Wednesday, 30 August 2006

Family Stories: Black Sheep and Kissing Cousins

A few months ago the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa made a donation to the Ottawa Public Library for the purchase of books related to the interests of the Society membership. Some were familiar, others new to me. From time to time I'll blog about some of the acquisitions, which were selected by Diana Hall, the OPL's librarian who specializes in family history.

Do you have stories in your family, stories repeated over generations. One of mine is that an ancestor was one of the founders of the original Globe Theatre in London where Shakespeare's plays were originally mounted. I have no way of knowing if its true, but can think of one other family connection with theatres and Shakespeare that could be the distorted source of the story.

Family stories weave a web around us. They are part of our inheritance and any family historian worth the name will ensure they are preserved, along with the lineages, when they document the family history.

First on the OPL list was "Black Sheep and Kissing Cousins" by Elizabeth Stone. When first published in 1988 the New York Times reviewer summarized "... most readers will find this book highly evocative. Much the way ''Roots'' made people aware of family history, ''Black Sheep and Kissing Cousins'' is very likely to make people conscious of family narrative. It may not change the way we speak to one another, but it will certainly change the way we listen." Read the whole review, which is not without qualification, here.

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