By Sheila Benedict

Contributing Writer

Last month’s column mentioned three important sources, but there are many books that genealogists should consider putting on their bookshelf.

As a reminder, the three books specifically mentioned were the Random House Webster’s College Dictionary (New York: Random House, 1999), “Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy,” 3rd edition, by Val D. Greenwood (Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2000), and “Mastering Genealogical Proof” by Thomas W. Jones (Arlington, Virginia: National Genealogical Society, 2013).

Citing your sources is critical to genealogy, along with good sources. It is also important to cite those sources to the standards of the genealogical industry. Therefore, because of their importance, this month’s column will focus on some excellent books.

The Mills book below is the definitive book on both. Some of these may be found in hard copy, others as eBooks, Kindle editions, or downloads from various library sites, but wherever and whatever type you choose to use, the optimum words are: If you use them, cite them.

Of course, a dictionary should sit next to everyone’s computer, regardless of what you are writing, because there is always a reason to check spellings and meanings.  For genealogical research, the value of having the best scholars’ books available cannot be understated.

Here are some, certainly not all, additional books. There are many on research in other countries, however the following focus on American research. In the future, if readers desire, we can list books on researching and resources in Great Britain, Ireland and other countries.

Good books for American genealogy research include:

Anderson, Robert Charles, FASG, “Elements of Genealogical Analysis.” Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2014.

Benedict, Sheila, “Research in the States – California.” Special Topics Series. Arlington, Virginia: National Genealogical Society, 2015.

Bettinger, Blaine T., “The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy.” Cincinnati: Family Tree Books, 2016.

Eichholz, Alice, Ph.D, CG., editor. “Redbook: American State, County & Town Sources,” 3rd revised  edition. Provo, Utah: Ancestry Publishing, 2004.

Gifis, Steven H., “Law Dictionary,” 7th edition. Woodbury, New York: Barron’s Educational Series Inc., 2016.

Humphrey, John T. “Understanding and Using Baptismal Records.” Washington, D.C.: Humphrey, Publications, 1996.

LaFrance, Mary, “Copyright Law in a Nutshell,” 3rd edition. St. Paul, Minn.: West Academic Publishing, 2017.

Mills, Elizabeth Shown, “Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace,” 3rd edition revised. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2017.

Szucs, Loretto Dennis, and Sandra Hargreaves Luebking, editors, “The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy,” 3rd edition. Provo, Utah: Ancestry Publishing, 2004.


Sheila Benedict is a professional forensic and family genealogist. Please send any questions to so they might be answered in future is