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History of Family in the U.S.: Books

Get started with your family history research here.

Finding Books

Searching library catalogs for books that contain primary sources

One way to identify books that are primary sources is to look for books written by people who were involved in the event or activity you are researching.  When you look at secondary sources, write down the names of people and then look for them as authors.

Use the following subject headings to find particular types of primary sources:

  • Correspondence
  • Diaries
  • Interviews
  • Personal narratives
  • Letters
  • Sources
  • Biography

Combine the above subject heading with keywords about your topic:

  • Rhode Island diaries
  • United States women correspondence

Unfortunately, not all books that also contain primary sources will have these subject headings, so leave no cover unturned!