The Book Shelf: Family-Focused Fall

With the holidays just around the corner, family is at the forefront of everyone’s thoughts.  As you put up the holiday décor and plan family dinners, take a few minutes to be thankful for friends, relatives, and the rich family history that you have to pass down to your children.  If the season’s activities have inspired you to begin researching your own family tree, check out these items for inspiration and help. 


By:  Laura McHugh

Arden Arrowood has a past that haunts her steps.  When Arden was eight years old, her twin sisters were kidnapped from their home in Keokuk, Iowa while she was playing with them in the front yard.  Arden has carried the guilt of what happened that day with her as she has tried to move on with her life.  While she is finishing up a Master’s degree in History, Arden discovers that she has inherited the family home in Keokuk due to her father’s recent and untimely death.  Arden has a deep connection to the home where she grew up, so she immediately sets out to move back to Iowa and begin looking into the mystery surrounding what happened to her sisters.  Once she is established at Arrowood, strange events begin happening that lead her to think that all is not what it seems.  The house appears to be haunted by her sisters and the hired caretaker is overly interested in Arden and the historic family home.  Arden is joined in her investigations by Josh Kyle, a local mystery buff who is interested in writing a book that features the unsolved case of her sisters’ disappearance.  For Arden to solve the mystery surrounding her sisters’ disappearance, she will have to uncover skeletons in her family’s closet as well as those of many neighbors and friends. 

Arrowood is a gothic mystery that challenges the norms of family behavior and examines the effects of tragedies on personal memories.   This vintage-style novel will appeal to mystery lovers and readers who enjoy a good family history drama.  McHugh has written a mystery that engages readers with empathy for Arden Arrowood and a deep-seated desire to uncover truth, no matter what it might turn out to be.

Tracing Your Ancestors Through Local History Records: A guide for family historians

By Jonathan Oates

This book provides detailed guidance on researching local records and creating family histories.  It is a fabulous resource for readers who are interested in doing in-depth research on their family tree.  The author of this work, Oates, is an archivist who has a great deal of insight and expertise in genealogical research and record collections in the United Kingdom.  Oates provides a wealth of information on the types of records available for family history research.  This work was published in the United Kingdom and sometimes uses the term “local” to refer to specific records and locations that are in the U.K., however, much of the information provided is applicable to record types around the world.  Some of the types of records discussed are: books, journals, photographs, maps, and newspapers.  Additionally, Oates examines the collections available at some of the archives, repositories, and museums in the United Kingdom.  The discussion of these organizational resources might be of particular use for readers whose ancestors are from England. 

Many of the records mentioned in this work will allow readers to gather background information on the people and places that are a part of their family tree.  For readers who are looking for additional guidance on where to look for supporting documentation for their genealogy research, this work will provide additional insight.  This work is truly a great guide for family historians.

If would like to find additional historical fiction titles, check out NoveList Plus.  This online resource, available through the Mid-Continent Public Library, will help you find fiction books that appeal to your personal reading style.

For additional family history resources, take a look the Genealogy tools available at the Mid-Continent Public Library.

Stacy Hisle-Chaudri is the Assistant Branch Manager at the Parkville Branch of the Mid-Continent Public Library. Stacy has worked in library and archival environments for ten years, and is a native of the Kansas City area. She has a Master of Library and Information Science from Wayne State University and a Master of Arts in History from the University of Central Missouri. Her areas of expertise are reader’s advisory, technology instruction, and genealogy research.