A Little Bit of Literary Leisure





My Hot List

Dobberstein Registry This is the genealogy and family history of 19th century Dobberstein immigrants from Prussia and their offspring in America. It traces the history of 15 Dobberstein families who emigrated from socially repressive, war torn Prussia in the mid and late 1800s and came to start a new life in the United States, most in the rural Midwest.
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Books on Topics of Personal Interest

I'll have more information here in the near future, citing many of the better publications, books, magazines, and other written material that I value, find interest in, or have used as reference in my history and genealogy research. (Books I own in my personal library are identified by asterisk.)

Civil War
I'm an avid fan of Civil War history, not only because my great grandfather John Schoennauer (also spelled Shonour) was a participant in some of the major battles of the war, but because this time period was pivotal in American history. (I've developed a web site commemorating his life and participation in the war.)  The "art" of warfare developed during the Civil War would change the methods of warfare for all time. The catastrophic numbers of wounded and killed reached unparallel proportions to the total numbers involved. The Civil War years are a fascinating and tragic time in United States history, and it is amazing the amount of literature written about this era. The new invention of photography first made its mark during this timeframe, and helped frame much of the memory of this period.
  • The History of the 88th Pennsylvania Volunteers.  John D. Vautier. Philadelphia, PA; 1894.*
  • Chronological Tracking of the American Civil War.  Ronald A. Mosocco. Williamsburg, VA; 1994.*
Alligators in the Sewer: Thomas J. Craughwell's "Alligators in the Sewer and 222 Other Urban Legends," is an amusing yet disturbing comprehensive collection of urban legends, absolutely true stories that happened to a friend...of a friend...of a friend. It makes for excellent reading. An interview with the author can be obtained on tape from the Wisconsin Public Radio Store; show 1021E (1999).*

Family History
Whereas many people view family history and genealogy as one and the same, I want to differentiate between the two here. As far as I'm concerned, family history is the art, and genealogy is the science. Family history is personal and genealogy is general. And most importantly, family history is the story and genealogy is the statistical data.
  • Black Sheep & Kissing Cousins: How Our Family Stories Shape Us. Elizabeth Stone. Times Books; 1988.*
  • You Can Go Home Again: Reconnecting With Your Family. Monica McGoldrick. W.W. Norton & Co; 1997.*
  • Writing Family Histories and Memoirs. Kirk Polking. Betterway Books; 1995.*
  • Secrets of Your Family Tree: Healing for Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families. Dave Carder. Moody Press; 1991.*
Barnes and Noble Bookstore: Based on my experience, this on-line bookstore has the absolute best in prices and best in availability in all varieties of books, including popular best-sellers and out-of-prints. No kidding! Besides flea markets and on-line auctions, this Barnes and Noble Internet site is where I purchase almost all my books. They also have a good selection of music, computer software, gameware and videos.

