Family trees: A history of genealogy in America [book review]

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Noah Lenstra, Assistant Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:

Abstract: As François Weil, chancellor of the Universities of Paris and past president of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales, uses the term, genealogy refers both to the science of tracking lineages and to “personal interest in one’s forebears” (2). This overlap of science and individual interest produces what Weil calls cultures of genealogy, which span personal and collective identities. According to Weil, understanding genealogy in historical processes helps historians understand Americans: “Genealogy is arguably the element of contemporary American culture about which we know the least” (2). Rather than offering a focused argument about the meaning of genealogy in America, Weil’s book—designed to appeal to both scholarly and popular audiences— presents a descriptive survey of Americans making genealogy part of their culture.

Additional Information

The Annals of Iowa, 73(2): 158-160
Language: English
Date: 2014
book review, genealogy, family trees, American culture

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