Biographical Books aka 'Mug Books'

mug-writtenWritten stories of family events, yes, many were written by family members on their own family years ago. These can provide such insight to individuals in a family at certain periods of time. Of course, there are not such biographical family books or what were once termed ‘mug books’ for every family. Many such books were created in the late 1800s, done by writing letters and talking to other family members who would have remembered events from the early or mid-1800s, then written done as one book and shared.

mug-EverhartOver the years, many such books have been donated to libraries, genealogical and historical societies and many of those have been scanned and made digital.

So see if your family might any such book, start by making a list of surnames. You can’t go just by the major family names, because a book could have been done by a cousin with a less familiar surname on your family tree. mug-- book for 1894

Start with the Google Books section. Use those surnames to do a search. Keep in mind any various spellings of names, try all that you know of. Next search using the county name – state and history with the key search words. Besides the word history you could also use pioneer or settler to narrow down the history for a specific county. If something is located, it will highlight the name in the book text.

Another resource is Open Library, same idea with a variety of scanned books. Also, Genealogy Magazine has over 1,300 biographies to search on their site. You can search by alphabetical letters or place a name in the search box. Even if you don’t find a full biography there might be information previously unknown as far as a hometown or occupation.

mug-zellerContact any historical or genealogical societies located in the counties where your ancestors lived. They may well have copies of such biography or mug books.

Another idea is to put a request for such a book on a specific family on the numerous genealogical message boards. Or check if there is a Facebook page on a certain family surname. Put the request out there, you might be surprised what is available.

Photos: History of the Everhart and Shower Families, From 1744 to 1883 Embracing Six Generations (Classic Reprint): O. T. Everhart, Families in two Iowa Counties and Biography of the Zeller family: emigration to America from Switzerland, in the year A.D. 1740 : a sketch of the Kumler family, and incidents in the life of the family.

Related genealogy blogs:

Family History Books

Online Books

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