An excuse to buy books?


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An excuse to buy books?

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helmikuu 25, 2007, 2:26am

What history or other books have you bought as part of your family history quest? And do you use any special tags for them? (Please use touchstones.)

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.

helmikuu 25, 2007, 4:50pm

All you have to do is check out my catalog -- look for the tags Irish, Celtic, and Native American, and you'll see the tip of the ice berg as far as books and classes that never would have come into my life if it wasn't for my family research.

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".

helmikuu 25, 2007, 6:12pm

Forgot to say . . . I tag FH if I bought the book in pursuit of family history, and FT if someone on the tree is in the book. Most of them are in a separate bookcase, to be pulled down more easily for reference.

Except Daughters of Ireland (FT), which keeps disappearing on me!

helmikuu 27, 2007, 2:41pm

My Great Grandfather was a captain with the White Star Line (1896 -1930) and a contempory of Charles Lightholler.
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.

helmikuu 27, 2007, 2:50pm


That's neat. And just the sort of thing I meant.

Did the book mention your GGF, or any of his ships?

helmikuu 27, 2007, 11:26pm

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 :-)

maaliskuu 6, 2007, 5:05pm

I buy a lot of local history books written about local pioneers, as well as memoirs written by pioneers. I found a book about the Exposition in San Francisco in 1939 or 38, a very annoying book, but it was written from the perspective of two children who went to see it and my mom and her brother were there as children. Most of my ancestor's occupation was listed as farmer.

myshelves - Amos Fortune, Freeman was a very good book about that topic.

maaliskuu 6, 2007, 5:20pm

Hi MrsLee,

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. . . .

Re farmers:

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.

maaliskuu 20, 2007, 2:39pm

I just finished reading The Earth Shook, the Sky Burned about the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. It gives details of what happened in Santa Rosa and San Jose as well (one of which, my ggg grandmother died in, I can never remember which and have to look it up), it also mentions the damage in the town in which I live right now, I didn't even know there had been damage here, we're pretty far north. And as an added bonus, has details and pictures of the 1915 San Francisco Panama-Pacific International Exposition. My grandfather rode his bike down to CA from OR to catch a train and go see that. We have some of his mementos which he brought home. This will all add to the story part of my albums, along with pictures, so I am greatly pleased.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 20, 2007, 3:03pm

Re: books bought in search of ancestors - long ago I took a genealogy class at the National Archives (or the Library of Congress, or whichever governmental agency would have had a class in genealogy), and a book came with that class - not sure what I did with that book. Otherwise: no, not yet.

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.

maaliskuu 20, 2007, 7:05pm

#9-Mrs. Lee-My husband and I watched a documentary one night about the Great San Francisco Earthquake. It was very interesting. Although it did mention some of the other cities hit, it mainly focused on San Fran. What we found to be very interesting is that after the earthquake, in order to build quickly, building codes were dropped. In fact, building codes were not restored until the 1960s. Their fear is that because the building codes were not in place, and that most of the city was rebuilt during this time, when another big one hits, it will actually be just as bad if not worse for San Fran.

maaliskuu 25, 2007, 9:35pm

My brother just gave me some school books and hymnals from my gggrandfather, who was a school teacher. These are in pretty bad shape, not many dates, etc., but I'm inclined to think they are books he used when he was in school, due to the signature. Anyway, there really isn't much history, one town is listed, but I like to look at them anyway. Especially when whoever used them scribbled in them. Somehow having a signature feels connecting to that person. I will photocopy them for my albums, the signature pages, but what to do with the old hymnals? They are in horrible shape, several are paper glued to muslin covers and falling apart. The pages are disintegrating. Isn't there a point when some things have lived out their life span and need to go bye-bye?

maaliskuu 29, 2007, 2:16am

The book that was key to opening a vast area of research was Crowns of Glory, Tears of Blood. I came across this book when exploring the West Indies holdings at my University library. My ancestor wasn't listed in the index, but showed up upon a quick flick through the contents! I found it very emotional to discover evidence corroborating the clues in old family letters. The "Notes on Sources" provided invaluable pointers to documentary sources, and has led me to making contact with other researchers in the area.

I wrote the author a letter to express my appreciation of her book, and received a very nice letter in reply.