Like all fine literature and authoritative non-fiction, The Compleat Book of Rankins has reviewers’ blurbs on the back cover. Here is what they say:
— Old One-Eyed Sam Rankin: “These family histories provide unexpected insights.”
— Brigadier General Adam Rankin “Stovepipe” Johnson: “A picture is worth a thousand words — so is a nickname.”
— Genghis Khan: “They will need to add me to this book if they go back far enough.”
— John Cleese: “This book proves genealogists are not a dull, humorless lot. Check out the Index entries for Star Trek, Mars, Dr. Richard Kimble, Sesame Street’s Swedish Chef, Tommy Lee Jones, and Victorian Era Silly Walks.”
— Sponsors of the Mt. Horeb Presbyterian Church Cemetery Tablet: “Family legends are rarely completely accurate — but some are nevertheless cast in bronze.”
— Former Bastard Stable Boy, now Laird of the Manor: “DNA does not lie.”
Truth in lending compels me to admit that the Book is not actually complete. It contains Rankin articles published on this blog, the majority of which have been updated and corrected since publication. New Y-DNA results and new information arrive daily. I was revising the book this morning to add information about a Rankin wife’s maiden name when Gary threatened mutiny. He prepared the book’s Index, a thankless task because Word’s indexing tool alphabetizes people by given name. If you want to look up entries for everyone named John, I suppose that’s a perfect approach. Gary converted the entries so that they are organized by surname. This required a substantial investment of time.
My addition of a Rankin wife’s maiden name and her father’s identity required revising the index. Thus the near mutiny. If the pagination had changed (rendering the existing Index obsolete), he would have been justified in resigning his commission.
More on incompleteness: in addition to newly arriving Y-DNA results and other info, there are a half-dozen new Rankin articles floating around in my head. They are screaming to reach fruition on my laptop, but have been deferred while I corrected the damn book. Allegheny County, Pennsylvania has several Rankin families which need to be distinguished. Ditto Westmoreland. Rankin disinformation abounds on the web. I have some Rankin outline descendant charts in progress, including one for the line of Adam and Mary Steele Alexander Rankin. An article about a mill in Antrim Parish, Franklin County, Pennsylvania, is begging to be written (assuming I can sort out conflicting info about the mill and find some Rankin who owned land on Muddy Creek).
Also, of course, I could not add new articles to the book without screwing up the Index. I knew better than to cross that Rubicon.
You get the drift. Meanwhile, as the subtitle (“or at least what I’ve got so far“) suggests, it is time to cut bait and fish. Belly up to the bar. Choose your pithy saying. There is clearly a Volume II in my future.
I chose to have the current book bound in hardcover rather than paperback. That is because many libraries receiving softcover books promptly pay to have them recovered in hardback to prevent rapid deterioration. Libraries are notoriously penurious, except for the FHL in Salt Lake City, and I didn’t want any to incur that expense. Here’s the rub: the Compleat Book‘s publisher, Lulu Publishing, sets the purchase price. IMO, it is a bit dear (almost $40). No one except a Rankin, library, or genealogical/historical society would conceivably have any interest in this book. And most Rankins presumably have something better to do with discretionary funds than purchase a book which devotes only a chapter to their own Rankin line. This was never intended to be a profitable venture in any case. My goal was and is to make information available to Rankin researchers.
Accordingly, here’s my plan. I can buy the book at cost. If you will email to me information for your local library and/or genealogical/historical society, I will simply pay for a copy to be mailed to that address. If you have any interest in those pithy back cover blurbs, or our son’s imaginative cover, you will know where to find it.
So … Happy Fourth of July! I feel like a brand-new nation all by myself, having finally gotten that damned thing finished.
See you on down the road. New posts are calling, and some of them aren’t even about Rankins.