Devon Noel Lee
10 Places to Find Genealogy Books Online and What to Seek Out
Published genealogies, county histories, and other books can help expand our family history research. But, where can we find digitized family history books? What types of reference books should we seek?
Free Online Books for Genealogy
Did someone say free genealogy websites?
Yes, the following websites offer free access to digitized family history books. Some websites require an account to view the books. Others do not. If you can't find a book online in one repository, try the same title on the other websites. Not every website has the same access level.
The sixth website isn't necessarily where you can view a book online, although the website will direct you to digital books when possible. WorldCat is a free website where you can look for books and journals from around the world. If the book is not available online but in circulation at a library, you are lucky!
Using the Inter-Library Loan program from your local library, you can borrow physical copies of books. I've fallen in love with this service. I recently ordered a genealogy how-to book that was on a library shelf in Connecticut. The service is free so long as I return it by the due date, which just so happens to be two months from now. But, of course, some due dates are one month long. It just all depends!
For more free online genealogy book resources, check out this list.
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Paid Online Books for Genealogy
Not everything in life is free. Some subscription-based genealogy websites have wonderful book collections. You will find books from the following websites.
Genealogy Societies such as American Ancestors from the New England Historic Genealogical Society
Watch this video for a demonstration of the above website.
What types of genealogy books should you search for?
If we only search for published genealogies featuring our ancestors, we're missing out on a wealth of information that can expand our knowledge and identify our ancestors. Here's a brief list of genealogy books to search for in the online collections.
Books mention the work of our ancestors (especially useful for the professors and authors in your family tree)
Pioneer and First Settler Biographies
Ethnic Group Histories
Military Unit Histories
Probate & Wills Reference Books
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All of the websites mentioned above have helped take my genealogy research to the next level. I hope they will do the same for you. Also, if you have other book types that support your research, let me know.
Additional Online Genealogy Research Tips
Continue learning about online genealogy tips by consulting these blog posts: