Thursday, August 19, 2010

A New Genre for Genealogy Books?

Not long ago I finished reading "The Journey Takers" by Leslie Albrecht. This book is unlike anything I've read before - part genealogy, part narrative non-fiction, part memoir. It was a fascinating look into Albrecht's ancestry as well as her present life. And well documented to boot.

The latest issue (Summer 2010) of American Ancestors by the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) features a book (p. 38) called "The Obermeyers: A History of a Jewish Family in Germany and America, 1618-2009" by Kenneth Libo and Michael Feldberg. I haven't read the book yet but Lynn Betlock describes it like this: "Information on early generations reflects a range of historical and genealogical sources, while twentieth-century family members are brought to life through first-person accounts and reminiscences." Part one of the book focuses on the family's life in Germany. Part two describes their more recent life in the United States.

Betlock puts into print exactly what I've been thinking about when she says "Genealogists often want their books to distill and document their research for posterity - and at the same time provide an engaging read for close family members."

More and more we are seeing this combination of the past and the present with books that are written for a wide audience but are definitely more personal in nature.

Is there a word for this new genre? If so, I'd like to know what it is.

Also, if you have read any other books that fit into this category please let me know. I think this could be the wave of the future for genealogy books.

1 comment:

  1. A couple years ago I was fortunate to find a short work self-published in 1966 by collateral relatives:

    Craig, James B., "James Craig, Daphne Cook Craig, 1823-1896" (Hague, NY: R. C. Craig, 1966) [60 pp, downloaded: 23 Mar 2008 from Heritage Quest].

    Although the information is organized by generation, the earlier generations are based upon "traditional" genealogical research, the later generations are based upon contributions from living descendants and include their stories and memories.

    The traditional research has proved, for the most part, to be reliable (so far!), the shared personal memories are priceless, and the author's personal reflections are engaging, and to me, moving...all these factors make these 60 pages a treasured source. I hope I'll have time to share my work in a similar fashion.