• Books
  • Sep12

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    For those researching family in Ireland, the book Illustrations, Historical and Genealogical of King James’s Irish Army List, 1689 might be useful in your trek back in time. (In an 1861 updated second edition, by John D’Alton.)

    The AskAboutIreland site says of the work:

    The work contains a vast wealth of family history, including information outlining the lineage, honours and achievements of families connected with Ireland, either through birth, rank, title or alliance. As many of the sources used in compiling the two volumes are now lost they stand as a highly valuable tool for Irish family research.

    Visit their site for a bit more description of the content and links to PDF versions of the two volumes.

    You can also find variously formatted versions of the books on Archive.org. Click here for one version although the header pages differ from the Ask About Ireland versions, so I’m unsure if they are earlier versions or some other form.

    But, the Archive.org version does have searchable text formats, so you can look for the surnames you hope to find more easily…

  • Apr30

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    For those who like to research the history and social aspects of their immigrant forebears (or fivebears even), Google Books is a great place to hang around. And they don’t get annoyed when you break out the snacks.

    Image from The Čechs (Bohemians) in America One book I have been reading through is The Čechs (Bohemians) in America, A Study of Their National, Cultural Political, Social, Economic and Religious Life, By Thomas Čapek.

    While the style of this circa 1920 writing is a bit dated and the perspective could be argued as slanted in Czech favor, there is quite a bit of dimension to be had on the experiences of Czech immigrants, their reasons for leaving home, and how they fit in after arriving in the United States. Read More | Comments

  • Apr24

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    George Washington's SpyGeorge Washington’s Spy by Elvira Woodruff

    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    Just like the first book (“George Washington’s Socks, which came out almost 20 years earlier!), the author has done a wonderful job of incorporating an interesting and well-paced story along with historical perspective.

    While I believe aimed at children in the 8+ range (give or take), both books include partial story lines that are decidedly emotionally and intellectually difficult regarding the reality of war and ethics.

    However, each also does a very nice job of providing enough information and grounding for the young reader to both feel for the character and understand the gray lines that are drawn in difficult times.

    My son is 9 and the difficult passage in “Spy” did affect him – he was very concerned for what happened. But, we took time to discuss the events and the factors involved, which is the point of reading together, isn’t it?

    I appreciate the thought and craft the author put into these books and highly recommend both.

    View all my reviews

  • Dec13

    4 Comments

    While researching my grandmother’s family, I thought it would be interesting (and important) to learn more about the religious order her sister Kathleen had joined in Ireland.

    Sister Attracta (the name she chose when taking her vows) is recalled fondly in our home via her letters to my parents and a New York visit in the 1960′s.

    Sister Attracta Photo CollageLast year I posted a photo collage of Sister Attracta , and over the last year I’ve learned a bit more about her from a cousin in Ireland as we compared research.

    After many years of service in China and Hong Kong, she retired to the Columban Sisters home in County Wicklow Ireland.

    I found a bit of history on the Columban Sisters site that begins…

    “The first group of Sisters set sail on September 13, 1926 from Cobh Harbour in County Cork. The 13,000 mile journey ahead of them would eventually take them to China. After many weeks travelling the Sisters finally arrived in China at a place called Hanyang.”

    The small family stories I’ve heard of her mention the sisters being taken captive during the war, and their status as doctors and nurses was the one thing that saved them from certain terrible experiences.

    Maybe a Second Spring - book coverThe history page references a book entitled “Maybe A Second Spring: The Story of the Missionary Sisters of St. Columban in China”, which they will send you for free if you pay shipping. (I purchased mine at Kennys.ie)

    I received the book last night and am looking forward to start reading it tonight – but I couldn’t resist a flip through right away. Near the beginning it describes “…dozens of (missionary) women would, in time, go to the heart of China. They would face a civil war, bandits, war lords, Communist Geurillas, and Japanese invaders, to say nothing of opium addicts, lepers, floods, famine, and plague.”

    Photo: Sister Mary Attracta with patient in NanchegAnd what do I find in the center section of the book? A cache of photos, including one of Sister Attracta! Quite exciting – I also see her mentioned in at least one section where the sisters are heading off to found the mission at Nancheng.

    Once again, reading is good.

  • Jul25

    1 Comment

    You Can Write Your Family HistoryYou Can Write Your Family History by Sharon Debartolo Carmack
    My rating: 5 of 5 stars

    This is a terrific book.

    Written in an easy, descriptive style it does not just tell you various ways of writing a Family History, but provides concrete examples, background tools and tasks and alternative sources to use.

    In short: The Why is important, but the How is essential. This book has them both.

    I borrowed this book from the library, but will be buying a copy for my shelf to keep as a touchstone and reference that is always at hand.
    View all my reviews