Smoky Mountain Family Historian

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Genealogical Advice from 1899

Yesterday Blaine Bettinger wrote about the relevance of an article in a 1910 issue of the Record for today's researcher.

Later yesterday I stumbled across an 1899 book in our library. In the opening chapter, the author's remarks could apply to today's researcher:

But one must, in the beginning, resolve to go wherever the progress of the work may direct, and to make a faithful record of all that is found. This is the only way to secure all the pleasures and advantages of the inquiry. The pleasures are many and not a few of them arise from surprises that one meets in the course of the work. The advantages are proportioned to the completeness of the information obtainable. To select for record that which pleases the fancy, or indulges pride of distinction, and to ignore or to suppress what may seem commonplace in our progenitors is to be untrue to our ancestry and to ourselves. Such a method results in a view of one's origin that is distorted, and therefore misleading.1
We need to present our ancestors as they were, not as we wish they were. We need to interpret their lives through the lens of the times rather than modernity. We need to be as proud of our farmers as our community leaders.



1 William Stowell Mills, Foundations of Genealogy with Suggestions on the Art of Preparing Records of Ancestry (New York: Monograph, 1899), 1-2.

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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Encountering the History of Missions



Terry, John Mark and Robert L. Gallagher. Encountering the History of Missions: From the Early Church to Today. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2017.

The authors take a different approach to teaching the history of missions than the traditional approach used by textbooks such as Neill's History of Christian Missions. Instead of a strict chronological approach, they look at movements influencing Christians to reach the world. It thus becomes a more theological and philosophical approach than the traditional manner the subject is taught to undergraduates. The book is better suited to graduate-level courses in the history of missions as it lacks the ability to create interest for persons without a prior one. The use of documents and writings of the persons involved is commendable. The authors' coverage includes effort of the church growth movement of the late 20th century. Questions for discussion and reflection are included, mainly in sidebars, but occasionally in the main text. A lengthy bibliography is included. I received an electronic advance review copy of the book from the publisher through NetGalley for review purposes.

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Monday, August 14, 2017

Plume



Simler, Isabelle. Plume. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2017.

I love this book! A cute cat is exploring his feathery friends. The artist does a wonderful job capturing just a portion of the cat in each photo while teaching about birds and feathers. It's whimsical and a great book. I received an advance review e-galley for review purposes through NetGalley, but I loved it so much I pre-ordered a copy of the hardback.

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Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Bibliomysteries



Penzler, Otto, ed. Bibliomysteries: Stories of Crime in the World of Books and Bookstores. New York: Pegasus, 2017.


As with most collections of short stories, some resonated more with me than others.

"An Acceptable Sacrifice" by Jeffery Deaver - Mexican drug lord with a weakness for books. Not my thing.

"Pronghorns of the Third Reich" by C J Box - A couple of men kidnap a lawyer who won a case involving one of the men and his grandfather. Books play a role, but I don't want to give away the plot.

"The Book of Virtue" by Ken Bruen - A lot of short choppy sentences that create a tale a bit too "noir" and full of crude language for me.

"The Book of Ghosts" by Reed Farrel Coleman - A story born out of a World War II fabrication of a "Book of Ghosts."

"The Final Testament" by Peter Blauner - Sauerwald visits Freud in Britain, discussing Freud's books, a manuscript Freud is writing, and one Sauerwald himself wrote. It gets bogged down in places.

"What's In a Name?" by Thomas H. Cook - An old schoolmate visits Altman carrying a manuscript. Book has an interesting twist.

"Book Club" by Loren D. Estleman - Guy who collects rare books is murdered.

"Death Leaves a Bookmark" by William Link - Excellent mystery featuring Lt. Columbo as detective.This was my personal favorite in the collection.

"The Book Thing" by Laura Lippman - What's going on with a series of book thefts in a Baltimore children's bookstore? Tess helps discover what's going on and finds a way to prevent it in the future. I liked this one a lot.

"The Scroll" by Anne Perry - Mystery centers on the discovery of a scroll, written in Aramaic, with unusual properties.

"It's in the Book" by Mickey Spillane & Max Allan Collins - Mike Hammer is entrusted with a finding book or ledger believed to exist. Spillane is not my typical mystery read, but I liked this one a lot.

"The Long Sonata of the Dead" by Andrew Taylor - This is set in the London Library. There's a man having an affair. I'm really not quite sure what to make of this one. It's just weird.

"Rides a Stranger" by David Bell - A college professor returns home for his dad's funeral, making a surprising discovery about his father's literary life.

"The Caxton Library & Book Depository" by John Connolly - A man witnesses what appears to be a re-enactment of Anna Karenina. Then he witnesses it again. His investigations of the strange matter lead him to the Caxton Library.

"The Book Case" by Nelson DeMille - Bookstore owner is killed by a bookcase falling on him. It appears an accident to most, but the detective discovers wedges holding the case in place were removed. He interviewed suspects and solved the case.

My favorite stories were not those written by the authors I typically read and enjoy. Readers may discover they wish to give a chance to a "new to them" author or to one who may be a better writer now than in earlier days.

I received an electronic advance review copy through NetGalley with the expectation of an honest review.

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Tuesday, August 01, 2017

The Address



Davis, Fiona. The Address. New York: Dutton, 2017.

An architect selects a girl working in a London hotel who saved his daughter from a deadly fall to manage the Dakota, a residential building, opening in New York.  Although it seems in the middle of nowhere, development is headed that way. Fast forward almost 100 years. A newly rehabilitated girl is given the opportunity to renovate the family apartment at the Dakota. She's a descendant of the architect although her cousin received the inheritance. While the story line held promise, the author failed to weave the story in an engaging manner. For me, starting with the modern piece and then going back in time would have been preferable to chopping the story up. The revelation of what she discovered could have occurred in the end or it could have been revealed. I would have kept reading. As written, I struggled to plod through it.

The writer used passive tense too much. The book's editor failed to correct the problem.

I received an advance electronic copy of the book from the publisher through NetGalley with the expectation of an honest review.


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The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books



Edwards, Martin. The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books. Scottsdale, Arizona: Poisoned Pen Press, 2017.

Don't let the title mislead you. The book discusses far more than 100 mysteries. It does, however, provide a little more depth of coverage on about 100  titles. The book is intended as a companion volume to the British Library Crime Classics series. It arranges the mysteries into categories by the types of mysteries they are. (For example, locked room, vacation spots, manor houses, etc.) Mystery lovers are certain to find a few books they missed through the years to add to their to-be-read lists. Fortunately the British Library Crime Classics series is making many of these readily available for a new generation of readers to discover. I received an advance electronic galley of the title from the publisher through NetGalley for review purposes.

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