Monday, May 31, 2010

Home sweet home-on-the-road

This is home sweet home, for the coming week. I had a nice, relaxed visit with friends in Maryland over the weekend. Today I'm headed up to New York - unless I decide to stop somewhere else.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

More work, and looking forward to it

I'm excited after this morning's publications board meeting. The author of the collection of Quaker biographies that I edited last summer was there, and we're getting close to publication. Two of our board members went to the QUIP conference (Quakers Uniting in Publications) and had a great time with the international writing community. Next year's meeting is in England and I've already volunteered to go!

We talked about our marketing plan, or lack of one. We're a relatively small nonprofit who sells our books at annual events and through mail order. So I was sitting there thinking, how can we market online when we can't afford online purchasing (eg. ProPay)?

We had a couple of proposals related to publishing cemetery records. A late historian, or his family, donated his research files to another committee who asked us about publishing them. He researched lots of Quaker cemeteries, including some that have been laid down. Although it's sad that he's no longer with us, I'm excited that I'm going to get to look through his files so I can report back to the board. One of the files is about Bush River, the South Carolina meeting my English family ancestors attended.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Finding books when you least expect it

OK, so maybe this blog should have been titled "Book Addict." I hadn't planned on buying any books today, but ... well, you'll see.

You know that saying, something about how foolish it is to do the same thing over and over and expect different results? Proven wrong today! Almost every week at our Thursday morning write-ins at Barnes and Noble, I stop by the reference shelf where they keep all the books about writing. I've been looking for Ann Lamont's Bird by Bird which, I'm told by my writer friends, I must read at once. One of those friends bought the last one months ago and B&N hasn't had it. I don't really expect it to just magically show up, but I check the shelf, just in case. And today - there it was! I grabbed it.

I stopped by the library to turn in a book and check out another. A big sign on the lawn said, "Book Sale," but the book sale was weeks ago. Smaller signs on the doors announced "free books," so of course I detoured to the conference room to glance through the leftovers from the sale. I didn't expect much, but I found a few offbeat titles from the 1940s and the price was right. As I took my little stack of books to the desk to thank the librarians, I glanced over at the rolling cart that contains the library's perpetual book sale. I saw a couple of new hardbacks that are still prominently displayed in the bookstores, just $2 each! My addiction had fully kicked in by now and I added a few of those to the stack.

I definitely need to open a bookshop. People tease me that I won't be able to let these treasures go, but I think I could manage.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Percolating - Joshua's story

As I work on scenes and chapters for the third generation in my story - Joshua English's life - I've been stumped because I don't know anything about Mary Holmes. I know she must be some relation of Richard Holmes, but I don't know how. He's about half a generation older than she, so not a father,  possibly an older brother but more likely a cousin. Her parents aren't mentioned in the wedding procedures, which often means that they're dead. So, not only is she a genealogical brick wall, but I have trouble filling in her character when I don't even know about siblings, background, anything. Everybody else in the novel has at least had a factual family.

As I draw a big blank with Mary, I'm having an inspirational week with Joshua. Little things, tidbits, that I read in the meeting minutes percolate in my head and sometimes boil over into revelations. For example, his marriage inquiry included Dublin, which means that he lived there at some point. Since they didn't have a schoolmaster in Moate, I was thinking he might have been sent to school there. This week, I had one of those head-on-the-pillow eureka moments: Joshua's emmigration request mentioned that he lived in some other area than Toorphelim (next to Moate). My eureka thought was that he didn't live on his father's farm; he lost his land! Which adds to the drive to come to America.

Joshua was a middle child, so inheritance may have gone to an older brother, John or Abraham. I've been wondering (and looking for) what happened to Joshua's brothers. Maybe, after his mother and John were disowned, the whole family moved to Dublin. But who lived on the family farm? Joshua's father left it in trust to the meeting, but if they gave it back to the family when one or more of the children came of age, they could have sold it.

I know that Joshua came back to live near Moate and married Mary Holmes. His little brother, Thomas, was at his wedding. Joshua had a family and survived the Great Frost. He must have been devastated when his daughter was disowned and brought disgrace to her parents. Without the family farm, there was nothing to keep him from wanting to emmigrate and start a new life.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Afternoon with a cousin

I spent a lovely Sunday afternoon with my 1st cousin-twice removed, Marjorie (on the ENGLISH side of my family). She has been interested in our family's genealogy since her 20s, and now she's in her 80s, so she has collected quite a bit of information! I did have a few new bits and pieces to share with her because I've built my research on the work of people who started before me, but she did most of the sharing.

She gave me a little book, a memoir that her late husband had written about his life. She plans to write one about herself. It's not "published," just a nice homemade book with a collage of pictures on the cover. What a great idea - everybody should do this! He lived 80+ years, starting out with horses and mules and was an airline pilot for many years. They've both led interesting lives.

