Welcome to our Family Bookstore! Below you’ll find books about the Tyrolean culture, travel guides for Northern Italy (originally known as Tyrol or Tirol), cookbooks, historical accounts of our ancestors, and info about DNA testing. Also listed are books to help with your own family research.
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Tyrolean Culture and History:
South Tyrol: A Minority Conflict of the Twentieth Century (Studies in Austrian and Central European History and Culture) (please click on the title for information or to purchase – paid link) by Rolf Steininger, published 2003, is still in print and available directly through Amazon and Amazon booksellers in the price range of $50.95. This is a small volume detailing the political history of Tyrol after World War I through 1998. If you ever wondered how Tyrol was transformed from an Austrian territory to an Italian province, this is the book to read. Although a bit dry with only a few photographs to enliven the text, I found “South Tyrol” answered many questions about my heritage. For example: Why my family was listed in the 1910 census as being from “Austria” but in the 1930 census their birthplace changed to “Italy”. This little book is worth the read if you are interested in the modern history of Trentino-Alto Adige (South Tyrol).
Life on a Gelato Diet: Everyday Expeditions with an American in Bolzano, Italy, (please click on the title for additional information or to purchase – paid link) by L. Lee McIntyre, published 2014. I threw this one in just for fun. “Life on a Gelato Diet” is a self-published ebook detailing a typical day of an expat, living (and surviving!) in the city of Bolzano. Ebook price: $1.99 (also available as a paperback for $7.99). Lee McIntyre has traveled with her husband to South Tyrol and set-up housekeeping in an apartment at the heart of the city. Her husband has accepted a position in Bolzano, leaving Lee to figure out the details of everyday living, such as grocery shopping, dealing with handy men, and working through the bureaucracy of Italian paperwork – all while learning Italian. Yes it seems like trial by fire, but she survives and, with much humor, details her daily exploits around Bolzano. Since I have been to Bolzano and am planning a future trip back to this lovely medieval city, I found this little gem of a book entertaining and informative. I plan to use much of her advice on my next visit. And perhaps I might bump into the expat herself and invite her for a bowl of gelato!
The Hidden Frontier: Ecology and Ethnicity in an Alpine Valley, (please click on the title for additional information or to purchase – paid link) by John W. Cole, first published in 1974, an updated version was reissued in 1999. Available as a new or used hardcover through individual booksellers at Amazon. You can also purchase the book directly through Amazon as a new paperback for $33.95 or as a Kindle ebook for $32.25. This book was a suggestion from Chiara Dalle Nogare, one of our Trentino cousins. It was originally published as an academic treatise based on field research comparing the peasant life of two Alpine villages: Germanic St. Felix and close neighbor, Italian-speaking Tret (a small village located close to the Genetti family’s ancestral Castelfondo and very similar in culture). During his research, Professor John Cole lived in the villages he studied, became friends with many of the residents and participated in local culture and traditions. He writes in-depth, comparing the two villages through ethnicity, identity, and nation-building, weaving within the text ethnography, ecology, culture, and politics. St. Felix and Tret reside only about one mile apart in the Val di Non, yet they differ in language, politics and in the very way each designates land usage and village design. Although this is certainly a book for those more academically inclined, the average reader will gain a deeper understanding of the history and anthropology of the old Tyrol, as well as a glimpse of how modernization is changing this isolated Alpine region. I am currently reading “The Hidden Frontier” and have found the first section to contain the best detailed historical account of the Trentino-Alto Adige region that I have ever read. From pre-Roman to modern-day, Tyrol (South Tyrol) was and still is a fascinating part of Europe. A blend of German, Italian and ancient culture; dealing with its own factions and internal politics; historically battling external governments; yet fiercely proud and autonomous by nature. If you really want to understand your Tyrolean roots, this is the book to read!
Governance and Grievance: Habsburg Policy and Italian Tyrol in the Eighteenth Century, (please click on the title for additional information or to purchase – paid link), by Miriam J. Levy, published 1988. Available through Amazon as a Paperback: $19.79.
Amazon description: Governance and Grievance touches on various aspects of Habsburg domestic policy, focusing on how the rulers influenced and were influenced by developments in both Italian and German Tyrol, and how they used to advantage the competing regional interests.
To Invent a Life: Poems in the Trentino Dialect and English, (please click on title for additional information or to purchase – paid link), by Michael F. Capobianco, published 2013. Available as a Paperback: $13.95 or Kindle ebook: $1.99.
Amazon description: Translating these poems with Antonia Dalpiaz has been one of the highlights of my writing career. They are so beautiful that it sometimes seemed to me that they were translating themselves! You will find within: poems of nature, poems of love, and many which defy genre classification. Dalpiaz wrote them in the dialect of her home town of Trentino, Italy (Trentino), and if you know some Italian you should be able to appreciate the wonderful charm of this dialect. This is why we wanted to publish the book in bilingual form, each poem in the original followed by the English. Enjoy!
Tales and Legends of the Tyrol, (please click on title for additional information or to purchase – paid link), by A. von Gunther, published 2014. Available as Paperback: $6.99 and Kindle ebook: $0.99. This is a reprint of a classic book originally published in 1874. The tales were collected from villages in Tyrol and transcribed by Maria Alker Gunther in the mid-1800’s.
Amazon description: The Tyrol, the land of glory and tradition, the wonder-garden of the world, so often visited but so little known, forms the theme of the following volume; and in dedicating it to the public the authoress feels certain of a fair share of their approval, perhaps, even, of their thanks; for many are the dangers which have been incurred in its production, and many are the days of weary walks and severe trials that it has cost.
Tyrol and Its People, (please click on title for additional information or to purchase – paid link), by Clive Holland and Adrian Stokes. Originally published in 1909, this is a classic reprint of the original text. Available as Hardcover: $28.95, Paperback: $13.29 and Kindle ebook: FREE!
This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web.
Customer review: Being of Tyrolean descent and also an amateur genealogist, I found this book to be an enlightening history of my ancestral home. Written over 100 years ago, the language is somewhat old-fashioned. However this little volume offers historical information of the ancient region called Tyrol that few modern descendants are aware of. It was very helpful in my personal research in finding my roots.
In the Shadow of Saint Stephen, (please click on title for information or to purchase – paid link) by Allen E. Rizzi, published 2013. Available as Paperback: $9.99 and Kindle eBook: $1.99.
Amazon description: With beautiful photos, In The Shadow of Saint Stephen gives the reader a window into the past of the tiny village of Cloz, located in Italy’s northern Trento province. History is brought back to life through an examination of the antique cemetery located along side of the Saint Stephen’s church. Richly detailed and informative, this book delves into the history, restoration and preservation of one of Northern Italy’s most historic cemeteries.
Originally written in Italian, this new text has been translated into English for English speaking scholars, genealogists and readers with ancestors from the village of Cloz.
