The Best Books for Genealogy Researchers

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Could you be related to royalty? With so many genealogy options online, it’s a great time to research your family history. But too many options can make getting started confusing. Thankfully, there are a number of books available that can help. This article will give an overview of some of the best genealogy books to help you unravel your family tree.

Evidence Explained: History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace 3rd Edition Revised

“Evidence Explained: History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace” by Elizabeth Shown Mills

“Evidence Explained” is a reference guide for citing and analysing historical sources. The most recent revised third edition was published in 2017. This book is a great resource for genealogists searching through historical documents. In particular, “Evidence Explained” offers over 1,000 models for citing everything from microfiche to podcasts.

Author Elizabeth Shown Mills is a historical researcher and genealogist. Mills has published several reference books in her field and is a former president of the American Society of Genealogists. She is also a former president of the Board for Certification of Genealogists. Mills wrote “Evidence Explained” with family genealogy research as well as historical research in mind.

If you need a reference for citing your sources, Mills’s “Evidence Explained” is just what you need. This book is thorough and should have everything you need to make sense of the historical documents you might encounter in your research. “Evidence Explained” is especially useful for helping to determine the reliability of genealogy sources. Find it here on Amazon.

Unofficial Guide to How to Find Your Family History on the #1 Genealogy Website

“Unofficial Guide to How to Find Your Family History on the #1 Genealogy Website” by Nancy Hendrickson

If you have looked into genealogy at all, you have probably been directed to Ancestry. This book serves as a guide to using, the most prominent genealogy resource online. “Unofficial Guide to” features step-by-step instructions with illustrations, and the revised and expanded edition of 2018 includes a section on AncestryDNA.

Author Nancy Hendrickson is a multi-specialty writer who has combined her interests in genealogy and technology to create this guide to using

For anyone looking to get started using, including AncestryDNA test kits, this book is your go-to guide. Ancestry’s systems are complex and can be daunting if you’re just starting out. Having an illustrated guide to the website as well as its DNA testing service is super handy. Find it here on Amazon.

“Forensic Genealogy” by Colleen Fitzpatrick and Andrew Yeiser

Originally published in 2005, the 2013 revised edition provides information on using forensic science to aid in genealogical research.

Coauthor Colleen Fitzpatrick, PhD, coined the term “forensic genealogy.” She currently runs IdentiFinders, a company that assists in the DNA identification of suspects in cold cases. Fitzpatrick is also a cofounder of the DNA Doe Project, a non-profit organization that seeks to identify deceased persons through forensic genealogy. She self-published “Forensic Genealogy,” which she wrote along with her late husband Andrew Yeiser. 

“Forensic Genealogy” is a guide to photo identification, DNA analysis and database mining co-written by the primary expert on the topic. If you are trying to trace your roots through genetics or have unidentified family photographs, this is the book for you. Find it here on Amazon.

Mastering Genealogical Proof

“Mastering Genealogical Proof” by Thomas W. Jones

Published in 2013 as part of the National Genealogical Society Special Topics Series, “Mastering Genealogical Proof” is a guide for analyzing and using source documents. The book explains the different types of sources and provides examples for using sources in genealogy.

Author Thomas W. Jones is a genealogical researcher. He also works as an educator at various institutions. He is a co-editor of the “National Genealogical Society Quarterly.”

“Mastering Genealogical Proof” is an educational text meant to provide a foundation in genealogical documentation and research. It even includes practice exercises at the end of each chapter. If you are looking to learn more about the fundamentals of genealogy research, this is the book for you. Find it here on Amazon.

The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy

“The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy” by Blaine T. Bettinger

This 2019 guide to DNA testing covers the entire genealogical DNA testing process. This book can help you choose a DNA test package that will answer your genealogy questions. It also features a guide for understanding and analyzing your test results.

Author Blaine T. Bettinger is a professional genealogist that specializes in DNA evidence. He runs one of the first blogs all about genetic genealogy, “The Genetic Genealogist.” Bettinger also works as an instructor for genetic genealogy courses at various institutions.

If you are considering using DNA testing to further your genealogy goals but don’t know where to start, Bettinger’s guide has you covered. The book has answers for every stage of DNA testing and can help you interpret your results. It can even help you decide which testing company is right for you. Find it here on Amazon.

