Start building your genealogy how-to library with these 10 books.
1. Locating Lost Family Members & Friends by Kathleen W. Hinckley (Betterway Books). This book is essential for anyone looking to rekindle lost contacts. Hinckley, a specialist in 20th-century research and a private investigator, explains how and where to locate documents, how to deal with modern-day obstacles such as privacy acts and record destruction, and how to use resources such as the Internet to find people.
2. Cyndi's List: A Comprehensive List of 40,000 Genealogy Sites on the Internet by Cyndi Howells (Genealogical Publishing Co.). In this organized, cross-referenced index to genealogy and family history sites on the Internet, Cyndi Howells shows you how to gain access to 40,000 links to every conceivable genealogical resource on the Web. Howells is the creator of Cyndi's List, the most popular collection of genealogy links.
3. The Genealogist's Companion & Sourcebook by Emily Croom (Betterway Books). This best-selling, basic how-to guide offers beginners the information they need to get started researching their family history. Croom shows readers how to get past common roadblocks in genealogical research, and to seek record sources they may not have realized were available for research.
4. The Internet for Genealogists: A Beginner's Guide, 4th ed., by Barbara Renick and Richard Wilson (Betterway Books). If you're just starting the climb up your family tree and need a guide to genealogical information on the Internet, this book is for you. This guide offers more than 200 addresses to genealogy sites, libraries, catalogs, maps, gazetteers, bookstores, online databases and directories. It will help you understand and navigate the Internet in easy-to-understand terms.
5. Ancestry's Red Book: American State, County & Town Sources edited by Alice Eichholz (Ancestry). Where do you go to find a will for your ancestor who died in Minnesota? Where do you look for a land record in Orange County, Va.? Where can you learn about old newspapers in Ohio? Ancestry's Red Book provides county and town listings within an overall state-by-state organization, giving you the answers to these questions and hundreds more on where to find the records you need.
6. The Hidden Half of the Family: A Sourcebook for Women's Genealogy by Christina K. Schaefer (Genealogical Publishing Co., $35). Everyone has problems researching some of the females on their pedigree chart, mostly because by law and custom women of the past had few rights. According to Schaefer, the legal status of women at any point in time is the key to unraveling the identity of a female ancestor. The bulk of this reference work details each state, showing how its laws, records and resources can be used in determining female identity.
7. Evidence! Citation and Analysis for the Family Historian by Elizabeth Shown Mills (Genealogical Publishing Co.). Genealogists gather a multitude of facts while researching ancestors, and it's sometimes difficult to keep track of what date came from which source. Mills provides a reliable standard for both the correct form of source citation and the sound analysis of evidence.
8. Producing a Quality Family History by Patricia Law Hatcher (Ancestry). Although this book has been in print only since 1996, it has already become a classic guide for writing and publishing a family history. This guide will show you how to fully document facts and relationships, how to seek information beyond the basic genealogical records, and how to include illustrations and photographs in your family history publication.
9. A to Zax: A Comprehensive Dictionary for Genealogists and Historians, 3rd ed., by Barbara Jean Evans (Hearthside Press). How many times while searching through old documents have you come across an unfamiliar term or abbreviation and wondered what it meant? Here's a book that will explain these obscure references. Thousands of old-fashioned words are defined, including references to medical, geographical, foreign, historical, legal, relational, occupational, household, religious, colloquial, monetary and ethnic terms.
10. The Researcher's Guide to American Genealogy by Val D. Greenwood (Genealogical Publishing Co.). Val Greenwood's guide is a classic in the field, used by hundreds of genealogical instructors in their classrooms. It's also the text used by the National Genealogical Society in its home-study course. This guide instructs researchers in the principles of genealogical research and identifies the various classes of records, giving their location, explaining how they are used, and evaluating them for accuracy.