Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Top 5 Books on My Bookshelf

These are the top five books on my bookshelf in terms of usage. They are the ones I most frequently reach for. That kind of restricts the list to work-related reference books. Not surprisingly, they have a heavy New England bent.

5. Red Book: American State, County and Town Resources, Third Revised Edition (2004), edited by Alice Eichholz

I use this book mostly for checking town and county incorporation dates in New England. But when I step out of New England in my research, I use this book as a primer to get a sense of the lay of the land in other states.

4. New England Court Records: A Resource Guide for Genealogists and Historians by Diane Rapaport

This book is a really handy reference for New England. The courts can be tricky to understand and even harder to remember the particulars of each county. This book makes it so I don't have to. And the list of repositories and their court records is priceless.

3. Genealogist's Handbook for New England Research by Marcia Melnyk

This book is just so handy. There is no one who can keep everything in their head. This is the go-to book of where and when in New England. My only issue is that the book is out of date and should really be revised. Let's hope that happens some day.

2. Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills

I use this book every time I write a report or any document that includes citations.  Random bookmarks appear throughout for things I refer to frequently.  I have also printed out clarifications that Mills has posted on the TGF or APG list and inserted those into the book as well.

1. A Guide to Massachusetts Cemeteries by David Allen Lambert

Yes, this truly is my mostly frequently reached for book - the one that is never put away.  I use it for planning trips as well locating cemeteries in spur of the moment stops. I write all over the book, noting when I made a visit as well as the quantity, condition and quality of the stones.  If only there were something like it for the other New England states.....

What are the Top 5 on your bookshelf?


  1. I couldn't wait to see your list. Seems I share three of them (#1,3,5). But I use, "New England Marriages Prior to 1700" more than any other book. Good list.

  2. I love this post! Look at my blog, because by the end of the day I'll post a similar list!

  3. I think this is a great topic. I have read both yours and Heather's post. Wonder if other New England researchers will kick in.???

  4. Wonderful and fascinating topic - wouldn't mind seeing this go "meme" because I'd be really interested to see what other people consider to be their top books. I'll have to think about mine....

  5. Thank you for this! More books to add to my wishlist!

  6. Really wonderful topic here. thanks for sharing.