When selecting a historical fiction or nonfiction book, I often will choose one “related” to my family, whether it is biographical in nature, is set somewhere our ancestors have resided, or is about a historical event in which our forebearers participated. Because of the setting and some of the characters’ surnames, I was eager to read The Light Before Day, written by Suzanne Woods Fisher.
The Light Before Day takes place on the island of Nantucket, home to a few of our families’ predecessors. In October 1641, the island of Nantucket was deeded to Thomas Mayhew, my 11th great-grandfather. Eighteen years later, Gov. Thomas Mayhew sold interests in the island to nine men, reserving 1/10th interest for himself. These investors included Tristram Coffin, my 11th great-granduncle and direct ancestor of the main characters, and Christopher Hussey, my spouse’s 10th great-grandfather.
In life’s travels, we often take side trips. Some side trips prove to be integral aspects of our life’s journey, as in higher education, career choices, marriage, and having children. Others prove to be enlightening and exciting diversions.
In this series, Passport to the World, I will revisit the side trips of my own life travels. We have already visited France and Italy. The next stop is the cradle of civilization: Egypt.
All families have black sheep in their lines—those people who flout society’s expectations and live life on their own terms. During my genealogical research, I have found several ancestors who would be classified as black sheep; however, I doubt that any of our kin lived their lives with as much determination and passion as Susana Aikin’s heroine in her novel, We Shall See the Sun Sparkling.
Another year has passed, and a new one has just begun. On this first day of 2019, as I have done for the past few years, I would like to take some time to reflect on the previous year. Since I am a family historian, I tend to look backward, not forward, so here goes…