Martha’s not my aunt (she’s not even my relative), but I took the plunge and purchased a copy of Barbara Shave’s, My Dear Aunt Martha: A 19th Century American Epic from the Letters of Those Who Lived It. Based on original letters and primary research it focuses on the 19th century experiences of families from Franklin County, Pennsylvania, who settled in eastern Hancock County, Illinois.

The family Shave writes about settled in the general area of Fountain Green, Hancock County, Illinois, and arrived a little before my own families arrived in the same county in the 1840s. While my own families in Hancock generally were spread out in the southwestern quadrant of the county (that’s the best way there is to describe all their locations in one short phrase), there will still be commonalities given the area and the general time period. Despite the slight differences in my own background, I thought the book would be an interesting read.

It’s not one of those books you purchase hoping to find your relatives. It’s one of those books you buy hoping to get perspective.




3 Responses

  1. Actually only one of the four primary families of these letters were my direct ancestors— the Geddes family. All, however, resettled in Hancock County from the same small community in Franklin County, Pennsylvania.

    I sincerely appreciate your heads up about my book on your blog and the link to the Amazon description and reviews. I ask only that you not identify the characters solely as “Shave’s family”. Thank you also for giving me this opportunity to clarify.

    Good luck with your own book.

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