Top 10 genealogy resources

I have been away a while—I know, I know—but I just couldn’t resist the latest blogging theme bouncing around. Top 10 lists always seem to bring me out of my little hole.

Judy G. Russell, CG, CGL, posted her legal-centric list at “Top 10 genealogy websites” on her award-winning blog The Legal Genealogist. The theme was started by James Tanner’s post “My Top Ten Genealogy Programs for Now” at his blog Genealogy’s Star. Several other bloggers have also followed suit (and Judy names a few, so I will not repeat the list here).

My list will be a little different. I will not focus exclusively on resources or websites, but instead on foundational works.

  1. The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010). If you write, which I assume that you do, this guide is absolutely necessary. CMOS covers grammar, punctuation, style, and citations, among numerous other topics related to writing and publishing. This also happens to be the style guide adopted by most humanities publishers, including all of the major genealogical journals. There is also an accompanying website available by subscription that allows full-text searching and offers additional assistance.
  2. Wayne C. Booth, et al., The Craft of Research, 3rd ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008). This guide is intended for university students researching for classes. Genealogy is a type of research, first and foremost. Many genealogical errors would be avoided if the researcher had a solid foundation in how to conduct research in general. This guide is one of the industry-standard introductions to basic research methodology.
  3. Board for Certification of Genealogists, Genealogy Standards, 50th anniversary ed. (Nashville, Tenn.: Ancestry.com, 2014). Nearly everyone that reads this blog should know that I am a dedicated evangelist for standards-based genealogical research. This book offers the only comprehensive compilation of the standards that have evolved in the field over the past century.
  4. Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, Mastering Genealogical Proof (Arlington, Va.: National Genealogical Society, 2013). This workbook offers most thorough exploration of genealogical standards of proof, written by one of the undisputed leaders in the field. The lessons are comprehensive and each chapter offers hands-on exercises utilizing two complex-evidence case studies also written by the author.
  5. ArchiveGrid (https://beta.worldcat.org/archivegrid/). As the URL reveals, this website is an offshoot of WorldCat. It includes, however, primarily manuscript collections held by over 1000 archival repositories, making the search much more focused. The site is easy to search for a surname, location, or topic, and returns descriptions and links to the finding aids for the relevant collections. In a recent project, for example, I was able to locate more than a half-dozen relevant collections in the same number of separate universities, historical societies, and libraries. Never neglect the oft-ignored possibility that your ancestor’s personal papers have been collected somewhere!
  6. Google. James Tanner included Google, but I am going to offer a slightly more specific view of its tools:
    • Web Search (http://www.google.com). No description likely necessary here, the most important function of Google is its search engine, so prevalent that “googling” something has become a verb unto itself. You can also limit the format of results using Image Search or Video Search, among other options.
    • Alerts (https://www.google.com/alerts). Google Alerts will email you anytime a new link is located for your keywords. This is a great way to monitor surnames of interest.
    • Books (https://books.google.com/). Google Books has digitized millions of books in whole or in part, most of which allow full-text search and many of which can be downloaded as a PDF and other digital formats.
    • Scholar (https://scholar.google.com/). Google Scholar searches scholarly and academic resources such as journals and dissertations, and provides links to content available online. This is a great way to learn about recent research related to the history and culture of your ancestral places, religion, ethnicity, etc.
    • Maps (https://www.google.com/maps) and Earth (https://www.google.com/intl/en/earth/). Because who doesn’t want to know where events happened, how close one location is to another, etc.? Google Earth is especially fun once you learn to overlay historic maps, plats, etc.
    • Translate (https://translate.google.com/). Though there are some real problems with automated direct translation between many languages, this tool will still be helpful in many cases in getting a general sense of the meaning of a document written in a language that you can’t read.
    • And there are many others that I won’t get into, like Gmail and Drive. Great for general productivity alone or with a group of researchers.
  7. Internet Archive (https://archive.org/) and Hathi Trust (https://www.hathitrust.org/). See above under Google Books, these two sites offer millions of digitized historic books. Internet Archive includes hundreds of reels of NARA microfilm publications, digitized in partnership with the Allen County Public Library! Though they are not indexed, they also have not been edited in any way. This provides the opportunity to view census records, etc., in the context of the original microfilm that has been digitized by other sites. Internet Archive also hosts the “Wayback Machine,” the most comprehensive archive of past websites (which is great for finding online information that somehow disappeared).
  8. Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG, Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace, 3rd ed. (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2015). I’m sure that you didn’t think I would forget the book of which I spent two posts discussing the merits a few years ago. Read them here and here. Also take the time to visit the companion website, which offers some very useful forums on documentation and evidence analysis.
  9. Anthony Weston, A Rulebook for Arguments, 4th ed. (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Co., 2009). Reaching a defensible conclusion using conflicting direct, indirect, and/or negative evidence, is often a matter of logic. This short, general guide to the art of formulating a logical argument could almost serve as a guide to genealogical proof arguments. It looks at form, substance, and common fallacies, among other subjects.
  10. The Internet. This tenth spot is tough. So many websites offer online digitized record images that it is impossible to list them all. Obviously, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com) and FamilySearch (http://www.familysearch.org) lead the pack, but other sites include national and international archives, state archives, local public libraries and historical societies, university libraries, etc. Basically, the Internet has completely revolutionized the way that genealogical research is conducted in the twenty-first century. I’m certain that I am not the only researcher who misses the disproportionate “microfilm muscle” (*sarcasm*), but the ability to research with a simple point-and-click deserves a place on every list. Of course, not all material has been digitized, but the Internet also offers access to repository catalogs for access to additional microfilmed and original paper records. Frankly, it’s a bit difficult to imagine how we managed to survive back in the early 1990s, before the Internet was so prevalent. We did it, but I don’t even want to think about those crazy Dark Ages.

What do you think? Do these resources make your list? What shows up on your Top 10?

Upcoming online course: “Working with Sources and Information”

I would like to announce that I will be teaching the following online workshop next month:

Working with Sources and Information

4 June–11 June 2016

Sources are the foundation of every genealogical conclusion. The reliability of any conclusion depends entirely on the ability to evaluate the quality of each source and the information it asserts. Genealogists assess the actual meaning of a source and its information in its historical, cultural, and legal contexts. This process leads to greater success in solving complex genealogical problems.

This hands-on workshop will focus on the disciplined reading and evaluation of sources. Prior to each day of the course, students will be provided with a selection of records from around the world on which to exercise their analytical skills. These source selections will then be discussed in detail during the second session of each day.

Students who register for the Plus option will receive additional documents with which to practice the lessons. Those who submit their written source analyses will receive individual feedback from the instructor based on Genealogy Standards (Nashville, Tenn.: Ancestry.com, 2014). The separate Plus session will focus on source citations.

Course Schedule (all times U. S. Eastern)

4 June 2016

  • 11:00am: Principles of Source and Information Analysis
  • 1:00pm: Hands-on Review of Document Selection

11 June 2016

  • 11:00am: Principles of Evidence Correlation
  • 1:00pm: Hands-on Review of Document Selection: Focus on Correlation

Plus Session, 8 June 2016: “A Simple Model for Citing Any Source”

Visit http://vigrgenealogy.com/courses/hait-sources/ for more information and to register. I hope to see some of you there!

Upcoming educational opportunities you can’t miss!

It has been a while since I have posted—too long—but other duties have been occupying much of my time. I would like to take a moment to tell you about three educational opportunities with which I am involved.

Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research

First, the Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research, which was announced last fall, has met with great success! We have recordings available for seven (7) past courses, and registration is currently open for five courses coming up this summer and fall.

This Saturday, 20 June 2015, Billie Stone Fogarty and Rick Fogarty will be teaching a course entitled “Verifying the Family Legend of Native American Ancestry.” Registration is still open, so don’t miss it! This is a great opportunity to learn from a nationally recognized speaker and her son, a citizen of the Muscogee Creek Nation. Click here to register.

Courses on various topics from other nationally recognized experts Blaine Bettinger, F. Warren Bittner, Donna Moughty, J. Mark Lowe, and Maureen Taylor are currently available for purchase in the Virtual Institute store. Future courses will be presented by Bettinger, Craig Roberts Scott, Angela McGhie, and D. Joshua Taylor, among others.

Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy

Registration for the 2016 Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy also opens this Saturday, 20 June, at 9:00 am MDT (11:00 am EDT). Click here for more details.

