Google Books

If you have not queried Google Books to learn more about the geographical area where you ancestors lived or to find out what information may exist on your ancestor, you may be missing a valuable geographical resource.


To access Google Books go to or:


  1. Go to
  2. Click the “More” link at the top of the page
  3. Select “Books.”

I have found many helpful books by searching using the following criteria:

  • county/parish and state
  • ancestor’s name and locality
  • topics (slavery, reconstruction, local history)
  • prominent families in the area

With Google Books, I can save books to My Library to read later where I can keep them organized:


Debbie Bloom, Walker Local History Room Manager at the Richland County Public Library in Columbia, recently gave a great presentation at the Southeast Branch on using social networking and genealogy where she demonstrated how she uses her eReader to store .pdf files from Google Books and Heritage Quest.  She pointed out that sometimes the places you go to research do not have the internet.  Census records or books saved on an eReader can be easily referenced when needed.



Some of the most fascinating discoveries which I have found are federal and state records which mention the names of my ancestors ans well as other works by researchers which provide further biographical details and information about collections in local archives and libraries.  I have been led to a vast array of record types rich in genealogical data on people in the communities where my ancestors lived.

If you discover a book that only show a “snippet view,” and you cannot access all the pages, look for the link within Google Books to  The “Look Inside” feature available for many books at Amazon allows you to search the indexes for family surnames or localities you are researching.


Check out the “Look Inside” feature for this South Carolina Low Country book:  Masters of Small Worlds:  Yeoman Households, Gender Relations, and the Political Culture of the Antebellum South Carolina Low Country. If you log in you will be able to access more of the book.  Check out some of the great treasures I have found on online book sites:



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