Saturday, April 17, 2010

On the Bookshelf: Mary Todd Lincoln by Jean H. Baker

This week I started reading Mary Todd Lincoln by Jean H. Baker on my Kindle.  So much has been said about Mary and her mental state that I thought it would be interesting to read something about her on the week of the anniversary of her husband's assassination.

 Baker is a history professor at Goucher College.  Although I am only about 1/3 into the 464 page book I am enjoying it for it's detail into life during  early 19th century Kentucky.  The rich detail would be helpful to any genealogist in understanding what life was like for women during this time period.  Baker talks about childbirth, disease, epidemics, education, all topics that would enrich a study of your early 19th century female ancestor. 

One of my favorite parts includes a description of Mary Todd's grandfather who was a clerk for Fayette County.  It lists the types of recordings he did for the county, relinquishment of dowers, road surveys, deeds, lists of taxable property, issued marriage and tavern licenses and kept deeds and mortgages. What a great list of county records that we all should be using in our genealogy.

What I love about reading a biography is that it gives you an idea about other records you should be looking for in researching your ancestor, records that go beyond the census and civil registration.


Lori said...

Mary's story is such a tragic one. This sounds like a very interesting book. Thanks for sharing.

Greta Koehl said...

This sounds like some reading I should do - I have so many families in Kentucky; any background is always helpful. Thanks for the tip!