I will be teaching in several courses this year, including Course 2: Researching New York: Resources and Strategies, coordinated by Karen Mauer Jones, CG, FGBS; Course 3: Research In The South, coordinated by J. Mark Lowe, CG, FUGA; Course 11: Writing A Quality Family Narrative, coordinated by John Philip Colletta, Ph.D, FUGA; and Course 13: Advanced Evidence Practicum, coordinated by Angela Packer McGhie.

Perhaps most exciting for me, however, is my opportunity to coordinate my own course this year: Course 9: Solving Problems Like a Professional. This course focuses on practical problem solving skills used by professional genealogists, designed to meet standards of genealogical proof as defined by the Board for Certification of Genealogists. Myself and all three of the other instructors are full-time genealogists, each with our own experience and professional focuses. The course will also have short homework assignments for the first three nights, allowing students to take advantage of the Family History Library and apply the lessons learned during the day.

Students for this course do not have to be professional genealogists or have any desire to be so. The lessons learned will be applicable to all research problems, during any time or place.

BCG Webinar Series

Last but certainly not least, the Board for Certification of Genealogists has finally made the leap into the webinar world, presenting webinars on a monthly basis—usually the third Tuesday of each month.

So far, I have presented one lecture, and we have had a top-notch lineup of other instructors, including Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA; “The Legal Genealogist” Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL; F. Warren Bittner, CG; James Baker, PhD, CG; Jean Wilcox Hibben, PhD, MA, CG; Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG; and Teresa Steinkamp McMillin, CG.

Most of the recordings are available for viewing or download on a dedicated page on the BCG blog, on a pay-per-view basis. Click here for more information.

National Genealogical Society seeks nominations for 2015 Genealogy Hall of Fame

The following announcement was received from the National Genealogical Society:

NATIONAL GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY SEEKS NOMINATIONS FOR THE 2015 GENEALOGY HALL OF FAME

Would your society like to honor a genealogist whose exemplary work lives on today? Perhaps there was a notable genealogist in your state or county whose name should be memorialized in the National Genealogy Hall of Fame.

If so, the National Genealogical Society would like to hear from you. NGS is seeking nominations from the entire genealogical community for persons whose achievements or contributions have made an impact on the field. This educational program increases appreciation of the high standards advocated and achieved by committed genealogists whose work paved the way for researchers today.

Since 1986 when Donald Lines Jacobus became the first genealogist elected to the National Genealogy Hall of Fame, twenty‐five outstanding genealogists have been recognized for their contributions. The 2015 honoree will join this select group of distinguished members. This year’s selection, and the society that honored the nominee, will be feted at the 2015 NGS Family History Conference to be held in St. Charles, Missouri. Nominations for election to the Hall of Fame are made by genealogical societies and historical societies throughout the United States.

Guidelines for nominations:

  • A nominee must have been actively engaged in genealogy in the United States for at least ten years, must have been deceased for at least five years at the time of nomination, and must have made contributions to the field of genealogy judged to be of lasting significance in ways that were unique, pioneering, or exemplary.
  •  The National Genealogy Hall of Fame is an educational project in which the entire genealogical community is invited to participate. Affiliation with the National Genealogical Society is not required.
  •  The National Genealogy Hall of Fame Committee elects one person to the Hall of Fame annually. Those elected are permanently commemorated in the Hall of Fame at Society headquarters, Arlington, Virginia.
  •  Nominations for election to the Hall of Fame are due by 31 January each year. Official nomination forms are available from our website, http://www.ngsgenealogy.org, Awards & Competitions, or by contacting the National Genealogical Society, 3108 Columbia Pike, Suite 300, Arlington, VA 22204‐4304; phone 1‐800‐473‐0060.

The National Genealogical Society’s Genealogy Hall of Fame includes such notable genealogists as Donald Lines Jacobus, John Insley Coddington, Jean Stephenson, James Dent Walker, Richard S. Lackey, Milton Rubincam, Kenn Stryker-Rodda, Walter Lee Sheppard, Jr., and Rosalie Fellows Bailey. To see a full list of current members of the Hall of Fame, with short biographical notes, visit http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/cs/halloffame_winners.

News from the Board for Certification of Genealogists

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

17 October 2014

BOARD FOR CERTIFICATION OF GENEALOGISTS DISCUSSES CERTIFICATION, WELCOMES JEANNE LARZALERE BLOOM, CG, AS NEW PRESIDENT

Genealogists seeking board certification will have a clearer idea of portfolio requirements following the October 12 meeting of the trustees of the Board for Certification of Genealogists in Salt Lake City. The Board also welcomed a new executive committee and two new members. Several trustees volunteered for a newly enlarged marketing committee. Trustee Judy G. Russell, J.D., CG, CGL, made a generous donation to fund a full year of BCG’s new free public instructional webinars.

