An excuse to buy books?
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These could be local history; books about incidents, wars, etc. that family were involved in, NF or fiction; books about occupations or industries; books about customs and traditions; books in which a relative or ancestor is mentioned; books about tragedies or epidemics --- the list could go on for pages.
Are there books that gave you good insights into how your ancestors lived and thought in certain periods and locations?
I'll start with a couple of examples.
I bought Bare Trees about the tanning industry in the Catskill mountains. An ancestor worked in the tanneries before becoming a farmer, and the book gave me a good idea of what that meant.
I bought A History of Negro Slavery in New York when I discovered that some of my upstate NY ancestors were slave holders. (They neglected to mention that in school.) I was hoping to find out more about how slaves lived and worked in an area where there were small farms rather than plantations, and about interaction between the races. No such luck. The book is the sort of history that is long on statistics and short on actual people, and concentrates on NYC. :( Sojourner Truth: Slave, Prophet, Legend was more helpful.
I use the regular tags for these books (fiction, nonfiction, read, etc) -- I don't add any sort of tag to indicate that I read them because of my family research. If I read one that was specifically related to my family (like a history of the county they were from), I'd probably tag that "family history".
Except Daughters of Ireland (FT), which keeps disappearing on me!
I really wanted a copy of Lightholler's Titanic and other Ships but, at the time, it was very hard to find and very expensive (it can now be downloaded). So I mentioned it continually to my Dad until he gave me my Grandad's 1st edition copy!
Most people are interested in the book for Lightholler's account of Titanic but I was more interested in reading about his career up until that point as it was similar to my G. Grandfather's.
That's neat. And just the sort of thing I meant.
Did the book mention your GGF, or any of his ships?
It didn't mention him but they did serve on several of the same ships -- just not at the same time as far as I can tell.
Now I'm after The Last of the Windjammers by Basil Lubbock which, I am told, mentions some of the voyages early in my Great Grandfather's career. It's also rare and expensive and unfortunately my dad doesn't own a copy :-)
myshelves - Amos Fortune, Freeman was a very good book about that topic.
Thanks. But the book looks from the tags to be set in Massachusetts? NY was different, having been started by my Dutch (and other) ancestors, so. . . .
I was delighted by the info on the 1865 New York census. I'd always wondered just what sort of farmer my ancestor was. Wow! I found out. It lists every crop he grew and in what quantity, animals, etc.
I do, though, have several 19th century, early 20th century books that belonged to my ancestors (includes several German/English bibles, and a book by one of today's "great old authors", back when they were just an author). I need to remember to add tags to those books to distinguish them from my other 19th century, early 20th century books that I got elsewhere.
I wrote the author a letter to express my appreciation of her book, and received a very nice letter in reply.