Tyrol or Not Tyrol: Theatre as History in Südtirol/Alto Adige (Cultural Identity Studies), (please click on the title for information or to purchase – paid link) by Nóra de Buiteléir, published 2012. Available as Paperback: $6.72
Amazon description: On 19 June 1992 Austria and Italy declared the official resolution of the South Tyrol question – the dispute that had dominated relations between the two countries since the end of the First World War. While this bilingual province is today held up as a triumph of minority rights protection and a model for post-conflict societies across the world, the story of the South Tyrol since its amalgamation into the Italian state in 1919 has been a complex and often turbulent one. This book investigates the political role of the theatre in reflecting, shaping and subverting patterns of cultural identity among the German-speaking South Tyrolese. Taking as its starting point the representation of history in a series of ambitious theatrical productions from the 1970s to the present, this study offers close readings of texts and performances and an examination of the belated development of professional theatre in the province. The role of theatre is analysed in terms of the broader historical and sociocultural factors at play in the shaping of South Tyrolese identity.
Südtirol and Dolomites, (please click on title for information or to purchase – paid link) by Enrico Massetti, published 2016. Available as Paperback: $13.99 and Kindle eBook: $8.98.
Amazon description: Alto Adige – Südtirol is a German-speaking province, where food is more similar to Austrian food than to Italian. Smoked speck is a specialty here. And… don’t forget the mountains, both in winter and in summer time there is always something to do.
In Bolzano – Bozen in German, a city where Italian and German cultures seamlessly blend, between the many architectural sites we recommend beginning from a “lesser” work, yet one which have a great symbolic interest: the Porta del Vino (the “Wine Gate”) inside Bolzano’s gothic Cathedral, artistically engraved with images of peasants at the work between the vines.
Homage to wine, which here is produced with excellent results – just one more reason for this region’s appeal. Not to be missed is the Dominican Church, with its 14th-century fresco on the “Triumph of Death” in clear Giotto style. Finally, Merano is a pretty and highly popular tourist center with ancient porticoes and a suggestive historical center.
This is a guide to the Italian mountain province of Südtirol. It describes its provincial capital city of Bolzano with its surroundings of San Genesio, Sarentino Valley, Ritten, Rosengarten, Carezza Lake, and Steinegg, as well as the Pusteria and Venosta valleys, including Merano and its surroundings of Senales Valley, Passeir Valley, Naturns, Lagundo, Schwemmalm, Vigiljoch, Ulten Valley and Naturns. It also includes the Seiseralm – Alpe di Siusi, with Kestelruth, Fie allo Scillar, and the Alta Badia Valley, as well as the Val Gardena with Santa Cristina, Selva, and Ortisei.
The guide includes extensive descriptions and photos of the localities covered.
Ötzi, the Iceman: The Full Facts at a Glance, (please click on title for information or to purchase – paid link) by Angelika Fleckinger, published 2018. Available as Paperback: $15.42. No description available.
Tyrol and the Tyrolese: The People and the Land in Their Social, Sporting, and Mountaineering Aspects, (please click on the title for information or to purchase – paid link) by William Adolph Baillie-Grohman, originally published in 1877, reproduction published in 2018. Available as Hardcover: $25.95, Paperback: $9.88 and Kindle eBook: $7.95.
Amazon description: This is a reproduction of a classic text optimised for kindle devices. We have endeavoured to create this version as close to the original artefact as possible. Although occasionally there may be certain imperfections with these old texts, we believe they deserve to be made available for future generations to enjoy.
The Tyrol, (please click on the title for information or to purchase – paid link) by William Denison McCrackan, originally published in 1905, reproduction published in 2013. Available as Hardcover: $28.95 and Paperback: $14.17.
Amazon description: Unlike some other reproductions of classic texts (1) We have not used OCR(Optical Character Recognition), as this leads to bad quality books with introduced typos. (2) In books where there are images such as portraits, maps, sketches etc We have endeavoured to keep the quality of these images, so they represent accurately the original artefact. Although occasionally there may be certain imperfections with these old texts, we feel they deserve to be made available for future generations to enjoy.
South Tyrol, Around Lake Garda, The Dolomites, (please click on the title for information or to purchase – paid link) part of lecture series by John Lawson Stoddard, originally published in 1903, reprinted in 2018 as part of the Scholar Select series by Franklin Classics. Available as Hardcover: $26.95 and Paperback: $16.95.
Amazon description: Scholars believe, and we concur, that this work is important enough to be preserved, reproduced, and made generally available to the public. To ensure a quality reading experience, this work has been proofread and republished using a format that seamlessly blends the original graphical elements with text in an easy-to-read typeface.
The Spell of Tyrol, (please click on the title for information or to purchase – paid link) by William Denison McCrackan, originally published in 1914, reprinted in 2019 as part of the Scholar Select series by Wentworth Press. Available as Hardcover: $29.95 and Paperback: $19.95.
Amazon description: As a reproduction of a historical artifact, this work may contain missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. Scholars believe, and we concur, that this work is important enough to be preserved, reproduced, and made generally available to the public. We appreciate your support of the preservation process, and thank you for being an important part of keeping this knowledge alive and relevant.
Trent: What Happened at the Council, (please click on the title for information or to purchase – paid link) by John W. O’Malley, published 2013. Available as Hardcover: $24.06 and Kindle ebook: $15.37.
Amazon description: The Council of Trent (1545–1563), the Catholic Church’s attempt to put its house in order in response to the Protestant Reformation, has long been praised and blamed for things it never did. Now, in this first full one-volume history in modern times, John W. O’Malley brings to life the volatile issues that pushed several Holy Roman emperors, kings and queens of France, and five popes―and all of Europe with them―repeatedly to the brink of disaster.
During the council’s eighteen years, war and threat of war among the key players, as well as the Ottoman Turks’ onslaught against Christendom, turned the council into a perilous enterprise. Its leaders declined to make a pronouncement on war against infidels, but Trent’s most glaring and ironic silence was on the authority of the papacy itself. The popes, who reigned as Italian monarchs while serving as pastors, did everything in their power to keep papal reform out of the council’s hands―and their power was considerable. O’Malley shows how the council pursued its contentious parallel agenda of reforming the Church while simultaneously asserting Catholic doctrine.
Like What Happened at Vatican II, O’Malley’s Trent: What Happened at the Council strips mythology from historical truth while providing a clear, concise, and fascinating account of a pivotal episode in Church history. In celebration of the 450th anniversary of the council’s closing, it sets the record straight about the much misunderstood failures and achievements of this critical moment in European history.
Blue Guide Trentino & the South Tyrol with Trento, Bolzano, Rovereto, Merano, Bressanone and the Dolomites, (please click on the title for information or to purchase – paid link) by Paul Blanchard, published 2014. I’m a big fan of electronic books and here is one that will give you a lot of value for your money. The Amazon Kindle ebook price for this travel guide is only $5.99, (paperback is $7.99).
Although short at only 92 electronic pages, it contains a bounty of information, especially if you are planning a trip to this region. I was impressed by how much history the author included, along with notes on architecture, regional flora and fauna, food and wine, and ancestral families. Being a travel guide, there is also advice about hotels, B&Bs, restaurants, museums and sites to see for each city and region, as well as info on how to travel in Trentino and the South Tyrol. I particularly like the detailed information included towards the end of the book on wines of the region. This is a handy guide all by itself for any budding wine connoisseur, detailing the regions and terms used in describing Northern Italian wines.
