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Heritage Handbooks
7/30/2014
10 guides to census, service, surnames and other roots research.
  1. Organizing and Preserving Your Family Photographs by Maureen A. Taylor (Betterway Books). In this companion book to Taylor's popular Uncovering Your Ancestry Through Family Photographs (Betterway Books), you'll learn how to care for, organize and preserve your photos. Also find out how you can safely conserve your photographs or whether you need to call in a pro.
  2. Finding Your African American Ancestors: A Beginner's Guide by David T Thackery (Ancestry). Thackery was a curator at the Newbury Library in Chicago before his untimely death in 1998. He was instrumental in leading the field of African-American genealogy, and this book is the result of his efforts. Case studies and hundreds of resources guide beginners tracing their black heritage.
  3. Grow a Family Tree! Seven Simple Steps by William Dollarhide (Heritage Quest). This beginner's guide to genealogy breaks down the process into seven basic steps. Readers then graduate to more advanced genealogy lessons on topics such as land records, organization and numbering systems. Look for blank forms for copying in the back, next to examples showing how to fill each one out.
  4. The American Census Handbook by Thomas Jay Kemp (Scholarly Resources). All genealogists use the census, especially now that more schedules are becoming available online. This state-by-state reference tome is a guide to the published census indexes in print and online, telling which records, indexes and abstracts are available in each medium.
  5. What's in a Name? Everything You Wanted to Know, revised edition, by Leonard R.N. Ashley (Genealogical Publishing Co.). Onomastics — the study of names — is the focus of this book, but Ashley's work isn't limited to personal and surnames. He also discusses names of places and things, from businesses and pets to rocks and streets.
  6. Absolutely Family! A Guide to Editing and Publishing a Family Newsletter by Jeanne Rundquist Nelson (Family Times Publishing). A print family newsletter is still a primary means to share information and family stories. Nelson offers a clear, easily followed guide with lots of ideas for starting and maintaining a family newsletter.
  7. The Librarian's Guide to Genealogical Research by James Swan (Highsmith Press). Written for librarians who help patrons with genealogical research, this guide also has plenty of useful information for family history hobbyists. The resources and introduction to genealogy basics make this a great beginner's guide.
  8. U.S. Military Records: A Guide to Federal and State Sources, Colonial America to the Present by James C. Neagles (Ancestry) You probably have an ancestor who served in the colonial or US military in some capacity. This book tells you what records exist and how to access them.
  9. Weights, Money and Other Measures Used by Our Ancestors by Colin R. Chapman (Genealogical Publishing Co.). So just how long is a pole, rod or perch? In genealogical research, we come across unfamiliar units of weights and measurements in wills, land records and other sources. This guide will help you interpret obsolete terms.
  10. Black Sheep and Kissing Cousins: How Our Family Stories Shape Us by Elizabeth Stone (Penguin Books). Whether they're about a relative who's famous, infamous or just colorful, we all have family stories that have been told and retold. Weaving her own family lore with that of other families, Stone shows the importance and personal impact of these treasured tales.
From the June 2001 issue of Family Tree Magazine
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