Yesterday I came across a post on Facebook that was headlined "50 Titles Considered Essential to Your Personal Library." It was linked to an article entitled "Build the Perfect At-Home Library." I knew the post would mostly include great works of literature with a few non-fiction works thrown into the mix.
I pondered what would be included if this were a genealogical library. I realized immediately that each genealogist would come up with a different list because of research specialties or where ancestors lived. What follows is a list of fifty that works for my own research interests. I invite others to come up with their own list of fifty.
1) Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace by Elizabeth Shown Mills. (Yes. We need to cite those sources!)
2) North Carolina Research: Genealogy and Local History by Helen F. M. Leary. (Everyone needs this one regardless of whether or not one has North Carolina ancestry.)
3) Genealogy Standards by Board for Certification of Genealogists.
4) Mastering Genealogical Proof by Thomas W. Jones.
5) Genealogical Proof Standard: Building a Solid Case by Christine Rose.
6) A Law Dictionary: Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States of America and of the Several States of the American Union by John Bouvier. (This one is online in multiple places and works really well for those of us researching in Southern States. Black's Law Dictionary, 4th edition, will also fulfill this requirement.)
7) Professional Genealogy: A Manual for Researchers, Writers, Editors, Lecturers, and Librarians edited by Elizabeth Shown Mills.
8) Evidence!: Citation and Analysis for the Family Historian by Elizabeth Shown Mills. (I still use those first two chapters.)
9) Rand McNally Road Atlas by Rand McNally Corporation. (Any good road atlas with lots of small towns will work.)
10) The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy by Blaine T. Bettinger.
11) Genetic Genealogy in Practice by Blaine T. Bettinger and Debbie Parker Wayne.
12) Numbering Your Genealogy: Basic Systems, Complex Families, and International Kin by Joan Ferris Curran, Madilyn Coen Crane, and John H. Wray.
13) Land & Property Research in the United States by E. Wade Hone.
14) The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy by Ancestry.com.
15) The Handybook for Genealogists by George B. Everton.
16) The Amish in America by David Luthy. (I love this one because of the sketches of the Amish communities.)
17) Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses by William Thorndale and William Dollarhide.
18) The Formation of North Carolina Counties, 1663-1943 by David Leroy Corbitt.
19) The Genealogist's Guide to Researching Tax Records by Carol Cook Darrow.
20) Understanding and Using Baptismal Records by John T. Humphrey.
21) They Came in Ships: A Guide to Finding Your Immigrant Ancestor's Arrival Record by John Philip Colletta.
22) Inheritance in Colonial Virginia by Barbara Vines Little.
23) Tracing Your Mississippi Ancestors by Anne S. Lipscomb and Kathleen S. Hutchison
24) North Carolina Wills: A Testator Index by Thornton W. Mitchell.
25) Courthouse Research for Family Historians: Your Guide to Genealogical Treasures by Christine Rose.
26) Military Pension Laws, 1776-1858: From the Journals of the Continental Congress and the United States Statutes-at-Large by Christine Rose.
27) Military Bounty Land, 1776-1855 by Christine Rose.
28) History for Genealogists: Using Chronological Time Lines to Find and Understand Your Ancestor by Judy Jacobson.
29) Pitfalls in Genealogical Research by Milton Rubincam.
30) Virginia Genealogy: Sources & Resources by Carol McGinnis.
31) Tracing Your Alabama Past by Robert Scott Davis.
32) Locating Your Roots: Discover Your Ancestors Using Land Records by Patricia Law Hatcher.
33) Georgia Research: A Handbook for Genealogists, Historians, Archivists, Lawyers, Librarians, and Other Researchers by Robert Scott Davis.
34) Genealogy and the Law: A Guide to Legal Sources for the Family Historian by Kay Haviland Freilich and William B. Freilich.
35) The Chicago Manual of Style. (16th edition.)
36) Revolutionary War Bounty Land Grants: Awarded by State Governments by Lloyd DeWitt Bockstruck.
37) American Settlers and Migrations: A Primer for Genealogists and Family Historians by Lloyd DeWitt Bockstruck.
38) Guide to County Records and Genealogical Resources in Tennessee by Richard Carlton Fulcher.
39) North Carolina Taxpayers, 1701-1786 by Clarence E. Ratcliff.
40) North Carolina Taxpapers, 1679-1790 by Clarence E. Ratcliff.
41) Forever Dixie: A Field Guide to Southern Cemeteries and Their Residents by Douglas Keister. (Gives some great info on the symbols on tombstones.)
42) Researching African American Genealogy in Alabama: A Resource Guide by Frazine K. Taylor.
43) Genealogical Research in Ohio by Kip Sperry.
44) Estate Inventories: How to Use Them by Kenneth L. Smith.
45) Tracing Your Irish Ancestors: The Complete Guide by John Grenham.
46) Guide to County Records in the North Carolina State Archives.
47) The Family Tree German Genealogy Guide: How to Trace Your Germanic Ancestry in Europe by James M. Beidler.f
48) American Naturalization Records, 1790-1990: What They Are and How to Use Them by John J. Newman.
49) New England Court Records: A Research Guide for Genealogists and Historians by Diane Rapaport.
50) Genealogist's Handbook for New England Research by Michael J. LeClerc.
Many of the next fifty slots would go to National Genealogical Society's Research in the States series. A few of them could easily have been included in this list, but I opted to include none without including the others I frequently use. I also find DeLorme's Atlas & Gazetteer series for individual states quite useful. I use my Mississippi, North Carolina, and Tennessee ones frequently.
I'm certain I left out something I should have included. It is not necessarily in order of importance. It's just my feeble effort to come up with a top 50 list when there are so many great resources out there from which to choose.