Genealogy Research
As mentioned above in the Family History section, the study of genealogical methods is the core of effective and efficient family history research. Many Internets site today concentrate on name collection, and not on the foundation of the in-depth study, preservation and presentation of genealogical and historical facts. I'll admit I was a collector of names in years past, but with more reading and study of the art of genealogy, I have developed the desire to place the names and facts in an historical context. When I input new information in my genealogical database I try to cite every statistical and dated event with a source or bibliographical reference. My genealogy program also allows me to rate the reliability of the sources cited. I think the books below will help you change your hobby into a science, like they have for me.
  • Printed Sources: A Guide to Published Genealogical Records. Edited by Kory L. Meyerink. Ancestry, 1998.*
  • Germanic Genealogy: A guide to Worldwide Sources and Migration Patterns. Edward R. Brandt, et.al. Germanic Genealogy Society, 1995.*
  • When Your Ox is in the Ditch: Genealogical How-to Letters. Vera McDowell. Genealogical Publishing Co, 1995.*
  • In Search of Your German Roots: A Complete Guide to Tracing Your Ancestors in the Germanic Areas of Europe. Angus Baxter. Genealogical Publishing Co, 1987.*
  • Managing a Genealogical Project. William Dollarhide. Genealogical Publishing Co, 1991.
  • Becoming an Accredited Genealogist. Karen Clifford. Ancestry, 1998.
  • Military Service Records: A Select Catalog of National Archives Microfilm Publications. National Archives Trust Fund, 1985.*
  • Unpuzzling Your Past: A Basic Guide to Genealogy. Emily Anne Croom. Betterway Books, 1989.*
  • The German-Americans: An Ethnic Experience. Willi Paul Adams. Indiana University, 1993.*
History of Prussia
Prussia is the kingdom of origin for most of my family's ancestors. It has a fascinating background, both empirical and democratic at different times in its history, as well as progressive and archaic when compared with its European neighbors. I feel one can hardly comprehend the lives of their Prussian ancestors and the impetus which drove them away from their European homes to new lives in America without knowing a little about the empire from whence they came. In preparing the opening chapter to the Dobberstein Registry I used a number of resources to summarize the history of Prussia. Some of the books I read as reference material are identified below.
  • A History of Prussia. H.W. Koch, Barnes & Noble Books, 1993.*
  • Historical Atlas of East Central Europe. Paul Robert Magocsi. University of Washington Press, 1993.*
  • A History of Europe from the Reformation to the Present Day. Ferdinand Schvill. Horcourt, Brace and Company, 1941.*
  • Brief Look at German/Prussian History. Pamphlet published by Origins, 1994.*
  • Frederick The Great and the Rise of Prussia. W.F. Reddaway. Putnam, 1904.*
  • The Unification of Germany 1848-1871. Edited by Otto Pflanze. Robert E. Krueger Publishing Co, 1979.*
  • The Rise of Brandenburg-Prussia to 1786. Sidney B. Fay. Krieger Publishing Company, 1981.*
  • The Vanished Kingdom: Travels Through the History of Prussia. James Charles Roy. Westview Press, 1999.*
  • The Rise of Brandenburg Prussia. Margaret Shennan. Routledge, 1995.*
  • A History of Europe: Modern Europe 1789-1989. Asa Briggs & Patricia Clavin. Longman, 1997.*
  • The Poles. Stewart Steven. Macmillan Publishing Co, 1982.*
Passenger Ships & Immigration
If you know anything about the conditions our ancestors had to endure on their voyages to the new world in the 18th and 19th centuries, it's amazing any of us are even alive. Would we today have the courage and stamina to survive such a voyage given the conditions they had to put up with? The below listed reference books are one that give a picture of the voyage, and give bibliographical reference to other sources of immigrant names and ship voyages.
  • They Came In Ships: A guide to Finding Your Immigrant Ancestor's Arrival Record. John P. Colletta. Ancestry, 1993.*
  • Immigrant & Passenger Arrivals: A Select Catalog of National Archives Microfilm Publications. National Archives Trust Fund Board, 1983.*
  • Going to America. Terry Coleman. Pantheon Books, 1972.*
  • Voyage: A Novel of 1896. Sterling Hayden. G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1976.*
  • Ellis Island. Fred Mustard Stewart. William Morrow & Co, 1983.*
  • The First Great Ocean Liners in Photographs. William H. Miller, Jr. Dover publications, 1984.*
Railroads have fascinated me since I was a child, both the full-sized and the scale-sized. Possibly is was because of the train trips taken cross county during the 60s and 70s. It seems I spent a lot of time as a kid on trains, and received the only broken bone I ever experienced as a result of a misguided train adventure (we won't go into that here).
U.S. Regional History
This geographical interest is actually an outgrowth of the historical and genealogical interests detailed above. But even as an otherwise mediocre high school student, I found my niche in geography; and while other classmates were bored with the subject, I found it fascinating. In the military I excelled in land navigation and map reading subjects, and my wife says I have an uncanny sense of direction.
  • Place Names in the United States. Henry Gannett. Genealogical Publishing Co, 1977.*
  • Our Great Heritage...From the Beginning (Vol 1): The First Settlers to 1762. Edited by Richard Skolnik. Consolidated Book Publishers, 1975.*
Other Interests
A brief description of why I am interested in this ...

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Contact Information

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. Author: Bob Cole <bobcole1@juno.com>
Copyright 1999 B&L Publications, P.O. Box 194, Appleton, WI 54912
Last revised: August 20, 2000.