Get help with your DAR application on Sunday, April 12! – Thrifty Thursday

Need help compiling your application for the Daughters of the American Revolution? The Isle a la Cache Chapter of the NSDAR will be available to help you with your research an1ladyliberty003d application questions on Sunday, April 12 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. in Meeting Room B of the Fountaindale Public Library.

Don’t know if you have a Revolutionary War ancestor?  Don’t worry!  DAR volunteers will take a look at your genealogy and their databases to see if you have any potential candidates.  This program is open all researchers, regardless of experience, and you will want to bring all your genealogical information with you.  Light refreshments will be served, and there will be genealogy handouts and other freebies available to take home.

If you are interested in joining the Daughters of the American Revolution, membership is open to any woman 18 years or older, regardless of race, religion or ethnic background, who can prove lineal descent from a patriot.  Overall, the membership process takes four steps: mapping out your lineage, finding your ancestor, finding your chapter and beginning the application process.  This sounds daunting, but the process is made easier with the ever present and generous help of our local DAR chapter members.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions or ask for help!

There’s still time to register for Fountaindale Public Library’s free Genealogy coal miningDay event scheduled for Saturday, May 2 from 9:30 am to 4 pm.  This year’s program will include topics such as Finding Religious Records, Coal Mining Records, and how prepare a genealogical estate after your death.  The day will also include door prizes and awesome prize drawings, society booths, and the opportunity to have two of your own family photographs restored digitally by our talented staff at Studio 300.  Registration is free and open to the public!  Grab your friends and sign up today by calling the Fountaindale Public Library at (630) 685-4176.

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Sorting Thorugh Sordid Divorce Records – Black Sheep Sunday

I had a realization yesterday as I was working on a family search indexing project yesterday – I am a snoop.  Its not the biggest realization, the type that inspires a person to sell everything they own and move to Reykjavik.  But it’s a realization which some weighty properties.  For the record, I do not peep into people’s windows or go through their garbage.  I do not hack celebrity phone account and to steal e-mails.   No judging, but I found this Pinterest photo of a divorcing couple dividing their Beanie Babies a few days ago.  Amusing, yes.  Does it give insight to what the couple felt was important?  Absolutely.  I  can’t see what the wife selected, so I hope she got the commemorative Princess Beanie Baby which is listed for $2,500 online.

beanie baby divorce

That being said, I still am a snoop, and I have come to appreciate the information found in divorce records.  I don’t like watching people go through traumatic and horrible experiences.  I’m not interested in modern day divorces, as most of my divorce record research takes place before 1950.

Divorce records are essential to genealogists.  As a divorce includes a court process and vital record information, they have the ability to ascertain an ancestor and their everyday circumstances with unique detail.  Divorce proceedings were a court process from some of the earliest of our colonial records, when Anne Clarke of the Massachusetts Bay Colony was granted a divorce from Denis Clarke on January 5, 1643, on the grounds of adultery and abandonment.  Betty Malesky has written a fantastic article about early American divorce records, which I recommend to anyone searching for or working with colonial and pre-civil war divorce records.  The information provided in divorce records give researchers an opportunity to see both law and the lives of the people in the court case which would have not been possible before.

I’ve been working on the Family Search Virginia Divorce Records this winter, and I’m

Virginia Divorce 1959amazed at the amount of information contained in the abstracts.  I’m not keeping score of all the reasons behind each separation, but to my surprise, there was a lot of marital abandonment going on.  I thought men would be the main perpetrators of abandonment, but there was a staggering portion of women walking out as well.  I also saw one or two couples who had racked up 2-3 marriages and divorces each while under the age of 40.  That’s a lot of emotional baggage.  By the time I got around to transcribing records from the 1970’s the no fault divorce laws began to take effect, and suddenly all those lovely details were lost.  No more stories of abandonment, adultery, cruelty, or polygamy. The last three batches have all been no fault divorces, and have been a bit of a disappointment.

The best selection of divorce records I have found online have been on Family Search, and I dearly hope to see more records made available for the states I need, like Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio.  Because searching for divorce records can be expensive and time consuming, even the divorce indexes for these states would be helpful.

If you’re researching divorce records, share your thoughts and tips on our blog!

