Rare Book Monthly

Articles - November - 2008 Issue

AE Comet: Genealogy & Local History - A Passion

Atkins

History of Middlefield and Long Hill - from Resource Books


By Bruce McKinney

Click here for the November AE Comet.

Genealogy is the history of people and local history the history of places. There was a time when the history of people and places were essentially the same but that time, for most, is long past. Certainly, old families and their descendants can be found wherever people live but overwhelmingly people, now freed from obligations to land and family, pursue, jobs, opportunities and better climates more and more as matter of fact decisions. It turns out humans like to move and that they were stationary only when they lacked choices. Since people have had increasing opportunities to move they have been on the move.

Changing location has not however always meant a loss of connection. Most people maintain some interest in the place they grew up. Many more retain an interest in the people they have known. With people moving so often the internet has facilitated a "connections" industry of sorts. Today there is Facebook and email and genealogy sites of all descriptions. Connecting in fact has never been easier or cheaper.

Some people more than others retain this lingering fascination with family history and place. For them the online genealogy sites are a way to trace roots and establish connection. A smaller group finds interest and satisfaction in local history often in conjunction with specific events. For them, book listing sites provide a way to locate material they may want to buy. Armed with such material they can do deeper research as well as read for pleasure. Such material is a portion of what's available in AE's Books for Sale.

It is said today that more than half of all adult Americans have done some online searches for their family history. That percentage is certain to increase just as the available online resources will also increase. It can seem like every fact is available online but actually it's not yet even close. You see so much we all often think we are looking for must be out there; the only problem is imperfect search terms. Better search engine algorithms and better search terms no doubt will improve outcomes but by-and large the information simply isn't posted yet. It will be but we still haven't figured out how yet to post all currently needed information. For instance it would be great to be able to look at Great Uncle Billy's civil war history but it will be even better if we could access our personal health records. Health records will get the priority over the next ten years. Uncle Billy will probably have to wait.

The material included in this month's Comet is intended less to show you a book or pamphlet to buy than it is to show you the kind of material available. For many families there are now associations but most of their sites focus on networking rather than providing extensive searchable data. It turns out that a single couple from 1650 today probably has thousands of living relatives. Tracking that one family is a hugely complex task. The truth is we are going to know much more going forward than we'll ever be able to rediscover about the past. The present and future are simply more important.

The material selected in this month's Comet is a combination of family and local history. If your name is Dubois there is a national association. Many other families aren't so well organized but you won't know until you begin to look. Your first internet search might be your family last name and the word

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Abraham Lincoln, <i>Emancipation Proclamation by the President of the United States,</i> pamphlet, 1862. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Family papers of the distinguished Ruby-Jackson family, Portland, Maine, 1853-1961. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Family papers of the Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens & the persons who served him, 1866-1907. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Autograph book with inscriptions by orators Moses Roper & Peter Williams, 1821-54. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Archive of letters, postcards, and greeting cards sent by Romare Bearden, 1949-87. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b><br>E. Simms Campbell, <i>A Night-Club Map of Harlem,</i> in inaugural issue of Manhattan, 1933. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Papers of the comedian Nipsey Russell, including a letter from MLK, 1929-2000. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Early German-American anti-slavery broadside, <i>Sclaven-Handel,</i> Philadelphia, 1794. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Edmonia Lewis, prominent sculptor, carte-de-visite by Henry Rocher, c. 1866-71. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b><br><i>The Black Panther: Black Community News Service,</i> 44 issues, San Francisco, 1967-1971. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ernest Withers, <i>I Am A Man, Sanitation Workers Strike,</i> silver print, 1968. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> <i>March For Freedom Now!,</i> poster for the 1960 Republican Convention. $4,000 to $6,000.
  • <center><b>Arader Galleries<br>April Auction<br>April 4, 2020</b>
    <b>Arader Galleries, Apr. 4:</b> MITCHELL, John (1711-1768). A Map of the British and French Dominions in North America. Copperplate engraving with original hand color. London, 1755. $250,000 to $350,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Apr. 4:</b> AUDUBON, John James (1785 - 1851). Brown Pelican (Standing), Plate 251. Aquatint engraving with original hand color. London, 1827-1838. $175,000 to $225,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Apr. 4:</b> AUDUBON, John James (1785 - 1851). Fish Hawk or Osprey, Plate 81. Aquatint engraving with original hand color. London: 1827-1838. $100,000 to $150,000.
    <center><b>Arader Galleries<br>April Auction<br>April 4, 2020</b>
    <b>Arader Galleries, Apr. 4:</b> GONZALES DE MENDOZA, Juan (1545 - 1618). <i>The Historie of the great and mightie kingdome of China…</i> London, 1588. $100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Apr. 4:</b> VERBIEST, Ferdinand (1623-1688). [World Map] Kun-Yu Ch'uan-Tu. Engraved twelve sheet map with vertical sections joined to form six sheets. Korea, Seoul, c. 1860. $100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Apr. 4:</b> SANGGI, Chong (1678-1752). Korean Atlas. Manuscript map on mulberry bark paper. C. 1750-1790. $100,000 to $150,000.
    <center><b>Arader Galleries<br>April Auction<br>April 4, 2020</b>
    <b>Arader Galleries, Apr. 4:</b> AUDUBON, John James (1785 - 1851). Ivory-billed Woodpecker, Plate 66. Aquatint engraving with original hand color. London, 1827-1838. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Apr. 4:</b> AKERMAN, Anders (1721-1778). & AKREL, Frederik (1779-1868). Pair of Celestial and Terrestrial Globes. Stockholm, c. 1800. 23 inch diameter, each. $60,000 to $100,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Apr. 4:</b> BENNETT, Lieut. William Pyt (d. in action, 1916). AN IMPORTANT AND APPARENTLY UNPUBLISHED SERIES OF GELATIN SILVER PHOTOGRAPHS OF LHASA AND TIBET TAKEN DURING THE CELEBRATED YOUNGHUSBAND MISSION OF 1904. $60,000 to $80,000

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