If you’re traveling to the Italian Alps, this Blue Guide is the perfect companion. Since it is an Amazon ebook, I can easily refer to it on my Kindle, computer, digital tablet or smart phone by simply installing the Amazon app across all of my digital platforms.
Smart Guide Italy Trentino-Alto Adige, (please click on title for additional information or to purchase – paid link), by Holger Reinhardt, Angela Simmons and Alexei Cohen, published 2012. Available as Kindle ebook: $2.99.
Amazon description: ‘Smart Guide Italy: Trentino-Alto Adige’ is the perfect travel guide for discovering one of Italy’s most remote regions. Smart Guide provides essential background, cultural, and practical information that makes a holiday memorable. The guide is divided into the two provinces that make up the region and has been researched and written by local residents who taste the polenta (local specialty) and visit each monument before writing about it.
Smart Guide Italy is the only digital travel guide that covers all of Italy’s regions and is written, researched, and investigated by full-time residents. Each title is the series provides insights to the most important monuments and useful information for eating, drinking, sleeping and having a good time in Italy.
South Tyrol Guide: Sightseeing, Hotel, Restaurant & Shopping Highlights, (please click on the title for additional information or to purchase – paid link), by Christina Taylor, published 2015. Available as Paperback: $12.95.
Amazon description: South Tyrol in Italy lies in the heart of the majestic Dolomite mountain range in the Southern Alps. The region has an interesting mixture of Italian, Austrian and German culture and this multi-cultural identity remains a large part of its fascination. In winter, South Tyrol becomes a popular ski region, and its resorts are more family-friendly and nurturing than the glamorous, yet somewhat competitive slopes of the French Alps. You can bring your kids to South Tyrol for their first ski trip and to help build their confidence on the slopes.
Information includes: South Tyrol culture, location and orientation, climate and when to visit, and sightseeing highlights such as the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology, Messner Mountain Museum, Castel Trostburg, Trauttmansdorff Castle, Abbey of Neustift, and Stelvio National Park. Also incuded are recommendations for the budget traveler, places to stay, farm holidays, places to eat, places to shop and Christmas Markets.
Trentini American Non-Fiction:
The Tyroleans: A Journey of Hope, A true story of a remarkable people and their emigration to America, (please click on the title for additional information or to purchase – paid link), by David A. Prevedel, published 2010. Available as Paperback: $20.56.
The minute you open this book, you know it’s a labor of love and a tribute to the author’s Tyrolean roots. David’s grandparents, (Giuseppe and Ester Rauzi, Floriano and Angelina Prevedel), all emigrated from the Val di Non in Austria (Italy). They, along with many other families from the villages of Brez, Castelfondo, Traversara, Fondo, Cloz and Tret, settled in Wyoming. At first they worked the coal mines in Superior and Rock Springs. After saving enough money, many families moved to Utah, becoming farmers and opening businesses. The author draws inspiration from in-person interviews conducted over the years with his Tyrolean relatives, friends and their descendants. Mr. Prevedel weaves family stories together with historical details, to create a lively and sometimes, humorous portrayal of Tyrolean immigrants building a new life in America. He touches upon the origin and history of Tyrol, as well as the affect World War I had on the people of the Val di Non. Continuing to Wyoming and Utah, the author provides a glimpse into life during the 1920’s and 30’s, Prohibition, the Great Depression, becoming an American citizen, the role World War II played in the lives of Tyrolean immigrants, and the post war years. Not only did I find Mr. Prevedel’s book warmly human and heartfelt, but this small volume truly captures the reality our Tyrolean ancestors experienced in a new land. Sprinkled throughout “The Tyroleans“, I recognized many surnames from my own research and from our Genetti family tree: Corazza, Menghini, Anselmi, Rauzi, Segna, Cologna and yes, even Genetti! Matter-of-fact, I believe David Prevedal’s book has provided a new clue to another branch of our family I have yet to research. I thoroughly enjoyed this touching memorial to a Tyrolean family and highly recommend it to anyone with ancestral roots in the Val di Non.
Our First Year: Sketches from an Alpine Village, (please click on the title for additional information or to purchase – paid link), by Allen E. Rizzi, published 2013. Available as Paperback: $9.99 and Kindle ebook: $3.99.
I thoroughly enjoyed this little book by fellow Tyrolean American, Allen Rizzi. Each chapter is a “slice of life”, a peek into the culture and customs of the tiny village of Tret, nestled in the upper Val di Non region of Trentino. After many visits to northern Italy and the home of his ancestors, Allen and his wife take a leap of faith, moving from Washington state to rustic Tret. “Our First Year” offers the reader a glimpse of the couple’s joys and struggles making a new home in a strange land. With deep ancestral roots planted in the villages of Tret, Cloz and Merano, Allen’s Tyrolean heritage and knowledge of several languages help acclimate this American to Alpine living. There are many humorous moments, as well as a few tearful times, as Allen struggles to understand the village’s customs, dialect and people.
I particularly enjoyed this book, since Tret is but a stone’s throw from our family’s ancestral home in Castelfondo – about a 15 minute drive. I’ve visited many places Allen describes in the book and have even had lunch in the village of Tret at the charming resaurant Le Ciaspole (by the way, excellent food!).
To Our Children’s Children: Preserving Family Histories for Generations to Come, (please click on the title for additional information or to purchase – paid link), by Bob Greene, published 1993. Available as Hardcover: $10.25.
A warm, accessible, step-by-step guide to creating precious personal histories from the memories of older people. Amazon Customer review: “I bought this book for my Father in November for a Christmas gift but gave it to him as soon as I received it. And he got busy right away on his computer and wrote a 13 page history of his life. He passed away December 29th. My gift for him turned into a gift for me, my siblings and others. I can’t express my appreciation for this book!”
Legacy: A Step-By-Step Guide to Writing Personal History, (please click on the title for additional information or to purchase – paid link), by Linda Spence, published 1997. Available as Hardcover: $34.58, Paperback: $11.42 and Kindle ebook: $7.99.
Linda Spence’s Legacy proves to be just that: the creation of a family heirloom that money couldn’t buy. Through a series of thought-provoking questions about each phase in human life, Spence helps readers record their personal history, think back to feelings that any number of snapshots could never capture, and reflect upon their lives. What events occurred during your childhood? What did you like most about school? What do you wish your parents had done for you? The text includes sample essays by the author and quotations by other writers to encourage your muse.
The Legacy Guide: Capturing the Facts, Memories, and Meaning of Your Life, (please click on the title for additional information or to purchase – paid link), by Carol Franco, published 2006. Available as Paperback: $18.24 and Kindle ebook: $2.99.
