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How Do I Do Genealogical Research?

Reference

Dictionaries, Directories, Handbooks, Encyclopedias, etc. - Reference works are useful when you need to obtain quick facts, define the terms and scope of your search, or get a broad overview of a topic.

The Reference collection is located on the 2nd floor of Mills and consists of encyclopaedias, dictionaries, short biographies, bibliographies and directories that cannot be removed from the library. Research Help staff are available during service hours if you need assistance.

For information about resources held at Mills Memorial Library or hours of opening and services, call (905) 525-9140, extension 22077 or check the web at: http://library.mcmaster.ca/

Some Genealogical Sources Found in the Reference Collection

Bibliographies

A bibliography is a list of books, journal articles or other forms of publications on a certain topic. While a bibliography may not provide specific information on your topic, it can lead to other sources of interest.

To locate bibliographies, do a subject search on MORRIS using the following LC subject headings:

specific topic - Bibliography
(example: Genealogy - Bibliography)

Example of a genealogy bibliography found under this heading:

Filby, P. William.
 American and British genealogy and heraldry: a selected list of books.

LOCATION: MILLS Reference (2nd floor)
CALL NUMBER: ZCS 25 .F5 1983

 

Biographies

A biography is a written history of a person's life. Biographies are generally found in two forms: a book devoted entirely to the life and times of one person, or, a book listing the birth and death dates of many people.

To find collective biographies (books containing multiple biographies), complete a subject search on MORRIS using the following format:

specific place - Biography
(example: Great Britain - Biography)

Example of a title found under this heading:

Dictionary of National Biography.

LOCATION: MILLS Reference (2nd floor)
CALL NUMBER: CT 773 .D55 1963

OR

Do a subject keyword search on MORRIS using the following format:

genealog* and biograph*

Example of a biography title found under this heading:

Collen, Henry.
 Debrett's genealogical peerage of Great Britain and Ireland.

LOCATION: MILLS Reference (2nd floor)
CALL NUMBER.: CS 420 .D28

 

Handbooks

A handbook is a guide on how to do something, in this case, genealogical research. Handbooks often include lists of valuable addresses which can further your search.

To find handbooks on this topic, do a subject search on MORRIS using the following format:

specific place - Genealogy - Handbooks
(example: Canada - Genealogy - Handbooks)

Example of a title found under this heading:

Baxter, Angus.
In search of your Canadian roots: tracing your family tree in Canada.

LOCATION: MILLS Reference (2nd floor)
CALL NUMBER: CS 82 .B389 2000

 

Heraldry

Heraldry is defined as the study and classification of armorial bearings. Most people associate heraldry with a coat of arms.

To find books on heraldry, do a subject search on MORRIS using the following format:

Heraldry
or
Heraldry - specific place
(example: Heraldry - Ireland)

Example of a title found under this heading:

De Breffny, Brian.
Irish family names: arms, origins, and locations.

LOCATION: MILLS Reference (2nd floor)
CALL NUMBER: CR 492 .W66 1988

 

Local Histories

Local histories are books written about specific communities in the world. Mills Library has a good selection of Canadian and British local histories.

To find them, complete a subject search on MORRIS using the following format:

Specific place - History
(example: Toronto (Ont.) - History)

Example of a title found under this heading:

Middelton, J. E.
Municipality of Toronto: a History

LOCATION: MILLS Reference (2nd floor)
CALL NUMBER: FC 3097.4 .M53

 

If you check under your specific community and no books are found, try broadening your search to a larger geographical area. For example, if you were searching for a village in Great Britain and MORRIS found no books, you could broaden your search to the parish name or the name of the county. Mills Library holds several good collections of British local histories. One such group is the Victoria History of the Counties of England. To obtain a complete listing of titles under this heading, do a title search under: Victoria History of the Counties of England.