Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Happy Camper: I just got my new HANDYBOOK

Ol' Myrt here finally received her copy of Everton's HANDYBOOK FOR GENEALOGISTS 11th Edition, direct from the desk of the editor Holly T. Hansen, President of Previous editions have been published since 1947, and are known as a standard work when it comes to genealogical reference books. When traveling throughout the country, I make it a point to check the genealogy departments of the local public libraries. Even the smallest ones, with perhaps only 5-10 genealogy books, will have the HANDYBOOK as part of their collections. Larger libraries have multiple copies of the HANDYBOOK including one at the reference desk. I've seen it on the librarian's desk in the Library of Congress' Local History & Genealogy Reading Room. Yes, the HANDYBOOK is that important!

Course, now I'll need to purchase one of those dictionary stands, this book is that big.

Its hard to tell if the book or my 6-month-old grandson weighs more!

The HANDYBOOK provides information on:
UNITED STATES - general reference works for "all US topics" including:

  • Federal resources (census, immigration & military)
  • Societies & repositories
  • National Archives & Records Administration Centers

The bibliography for the US includes:

  • Archives & Libraries
  • Bible records
  • Biography
  • Cemeteries
  • Census records
  • Church records
  • Court records
  • Directories
  • Emigration, immigration, Migration & naturalization
  • Gazetteers
  • Genealogy
  • Handbooks & Guidebooks
  • Historical geography
  • History
  • Land & property
  • Maps & atlases
  • Military records
  • Minorities - African American, Hispanic, Jewish
  • Names
  • Native races
  • Naturalization & citizenship
  • Newspapers
  • Obituaries
  • Online Sources
  • Periodicals - genealogy
  • Sources & indexes
  • Postal & shipping guides
  • Probate records
  • Vital records

STATES IN ALPHA ORDER with information provided
on the following topics:

  • Brief history
  • Addresses for relevant state offices
  • Societies & repositories addresses, with phone or web addresses
  • Bibliography & record sources
  • Atlases, Maps & Gazetteers
  • Censuses (including US federal, state & territorial)
  • Court Records, probate & wills
  • Emigration, immigration, migration & naturalization
  • Land & property
  • Military
  • Vital & cemetery records
These pages are followed by an alpha-listing for every known county that was or is now part of the particular state in question, including such information as name, place on state map, date created, parent county or territory from which organized as well as contact information. Details include specific record groups by name and dates.

SAMPLE ENTRY FROM THE HANDYBOOK 11th edition, page 559:
"DUPLIN COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA was created in 1750 from New Hanover County
118 Duplin Street
Kenansville, NC 28349
The registrar of Deeds has birth and death records from 1913, Marriage records from 1749, maps and land records from 1749 & business records from 1899; Clerk Superior Court has probate and court records."

This is useful where you know the county but not the state where an event occurred for an ancestor. For instance, if a reference for your ancestor mentions the "days back in Covington" you can see that there are the following current counties:
Covington County, Alabama
Covington County, Mississippi
Covington (independent city), Virginia

This at least narrows it down to a few haystacks. But be sure to check back in the state section of the HANDYBOOK to determine the parent counties as well, to find the records for the time period when your ancestor was there.

For instance, it may have been Covington County, Mississippi when your 3rd great-grandfather died in late 1819 and his estate went through probate. However, Covington's parent counties were Lawrence and Wayne counties. So if he purchased land during his lifetime, you might have to check Lawrence and Wayne counties for his land and tax records.

CAN YOU SEE how you'd be dead in the water without the HANDYBOOK to help you understand which state/county had jurisdiction at various times throughout history?

These appear on pages M1-M54 in full color, showing the current county boundaries.

These appear on pages M55-M62 with related maps appearing on pages M-63-M72. Everton's has long been known for excellence in presenting migration trails maps. As you follow the reverse migration along such trails, you might find where your ancestors lived before arriving in say, Kentucky or Ohio.

The .pdf format makes it easy to print out pages about the state where you are currently researching. Ol' Myrt here also recommends printing out the map and relevant migration trail maps to insert in your research notebook. This helps you picture the territory where your ancestors once lived.

All I can say, DearREADERS,
is ol' Myrt is one happy camper.
I've been without my old 10th edition for three months, while away from home visiting with my daughter's family. Its pretty hard to do research without referring to this book once or twice a week at the least. You need a copy of this book, and so does your public library. See to it that your genealogy society provides this latest edition for the library's genealogy department.

The HANDYBOOK is, needless to say, QUITE handy when it comes to getting you oriented to the place where your ancestor once lived, which records have survived and how to contact various record office IF the record isn't yet on microfilm through your local LDS Family History Center.

11th Edition Handybook for Genealogists
(Limited number of books also available with a word searchable CD.)
Phone: 801-829-3295

(Tell them DearMYRTLE sent you!)

$50.00 (book only)
$60.00 (book plus searchable CD)

Editor Holly T. Hansen says "At least 80% of all vital records are held at the county level. The HANDYBOOK tells you how to access this information and lets you know what's available in each county."

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
Your friend in genealogy

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