To emphasize the fact that not all who apply for certification take clients, the fifth required item in an application portfolio will now be called “Research Report Prepared for Another” rather than “Research Report Prepared for a Client.” The item’s requirements remain the same: research and report on a genealogical problem authorized by someone else that does not involve the applicant’s family, showing “analysis of the problem, in-depth and skillful use of a range of sources, and recommendations for further work based on your findings.”

At the end of Sunday’s trustee meeting the presidential gavel passed from Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL, to Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG. In her final report as president, Powell commented on many changes, including the publication of revised standards and rubrics, BCG’s increased social-media presence, the new webinar series, as well as the 50th anniversary celebrations. Bloom responded, “On behalf of the associates and the trustees of BCG, I would like to thank Elissa for her capable leadership as BCG’s president these past two years.”

Other members of the new executive committee are Stefani Evans, CG, (vice-president), Michael S. Ramage, J.D., CG (treasurer), Dawne Slater-Putt, CG (secretary), and Russell (member at large). As past president, Powell will also serve on the executive committee in an advisory capacity. Newly re-elected trustees are David McDonald, CG, Evans, and Bloom, joined by newcomers Nancy A. Peters, CG, and Harold Henderson, CG. Retiring trustees Laura A. DeGrazia, CG, and Thomas W. Jones Ph.D, CG, CGL, were thanked for their long terms of service and for the significant advancements of BCG that occurred under their leadership. DeGrazia served 2005–2014, and as president 2008–2010. Jones served 1997–2007, 2011–2014, and as president 1999–2002.

Sunday’s meeting was preceded by a day of BCG-sponsored lectures offering problem-solving tools from associates Powell, Russell, Evans, and Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, hosted by the Family History Library. The lectures were streamed into two additional rooms when the main meeting room filled.

For questions or more information contact: Nicki Birch, CG, office@BCGcertification.org.

Announcing the Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research

For those of you who may have wondered why I’ve been so silent lately…

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research to Offer Unique Opportunities in Genealogical Education

RALEIGH, North Carolina, 9 September 2014. Professional genealogists Catherine W. Desmarais, CG, Michael Hait, CG, and Melanie D. Holtz, CG, are pleased to announce the formation of the Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research. The Virtual Institute is a unique educational opportunity for genealogists of all skill levels.

The Institute will offer courses on a wide variety of genealogical subjects, providing vigorous year-round education for the genealogical community using a virtual platform. Each course will consist of a total of four 90-minute lectures, two each presented on consecutive Saturdays, extensive syllabus material, and practical exercises. Limited class sizes of only one hundred registrants per course allows for a higher level of class participation and instructor feedback than typically offered by genealogy webinars.

Courses are currently planned around the topics of genealogical writing, advanced methodology, DNA testing and analysis, and cultural, regional, or record-based research strategies.

Many of these subject matters—as well as the depth of instruction—have never before been offered in a virtual format and are ideal for genealogists around the world. “The Virtual Institute will allow genealogists who work a full-time job or have limited travel budgets to more easily advance their genealogical skills,” Institute co-administrator Melanie D. Holtz stated.

Registration for each course will cost $69.99 and includes digital video recordings of all four lectures, available within two weeks of the close of each course.

For more information on the Institute and to register for upcoming courses, visit www.vigrgenealogy.com and subscribe to the mailing list for updates on future courses.

UPCOMING COURSES

Michael Hait, CG, “Writing Logical Proof Arguments,” 1 November–8 November 2014

J. Mark Lowe, CG, FUGA, “Preparing the Field: Understanding the Agricultural Records of our Ancestors,” 24 January–31 January 2015

Maureen Taylor, “Family Photographs: Identifying, Preserving, and Sharing Your Visual Heritage,” 21 February–28 February 2015

Donna Moughty, “Strategies for Finding Your Irish Ancestors,” 7 March–14 March 2015

Blaine Bettinger, “(Finally!) Understanding Autosomal DNA,” 21 March–28 March 2015

