Book Review: The Lost

The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million tells the story of how Daniel Mendelsohn searched for all he could learn about one family that perished during the Holocaust. What particularly intrigued me about this prize-winning book was the author’s decision to cast it mainly as a memoir about the process of searching for a […]

Locating Jewish Family Roots

There is a common perception that the persecution of Jewish people makes locating Jewish family roots difficult, if not impossible. In many families, Jewish ancestry has simply been hidden to avoid persecution. Recently I was talking with someone who had not known until reaching adulthood that she had Jewish ancestry. One of my guest bloggers […]

Adopted Ancestor: Finding Kate

I am called Pākehā here in New Zealand. This means I am a descendant of colonial ancestors originating from Europe. Through an autoethnographic project I generated data to understand who my ancestors were, to disturb the notion that Pākehā are all the same and, further, that Pākehā have no culture. Here is one story. It […]

Family Oral History Interviews

Family oral history interviews are an excellent place to start looking into one’s own family history. From older family members, you can learn a good deal about the family tree, what various members of the family tree were like, where people lived and why they moved or stayed put, what their lives were like, and so […]

Book Review: The Hare with the Amber Eyes

A friend, knowing my interest in family history in its wider social context, recommended that I read Edmund de Waal’s The Hare with the Amber Eyes. What a wonderful book! Essentially, it is a memoir about de Waal’s Jewish ancestors in Europe prior to, then during, the Holocaust. One can read it as a moving and beautifully-written […]

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