<i>Representative Men and Old Families of Southeastern Massachusetts: Containing Historical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens and Genealogical Records of Many of the Old Families, Vol. 1</i> is the first in a series of reference books detailing the historically relevant details of the lives of Southern Massachusetts' most prominent families. Arranged in an encyclopedic style, each article includes date of birth, marriages, children, important achievements, examples of service and society membership, and date of death. Informative but extremely subjective, author J.H. Beers makes no apology for his unabashed interpretation of the lives of these famous families, calling them as he sees fit.<br><br>What sets this series apart from other genealogical records of the same type is the style and tone of the work, including personal assessments and anecdotal stories shared from the families. On Henry Howland Crapo, Beers writes: "His early years were full of toil, which rapidly developed in him many of the sterling qualities that marked his mature years...it is recorded of him by James B. Congdon that he has seen a dictionary in manuscript compiled (not copied) by him in youth, and it is said that he frequently traveled the distance of eight miles from his home in New Bedford in order to learn the meaning of a word or a phrase which had puzzled him." It is in this style that Beers presents his list of nearly 2000 of the famous families of Massachusetts, including such names as Governor Henry H. Crapo, the Honorable Aaron Hobart, sitting member of Congress and member of multiple Constitutional Conventions, and George E. Keith, founding member and first president of the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA). A veritable treasure trove of information on Southeastern Massachusetts finest, this reference serves as an excellent starting point for any amateur genealogist or academic.<br><br>With meticulous attention to detail and ample room for familial anecdotes, <i>Representative Men and Old Families of Southeastern Massachusetts: Containing Historical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens and Genealogical Records of Many of the Old Families, Vol. 1</i> stands alone among genealogical resources as an entertaining and informative option for any reader. Easily accessible for the beginning researcher and chock full of primary source information for the seasoned expert, this book is an incredible asset when researching the history of Southeastern Massachusetts. Highly recommended for any reader researching this area or curious about the history of this great state.