Books, Magazines and CDs

by Ruby Coleman

Genealogy is on-line, but it also elsewhere! The computer has not replaced the need for books and magazines. Internet has not replaced the need to research in courthouses, libraries, cemeteries and visit relatives. To handle, manage and preserve your genealogical information, a good genealogical comptuer application is essential. There are several commercial products on the market today. Even so there is also the need for a "core collection" of books, magazines and CDs that will assist you in the research process.

First determine what is available at your local or area library. Do they have a genealogical collection that contains basic how-to books and topical books? Are they easy for you to access? If their genealogical collection is minimal, is there a collection available at an historical or genealogical society?

Before getting too excited about purchasing genealogical books, determine where you will place the books. How much space is available? Don't go on a buying spree until you have determined what is needed and how much money you plan to spend.

Vendors display their genealogical products at genealogical conferences, normally those that draw a high attendance. If you plan to attend a conference, check out what is available. This is normally anything from books, magazines, computer products and CDs to mousepads, coffee mugs and sweat shirts. It is also possible to shop at home. If you are comfortable with buying on-line using a secure credit card form, this is a fast and easy way to build your genealogical collection. It is also possible to send a check or money order for purchases, using the Internet to determine what is available.

Even if you have been doing research for a few years, it is helpful to have at least one how-to book in your collection. From time to time you may encounter something unusual or need to brush up on research methods. There are many how-to guides available. Be sure to check out the edition and date of copyright so you are purchasing an up to date book. The following are two publications that always seem to be at the top of the genealogy list:

  • The Researcher's Guide to American Genealogy, 2nd edition by Val D. Greenwood, Baltimore: The Genealogical Publishing Co., 1990.
  • The Source: A Sourcebook of American Genealogy, revised edition, edited by Loretto Dennis Szucs and Sandra Hargreaves Luebking, Salt Lake City: Ancestry Publishing Company, 1997.

It is essential that you document your research. To assist in this process, the following book is excellent.

  • Evidence! Citation & Analysis for the Family Historian by Elizabeth Shown Mills, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1997.

The following are helpful guides that detail county formations and where to write for documents. One or more should be in your collection.

  • Ancestry's Redbook, edited by Alice Eichholtz, Salt lake City: Ancestry Publishing Company.
  • The Handy Book for Genealogists, 10th edition. Logan, Utah: Everton Publishers, Inc., 2002.
  • The Genealogist's Address Book, 4th edition by Elizabeth Petty Bentley. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1999.

The following are some of the publishers and vendors who have web pages. Check out their books, magazines and software. You can easily order on-line or use mail in orders for products. The web site may not contain all of their products, so request a catalog.

  • Willow Bend Books -
  • Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc. - http:.//
  • Heritage Quest -
  • Everton Publishers, Inc. -
  • Online Store - (click on Shop)

Subscribing to magazines will keep you updated on new products, book reviews and methods of research. There are several excellent publications available as bi-monthly and quarterly publications. The following are just a few.

  • Ancestry -
  • The National Genealogical Society Newsmagazine and quarterly publication (with membership)
  • Family Chronicle -
  • Family Tree Magazine -
  • Family History Magazine -
  • Heritage Quest Magazine -

Have computer, need software. Most of the genealogical software on the market today falls into two categories ... sources and family genealogy software. The sources are items such as census, passenger lists and personal family files. The family genealogy software helps you keep track of your research, creates databases, lists and charts. Most of the major genealogical vendors also sell software. Be sure to also check out my e-learning CD at!

Genealogy books, magazines and computer software doesn't need to take over your house. However, there are some items that are essential for good research principles. It is always great to have them handy for that one certain moment when you need an answer to your genealogical question.

<< Tracing Lines

What's New in Genealogy ... Today!
click to view original photo