Five Faves Geneameme

It was a few weeks ago that Jill Ball (aka GeniAus) put the word out on her latest genealogy blog challenge, the “Five Faves Geneameme“.

She writes …

“To participate in this meme simply pen a blog post sharing details of five books written by others you have found most useful in your geneactivities. Use the above graphic to decorate your post if you wish. Please let me know via a comment on this post or via another form of social media when your post is done and I will add it to a compilation that I will publish on this blog in early June.”  

May was a busy month for me, so it didn’t happen. But I’ve decided to take up the challenge, albeit a little late. But better late than never.

I am a booklover. I love books and I love libraries, not to mention secondhand bookshops too. And I will confess I’ve never got into the whole ebook thing. I much prefer a paper book to read.

Anyway others who’ve already taken up the challenge found narrowing it down to “just” five titles is really hard. While I don’ t have 1000s of books like some do, my collection would be in the 100s, and they range from reference books (reading old handwriting, lists of old diseases etc), battalion histories, family histories, histories of towns and counties, books with transcripts, royalty, heraldry, placename books, books of old maps and more … including diaries!

So thinking about those that I use the most … here’s my list:

Compiled by the South Australian Genealogy & Heraldry Society

BISA sample entries

sample entries from the “BISA”

Anyone who is researching ancestors in South Australia prior to 1885 NEEDS to use this title. The information you can find in the BISA includes: Surname, name/s, date and place of birth, parents, ship and year of immigration, occupation, religion, death date, residence/s, spouse/s, year and place of marriage, spouse’s parents, children. The information was compiled by the South Australian Genealogy & Heraldry Society (SAGHS), from information submitted to them. So it is an index. And while there are known errors in it, it is still an incredible resource and one to use to check the information further.

Originally released as a 4 volume set for SA’s Bicentenary in 1988, an additional 2 volumes were released in 1990. All printed volumes are long out of print, but they have been digitised and are available on CD.


NOTORIOUS STRUMPETS AND DANGEROUS GIRLS: Convict Women in Van Diemen’s Land 1803-1829
Notorious Strumpets #1
Compiled by Phillip Tardif
This enormous volume (over 1800 pages) has been useful in helping with information on Mr Lonetester’s convicts. Detailing biographical information on 1675 female convicts sent to VDL between the years 1803-1829 it’s a great reference book.

The cover says …

“… It details not only the strange and tragic, but the everyday events that comprised a convicts life, revealing each woman’s crime, her trade, origins, physical appearance, colonial misdemeanors and punishments, marriage, and the date and agency by which she gained her freedom – if indeed, she did.

It was a popular book when it was released, but sadly was never reprinted. So it’s long been out of print. But I was fortunate to pick up a secondhand copy a few years ago.

sample entry from Notorious Strumpets

sample entry from Notorious Strumpets

Compiled by C.J. Smee and the Pioneer Association

the Pioneer Register series

the Pioneer Register series

It took a while to complete my collection of all six volumes in this series, but slowly, slowly I obtained each of them through secondhand shops. Each volume contains “genealogical details of 500 pioneers, their children and grandchildren”.

One annoying thing (apart from not having an index), is that there aren’t any page numbers in these volumes. But at least the “pioneers” themselves are in alphabetical order. This is purely a reference work, and as there’s no indication where the information was obtained from, all information needs to be verified. But I find that they are a useful source.

portion of a page from the Pioneer Register

portion of a page from the Pioneer Register


the 1978 edition of Gumeracha 1839-1939

the 1978 edition of Gumeracha 1839-1939

GUMERACHA 1839-1939
Edited by J.E. Monfries
My Randell ancestors founded the town of Gumeracha in the Adelaide Hills, which those who’ve followed a while will have read about, so naturally I have a fascination with this town, apart from the fact that it is my hometown too.

This book was written in 1939 for the town’s centenary, and details the early families, the businesses, hospitals, schools and sporting clubs, and it is a must for anyone interested in the history of the town.

The original 1939 volume is long out of print, as is the 1978 edition which is pictured here. There is however, a CD edition of the title still available.




Compiled by Oliver Mason

Bartholomew's Gazetteer of Britain

Bartholomew’s Gazetteer of Britain

Every researcher needs a gazetteer. A gazetteer is a reference book to help you locate places, and as places change name or disappear, generally the older the gazetteer the better. This one is one that I have for Britain and it lists counties, towns, villages, parish, boroughs, lakes, hills and so on. Arranged in alphabetical order, each place then provided details of the county, a grid reference map (to maps in the book) and details of where to find it.

Sample entry: EASTRY – Kent 12 H2 vil 3m/4km SW of Sandwich. TR 3154

Bartholomew’s is one of the well known names for English gazetteers, with Lewis’ being the other. This books is long out of print, but check around online and you’ll find gazetteer to download, or buy on CD.


So that’s just five of my fave genealogy-related books. What are yours?

2 Responses to “Five Faves Geneameme”

  1. Jill Ball says:

    You have some treasures in your collection. Your descriptions of each book are so informative. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Jen says:

    I am very impressed with your top five and your summaries. It is such a shame many of these treasures are out of print because they will still be valuable resources 100 years from now.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *