The most recommended genealogy books

Who picked these books? Meet our 33 experts.

33 authors created a book list connected to genealogy, and here are their favorite genealogy books.
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Book cover of Mama

Amber Mosby Author Of Thunder and Lightning

From my list on strong female leads of color.

Who am I?

I chose these stories because as a Black woman, seeing characters like me in stories as the main character instead of the sidekick or friend is always so refreshing. Like the main characters of my own novels, Black women taking charge is something to be celebrated.

Amber's book list on strong female leads of color

Amber Mosby Why did Amber love this book?

The first time I read this book I was just a teenager. The story of a Black woman escaping domestic abuse and raising children on her own was something I had watched play out in my own family. I could see my grandmother in those pages, my mother in the struggles described, my aunts' resentments, and my uncles' poor choices clearly in the story. It felt like someone had peeked into my own family history and put it to paper. 

Although McMillan is often overlooked as a writer, Mama is not a story to be missed. 

By Terry McMillan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mama as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A “funny [and] touching” novel of an African American woman determined to triumph, by the #1 New York Times–bestselling author of Waiting to Exhale (Detroit Free Press).
 
Mildred Peacock is fed up with poverty—and with the jealous rampages of her husband, Crook. When Crook runs over her foot with his ’59 Mercury, she finally kicks him out to raise her five kids on her own.
 
Resourceful and sly, sassy and sexy, she’s willing to do just about anything to pay the bills. But she loses job after job, and one man after another, until alcohol and pills are her only…


Book cover of The Truth Project

Deborah Crossland Author Of The Quiet Part Out Loud

From my list on YA that made me cry.

Who am I?

I have loved story since I was little, and I’ve curated a life where it has always taken center stage in some or another. I was a high school English teacher for ten years, and have been a college professor for eight. But what really inspires me to write the books I do is my PhD in mythological studies. As a mythologist, I’m lucky enough to be able to see why stories resonate with us for so long and use those same themes and metaphors to write my own. 

Deborah's book list on YA that made me cry

Deborah Crossland Why did Deborah love this book?

This story is told in such an unusual way!

Medema writes in-verse as well as uses emails, texts, and Google searches to tell the story of a teen who finds out that yes, she really is the odd one out in her family because her dad is not actually her father. She and the heart-wrenching Kodiak Jones take us through what it means to find the people you love, whether they are actual blood-relations or not. If you’re not sobbing at the end of this book…

By Dante Medema,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Truth Project as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

"A heart-wrenching quest for identity every YA reader will relate to, and a deep dive into the meaning of family." -Ellen Hopkins, #1 New York Times bestselling author

Debut author Dante Medema explores the emotional fallout after a teenage girl discovers she is the product of an affair. Told through a series of poems, text messages, and emails, this contemporary YA is perfect for fans of Gaby Dunn and Allison Raskin.

Seventeen-year-old Cordelia Koenig intended to breeze through her senior project. While her peers stressed, Cordelia planned to use the same trace-your-roots genealogy idea her older sister used years prior.…


Book cover of The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea

Kate Chenli Author Of A Bright Heart

From my list on fantasy novels by Asian authors for young adults.

Who am I?

I write adult and young adult fantasy. I’ve always been fascinated with the concept of magic. While growing up in China, I often found myself immersed in fantasy literature based on Asian history, mythology, and legends. I enjoyed getting lost in the rich imaginary worlds where the characters came to life. These tales fed my imagination and inspired me to create my own magical adventures. Writing has allowed me to expand on the ancient legends and mythology that I’ve always loved. Moreover, I’ve enjoyed creating lifelike characters, especially strong women who inspire young girls.

Kate's book list on fantasy novels by Asian authors for young adults

Kate Chenli Why did Kate love this book?

Inspired by a Korean myth and Ghibli’s Spirited Away, a girl throws herself into the ocean as a sacrifice to the Sea God to save her brother’s beloved. As a human in the Spirit Realm, she’s determined to save her people before it’s too late.

I enjoyed the concept about people being pushed out of comfortable homes to make new lives in a totally different, strange world.

