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03 October 2019

Our Library Collections: Reference Books, Part 1

One in a series by CGS member Chris Pattillo, highlighting some of our holdings at the CGS Library in Oakland.  For a fuller listing of books, journals, and more, consult the CGS Library catalog in WorldCat.

Two of the classic reference books available at our library
Currently our General Reference books are located in two places in the library. They outgrew the back corner so now there are four shelves of reference books at the end of the tables opposite the front desk. These shelves offer a rich collection of how-to books including most of the new and old classics. One such book is Evidence Explained Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace by Elizabeth Shown Mills. For anyone who is a series researcher this is a must-have or use source. It is an intimidating book – nearly 900 pages that explains “how to cite every conceivable kind of source.” We have the second edition. The third edition from Amazon is $59.99 so the cost of a CGS membership is much cheaper.

We have the two-volume set of Genealogical Research: Methods and Sources by the late Milton Rubincam, published by the American Society of Genealogists in 1980. In the forward Rubincam is described as “everyone’s favorite genealogist, knowledgeable, indefatigable, conscientious, thorough, and amazingly unrufflable.” Chapter 1 of this book is titled "Adventures in Genealogy." This is a very readable book.
Google Your Family Tree by Daniel M. Lynch
Google Your Family Tree: Unlock the Hidden Power of Google by Daniel M. Lynch was a donation from CGS volunteer Barbara Hill. It has fourteen chapters starting with "Search Engine Basics" and including "Advanced Search Techniques," "Google Books" – which I have used a lot – "Google New Archives," "Google maps," and much more. There are five appendices including Appendix B – "Top Sites for Genealogists." The book is well illustrated and indexed.
One of a few reference books in our library that focus on specific ethnic or cultural group research
We have a couple of resource books for researching Jewish heritage. I found one book on the shelf for African American Genealogy by James M. Rose and Alic Eichholz titled Black Genesis. This book has chapters on general topics like "Oral History," "National Archives and Federal Records," "Military Records," "Migratory Patterns." These are followed by sections for each state that summarize what is available for each state.
Christine Schaefer's book about colonial American research
Another “Where To Look” book is the Genealogical Encyclopedia of the Colonial Americas by Christina K. Schaefer. In the preface she explains that the book “has been written out of my frustration at the lack of an existing single-source reference for Colonial America.” Schaefer addressed this problem by producing over 800 pages that help researchers find the records they seek from this period.

Practically every book in this section has something to offer. Next time you are in the library you might want to see what may be of help in your personal research.

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