What genealogy books do you keep close by when researching? Peek at my bookshelf and explore these must have genealogy books for your genealogy research. You might just find your new favorite!
Moving a couple of years ago resulted in an actual office for me. Before that, my office was the kitchen table. (Anyone else?) Along with a new office came new bookcases! As a book lover I couldn’t be happier. Now all of my must have genealogy books could be right beside me as I research.
[That gets it’s own genealogy happy dance!]
Just what do I have on my genealogy bookshelves? Thought you would never ask…..
Genealogy Books to Add To Your Bookshelf!
Do you ever find yourself on a zoom call trying to read the book titles in the bookshelf behind the speaker? I’m definitely guilty of being distracted but bookcase in the background. I want to know what others are reading and find some book suggestions.
Fun fact: That’s one of the reasons I don’t usually make videos in front of my bookcase anymore . 😀
That’s also why today, I’m sharing my my genealogy bookshelf with you!
- Generation by Generation: A Modern Approach to the Basics of Genealogy – https://amzn.to/3lQnX0R
- Evidence Explained: History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace – https://amzn.to/3zFn1zL
- Evidence! Citation & Analysis for the Family Historian – https://amzn.to/40MhAKI
- North Carolina Research – https://www.ncgenealogy.org/product/north-carolina-research-genealogy-local-history-2e/
- How to Find Your Family History in U.S. Church Records: A Genealogist’s Guide: With Specific Resources for Major Christian Denominations before 1900 – https://amzn.to/40SkXj5
- Tracing Your Irish Ancestors – https://amzn.to/3zmh1LX
- The Great Departure: Mass Migration from Eastern Europe and the Making of the Free World – https://amzn.to/3zm8Pv7
- Hungering for America: Italian, Irish, and Jewish Foodways in the Age of Migration – https://amzn.to/3KoeS8Y
- The Cooking Gene – https://amzn.to/40xVgER
- A Bintel Brief: Sixty Years of Letters from the Lower East Side to the Jewish Daily Forward – https://amzn.to/3TWprmJ
And One More Must Have Genealogy Book!
If you are new to using Ancestry.com, I recommend Unofficial Guide to Ancestry.com by Nancy Hendrickson. I’ve seen this at my local library, so check there first if you are interested. I like to read guides such as this one to make sure I am utilizing a paid subscription site to its fullest. In other words, let’s make sure we are getting the most benefit for our money!
Genealogy Pro Tip: Check what resources and reference books are available for the regions you research in. These might pertain to a state or a local region. For example, New York researchers would want to check out New York Family History Research Guide and Gazeteer .
Interested In Becoming a Professional Genealogist?
Professional Genealogy: Preparation, Practice & Standards by Elizabeth Shown Mills was met with a lot of excitement in the genealogy world. I have this one on my bookshelf! If you are ready to take on genealogy research clients of your own or think you might in the future, I highly recommend this one.
Use Genealogy Books for Social Context and Understanding Our Ancestors’ Lives
Understanding your ancestor’s life and the records he/she generated often requires understanding the the period of history and community they lived in.
- What was important to your ancestors and the community they lived in?
- What were their customs and general practices?
- What influenced their decisions on big and small issues?
One of my all time favorite books is The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. [This was my daughter’s university summer reading her freshman year.] Henrietta Lacks was originally from Halifax County, VA and the author explored and documented the Lacks family and the South Boston, VA area.
Bonus: Skloot recorded her references and sources in the Notes section at the end of the book which led me to more resources on southern VA and the community where my ancestors lived.
Not only did I gain a better understanding of the social issues for Halifax County, I found new-to-me resources pertinent to my own research at the Notes of the book!
What does this mean for you the genealogy researcher?
Seek out books about the area your ancestors lived in. Soak in the social context the book provides for you ancestors AND check the notes and references at the end! I’ve put a few of mine in the ☝list above. ☝
Other Articles of Interest!
- How To Use WorldCat For Your Genealogy Research
- 15 Places to Find the Genealogy Records You Need
- 5 Resources To Identify Your Ancestor’s Friends
- How To Find Your Next Genealogy Education Opportunity
Keep the Learning Going!