Don’t forget to join us for Fountaindale Public Library’s fifth annual Genealogy Day on Saturday, May 2, 2015 from 9:30 am to 4 pm! This year’s theme is “Movers, Quakers, and Rockbreakers”.  This is a free day-long program and registration is open now!  In addition to the speakers, participants will enjoy Door Prizes, Society Booths, on the spot digital photo restorations, and three outstanding lecture topics.  Bring a friend and join us for a great day of genealogy programming!  For more information, call (630) 685-4176.

See you at the Library!

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Genealogy Day 2015: Movers, Quakers, and Rock Breakers – Talented Tuesday

Join us for Fountaindale Public Library’s fifth annual Genealogy Day on Saturday, May 2, 2015 from 9:30 am to 4pm! Genealogy Day is free and open to the public, and registration begins on Friday, February 13, 2015.   In addition to the speakers, participants will enjoy Door Prizes, Society Booths, on the spot digital photo restorations, and three outstanding lecture topics.

coal miningThis year’s theme is “Movers, Quakers, and Rock Breakers” and will feature three outstanding presentations:

Researching Religious Records with Maureen Brady
Digging for Coal Mining Genealogy Resources with Richard Joyce
Gifting Genealogy Research to the Next Generation an expert panel discussion led by Mark Hayes

Photography expert and historian Bruce Troyer will be available during lunch to examine and help you identify two photos from your collection. Bruce can help you identify what type of photos you have, the date in which they were taken, and information regarding their origin. This program requires a separate sign up and is limited to 18 consultations, so please register early.

Studio 300’s Anna Gillespie will be be available with her digital software to perform on the spot photo restorations during break periods, so bring two photos, negatives, or slides and an 8 GB flash drive if you would like to save copies of your digitized items.

Participants are asked to bring a brown-bag lunch or order a Box Lunch from Brooks Cafe. Due to limited parking, please carpool or make arrangements to be dropped off for this event.

For more information, please call Debra Dudek at (630) 685-4201.  To register for the event, please call the Fountaindale Public Library reference desk at (630) 685-4176.

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Finding Free Genealogy Presentations Online – Motivation Monday

Attention snowbound genealogists!  If you’re wondering how you’re going to spend time trapped in your home by snow and icy weather, I recommend catching up on all those genealogy presentations you missed.  Maybe you were traveling, or under the weather.  Maybe you looked at the RootsTech announcement and said, “Naw, I’ll look at it later.”  When you look outside your window at a polar vortex, ‘Later’ can be interpreted as ‘Now’.  If you were hit by the big blizzard this weekend and have run out of household chores or snow to shovel, genealogy videos are a reward for all your hard work.

To keep this as fiscally conscious as possible, I’ve compiled a list of cool, interesting, and sometimes bizarre genealogy presentations you can watch for free online.  Keep this list of when you’re stuck at home in the clutches of a snowstorm and going outside is no longer an option.

The National Archives (US) Virtual Genealogy Fair

If you Missed this year’s Virtual Genealogy Fair hosted by the National Archives in 2014, you can find all three days available as well as a Schedule and Handouts.

Virtual Genealogy Fair 2014, Day 1
Introduction to Genealogy
Preserving Your Family Records
When Saying ‘I Do’ Meant Giving Up Your U.S. Citizenship
Overview of American Indian Records and Resources on

Virtual Genealogy Fair 2014, Day 2
Great Granny Eunice came from Ireland, Grandpa Fred was in the War, Can to Access Archival Databases (AAD) Help Me?
The Genealogical Significance of the World War I Draft Registration Cards
What’s New at Ancestry from the National Archives
Finding the Correct Ancestor: Civil War Soldiers and Homesteads, National Archives Records Online at FamilySearch
Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) Exclusion and Deportation files at the National Archives
Wagons West: Land Records at the National Archives

Virtual Genealogy Fair 2014, Day 3
FBI and the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA): 20th Century Family Research
Discovering Your Family’s Past in Military and Early Veterans Administration Personal Data Records and Selective Service Records
Individual Deceased Military Personnel Files (IDPFs)
Vets and Feds in the Family Tree, Military and Civilian Personnel Records
Friend or Foe? Documenting Alien Ancestors during Times of War
Patently Amazing: Finding Your Family in Patent Records