Every character has depth, with a compelling motive that justifies their action. The prose is elegant, capturing the dreamy side of Asian fairy tales. And the sheer beauty of it all–the wondrous mythology, vibrant spirit world, and lively atmosphere–is breathtaking.

By Axie Oh,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Deadly storms. An ancient curse. Will her sacrifice save them all?

For generations, deadly storms have ravaged Mina's homeland. Her people believe the Sea God, once their protector, now curse them with death and despair. To appease him, each year a maiden is thrown into the sea, in the hopes that one day the 'true bride' will be chosen and end the suffering.

Many believe Shim Cheong - Mina's brother's beloved - to be the legendary true bride. But on the night Cheong is sacrificed, Mina's brother follows her, even knowing that to interfere is a death sentence. To save…


Book cover of Hiding the Past

Janet Few Author Of Sins as Red as Scarlet: a Devon Town in Turmoil

From my list on genealogical mystery novels.

Who am I?

I inhabit the past. You may find me lurking in my four-hundred-year-old Devon cottage, or spot me thinly disguised as the formidable Mistress Agnes, a good wife of a certain age who leads a somewhat chaotic life during the mid-seventeenth century. I write, I read, I research, I share my passion, I write some more. My life revolves around reading, writing and researching history. Having spent the past forty-five years unravelling my own family’s story and loving both historical and crime novels, what could be better than a book that combines all these elements. I have to say that if genealogy was as dangerous a career as some of these books imply, no one would be advised to take it up!

Janet's book list on genealogical mystery novels

Janet Few Why did Janet love this book?

Peter Coldrick is a man without a past, that is until he hires forensic genealogist, Morton Farrier. There are those who will go to any lengths to ensure that Coldrick’s origins remain hidden. Morton’s investigations lead him into danger and make him realise that he needs to begin the quest to uncover the story of his own hidden past.

By Nathan Dylan Goodwin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hiding the Past as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Peter Coldrick had no past; that was the conclusion drawn by years of personal and professional research. Then he employed the services of one Morton Farrier, Forensic Genealogist – a stubborn, determined man who uses whatever means necessary to uncover the past. With the Coldrick Case, Morton faces his toughest and most dangerous assignment yet, where all of his investigative and genealogical skills are put to the test. However, others are also interested in the Coldrick family, people who will stop at nothing, including murder, to hide the past. As Morton begins to unearth his client’s mysterious past, he is…


Book cover of The Jesus Dynasty: The Hidden History of Jesus, His Royal Family, and the Birth of Christianity

Barrie Wilson Author Of Searching for the Messiah: Unlocking the "Psalms of Solomon" and Humanity's Quest for a Savior

From my list on early Christianity.

Who am I?

Barrie is an historian specializing in early Christianity. Today we now know that there were many different movements within the first few centuries, each claiming to be Christian. James’ Jewish group differed from Paul’s Christ religion and both differed from Gnostic Christianity which saw Jesus as a teacher of insight. None was dominant. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Gnostic writings add an intriguing overlay. The books selected are those that open up new ways of understanding the historical development of Christianity. Each in its own way has created a paradigm shift.

Barrie's book list on early Christianity

Barrie Wilson Why did Barrie love this book?

A well-written, well researched book by a prominent American archeologist and New Testament scholar that examines what we can now reliably know about the Jesus of history. Tabor carefully sifts through the conflicting evidence in the gospels, written 40-70 years after the death of Jesus, and illuminates his discussion with contemporary archeological finds. A paradigm changer in our search for the historical Jesus, not the Christ of faith.

By James D. Tabor,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Jesus Dynasty as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

If you thought Dan Brown's fiction was gripping, try the truth. This controversial book pieces together new evidence on the real life of Jesus. The true inspiration behind Kathy Reich's bestselling thriller, "Crossbones", archaeologist and scholar James Tabor takes us on a startling journey that changes the story of Christianity as we know it. Based on hand-on archaeological experience and ground-breaking academic research, real-life Indiana Jones, James Tabor, has produced a compelling and bold new interpretation of the life of Jesus and the origins of Christianity. So impressive is his work that Kathy Reichs, bestselling mystery writer of the "Tempe…


Book cover of Inside, I Am Surviving

Jamilla Counts Author Of A Counts Duty: Assembling the Pieces of Me

From my list on finding peace from family history, secrets, and abuse.

