Abbreviations found in Genealogy good resource for deciphering documents in your research

Reference Books

11 essential reference books for genealogists from
Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources guide to genealogy
The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy a handbook and a guide to selecting, locating, and using appropriate primary and secondary sources


Calendar Years explanation of old style dates
Complete Sun and Moon Data for One Day: US Cities and Towns obtain the times of sunrise, sunset, moonrise, moonset, transits of the Sun and Moon, and the beginning and end of civil twilight, along with information on the Moon’s phase, by specifying the date and location
Date Converter converts between old style and new style dates
Perpetual Calendar find day of week on any date in history


Citing Records in the National Archives of the United States
GeneaBlogger’s Genealogy Source Citations Quick References
Online! reference guide to using Internet sources
Simple Citations Citing genealogical sources for your family history shouldn’t require a degree in rocket science

Diseases and Medical Terms

Antiquus Morbus a Glossary of Archaic Medical Terms, Diseases and Causes of Death
Colonial Diseases and Cures


GenDisasters searchable excerpts from historical newspaper articles describing disasters across America


Epidemics in US 1628-1918
Timeline of Epidemics list of major epidemics in the U.S. and around the world

Handwriting and Tools for Deciphering Documents

Do History includes diary of Martha Ballard and toolkit including article How to Read 18th Century Writing
British National Archives Paleography Section is a gold mine of information including a handwriting tutorial
Dorchester & Fordington Glossary Dictionary of term used in wills, inventories and other documents for the 17th & 18th centuries
English Handwriting 1500 – 1700 an online course describing writing tools, showing examples of handwriting styles in actual documents and transcriptions so that you can read along and get a feel for the script
Familysearch Handwriting Help articles and tutorials on reading handwriting from various times and places
How to Read Old Handwriting article from Ancestors magazine
Internet Library of Early Journals has digitized 18th and 19th century journals, offering a look at the use of words of these time periods
Medieval Handwriting introduction to the history of medieval writing
Dianne’s Medieval Writing a companion to the website Medieval Writing
Paleography Hands-on experience for reading, interpreting and understanding early modern and medieval texts
Reading English Handwritten Records tutorial from Familysearch
Quirks of Old Documents youtube video from the University of Virginia
Scottish Handwriting provides an online tutorial in palaeography in the context of early modern (1500-1700) documents
Typophile discussion board with font identification and type design critique forums


Civil War timeline, battle maps, photos the Official Record (OR) and account from the commanders
Common-Place interactive journal of early American life
eHistory multimedia history, from Ohio State University
Yale Law School’s Avalon Project Collections include American Revolution; Colonial Charters, Grants and Related Documents; Confederate States of America; Journals of the Continental Congress 1774-1789; World War II


Bob’s Genealogical Filing Cabinet Discussion of legal terms, especially in the colonial ages.
Black’s Law Dictionary Essentail tool for examining old court documents and deeds, 1891 (first) and 1910 (second) editions
Bouvier’s Law Dictionary Bouvier’s Law Dictionary 1856
Justia US Law Reference for US primary, federal and state laws
The Legal Genealogist Blog on legal terms found in genealogy

Locating People and Businesses

White Pages directory


First Name Abbreviations
Given Name Alternatives for Irish Research List of abbreviations, nicknames and surnames for Irish given names
A Listing Of Some 18th and 19th Century American Nicknames from the Connecticut State Library
Public profiler gbnames Distribution of surnames in Great Britain in 1881 or 1998
Nicknames of Females from Family Tree Magazine
Surname Database History and Origins of Family Surnames
Surname Thesaurus Good source of surname variations, up to 30 searches per day free
Varieties and synonymes of surnames and Christian names in Ireland Book published in 1905 on the Irish use of names, both in English and Gaelic


Colonial Occupations 1
Colonial Occupations 2


City-County Search find the county a city is currently located in, may be different historically


Relationship Chart determine relationship based on common ancestor

Religious Records

Church Records Research guides for religious records and directory of churches in the US
Presbyterian Historical Society the National Archives of the PC(USA) and special collections
Quaker Collection Ancestry’s collection of records from the Society of Friends ($)
England & Wales, Society Of Friends (Quaker) Births 1578-1841 Findmypast’s collection of birth, marriage and burial records from The Society of Friends (Quakers) ($)
Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives# with biographies, newspapers, photo collections and useful links
Swarthmore Friends Historical Library Collection of records documenting the history of the Society of Friends (Quakers) and its concerns from the 17th century to the present, most not online but lots of information for researching Quakers. Copy and research services available.
United Methodist Church – Genealogy and Family Research# with clegy information, baptism and local church membership


Rootsweb’s Soundex Converter codes surnames together that sound similar but have different spellings