The ultimate guide and companion for anyone who wants to record the story of his or her life or that of a loved one. Have you ever wondered about an ancestor you know only as a compelling face in a faded family photograph? Imagine discovering an entire book on this ancestor’s life – one that described the world in which he lived and detailed his dreams, accomplishments, disappointments, and the accumulated wisdom of a lifetime. The Legacy Guide helps readers create such a book. Designed for writers and non-writers alike, it outlines a simple, intuitive, and highly flexible framework for turning your personal history-or that of a loved one-into a treasured family heirloom.
Family Memories: A guided questionnaire journal to preserve family history, (please click on the title for information or to purchase – paid link), by Old Soul Publications, published 2019. Available as Paperback: $14.99
Amazon description: At Old Soul Publications, our goal is to help bridge the gap between generations through interactive journaling. Let us help you tell your stories.The perfect way to gather family history is through a guided journal. For years, I’ve been urging my family and friends to tell their stories and to get their family history before it’s too late. But, I understand that it’s sometimes hard to get those conversations started – even for me. That’s where this journal comes in. Think about your parents and grandparents. I’m sure you can think of things you wish you’d known about them. Think about your children, grandchildren, or family friends. What are the things you’d like them to remember about you? Maybe this journal is about preserving memories for yourself for one day when your mind gets tired. Regardless the reason, this prompt journal will become a priceless possession to you and your family. One more thing – family dynamics are different; I came up with these prompts with that in mind. Not everyone has a relationship with their parents. Not everyone has a spouse or significant other. Not everyone has children. And not everyone should have to dread a book like this because of it. I get it. I tried to focus on the individual as much as possible. In the prompts where family is mentioned, I tried to give alternate options to answer instead. No one can tell your story like you can. Happy Journaling . . .
Cook Book from Tyrol, (please click on the title for additional information or to purchase – paid link), by M. Exenberger and F. Breit, published 1982. Available through Amazon third party booksellers as a hardcover, priced around: $60.00. This a translated book, no Amazon description is available.
Traditional Cooking Tyrol, (please click on title for additional information or to purchase – paid link). No author or book description available. Purchase through Amazon third party booksellers priced around: $6.95
Tyrolean cook-book: Minibochbuch, (please click on the title for additional information or to purchase – paid link), by Maria Drewes, published 2010. Available as Hardcover: $12.01 or through used booksellers priced around: $8.00. No Amazon description is available.
Tyrolean Specialties: Die beliebtesten Rezepte der Original Tiroler Küche, (please click on the title for additional information or to purchase – paid link), by Maria Gruber, published 2012. Available as Hardcover: $15.61 or through used booksellers priced around: $2. No Amazon description is available.
Alpine Cooking: Recipes and Stories from Europe’s Grand Mountaintops, (please click on title for additional information or to purchase – paid link), by Meredith Erickson, published 2019. Available as Hardcover: $30.99 and Kindle ebook: $4.99.
Amazon description: From the wintry peaks of Chamonix and the picturesque trails of Gstaad to the remote villages of the Gastein Valley, the alpine regions of Europe are all-season wonderlands that offer outdoor adventure alongside hearty cuisine and intriguing characters. In Alpine Cooking, food writer Meredith Erickson travels through the region–by car, on foot, and via funicular–collecting the recipes and stories of the legendary stubes, chalets, and refugios. On the menu is an eclectic mix of mountain dishes: radicchio and speck dumplings, fondue brioche, the best schnitzel recipe, Bombardinos, warming soups, wine cave fonduta, a Chartreuse soufflé, and a host of decadent strudels and confections (Salzburger Nockerl, anyone?) served with a bottle of Riesling plucked from the snow bank beside your dining table. Organized by country and including logistical tips, detailed maps, the alpine address book, and narrative interludes discussing alpine art and wine, the Tour de France, high-altitude railways, grand European hotels, and other essential topics, this gorgeous and spectacularly photographed cookbook is a romantic ode to life in the mountains for food lovers, travelers, skiers, hikers, and anyone who feels the pull of the peaks.
Fiction Related to Trentini Heritage and Culture:
Willow Vale, (please click on title for additional information or to purchase – paid link), by Alethea Williams, published 2015. Available as Paperback: $11.99 and Kindle ebook: $3.99.
This wonderful little tome tugged at my heart, begging to become a part of our Tyrolean heritage library. Using her grandmother (Nona) as inspiration for the lead character, Francesca Sittoni, the author paints the world of a beautiful young widow with a precocious toddler from the Val di Non in Trentino just after WW I. Her little village in the Tyrolean valley has changed hands from Austria to Italy. After Francesca’s beloved husband dies, she must find another spouse as soon as possible to support herself and her young daughter. She is soon sold off as a war bride, boards a ship to America and joins her new husband in the coal mining region of Wyoming. I don’t want to spoil the rest of the story for you, but let’s say that the tenacious and stubborn Francesca refuses to give up in a new land even when her second husband is no longer in the picture and she fears being deported back to impoverished Northern Italy.
I fell in love with the story of fictional Francesca. Since many of the Genetti family set down roots in Wyoming, working the dangerous coal mines and eking out a living from the dry, dusty land – this was a story that echoed our own journey to America. I think any Tyrolean American will find “Willow Vale” captivating and heartwarming – a wonderful gift for a grandparent or elder. Younger generations will experience an eye-opening glimpse into the struggles of our first generation ancestors as they experienced a new life in America.
No Steady Job for Papa, (please click on title for additional information or to purchase – paid link), by Marion Benasutti, published 1966. Available as Hardcover through third-party booksellers priced around: $17.50.
Review by Lynn Serafinn, Trentini Genealogist: A rare insight into the lives of immigrants in the early 20th Century, particularly those who came from Trentino, in northern Italy. Trentino was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (and was also considered part of the Tyrol) at the time this family left it, and it became part of Italy after World War 1. This book chronicles one family’s journey from life in a coal mining town of Pennsylvania, through dire social and economic hardships in the 20s and 30s, and their eventual assimilation into American culture. While telling a story of her family and her own “coming of age”, the author also addresses issues around ethnic identity and social bigotry she and other immigrants faced in the early 1900s. Written in a charming, personal style that reads like a novel (but is based on actual events), the author infuses elements of culture from the ‘old country’ with the hardships of American immigrant life to give us a snapshot of what many of our European ancestors experienced in the early decades of the last century.
Rumo Is Calling, (please click on title for additional information or to purchase – paid link), by Glenda Bacca, published 2020. Available as Paperback: $12.95 and Kindle ebook: $5.99.
Amazon description: Join Glenda on a once-in-a-life time adventure into the mountains of Italy—see the beauty, hear the sounds, taste the food, and meet the people that make this an unforgettable country. After years of searching, Glenda finally decides the only way to find what she is looking for is to go to Italy. She discovers the family history she has longed for—and more than she had ever imagined. New friends wrap her in their protective arms and lead her on delightful journeys. Family members embrace her with love that takes her breath away. She finds the love of her life. Beauty and excitement await around every corner.
No Man’s Land: Reschen Valley Part 1, (please click on title for additional information or to purchase – paid link), by Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger, published 2018. Available as Paperback: $15.99 and Kindle ebook: $0.99.
