While researching our family history, we often discover ancestors who were from an unusual ethnic group or religion with which we are unfamiliar.
When that happens to me, I search for details about the group. Where were the people from? What was their daily life like? What attitudes and beliefs were part of their culture? How did they dress? What did their homes and churches look like? What types of food did they eat, and how did they prepare it?
Those types of details help ancestors come alive. Such details give insight into their lives, their folkways, their decisions and the influence that their group had on American history and culture.
A few years ago, I discovered a fascinating book that examines the lives of early Americans who emigrated from the British Isles. The book examines the first four waves of immigrants. Among the groups discussed are Puritans, Quakers, Scots and Scotch Irish.
The book written by David Hackett Fischer is titled “Albion’s Seed, Four British Folkways in America.” It was published by Oxford University Press in 1989. According to books.google.com, the book is available at several libraries in the Four-State Area.
Because the 946-page book is so detailed, you may want to buy your own copy. For an inexpensive, used copy, check used book stores or check online.
Fischer compiled data on each wave of immigrants and their origins, and he includes maps that show those regions.
A chart that I find especially intriguing has a comparison of members of Anglican, Congregational, Quaker and Presbyterian congregations. A few of the aspects that he compares are: foods they ate, their literacy, types of dress, types of amusements, work ethic, inheritance practices, voting practices, level of crime and types of punishment.
If you are among the thousands of people who have more free time during this pandemic and you love family history research, this is a great book to read.
Suggestions or comments? Contact Frankie Meyer at firstname.lastname@example.org.