Family Histories Make Great Reading 3

Summer is nearly over and the new school year is about to begin. This fall, with the changing of seasons, why not dive into a family history? These three family histories make great choices, whether you need something you can pick up whenever time allows, or want a book you can stretch out and relax with on a leisurely day.


[amazon_link id="0970132700" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Only a Few Bones: A True Account of the Rolling Fork Tragedy and Its Aftermath[/amazon_link]

[amazon_link id="0970132700" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Only a Few Bones: A True Account of the Rolling Fork Tragedy and Its Aftermath[/amazon_link], by John Philip Colletta (Direct Descent, 2000).


On March 4, 1873, the Ring & Co. store in Rolling Fork Landing in the Mississippi Delta mysteriously burned to the ground, claiming the lives of five people, including Joe Ring. In its aftermath, Joe’s widow and sons experienced more tragedy, and his brother George Ring withstood accusations of arson. Using evidence obtained in over 30 years of research, Colletta meticulously reconstructs the story, testing a number of hypotheses and ultimately forming his own conclusion about what really happened that night. Only a Few Bones is a perfect blend of mystery, history, and family lore, and makes a highly entertaining read.


[amazon_link id="0578052148" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]The Journey Takers[/amazon_link]

[amazon_link id="0578052148" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]The Journey Takers[/amazon_link], by Leslie Albrecht Huber (Foundation Books, 2010)


Weaving the history of her immigrant ancestors around the story of her quest to discover that history, Huber brings readers along for the journey. She vividly recounts finding her ancestors’ records and traveling to the places they lived. With a keen eye, she effectively recreates their voyages from Germany, England, and Sweden to the American west—all set against the backdrop of her own growth from student to motherhood. Huber uses historical and social detail to imagine what her forbearers felt, looked like, and might have said, creating an interesting and engaging family history.


[amazon_link id="0312420595" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Family[/amazon_link]

[amazon_link id="0312420595" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Family[/amazon_link], by Ian Frazier (Picador, 2002)


Cleaning out his parents’ house sparks a journey of historical self-discovery for Frazier. He follows in his ancestors’ footsteps as they moved to Ohio, founded the town of Norwalk, served in the Civil War, experienced temperance and Prohibition, and vacationed on the shores of Lake Erie. He sprinkles in some of his own childhood memories and contemporary impressions, effectively drawing the reader into his stories. Frazier’s deep appreciation of the everyday lives and contributions of his ancestors is evident throughout the book.


All of these books are available for purchase from genealogical booksellers as well as (If you go to the IDG Bookshelf page and click on the Amazon icon, The In-Depth Genealogist will receive a small stipend from your purchase, for which we sincerely thank you!) Give one or more of them a try before the fall slips away.


What’s on your reading list? Do you have a favorite family history book that we haven’t mentioned here?



© Shelley Bishop 2012

About Shelley Bishop

Shelley Bishop, owner of Buckeye Family Trees (, enjoys tracing and telling the stories of lost ancestors. She specializes in Ohio research. Shelley shares discoveries, tips, and resources at her blog, A Sense of Family ( She has published articles in several magazines, and writes about genealogy education for The In-Depth Genealogist.

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