3. Fourteen accomplished writers investigate the gray area where memory and history intersect in Tell Me True: Memoir, History, and Writing a Life edited by Patricia Hampl and Elaine Tyler May (Borealis Books). Whether the life story emerges from archival sources or from personal memory, writers must balance readability with the facts. Learn how notable memoirists struggle and deal with this challenge.
Recommended by: Nancy Calhoun, head of genealogy and local history at the Muskogee, Okla., Public
- Book summary: Oklahoma encompasses the state’s history, including the time period preceding statehood in 1907, and the history of both Indian and Oklahoma territories.
- Likes and dislikes: The book contains more than 400 illustrations, photographs, maps and art recording the entire statehood. Pre-statehood photos capture the amazing variety in Indian and Oklahoma territories. The only negative is it’s a general history: Genealogists like specific names, dates and details.
- Behind the scenes: It’s the first comprehensive history of Oklahoma in many years, published in celebration of Oklahoma’s centennial in 2007. Welge has been director of research for the Oklahoma Historical Society since 1990.
- Lasting impressions: Family historians need a basic knowledge of the state and how it was settled. I turn to this book for dates and boundaries for the various land openings, and for information on the Cherokee, Creek, Chickasaw, Choctaw and Seminole nations.
- Best bonus: Researchers chasing an ancestor who disappeared in 1880 to 1900 may find that person spent time in one of the territories homesteading, on an adventure, hiding from the law or trying to make his/her fortune in a soon-to-be state.
December 2009 Family Tree Magazine