Amazon description: She wants her home. He wants control. The Fascist regime wants both. 1920, former Austrian Tyrol. Katharina Thaler faces becoming the first woman to ever own a farm in the Reschen Valley. The end of the Great War has taken more than her beloved family, it has robbed the province of its autonomy and severed it in half. As her countrymen fight to prevent the annexation to Italy, Katharina finds a wounded Italian engineer on her mountain. Her decision to save Angelo Grimani’s life, however, thrusts both into the midst of a new world order—a labyrinth of corruption, prejudice, and greed.
Trapped between a growing fascist regime and a man who threatens to tear her home away, Katharina must decide what to protect: love or country?
No Man’s Land is the first book in the Reschen Valley historical fiction series. If you enjoy gripping, historical fiction that will stay long after you’ve read the last chapter, you will love Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger’s vivid saga.
The Breach: Reschen Valley Part 2, (please click on title for additional information or to purchase – paid link), by Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger, published 2018. Available as Paperback: $13.99 and Kindle ebook: $3.99.
Amazon description: It’s 1922 and a year after the Italian Fascists marched on Bozen.
Nationalism in the Tyrolean Reschen Valley creates enemies out of old friends and Katharina Steinhauser fiercely protects the identity of her daughter’s father from both her family and her community.
Meanwhile, the Fascists have wrested control from the monarchy and momentum behind the Reschen Lake reservoir increases with plans to wipe out the Reschen Valley’s towns and hamlets. Katharina risks writing to Angelo Grimani, the man in charge, and begs to have the project reassessed.
But Angelo is hemmed in by a force that steers him far from his dealings with the Reschen Valley and that which binds him to Katharina. It’s the opportunity the Fascists have been waiting for.
Following No Man’s Land, The Breach is the second part in the Reschen Valley series. If you enjoy gripping historical fiction that won’t let you go, you will love Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger’s vivid saga. Buy or try now!
Bolzano: Reschen Valley Part 3, (please click on title for additional information or to purchase – paid link), by Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger, published 2018. Available as Paperback: $14.99 and Kindle ebook: $4.99.
Amazon description: 1937. Northern Italy. New international conflicts loom on the horizon, and Italy must feed its war machine. Angelo Grimani has a plan to keep the Reschen Valley reservoir out of his father’s hands but he needs a local front to succeed. He faces his past and seeks an alliance with Katharina Steinhauser. But when he sees Annamarie, Katharina’s daughter, for the first time, Angelo realizes he faces an altogether different conflict.
Unaware of the history between Angelo and Katharina, Annamarie is convinced her future lies beyond the confines of the valley. When an Italian delegation arrives to assess the reservoir, Annamarie believes she has found her ticket out…in the form of Angelo’s son and a Fascist uniform. When you cannot hide from the truth, where do you run?
Love, betrayal, and deception explode in this next instalment of the Reschen Valley. This is the third book in the series and can be picked up as a stand-alone.
Two Fatherlands: Reschen Valley Part 4, (please click on title for additional information or to purchase – paid link), by Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger, to be published April 13, 2021 (pre-order through Amazon). Available as Kindle ebook: $1.99.
Amazon description: 1938. Northern Italy. Katharina, Angelo, and Annamarie are confronted by the oppressive force created by Mussolini’s and Hitler’s political union. Angelo puts aside his prejudices and seeks alliances with old enemies; Katharina fights to keep her family together as the residents in the valley are forced to choose between Italian and German nationhood with neither guaranteeing that they will be able to stay on their land, and Annamarie finds herself in the thick of a fascist regime she thought she understood.
By war’s end, all will be forced to choose sides and none will escape betrayal.
Tyrolean Communities in USA:
Around Hazleton (PA) (Postcard History Series), (please click on title for additional information or to purchase – paid link), by Richard W. Funk, published 2005. Available as Hardcover: $16.20 and Paperback: $21.99.
Amazon description: Once called the jewel of Pennsylvania’s middle anthracite coal fields, Hazleton grew up on a solid foundation of black diamonds and prospered in the coal industry. The city quickly became the financial, industrial, shopping, transportation, and entertainment center of the region. Mining gave rise to other businesses, many established to supply machinery to the numerous collieries. Silk mills and garment factories provided work to scores of people. By the close of World War II, the days of coal mining as a major industry were numbered. Slowly, the towering coal breakers fell silent, their machinery grinding to a halt. Not a single example remains standing today. Around Hazleton is an informative trip through this city and nearby towns.
Remembering Lattimer: Labor, Migration, and Race in Pennsylvania Anthracite Country (Working Class in American History), (please click on title for additional information or to purchase – paid link), by Paul A. Shackel, published 2018. Available as Hardcover: $83.42, Paperback: $28.00 and Kindle ebook: $17.95.
Amazon description: On September 10, 1897, a group of 400 striking coal miners–workers of Polish, Slovak, and Lithuanian descent or origin–marched on Lattimer, Pennsylvania. There, law enforcement officers fired without warning into the protesters, killing nineteen miners and wounding thirty-eight others. The bloody day quickly faded into history. Paul A. Shackel confronts the legacies and lessons of the Lattimer event. Beginning with a dramatic retelling of the incident, Shackel traces how the violence, and the acquittal of the deputies who perpetrated it, spurred membership in the United Mine Workers. By blending archival and archaeological research with interviews, he weighs how the people living in the region remember–and forget–what happened. Now in positions of power, the descendants of the slain miners have themselves become rabidly anti-labor and anti-immigrant as Dominicans and other Latinos change the community. Shackel shows how the social, economic, and political circumstances surrounding historic Lattimer connect in profound ways to the riven communities of today. Compelling and timely, Remembering Lattimer restores an American tragedy to our public memory.
Growing Up in Coal Country, (please click on title for additional information or to purchase – paid link), by Susan Campbell Bartoletti, published 1999. Available as Hardcover: $19.80 and Paperback: $8.79.
Amazon description: Inspired by her in-laws’ recollections of working in coal country, Susan Campbell Bartoletti has gathered the voices of men, women, and children who immigrated to and worked in northeastern Pennsylvania at the turn of the century. The story that emerges is not just a story of long hours, little pay, and hazardous working conditions; it is also the uniquely American story of immigrant families working together to make a new life for themselves. It is a story of hardship and sacrifice, yet also of triumph and the fulfillment of hopes and dreams.
Ironwood, Hurley, and the Gogebic Range (Images of America), (please click o title for additional information or to purchase – paid link), by Matthew Liesch, published 2006. Available as Hardcover: $26.50, Paperback: $21.99 and Kindle ebook: $9.99.
Amazon description: Situated on the south shore of Lake Superior, the Gogebic Iron Range of Michigan and Wisconsin exudes a strong sense of place. During the 1880s, a mining boom lured settlers, investment, and controversy. Investors from Milwaukee, Chicago, and Cleveland hoped to become rich, but many were pulled into scams or poorly managed mines and ended up losing their money. After iron stocks crashed, mining investors were more cautious. Many mining locations were abandoned, but towns such as Ironwood, Bessemer, Wakefield, and Hurley grew. For over 80 years, iron mining gave the Gogebic Range distinctive ethnicity and settlement patterns resulting in its unique cultural landscapes. The physical setting enhances the drama of the Gogebic. Lake-effect snowfall results in picturesque yet harsh winters, and thundering waterfalls have long attracted visitors.
