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Getting to Know the Ancestors

January 5th, 2015
Marilyn · Staff Recommendations

January is a time to look forwards – and backwards. Janus, the ancient Roman god of beginnings and transitions, has two faces, one looking to the future and one to the past.

If you are interested in looking back, way back, I highly recommend the site This is an online resource that is free through our library. The library edition claims “access to more than 7 billion names in more than 4,000 genealogical databases including Census Records, Passenger Lists and UK & Ireland records.” This resource has connected me to my ancestors, including a Union soldier who fought in the Civil War and all the way back to a chap in Mowsley, England, who came to America in the 1630s.

To understand the lives they led and to make my history and the history of others come alive, I often seek out historical fiction as a rich and rewarding entryway into “real life.” Listed below are some wonderful historical novels to cozy up with in the cold month of January:

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