She let me copy some newspaper articles and some family tree information that she had typed out years ago. She also loaned me a "Family Tree" book that her nephew's wife had made for a gift. It has another generation of the HOGGATT family that I haven't seen anywhere else, but I take that with a grain of salt because there are no sources in it and Marjorie thinks she got it "from the internet." But I'm excited to fill in all the gaps and dates for our mutual extended family, and maybe I can talk to this lady in the future about where she got that Hoggatt tidbit.

I hope I didn't tire her out. We went through papers and the hours flew by. Then she found a pile of old deeds and photos that we will look at "another day." What fun!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

GenFest 2010 wrap-up

GenFest 2010 was a fun, informative, long day. The High Point Library staff were, as usual, helpful and organized. I sat between ladies from the High Point Museum gift shop and the Greensboro Library, not far from the Randolph County Genealogical Society and Dr. Bruce Pruitt - a prolific indexer of N.C. and S.C. deeds and records.

I talked to some very interesting folks, from a helpful publisher (as in, the owner of a name I've seen on many books) to a lady who has "original DNA" from East Africa ("hmmm." What else can you say?). I heard about a family reunion in June that I might have to crash. Of course, I couldn't leave without a book, but I restrained myself and bought only one: My Folks Don't Want Me to Talk About Slavery, oral history from former slaves interviewed in the 1930s.

So many genealogical societies, so little... cash. I joined my local county (Randolph) this year, but I can't afford to join all of them. DAR, Sons (and Daughters) of Confederate Veterans, N.C. Genealogical Society, the neighboring county (Guilford) were all represented. And sometimes I think about joining the National Genealogical Society, Quaker historical societies or some of the international ones. It's hard to choose!

The photo is a visitor looking over a "family tree" of 19th-century Springfield Friends Meeting members. Dan Warren drew this a couple of years ago to show how many members are related if you go back a few generations. He's working on another one for Archdale Friends Meeting.

I sold a couple of copies of my book, but mostly enjoyed being around other genealogists and history buffs. I saw Jackie, who heads up the Heritage Centre at the Library, walk by with a big grin on her face - she had an armload of Bruce Pruitt's books.

Monday, May 10, 2010

GenFest 2010!

GenFest 2010 is this weekend! Here's a link to the announcement on the High Point Library's web page. The N.C. Piedmont genealogy world is all atwitter with excitement because the last GenFest was about three years ago. The library had just got it going as an annual event when major building renovations caused the hiatus. This year's event will be the biggest, so far, with more than 40 vendors. Here's a list of them, reprinted with permission from the Heritage Research Center of High Point Public Library.

GENFEST 2010 Vendor List
10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, 15 May 2010
High Point Public Library

Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society
Boy Scouts of America
Betty Brown, Author and Professional Research
Mary Browning, Author and Professional Research
Bettye Casey, My Recollection
Glenn Chavis, African American History, High Point
Children’s Room, High Point Public Library
Daughters of the American Revolution, Alexander Martin Chapter
Davidson County Public Library, Local History and Genealogy
Stewart Dunaway, Publications
Durham-Orange Genealogical Society (DOGS); (combined with SAR)
East Coast Allred Family Association (Linda Cooper)
Andy Evans, AB Enterprises
Family History Center, Winston-Salem, N.C.
Forsyth County Genealogical Society
Forsyth County Historical Association (Michael L. Marshall)
Genealogical Society of Davidson County
Genealogy and Local History Committee, North Carolina Library Association
Greensboro Public Library, North Carolina Collection
Guilford County Genealogical Society
Otis Hairston, African American History, Greensboro
High Point Historical Society
Friends of the High Point Public Library (Brenda Haworth)
Lavada Johnson Bellot, African American Family History
Junior League of High Point
North Carolina Mayflower Society, Piedmont Colony
Olde Mecklenburg Genealogical Society
Barry Munson, Publications
North Carolina Friends Historical Society
North Carolina Genealogical Society
Old North State Detectorists
Dr. A. Bruce Pruitt, Publications
Randolph County Genealogical Society
Charles Rodenbough, Author / Historian
Elizabeth Saunders, Creative Memories
Debi Simmerson, Potter
Salisbury Confederate Prison Association, Inc
Sons of the American Revolution (SAR), Alamance Battleground Chapter
Sons of Confederate Veterans, Lt. F. C. Frazier Camp #668
Dr. Otis E. Tillman, African American History, High Point
United Daughters of the Confederacy, Guilford Chapter 301
Walkertown Area Historical Association
Dan Warren, History of Archdale and Trinity
YWCA, High Point Chapter

Sunday, May 09, 2010

First edition confusion

In my last post, I noted that my copy of Ernest Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls is not a first edition — as defined by collectors. It is, however, a first edition as defined by publishers. Collectors (like me) tend to use first printing and first edition interchangeably. Different claims from ebay sellers add to the confusion. Bookseller Craig Stark explains the differences in his 2003 article on the BookThink blog, Basic Edition Identification.

It appears my copy is a first edition because it was printed with the original plates; no changes in content of the book. But it was not the first printing. So, is it more valuable than I thought? No. The value comes from what collectors will pay for the edition, and in this case the first printing (or "first state") is way more desirable.