Smoky Mountain Family Historian

Monday, September 15, 2008

Ten Indispensable Books in my Genealogical Library



First up on my list is Elizabeth Shown Mills' Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace. This title is a very updated and expanded edition of her earlier work Evidence! Citation and Analysis for the Family Historian which had long been on my top ten list. I decided not to include the second title in my top ten list, but please understand that I really would not want to be without either work or without the Quick Sheet which provided an interim update for the earlier title. When I'm traveling and don't want to lug along the larger volume, I still take the smaller book and the quick sheets and have most of the citation styles I need for that trip.



I use William Thorndale and William Dollarhide's book, Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses, 1790-1920, for a quick reference on historical county boundaries. It definitely belongs in my top ten in terms of usage.


Another general title that I use quite a bit is Ancestry's Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources. I actually own the second edition which was edited by Eichholz. I really do need to update my edition because I'm aware of several errors as well as many changes because of natural disasters. I debated whether or not I should include this book of The Handybook for Genealogists in my top ten. I have both books, but I really do use the "Red Book" more so I decided to include it as my "go-to" source for that type of information. I own a hard copy of the "Red Book" as well as a CD version.




E. Wade Hone's Land & Property Research in the United States is also among my most treasured volumes. This is one of the most comprehensive volumes on researching land records available.


Christine Rose's Genealogical Proof Standard: Building a Solid Case is a title that I often recommend to people, especially those who seem to be settling for sources that are very far removed from the original.

For the rest of my top ten, I am going to move on to sources that are helpful to me because of my own research interests.

I want to include two titles here that are wonderful for those of us with Amish genealogy. The first of these is David Luthy's The Amish in America: Settlements that Failed, 1840-1960. Luthy is a well-known Amish historian who researched a lot of Amish settlements that were rather short-lived. As my Amish ancestors lived in many of these settlements, I am able to find a lot of great background information on the settlements.

The second of the Amish research titles is Hugh F. Gingerich's Amish and Amish Mennonite Genealogies. While one still needs to independently document the information in this book, this is a great starting place for Amish research. Gingerich provides the trees for numerous families. There are errors in the data, but a careful researcher can still gain quite a bit by using Gingerich's work as a starting place. There are also some source hints in some of the footnotes.





My eighth book in the top ten is Clarence A. Torrey's New England Marriages Prior to 1700. This is a must have source for anyone with Colonial New England ancestry. However, anyone using it will also want to have Melinde Lutz Sanborn's Third Supplement to Torrey's New England Marriages Prior to 1700. Even though they are technically two titles, I'm counting them as one for the purposes of this list.



For my ninth title, I am choosing Nell Marion Nugent's Cavaliers and Pioneers: Abstracts of Virginia Land Patents and Grants. I own volumes one through eight of this indispensable tool for researching Virginia genealogy.

I'm down to my final pick. This is going to be a tough call because I have so many books that are worthy of inclusion. I can come up with books in so many locations that I use a lot when I'm doing research; however, I'm going to choose another New England title for my tenth selection, simply because I've been focusing more on those lines recently.


My last pick is Vital Records of Hampton, N.H.: to the End of the Year 1900 by George Freeman Sanborn and Melinde Lutz Sanborn. It's a two volume set. I had so many ancestors who lived in Hampton for awhile that I've found these volumes extremely helpful.
I chose to use only titles for which I have hard-cover editions. There are several electronic titles that I use constantly.

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