When You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

With the hype of online services, it’s easy to forget about invaluable genealogy books: The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy

The Source - one of those invaluable genealogy books

When I first got started in “serious” genealogy research I realized I didn’t know much more than information about my own family history.

I had heard about things like land records, African-American research, court and military records – but my understanding of them was slim to none. I vaguely knew their importance but I canThe Source - one of the great genealogy books‘t say I really understood how they worked or what could be found within them. For example, I knew the word “probate” but I didn’t know what could be found in a probate file or even where I’d find one.

I invested in a few genealogy books including The Source, A Guidebook to American Genealogy. Even back then this book was pricey but I saved up and bought a copy. It was The Source that became the backbone of my genealogy knowledge.

I realize that a $50 price tag is way out of a lot of people’s budgets, but I recently checked on Amazon and saw that there are some used copies selling for $6.50.

If you’re hazy on genealogy basics, you may want to invest in a copy of The Source, used or new. (I buy used books all the time). (Or, other genealogy books.) I think you’ll find it’s definitely a worthwhile addition to your genealogy library.

One thing I really like is the attention it gives to special topics like Native American, Hispanic, and Jewish research. I’ve been dabbling in Jewish research for a friend of mine and find it’s helpful to just get some basics under my belt.

In any case – whether this is something for you or not, I wanted to mention it as I feel it provides some much-needed basics in this world of nothing but online genealogy.

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