Books always come first with me. When I am starting a new topic or discovering a weakness in my research methods, there is nothing like following an explanation in a book. They tend to start simple and explain things step-by-step, rather than hurling you into the middle of things unprepared. I first look for what is available locally, both here at Newton and then within the network. Anyone with a computer should be able to check any library’s online catalog. You could do a keyword search, just putting in the name of the country and the word genealogy. Besides books devoted only to that country, this would also bring up books that had just a section or a chapter on the topic. An example is The Family Search Guidebook to Europe by Allison Dolan which has sections on both France and Spain. If you get too many hits, you can limit your search to subject. Change your selection from “Keyword” to “Subject.” Next type the name of the country or topic, then the word “genealogy” followed by the word “handbooks.” The word handbooks will tell you that it’s a “how to” book.
What if your local libraries have nothing you can use. If a local or network search doesn’t work, you might want to check the Library of Congress catalog (http://www.loc.gov) or the Family History Library in Salt Lake City (https://familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlc). (The Family History Library will even let you know what books you can access directly online.) Once you find a title that interests you, you can always go into the mother of all catalogs known as World Cat. Going to its web address of http://www.worldcat.org will show you if a copy of the book of interest exists in a library closer to home. You can then put the books on your list, noting where they are located. If you are keeping your list online, you can add a live link. When you want the book, you can request it through your local library’s Inter Library Loan system. Just give yourself plenty of lead time.
Two other sources for older, out-of-copyright books are the Internet Archive and Google Books. Internet Archive actually has an entire section devoted to genealogy. Go to https://archive.org/details/genealogy and take a look. To find out more about how to use Google Books, click on http://www.google.com/googlebooks/about. Thomas Kemp of GenealogyBank has done an article on using both Internet Archive and GoogleBooks that you can read by clicking HERE . I always check out Internet Archive first. I find it easier to find books there.
Library website: http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog: https://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com
Genealogy LibGuide: http://guides.newtonfreelibrary.net/genealogy