19th century

The American Way West

By Irene M. Franck and David M. Brownstone

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Traces the history of the following trade and travel routes: the Mohawk Trail, the Wilderness Road and other trans-Appalachian routes, the Mississippi Route, and the Santa Fe, Chihuahua, Oregon, and California Trails

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A New Cache of Old Records

A New Cache of Old Records

When I began began doing genealogical research many years ago, like all beginners I focused on marriage records, birth and death records--when they were available, and wills. Then came deeds and other land records, and through using them I discovered the world of "courts of chancery" and "chancery records."

Not all Virginia courts judged cases the same way, you see. Some courts decided cases based on written laws that either specifically allowed or specifically prohibited various actions in certain circumstances. There was in these courts no latitude for judicial interpretation; there were no "grey areas."

Other courts, however, dealt with issues of equity or fairness in a much more flexible way--Chancery Courts. These courts decided cases which codified law could not readily accomodate, and these cases were usually land disputes, divisions of estates, divorce petitions, and business partnership disputes.

Chancery Court files are filled with subpoenas, depositions of witnesses, affidavits and other items of enormous interest to genealogists!

The Library of Virginia in Richmond has been diligently digitizing and indexing old chancery records, covering cases from the early eighteenth century through World War I. The database now includes hundreds of thousands of items. Several jurisdictions of interest to us are already completed! You may now find and view online the scanned chancery records for Westmoreland County, 1753-1913; Caroline County, 1787-1849; and Culpeper County, 1829-1913. Others will be made available in due course.

Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (With a Few Flat Tires along the Way)

By Sue Macy

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"Take a lively look at women's history from aboard a bicycle, which granted females the freedom of mobility and helped empower women's liberation. Through vintage photographs, advertisements, cartoons, and songs, Wheels of Change transports young readers to bygone eras to see how women used the bicycle to improve their lives. Witty in tone and scrapbook-like in presentation, the book deftly covers early (and comical) objections, influence on fashion, and impact on social change inspired by the bicycle, which, according to Susan B. Anthony, 'has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world.'"

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Homework Helper: Virginia in the Civil War--The Battles

One hundred and fifty years ago, life was turned upside-down for residents in our communities.  Stafford County was occupied by Union troops. Fredericksburg changed hands many times between Union and Confederate and was the scene of one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. Spotsylvania County had the battles of Spotsylvania Courthouse, the Wilderness, and Chancellorsville. Thousands of men encamped and fought here. Many died here. Our state—even just our own area--has some of the most fought-over ground in the country.

No Place for a Lady: Tales of Adventurous Women Travelers

By Barbara Hodgson

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Hodgson profiles adventurous women who sacrificed personal comfort and respectability to pursue experiences traditionally open only to men. Filled with fascinating portraits, historical maps, and intricate drawings, this is at once a beautifully illustrated exploration of early travel and a spirited celebration of women.
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Strange But True, America: Weird Tales from All 50 States

By John Hafnor

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"...a 50-state tour de force of every oddball fact missing from standard travel and history books. Richly illustrated by veteran artist Dale Crawford, the book's 101 weird tales and matching drawings are crafted to surprise. Author John Hafnor employed a deeply curious research style to unearth the little-known tales, each building to a twist ending that assures reader interest. The book pulls few punches in redefining much of America's previously unquestioned folklore."

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Madame Blavatsky's Baboon: A History of the Mystics, Mediums, and Misfits Who Brought Spiritualism to America

By Peter Washington

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This fascinating book traces the growth of "theosophy," which together with both similar and competing movements, became New Age. Some of the people involved in this "evolution" (a term Madame Blavatsky would have despised!) were, to put it mildly, a bit eccentric.

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Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation

By Cokie Roberts

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"...an intimate and illuminating look at the fervently patriotic and passionate women whose tireless pursuits on behalf of their families -- and their country -- proved just as crucial to the forging of a new nation as the rebellion that established it. While much has been written about the men who signed the Declaration of Independence, battled the British, and framed the Constitution, the wives, mothers, sisters, and daughters they left behind have been little noticed by history. Roberts brings us the women who fought the Revolution as valiantly as the men, often defending their very doorsteps. While the men went off to war or to Congress, the women managed their businesses, raised their children, provided them with political advice, and made it possible for the men to do what they did.

"The behind-the-scenes influence of these women -- and their sometimes very public activities -- was intelligent and pervasive.Drawing upon personal correspondence, private journals, and even favored recipes, Roberts reveals the often surprising stories of these fascinating women, bringing to life the everyday trials and extraordinary triumphs of individuals like Abigail Adams, Mercy Otis Warren, Deborah Read Franklin, Eliza Pinckney, Catherine Littlefield Green, Esther DeBerdt Reed, and Martha Washington -- proving that without our exemplary women, the new country might never have survived."

Also available on audio and in large print.

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A Mother's Book of Traditional Household Skills

By L.G. Abell

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In 1853, Mrs. L.G. Abell set down hundreds of domestic skills to be mastered with economy and grace by any woman wishing to run an efficient home. Light-years ahead of her time, Abell believed solidly in the virtue of the accomplished woman, one who is "skilled in the various arts of life, complete in her character, so constituted by her own industry and intelligence." While the arts of life may be defined rather differently today, the overall notion that "woman's work is never done" remains, and there is plenty of practical information here to aid any busy wife or super mom through her day including tips for marketing, cures for dozens of maladies from earaches to seasickness, how to remove stains, how to set a proper table, instilling good manners and behavior in children, and much more. Fun to browse through and an invaluable addition to any home, A Mother's Book of Traditional Household Skills will continue to please generations of mothers to come.

 

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How I Learned to Ride the Bicycle: Reflections of an Influential 19th-Century Woman

By Frances E. Willard

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This prominent American social reformist decided to take up bicycling at the age of 53. She saw mastering a bicycle as a way for young women to master her personal destiny. Includes a separate section, “Women and Cycling: The Early Years,” that recalls all sorts of interesting yet specious reasons why young ladies should not attempt to master the machine.

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