In these days when we can put a name in a search engine and get dates, links to documents and (purported) family members, is it worth it to read books? I hope you say YES!
Reading histories can give us insight into our ancestor’s lives: where early settlers came from (and why); religions, schools and types of industry in the area; stories about famous (and infamous) folks. This information can lead us to resources for further documentation as well.
Lots of books are now online, free to read or download (to computer or e-reader). Others are available for a few dollars, or being re-printed “on demand”.
Would you like to find a book that contains genealogy research on a surname or area you are researching?
Read online or download for free: (Each has their own search engine)
For a full list with links: EBook Friendly: Sites Where You Can Read Books Online.
1) FamilySearch.org (Search: Books)
2) Google Books
3) Open Library
4) Internet Archive
5) Amazon – in the Kindle store. You don’t need a Kindle; you can download the kindle reader for your computer. (A LONG list of free older history books – cheap or free.)
6) Genealogy Gophers - GenGophers.com – a relatively “new kid on the block” for online GENEALOGY SPECIFIC books! They’ve received their books from FamilySearch.org and many others - but here’s why you want to use their search engine:
a) It’s more intuitive; it will KNOW to search for “Wm.” when you input “William.”
b) “Advanced search” narrows to a geographical area.
c) Results include a snippet of the page so you know whether it’s something you want to pursue.
Started in March of 2015 - with over 80,000 books. Here’s their webpage explaining it all: GenGophers. Note: Free, but you do a survey (once daily for full access) for which they are paid. Maybe a nuisance - but worthwhile for the convenience of their search engine - you decide.
But maybe you really like to hold a book in your hands?
Worldcat.org helps you find a book in a library; many have lending programs; check with your local library for details.
Looking to buy?
Besides the big guys Amazon, Ebay, AbeBooks and Alibris, there a lot of small companies worth checking into too.
Cyndi’s List: Books: Used Books... lists 69 resources. (Not all are specifically genealogy, and some links no longer work) See Used Books, Rare Books, and Book Search Services.
Some of my personal favorites:
1) FindUsedBook.com - metasearch of 80,000 book sellers (very useful because not every small bookseller can afford their own website or show up in google searches).
2) JanawayGenealogy.com - mostly new, but some used - and a “print-on-demand” service.
So whether you prefer to read online, download to your computer or e-reader, or love the feel of that book in your hands - there’s a lot to choose from out there!