Meanwhile, RootsTech has several of their interviews and sessions available on YouTube.  Here are some interesting sessions which are well worth watching: LIVE @ RootsTech 2012: Effective Database Search Tactics with Kory Meyerink

Interview with Timo Kracke – German genealogist and Podcaster #RootsTech 2014

I enjoy the RootsTech seminars for several reasons – the first if which is feeling part of the conference, even if my only chance to watch the videos after work or at the gym.  Secondly, the speakers are very knowledgeable, and I enjoy listening to the search strategies and methods for getting the maximum result with every use.  If you don’t want to wait to watch RootsTech, you can register for their next conference, which will be held February 12-14, 2015 in Salt Lake City.

Internet Archive – Looking for Treasures in a Cluttered Attic

Internet Archive houses genealogy and history videos, but finding them can be a bit tricky. To help you find some of the gems on this site, you can conduct a general subject search in ‘Videos’.  You may want to keep your search very broad.  For example, if you are looking for genealogy subjects, I suggest inputting multiple searches using related terms such as ‘Irish’ or ‘Ireland’.
Here are a few videos to get you started on the site:
NCompass Live: Genealogy Resources For Librarians (September 25, 2013)
Rutland (Vermont) Historical Society Lecture Series
Masonic History in Massachusetts


There are a TON of genealogy webinars on YouTube., Finding Your Roots, Who Do You Think You  Are, and several other genealogical heavy hitters have full episodes, lectures, and programs you can watch for free.  Sign up for a free YouTube account, and you can save your genealogy lectures onto a playlist.  The playlist allows you to save items you want to watch later, and to keep track of what you have watched and what’s left to review.
Here are a few videos to get you started on the site:
Genealogical Proof Standard: An Introduction
Henry Louis Gates: Genealogy and African American History
Genealogist Lloyd Bockstruck @ The Allen Public Library
Cherokee Days 2014: Cherokee Genealogy with Roy Hamilton
Searching Genealogical Records in Colonial America on the Internet, February 10, 2013
Building The Bridge Back To Ireland – LIVE Instructional Video for Irish Genealogy


DearMYRTLE, the popular genealogy blog has a growing collection of Google Hangout Chats available on YouTube.  Google Hangout is video conference system which can seem like you’re watching someone’s important meeting.  However, if you don’t mind being a bit of a voyer and enjoy a more informal discussion session of genealogical topics, the DearMYRTLE collection is a great resource for you.  The DearMYRTLE collection houses a very impressive series on Mastering Genealogical Proofs which I have found very helpful.

DearMyrtle also has a Wacky Wednesday series which features an array of topics from Ancestry Record Hints, Family Search Indexing, Feedly (Finding and Reading Genealogy Blogs), Microsoft Excel for Genealogists, and using a Foreign Langauge WikiPedia.

Honorable Mentions
Sometimes, you just need a break.  If you’re ever tired of watching genealogy-related videos, here are a few of my favorite historical and pop-culture documentaries which I would recommend to anyone with an interest in history.  I always advocate watching a fabulous British series called Turn Back Time: The Family, which I wrote about in an earlier blog.

Here are a few videos I hope you will love:
Supersizers Go – A comedic duo comprising of a food critic and broadcaster eat their way through thirteen periods of history.  If you want to know how people ate, drank, and generally passed their time in Restoration England or the French Revolution, you will love this show!

Medieval Lives Birth, Marriage, Death – a BBC series in which historian and author Helen Castor explores how the people of the Middle Ages handled the most fundamental moments of transition in life – birth, marriage and death.

In Search of Beowulf – Historian Michael Wood searches the Anglo-Saxon world to reveal the origins of our literary heritage. Focusing on Beowulf and drawing on other Anglo-Saxon classics, he traces the birth of English poetry back to the Dark Ages.

Roanoke: The Lost Colony – Josh Bernstein investigates America’s oldest missing person’s case– the Lost Colony of Roanoke Island. In 1587, over 100 settlers landed in the New World to build England’s first permanent colony in North America. But, three years later, they had vanished. Josh explores the circumstances of the colony, and conducts a new DNA study that reveals groundbreaking evidence about the fate of the lost settlers.

