Our Daily Bread
German Village Life, 1500-1850
by Teva J. Scheer
Published by Adventis Press, North Saanich, BC
Paperbound, 221 pages with illustrations, photographs, drawings, images, glossary, bibliography, and index.
We genealogists are always longing to reach back. We travel long distances to see our ancestors’ home places, we amble along the streets where they shopped, we drive out into the rural countryside to see the farms where they lived and worked, and we peer into the churches where they married and baptized their children.
For German researchers, this book fills in the knowledge gaps about the daily life of Germans in the centuries past. Her chapters on the religious practices and beliefs of the day, the wars across the decades, customs of governance locally and regionally, conventions of marriage and inheritance, the family roles and relationships of those times, and emigration offer us insight into the customs and practices of the day. Rather than being full of boring minutiae, the chapters are engrossing and I never tired of reading about the lives of these historic German peoples.
Ms. Scheer studied the day-to-day activities of the Germans of sixty years ago, then takes a reasonable approach to considering what German life was like 400 years ago by hypothesizing that, given the very slow pace of change of cultural mores and customs in European society, she can draw conclusions and arrive at a realistic glimpse of what life was like back then be extrapolating the lifestyles of the 1950s as being so close to the lifestyles of centuries ago that we can derive an accurate picture of those long-ago times.
You can decide whether or not you agree with the premise, but it makes sense to me. As I examined her resources (over 300 explanatory footnotes and about 200 bibliographic entries) I decided her research was extensive and thorough. The bibliography itself offers years more of research and reading.
Anyone with an interest in historic Europe will be engrossed in this book, and the German genealogist is going to love it.
Our Daily Bread may be purchased from Amazon at http://goo.gl/EgiMg.