Book Wish List

Reference Books for the Genealogist Wish List
By Susan LeBlanc, BGS/FH, AG®[i]

Genealogy books are plentiful and knowing which ones will be most beneficial in your genealogy education is important. While taking classes through BYU, I made the following list of books used in the various classes or suggested by the instructors. It is certainly not everything on my shelves, which contain over 100 reference books, but it will help to get you thinking about creating your own list. Many of my other books are for specific localities and foreign research. Of the 45 books listed, eleven are still on my wish list. An important feature of creating a list is to mark off the books that you have, so when you go to purchase books you will know which books to add to your individual library. Our local librarian requested the list, as she wants to build our library collection. To keep costs down for the home library one can purchase used books at a fraction of the original price. The most recent publication does not always provide many changes from previous versions. While you may be able to access the book online, having a hard cover copy is nice for leisure reading and ready reference. Being able to mark a book for personal use is something true book lover’s relish.

Standard World Atlas, Deluxe Edition, Hammond Incorporated. This is a vital tool even with online map services. A variety of atlases for various time periods is important for specific research projects.

The Source, A Guidebook of American Genealogy, edited by Loretto Dennis Szucs & Sandra Hargreaves Luebking, Ancestry, 1997, 834 pgs. (Available online at wiki) (The 2006 third edition added four chapters and 162 pages.)

Red Book, American State, County, and Town Sources, edited by Alice Eichholz, PhD. CG and William Dollarhide, Ancestry, 2004, 781 pgs. (Available online at wiki)

The Handybook for Genealogists, United States of America, by Everton Publishers, 2002, 880 pgs.

Reading Early American Handwriting, by Kip Sperry, Genealogical Publishing Company, 2002, 289 pgs. (There is also a video lecture.)

Professional Genealogy, A Manual for Researchers, Writers, Editors, Lecturers and Librarians, editor Elizabeth Shown Mills, Genealogical Publishing Company, 2002, 654 pgs.

Becoming an Accredited Genealogist, Plus 100 Tips to Ensure Your Success, by Karen Clifford, AG, Ancestry, 1998, 230 pgs.

The BCG Genealogy Standards Manual, by the Board for Certification of Genealogists, 2000, 125 pgs.

Carmack’s Guide to Copyright & Contracts, A Primer for Genealogists, Writers & Researchers, by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack, CG, Genealogical Publishing Company, 2005, 119 pgs.

Black’s Law Dictionary, with Pronunciations, by Henry Campbell Black, M.A., West Publishing Company, 1994, 1657 pgs.

Women and the Law of Property in Early America, by Marylynn Salmon, The University of North Carolina Press, 1986, 267 pgs.

A to Zax, A Comprehensive Dictionary for Genealogists & Historians, by Barbara Jean Evans, Hearthside Press, 1995, 300 pgs.

Webster’s New American Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, 1995, 687 pgs.

Webster’s New Complete Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, 1995, 690 pgs.

The Chicago Manual of Style: The Essential Guide for Writers, Editors, and Publishers by Chicago Editorial Staff, 14th Edition, 1993, 933 pgs. (Editions 15 and 16 available online at

Evidence Explained, Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace, by Elizabeth Shown Mills, Genealogical Publishing Company, 2007, 885 pgs.

Evidence, Citation & Analysis for the Family Historian, by Elizabeth Shown Mills, Genealogical Publishing Company, 1997, 124 pgs. (The simplified version.)

Quick Sheets by Elizabeth Shown Mills, Citing Online Historical Resources, Citing Databases & Images, Evidence Analysis, Genealogical Publishing Company, 2005, 2009, 2006.

The Family Tree Resource Book for Genealogists: The Essential Guide to American County and Town Sources, by Family Tree Magazine Staff, 2010, 746 pgs.

Hidden Sources, Family History in Unlikely Places, by Laura Szucs Pfeiffer, 1999, 312 pgs.

Printed Sources, A Guide to Published Genealogical Records, edited by Kory L.Meyerink, Ancestry, 1998, 840 pgs.

Compendium of Historical Sources, The How & Where of American Genealogy, by Ronald A. Bremer, 1983, 1004 pgs.

International Vital Records Handbook, by Thomas Jay Kemp, 2009, 588 pgs.

Land & Property Research in the United States, by E. Wade Hone, Ancestry, 1997, 517 pgs.

Your Guide to the Federal Census, for genealogists, researchers, and family historians, by Kathleen W. Hinckley, Betterway Books, 2002, 275 pgs.

Map Guide to U.S. Census, by William Dollarhide and William Thorndale, 1995, 445 pgs. 

State Census Records, by Ann S. Lainhart, Genealogical Publishing Company, 1992, 116 pgs.

The Library: A Guide to the LDS Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah, by Wendy L. Elliott and Johni Cerny, 1988, 763 pgs.

The Library of Congress: A Guide to Genealogical and Historical Records, by James C. Neagles, Ancestry, 1990, 381 pgs.

The Archives: A Guide to National Archives Field Branches, by Loretto Dennis Szucs and Sandra Hargreaves, Ancestry, 1988, 340 pgs.

U.S. Military Records: A Guide to Federal and State Sources, Colonial American to the Present, by James C. Neagles, Ancestry, 1994, 455 pgs.

Guide to Genealogical Research in the National Archives, National Archives Trust Fund Board, 1985, 304 pgs.

County Courthouse Book, by Elizabeth Petty Bentley, Genealogical Publishing Company, 1996, 397 pgs.

Directory of Family Associations, by Elizabeth Petty Bentley, Genealogical Publishing Company, 1991, 318 pgs.

US Catholic Sources, a Diocesan Research Guide, compiled by Virginia Humling, Ancestry, 1995, 111 pgs.

French-Canadian Sources, a Guide for Genealogists, eight contributing authors, Ancestry, 2002, 329 pgs.

A Preservation Guide, Saving the Past & the Present for the Future, by Barbara Sagraves, Ancestry, 1995, 41 pgs.

The Family Tree Problem Solver: Proven Methods for Scaling the Inevitable Brick Wall, by Marsha Hoffman Rising, 2005, 240 pgs.

American & British Genealogy & Heraldry, a selected list of books, by P. William Filby, American Library Association, 1975, 467 pgs.

The Researchers Guide to American Genealogy, by Val D. Greenwood, Genealogical Publishing Company, 1990, 609 pgs.

Genealogy in America, by Norman Edgar Wright, Deseret Book Company, 1968, 299 pgs.

Handbook of Genealogical Sources, by George K. Schweitzer, Ph.D., Sc.D., 1991, 217 pgs. (George has written many small books on various topics, including specific localities and wars. Even though they are somewhat dated, they offer some good information.)

[i] AG® certification marks are the sole property of the
International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists.
All Rights Reserved. Last modified August 2008