Advanced Genetic Genealogy: Techniques and Case Studies

“Advanced Genetic Genealogy: Techniques and Case Studies” edited by Debbie Parker Wayne

This book is a compilation of case studies in genetic genealogy. Meant for intermediate to advanced genealogists, this textbook explores applications of DNA testing in genealogy. It was published in 2019.

“Advanced Genetic Genealogy” includes 14 chapters, each by a different author. Notable are inclusions by other authors in our list, Blaine T. Bettinger and Thomas W. Jones, as well as a chapter by Debbie Parker Wayne. All 14 authors are professional genealogists that have experience working with DNA.

This is a great book if you’re interested in learning more about the applications of DNA in genealogical research. Find it here on Amazon.

The Family Tree Cemetery Field Guide: How to Find, Record, and Preserve Your Ancestors' Graves

“The Family Tree Cemetery Field Guide: How to Find, Record, and Preserve Your Ancestors’ Graves” by Joy Neighbors

If you’re researching your family history, you will encounter a deceased relative or two. Published in 2017, “The Family Tree Cemetery Field Guide” is an all-inclusive guide to including graves in your genealogical research.

Author Joy Neighbors is an accomplished writer and blogger, and owner of the “A Grave Interest” blog. She is also a public speaker on the topics of cemeteries, history and genealogy.

One of the best parts of tracing your genealogy is finding the physical remnants of your genetic history. This book will help any genealogy buffs searching for gravestones of their ancestors. This field guide also includes detailed instructions on using websites like Find A Grave to document burial information. Find it here on Amazon.

Story of My Life: A Workbook for Preserving Your Legacy

“Story of My Life: A Workbook for Preserving Your Legacy” by Sunny Jane Morton

Released in 2016, “Story of My Life” is a workbook aiming to help you document your life and history.

Author Sunny Jane Morton is an editor for “Family Tree Magazine” as well as a writer specializing in genealogy. She has authored many publications on the topic of tracing family history.

This is an excellent workbook to preserve your life story for future generations. Wouldn’t it be so much easier to do genealogical research if your ancestors had written down their life story and vital statistics? Find “Story of My Life” here on Amazon.

The Family Tree Problem Solver: Tried-and-True Tactics for Tracing Elusive Ancestors

“The Family Tree Problem Solver: Tried-and-True Tactics for Tracing Elusive Ancestors” by Marsha Hoffman Rising

Published in 2019 as the third edition, “The Family Tree Problem Solver” is an essential read if you’re starting from scratch on your genealogy journey. This book offers solutions to common problems the amateur genealogist might run into. Topics include tracing ancestors before 1850 and how to use and analyze your DNA test results.

Author Marsha Hoffman Rising was an accomplished genealogist, specializing in solving problems when researching ancestors from the 1800s. This edition of “The Family Tree Problem Solver” was published posthumously.

If you’ve reached a peanut butter point in your genealogical research, this book is the solution. It can help you get past what may seem like brick walls in your family history research. Find it here on Amazon.

Organize Your Genealogy: Strategies and Solutions for Every Researcher

“Organize Your Genealogy: Strategies and Solutions for Every Researcher” by Drew Smith

Published in 2016, this book is a necessary companion for anyone tracing their family history. “Organize Your Genealogy” is a guide to managing all the information you will gather in your research and includes resources that can help.

Author Drew Smith is a librarian and the winner of the 2016 Filby Award for Genealogical Librarianship. He has also held multiple positions in a handful of genealogical societies, including being a former president of the Florida Genealogical Society of Tampa.

Once you start looking into your family history, it can be difficult to organize all the dates, names and other bits of information you find. This guide will help you declutter your mind and your scratchpad and prevent losing important stuff by giving you the systems you need to organize. Find it here on Amazon.


If you’re into researching your family history, this list of the best genealogy books should give you everything you need to compile an extensive family tree. You will also be able to organize all that data as well as document your own life and vital statistics for future generations. If you’re interested in the science behind it all, you can also expand your knowledge on DNA testing. When you need more recommendations, check out our other best-of lists.

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