Pursuing Research on a Limited Budget

Question: There are dozens of genealogical books I would like to see. However, buying them all would bankrupt me. What tips do you have for those of us on limited budgets?

Answer: As in any hobby, our wish lists are usually larger than our funds. Determine which books are available in your area. Comb public and college libraries, historical societies, and be sure to ascertain if the book has been microfilmed by the LDS (Mormon) Family History Library in Salt Lake City and thus is available on loan for about $3.

The American Family Records Assn. Genealogy Circulating Collection is accessible--through your local librarian--for book requests; fill out an ALA Interlibrary Loan Request Form and send to Interlibrary Loan Dept., Mid-Continent Public Library, Independence, Mo.

A new catalogue of this expanding collection is available (free) from Martha L. Meyers, Genealogy Reference Librarian, Mid-Continent Public Library, 15616 E. 24 Highway, Independence, Mo. 64050. Many titles are especially popular and you may have to wait several months to receive such books--but the price is right.


Donations of new and used genealogical books are gratefully accepted for this circulating collection.

If you are a member of the National Genealogical Society and/or New England Historic Genealogical Society, you can borrow books via mail at minimum expense.

Q: I finally located a source for a Harris Genealogy (Connecticut 1640-1878). However, it costs $66. This book is only 239 pages. Why does it cost so much?

A: This particular genealogy is a reprint of an 1878 edition, and the production costs of reprinting genealogies is expensive because of the limited market.


The fewer number of books printed, the higher the individual book price. Unless you know this is your line, the best way to determine its value to you is to try and find a copy of it--most likely sources would be the Library of Congress, New England Historic Genealogical Society’s library and major public libraries with extensive genealogical collections, such as New York City, Los Angeles, Clayton (Houston) and Family History Library in Salt Lake City.

Q: I am trying to obtain a copy of a local history book about a West Virginia county which has been out of print for years. What determines which books are reprinted and when?

A: Demand. If the original publisher of the book is still in business, contact it regarding plans for re-printing.

If the original publisher no longer exists, contact major genealogical publishers and suggest it be reprinted. Clearfield Company, 200 E. Eager St., Baltimore, Md. 21202, specializes in discount reprints and remainders in the genealogy field.

It buys rights to older books and works with other publishers.