10 Books to Grow Your Family Tree

10 Books to Grow Your Family Tree

Jump start your research with these timeless tomes.

1. In Search of Our Ancestors: 101 Inspiring Stories of Serendipity and Connection in Rediscovering Our Family History by Megan Smolenyak (Adams Media Corp.). This book is the companion text to PBS’ second series of “Ancestors” episodes (see page 19). In Search of Our Ancestors tells true stories of the amazing luck, unexpected kindness and unusual serendipity encountered by researchers as they trace their ancestry.

2. Crafting Your Own Heritage Album by Bev Kirschner Braun (Betterway Books). This book, written for genealogists and scrapbookers, shows you how to showcase and preserve the special people, stories, traditions and keepsakes of your ancestry. It’s beautifully illustrated and will inspire all ages to take an interest in family history preservation.

3. The Sleuth Book for Genealogists by Emily Anne Croom (Betterway Books). If you’re a fan of Emily Croom’s other best-selling titles, you’ll love this book. It takes you from the sources you learned about in Unpuzzling Your Past to the methods of how to use records to solve genealogical problems. Quotes from notable literary detectives make this book entertaining and enjoyable to read as you learn.

4. Genealogist’s Guide to Discovering Your English Ancestors by Paul Milner and Linda Jonas (Betterway Books). Thought you had to travel to England to do English research on your ancestors? Think again. Milner and Jonas show you how to find information about your English ancestors without getting on an airplane. With step-by-step instruction and actual research examples, learn how to gain access to most of the records you’ll need. 

5. Instant Information on the Internet!: A Genealogist’s No-Frills Guide to the British Isles by Christina K. Schaefer (Genealogical Publishing Co.). Here are the most important genealogy Web sites on Great Britain and Ireland. They’ll tell you how and where to locate records, contact other researchers, exchange information and locate indexes you can search from home.

6. Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America by David Hackett Fischer (Oxford University Press). Ever wonder what your colonial ancestors’ lives were like? Albion’s Seed covers English Puritans in New England, the English who settled in Virginia, the Quakers of the Delaware and the Scotch-Irish in the backcountry. Learn about early Americans’ lifestyles, family, marriage customs, child-rearing, dress, work and leisure activities.

7. Genealogist’s Guide to Discovering Your German Ancestors by S. Chris Anderson and Ernest Thode (Betterway Books). This hands-on guide shows you how to access records for your Germanic ancestors. Anderson and Thode discuss the unique challenges of Germanic research and show proven ways to overcome them. Included are comprehensive listings of Germanic archives, letter-writing examples and instruction on reading Germanic script.

8. Kinship: It’s All Relative, 2nd ed., by Jackie Smith Arnold (Genealogical Publishing Co.). Do you know the degree of blood relationship between you and your first cousins? What is a second cousin three times removed? If you’ve ever wondered about how people are related, this book will explain it in clear, practical terms. It also explains the kinship connection of orphans, foundlings, foster children, adopted children and more.

9. Web Publishing for Genealogy by Peter Christian (Genealogical Publishing Co.). This book aims to give you practical, plain-English advice on publishing your genealogy on the Web. Christian explains why publishing on the Web is so useful to genealogists and what you need to accomplish the task.

10. Domestic Revolutions: A Social History of American Family Life by Steven Mintz and Susan Kellogg (The Free Press). From colonial times to the late 1980s, Domestic Revolutions shows how everyday family life evolved over generations. From this book, you can get an idea of what your ancestors’ families were probably like for any given time period.

Betterway Books listed above can be ordered directly at www.familytreemagazine.com/store/ or found at your favorite bookstore.

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