Table of Contents

Searching Tips 

Quick Find

  • If you know the book you are after, you can search by Title, Author, ISBN, or Item #.  Author Search is by Last Name only.
  • Title Search will search from even a few letters. Since this field needs an exact match, start with only a word or two.
  • ISBN Search will work with the last 5 digits or the full ISBN, no dashes.

Narrow Your Options

If you aren’t looking for a particular book, for best results:

  • Begin your search with a Region or a Subject 
  • Narrow your search by Time Period.
  • If you’re looking for a guide or how-to book, under Time Period choose Current. 

Reading our eBooks

If you are having problems opening and reading one of our eBooks, this is for you.  We’ll cover the basics here. This may go a bit long, so bear with us.

Most of our eBooks are ePubs. That format requires a particular type of reader. Unlike pdf files, ePub files cannot be read by the simple Adobe reader. If your confirmation shows a file extension (ePub) your first task is to find and install a reader that can read the ePub format. There are a number of free readers available for both computers and iPads. On the web you’ll find lots of these readers. Here is a link to an article that has links for some of those readers: https://www.lifewire.com/what-is-an-epub-file-2621084   For free readers, I prefer the Adobe Digital Editions software for reading, searching, etc. The #1 recommendation in the article is Calibre. I do use Calibre for converting formats but I’m not a fan of using it as a reader.

Your next step involves the download of the file. Not all browsers work the same way when downloading a file so you want to be sure you have access to your book in a download folder.

[Note for Mac users:  in this piece we are not referring to the Downloads folder on your Safari browser.]

On a PC, find the file and right click on the file.  In the window that opens, find the “Open with” line and using the arrow on the right, choose the reader you installed. If your computer does not show your new reader as an option, the easiest way to get to your book is to open the reader and use the built in tool to find and open a new file.

Mac users will follow a similar path, only using Control click and Get Info.

For an iPad, the process is similar, meaning you need to have a reader that works with ePubs. Once that is installed, you can use your iTunes library to get the file from your computer.

We do hope this gives you enough detail. Let us know if you have questions. And if you used your 5 downloads before reading this, send an email to website@genealogical.com and we’ll take care of that, too.


Subscription Access and Use

After the purchase, when you want to go to the eBooks you can use the Single Sign On button that will be in your genealogical account:

You can also login to https://genealogical.vitalsource.com using your email and password.

Tips for Searching for Names

-On the first Bookshelf screen start by clicking on the word Explore in the upper left. You will see a spinning circle as the platform loads all the titles. On that screen you will have two options for searching. Both options do the same search. One is on the top of the screen, middle right. Look for the hourglass and the word Search. As you scroll down, a little below the fold you will see a green band with the words Looking for something specific. That will be the second option for searching.

-If you are starting by searching for names, enter a Surname in the search box. Give the platform a bit of time here since it will be looking for that name in over 850 books. Hold off doing anything with Book Matches. That is not what you are waiting for. When the search engine finds the name, it will start showing you Content in My Books across the top of the screen with each book showing you how many results in that book. It is not unusual to see results in more than 100 titles for a common surname.

-Be patient. As the search engine finds more results, they will be added to the others, visible as you scroll to the right using the arrow indicator.

-When you click on each book with results, a list will appear on the right showing some detail for each occurrence of the name. You can click on book after book to see the results in a preview panel. If one looks promising, you can click on the highlighted word (the name) and that will take you to the page with the result.

-If you find something of interest, you can Highlight a portion, Copy a portion and save it as a Note, Paste it to a file, or Print it. You can add a Citation or copy the Page URL that you can enter into your browser window to return to that page. For each book, you can see all your notes, highlights and annotations in a display panel. You can also change the Display, Magnify and Read Aloud.

,**Note: After you open a book with Search Results, to get back to all the books with results, use the back arrow of your browser. The arrow inside the program’s screen will, by default, take you to the Library screen to start over.

-When your search gives you a lot of titles with results, you will want to get more specific and reduce the number of possible books. Just add additional detail in the search box after your original name. For example, if you searched on Smith and got hundreds of results, you can add John so the search box will show smith john. You can add more than one name here. For example, smith john mary. Now you are searching for books that have all 3 entries in any order. You can also add locations, occupations, and more.

-To search for a specific name, you can use quotation marks. Be aware that the results will be an exact match. So, if you enter “john smith” you will not find “smith, john.”

These are a few tips to get you started quickly. Let us know ones that you discover.

About Bookshelf and Why We Chose It

To preserve the formatting and page numbering of the print edition, the digital edition of Evidence Explained and some other titles is a fixed page ePub. We are only making them available on the Bookshelf platform, the same platform we are using for our subscriptions. Initially these ePubs will be available for purchase. Some of these titles may be available in a subscription at a later date.

Bookshelf is much more than a reading platform. It provides tools for highlighting, note taking, bookmarking, citing, copying, and printing. It will even read the book to you. The best part is the search engine. It is superior to standard readers, displaying a snippet for all results. Here is a screenshot of a sample search:

While the screenshot does not show it, the results continue down the page. Unlike most pdf’s, you don’t have to toggle from result to result. You get to see all of the results in the one side panel.

As a publisher, what we particularly like about the platform is the protection it affords to our authors. While it facilitates copying and printing of useful segments, at no time do you have a file of the book that could be sent to others.

If you are wondering about accessing the book when an internet connection is not available, Bookshelf has a free app to which you can download the book. The app will sync any notes, etc. when you reconnect through the internet.

When your purchase is complete, scroll down to the Access button that will take you to the Bookshelf landing page**. If you already have a Bookshelf account, enter you email and password. If you are new to Bookshelf, create an account.

You can learn more about Bookshelf from the Subscription page on this site. 

Customers Outside the US

If people you know outside the US cannot get to our site, this is what you can tell them:

VitalSource has regional stores in the United States (including US territories), Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Germany, Ireland, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, Peru, India, Italy, Japan, and Argentina. You may purchase from our stores provided you have a valid billing address in that country. Please select the store for your country by clicking on the flag icon in the upper right-hand corner.

Note: Canadian customers may purchase from our US or CA stores. However, some content in the US store may be restricted for sale to customers with Canadian billing addresses.

New Zealand customers may purchase from our AU Store.

Go to VitalSource.com and select from the dropdown list after clicking on the flag