These Are a Few of My Favorite (Genealogy) Things

The Sound of Music is definitely a classic, as is Julie Andrews singing These Are a Few of My Favorite Things. One can have all sorts of favorites lists, but mine revolves around family history. How about you?

Do you have a list of favorite genealogy things? If you are like me, the list likely changes over time, depending on current research goals.

I’m always quite enamored with certain books, collections and websites. Here are some of my favorite things, related to genealogy and family history, for summer 2018. Aside from great collections that aid my family research, items on my list have to enrich my knowledge.

  1. Albion’s Seed by David Hackett Fischer – I originally bought this book to be able to follow DearMyrtle’s Study Group. I love this book and learned so much about all the folkways brought by immigrants to different areas of the colonies. Albion’s Seed is an absolute essential read for anyone serious about understanding their ancestors’ lives in the context of their times.
  2. Genealogy News Bytes by Randy Seaver on Genea-Musings – I follow a lot of blogs, but there are always interesting reads on Randy’s list, which he publishes a couple of times each week.
  3. The Researcher’s Guide to American Research, 4th Edition by Val Greenwood – This new edition of Greenwood’s book will become the new classic reference book for American genealogical research. There is something to be learned in each chapter for everyone from total newbies to seasoned researchers.
  4. FamilySearch collections covering New York land deeds and probate records – I have a few lines that lived in New York for a period of time and I’ve always considered New York as an expensive black hole. If you don’t regularly browse FamilySearch unindexed collections, you are missing out on primary records sitting at your fingertips. Even if a collection hasn’t been indexed, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the resource has no index. Just like in the old days, you have to open the (digital) deed book (or whatever record it is) and check the front and back of the book for the index. Some records are truly without any kind of index, but I have found that most collections have them.
  5. Nantucket Historical Association – The NHA has a great website with online collections. It is on my current favorite list because I’ve been researching my Nantucket families. I had never heard of it before a reference librarian at the New England Historic Genealogical Society tipped me off to it.
  6. Vita Brevis – This is the blog for The New England Historic Genealogical Society. Although I was generally aware of it, having been a member of NEHGS for many years, I never paid much attention to it because I thought it probably promoted a lot of the society’s products and events. However, what I’ve found are some of the most interesting family stories ever!
  7. Amy Cohen is my overall favorite family story teller and she is the author of Brotmanblog: A Family Journey. She adds so much depth to already interesting stories that she continually amazes me. I also envy all the newspaper stories she is able to locate, as my most recent family lines lived in two of the states with the least amount of digitized papers – New Jersey and Maine.
  8. MyHeritage and the Ellis Island and Other New York Passenger Lists 1820-1957. I used to love the Ellis Island website, but hated to have to try to use it after the redesigned the site. MyHeritage has expanded the collection of records and is my “go to” site for these records. I’ve had so much more success with their collection!
  9. History for Genealogists: Using Chronological Time Lines to Find and Understand Your Ancestors by Judy Jacobson – The last book on my current is ties in with Albion’s Seed, historical and political events can be seen at a glance when piecing together our ancestors’ stories. It’s a great reference book.
  10. Last on my summer list has to be EBay. I’ve blogged about my finds more than a few times, but I love searching for unique, or at least hard to find in a shop, items that tie into my family history. I’ve found teaspoons engraved with the Stufflebean name, china pieces to add to my rare pattern of Theodore Haviland family china, and POSTCARDS! I love vintage postcards and have built up quite a collection.

What’s on your current favorites list and why?

Disclaimer: I received complimentary copies of The Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy 4th Edition and History for Genealogists: Using Chronological Timelines to Find and Understand Your Ancestors, but that has not influenced my opinion about them! They are both excellent books.


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