Wednesday, February 8, 2012

An Absolute Must Have

There are just some books that outshine all the others. North Carolina Research, Genealogy and Local History, Second Edition edited by Helen F. M. Leary, CG, FASG is like that. Books come in four classes of location for me. Close means I don't have to get out of my chair to get to it. Near means I have to stand up, but not leave the room. Far means I have to get up and leave the room. Shed means I have to drive five miles to the storage shed. I keep Helen Leary close. The book and the person in my heart. She has taught me so much over the years. She is someone that every genealogist can learn from. My understanding is that she is working on a book of lectures. I do not know when it will be available, but I promise to let you know. I know that it is a book that I will be buying.

Focus, Craig, focus. Because I live in North Carolina I use this book often, so often that I have two copies one close and one near (in my wife's office where it is her close copy) if that gives you some idea. But this reference is mistitled. It really should be Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Genealogy: Using North Carolina Examples.

Part I deals with Research Techniques delving into the issues of evaluating research data, designing research strategies, and among others reading handwriting and abstracting.

Part II deals with county records meaning marriage, divorce, vital, wills, estates, land, tax and fiscal, and the various courts, military and pension, school, business and others.

Part III deals with state records meaning census, marriage, divorce, wills and estates, land grants, higher courts, and military.

Part IV deals with federal records such as those in the National Archives relating to census and the military.

Part V deals with private records, be they family, cemetery, church, newspapers, and business.

Part VI deals with nonwritten records such as oral histories, photographs and artifacts.

There is an appendices on Long Distance Research, terms and abbreviations and genealogical organization and compilation.

To say the least this is one of the most comprehensive genealogical books in the market from the perspective of what you can learn from it.

I am sure that many of you already have this book, but then there might be one or two of you who don't and it is worth the post to bring it to your attention. It is an absolute must have (and over time you will learn that my concept of "absolute must have" is only a couple of handfuls of books). If you have this book you might post your joy (or lack of joy for that matter) with it. Or you might mention your favorite near titles. It would be interesting to see. Mentioning Evidence, Evidence Explained and the Chicago Manual of Style will not give us insight into your thoughts, since it is my hope that we all have those near.

0936370106    601-5616   $55.00 plus tax and shipping

Heritage Books, North Carolina Genealogical Society, Maia's Books, and Amazon.


  1. I bought this book strictly on your recommendation and I am so glad I did. It is excellent!

  2. My must haves are both atlases. Thorndale & Dollarhide's "Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses, 1790-1920" & "Historical Atlas of the United States" from National Geographic.

  3. This was my very first introduction to genealogical methodology and Helen Leary is the one of the first who taught me what it really means to be a genealogist. I absolutely recommend this book, just as you have, to any genealogist, not just those researching North Carolina ancestors.