Skip to Main Content

Family History/Genealogy: Books

Learn how to research your family tree and how to find resources that are available in EKU libraries.

Google Books

Search for full text genealogy titles.

Google Book Search

Citing Sources

Biographical Sources

Books of biographical sketches can provide information on an ancestor. The Kentucky Biographies project has retyped many of these sketches making them available online.

To find indexes to such biographical sketches try the following subject searches, replacing the name of the state to find other locations. The state or location can be replaced to customize any of these searches.

Kentucky--History, Local--Indexes

To locate statewide books dedicated to biographies try the following subject searches.


County biographies may be found using either of the following search strategies. For best results try both subject headings.

Jessamine County (Ky.)--Biography
Jessamine County (Ky.)--History

Often organizational or occupational histories can include biographical sketches and the following searches will locate these titles.

Freemasons--Kentucky--Madison County

The first title below is the only index to Kentucky biographies available. The remaining titles are good examples of early volumes of biographical sketches published in Kentucky.


One of the biggest challenges in researching genealogy is understanding the archaic terminology used in legal documents as well as early occupations and diseases. A good genealogical dictionary or two can answer many of these questions.

Local history--Dictionaries

Consult a dictionary of names to find the meaning and origin of a surname. Keep in mind that names were often Anglicized after emigration, so a surname like Leathers that sounds English, is also derived from the German name Lederer. The following searches can be customized to find dictionaries of christian names and surnames.

Names, Personal--German--Dictionaries
Names, Personal--Dictionaries
German language--Etymology--Names--Dictionaries

Also included in this section are dictionaries listing very brief information about emigrants or residents of specific areas. The following searches can be customized to produce these titles. Note that these subject headings are very broad and will produce many other results as well.

New England--Genealogy
United States--Genealogy--Sources

The following titles are good examples of dictionaries that can be found in our library.


Directories can help researchers find societies, libraries, researchers and more. The search terms below can help locate specific directories. Locations and subjects can be changed to customize the search.

United States--Genealogy--Societies, etc.--Directories
Kentucky--Archival resources--Directories
Cemeteries--United States--Directories
United States--Genealogy--Directories

City directories have also been published for most major cities in the United States. These can be very helpful in locating elusive ancestors as well as gathering additional information about individuals. Smaller communities usually did not have their own directories, but are often included in statewide directories. The following search terms can be used to find such directories.

Lexington (Ky.)--Directories

Geographical Resources

Geographical resources, especially those which include historical information are vital for genealogy research.The following searches will find titles other than those listed below and can easily be customized to search other states or counties as well.

United States--Administrative and political divisions--Maps
Kentucky--Historical geography--Maps

Union County (Ky.)--Historical geography--Maps

Besides actual maps a place name resource is also useful. Additional titles can be found by customizing the following search terms.

Names, Geographical--Kentucky--Dictionaries
Names, Geographical--Kentucky--Mason County

The following titles are standards for Kentucky researchers.


Handbooks are available on virtually any genealogy topic. Some handbooks cover a specific topic or location, while others provide information for the entire United States or world. The following search terms can be altered to locate handbooks relating to various locations or ethnicities.

Kentucky--Genealogy--Handbooks, manuals, etc.
Italian Americans--Genealogy--Handbooks, manuals, etc.

Specialized handbooks can be located by using the following types of searches. This search is a bit more complicated to customize as the subject of the handbook must be changed by replacing record types or classes of persons.

Registers of births, etc.--United States--Handbooks, manuals, etc.
Marriage records--Handbooks, manuals, etc.
Quakers--Genealogy--Handbooks, manuals, etc.

The following titles include only a small sampling of the types of handbooks available.

Questions? Just ask!

Profile Photo
EKU Special Collections & Archives
Eastern Kentucky University
Special Collections & Archives
521 Lancaster Avenue
Library 126
Richmond, KY 40475