6 Books Every Genealogist Needs
Why These Books are Important
If a person wants their work to be taken seriously, skills have to be learned and certain standards has to be met. If a person wants to become a professional genealogist or historian, their work has to meet the high standards of their peers. If an amateur family tree genealogist wants accurate results of their own family tree, they too should use the guidelines and standards that professional genealogists do. Nobody wants their work to be inaccurate and shoddy.
Below are a summary of books that student and professional genealogists use to develop those skills and maintain their work and careers.
These books are used in the curriculum of various genealogy certificate programs such as Boston University, Brigham Young University and the National Institute for Genealogical Studies to name a few. Many of these books are used in study groups online and in classes offered by genealogical societies all across North America.
Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace
Author: Elizabeth Shown Mills.
Any item that a genealogist uses to gather information from as “evidence” is a source. Sources can be a document, a book, or an artifact like Aunt Betty’s wedding ring. A person can even be a source. When a researcher uses these sources, the sources need to be documented to show “proof” of where the information came from. This proof is called a citation.
Citations need to be crafted in such a way that the researcher or whoever reads the researcher’s data can easily find the source again.
The book Evidence Explained shows how citations are crafted to genealogical standards. It’s not a book to be read cover to cover, but a book to be used as a reference guide.
Contents of Evidence Explained:
- Fundamentals of Evidence Analysis
- Fundamentals of Citation
- Archives and Artifacts
- Business and Institutional Records
- Cemetery Records
- Census Records
- Church Records
- Local and State Records: Courts and Governance
- Local and State Records: Licenses, Registrations, Roll and Vital Records
- Local and State Records: Property and Probates
- National Government Records
- Publications: Books, CD’s, Maps, Leaflets and Videos
- Publications: Legal Works and Government Documents
- Publications: Periodicals, Broadcasts and Web Miscellanea
Mastering Genealogical Documentation
Author: Thomas W. Jones.
Whereas Evidence Explained is a reference book, Mastering Genealogical Documentation is a textbook. Mr. Jones explains step by step how and why a citation should be constructed. Each chapter in the book contains lessons, examples and exercises to study and solve. The back of the book contains answers to the lessons so they can be checked and reviewed. The reader will learn how to accurately and clearly construct citations in their research.
Contents of Mastering Genealogical Documentation:
The Purpose and Nature of Genealogical Documentation
Non-citation Aspects of Genealogical Documentation
Citation Settings, Forms and Shortcuts
Assembling Components into Clear Citations
Capitalization, Italics, Punctuation and Other Citation Subtleties
Determining a Source’s Publication Status
Issues in Citing Source Titles, Descriptions or Both
Authors, Creators and Informants
Citing Absent, Hidden, Obvious and Perplexing Dates for Sources, Information and Events
Citing Numbered, Grouped, and Subgrouped Online Sources and Information Items
Answering the Wherein and Whereis Citation Questions for Online Sources
Identifying Offline Publishers and Repositories
Citing Original Online Content
Citing Images of Previously Published Material
Citing Images of Previously Unpublished Material
Multipart Options for Citing Images
Documenting on Your Own
Author: Board of Certification for Genealogists. (BCG)
Around since the early 1960’s, the BCG is one of two certifying bodies in the United States for genealogists. (The other is Association of Professional Genealogists.) In 2000, the BCG compiled rules and guidelines for professionals to adhere to called the Genealogical Proof Standard. This book explains the 5 elements of the Genealogical Proof Standard.
Reasonably exhaustive research.
Accurate citations to the sources.
Thorough analysis and correlation of the evidence.
Resolution of conflicts of the evidence.
A sound and clear conclusion of the evidence.
Mastering Genealogical Proof
Author: Thomas W. Jones.
In this book, Mr. Jones walks us through the Genealogical Proof Standard in the same way he does with citations in Mastering Genealogical Documentation. In clarity he gives lessons in each chapter for the student to pore over and learn with the answers in the back of the book to analyze.
Contents of Mastering Genealogical Proof:
Genealogy’s Standard of Proof
Concepts Fundamental to the GPS
GPS Element 1: Thorough Research
GPS Element 2: Source Citations
GPS Element 3: Analysis and Correlation
GPS Element 4: Resolving Conflicts and Assembling Evidence
GPS Element 5: The Written Conclusion
Using the GPS
Professional Genealogy: A Manual for Researchers, Writers, Editors, Lecturers, and Librarians (ProGen1)
Editor: Elizabeth Shown Mills.
A genealogist at the top of the field, Elizabeth Shown Mills published ProGen in 2001. Miss Mills collaborated with over 20 colleagues to produce this manual that is still relevant to this day.
ProGen contains 29 chapters, each written by a different person who excels on the topic of the chapter. ProGen covers all aspects of professional genealogy.
Contents of ProGen1:
1. Defining Professionalism, by Donn Devine,J.D., CG, CGI
2. Educational Preparation, by Claire Mire Bettag, CGRS
3. Certification and Accreditation, by Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG; Paul F. Smart, AG; Jimmy B. Parker, AG; and Claire Mire Bettag, CGRS
- 4. The Essential Library, by Joy Reisinger, CG
Ethics and Legalities
5. Ethical Standards, by Neil D. Thompson, LL.B., Ph.D., CG, FASG
6. Executing Contracts, by Patricia Gilliam Hastings, J.D.
- 7. Copyright and Fair Use, by Val D. Greenwood, J.D., AG
8. Alternative Careers, by Elizabeth Kelley Kerstens, CGRS
9. Structuring A Business, by Melinda Shackleford Kashuba, Ph.D.
10. Setting Realistic Fees, by Sandra Hargreaves Luebking
11. Marketing Strategies, by Elizabeth Kelley Kerstens, CGRS
12. Business Record Keeping, by Helen F. M. Leary, CG, CGL, FASG
- 13. Time Management, by Patricia Law Hatcher, CG, FASG
Professional Research Skills
14. Problem Analyses and Research Plans, by Helen F. M. Leary, CG, CGL, FASG
15. Research Procedures, by Linda Woodward Geiger, CGRS, CGL
16. Transcripts and Abstracts, by Mary McCampbell Bell, CLS, CGL
- 17. Evidence Analysis, by Donn Devine, J.D., CG, CGI
Writing and Compiling
18. Research Reports, by Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG
19. Genealogy Columns, by Regina Hines Ellison, CGRS
20. Proof Arguments and Case Studies, by Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG
21. Book and Media Reviews, by Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG
22. Record Compilations, by Bettie Cummings Cook, CG
23. Family Histories, by Christine Rose, CG, CGL, FASG
- 24. Lineage Papers, by Mary McCampbell Bell, CLS, CGL and Elisabeth Whitman Schmidt, CLS
Editing and Publishing
25. Editing Periodicals, by Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG
26. Proofreading and Indexing, by Birdie Monk Holsclaw
- 27. Preparing Books for Press, by Joan Ferris Curran, CG
28. Classroom Teaching, by Sandra Hargreaves Luebking
29. Lecturing, by Helen F. M. Leary, CG, CGL, FASG
Professional Genealogy: Preparation, Practice & Standards (ProGen2)
Editor: Elizabeth Shown Mills.
As time goes on, technology changes, industries change, resources multiply. ProGen2 was published in 2018 because the genealogy world has evolved since ProGen1 was published back in 2001. However, ProGen2 does not replace ProGen1. Everything in ProGen1 is still relevant, ProGen2 shows you updated and new techniques that have evolved in genealogy.
Contents of ProGen2:
- 1. Defining Professionalism, by Thomas W. Jones, Ph.D., CG, CGL, FASG
- 2. Educational Preparation, by Melinde Lutz Byrne, CG, FASG
- 3. Genealogical Credentials, by Paul K. Graham, AG, CG and Dawne Slater, CG
- 4. Auxiliary Careers, by Michael G. Hait, CG, CGL
Ethics & Legalities
- 5. Ethical Considerations, by Michael S. Ramage, J.D., CG
- 6. Executing Contracts, by Malissa Ruffner, J.D., CG
- 7. Copywrite & Fair Use, by Judy G. Russell, J.D., CG, CGL
- 8. Structuring a Business, by Jean Atkinson Andrews, CG
- 9. Managing Records & Time, by Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG
- 10. Setting Fees, by Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL
- 11. Marketing, by Michael G. Hait, CG, CGL
Professional Research Skills
- 12. Reasoning from Evidence, by Thomas W. Jones, Ph.D., CG, CGL, FASG
- 13. Problem Analysis & Research Plans, by Laura Murphy DeGrazia, CG
- 14. Research Procedures, by Harold Henderson, CG
- 15. Forensic Specialization, by Michael S. Ramage, J.D., CG
- 16. Genetics for Genealogy, by Blaine T. Bettinger, Ph.D., J.D. and Judy G. Russell, J.D., CG, CGL
- 17. Lineage Applications, by Barbara J. Mathews, CG, FASG and Darcie Hind Posz, CG
Writing, Editing & Publishing
- 18. Research Reports, by Nancy A. Peters, Cg, CGL
- 19. Genealogy Journalism, by George C. Morgan
- 20. Proof Arguments & Case Studies, by Thomas W. Jones, Ph.D., CG, CGL, FASG
- 21. Critiques & Reviews, by Stefani Evans, CG
- 22. Crafting Family Histories, by Michael J. Leclerc, CG
- 23. Editing Periodicals, by Melinde Lutz Byrne, CG, FASG
- 24. Preparing Books for Press, by Craig Roberts Scott, CG
- 25. Genealogical Lecturing, by Judy G. Russell, J.D., CG, CGL
- 26. Genealogical Teaching, by Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL