14 December 2019

What's In Your Genealogy Library?

Moi, dipping my toes in Lake Superior, September 2019. Yes, it was cold.

One of my best research tools, that is not online, is my own genealogy library. I have loved books and reading ever since my father took me to the library for the first time in the 1960's. Whenever there is a book sale I stop and look.

Sable Falls, Grand Marais, Michigan
One of many beautiful falls in the Upper Peninsula
Photographed by Brenda Leyndyke

This past summer my husband, Kirk, and I went on vacation to the Upper Peninsula. I had never been north of Marquette, Michigan and my husband hadn't been further that Houghton, Michigan. We decided to travel local. Although, it is only six miles further to go to Washington, DC than it is to go to Copper Harbor, Michigan from Battle Creek.  There is nothing to compare to the western and northern part of the Upper Peninsula. Luscious forests, beautiful shorelines, and running waterfalls fill the landscape. It was a very active, but relaxing vacation.

We visited a great local bookstore in Copper Harbor, "Grandpa's Barn,"  The owner was so friendly and recommended a few great local history books. Of course, I couldn't leave without buying a couple.  Although these books won't help in my search for ancestors, they do provide me with information on the history of the area.

If you live in Michigan chances are you have taken a Michigan History class and learned about the copper mine strikes. Kirk's grandfather, Peter LeynDyke, was one of the Michigan National Guardsman who went to the area to help contain the strikers.

The books I bought are:

Home in A Wilderness Fort Copper Harbor, 1844 by Charlotte Otten.  This is a juvenile fiction book that I thought looked interesting. I will gift it to my niece when I am done with it. It is about a ten year old girl who travels to the wilderness of Copper Harbor with her sister and brother-in-law who was summoned to help build Fort Wilkins. The book states the information about Fort Wilkins, its officers and daily life is historically accurate.

Copper Empire A Novel About the Copper Country Labor Strike in 1913 by Donna Searight Simons is a work of fiction and tells the story about the copper miners who had tolerated dangerous working sconditions and decided to strike in 1913. Paul Weyburn, a strike leader, and his family are the focus of the story. They owned a boarding house in Copper Harbor and try to keep it during the trying times. Paul and Marie Weyburn had four children living at home. This period of history forever changed the region.

The Fort Wilkins Story for Fort Wilkins State Park by Mac Frimodig was is a small local history book about Fort Wilkins, which is in Copper Harbor at the tip of the Keewenaw Peninsula. I bought this to learn more about the fort, but plan to donate it to the Fort Custer Historical Society Library, which I am volunteering at.  It is generally believed that Fort Wilkins was built to protect the miners from the Native American population in the area.

Do you buy books when you travel that add to your family history research? I think it helps me to understand the social history of the time and adds to my sense of family and the challenges they encountered in their daily lives.

If you are interested in what books I have in my genealogy library, check the "My Library" tab at the top of my blog home page.  I updated it today. The books added since I last updated a few months ago are highlighted. I will be reviewing a couple of them in the weeks ahead.

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