Four Genealogy Books That Will Improve Your Research

Christmas is coming and I at all times have an inventory of family tree books to move to Santa’s Little Helper (a.ok.a. Mrs Phil). Having spent over a 12 months writing about family tree methodology and analysis methods on this very weblog, I needed to share with you what I imagine are the 4 greatest books on the topic.

WordPress kindly tells me that roughly 50% of my readers are from North America and the opposite 50% are from UK, Europe and Australasia, so I’ve chosen two by American authors which can be found on either side of the Atlantic and two extra by British authors which deserve a wider readership. Nation of publication apart, all 4 are books which have had a profound affect on my strategy to family tree analysis and which I can wholeheartedly advocate.

So, with out additional ado, listed below are my 4 prime picks.

Analysis Like A Professional – A Genealogist’s Information

by Diana Elder with Nicole Dyer

This e book has two most important elements. First, an eight chapter part which succinctly guides the reader by way of a full analysis methodology, wholly aligned with the most effective practices espoused by the US Board for Certification of Genealogists (my common readers will know that that is an strategy I heartily approve of); second, comes a prolonged part of templates and labored examples. The templates and examples are totally US-focussed (which is truthful because the authors are American) however nonetheless sufficiently informative to non-American readers as an example the strategies in chapters one by way of eight.

What I notably like about this e book is that they’ve efficiently laid out the entire analysis course of from begin to end. It isn’t only a e book of pick-an-mix methods, however an overarching strategy. That is one thing which I’d spent important time searching for and was delighted that these authors supplied it.

Mom and daughter crew, Diana Elder and Nicole Dyer are each skilled genealogists and well-known audio system on the US family tree convention circuit. They run a profitable web site ( and a long-standing family tree podcast, additionally known as Analysis Like A Professional.

Family tree – Important Analysis Strategies

by Helen Osborn

This e book systematically unpacks every of the phases in a genealogical investigation, giving methods, tips, checklists, and examples at every level. The case research are all British in focus (because the writer is British), providing a neat corollary to Analysis Like A Professional.

Shortly after studying this e book I studied beneath Helen Osborn at Pharos Tutors (, the corporate that Helen based with Scottish genealogist Sherry Irvine. There was a selected day on that course, whereas attending a web-based seminar with Helen as tutor, once I had one thing of a Damascene conversion from my earlier novice strategy to a structured, deliberate, skilled strategy. I re-read Helen’s e book – it was there in in black and white all alongside, it simply hadn’t fairly penetrated till that second. My genealogical life modified that day, my occupied with genealogical analysis remodeled. And it planted the seeds of this very weblog.

Helen, thanks.

Household Historical past Nuts and Bolts – Downside-Fixing by way of Household Reconstitution Strategies

by Andrew Todd

Again within the early 2000s, this was the primary e book about genealogical methods that I ever learn, and it made an enormous impression on me. The writer’s thesis is that it is just by researching the broader household of our analysis targets that we will absolutely perceive their lives, AND that the solutions to many a analysis brick wall are supplied by these wider members of the family. He illustrates it all through with clear, easy examples. The examples are all British and consult with British information, however the rules are common.

Dealing with the primary important brick wall in my Isherwood analysis, it was the methods I discovered from Andrew Todd’s e book that helped me to unravel it, extending my patrilineal line again by an additional hundred and thirty years within the course of.

Now in its third version, it is a traditional of British family tree and is broadly cited by different British writers on family tree methods. It’s brief, solely 100 pages, however jam-packed with helpful methods.

Superior Family tree Analysis Strategies

by George G. Morgan and Drew Smith

Please don’t be intimidated by the phrase Superior within the title. This e book incorporates wise, grounded analysis methods that will help you assault a few of your difficult analysis issues. Though American in its focus, and positively within the case research it presents, the methods themselves are sufficiently normal to be utilized in no matter nation your analysis pursuits lie.

George Morgan and Drew Smith are well-known figures in US genealogical circles. Primarily based in Florida, they’re the founders and hosts of the longstanding The Family tree Guys Podcast together with different genealogy-related choices which yow will discover at Surprisingly, I discover no point out of this e book on their web site, however it’s broadly out there from good booksellers.

Honourable Mentions

It was an actual battle limiting my alternatives to only 4. There are a bunch extra books I wish to give at the very least an honourable point out to as they’re additionally vital, simply maybe not so impactful as my prime group. In no explicit order they’re:

Family tree Requirements
by Board for Certification of Genealogists

I’ve cited and written about this e book earlier than in my article on genealogical proof ( It’s tremendously vital as a result of it defines the most effective apply genealogical analysis course of as advocated by the US Board for Certification of Genealogists. Nonetheless, the definitions are simply that, bald textual definitions which can be as readable as a dictionary. For explanations of greatest practices in family tree, one should learn the books I’ve cited above, or my different articles on this weblog sequence.

Fixing Family tree Issues
by Dr Graeme Davis

This can be a tremendously accessible e book for British analysis which takes a tour by way of the primary genealogical document sorts, highlighting suggestions, and methods to wring out each scrap of element and unblock halted analysis. My version is well-thumbed and festooned with post-it notes in order that I can shortly entry Dr Davis’ golden nuggets of knowledge.

Parts of Genealogical Evaluation
by Robert Charles Anderson

This e book focusses on reliably hyperlink collectively two findings in order that one can say with confidence that they relate to the identical individual, which he illustrates by way of reference to a serious migration research he has managed for the New England Historic Genealogical Society.

Proof linkage is a tough downside which I’ve written about right here ( I used to be influenced by Robert Charles Anderson, each his e book and a lecture of his that I attended at RootsTech London in 2019, in my writings on the topic.

Household Historical past Analysis Challenges And How To Remedy Them
by Ian Waller

Though he makes a glancing point out of the Genealogical Proof Commonplace, Ian Waller restricts his strategy to suggestions per supply sort as generally discovered within the UK. The guidelines are all wise and useful, however one way or the other the e book fails to shine amongst the corporate on this article.

Skilled Family tree – Preparation, Observe & Requirements
Ed. Elizabeth Proven Mills

This isn’t actually a e book about methodology in any respect – it’s scope if far wider than that – however the chapters on Skilled Analysis Abilities, are 130 pages of stable primer and clarification of the US BCG’s best-practices, nearly as good as any I’ve discovered. The tone is barely dry – it is a skilled textbook, not a mass-market publication – however the content material is profound.

What are your favorite family tree books?

Publish your favorite books within the feedback under. Let me know if I’m lacking out on a traditional of the sphere – Santa’s Little Helper would love to purchase it for me for Christmas!