When I was young, I spent a lot of time in the local library, and I remember telling my mother that I wanted to read all the books there. At home, I began my own library, mostly with paperback books I bought through Scholastic Book Services at school.
Ever since I began researching my family history, I’ve accumulated a number of genealogy reference books. I keep most of these genealogy books in bookcases, but there are a number of books that I keep at my desk because I use them so often.
Ten essential books in my genealogy library are:
- Fisiak, Jacek, Arleta Adamska-Sałaciak, Piotr Gąsiorowski, Marcin Feder, Maciej Machniewski, and Mariusz Idzkowski. 2003. Nowy słownik Fundacji Kościuszkowskiej = The new Kosciuszko Foundation dictionary. New York: Kościuszko Foundation.
The Kościuszko Foundation dictionary is the definitive Polish-English English-Polish dictionary and includes a searchable CD version of the dictionary.
- Geyh, Patricia Keeney, Joyce Soltis Banachowski, Linda K. Boyea, Patricia Sarasain Ustine, Marilyn Holt Bourbonais, Beverly Ploenske LaBelle, Francele Sherburne, and Karen Vincent Humiston. 2002. French Canadian sources: a guide for genealogists. Orem, Utah: Ancestry Pub.
This book provides a great overview of French Canadian records and includes sample translations.
- Hoffman, William F. 1998. Polish surnames: origins and meanings. Chicago: Polish Genealogical Society of America.
I use this resource constantly to verify the spellings of Polish surnames. In this book, Fred Hoffman provides the frequencies of surnames in Poland as well as insight into the source and the meanings of Polish surnames.
- Mills, Elizabeth Shown. 2007. Evidence explained: citing history sources from artifacts to cyberspace. Baltimore, Md: Genealogical Pub. Co.
I use this resource constantly when preparing complete and accurate source citations. It’s absolutely the best reference for citing sources for genealogy.
- Mullerowa, Lidia, and Zofia Zuchowska. 1995. Roman Catholic Parishes in the Polish People’s Republic in 1984. Chicago, IL: Polish Genealogical Society of America.
This book is not only a reference to the location of Roman Catholic Parishes in Poland, but it also includes a section on the translation of Polish church names.
- Proko, Barbara, John Kraska, and Janice Baniukiewicz Stickles. 2003. The Polish community of Worcester. Images of America. Charlestown, SC: Arcadia.
When my cousin gave me this book, I didn’t expect much. However, I found photos of several cousins, the main Polish church in Worcester, and the priests my parents and grandparents knew in the early 20th century.
- Shea, Jonathan D., and William F. Hoffman. 2000. In their words: a genealogist’s translation guide to Polish, German, Latin, and Russian documents. Volume one, Polish. New Britain, CT: Language & Lineage Press.
What a great resource for genealogists translating Polish records! I use it frequently.
- Shea, Jonathan D., and William F. Hoffman. 2002. In their words: a genealogist’s translation guide to Polish, German, Latin, and Russian documents. Volume two, Russian. New Britain, CT: Language & Lineage Press.
For those of us with ancestors who lived in Russian-Poland, this book is a Godsend! I doubt if I could have made much progress on my maternal ancestry without it.
- Sulimierski, Filip, Bronisława Chlebowski, and Władysław Walewski. 1880-1902. Słownik geograficzny Królestwa Polskiego i innych krajów słowiańskich. Warszawa: Filipa Sulimierskiego i Władsława Walewskiewgo.
I have a copy of this series on CD, although I usually refer to the searchable online version these days. This enormous work is a gazetteer of Poland and surrounding areas, frequently with useful facts of the villages where our Polish ancestors lived.
- White, Jeanne Sauve. 1993. Guide to Quebec Catholic parishes and published parish marriage records. Baltimore, MD: Printed for Clearfield Company by Genealogical Pub. Co.
While deceptively small, this book is a great resource for locating Roman Catholic parishes in Québec. I bought a copy for my cousin, and then I panicked when I had a hard time finding another copy for myself. Luckily, I was able to buy a copy through the National Institute for Genealogical Studies.
Written for the Carnival of Genealogy: 10 Essential Books in My Genealogy Library.
Copyright © 2008 by Stephen J. Danko