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Bookshelf: Life Lines
Delve into your ancestors' day-to-day experiences with the help of these 6 social histories.

 Whether you're ready to write your family history or you just want to know what your ancestors' daily lives were like, you can transport yourself back into their time with a trip to the bookstore or library. You'll find lots of books and series about everyday life in America. Written by experts in the various time periods and subjects, these volumes will add "flesh to the bones" of your skeletal pedigree charts. Here's a sampling:

1. Colonial Living by Edwin Tunis (Johns Hopkins University Press). Tunis re-creates the everyday lives of the men and women who lived in 17th-and 18th-century America with lively text and detailed illustrations. Learn how your colonial ancestors built their houses, spun yarn, made candles, cooked on open hearths, farmed and manufactured goods. Colonial Living also explores how various cultures — English, Dutch, Flemish, American Indian and African-American — shaped this period in history.

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