Untapped by many genealogists are hard-to-find letters, diaries, family Bibles, family papers and books in archives’ manuscript collections. The hefty tome Manuscripts at the New England Historic Genealogical Society: R. Stanton Avery Special Collections (NEHGS) is worth its weight, covering 12 million resources on families across America.
Based on a true story of the first American Indian to graduate from Harvard College in 1665, Caleb’s Crossing by Geraldine Brooks (Viking) is a tale of crossing cultural barriers in the mid-17th century. Narrator Bethia Mayfield wanders from her Puritan settlement and befriends Caleb, the son of a Wampanoag chieftain. Bethia’s minister father sends him to study among the Colonial elite.
Best known for his travel narratives, Bill Bryson now takes a walk through his Victorian house in At Home: A Short History of Private Life (Doubleday). He fills us in on the ordinary aspects of the history associated with each room: hygiene in the bathroom; eating and nutrition in the kitchen–even the hall had a purpose beyond linking rooms.
Using letters, diaries, interviews, medical records and other sources, children’s author Cornelia Maude Spelman unravels the mysteries of her mother’s life and the fate of her long-lost older brother in Missing (Northwestern University Press). The story unfolds like a mystery novel as readers join Spelman on her search for her mother’s past.
From the November 2011 issue of Family Tree Magazine
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