In the Professional Genealogy manual Chapter 4 is entitled The Essential Library. One of the fascinating tables of the chapter is the model used to build a professional genealogy library using Priority Levels: “1 - Basic Shelf, 2 - Essential Materials, and 3 - Useful but Discretionary Items.” An early class assignment encourages the participants to create the inventory of their personal genealogy library.
Treasures – Tools of the Trade
The issue is this...we need to fill our Treasure Chest with valuables that get us to our end goal. Recently, I consulted with a family looking for their missing great grandfather. They were exhausted from over 10 years of searching for G-Grandpa not in all the right places. A reference book, like The Source, can double as a check-off list. When stuck...I reference its Table of Contents, and literally check off the records listed. I then reference Ancestry’s Red Book which gives me more specific information per state. But, my first “to go to book” is the Source. When I go to a Court House, I take copies of pages of The Source's chapter on Court Records which lists varieties of court records and their purposes. It even goes as far as providing an “at-a-glance” chart in front of each chapter that includes “Clues That You Should Consult These Records.” Believe me, in the throes of frustration, I often need the reminder.
My last great find at the Half-Priced Bookstore was the Ian Westwell, World War I, book, for $5.00. We need to have a plethora of books in our specialty. This may not be of interest to many of you, but I do a large portion of Military document retrievals, and I must stay abreast of the topics requested. Sure there's the internet, but it doesn't replace my resource books. When a client asked about the malaria toll on British troops during WWI documents, I was guided by Westwell to concentrate my research to the campaign in East Africa. I wonder how many websites I would have had to search before reaching that conclusion.
I challenge all of us to fill our Treasure Chests with finds for our personal library. Who doesn’t love a great Treasure Hunt?