Who am I?

Jamilla Counts born in Chicago during 1973 and raised in Memphis, Tennessee where she currently resides now. Graduated from Pulaski Technical college in Arkansas. Moving on to the University of Arkansas at Little Rock presuing a Bachelor's Degree in Social work. I'm featured in a book released by Tiffany Ludwig in the Rutgers University Press; Fifth or Later Edition (November 30, 2007) called Trappings: Stories of Women, Power, and Clothing, I'm a single parent of two daughters and one grandchild.

Jamilla's book list on finding peace from family history, secrets, and abuse

Jamilla Counts Why did Jamilla love this book?

This book written by Ellen Middleton is based on a true story of a little girl who grows up in adulthood to face motherhood, grief, rape, sexuality issues, and mental health.

It gives you this sense of right and wrong. She has a good sense of humour at the same time.

She finds the ability to love no matter what pain endured at the hands of others. Being let down by those who are supposed to love and care for you is heartbreaking.

By Ellen Middleton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Inside, I Am Surviving as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book is based on a true story. It highlights the worst child abuse while the author maintains a strong sense of right and wrong, a good sense of humour, and the ability to love no matter what pain she is forced to endure at the hands of others.


Book cover of Gal: A True Life

Jamilla Counts Author Of A Counts Duty: Assembling the Pieces of Me

From my list on finding peace from family history, secrets, and abuse.

Who am I?

Jamilla Counts born in Chicago during 1973 and raised in Memphis, Tennessee where she currently resides now. Graduated from Pulaski Technical college in Arkansas. Moving on to the University of Arkansas at Little Rock presuing a Bachelor's Degree in Social work. I'm featured in a book released by Tiffany Ludwig in the Rutgers University Press; Fifth or Later Edition (November 30, 2007) called Trappings: Stories of Women, Power, and Clothing, I'm a single parent of two daughters and one grandchild.

Jamilla's book list on finding peace from family history, secrets, and abuse

Jamilla Counts Why did Jamilla love this book?

A true story of a young Black woman who chooses to protect the privacy of her family and friends in her writing. Born in 1961, and raised in the South. Facing years of brutal abuse from the man she knew as "Daddy," she seemed to be headed along a long and bumpy path.

Gal managed to complete high school. After further difficulties with drugs, alcohol, and men, she was finally able to turn her life around.  An inspiring story of inner strength and the healing effects of love.

By Ruthie Bolton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Gal as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Born in 1961 to a thirteen-year-old mother in South Carolina, Ruthie Bolton endured abandonment, abuse, and loss-and grew into a hardened, troubled young woman. Then she met a man who offered her something she'd never known, something she thought was a dirty word: love. The only challenge left was to accept it.

"A gift to readers...The storyteller's memory, eye for detail, and ear for dialogue are so compelling that in private conversation one would be leaning toward her so as to catch every word." (Washington Post Book World)

"Vivid...inspiring...impossible to forget." (Newsweek)

"It's a book about being human, and as…


Book cover of The Summer of Lost Letters

Erica George Author Of The Edge of Summer

From my list on YA romances set during the summer.

Who am I?

Growing up, I always loved reading young adult romances where first love and growing up seemed like the perfect kind of summer story. As an adult, and especially as an educator, I have too often seen the likes and interests of my female students dismissed as silly or frivolous, romance being at the top of this list. I love cultivating a diverse classroom library, one that includes books for everyone’s interest and background. Writing stories for young readers and about what interests them has been the great privilege of my life.

Erica's book list on YA romances set during the summer

Erica George Why did Erica love this book?

I am a sucker for contemporary romances with a hint of historical sprinkled in, so when I saw that The Summer of Lost Letters took place on Nantucket (gorgeous), and followed a modern teenage girl whose late grandmother’s love letters to a man other than her grandfather mysteriously show up on her front steps, I knew it was for me. Romance, mystery, and family secrets combine for a compelling summer read!

