I was putting the finishing touches on a post about several of the local libraries I use for genealogy purposes when it suddenly occurred to me that libraries are resources, not tools. (Why I didn't think of the difference between the two words last week when I wrote about online tools I have no idea. It would have been a different post!)
A free offline tool (an instrument of manual operation) is a bit more challenging to name than a free offline resource (any source of aid or support) but I think books fall into the category of tools (though they're probably also resources). Not many tools are free these days but at my local library I can borrow books without cost. I'll share a few of my favorite helpful genealogy and family history books. I know they can be purchased but chances are your local free public library has copies you could borrow.
The Source: a Guidebook to American Genealogy by Loretto D. Szucs and Sandra H. Luebking, editors.
When I was just beginning to search out my ancestors I was introduced to this book by the director of the local Family History Center. The newest edition had recently been published and he was enthusiastic about the quantity, quality, and scope of this book. It includes a ponderous annotated list of possible sources for you to search. I highly recommend it whether you're new to genealogy or are more experienced: either you will find places to look that you didn't know about or you will find places to look that you forgot about.
Bringing Your Family History to Life through Social History by Katherine Scott Sturdevant
This book offers excellent suggestions of ways to find out about the times in which our ancestors lived. Chapters include social history; home sources/artifacts; family photographs; oral history/tradition; correspondence; college libraries; writing your family history. Chapter bibliographies are long and become suggestions for resources to use next.
A Genealogist’s Guide to Discovering Your Female Ancestors. Special Strategies for uncovering hard-to-find information about your female lineage by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack
A Genealogist’s Guide to Discovering Your Immigrant and Ethnic Ancestors. How to Find and Record Your Unique Heritage by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack
Locating Your Roots. Discover Your Ancestors Using Land Records by Patricia Law Hatcher
All of these books have bibliographies. Bibliographies are excellent tools because they lead you to other sources.
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This post was written to participate in Amy Coffin's 52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy which is hosted on Geneabloggers. The theme will change weekly and may be posted any day of the week. This week's theme was free offline genealogy tools. I invite you to join in if you'd like.