Deaths Door The Truth Behind the Italian Hall Disaster – Author Steve Lehto discusses a Northern Michigan tragedy in which 73 men, women, and children, mostly striking mine workers and their families, were crushed to death in a stampede when someone falsely shouted “fire” at a crowded Christmas party on December 24, 1913.  Lehto was featured in the PBS documentary Red Metal, which debuted last year.  A great video for anyone interested in copper mining, Michigan history, and the evolution of the modern labor movement.

Want to get out and socialize with genealogists?  You will want to attend the DuPage County Genealogical Society Conference on Mary 14, 2015 and the McHenry County Genealogical Society 2015 Summer Conference on July 11, 2015.  Also, mark your calendar for the Fountaindale Public Library’s 2015 Genealogy Day on May 2.  Registration open on Friday, February 13, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

In Genealogy Club news, Tina Beaird from the Plainfield Public Library will present Newspaper Necessities on Wednesday, February 11, 2015 at 7 pm in Meeting Room A of the Fountaindale Public Library.  The program is free and open to the public.

Stay warm and I’ll see you at the Library!


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Kickoff a New Year of Genealogical Resolutions with Free Classes at the Library! – Thrifty Thursday

Do you need to make a genealogical New Years resolution? Kick off your goal with free computer graphicOnline Genealogy classes at the Fountaindale Public Library on January 11, February 8, and March 8, 2015. Each Online Genealogy Class will be held at 2 p.m. in the Local History Room of the Fountaindale Public Library, located at 300 W. Briarcliff Road in Bolingbrook, IL. For new researchers, a Beginning Genealogy Class will take place at 1 p.m., one hour prior to each Online Genealogy Class.

In each Online Genealogy class, you will learn how to use online websites and library databases which will help you gather information for your research. We will be taking a look at free websites you can use from home as well as the subscription-based websites available through the library.

A few of the websites featured in the class are Fold3, World Vital Records, Chicago Tribune Archive, Census Finder, Find A Grave, BillionGraves, What Was There, HistoryPin, and Pinterest.
Passport Web Banner-633x187
Fountiandale Public Library’s Online Genealogy Class is part of the Passport To Success program, an initiative designed for our area residents interested in increasing their technology skills through a combination of basic computer classes, social media tools, and online learning.

The Passport to Success program is free and open to all area residents with a valid library card. If you don’t have a Fountaindale Public Library card, don’t worry! Simply provide your own library card number and e-mail address during registration, and you’ll be elligable to participate in the program.

During the Passport to Success program, participants will be eligible for great prizes such as an 8 GB flash drive and a Fountaindale Public Library gift bag. Upon completion, Fountaindale Public Library card holders will be eligible to win one of three laptop computers, and other special giveaway items!

This Passport to Success program was made possible by Fountaindale Public Library, Eliminate the Digital Divide grant funds from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Development, and matching Clinton Global Initiative Funds.

For Fountiandale Public Library card holders who are unable to attend our Online Genealogy classes, checkout our cool Genealogy Course through Universal Class. This on demand class is one of the 500 online courses you can take for free with your library card!

For more information about Online Genealogy Classes, the Passport to Success, or any additional topics, contact the Fountaindale Public Library at (630) 685-4201.

See You At The Library!

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Clever Gifts for Genealogists – Tuesday’s Tip

Need some gift ideas for a genealogist on your holiday list?  There’s a huge temptation to throw someone a gift card to Amazon, Ancestry, or Fold3.  However, if you want to wrap a gift with nifty paper and bows or send a package to a friend in another state, take a look at these fantastic holiday finds!

nextgengenealogyDNA is the brave new frontier for genealogy research. David Dowell’s new book NextGen Genealogy: The DNA Connection has just been released and I can’t wait to read it!  Our library had the pleasure of hosting Dr. Dowell at our library in 2011, and his book Crash Course in Genealogy is a must read for any and all beginning and intermediate genealogists.  When you get a chance to visit Dr. Dowell’s blog, you can read his description of the book, and some great insight to the genealogy DNA test sales which are on offer right now.  You can save a few dollars by buying this book in an electronic format, but I find the physical copy is always nice to have around to share with friends or a small research group.