By Hannah Reynolds,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Summer of Lost Letters as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Perfect for fans of Morgan Matson and Ruta Sepetys, this sweet, summery romance set in Nantucket follows seventeen-year-old Abby Schoenberg as she uncovers a secret about her grandmother's life during WWII.

Seventeen-year-old Abby Schoenberg isn't exactly looking forward to the summer before her senior year. She's just broken up with her first boyfriend and her friends are all off in different, exciting directions for the next three months. Abby needs a plan--an adventure of her own. Enter: the letters.

They show up one rainy day along with the rest of Abby's recently deceased grandmother's possessions. And these aren't any old…


Book cover of The Inheritance

Michelle Corbier Author Of Murder is Revealing

From my list on mystery for mature Black women.

Who am I?

Like myself, each of these novels involved older professional Black women protagonists. Each of these authors presented multidimensional women experiencing circumstances that surpass culture and ethnicity. As women age, not only do we take on new roles, but we physically and emotionally change. I appreciate books with relatable characters coping with issues I experience—menopause, aging parents, an empty nest. Reading mysteries with fictional characters dealing with situations I experience makes me feel less isolated. 

Michelle's book list on mystery for mature Black women

Michelle Corbier Why did Michelle love this book?

Hudson and Lowell Legacy Consultants is a genealogy business formed by Johanna Hudson. The first line of the novel reads, “... clients don’t consider… that genealogy outcomes can be disappointingly unpredictable.” This statement is a prelude to the conflict weaving throughout the novel as the protagonist becomes embroiled in murder. Johanna makes a career move to pursue a new business opportunity. I left clinical medicine to have more time for writing. It was a difficult choice because I enjoyed taking care of people.

By R. Franklin James,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Inheritance as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A 30 year-old genealogist is forced to face the pain of her own past while discovering that her talents can be used to solve more than her clients' ancestor family lines -- including blackmail and murder.

Genealogist Johanna Hudson discovers that the intersection of unintended consequences and murder is unavoidable, and her determination to find an heir puts her in the path of a killer who is just as determined to stop her.


Book cover of The Little White Horse

Natasha Lowe Author Of The Courage of Cat Campbell (Poppy Pendle)

From my list on quirky fantasies with feisty “take charge” girls.

Who am I?

I write books about feisty girls who follow their dreams and don’t let fear stand in their way. Growing up in London I was an extremely shy child with a full-blown fantasy life, but at eighteen decided it was time to channel my inner “feisty girl”, take charge of my destiny, and travel to America to pursue my dream of becoming a writer. Now, many years later I am the proud author of five middle-grade novels, and the mother of four amazing children who are all off following their own dreams. When I’m not writing books about feisty girls, I’m reading other people's. Here are some of my favorites.

Natasha's book list on quirky fantasies with feisty “take charge” girls

Natasha Lowe Why did Natasha love this book?

Okay, this is an old-fashioned book with some old-fashioned views, but it was my childhood favorite, so I had to include it! Orphaned Maria is sent to live with a distant relative at Moonacre Manor, but all is not as perfect as it seems, and it isn’t long before Maria discovers a world of hidden secrets and ancient feuds. It can’t have been easy growing up a feisty girl in Victorian England, but Maria Merryweather manages it, and I love that about her. She is stubborn, brave, and inquisitive, refusing to let anything dampen her spirit. As well as a passion for life Maria also has a passion for good food, (like me) so eat a snack while you read this because the descriptions will make you hungry!  A perfect balance of mystery, magic, and teatime treats.

By Elizabeth Goudge,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Little White Horse as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, 5, and 6.

What is this book about?

'The Little White Horse was my favourite childhood book. I absolutely adored it. It had a cracking plot. It was scary and romantic in parts and had a feisty heroine.' - JK Rowling - The Bookseller

Winner of the Carnegie Medal in 1946 and J.K. Rowling's favourite childhood book. This bestselling favourite fantasy classic is 'one of the most of the most magical stories in the world.' - The Independent. This is the story of a thirteen-year-old orphan, a Moon Princess, and a mysterious white horse.


Maria Merryweather, a plain London orphan, is sent to Moonacre Manor to live with…