Reference, Dictionaries & Almanacs

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Collection Information

Tracing your family history is a continuous learning experience. In order to find our ancestors, we must learn about many record types—why they were kept, what they contain, and where to find them. We learn history, geography, legal, medical and antiquated terms; and possibly even a foreign language or two. We learn about libraries, archives, courthouses, online resources, and any place that may house the slightest clue to our ancestry. Fortunately, the information age has been good to family historians. Collections like those in this category bring a huge variety of reference materials to our computer screen.

Reference materials, including dictionaries, encyclopedias, and other how-to books, can be tremendously helpful in finding and interpreting historical documents. They may include lists of words and their definitions, descriptions of people or places, and other research guidance.

Many of these books can help you learn where to look for more information and how to use what you've already found to uncover more clues.

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