Ancestry has just released the Third Edition of the company's great genealogy reference book: The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy. This is the definitive book for anyone researching American ancestry. I have a well worn copy of the Second Edition of this great reference, published 14 years ago. I have used that book time and time again with great success. I was delighted to receive the new Third Edition this week. I was reading the new book within minutes after the postman delivered it.
This 965-page hardcover publication provides a wealth of information, more than I recall ever seeing in any one publication before. It has twenty chapters, followed by eight appendixes. Each chapter provides a mini seminar written by an expert in a specific genealogical field that shows what sources are available, how to find them, and most importantly, how to use those resources.
The chapters include:
1. The Foundations of Family History Research by Sandra Hargreaves Luebking and Loretto Dennis Szucs
2. Computers and Technology by Juliana Smith
3. General References and Guides by Kory L. Meyerink
4. Business, Institution, and Organization Records by Kay Haviland Freilich and Ann Carter Fleming
5. Census Records by Loretto Dennis Szucs and Matthew Wright
6. Church Records by Elizabeth Crabtree Wells
7. Court Records by Sandra Hargreaves Luebking, Loretto Dennis Szucs and Arlene Eakle
8. Directories by Gordon L. Remington
9. Immigration Records by Loretto Dennis Szucs, Kory L. Meyerink, and Marian L. Smith
10. Land Records by Sandra Hargreaves Luebking
11. Military Records by Lloyd deWitt Bockstruck and Sandra Hargreaves Luebking
12. Newspapers by Loretto Dennis Szucs and James L. Hansen
13. Vital Records by Johni Cerny
People and Place
14. African American Research by Tony Burroughs
15. Colonial English Research by Robert Charles Anderson
16. Colonial Spanish Borderland Research by George R. Ryskamp
17. Hispanic Research by George R. Ryskamp
18. Jewish American Research by Gary Mokotoff
19. Native American Research by Curt B. Witcher and George J. Nixon
20. Urban Research by Loretto Dennis Szucs and John M. Scroggins
21. Abbreviations and Acronyms
22. Family Associations by Christine Rose
23. Genealogical Societies
24. Hereditary and Lineage Organizations by Lloyd deWitt Bockstruck
25. Historical Societies
26. The LDS Family History Library by Stephen C. Young
27. The National Archives and its Regions
28. State Archives by Linda S. McCleary
If you have been reading this newsletter for a while, you probably recognize most of the authors' names. Most of them have been mentioned in this newsletter time and again. These are many of the leading experts in the fields about which they write. This one book is the work of more genealogy experts than any other publication I remember.
Each chapter of The Source could be a free-standing book by itself. As just one example, the chapter on Court Records contains explanations and guides for all sorts of legal records. It starts out with a section on the Importance of Courts in American Society. That is followed by extensive sections on Federal and Territorial Courts, Legal Terms, Court Procedures, Equity Cases, Probate (9 pages!), Divorce Actions, Types of Court Records, How to Search Court Records, Finding Early Laws, Selected Proceedings and Courts, Coroners' Records, Justice of the Peace Courts, Vigilante Societies, Special Courts, and more. The "how to" information covers 55 pages, followed by another eleven pages of notes and references for a total of 66 pages for that one chapter.
That is an example of only one chapter; the other nineteen are all loosely similar. Indeed, this may be the most extensive and well-documented genealogy "how to" book ever published!
As its title suggests, The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy is written with an American point of view. While there are chapters on researching British Isles, European, and Hispanic ancestry, that information is presented from the viewpoint of American descendants of those who left and went to the New World.
The Source has a retail price of $79.95 (U.S.) although the publisher sells if for $69.95 via a secure online ordering system at http://tinyurl.com/jbsbk.
Any online or offline book store can obtain The Source for you if you specify ISBN 1593312776.
Indeed, The Source is the Bible of modern American genealogy. If you only buy one genealogy book, I would suggest that most Americans will want this one. I expect that my new Third Edition of The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy will eventually become as dog-eared and worn through use as did my copy of the previous edition.