By Kimberly Brown, Family Historian
Wouldn't you hate to spend hours of research time, making visits to libraries and carefully typing all the information that you found into your OneGreatFamily tree, only to find that someone had already done all the work? If there was already a book of your family history out there, wouldn't you want to just copy the information into your family tree?
Actually, there are thousands of published genealogies out there in the genealogical world, and there very well may be one written for your family. These books are compiled by genealogical societies, family committees, or just regular family researchers like yourself who decided to share their research so that all their hard work didn't go to waste.
Where can you find these kinds of books? It's much easier than you think. There are three main sites you should definitely search:
FamilySearch. This site contains the online library catalog for the largest genealogical library in the world! The best part? All the records of the Family History can be accessed for free. Just go http://www.familysearch.org/eng/Library/FHLC/frameset_fhlc.asp. Click on Surname Search and type in the surname for your family. All the matching books and microfilms will pop up, along with their descriptions. Some books are not available online, but the websites gives you the information you need to have the book send to a Family History Library near you.
Allen County Public Library. Another one of the nation's greatest genealogical resources, the Allen County Public Library, has more than 350,000 genealogy books and 513,000 microfilms. Go to their website then, in the Search section on the left side, click on Catalog. In the screen that pops up, type in the surname of your family. Then change the search to Title in the drop-down menu and click Search. All books for your surname will be listed. You can get access through these titles through Interlibrary Loan at your local public library.
WorldCat. This site is a search engine for libraries all over the world. Instead of searching one library catalog at a time, this website does the searching for you. Go to http://www.worldcat.org/ and type in the family name you're looking for. Then the site will bring up lists of all the books it finds for that surname, and where they can be found in libraries near you. Save yourself research time and hassle by utilizing the work that others have already done. Like Sir Isaac Newton wrote, "If I have seen farther than others it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants."