click to view original photo

Summer Reading for the Genealogist

Summer is almost here. It's time to kick back and enjoy life, sip some ice tea on the deck, work in the garden, take trips and get caught up on the reading that you have neglected for months.


Content Details

Type: Article
Resource: Tracing Lines
Prepared by:
Word Count: 654 (approx.)
Short URL:

Summer is almost here. It's time to kick back and enjoy life, sip some ice tea on the deck, work in the garden, take trips and get caught up on the reading that you have neglected for months.

In the next few months set goals for getting caught up on reading genealogy periodicals and magazines. If you are like me, they tend to pile up and not get read. Set some by the door or in your vehicle so you can grab them when you leave to go places, such as athletic events and medical appointments.

If you are traveling this summer, you might want to read The Mormon Trail Revisited by Gregory M. Franzwa. This is an excellent guide showing exact locations of the trail, how to travel the trail, as well as historical information about the trail. Franzwa has also written, The Oregon Trail Revisited. Even if you can't afford the gas, you can take the trip from your easy chair with these books.

I highly recommend the book, Inheriting the Trade by Thomas Norman DeWolf. It is very enlightening about the little known slave traders (by the name of DeWolf) in Rhode Island. The journey of descendants, both mentally and physicially, vividly comes alive in DeWolf's book. More information about the book can be found at the web page,

Genealogists will find All the Names by Jose Saramago very interesting. It is a novel about a middle-aged bachelor who is preoccupied with vital records. His entire life is consumed with the clipping of files and the study of vital records. The book takes an interesting twist you won't want to miss.

To learn more about genealogical research and methodology, I highly recommend Carolyn Earle Billingsley's book, Communities of Kinship Antebellum Families and the Settlement of the Cotton Frontier. It is not a large book, but you will want to read slowly to understand all of the aspects of her research.

If you enjoy reading historical novels, one of the best is Isle of Canes by Elizabeth Shown Mills. As a noted professional genealogist and lecturer, Mills tells the story of Coincoin and the people around her in Louisiana's Isle of Canes. Another book set in Louisiana is Cane River by Lalita Tademy.

Set in Texas, Janice Woods Windle's books, True Women and Hill Country tell the story of generations of her family. She brings the Texas history and family culture and structure to life. You will almost be able to smell the Texas blue-bells.

Genealogists love mysteries and before the summer is over I may re-read Killing Cousins by Gene Stratton. You will enjoy reading about Mort Sinclair who is a professional genealogist and expert on dead relatives. Help him solve the mystery on Fogge Island and test your skills.

On the light side, Rett MacPherson has written several books that feature the central character of Torie O'Shea, genealogist and mystery-solver. Three of these you might wish to locate are, Killing Cousins (another one), A Misty Mourning and A Veiled Antiquity. There are more!

If time travel and history interest you, start reading the books by Diana Gabaldon. You should read them in order, such as: Outlander, Dragon Fly in Amber, Voyager, Drums of Autumn, The Fiery Cross and A Breathe of Snow and Ashes. These books are sometimes classified as romance novels, but they are that and a whole lot more. You will learn a good deal, in an interesting way, about life during the Jacobite rebellion in Scotland and pre-Revolutionary times in America. Travel with Jamie and Claire Fraser as they go back and forth in time, keeping you interested not only in their lives but the culture and society around them.

Genealogists can learn not only from books about genealogy, methodology and family genealogies, but also from novels and non-fiction written with an historical and genealogical theme. Broaden the scope of your reading ... and enjoy the summer!

Source Information: Tracing Lines, New Providence, NJ, USA: Genealogy Today LLC, 2008.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Genealogy Today LLC.

<< Tracing Lines

<< Helpful Articles