What Books Would You Have in Your Basic Genealogy Reference Library?

No genealogist can have too many books. However, practically speaking, with cost and space considerations, a serious genealogist would want reference books in his/her collection that obviously stand the test of time in terms of written quality. I am suggesting that a beginning genealogist also keep in mind books that will allow future personal growth. When the ladies in Kin Seekers, my welcome club genealogy interest group, ask about reference books in general, I often mention the same books time and again.

These books would fit perfectly into the reference collection of a genealogist, whether they be a beginner or a professional. While these choices are geared towards a more experienced researcher, a beginner can grow into them as they develop genealogical research skills.

As with the free websites recommended in yesterday’s post, these books are in no particular order.  Instead of links, as most will go to somewhere to purchase the book and I’m only suggesting quality books for a collection, not recommending the purchase of any one individual book, there are images of the book covers.

1. The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy, 3rd Edition by Loretto Dennis Szucs and Sandra Hargreaves Luebking, Ancestry Publishing, 2006.

2. Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace, 2nd Edition by Elizabeth Shown Mills, Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 2012.

3. Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses by William Dollarhide, Genealogical Publishing Co., 1995.

4. Courthouse Research for the Family Historian: Your Guide to Genealogical Treasures by Christine Rose, CR Publications, 2004.

5. The Family Tree Problem Solver: Tried-and-True Tactics for Tracing Elusive Ancestors by Marsha Hoffman Rising, Family Tree Books, updated in 2011.

6. Genealogical Proof Standard: Building a Solid Case by Christine Rose, CR Publications, 2009.

7. Professional Genealogy: A Manuel for Researchers, Writers, Editors, Lecturers and Librarians by Elizabeth Shown Mills, Genealogical Publishing Co., 2001

8. 19th Century Card Photos Kwik Guide by Gary W. Clark, PhotoTree.com, 2013.

Like with my recommendations for the top ten free websites, I am leaving #9 and #10 open for specialty interests. Possibilities might include ethnic handbooks, a guide to genealogy and DNA, how to create family history books using multimedia  or a research book on incorporating all the social media and new technological advances applicable to genealogy research. These types of books likely would not having the staying power of the other eight books because of the topics involved.

What are your own top ten essential books for a reference library?


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