Seriously? My Ten Essential Genealogy Books? Only Ten?

I was tempted to say that I could do without a library.  After all, I volunteer at the local Historical Society and have access to every book I could possibly want!  and with all those databases and books online, why do I even need all those books I have?

. . .and then sanity overtook me!  I’m a tactile person and I must touch, turn pages and be able to grab a book in the middle of the night!  I need to put stickies on pages and even highlight an entry or two.  I love my books!

You’re going to see a pattern in my selection of books.  I’ve listed not only my essential books for doing Lancaster County research, but my most frequently used books.  My Lancaster County books are the most well worn books in my collection.

Lancaster County Books necessary in my research

Lancaster County Books necessary in my research

  • The most important book in my collection was one of the oldest books in my collection.  A friend in Florida said I absolutely could not do Pennsylvania research without this book.  I’ve had this book for about 15 years and it is well used.  “Pennsylvania Line” was published by SW Pennsylvania Genealogical Society and invaluable in my research.  It contains maps of when counties were incorporated and from what county, rivers, streams, names of old, non-existant towns, post offices, and literally everything Pennsylvania!
Pennsylvania Line - Where would I be without this book???

Pennsylvania Line - Where would I be without this book???

  • My German to English , English to German Dictionary is right up there at the top.  Although I can pick out the basic German in Church records (births, deaths, marriages, etc.)  those other words pop up now and then.  This book has aided me in helping to decipher meanings and tense.  I found it at a garage sale about 7 years ago and it was 50 cents well spent!  Hardback, large and in good condition!  Wow, what a bargain!
  • “Churches and Cemeteries of Lancaster County“, by A. Hunter Rineer.  I carry this book in my car!  When I need it, I have to go out to the car to find it!  Not only does it list the Churches and Cemeteries of today, it lists ones that used to be.  It tells the history of each congregation and where their records are kept.  Every cemetery, past and present, is also noted with their history and a map to show exactly where it is.  Another book that has been invaluable in my research since I am, after all,  a Cemetery Person!
  • The next book is a rather large book (dimension wise) and has been invaluable in placing my ancestors in various townships and locations. The “1864 Atlas of Lancaster County “has township maps with names marked on it, where they lived, who lived next to them, etc.  It has towns, streams, people and roads.  I was able to take a deed of one of my ancestors and with the help of this book actually find the curve in the road that his house remains on today.
  • One of the heaviest and fattest books in my library is “The History of Lancaster County “by Ellis and Evans.  This is a huge book, and as it size attests, has a lot of information.  When I use it, I have to clear off a big chunk of my desk, because it is not a lap book by any means!  There are biographies, histories of each township, tax lists, histories of various organizations, and the list goes on and on.  Any body who had roots in our area is probably in this book.
The Biggest Book in My Collection. . .and this doesn't include the index!

The Biggest Book in My Collection. . .and this doesn't include the index!

  • My next selection is actually four volumes.  Does it count for four books or one?  “Trinity Lutheran Church Records, ” has helped immensely in my research.  The years 1767 through 1810 were translated and transcribed by Debra D. Smith and Frederick S. Weiser,  It was an enormous undertaking, but one many people have appreciated!  My ancestors who settled in Lancaster County were either of the Lutheran or Reformed faith (Duh! they were Germans!) and I have so many stickies, highlighted entries and dog-earred pages in this set, that it would probably not be of interest to anybody else!
  • The last very necessary book in my Lancaster County research is actually a series of  five books.  “Lancaster County Church Records of the 18th Century,” the 5 volume set was compiled by F. Edward Wright. Since 18th century ancestors abound in my family, this is another place that my stickies and highlight marker has found it way to!  Having the stickies has helped me flip right to the page in question, since I’ve marked surnames on each one.

I’ve counted the last two entries as five, since the books total nine!  I could list an actual ten books or I could list an actual ten titles.  Since I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, I compromised. I’ve been blessed to have these Pennsylvania Dutch ancestors settle in a region where records are so abundant!

I love my books; the feel of them, the look of them and most of the content in them!

My research is dependent on these books.


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