“Family history begins with missing persons,” Alison Light writes in Common People. We wonder about those we’ve lost, and those we never knew, about the long skein that led to us, and to here, and to now. So we start exploring.
Most of us, however, give up a few generations back. We run into a gap, get embarrassed by a ne’er-do-well, or simply find our ancestors are less glamorous than we’d hoped. That didn’t stop Alison Light: in the last weeks of her father’s life, she embarked on an attempt to trace the history of her family as far back as she could reasonably go. The result is a clear-eyed, fascinating, frequently moving account of the lives of everyday people, of the tough decisions and hard work, the good luck and bad breaks, that chart the course of a life. Light’s forebears—servants, sailors, farm workers—were among the poorest, traveling the country looking for work; they left few lasting marks on the world. But through her painstaking work in archives, and her ability to make the people and struggles of the past come alive, Light reminds us that “every life, even glimpsed through the chinks of the census, has its surprises and secrets.”
What she did for the servants of Bloomsbury in her celebrated Mrs. Woolf and the Servants Light does here for her own ancestors, and, by extension, everyone’s: draws their experiences from the shadows of the past and helps us understand their lives, estranged from us by time yet inextricably interwoven with our own. Family history, in her hands, becomes a new kind of public history.
Wisconsin Territory's first Dane arrived in 1829, and by 1860 the state's Danish-born population had reached 1,150. Yet these newcomers remained only a small segment of Wisconsin's increasingly complex cultural mosaic, and the challenges of adapting to life in this new land shaped the Danish experience in the state. In this popular book, now revised and expanded with additional historical photos and documents, Frederick Hale offers a concise introduction to Wisconsin's Danish settlers, exploring their reasons for leaving their homeland, describing their difficult journeys, and examining their adjustments to life on Wisconsin soil.
New to this edition are the selected letters of Danish immigrant Andrew Frederickson. These compelling documents, written over a 40-year span, capture the personal observations of one Dane as he made a new life in Wisconsin.
A Family Practice is the sweeping saga of four generations of doctors, Russell men seeking innovative ways to sustain themselves as medical practitioners in the American South from the early nineteenth to the latter half of the twentieth century. The thread that binds the stories in this saga is one of blood, of medical vocations passed from fathers to sons and nephews. This study of four generations of Russell doctors is an historical study with a biographical thread running through it.
The authors take a wide-ranging look at the meaning of intergenerational vocations and the role of family, the economy, and social issues on the evolution of medical education and practice in the United States.
Are you looking for
• A Scandinavian name for your baby?
• The names of Norse gods and heroes?
• The history and meaning of Scandinavian first names?
• Variations and alternate spellings for common Scandinavian names?
• Naming traditions and customs in Norway, Sweden, and Denmark?
A Handbook of Scandinavian Names includes a dictionary of more than fifteen hundred given names from Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, plus some from Iceland and Finland. Each entry provides a guide to pronunciation and the origin and meaning of the name. Many entries also include variations and usage in the Scandinavian countries and famous bearers of the name.
Adding engaging context to the dictionary section is an extensive comparative guide to naming practices. The authors discuss immigration to North America from Scandinavia and the ways given names and surnames were adapted in the New World. Also included in the book is a history of Scandinavian names, information on “Name Days,” and discussion of significant names from mythology and history, including naming traditions in royal families.
Winner, Reference Book of the Year, Midwest Book Awards
Finalist, USA Best Books Award for Parenting/Family Reference
In Search of Susanna
Suzanne L. Bunkers University of Iowa Press, 1996 Library of Congress PE64.B86A3 1996 | Dewey Decimal 929.20893
On a summer day in 1980 in Niederfeulen, Luxembourg, Suzanne Bunkers pored over parish records of her maternal ancestors, immigrants to the rural American Midwest in the mid 1800s. Suddenly, chance led her to the name Simmerl and to the missing piece in the genealogical puzzle that had brought her so far: Susanna Simmerl, Bunkers' paternal great-great-grandmother, who had given birth to an illegitimate daughter in 1856 before coming to America. Finding Susanna was the catalyst for Bunkers' intensely personal book, which blends history, memory, and imagination into a drama of two women's lives within their multigenerational family.