Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Building My Own Genealogical Library

photo via Pixabay.com

I spent the week finishing off a project I owed someone who helped me a great deal last year, and it’s done now, but it doesn’t make much of a blog post. I didn’t know what I was going to write about this week, so I went into procrastination mode and cleaned my apartment.

I discovered while I was straightening that I’m amassing a rather eclectic genealogy library. Some of the history timeline, historical mapping and geographical dictionary reference books I had before (I just like that sort of thing), but I used them a lot last year in writing 52 Ancestors posts, and/or reviewing the context of my ancestors lives to get an idea of where to search for more sources in which they might have been mentioned. I added to the stash last year by buying county specific Family Map Books for Lapeer and Sanilac county MI, by Gregory A. Boyd, which contain land patents, townships, cities and town, cemeteries, roads, and historical (before modern roads) maps.

Then there are the reference books I bought because I was unaware until recently how helpful genea-people and out-of-state librarians could be (and because I’m an introvert and tracking down and buying a non-circulating reference book was easier for me than picking up the phone and asking someone to copy some pages for me – I’m aware of how little sense that makes but it’s still true). Probably the most unique book I bought falls under this category. (I did try to get it through inter-library loan first; that’s how I know it is non-circulating.) So now I am the owner of the hard to find Amish and Amish Mennonite Genealogies, by Hugh F. Gingrich and Rachel W. Kreider. Published by the Pequea Bruderschaft Library in Gordonville, PA 17529 (the 2007 updated and corrected version). So if anyone needs a “look up”, my email address is in the “Contact Me” page.

The second most unique book is a CD version of the Dictionary of Scottish Immigrants to Canada before the Confederation, Volumes 1-4. Or perhaps, the Marriages of Puslinch Township, Wellington County, Ontario, compiled and transcribed by Marjorie Clark.

Climbing My Family Tree
"Evolution of Reading" Shutterstock Image ID: 197751560; copyright to Spiber.de

Additionally, over the course of last year, I have gathered about 115 old (out of copyright) histories of counties, states, provinces, and certain religious or cultural groups in scanned in Google eBooks mostly from the 1800’s or early 1900’s. They are very helpful for understanding the context of my ancestors’ lives. Some of the books contain biographical sketches of original settlers and then-current residents; I found some of my ancestors in those!

I’ve also bought “how-to” books. how to research German genealogy (Baxter), Scottish genealogy (Durie & another by Clarke), and Loyalist ancestors (Bunnell) – the first two I definitely have, the last one I might have.

And then there are books I bought because they just sounded fascinating: The Scottish Pioneers of Upper Canada, 1784-1855 by Lucille Campey, Our Daily Bread: German Village Life, 1500-1850 by Teva J. Scheer, The Complete McPhatter Letters, collected by Matthew McPhatter and compiled by Anna Jackson, Authentic Letters From Upper Canada by T.W. McGrath (1833), The Passing Parade by Gordon Bennett (that’s a pen-name, he’s a grand-uncle) and A Walk Through Yesterday: Memoirs of Jessie L. Beattie by Jessie L. Beattie (I think we’re related somehow. Maybe not, but her grandfather arrived in pre-confederation Canada as a child on the same boat my 3rd great grandfather and his family did), etc. There are others but this is enough for one post.

Can you tell I love books?

via Pixabay.com


  1. I love books, too, and need to use the books I have more! :) Too often, they sit on the shelf forgotten. I have 4 "how to" books that I want to completely go through. I'm working through one now via an online class!

    1. Yes, I'm guilty of that too. I've read, or skimmed the histories -- the ebook versions on Google Play are searchable (and free, which is why I have so many). But I really need to sit down and read the How-to's.


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