This week’s Sunday morning book review is a book called “Children of the Civil War” It was written by Candice F. Ransom and published in 1998 by Carolrhoda Books, Inc. It is not a genealogical publication but depicts the life and times of children during the civil war period.
The book itself is geared towards grade school, perhaps somewhere between 4th and 8th grade. Although the book is geared towards grade school pupils, I found it an interesting read. The book is short but filled with interesting facts and photos. John Clem, a young drummer boy joined the Union Army at age 11. You can see a photo of him and read about what happened to him during a battle in Tennessee.
A great way to introduce the younger generation to family members, who fought during the civil war, would be to sit down with them and read through the book together. At the end of the book is a craft to create a secret code wheel.
Have you ever wondering who was staring back at you in a old photographs or perhaps your missing a date on a photograph from an old postcard. Some time ago, I acquired a 19th century family photo album. I wondered if there would be a way to determine who was in those photos. Unlocking the Secrets in Old Photographs by Karen Frisch-Ripley was very instrumental in helping me identify at least some of those photos.
Karen’s step by step approach is easy to follow. A first step in the process is to identify which family the photo might belong to. Perhaps there are some family resemblences. For my 19th centutry photo album identification, I already knew the family. Knowing the genealogical details of the family (spouses, children and other extended family) is a must. For most readers of this blog, pull out your family group sheets.
One of the best keys I used was being able to date the photograph. Various clues abound which aid in the dating process. What type of photograph is it (tin type, cabinet card or something else)? When was the photographers studio in existence. Karen’s advice in these areas specifically helped me date some of my photos and led to a cabinet card of a six month old baby being identified.
As an added bonus Karen describes how to restore and care for old photographs, along with methods to locate additional old family photographs.
Immigration was a life altering and often dangerous experience for our ancestors. There were numerous shipwrecks and miserable traveling conditions during the middle of the 19th century. Leslie Albrecht Huber does a fantastic job bringing her ancestors to life in “The Journey Takers”. The Journey Takers describe the lives of four immigrant ancestors of the author two from Germany, one from Sweden and one from England. Through Leslie’s words, you’ll relive the immigrant experience.
The stories start out in the old countries of Germany, Sweden and England. What brought them to make the decision to seek a new life in a new country? The book describes the lives of the journey takers (and some of their ancestors) in their homeland. You’ll experience what it was like to be a peasant at the time. There are many heartaches and joyous times. More than once, I had watery eyes.
The story is also intertwined with Leslie’s own life story as she tries to learn about her ancestors. You’ll relive her experience as she relates her own experiences to what the journey takers may have been experiencing in their lives. The way she relates her life experiences with those of her ancestors kept me wanting to keep read more.
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Years ago, I was on a short overnight vacation with my oldest daughter in a small town in Pennsylvania. We were there with my parents and one of my sisters. While we were there, we stopped by a small bookstore to see what they had to offer. I wasn’t sure what I was looking for. I stumbled upon a book called “In Search of Our Ancestors”. It was written by Megan Smolenyak. I picked up the book and read the back cover. I had just started some genealogy research at the time and was interested in learning more.
The book is not like most genealogical books you pick up and read. Most genealogy books talk about how to locate records, citing your sources, breaking down brick walls or other subjects relating towards your own genealogical research. I don’t know about you, but I can only read how to books for so long before needing to put it down and do something else. As per the back cover of the book, this book is about “101 Inspirational True Stories of Rediscovering Family History”.
The book is arranged into six different parts, each with it’s own category of stories. Each story is very short, ranging in size from as liitle single page to as many as seven or eight pages. The stories are so inspiring that I finished the entire book during my overnight stay in Pennsylvania. When I’ve been having a tough time finding more inspiration to continue looking for ancestors, I will often pick up the book again and read some of my favorite stories. It is always a great genealogy pcik me up.
The book may no longer be in print today. However, I’m sure you can find the book for sale on-line somewhere. You can also check out your local library to see if they have a copy. If you are looking for some inspiration in genealogy, pick up the book and start reading today.
Megan Smolenyak, In Search of Our Ancestors, Holbrook, MA, Adams Media Corporation, 2000