Billie Stone Fogarty and Rick Fogarty, “Verifying the Family Legend of Native American Ancestry,” 18 April–25 April 2015

Melanie D. Holtz, CG, and Melissa Johnson, “Genealogical Applications of Dual Citizenship by Descent,” 2 May–9 May 2015

Paul Milner, “An In-Depth Look at the Big Four Records of English Research,” 30 May–6 June 2015

Angela McGhie, “Digging in Federal Land Records,” 19 September–26 September 2015

Building a solid genealogy library (part one)

Researchers in all areas tend to pride themselves on their libraries. Genealogists work in fairly specific areas—usually either geographically- or ethnically-based—and their libraries tend to prominently reflect these specialties. While I prefer good old-fashioned paper books, a current library will almost certainly also contain e-books.

Every researcher’s personal library will be different, but a solid library should almost always contain these five types of works.

1. General reference books

General reference books would include those on general genealogy and research methodology and standards as well as even more general reference material.

For example, some books, in my opinion, every genealogist should own:

  • Elizabeth Shown Mills, Evidence Explained, 2d. ed. (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2009).
  • Thomas W. Jones, Mastering Genealogical Proof (Arlington, Va.: National Genealogical Society, 2013).
  • Board for Certification of Genealogists, Genealogy Standards (Nashville, Tenn.: Turner Publishing, 2014).

In addition to these, you probably have other general reference books depending on your specific activities. Writers, editors, and publishing probably have the Chicago Manual of Style within reach. A good dictionary and/or thesaurus might be useful. I often find myself consulting Black’s Law Dictionary. Those who research in other countries might need to have a good -to-English dictionary handy.

2. Specialized research guides

Specialized research guides may focus on a specific location, ethnic group, record type, or repository, or some combination of these. There are a few authors who have written research guides for a wide variety of subjects, but I would recommend choosing guides written and published by researchers with a strong reputation for experience and expertise in a given area.

Some notable examples:

Location-specific

  • Helen F. M. Leary, ed., North Carolina Research, 2d. ed. (Raleigh, N. C.: North Carolina Genealogical Society, 1996).
  • Robert S. Davis and Ted O. Brooke, Georgia Research, 2d. ed. (Atlanta: Georgia Genealogical Society, 2012).
  • John Grenham, Tracing Your Irish Ancestors, 4th ed. (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2012).
  • Any of the guides published as part of the National Genealogical Society’s Research in the States series.

Ethnicity-specific

  • Virginia Humling, U. S. Catholic Sources: A Diocesan Research Guide for Family Historians (Orem, Utah: Ancestry.com, 1995).
  • Dee Parmer Woodtor, Finding a Place Called Home: A Guide to African-American Genealogy and Historical Identity (New York: Random House, 1999).

Record-specific

  • Kenneth L. Smith, Estate Inventories: How To Use Them (Morgantown, Penn.: Masthof Press, 2000; reprint 2008).
  • John T. Humphrey, Understanding and Using Baptismal Records (Washington, D.C.: Humphrey Publications, 1996).
  • Desmond Walls Allen and Carolyn Earle Billingsley, Social Security Applications: A Genealogical Resource (Conway, Ark.: Research Associates, 1995).
  • Ann S. Lainhart, State Census Records (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1992).

Repository-specific

  • Anne Bruner Eales and Robert M. Kvasnicka, eds., Guide to Genealogical Research in the National Archives of the United States, 3d. ed. (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2000).
  • Judy Riffel, A Guide to Genealogical Research at the Louisiana State Archives, revised 2d ed. (Baton Rouge, La.: Le Comité des Archives de la Lousiane, 2009).
  • Eric G. Grundset and Steven B. Rhodes, American Genealogical Research at the DAR, Washington, D. C., 2d. ed. (Washington, D.C.: National Society, Daughters of the American Revolution, 2004).

Combinations

  • Jason Kruski, A Guide to Chicago and Midwestern Polish-American Genealogy (Baltimore: Clearfield, 2012).
  • Timothy N. Pinnick, Finding and Using African American Newspapers (Wyandotte, Okla.: The Gregath Publishing Co., 2008).
  • Joseph Buggy, Finding Your Irish Ancestors in New York City (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2014).
  • Harry F. Thompson, Guide to Collections Relating to South Dakota Norwegian-Americans (Sioux Falls, S.D.: Center for Western Studies, 1991).

