In Memory of Samuel Bush

Samuel Bush had something in common with Freddie Gray, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, Akai Gurley, Ezell Ford, Dante Parker, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Victor White, Emmet Till — and many more. Bush was a young Black man who was killed by white leaders without a trial. In Bush’s case, a white mob that included leaders of the village of […]

Using White Bread in College Courses

White Bread, a work of fiction, can be read for pleasure, and I hope many readers use it for that. However, it can also be used in college courses. Outside of literature courses, fiction does not make a frequent appearance, yet, as a form of art, fiction has considerable power to communicate and provoke thought. […]

White Bread and Historical Fiction

My new novel White Bread turns my extensive research on the German-American families in my family tree into historical fiction. The novel itself is set mainly in the present, but about one-third is set in the past as the novel’s protagonist Jessica gradually uncovers her own family history. One may well ask why I chose a fictional […]

Ancestors unKnown: Interview with Dana Saxon

Christine: I am having a conversation with Dana P. Saxon, Founder and Executive Director of an exciting resources for teachers, youth, and community organizations called Ancestors unKnown. Dana, on the website, readers can learn about the profound impact genealogy research had on you and why you developed Ancestors unKnown. Briefly, what would you say was the […]

Critical Family History Book Review: Silenced Voices

Inez Hollander grew up learning that her family’s past on the island of Java in Indonesia was “taboo even to remember.” Intrigued by self-censorship of not just her family but also Dutch society at large, she set out to uncover silenced stories which were part of a silenced history. Her book Silenced Voices chronicles her […]

Critical Family History Book Review: Everything I Never Told You

Everything I Never Told You, a novel by Celeste Ng, does not directly address Critical Family History. Yet, this well-written page-turner goes right to the heart of why Critical Family History is important. Everything I Never Told You, which tells the story of Marilyn and James Lee and their three children, probes the power of […]

Union Membership

Recently during a Critical Family History workshop, someone asked me how to find out whether an immigrant ancestors had been a member of a labor union. This excellent question about union membership opens up consideration of various kinds of work records. This blog entry will address union membership, future entries will consider other forms of […]

Critical Family History Book Review: The Warmth of Other Suns

Can you re-theorize history based mainly on oral history interviews with elders who may not appear in many other historical records? That is exactly what Isabel Wilkerson did in her award-winning book The Warmth of Other Suns, which tells the story of the Great Migration of African Americans from the South to the North and West […]

How to Use this Blog

The other day, I was attempting to give a quick tour of this blog to a friend who expressed some interest in tracing her own family history. In the process, I realized that so much has been posted here, it isn’t very clear how to use this blog. Where do you start? Do you start […]

Biogeographical DNA

I have now had an opportunity to compare biogeographical DNA results from two different companies – AncestryDNA and 23andMe. (As explained in an earlier post, biogeographical DNA ancestry is based on the idea that after humans began to migrate out of Africa, population groups who lived in different regions of the world over time developed distinct […]

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