The Toolkit

By Sharon DeBartolo Carmack Premium

1. Ancestors: Guide to Discovery by Jim Tyrrell (Everton Publishers). If you caught the second series of PBS’ “Ancestors,” you know that Ancestors: Guide to Discovery is the companion text. This full-color, well-illustrated guidebook takes you through five basic steps of learning about your family history.

2. Bringing Your Family History to Life through Social History by Katherine Scott Sturdevant (Betterway Books). Genealogy is more than gathering names and dates for as far back in time as you can go. This book shows you how to look beyond names and add flesh to the bones. Bringing Your Family History to Life discusses artifacts, photographs, oral history interviewing and learning about your ancestors’ everyday lives through social history research.

3. The BCG Genealogical Standards Manual by the Board for Certification of Genealogists (Ancestry). Are you thinking about becoming a professional genealogist? Or maybe you just want to know that you’re producing a reliable genealogy to share with others? This book sets the standard by which all genealogists should pattern their work.

4. The Genealogist’s Virtual Library: Full-Text Books on the World Wide Web by Thomas Jay Kemp (Scholarly Resources). Now there’s an easy way to find full-text books and journals on the Web. The Genealogist’s Virtual Library is arranged according to family histories, local histories and general subjects such as ethnic groups, foreign countries and record groups.

5. How to Find Your Family Roots and Write Your Family History by William Latham and Cindy Higgins (Santa Monica Press). If you’re looking for a basic beginner’s guide with overviews of records and lots of resources to further your search, this book is for you. Latham and Higgins show you how to trace your family history in a simple and inexpensive manner.

6. Abbreviations & Acronyms by Kip Sperry (Ancestry). Attend one genealogical society meeting or conference, and you’ll think people are speaking a foreign language. “Have you looked at PERSI?” “I’m going to the HisGen luncheon; how about you?” Abbreviations & Acronyms reveals the meanings of abbreviations, symbols, initials and contractions found in genealogy research and everyday conversations.

7. Dozens of Cousins by Lois Horowitz (Ten Speed Press). Ever wondered what a third cousin once removed is? In Dozens of Cousins, you’ll untangle those family tree branches and discover how everyone in your family is related.

8. A Medical Miscellany for Genealogists by Jeanette L. Jerger (Heritage Books). Did your ancestor suffer from grocer’s itch? Did someone on your family tree die from dropsy? Were your ancestors sick with catarrh? If you’re puzzled by antiquated medical terms and folk names, A Medical Miscellany for Genealogists is the sure cure.

9. Past Imperfect: How Tracing Your Family Medical History Can Save Your Life by Carol Daus (Santa Monica Press). In this simple-to-follow guide, Carol Daus takes you step by step through the process of tracing your family medical history. Daus uses easy-to-understand terms and provides tons of resources for learning more about inheritable conditions.

10. Tree-Stump Tombstones: A Field Guide to Rustic Funerary Art in Indiana by Susanne S. Ridlen (Old Richardville Publications). Don’t have Indiana roots? That’s OK — tree-stump markers and their various designs and artwork are common to many of our ancestors’ grave markers across the country. This heavily illustrated book reveals a fascinating and overlooked aspect in cemetery research, no matter where your ancestors were buried.
From the December 2000 issue of Family Tree Magazine