Genealogy research in New York state and New York City can be an absolute irishancestorsnewyorknightmare.  One of the breakthrough books I found this year was Finding Your Irish Ancestors in New York City by Joseph Buggy.  This book combines resources, materials, and little known records into a first rate research tool.  After reading the section dedicated to Catholic Church sacramental records, I had a much better understanding of the array of resources kept by the church during different time periods.  I wish book had been around when I was working on a project last year.  As it stands, this is going to be one of my library’s featured titles for Irish genealogy research in 2015.

For the genealogists who hobby in knitting and crochet, centenary stitchesCentenary Stitches: Telling the Story of one WW1 Family Through Vintage Knitting and Crochet by Elizabeth Lovick is a lovely book of patterns, narratives, and amazing projects.  Centenary Stitches is a unique book, as it chronicles both an effort to bring vintage First World War clothing and instructions to a modern audience, while introducing readers to the story of an English family’s wartime experiences featured in the film Tell Them of Us. I loved looking at the new projects inspired by the movie featured side by side the patterns used during time period.  There are a lot of wonderful projects in this book, so your knitting and crochet genealogist will have something new and unique for their book collection!

To customize genealogy gifts for friends, family, or clients, you will want to check out the uber cool assortment of wall decals, custom family tree charts, and surname products on Etsy.  I found some of the best ideas for bringing the concept of a family tree into stunning works of wall art from a few of the items for sale on this site.














I just joined the Daughters of the American Revolution last year, and I’ve been hunting for cool gift ideas for my friends and family members.  The online DAR museum shop is tucked away on the website, but it has some great items fit for anyone across a wide range of ages.  My favorite find on the site is a very cool umbrella, and with a $25 price tag it fits well within most gift-giving budgets.  The site also stocks sophisticated merchandise such as jewelry, serving ware, vases, picture frames, purses, and some very eye catching tree ornaments.

DAR Umbrella

DAR Ornament









For a true hodge podge of create-your-own and funny genealogy items, checkout Zazzle and CafePress.  Both sites have standard t-shirts, mugs, tote bags, hoodies, and key chains, but also offer cool stuff like ornaments, baby clothes, golf balls, shower curtains, and even yoga mats.  I love these sites because they usually have great sales around the holidays, and free shipping for orders over $50.

CafePress Travel Mug

CafePress grant shirt

Zazzle genealogy shirt

Zazzle wine charm














Zazzle iPhone case


Zazzle Genealogy Baby Onsie








If you’re looking to send a gift to GeneaBloggers creator Thomas MacEntee, its common knowledge that he is a big fan of liquid libations, so that Hard Working Genealogist Wine Glass Charm could be a great way to show your appreciation for the Geneabloggers website and Pinterest page.

May your holidays be merry, bright, and full of genealogical breakthroughs!

See you at the Library!



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Giving Thanks for our Colonial Mothers at the Dinner Table – Family Recipe Friday

complete housewifeWhere would we be without our colonial mothers?  While their fathers, husbands, sons, and brothers were working in the fields, shops, and ships, women were toiling away at household tasks, raising children, working in the family businesses, and most importantly – Cooking.  As we gather together to give thanks at one of our most beloved holidays of the year, let’s celebrate how generations of mothers, daughters, sisters, grandmothers, aunts, and cousins have contributed to an enduring symbol of American culture – the Thanksgiving dinner table.


Thank You SarahTo appreciate the Thanksgiving holiday, we have to look at the dedication and tensity of  Sarah Josepha Hale.  Hale was a widowed magazine editor who made it her duty to petition five US presidents over 17 years to establish a national day of Thanksgiving.  Ultimately,it was Abraham Lincoln who supported and established Thanksgiving as s unifying holiday to heal woulds caused by the American Civil War.  There are two fantastic picture books to share with the little ones in your family – Thank You, Sarah by Laurie Halse Anderson and Sarah Gives Thanks: How Thanksgiving Became a National Holiday by Mike Allegra.

What were our colonial ancestors serving up at the Thanksgiving dinner table?  English women had access to the Food Network equivalent of mass produced and printed cookbook titles in the mid 1550s.  An early cookbook from this period entitled Proper Newe Booke of Cokerye was printed in 1545, and was so successful it continued to be reprinted for another century.  Putting the cookbook concept into perspective, William Shakespeare was born in April 1564, twenty years after cookbooks were being printed for ladies and domestic staff throughout England.  The bard could just have easily achieved fame if he had dedicated his life to cookbooks instead of dramatic plays and sonnets.

