August 2010 Genealogy Insider Book Remarks

By Sharon DeBartolo Carmack Premium

Love word origins as much as ancestral origins? Learn words named after little-known people in Anonyponymous: The Forgotten People Behind Everyday Words by John Bemelmans Marciano (Bloomsbury). Etienne de Silhouette, for example, cut costs by asking his portrait painter to render just a shadow of his image, and acrobat Jules Léotard designed the costume that made Jazzercise possible.

Inspired by her grandfather’s life in the 1930s, thriller queen Sandra Brown ventures into historical fiction with Rainwater (Simon and Schuster). In this powerful story set in Depression-era Texas, a single mother takes in a boarder who changes her life. The book has the riveting characters and taut storytelling that make Brown a best-selling author.

Our 19th-century American ancestors were fascinated with mystical experiences. In Occult America: The Secret History of How Mysticism Shaped Our Nation (Bantam), Mitch Horowitz explores the history of the Ouija board, Spiritualism’s influence on the Senate and the source of the slogan on the dollar bill.

In Middling Folk: Three Seas, Three Centuries, One Scots-Irish Family (Chicago Review Press), Linda H. Matthews chronicles the Hammill family through centuries, from feudal Scotland and Northern Ireland to colonial Chesapeake Bay, then across the United States to the Pacific Northwest. She weaves meticulously documented research and theories into a tale of ordinary folk who shaped our country.
From the August 2010 Family Tree Magazine