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#A-ZChallenge - A is for Acquisition, Atlas and Architecture

In typical frog fashion, I have decided to jump on the A-Z Blogging bandwagon at the screaming last minute.  So there was no time for a theme reveal.  It will have to be revealed here, today, in my first post.

I really agonized over which theme to choose but I have decided to go with Building a Genealogy or Family History Library.  I am doing this from a completely personal perspective - more of a window on my own personal library.  It's a reflection on the books or resources I have or would like to have in my library.  I hope this helps those that might be looking for suggestions to complement their own collection or those who are just starting out.  Please keep in mind that this is also from an Australian perspective and also someone who has a very WAS or white Anglo Saxon background.  

And so to the letter A - which I have decided is for Acquisition, Atlases and Architecture.


This term is used often in library-land and relates to purchasing.  Who are the suppliers? Where do you get the items for your collection?  Family History/Genealogy can be a bit of a narrow subject area for most bookshops I so I tend to buy most of mine online or at specialist outlets.  

In Australia, I think it is fair to say that Gould Genealogy is the first port of call for most family historians.  My local society QFHS also has a great bookshop and some really great sales as well. State Library of Queensland bookshop is great for history, local history and archival products.  The National Archives bookshop in the UK looks completely devastating. 

Last but not least, there is always the Lifeline Bookfest.  

If you have any favourite suppliers, please let me know.  You can never have too many.


Yes, yes, I know there's Google.  But places and street names change don't they?  And sometimes the electricity goes down doesn't it? So I've always got an assortment of atlases or AA Guides and the like to various places.  I have an AA Guide to Ireland and one to London.  I have a motoring guide to Australia.  And a Shell and BP Guide to England. If I want to get a feel for a place, these guides and atlases are great. 

Of course it would be a dream come true to have a copy of Phillimore Atlas and Index of Parish Registers but that is a bit beyond my budget so I will have to make do with using the one at my local society.


As a family historian, I am really interested in how my ancestors lived and the types of housing in which they lived - their built environment, as it were  Being the daughter of an architect has no doubt stimulated that interest.  As a child, on weekends,  I was often hauled alternately from display homes in new estates to National Trust properties.  Weird I know. That's just the kind of family we were - really interested in housing and housing design.  

Queensland is not my state of origin.  I was born in Sydney, New South Wales which has a whole different architectural ethos.  I need to understand Queensland or Brisbane architecture in my newly adopted "home state".  

There are some great books to help me in this regard.  I have borrowed from the Moreton Bay Region Library service - Brisbane House Styles 1880 to 1940 - A Guide to the Affordable House by Judy Gale Rechner, published by the Brisbane History Group. I also have a copy of Building Queensland's Heritage by Janet Hogan and published by the National Trust of Queensland. It gives a great overview of all the heritage properties in Queensland by region. 

Whilst not strictly speaking about Architecture, I picked up at my local Vinnies (or charity shop) The Art of Keeping House - a publication of the Historic Houses Trust for $3.  This beautifully produced volume with colour plates gives valuable insight into what it takes to curate and preserve aspects of heritage properties from walls and ceilings through to upholstery and cleaning glassware.  Really fascinating stuff.

So, tell me - where do you get your genealogy/family history books from and what would you have chosen for the letter A if you were writing about your library?


Interesting. Thanks for sharing!
Rajlakshmi said…
It's been years since I have opened an Atlas. :) With Google maps so easily accessible, I hardly use one.
I too didn't do a theme reveal this year.

From AtoZChallenge
Anonymous said…
It's many, many years since I delved into my genealogy. I became a bit obsessed and burned out. Maybe your posts will entice me to dip my toes back in.
Nice post and theme. I could use that Art of Keeping House for my non-vintage home. For A, I might have chosen "A genealogists guide to discovering your female ancestors" -- always a challenging task. I'm also blogging about family history for A to Z. Please stop by!
Alex Daw said…
Dear Susanne, Rajlakshmi, stacybuckeye and Molly - thank you all so much for dropping by. It's so lovely to see some new people visiting my blog and in turn I have enjoying visiting your blogs. Molly - you are quite right - female ancestors can be very challenging to find and I think a book covering that area is essential. Stacy I hope this blog might do the trick....I find family history the hobby that just keeps giving. Rajlakshmi I admire your stretching ability. I don't do yoga but I walk and that's what keeps me inspired. Susanne I look forward to more of your stories.
Anne Young said…
Abe books has been a great source for out of print books.

Congratulations for making the leap into this month's challenge. Should be fun.

A is for letter from Anzac

Anne Young

Anne's family history
crgalvin said…
Great topic Alex although I am not in an acquisition stage of life. Physical books still attract me but I resist and prefer the digitised versions wherever possible. The only problem with that is their lack of immediate visibility. Still searching for the best method to organise them, mostly housed in Dropbox with a linked index to them in Evernote. I'll be interested to see if you address this issue in C or O.
Carmel Earlier Years
Alex Daw said…
Abebooks - Of course! A for Abebooks. Thanks Anne !
Alex Daw said…
Thanks Carmel. You have raised a really interesting point. I do have in mind O for Organisation and yes you are right about visibility. I spent half an hour looking for a book I had purchased on my eReader only to remember that I had it on my old iPad. Grrr...
Maggie C said…
Interesting. I love old things! Which is good, because I am quickly becoming one. I am always drawn to old/historic houses and buildings, and always wish I knew more about what it was like to live in that era.

Thanks for the ideas and resources.

Maggie C
What Rhymes with Stanza
Maggie C said…
Interesting. I love old things! Which is good, because I am quickly becoming one. I am always drawn to old/historic houses and buildings, and always wish I knew more about what it was like to live in that era.

Thanks for the ideas and resources.

Maggie C
What Rhymes with Stanza
Hi Alex, I'm often searching for out of print books which can't be bought new. I've found the Brotherhood Books a good option My new find which may be of interest for Australian researchers is "My Wife, My Daughter and Poor May Ann" by Beverley Kingston about women's role in Australian Society. Lots to read and learn.


Sandra, Aspiring family historian, fellow participant in the #AtoZchallenge

Sandra’s Ancestral Research Journal
GeniAus said…
One of my fave places for buying books is an online charity bookshop run by the Brotherhood of St Laurence. (After typing I noted Sandra's comment above)

I regularly check my wanted list there to see if I can spot a bargain.... and I can get lost in their catalogues for quite some time.

When my books arrive I catalogue them in Librarything (once a librarian...always a librarian).

Hoping to pick up a few tips from your challenge posts.

Jill - Blogging the #AtoZChallenge at
Anne Young said…
I had no idea about brotherhood books. What a great resource :)
Alex Daw said…
Dear Jill - sometimes it needs 2 people to say it before it sinks into my thick to look at Brotherhood books now!
Anne Young said…
I just bought a book from Brotherhood Books :) Terrific site

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