Monday, August 4, 2008

"To remain ignorant of things that happened before you were born is to remain a child."

Stop reading here if you are not a history buff (just a friendly warning, you will be bored, I promise you).

So I just finished reading this AWESOME book called Albion's Seed Four British Folkways in America. Yes I know, isn't that the most thrilling title you ever saw?? Of course I was drawn right too it in the Borders or wherever I was. It's paperback, but weighs about 87 pounds. It is, in every sense of the word, a tome. And I carried it all the way down to Jamaica, started reading it, carried it all the way back, read 2 different books, then finished it.

But I digress.....

So it was such a great book! It talked about the different groups of people that first came over to America from Great Britain, what their religions were, what their customs were, basically just what type of people they were, and how that shaped the regions and the history of colonial and revolutionary (and modern) america. I deal with these people (colonists) all the time in my genealogy research and most of them are just names and birth/death dates and places. Long lists of children, with the same damn name as the parents. So John and Elizabeth had children named John and Elizabeth. And let's say Elizabeth died young, then they would name the next girl who was born Elizabeth. You start to lose perspective. But you do start to appreciate unique names (thanks mom and dad for mine).

Anyway, it's so hard to picture them as real human beings that laugh and do stupid things (which is what comprises about 95% of my day). But this book actually gives you some insight into all that. The main four he discussed were the Puritans up in New England, the Anglicans down in Virginia/Maryland, the Quakers in the Delaware Valley and the Northern Britons that ended up in the Appalacians and South. He even discussed language and how it evolved (which of course I thought was so interesting, I love the history of the english language).

Very cool book, has really helped me gain a better understanding of why things are the way they are (and were) in colonial america. Highly recomended. If you are in to that sort of thing. And if you are not, I don't know why you are still reading this, don't even think about making fun of me because I am a dork. I know I am a dork, and I told you not to read this. Go on, go back amazon or wherever you were before.....and forget all about this. :-)

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