Rock Springs, (please click on title for additional information or to purchase – paid link), by Russel L. Tanner, published 2008. Available as Hardcover: $31.99, Paperback: $19.57 and Kindle ebook: $12.99.
Amazon description: An ancient inland sea, surrounded by lush vegetation and inhabited by dinosaurs, helped create the mineral-rich landscape where Rock Springs, Wyoming, now sits. French trappers first encountered American Indians who were traveling via a natural corridor that traverses the region, and eventually pioneer trails used this same route in the great westward expansion. The First Transcontinental Railroad arrived in 1868, and the national demand for energy in the form of fossil fuels turned everyone’s attention to the vast coal deposits. Thus the frontier outpost of Rock Springs became an important energy center, and immigrants from around the world came to work in the mines and make this land their home. As local businessman Leonard Hay used to say, “All wealth comes from the earth.” Today other minerals have joined coal as new sources of wealth for Rock Springs, and plans are being made to harness the wind that carved out this unique landscape.
Superior and South Superior (Images of America), (please click on title for additional information or to purchase – paid link), by Frank Prevedel, published 2011. Available as Hardcover: $11.79 and Paperback: $18.25.
Amazon description: Superior and South Superior, established early in the 20th century, were unique individually but fully dependent upon each other. Superior, the company town, was nearly entirely owned by the Union Pacific Coal Company, which created the bulk of jobs in the communities. South Superior was privately owned and as a result most of the commercial business in town was located there. When the Union Pacific Railroad began switching from steam power for its locomotives to diesel power, the market for coal disappeared. The classic western pattern for ghost town creation was set. But though Superior disappeared, South Superior, while badly hurt economically, survived. It took the Superior name and was able to look forward to a diminished but stable and hopeful future.
DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy
Guide to DNA Testing: How to Identify Ancestors, Confirm Relationships, and Measure Ethnic Ancestry through DNA Testing, (please click on title for additional information or to purchase – paid link), by Richard Hill, published 2014. Available as Kindle ebook: $3.99.
This is an easy-to-follow, compact guide to DNA testing. Perfect for the beginner as an intro into DNA lingo. Written by Richard Hill, who was adopted at birth, this publication is the result of his personal mission (that included DNA testing) to find his birth parents and their family. I highly recommend this book if you know nothing about DNA testing. It’s short, cheap and easy to read!
Genetic Genealogy: The Basics and Beyond – (please click on title for additional information or to purchase – paid link), by Emily D. Aulicino, published 2013. Available as Paperback: $19.95 and Kindle ebook: $3.99.
A useful introduction to genetic genealogy, at times this book becomes overly technical. I read this book for the first time in 2014 and must admit that some chapters were over my head. But I reread it just a few months ago in 2016. This time around I had several DNA tests under my belt and a better understood of DNA lingo. My second read-through was very helpful! I grasp much more of the information. “Genetic Genealogy” cleared up many questions I had as a result of my personal experience with testing. Since this book was written in 2013, some of the information is outdated (such as the type of testing offered by different companies – example: Ancestry.com no longer offers Y-chromosome or mitochondrial DNA testing). However, if you are past the beginner stage and want to dig into the science of DNA, this is a great book to expand your knowledge of genetic genealogy. I will read this book again as I advance in my personal DNA research and keep it handy as a research tool.
The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy, Second Edition, (please click on title for additional information or to purchase – paid link) – by Blaine T. Bettinger, published 2019. Available as Paperback: $22.99 and Kindle eTextbook: $19.99.
Newly updated, I found this to be a very helpful guide and a great addition to my growing DNA library. Information is current and as accurate as possible in this ever-evolving science. Most of the material presented can be easily understood by beginners. Advanced concepts are also presented later in the book, but this should not be a deterrent for newbies as they can always come back to these sections after gaining a bit of expertise in DNA testing. I particularly found the chapters relating to surprises in one’s ancestry, such as illegitimacy and adoption, to be extremely informative and sensitive to this topic. Most books about genetic genealogy only touch upon the subject of non-parental events. The author handled this area of DNA testing/genetic genealogy with tact and depth. There are many charts, diagrams and illustrations included in this book. I purchased the ebook version and had no problem viewing the graphic information. I highly recommend “The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy, Second Edition” as a comprehensive instruction manual for both beginners and advance students of DNA.
She Has Her Mother’s Laugh: The Powers, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity, (please click title for information or to purchase – paid link), by Carl Zimmer, published 2018. Available in Hardcover: $18.49, Paperback: $14.93 and Kindle ebook: $14.99.
An Amazon Best Book of June 2018: Heredity is a lot more complex than most people think. In She Has Her Mother’s Laugh, New York Times columnist Carl Zimmer dives deep into the ways that we pass along our genetic inheritance. Through history, science, and a boatload of personal curiosity (the book originated from questions he had regarding his own child, and he had his entire genome mapped in the process of writing it), Zimmer seeks to retell the story of heredity in broader and more inclusive terms than the ones we’re used to hearing. For example, who we become is determined by our ancestors’ genes, yes; but it is also a product of our own cells—for one cell can contribute to millions of future cells. How we treat ourselves, what we learn, and even how we feel, eventually contributes to our hereditary future. The forces at work are myriad, mostly unseen, and subject to variables that we barely understand. Zimmer is trying to help us here, to teach us, and in doing so he succeeds in entertaining us as well. –Chris Schluep, Amazon Book Review
Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters, (please click title for information or to purchase – paid link), by Matt Ridley, published 2013. Available as Hardcover: $20.98, Paperback: $11.99 and Kindle ebook: $8.99.
Amazon description: New York Times Bestseller
The genome’s been mapped. But what does it mean?
Arguably the most significant scientific discovery of the new century, the mapping of the twenty-three pairs of chromosomes that make up the human genome raises almost as many questions as it answers. Questions that will profoundly impact the way we think about disease, about longevity, and about free will. Questions that will affect the rest of your life.
Genome offers extraordinary insight into the ramifications of this incredible breakthrough. By picking one newly discovered gene from each pair of chromosomes and telling its story, Matt Ridley recounts the history of our species and its ancestors from the dawn of life to the brink of future medicine. From Huntington’s disease to cancer, from the applications of gene therapy to the horrors of eugenics, Matt Ridley probes the scientific, philosophical, and moral issues arising as a result of the mapping of the genome. It will help you understand what this scientific milestone means for you, for your children, and for humankind.
I Got My Ethnicity Estimate … Now What?: A Genealogy Resource Guide, (please click title for information or to purchase – paid link), by John Ahrens, published 2019. Available as Kindle ebook: $.99.
Amazon description: You took a DNA test, perhaps from AncestryDNA.com, 23andMe.com or MyHeritage.com and got your ethnicity estimate results. You read them, maybe something was surprising, something didn’t make sense, something was unexpected. Or maybe you got exactly what you expected. You spent a lot of money on this test, and this is what you got for it. So now you find yourself asking… Now What?