3. Derivative sources & finding aids

Not every record is online. We all know that. Even those that are online are not always indexed. Records that tend to hold a significant amount of genealogical information–especially when the record set covers a relatively narrow location or time period–also tend to be indexed, abstracted, or transcribed, and published. Every research library should have at least a few of these works, to save time and provide easy reference to records consulted frequently. A few in my personal library:

  • Debbie Hooper, Abstracts of Chancery Court Records of Maryland, 1669-1782 (Westminster, Md.: Family Line Publications, 1996).
  • Wesley E. Pippenger, Index to Virginia Estates, 1800-1865, vol. 6: Counties of Augusta and Rockingham, City of Staunton (Richmond, Va.: Virginia Genealogical Society, 2005).
  • J. Estelle Stewart King, Abstract of Early Kentucky Wills and Inventories (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1961; orig. pub. 1933).
  • Ralph Clayton, Cash for Blood: The Baltimore to New Orleans Domestic Slave Trade (Westminster, Md.: Heritage Books, 2007).
  • Elizabeth Hayward, American Vital Records from The Baptist Register, 1824-1829, and The New York Baptist Register, 1829-1834 (Mt. Airy, Md.: Pipe Creek Publications, 1991).

4. Compiled genealogies & biographies

Researchers who focus on a specific family (perhaps their own) may want to own copies of family genealogies for families of interest. Those who focus on a larger area may also want to own single-family genealogies for prominent area families. However, the many published multi-family genealogies or compiled narrative biographies may be quite a bit more useful.

For example,

  • Paul Heinegg, Free African Americans of Maryland and Delaware, from the Colonial Period to 1810 (Baltimore: Clearfield, 2000).
  • Jonathan Pearson, Genealogies of the First Settlers of the Ancient Colony of Albany from 1630 to 1800 (Albany, N.Y., 1872; repr. Baltimore: Clearfield, 2003).
  • Gail Morin, First Mètis Families of Quebec, 1622-1748, vol. 1: 56 Families (Baltimore: Clearfield, 2012).

5. Periodicals

Most genealogy periodicals are benefits to membership in a particular genealogical society, though there are also a few that are available strictly by subscription. There are generally at least three kinds of genealogy periodicals:

a. Newsletters

These are most common among smaller societies. They usually contain news about the society and its members and generally contain a small number of pages. Sometimes these also include very short articles about genealogy resources or methodology. They are too numerous to count, nationwide.

b. Magazines

Some magazines are intended for the general public and are available on newsstands and by subscription, such as Family Tree Magazine and Family Chronicle. Other magazine-format periodicals are published by societies, either exclusively or complementing a more scholarly journal. The articles usually contain slightly longer (2-3 pages) and more advanced articles about genealogy resources or methodology. For example,

  • Crossroads, published by the Utah Genealogical Association
  • APG Quarterly, published by the Association of Professional Genealogists
  • NGS Magazine, published by the [U. S.] National Genealogical Society
  • New York Researcher, published by the New York Genealogical & Biographical Society

c. Journals

Journals represent the most significant (in my opinion) periodical publication offered in the genealogical community. These are usually offered as a benefit of membership to a society, though there are two journals available by subscription. Most journals offer at least some advanced research case studies or compiled genealogies. Some journals also publish record indexes or abstracts, particularly for rare records unavailable elsewhere; articles on record sources or methodology; and book reviews.

One key difference between most journals and other periodical types is the editing process. Several genealogical journals utilize the peer-review process used by traditional academic journals. Others simply rely on qualified editors, often Board-certified or otherwise experienced and knowledgeable genealogists. Both of these processes, however, involve more in-depth editing and review, resulting in a higher-quality publication.

For example,

  • The Genealogist, published by the American Society of Genealogists (available by subscription)
  • National Genealogical Society Quarterly, published by the [U. S.] National Genealogical Society
  • New England Historical & Genealogical Register, published by the New England Historic Genealogical Society
  • Maryland Genealogical Society Journal, published by the Maryland Genealogical Society

Of these periodical types, newsletters tend to have the least long-term value in a genealogical library, while journals have the most long-term value. The value in a journal, however, extends far beyond those articles that have specific relevance to a particular family or location. Reading published case studies and compiled genealogies offer examples of high-quality research methodology that can often be applied to unrelated families and locations.

To Be Continued … How to build your library

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