Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America by David Hackett Fischer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is a wonderful book, especially for genealogist. The author takes the first four waves of immigration to America: The Virginians, the Puritans, the Quakers and the Scots-Irish. For each group, he gives information on what part of England they came from, their motivation, their characteristics, religion, habits, beliefs, influences, and any other attributes they had. He then discusses the place where they settled, the relationship they had with the people they found here and other factors such as the climate and quality of the site they first landed.
Briefly, the Virginians were speculators and adventurers, the Puritans were austere and disciplined looking for a place to worship in peace. The Quakers sought the same freedom, but were a completely different type of religious group. Finally, the Scots-Irish were independent Highlanders from the borderlands between Scotland and England and were fiercely independent, stubborn, proud and often a law unto themselves.
These are the people who came to America and became its first citizens. They left their mark on the people who descended from them and influenced the course of events that led to the United States of America.
There is so much information here that is vital to genealogists. It is possible to look at an ancestor and find the year they came to America, the area they settled and their naming patterns and determine which of these four groups they probably belonged to. In my case, I can't find the place my Munn ancestors came from, but they came at a time when the Scots-Irish were immigrating, they have sandy reddish hair and ruddish complexion, they are fierce stubborn people with a number of disowned children and feuds, sometimes violent tempers and they settled first in the Appalachian Mountains. I feel safe in believing that they came from the borderlands especially since Andrew is a favorite given name. When I looked at that area, I found that there were records of Munns. I still don't know exactly where they came from, but the preponderance of evidence tells me that they were Scots-Irish.
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