First we had Irene, no power, no water, no computer for five days.  Then I seem to have acquired the black death or at least the world’s most persistent cold.

These are the excuses I am using today to take the easy way out and simply post the names and a short review of books I like.

I refuse to say that after two years I have run out of things to say, but that remains a frightening possibility.

At any rate, I like books.  I’m quite sure that all genealogists like books, so in addition to the three I’m about to recommend, I invite you to add one of yours in a comment to this post.  If you wish to review a book on your blog I will collect the links and post them.


I have chosen these three books because they are older and you may not be familiar with them.

A Midwife’s tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on her diary, 1785-1812 by laurel Thatcher ulrich

Laurel Ulrich found Martha Ballard’s diary lurking on the shelves of the Maine State Library, realized its value and turned it into a PhD thesis and a wonderfully readable book.  Martha’s story is fascinating on its own.  For genealogists this is a glimpse into how an historian reads between the lines and uses information about time and place to tell a complete story.  This is quite possibly my favorite book and I cannot recommend it highly enough.


Family by Ian Frazier

Ian Frazier documented his family history and turned it into an interesting book.  Again, what I find appealing is his use of material about the places where his ancestors lived and the historical events that were unfolding as their lives unfolded.  There are places where only a member of the family might be interested, but on the whole a great account of the life of a family.


Slaves in the Family by Edward Ball

Edward Ball was fortunate to have much of his family history documented and preserved by relatives, but his curiosity about the invisible part of his family led him to discover the story of the slave owners of in his family and to trace the roots of his African-American Ball family cousins.  Wonderful research and good writing on an important topic.

Next time I will return to family stories.  I do hope some of our readers will respond with book suggestions of their own.






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