Thursday, September 11, 2008

What's on my nightstand? Why my ten favorite genealogy books of course!

When I first started researching my family history, about ten years ago, I never imagined how much time and effort I would put into finding my ancestors. I imagined that I would simply mail a lot of letters and wait for my family members to supply me with my requested information. Unfortunately, I am still waiting for some of those letters. So, I went to my local library and picked out a few books on genealogy--just to give me a little guidance and direction to help "fill in some of those blanks" on my family tree.
In no time at all I realized that those books were like bibles! There was so much information in between those pages. My library would only allow me to check out four books on genealogy at one time. Their collection was quite small and they had a limit of checking out four books on each subject per patron. To complicate matters, they only had a two week check out period. That was simply not enough time to copy and take down all those addresses and phone numbers of genealogical societies, historical societies, county clerks, etc. I needed those books, I wanted those books! I didn't want to give them back! Thus started my collection of books on genealogy. Here's what's on my nightstand!

My number one favorite book! "The Handybook for Genealogists," 11th edition, edited by Holly Hansen. Published by Everton Publishers, it retails for $50, although you can find earlier editions on Amazon for much less. If you can't afford it right now- borrow it from your local library.
Number two on my favorite's list is definitely "Finding Your Chicago Ancestors," by Grace DuMelle. This book is an absolute MUST if you have any ancestors from the Chicago area. I often refer to the sections "Points to Remember" in each chapter. You can find this book at Borders, it retails for $16.95.
Number three is "Secrets of Tracing Your Ancestors," by W. Daniel Quillen.
I often visit one of the local libraries that I live near and use their internet subscription to Ancestry. Therefore, I find the following two books extremely helpful; "The Official Guide to Ancestry.com" written by George G. Morgan and "The Official Guide to Rootsweb.com" written by Myra Vanderpool Gromley, CG and Tana Pedersen Lord. They have both helped me unscramble some of the problems I've encountered with my methods of searching for my ancestors.
Most of my ancestors are Hoosiers! I have mentioned that a number of times. The book "Finding Indiana Ancestors; A Guide to Historical Research," edited by M. Teresa Baer and Geneil Breeze. This book has been a real help with identifying Indiana county records, church records, cemetery records and so much more.
I am always asking for old family photographs from my cousins. "Family Photographs 1860-1945," written by Robert Pols has been helpful in identifying the different types of pictures, what to look for in a photograph, and their time lines.
One of the first books I picked up early on in my quest for genealogical knowledge and refer to still is "Writing Family Histories and Memories," written by Kirk Polking. Thanks to this book, my family stories and histories are far better prepared and organized.
My last two favorites include "Genealogy Online," 8th edition, written by Elizabeth Powell Crowe. This book guided me through the internet with blogs and podcasts and RSS feeds. Last but not least is "The Genealogist's Companion & Sourcebook," written by Emily Croom, this book was also one of my first buys and I still pick it up and scan through it.
There you have it. Some of my favorites but certainly not all that I own. I am trying to get my hands on one of the few copies of "A Standard History of White County Indiana". My GG Grandparents Jacob and Eliza Hanaway lived in Monticello, White County, Indiana in the nineteenth century. Time will tell when I will get a copy of that book!
As the saying goes; "So many books, so little time!"

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The Family

The family. We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another's desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together. ~Erma Bombeck

Genealogy Pox, author unknown

WARNING: GENEALOGY POX IS VERY CONTAGIOUS!

SYMPTOMS: Continual complaint as to need for names, dates and places. Patient has a blank expressions, sometimes deaf to spouse and children. Has no taste for work of any kind, except feverishly looking through records at libraries and courthouses.
Has a compulsion to write letters. Swears at mailman when he doesn't leave mail. Frequents strange places such as cemeteries, ruins, and remote desolate country areas. Makes secret night calls and hides phone bills from spouse. Mumbles to self. Has strange, faraway look in eyes.

NO KNOWN CURE!

TREATMENT: Medication is useless. This disease is not fatal, but gets progressively worse. Patient should attend genealogy workshops, subscribe to genealogical magazines and be given a quiet corner in the house where he/she can be alone.

REMARKS: The unusual nature of this disease is that the sicker the patient gets, the more he or she enjoys it!