If you cannot tell, I am fond of the Family Chronicle-produced books/booklets. They have the best photo-dating books around. They seem to contain mostly Canadian photos but the US and Canadian styles apparently did not vary too much.

The Greenwood book is a masterpiece when it comes to learning about American genealogy. If you have a friend or relative that wants to get into genealogy, this book would be a great gift. They will thank you for it later!

The first book listed here - Evidence - by Elizabeth Shown Mills is probably the best genealogy book ever written. It mostly lays out how to document your sources but it has become a staple in the genealogy world. Every genealogist should have a copy.

The last one I want to comment on is the BCG Standards manual. This is the guidebook for getting certified as a genealogist by the Board for the Certification of Genealogists. Even if you are not interested in getting certified, it is a great book to have. It can answer a lot of style and format questions you may have about genealogy reports.

If you want to suggest some books for myself and our readers, add them to the comments section under this post.


I got the following not from a reader:

I would add Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America (America: a Cultural History) by David Hackett Fisher to the book list. And if you haven't read it, run right out and get a copy. It's what I call a "dip & sip"... read the parts you need, it's to much for cover-to-cover. Connie Moretti, in CA

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