- Paperback: 472 pages
- Publisher: Genealogical Publishing Company (September 5, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0806311266
- ISBN-13: 978-0806311265
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 6 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,738,134 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A Bibliography of American County Histories
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A very interesting aspect of genealogy is placing your ancestors in the context of history. To do this you would use not only the more general US history books, but histories of the states and specific localities where these ancestors once lived. In response to this very real need for family historians to obtain references to viable county histories, P. William Filby compiled a 449 page bibliography which was published in 1987.
Mr. Filby's works are well recognized as thorough, careful compilations, and this publication is no exception. He understands that the rash of "mug books" in the late 19th century may in fact have been self-serving on the part of the publishers and those who paid for their pictures and bios to be included. He notes that:
"Books beginning with titles such as "Historical & Biographical..." can contain a history of the county and consist in the main of biographies, yet they often are the only histories available. For this reason I have included them in this bibliography. On the other had, books entitled "Biographies of Prominent Men..." have been omitted as have those bearing such titles as "Portrait & Biographical Histories..."
According to this bibliography, the collection of the books of this type included have not changed considerably since 1919. Mr. Filby notes there are about some 5,000. However, the cut off date for publication was 1984, in order that his bibliography could be completed. Perhaps a new county history has been published for your locality of interest. (You would have to check with the local public library in that case.) However, this book will at least provide you the information on the usual and customary titles of importance so that you may learn more of that distant place.
Identify several books listed in Mr. Filby's publication for each locality. After reviewing more than one history, you'll have a more rounded view of what everyday life was like for your ancestor. Be sure to include such commentaries (with proper citations of course) in your family history. This makes your ancestor's real-life struggles and customs of life more readily apparent.