Are you a novel-lover? Do you think Genealogy is just dry names and dates? Check out some of these fictional works with genealogical themes. I think you will be looking for more….
1. Anya Seton, The Winthrop Woman
“In 1631 Elizabeth Winthrop, newly widowed with an infant daughter, set sail for the New World. Against a background of rigidity and conformity she dared to befriend Anne Hutchinson at the moment of her banishment from the Massachusetts Bay Colony; dared to challenge a determined army captain bent on the massacre of her friends the Siwanoy Indians; and, above all, dared to love a man as her heart and her whole being commanded. And so, as a response to this almost unmatched courage and vitality, Governor John Winthrop came to refer to this woman in the historical records of the time as his “unregenerate niece”.”
Source: Book description on Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/Winthrop-Woman-Anya-Seton/dp/054422292X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1463423809&sr=1-1&keywords=winthrop+woman : accessed May 2016)
2. Dan Waddell, Blood Atonement
“Genealogist Nigel Barnes's second case leads him into the dark heart of the Mormon church and a gruesome, century-old secret.
Detective Chief Inspector Grant Foster is called to a homicide at the home of a single mother in Queens Park, London. Her throat has been cut from ear to ear and her body dumped in the garden. Her daughter and only child, Naomi, who has just turned fourteen that day, is missing. As the hours tick by, the feeling grows among Foster's colleagues that this is most likely becoming a double-murder inquiry. With nothing in the present to indicate a motive, Foster decides to delve into the dead woman's past only to find out she does not have one. He calls on genealogist Nigel Barnes. The trail takes Barnes back to late Victorian England where it abruptly ends with a young couple who came from the United States to England. Nigel's quest takes him on trip through the violent history of the Mormon church as he and Foster race to solve a shameful, long-kept secret that is about to have bloody repercussions in the present, and for which someone is seeking vengeance.”
Source: Book description on Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/dp/0312378912/ref=rdr_ext_sb_ti_sims_1 : accessed May 2016)
3. Lauren Groff, The Monsters of Templeton
“In the wake of a wildly disastrous affair with her married archaeology professor, Willie Upton arrives on the doorstep of her ancestral home in storybook Templeton, New York, looking to hide in the one place to which she swore she'd never come back. As soon as she arrives, though, a prehistoric monster surfaces in Lake Glimmerglass, changing the very fabric of the town. What's more, Willie's hippie-turned-born-again-Baptist mother, Vi, tells her a secret she's been hiding for nearly thirty years: that Willie's father wasn't the random man from a free-love commune that Vi had led her to imagine, but someone else entirely. Someone from this very town. As Willie puts her archaeological skills to work digging for the truth about her lineage, she discovers that the secrets of her family run deep when past and present blur, dark mysteries come to light, and the shocking truth about more than one monster is revealed.”
Source: Book description on Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/Monsters-Templeton-Lauren-Groff/dp/140134092X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1463424936&sr=1-1&keywords=the+monsters+of+templeton : accessed May 2016).
4. Rhett MacPherson, Family Skeletons
“In Rhett MacPherson's Family Skeletons, as resident genealogist, historian, tour guide, and occasional amateur snoop, Victory "Torie" O'Shea can be found anywhere in the historic German town of New Kassel, Missouri--mixing fudge, giving tours, tracing family trees, and even investigating murder...
When shop-owner Norah Zumwalt asks Torie for help in piecing together her family lineage to find her missing father, Torie cheerfully agrees. But before Torie delivers her results, Norah is brutally murdered. Now Torie must use her formidable skills at prying into the past--and the human heart--to solve a case of passionate secrets and betrayal. But as the Mississippi floods, she may be in deep trouble when evidence of another killing surfaces--and Torie comes face to face with a family skeleton that will chill her to the bone.”
Source: Book description on Amazon.com (https://www.amazon.com/Family-Skeletons-Missouri-Genealogist-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B00PP6IKTC?ie=UTF8&keywords=family%20skeletons&qid=1463425132&ref_=sr_1_1&s=books&sr=1-1 : accessed May 2016).
And, recommended by some genealogical colleagues, but still on my “to-read” list:
Steve Robinson – The Jefferson Tayte Genealogical Mystery series
The Lost Empress
The Last Queen of England
Do you have any recommendations?
Surnames, also referred to as family names or “last” names, are a relatively recent human attribute. When the population of the world was small and people rarely travelled far from where they were born, individuals were known only by their given (or “first”) names. However, as populations grew and people moved to different locations, it was necessary to distinguish between individuals who had the same given name. Surnames were given which indicated occupations, physical characteristics/temperaments, where individuals were from, or the name of their father.
Here are some examples:
Occupations: Smith, Miller, Taylor, Clark (clerk), Chandler (candle-maker), Cooper (barrel-maker)
Physical characteristics/temperaments: Little, Blackbeard, Drinkwater, Brown, White
Locations: London, Moore (open land or bog), Hill, Wood
Name of father: Johnson, Wilson, Anderson, Williams (son of Will), Davis (son of David)
While the use of family names is common in most cultures around the world, different cultures have their own rules about how surnames are formed, used, and passed from generation to generation. In many of the Western cultures, surnames pass through the male lines, with women taking their husband’s family name at marriage and children taking their father’s surname at birth. In many Spanish and Portuguese speaking countries, two or more surnames (both the father’s and mother’s) may be used, and in many Asian countries, the family name is stated first, before the individual’s given name.
The study of the origins, history and use of proper names (including surnames) is called onomastics.
In genealogy, some projects research a specific surname rather than a particular individual or family. These projects (referred to as “one-name studies”) may focus on a geographical area or a specific period of time, or may look for occurrences of the name globally over time.
Behind the name: the etymology and history of surnames (www.surname.behindthename.com : accessed 16 May 2016).
“What’s in a name? Lesson 1: How Did Surnames Come to Be?” EDSITEment! The Best of the Humanities on the Web (www.edsitement.neh.gov : accessed 16 May 2016).
Sometimes nothing seems more confusing than familial relationships. And I don't mean getting along with each other. It's the jargon of kinship - how am I related to you?
For me, the simplest to remember are:
Then there are the "half" and "step" sibling relationships:
What about those "grand" and "great" relationships?
In my mind, these relationships are the most confusing, primarily because many of us use the "wrong" terms, according to the genealogical linguists. We say "great", when we should say "grand".
Now what is a "removed" relationship?
Although families, today and historically, may disregard these kinship terms when referring to family members (for example, all cousins are "cousins", no matter whether first, second, third or "removed"), understanding the actual relationships is very important when doing genealogical research, in order to put together an accurate family tree. Fortunately, most genealogical software programs calculate the correct kinship relationships when information is entered.
And so, if your mother is my great-grandaunt, what am I to you? I'm your first cousin 2x removed. You are the sister of my 2x great-grandmother, cousin of my great-grandmother, and I am two generations below. We share a common ancestor - my 3x great-grandmother is your grandmother. Got it?
I love genealogy and family stories. Check back periodically to see what I'm thinking about. And, please feel free to leave comments and suggestions.