Here are some tried and true recipes which have appeared on dinner plates of our colonial ancestors.  Some have appeared in books and magazines after American Independence, but the instructions, ingredients, and ingenuity are apparent in each entry regardless of their publishing date.

Complete Houswife Title PageThe Compleat Housewife, or Accomplish’d Gentlewoman’s Companion, written by Eliza Smith was originally published in London in 1727, and is considered the first cookbook ever to be published in the United States.

In addition to recipes, The Compleat Housewife included directions for household management, domestic tasks, nursing sick family members, preparing home remedies.

New England families had ample supplies of seafood on hand, and the The Compleat Housewife contains ample cooking and serving instructions for lobsters on page 11 of the book.
pot of lobsters page 11
In 1796, flush with victory after the War of Independence,  Amelia Simmons published the first “bestselling” cookbook written by an American, for an American audience.  As cooks had been using books written in England by British writers, Simmons set her book apart from the rest with the title:  American Cookery, or the Art of Dressing Viands, Fish, Poultry, and Vegetables, and the Best Modes of Making Pastes, Puffs, Pies, Tarts, Puddings, Custards, and Preserves, and all kinds of Cakes, from the Imperial Plum to Plain Cake: Adapted to this Country, and all Grades of Life.
As far as researchers can surmise, Simmons promoted uniquely American ingredients  such as turkey, corn meal, pumpkin, and cranberries for the first time in print.  If you’re looking for an early reference to cranberry sauce, you will find it on page five, of her book, along with a two great recipes for turkey.

amelia simmons page 13
Mrs. Henry Onderdonk of Ringgold Manor in Virginia submitted a unique recipe to a book entitled Colonial Recipes from Old Virginia and Maryland Manors, with Numerous Legends and Traditions Interwoven.  The recipe, To Make A Rich Black Cake, was hand written by Martha Curtis Washington, wife of our first president George Washington.  Onderdonk inherited the card from  her great-grandmother, Mrs. Hazelhurst of Philadelphia.  So, who wants to sample a cake served served to George Washington?

Mrs. Washington's Cake Recipe

Building on the cookery skills of their colonial mothers, their successive daughters and granddaughters published their own cookbooks emphasizing the resources and skills to a unique new country.  In Seventy-Five Receipts for Pastry, Cakes, and Sweetmeats, Eliza Leslie provided readers with a substantial cookery book pertaining to everything sweet and dessert oriented.  From puddings, preserves, biscuits, jellies, cake, custards, and something called a ‘cup cake’, Leslie states:
  “The receipts in this little book are, in every sense of the word, American; but the                writer flatters herself that (if exactly followed) the articles produced from them              will not be found inferior to any of a similar description made in the European Manner.  Experience has proved that pastry, cakes, &c. prepared precisely according to these directions will not fail to be excellent.”

Unlike The Compleat Housewife, Leslie’s book includes precise weights and measurements listed at the beginning of each recipe.  This is a huge improvement on earlier publications.  With Seventy-Five Receipts for Pastry, Cakes, and Sweetmeats published in 1828, modern cooks are enjoying an instructional concept created by authors in a much earlier era.

baked apple pudding page 23
Let’s talk turkey!  Everyone has an opinion on how our Thanksgiving turkey should be cooked.  Pinterest has a great selection of “new ways” to roast, fry, broil, or serve your turkey this year.  Do you think colonials ate bland turkey over a spit with no gravy?  Think again!  In The Virginia Housewife by Mary Randolph, the author accounts for multiple ways to make sauce (gravy) using various seafood, fowl, or vegetable ingredients.  If you’re agonizing over your turkey cooking schedule, you need to check this out:
Virginia Housewife Page 72

Americas WomenIf you’re looking to explore the drive and determination of our female fore bearers, you will want to read America’s Women: 400 Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates, and Heroines by Gail Collins.  Forget the drudgery of your high school history class, and read this book!  America’s Women is an engrossing and delightful read, filled with stories and examples of how women shaped society and their families from the earliest American colonies to the present day.

Speaking of early American connection are you researching any colonial connections?  Take our poll, make a comment, or share your current project!

See you at the Library!


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