Reference books for a beginner?

+9 votes
166 views
Hello.  I am hoping some of you can recommend some reference materials, books, journals, etc., which would be helpful to me in becoming more individually proficient at "the hunt."  Reading some of the threads here,  I am realizing how little I know about doing my own research.  Ancestry spoon-feeds info and I've run into some walls, and also am aware that a lot of 2ndary sources include errors or suggestions that can too often be taken as fact.  I'd be interested in starting, (of course!) with my own heritage, which is tri-state (NY, NJ,CT) Dutch/German/Norwegian (melange) with a goodly portion of Huguenot, Irish by way of Somerville, Boston area >Knoydart NS Canada & Grenville, Ont., and off-the-boat Bismarck-era German Bavarian Catholics (with a smattering of interfaith marriages as closely as I can determine).
asked in The Tree House by Alycia Keating G2G6 (7.5k points)
In addition to the good suggestions already made, see if there are any genealogy conferences coming up near where you live. These offer lots of good beginner topics, and (you may not be as much of a beginner as you think) also more intermediate sessions. Often there are speakers on specific ethnic and geographic topics, and often the admission fee is low.
Hi, I always say to start at home.  Or your Mom or Grandparents home.  If they have old letters read them. They may give you a direction to look in.  If there are pictures, take them out of the frame and look at the back of the picture or behind the picture for another older picture.  Talk to whoever in your family is the oldest.  They may give your stories that will help.  Otherwise you can google the centennial histories from the towns your family have lived in.  I found a very good History of Pierce County Wisconsin.  It had biographies of the pioneers who had settled there.  But I have found that local historical societies are the best option.  If you google the state you live in for genealogical resources, you will probably get a good start there.  Canada has a great database.

6 Answers

+5 votes
answered by Doug Lockwood G2G Astronaut (2.4m points)
+5 votes
If your library uses the Dewey Decimal system, you can find many helpful guides at number 929.1. This is how I got started over 37 years ago. After reading one genealogy how to, I wanted to read them all!

Also, check with your local genealogy and historical societies and see if they are offering classes in the new year!

Merry Christmas!

Sharon Centanne
answered by Sharon Centanne G2G6 Pilot (139k points)
+2 votes
My favorite book is "The Source" https://www.amazon.com/Source-Guidebook-American-Genealogy-Third/dp/1593312776

It should be in the genealogy section at your local library, I have the third edition. There may be newer versions now. Check it out and see if you think it's worth the cost.

Good luck with your research!

Barbara
answered by Barbara B G2G6 Mach 1 (15.3k points)
+4 votes

Most of the Greeters include a link to WikiTree's page on "How to Get Started" in their posts, but in case you missed it, it has some good advice -

http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Getting_Started_With_Genealogy

Cheers, Liz

answered by Liz Shifflett G2G6 Pilot (308k points)
+2 votes
I am somewhat of a beginner when it comes to  geology online so what I did was I got  genealogy online for dummies and I find that I refer to the book a lot of the time and think it's a very good resource to get. It pin points you to different websites you can go for help but also helps you with  ancestry.com and other websites that most people are using now days when to comes to  genealogy on the web. It might be an old edition but with the money if you have no else to help you out like i do.
answered by James Webb G2G2 (2k points)
+2 votes

There is a list of books based on location and a list of books based on surname. Most of these are freely available on the internet.

answered by Rick Pierpont G2G6 Mach 9 (94.8k points)

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