The Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy

4th Edition


Author: Greenwood, Val. D.
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: xvi 778 pp.


“The challenge I give to the genealogist is to reach beyond the vital statistics to a new world of understanding, both of his ancestors and of himself. . . . Someone has said that there is little point in digging up an ancestor if you are not going to make him live”— Val D. Greenwood

In every field of study, there is one book that rises above the rest in stature and authority and becomes the standard work in the field. In genealogy that book is Val Greenwood’s Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy. Arguably the best book ever written on American genealogy, it instructs the researcher in the timeless principles of genealogical research, while identifying the most current classes of records and research tools.

Research in family history has experienced unprecedented changes since the year 2000, when the 3rd edition of this book was published—changes surpassing anything that most of us even dreamed of at that time. These changes have come about because of the significant technological advances that have greatly facilitated genealogy research.

This edition of The Researcher’s Guide has been completely updated, incorporating all the latest developments, principles, and resources relevant to family history research. There are now two chapters about technology as it relates to family history research–one dealing with significant concepts and definitions and the other with specific resources and applications, including major family history websites and Internet resources. In addition, virtually every chapter provides information on Internet websites pertinent to the subject discussed in that chapter.

However, despite the fact that the steps involving family history research are greatly facilitated and enhanced by modern technology, it is still essential to search all available records for all persons of your surname(s) of interest, and to carefully analyze and evaluate all the information you find to determine if and how it provides evidence that relates to your objectives. Good instructional guidance is critical to the success of family history research, and this is where The Researcher’s Guide is unsurpassed. It is both a textbook and an all-purpose reference book, designed to help the present generation of family history researchers better understand the methods and principles of family history research, and learn how to utilize all available resources. As Val Greenwood writes, “These are our ancestors we are talking about here; we owe it to them to get it right.”

This edition provides a clear, comprehensive, and up-to-date account of American genealogy–no sound genealogical project is complete without it.

“Recommended as the most comprehensive how-to book on American genealogical and local history research.” Library Journal

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