Direct Ancestor defined
Millennia's email status

Free 1st edition of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Genealogy

The 2nd edition of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Genealogy, written by genealogy superstars Christine Rose and Kay Germain Ingalls, was published in 2005, and is jam-packed of great genealogy advice for beginners and experienced researchers.

The 1st edition, published in 1997, is now available as a free download. Much has changed in the 8 years since the first edition, but sound genealogy principles remain. All 353 pages are available to view. Look at the table of contents:

  • Why Genealogy?
  • Start with Mom and Dad
  • You're hooked, now what?
  • Keeping track of what you find
  • Kissin' kin: how to find them
  • A rose by any other name
  • Getting the most from libraries
  • Your family's hometown
  • Census research: have you done your homework?
  • Making sense of the census
  • Corresponding effectively
  • A little traveling music, please
  • Courthouses: gateway to the past
  • A picnic in the cemetery
  • More than news in the newspaper
  • Did Great-Grandpa carry a rifle?
  • Creating order out of chaos
  • Doing it right
  • Gaining historical perspective
  • Resolving discrepancies
  • Spending your money wisely
  • Discovering less used sources
  • Some final words

View the book by clicking here.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Hello! I am unable to download the Free 1st edition of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Genealogy (Legacy, and/or Explorer both freeze). Is this a problem at my end, or is the book no longer available as a free download?



Rob, I just tried the link in the article and it worked fine. You have to have Adobe Reader installed on your computer to view it. It is a free download at

I cannot view the book either and I have the Adobe reader. What's up with that?

The file is almost 10mb in size. Depending on your connection, it could take quite a while to load.

Hi Geoff: Thanks for your reply!

It's weird, I still can't get it to work. But fortunately, another Legacy user e-mailed me the file (Thanks Peter Moore - Austrailia!)

I'm definitely enjoying the read!


The comments to this entry are closed.