Sunday, September 7, 2008

Ten Essential Research Books in My Personal Library

Friend and Itawamba Historical Society member Lori Thornton over at Smoky Mountain Family Historian is hosting the 55th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy. The topic of this edition is "10 essential books in my genealogy library."

Most all of my current research is devoted to Itawamba County, Mississippi, therefore most of my books relate to this specific area. I feel one very important resource for local researchers is historical accounts from sources contemporary to the times. With that in mind, two of my most used books are:
Conwill, David, ed. The Diary of Henry Jackson Lentz (1819-1869) of Limestone County, Alabama & Itawamba County, Mississippi Covering the Years 1847-1869. Tupelo, Mississippi: The Northeast Mississippi Historical and Genealogical Society, 1983.

Gwin, Minrose, ed. Olden Times Revisited: W.L. Clayton’s Pen Pictures. Jackson, Mississipi: University Press of Mississippi,1982.
Another good source of information relating to a specific geographic area is compiled local histories and genealogies. I have three such books relating to Itawamba County. They are:
Franks, Bob and Turner, Roy, eds. An Itawamba Sampler: A Researcher's Guide to Itawamba County, Mississippi. Mantachie, Mississippi: Itawamba Historical Society, 1990.

Young, Rubye Del Harden and Miles, William T., eds. Itawamba County, Mississippi Families (1836-1986. Fulton, Mississippi.: Itawamba County Times, 1986.

Reed, Forrest F. Itawamba: A History; Story of a County in Northeast Mississippi. Nashville, Tennessee: Reed and Co., 1966.
Perhaps my most used book is a book of cemetery monument transcriptions. This book has simply been invaluable over the years. The book is:
Burton-Cruber, Betty Ann. Cemetery Markings, Itawamba County, Mississippi. Amory, Mississippi: Amory Advertiser, 1978.
One type of record group that is often overlooked in family research is maps. Detailed maps can provide the researcher with an abundance of information. I have two such books relating to this category:
Mississippi Department of Transportation, ed. Mississippi Road Atlas. Jackson, Mississippi: University Press of Mississippi, 1997.

Delorme. Mississippi Atlas & Gazetteer: Topo Maps of the Entire State. Marmouth, Maine: DeLorme, 1998
Of course one of the foundations of genealogical research is the decennial census. I have local access to most all the county census records at the county library’s website and also have every available census (including slave schedules and agricultural and manufacturing censuses) for Itawamba County on compact discs in my personal library collection. However, of the three local printed census books in my collection, I probably use the one below more often than any:
Turner, Roy, ed. 1850 Census, Itawamba County, Mississippi. Tupelo, Mississippi: Genealogical Press, 1976.
Being editor of Itawamba Settlers magazine, and one who enjoys writing articles for other publications, one book that is simply indispensable in my library is a style book. If I need to know such items as uses of words, if it's “a historical” or “an historical,” the correct abbreviation of places, and what to capitalize and what not to capitalize, I refer to the spiral-bound:
Grover, Robert O., ed. U.S. News & World Report Stylebook for Writers and Editors. Washington, D.C.: U.S. News & World Report, 1994.
During my research over the past thirty plus years, I have seen a big change in how research data is presented. The study of genealogy and history, like many other avenues of research has grown to include online references. I use such online resources as Google Books, the Bureau of Land Management’s patent database, the Dept. of Interior’s Civil War Soldiers and Sailors database, and many other such sites on a regular basis. But my genealogical and historical book collection in my personal library continues to be one of my prized possessions.


footnoteMaven said...

You caught my attention with your style guide. I will stop in Barnes and Noble this week and take a look.

You can never have enough style and you have that in spades.


Bob Franks said...

Thanks for the comment footnotemaven. That one book has been used by me on a regular basis for several years. It really comes in handy.