That is the question this Genealogy Resource guide is intended to help you with. There are many resources that can help you answer that question. There are websites dedicated to this subject, books, Facebook groups, podcasts and blogs all waiting to help you take the next step. This book helps direct you to those resources.
This booklet cannot answer the question for you, as the answers are as varied as the people taking DNA tests. Maybe you want to know what these ethnic groups mean. Maybe you want to find others who have similar ancestry. Maybe you want to learn more about genetic genealogy so you can better understand your results. This booklet has the links to help you figure it all out
The DNA Guide for Adoptees: How to use genealogy and genetics to uncover your roots, connect with your biological family, and better understand your medical history, (please click on title for information or to purchase – paid link), by Brianne Kirkpatrick, published 2019. Available as Paperback: $24.99 and Kindle ebook: $14.99.
Amazon description: If you are an adoptee, there’s likely missing information about your past and you hope to change that. You’ve come to the right place!
This book is for you if you have hope that DNA testing might open up the search for information about yourself, your origins, and your future. We’ve worked hard to compile the resources in this book and explain in plain English how DNA and genealogical records fit together like the pieces of a puzzle. In the chapters that follow, we’ve created a place for you to turn as you come face-to-face with questions about health, ancestry, biological family, and DNA.
How to Find Your Family History in U.S. Church Records: A Genealogist’s Guide: With Specific Resources for Major Christian Denominations before 1900, (please click on title for information or to purchase – paid link), by Harold A. Henderson and Sunny Jane Morton, published 2019. Available as Paperback: $29.95.
Amazon Book Review: Sunny Morton and Harold Henderson have hit a gold vein in genealogy research! Their research taps the records of major Christian denominations before 1900. Besides excellent guidance for searching church records in general, including web links, they provide in depth insight for the following denominations: Anglican/Episcopal, Baptist, Congregational, Dutch Reformed, German Churches, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Lutheran, Mennonite and Amish, Quaker, Presbyterian, and Roman Catholic. It’s especially impressive to see the list of experts they have checked with in the production of this breakthrough genealogy tool. Many thanks to them for this exceptional work. Hopefully they capture feedback from readers to expand their work in future editions.
The Everything Guide to Online Genealogy: Trace Your Roots, Share Your History, and Create Your Family Tree, (please click on title for information or to purchase – paid link), by Kimberly Powell, published 2013. Available as Paperback: $15.99 and Kindle ebook: $14.99.
Amazon description: Thanks to the overwhelming number of genealogical records available online today, it’s never been easier to trace your family history and find your roots. But where do you begin? With all that information, it can be impossible to know where to start! In The Everything Guide to Online Genealogy, 3rd Edition, genealogy expert Kimberly Powell guides you through the process of finding your ancestors, helping you:
- Effectively search various websites
- Decipher census data and other online records
- Choose the best way to share data with family members
- Connect with other genealogists through social media
Packed with tips on using free databases, new websites, and a growing number of genealogy apps, The Everything Guide to Online Genealogy, 3rd Edition has everything you need to scour the Internet and find your ancestors, going back generations!
Research Like a Pro: A Genealogist’s Guide, (please click on title for information or to purchase – paid link), by Diana Elder, published 2018. Available as Paperback: $14.99 and Kindle ebook: $4.99.
Amazon description: Are you stuck in your genealogical research? Wondering how to make progress on your brick wall problems? Discover the process that a professional genealogist uses to solve difficult cases. Diana Elder shares her step-by-step method using real world examples, easily understood by any level of genealogist; written for the researcher ready to take their skills to the next level. Learn how to form an objective, review your research by creating a timeline analysis, construct a locality guide to direct your research, create a plan, style source citations, set up a research log to organize and track your searches, and write a report detailing your findings and ideas for future research. Work samples and templates are included.
Unofficial Guide to Ancestry.com: How to Find Your Family History on the #1 Genealogy Website, (please click on title for information or to purchase – paid link), by Nancy Hendrickson, published 2018. Available as Paperback: $20.82 and Kindle eTextbook: $17.99.
Amazon description: Discover the secrets to Ancestry.com success! This book will help you get the most out of your Ancestry.com subscription by showing you how to take advantage of what the world’s biggest genealogy website has to offer–and how to find answers to your family tree questions within its billions of records and massive network of family trees. This newly updated guide reflects the site’s many changes, with screenshots that demonstrate how to create family trees, navigate the site, and use Ancestry.com’s search engines. A new section on AncestryDNA will also help you dive deeper into your research, with detailed guides to interpreting test results and applying them to research.
What you’ll learn:
- Step-by-step strategies for structuring your searches to find what you’re looking for faster
- Details on each of Ancestry.com’s historical record categories, including what you can expect to find in them
- Tips for creating and managing your family tree on Ancestry.com, as well as connecting your tree to others on the site
- Timesaving tricks to maximize your Ancestry.com experience, including Hints (the “shaky leaf”), AncestryDNA, and the Ancestry.com mobile app
Whether you’ve just begun dabbling in family history or you’re a longtime Ancestry.com subscriber, this book will turn you into an Ancestry.com power user!
The Family Tree Toolkit: A Comprehensive Guide to Uncovering Your Ancestry and Researching Genealogy, (please click on title for information or to purchase – paid link), by Kenyatta D. Berry, published 2018. Available as Paperback: $15.79 and Kindle ebook: $14.99.
Amazon description: The popularity of Family History has increased over the past five years due to TV shows like Genealogy Roadshow, Finding Your Roots, and Who Do You Think You Are? The ability to access records online has opened up the one time hobby for genealogy enthusiasts to the mainstream.Companies like Ancestry.com, Familysearch.org, Findmypast.com, and MyHeritage have spent millions of dollars making records available around the world. DNA technology continues to evolve and provides the instant gratification that we have become use to as a society. But then the question remains, what does that really mean? Knowing your ancestry is more than just ethnic percentages it’s about creating and building a story about your family history. The Family History Toolkit is designed to help you navigate the sometimes overwhelming and sometimes treacherous waters of finding your ancestors. While this is not a comprehensive guide to all things genealogy, it is a roadmap to help you on this journey of discovery, whether you are looking for your African Asian, European, or Jewish ancestry. The Family History Toolkit guides you on how and where to begin, what records are available both online and in repositories, what to do once you find the information, how to share your story and of course DNA discoveries.
Unofficial Guide to FamilySearch.org: How to Find Your Family History on the Largest Free Genealogy Website, (please click title for information or to purchase – paid link), by Dana McCullough, published 2015. Available as Paperback: $25.98 and Kindle ebook: $16.99.
Amazon description: Discover your ancestry on FamilySearch.org, the world’s largest free genealogy website. This in-depth user guide shows you how to find your family in the site’s databases of more than 3.5 billion names and millions of digitized historical records spanning the globe. Learn how to maximize all of FamilySearch.org’s research tools–including hard-to-find features–to extend your family tree in America and the old country.
