Massachusetts Genealogical Council (MGC) Annual Seminar. I purposely reserved time to look at the Jonathan Sheppard Books booth. Typically I go to conferences, run out of time and never get to look at any books, never mind buy them. On this occasion I skipped the last lecture of the day to browse books.
The booth had many books that beckoned and tempted me to buy them. I resisted as best I could but not completely. What struck me about the display was that there were a whole bunch of interesting new books from The History Press.
There was a book called Lexington, Massachusetts: Treasures from Historic Archives by Richard P. Kollen (which I did end up buying) and Maynard, Massachusetts: A House in the Village by Jan Voogd (which I didn't buy but sorely wanted to). There were other books too whose titles have slipped my mind at this point.
I was struck by how many interesting titles they offered that I had never heard of. Of course, that got me thinking more about The History Press. Come to think of it, I can't really recall seeing too many of their books in book reviews appearing in genealogical publications.
I did a quick scan of my personal library. The predominant publishers I found were the Genealogical Publishing Company, Ancestry and NEHGS. I did have three books published by The History Press. They include Marblehead in World War I at Home & Overseas by Margery A. Armstrong, The Slaves of Central Fairfield County by Daniel A. Cruson, A Brief History of Old Newbury from Settlement to Separation by Bethany Groff and now also the one mentioned previously.
Next I went to The History Press website and checked out what they have on offer. Since my geographic area of focus is southern New England I searched first for books on Connecticut. I found no less than 21 books focusing on individual towns, ethnic groups, ghost stories and a hidden history book. A search on Rhode Island revealed 19 interesting looking books. And lastly a search on Massachusetts showed 25 books of interest. I would imagine that genealogists researching ancestors from specific towns in these states would find the books to be very useful.
The thought that crosses my mind is that perhaps The History Press doesn't target genealogists in their marketing. That seems like a real shame. Genealogists are probably one of the larger book buying contingents, particularly of history books. If I hadn't taken the time to look at the Jonathan Sheppard Books display I still would never have heard of some of these books much less bought them.
I know I would be happy to review books by the History Press on my blog as I'm sure other genealogists would be too. And publications like Family Tree Magazine, Family Chronicle, American Ancestors and the National Genealogical Society Magazine to mention just a few publications would likely welcome review copies for consideration.
So where's the disconnect? I hope The History Press gets the word and starts telling the genealogical community about their publications. It's a shame that it's such a missed opportunity.
[post script: Please be sure to read the last comment below.]