Recommended Books by the MGS Library

The MGS Library would like to draw your attention to these excellent books in our Resource Centre.  We have two books by Manitoban Jim Blanchard and two books by Rebecca Probert.

Jim Blanchard

Our first two book recommendations are by Jim Blanchard. He grew up in Brandon, Manitoba. After completing a B.A. at Brandon University, he earned an History from the University of Manitoba and a Library Science degree from Western University. He is a retired academic librarian and Librarian Emeritus at the University of Manitoba, past president of the Manitoba Historical Society, and the author of several books on Manitoba history, including the award-winning Winnipeg, 1912. He lives in Winnipeg.

Thinking Big
A History of the Winnipeg Business Community to the Second World War
by Jim Blanchard 

From the origins of the fur trade and Hudson Bay which was replaced by wheat and then by industrial growth this is the story of Winnipeg’s enterprises.  Discover how the Winnipeg business community dealt with challenges like the Great Depression and how it took advantage of periods of growth.  A fascinating read.

A Diminished Roar
Winnipeg in the 1920s
by Jim Blanchard 

The third instalment in Jim Blanchard’s popular history of early Winnipeg, “A Diminished Roar” presents a city in the midst of enormous change. Once the fastest growing city in Canada, by 1920 Winnipeg was losing its dominant position in western Canada. As the decade began, Winnipeggers were reeling from the chaos of the Great War and the influenza pandemic. But it was the divisions exposed by the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike which left the deepest marks. As Winnipeg wrestled with its changing fortunes, its citizens looked for new ways to imagine the city’s future and identity. Beginning with the opening of the magnificent new provincial legislature building in 1920, A Diminished Roar guides readers through this decade of political and social turmoil. At City Hall, two very different politicians dominated the scene. Winnipeg’s first Labour mayor, S.J. Farmer, pushed for more public services. His rival, Ralph Webb, would act as the city’s chief “booster” as mayor, encouraging U.S. tourists with the promise of “snowballs and highballs.” Meanwhile, promoters tried to rekindle the city’s spirits with plans for new public projects, such as a grand boulevard through the middle of the city, a new amusement park, and the start of professional horse racing. In the midst of the Jazz Age, Winnipeg’s teenagers grappled with “problems of the heart,” and social groups like the Gyro Club organized masked balls for the city’s elite.  We invite you to dive into the life of Winnipeggers in the 1920’s.

Rebecca Probert

Our next two recommendations are by author Rebecaa Probert.  Rebecca Jane Probert, is a British legal historian and academic. Born in Rugby, Warwickshire, she lives in Exeter with her husband, the travel writer Liam D’Arcy-Brown. She studied for an undergraduate degree in Jurisprudence at Oxford University and for an LLM at University College, London. She currently holds a chair in Law at Exeter University. Specialising as she does in the history of marriage in England and Wales, her monograph Marriage Law & Practice in the Long Eighteenth Century: A Reassessment is widely accepted among legal historians as having overturned previous understandings of the history of common law marriage. She is also the author of a number of leading text books such as Cretney & Probert’s Family Law and Principles of Family Law.

Divorced, Bigamist, Bereaved?
The family historian’s guide to marital breakdown, separation, widowhood, and remarriage: from 1600 to the 1970s
by Rebecca Probert

This comprehensive book explaines divorce, bigamy, bereavement and remarriage from the 1600s to the late 20th century, and will give an understanding of social norms in the past which is beneficial to a genealogist.

Marriage Law for Genealogists: The Definitive Guide
…what everyone tracing their family history needs to know about where, when, who and how their English and Welsh ancestors married
by Rebecca Probert

Since its publication in 2012, this book has become the indispensable guide for everyone tracing the marriages of their English and Welsh ancestors between 1600 and the twentieth century. Based upon years of painstaking primary research, including studies of thousands of couples, this book explains clearly and concisely why, how, when and where people in past centuries married. Family historians just starting out will find advice on where ‘missing’ marriages are most likely to be found, while those who are already well advanced in tracing their family tree will be able to interpret their discoveries to better understand their ancestors’ motivations.  Our library members say this is very good research information and a “must read” if you are missing marriage certificates.

MGS Members can take advantage of our lending program including borrowing books from a distance.  To remind yourself of these member benefits, visit

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