Welcome to Toll Genealogy’s Genealogy and Genetic Genealogy Resources page!
This page features the best genealogy resources I am aware of including books, software, commercial websites, dna analysis tools, and my favourite genealogy websites and bloggers.
To jump to a specific section, use the links below. Where possible/relevant I’ve included a note about the book/link as to why I recommend it. If you would like to suggest anything to appear on this page, do drop me a line!
Disclosure: The vast majority of links on this page are affiliate links, including all Amazon links and many of the genealogy/DNA test company links. Such links help support this site. If you’d rather not do that, Google (as always!) is your friend. Also note, the Amazon links will show as UK but should direct you to your local Amazon site for those of you in the US or Canada.
These mostly focus on British records but there are a few special interest titles and American publications. Although these are all Amazon (affiliate) links, needless to say, you can check your local library to see if they have them available, or do utilise the Kindle preview feature or ‘Look Inside’ to get a feel for whether a particular book will suit you.
Genealogy – Essential Research Methods by Helen Osborn
A great book for the genealogist who wants to become a bit more organised and professional in their research, and is a recommended text for both the IHGS Correspondence Course in Genealogy, and the University of Strathclyde postgraduate certificate in genealogy.
Tracing Your Ancestors Using The Census by Emma Jolly
This book is a detailed guide to British census records, taking each one in turn discussing background, what information can be found, problems with that record-set, and how to use that particular census most effectively. I wish I had had this book when I was starting out with my research.
Birth, Marriage & Death Records by David Annal and Audrey Collins
At first glance you might think ‘why would I need this’. I did. But it was a recommended text for a course I’m doing, so I had to buy it. I’m so glad I did. It doesn’t just cover civil and parish records, but every single other (British related) recordset that you might need, including non-conformist records, Britains born overseas records, Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man, as well as military records. If your British ancestors are struggling to reveal themselves or you know they travelled, do take a look at this book.
Tracing Your Irish Ancestors by John Grenham
Irish ancestors can be difficult to trace. This book, another set text for the University of Strathclyde postgraduate certificate in genealogy, has just arrived with me, and oh my I wish I had discovered it earlier. It’s incredibly comprehensive, but also brilliantly laid out, and has separate sections for each county, plus information for working out which county you should be looking in.
Writing Your Family History by Gill Blanchard
I adore this book. If you’ve ever wanted to write up your research into a family history record for the rest of your family, for posterity, or even to publish, this is a great guide on how to do so if you find the idea a bit overwhelming, or if you’ve never attempted this kind of writing. Also currently very bargainous at the UK Kindle Store!
Who Do You Think You Are? The Essential Guide to Tracing Your Family History by Megan Smolenyak
In full disclosure, I do not own this book. However, I am recommending it to those researching US genealogy as it is the companion book to the US version of Who Do You Think You Are. The author is very well known in the professional genealogy field, has great credentials, and looking at the Kindle preview, I’m confident that it is a great beginner book.
The Family Tree Toolkit by Kenyatta D Berry
This book came out towards the end of 2018, and is aimed at US genealogists and those looking to uncover US ancestors. It is really comprehensive but still accessible. This would be my number one recommendation for US newbie genealogists.
Genealogy Notebook by Jacobien Beeker
This is the best genealogy notebook I’ve found. If you are the kind of person who wants to keep paper records, this book has 127 ancestor data sheets that are well designed and other helpful templates, including a full index for the data sheets to fill in as you go. Also, most importantly for such a notebook, the paper quality is really good. My one complaint about this book is it isn’t spiral bound. If I were going to use it I would probably do that.
How to use Evernote for Genealogy: A Step-By-Step Guide… by Kerry Scott
Disclaimer, I haven’t read this, because I have never got along with Evernote. However, a lot of people swear by it for genealogy, so I did want to include this book for those of you interested in understanding the best way to use it.
Organize Your Genealogy by Drew Smith
This slot originally had the ‘Genealogy Do-Over by Thomas MacEntee, but it appears to not be in Kindle anymore, unfortunately. I’ve therefore switched it out for this book, which also deals with organising your genealogy. But! I haven’t read it, the content seem kind of general, and reviews are mixed, so I’m going to get a copy to review.
31 Days to Better Genealogy by Amy Johnson Crow
Last but not least, this book by Amy Johnson Crow is a 31 day easy to follow course in genealogy whether you are an absolute beginner or coming back to it after a break. Amy has a very popular blog (linked below!) and newsletter, and her writing style is really clear and enjoyable to read.
Genetic Genealogy in Practice by Blaine T Bettinger & Debbie Parker Wayne
Amazon UK (Kindle only)
Amazon US (Kindle only)
As the name implies, this book is a much more hands-on practical book, I’d suggest looking at this after either Blaine’s first book, or the Tamar Weinberg book. Frustratingly, it appears to no longer be available in hard copy.
The Adoptee’s Guide to DNA Testing: How to use Genetic Genealogy to Discover Your Long-Lost Family by Tamar Weinberg
Although the title implies this is just for adoptees, in truth, it’s great for all, but does have extra resources aimed at adoptees and also includes some interesting case studies.
General interest – the Science
Below you can find links to each testing company. Rather buy on Amazon if you are shopping there anyway? No problem, you’ll find links for the tests currently available via Amazon directly below that.
DNA Gedcom is a site containing a bunch of different tools for working with your DNA results across different platforms. I can’t say it any better than they can in this document: https://www.dnagedcom.com/docs/What_can_you_do_on_DNAGedcom.pdf
Genetic Affairs which automates the retrieval of new DNA matches for you at Ancestry, 23andMe, and FamilyTreeDNA, and emails you the new results. It also has an auto-clustering tool. There are currently a few teething problems with Ancestry, but otherwise, it’s a great tool, and you can try it for free without providing a credit card number.
Rootsfinder is general genealogy website with a tree builder function, but they recently announced some new DNA tools which are currently in Beta. For more information, see here: https://www.rootsfinder.com/blog/announcing-experimental-dna-tools/.
Jonny Perl’s DNA Painter is a brilliant tool whereby you can ‘paint’ your DNA using data from sites that have a chromosome browser. The idea is, you paint the DNA you share with other people, and as you discover your common ancestors, you know which bits of your DNA came from which ancestor. Cool, huh?
Housed at the DNA Painter website, use this tool to quickly get a sense of how far back your common ancestors with a particular match are likely to be.
This tool, also housed at the DNA Painter website helps you work out how you might be related to a group of DNA matches who descend from the same common ancestor.
In full disclosure, I do not really use Family Tree Software. I do own both FamilyTreeMaker and MacFamilyTree, but I use Ancestry pretty much exclusively, and I export my trees as gedcoms periodically as a backup. Therefore the links below are included as those which I’m aware have the best customer reviews. Because I can’t personally recommend, note none of the links in this section are affiliate links, because, well, that would be weird!
These are some sites I really try and keep up to date with reading, and whose posts I really enjoy. Some are better known than others, but all are great to read. Note these are not in any specific order, though I did try to list the genetic genealogy sites first!
The courses listed below relate to general genealogy, although some do also cover genetic genealogy as well. When my genetic genealogy course is released I’ll be recommending that one(!), but until then, I definitely recommend you check out the following if you are interested in genetic genealogy learning resources:
Family Tree Webinars mentioned below also has some fantastic webinars relating to genetic genealogy.
The University of Strathclyde also run a couple of short courses relating to genealogy, but I can’t give you any insight into these as I haven’t done them (for no greater reason than they are costly and the material covered seemed too basic for my knowledge level).
This is a fantastic beginner level course provided by the University of Strathclyde (but via the Future Learn website), and even better it’s completely free! It runs often, so don’t worry if you have missed the start date. I highly, and I mean highly, recommend this if you are looking for a beginner level course.
Regular free webinars on a variety of genealogy subjects, plus you can access any past webinar via a yearly or monthly subscription. For details of upcoming webinars, see https://familytreewebinars.com/upcoming-webinars.php.
As well as the courses referred to above, if you want to do a really in-depth course or courses, you may want to check out one of these: