Friday, September 12, 2008

10 Essential Genealogy Books That I Have Or Wish I Have

For this carnival edition, we have to list ten genealogy books that we believe are essential to doing genealogy research, where it is how to do genealogy or for research in a specific location. A few of the books in my list below are books that I own; however, several of the books listed are books that I wish I owned. So, here is my list of the essential ten:

Books That I Own
  • Unpuzzling Your Past by Emily Anne Croom - The book is a general how-to-do genealogy in the United States book. This book is the very first book that I read on how to do genealogy, and I still believe it is an excellent book for beginning genealogists to read. I will still occasionally go back to the book to get ideas for possible records to research. The edition I bought was the third edition, and it included a workbook with the book. (I happened to buy it at a bargain price.) Even though some of the information on ordering records from the NARA might be out of date, I still believe the book is very useful. Besides, one can find more up-to-date information on the internet.
  • In Search of Your British & Irish Roots: A Complete Guide to Tracing Your English, Welsh, Scottish & Irish Ancestors by Angus Baxter - At least I think I have an edition of this book, or a modified version of it. The edition I have is not the fourth edition. My edition has lots of pictures, large print, and comes to be about 200 something pages long. (Either way, it was on sale, so I bought it.) This book is a how-to-do genealogy research in the United Kingdom, and it gives an overview of the different types of records a person could use to trace his or her ancestry. It is a good reference guide for the genealogist who is being to do research in the United Kingdom.
  • A Genealogist's Guide to Discovering Your Germanic Ancestors by Chris Anderson and Ernest Thode - Again, I think this is another how-to-do research on German ancestors for those who are just beginning to do research on their German ancestors. Since I am just starting to get into German research, I have found this book to be very helpful, especially when it comes to being able to decipher German handwriting.
  • Family Tree Resource Book For Genealogists: The Essential Guide to American County and Town Sources by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack - I realize that most of the information in this book could be found on the internet, but I still think it is an essential book for genealogists to have. Personally, I think it is nice to have a resource where I could look up information without having to get on the internet, and I also think it is nice that the book gives web addresses for different sites, so that I don't have to go searching through page after page of results for the site I want.
  • Your Guide to Cemetery Research by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack - As you can tell from the book's title, this book is a how-to-do research in a cemetery with plenty of tips on how to read tombstones and interpret tombstones.

Books I Wish I Owned

  • Michigan Genealogy: Sources and Resources (2005 edition) by Carol McGinnis - If you are interested in finding out what resources or sources that are available to do genealogy research in Michigan, this book is probably the best guide on Michigan genealogy. Some of the most important information in this book would be on the different laws passed on keeping vital records, and the years that more information is required. As someone who has had ancestors residing in Michigan for over the past 150 years, I have found the information on the vital records laws to be especially helpful, especially when it comes to the recording of marriages. I did do a brief review of this book over a year ago, and more recently, Miriam also reviewed this book. Jasia also mentions this book in her list as well.
  • Following the paper trail : a multilingual translation guideby Jonathan D. Shea - This book gives information and how to transcribe documents used by genealogists in several different European languages. Since there are multiple languages listed, I think this book would useful for the genealogist who potentially have ancestors from different areas of Europe. Since I have some ancestors from Central and Eastern Europe, I know this book would come in handy in my research.
  • Deciphering handwriting in German documents : analyzing German, Latin, and French in vital records written in Germany by Roger P. Minert - Again this book is a how-to transcribe German records, and since the book only focuses on German records, and the three possible languages the records might be in, this book has multiple examples of handwriting to help the genealogist transcribe the records central to his or her research. Since I am still learning how to read the handwriting in German documents, I know I would be using this book frequently.
  • A genealogist's guide to discovering your Scottish ancestors : how to find and record your unique heritage by Linda Jonas - This book is a book I need to read. I have started to work with Scottish records in my research, and since I am inexperienced and unfamiliar with doing genealogy research on Scottish ancestors, I think this book would probably be helpful for me. (Again, the book on British genealogy that I mentioned above, does cover a little bit on doing research on Scottish ancestors, but most of the book is focused on English records, with only a few pages covering the other parts of the British Isles.)
  • What did they mean by that? : a dictionary of historical & genealogical terms old & new by Paul E. Drake - Again, this is another book that I have not read, but I am sure it would come in handy only because I have already come across terms in my research that I did not recognize. I am sure many other genealogists would find this book or a book like this one useful.

So, as you can see, I have made some suggestions of possible useful books, although I have not read through two of the books listed. These are just a few of the books that I either know about or are familiar with, and it is very possible that there are other books out there that would be much better resources than the ones I recommended. Either way, I hope someone will find one of the books on this list to be useful.

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