In this book, you’ll find:
- Step-by-step strategies to craft search queries that find ancestors fast
- Practical pointers for locating your ancestors in record collections that aren’t searchable
- Detailed overviews of FamilySearch.org’s major U.S. collections, with helpful record explanations to inform your research
- Guidance for using FamilySearch.org’s vast record collections from Europe, Canada, Mexico and 100-plus countries around the world
- Tips for creating and managing your family tree on FamilySearch.org
- Secrets to utilizing user-submitted genealogies, 200,000 digitized family history books, and the FamilySearch catalog of 2.4 million offline resources you can borrow through a local FamilySearch Center
- Worksheets and checklists to track your research progress
Illustrated step-by-step examples teach you exactly how to apply these tips and techniques to your own research. Whether you’re new to FamilySearch.org or you’re a longtime user, you’ll find the guidance you need to discover your ancestors and make the most of the site’s valuable resources.
Genealogy Standards, Second Edition, (please click title for information or to purchase – paid link), by Board for Certification of Genealogists, published 2019. Available as Hardcover: $21.49, Paperback: $14.79 and Kindle ebook: $14.05.
Amazon description: Family historians depend upon thousands of people unknown to them. They exchange research with others; copy information from books and databases; and write libraries, societies, and government offices. At times they even hire professionals to do legwork in distant areas and trust strangers to solve important problems. But how can a researcher be assured that he or she is producing or receiving reliable results? This official manual from the Board of Certification for Genealogists provides a standard by which all genealogists can pattern their work.
Genealogy Tip of the Day, (please click title for information or to purchase – paid link), by Michael John Neill, published 2019. Available as Paperback: $21.99 and Kindle ebook: $9.99.
Amazon description: Genealogy can be confusing and sometimes what the family historian needs is something short and to-the-point that can help them get their research back on track. That’s the intent of “Genealogy Tip of the Day.”
Long-time genealogist Michael John Neill uses his thirty years of research experience to remind readers of things they had forgotten, make them aware of things they did not know, and encourage them to increase their research and analytical skills. This is not a typical how-to book that has a chapter for each content topic. Topics are spread throughout the book. Tips are based on actual research, actual families, and actual problems. Each day’s tip is meant to be a relatively short read, is engaging, accurate, and occasionally funny.
Tip of the Day can be read front-to-back or browsed through at the reader’s whim. Tips are about genealogical sources, pitfalls, and procedures based on Michael’s extensive experience researching ancestors in the United States and abroad. Tips are practical, easy-to-understand, and applicable to those with ancestors in a variety of locations. Tips have been edited for clarity and updated when necessary. Any content that was time-sensitive has been removed. What’s left is research advice and suggestions with some humor thrown in.
Table of Contents:
- How Grandma Said it, Pond Crossing, Lying, and More
- Grains of Truth, Reversed Names, and Date Fudging
- Links, Cutting off, Soundex, Perspective, and Infants
- Contemporary, “Paper or Plastic,” and Eternal Neighbors
- Undoing, Discrepancies, Math, and Avoiding Court
- Reused Names, Absolute Relationships, Leave the 21st Century
- Nicknames, Endogamy, Census Bridges, and Vacuums
- Popularity, Wrong Grandmas, New Wife
- Portable Ancestors, First Purchases, and Cousin Ken
- Dead Reasons, Getting and Giving, Just Me, and Death Names
- 100%, Errors, Rushing Structure, and Homemade Abbreviations
- Spousal Origins, Patronyms, and Death Causes
- Validation, Copyright, Life Estates
- Merging Saints, Circle Searching, Flukes, and Running Home
- Self-Checking, Boarders, Farmed Out, and Widow Power
- All I Need Is Love, Crossing a Line, and Joseph Conversions
- Leaving Family, Dead Proofing, One Little Entry
Genealogy Tip of the Day can help fill in those gaps in your genealogical skill set without being overly academic or tedious.
Tracing Your Ancestors in Lunatic Asylums: A Guide for Family Historians (please click title for information or to purchase – paid link), by Michelle Higgs, published 2020. Available in Paperback: $5.39 and Kindle ebook: $5.30.
Amazon description: How can you trace forebears who were patients in lunatic asylums and find out about their lives? What sources can you consult to discover their personal histories and gain an insight into their experiences? In this concise, accessible handbook, Michelle Higgs answers these questions. She provides a fascinating introduction to the subject and gives readers the means to explore the records for themselves.
She concentrates on the period from the eighteenth century through to 1948 when the National Health Service was founded and looks in particular at the Victorian era which is the most popular period for research. Using original records, contemporary accounts, photographs, illustrations and case studies of real individuals, she brings the story of the asylums and their patients to life.
Different types of institution are described such as private madhouses, county lunatic asylums, facilities for idiots and imbeciles, and military mental hospitals. Chapters look at the admission procedures and daily routine of patients, plus different kinds of mental illness and how they were treated – for instance, those with depression or mania, criminal lunatics, mothers with puerperal insanity, epileptics and soldiers suffering from shell shock. There are sections on the systems in Scotland and Ireland, as well as England and Wales. Information is provided on all the relevant sources, from wills and the census to casebooks and admission and discharge registers.
Understanding Cemetery Symbols: A Field Guide for Historic Graveyards (Messages from the Dead Book 1), (please click title for information or to purchase – paid link), by Tui Snider, published 2017. Available in Paperback: $17.09 and Kindle ebook: $7.99.
Amazon description: Graveyards don’t exist merely to shelter the dead. They also nurture the living. As strange as it sounds, America s garden cemeteries were our nation s first public parks! People used to visit graveyards not just to mourn the dead, but to have a fun day in nature.
More and more of America’s cemeteries are applying for arboretum status and being placed on the historical register. Many now offer tours, annual festivals and events which run the gamut from jazz picnics, birding, costumed reenactments, performances of Shakespeare, and more.
Along with this renewed appreciation for historic cemeteries, comes the realization that we have forgotten the meaning behind many of the symbols and acronyms our ancestors left on their headstones.
Tui Snider’s book, Understanding Cemetery Symbols, describes the meaning behind the symbols and architecture found in the historic graveyards of America.
History buffs, genealogists, ghost hunters and other curiosity seekers will gain a deeper appreciation for these “messages from the dead” with a copy of Tui Snider’s book on their shelf, or better yet, in their hands, as they explore America’s open-air museums for themselves!
Genetic Genealogy in Practice, (please click on title for additional information or to purchase – paid link), by Blaine T. Bettinger, published 2016. Available as Paperback: $36.00 and Kindle ebook: $9.99.
Amazon description: The National Genealogical Society (NGS) announces the publication of “Genetic Genealogy in Practice,” the first workbook on genetic genealogy. Written by Blaine T. Bettinger, PhD, JD, and Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL, the book provides family historians and genealogists who have just begun to explore genetic genealogy practical, easy to understand information that they can apply to their research. As Wayne notes in her blog, Deb’s “Delvings in Genealogy,” “DNA can seem complex to many of us, but this book will guide you and help build your knowledge level one step at a time.”
At their own pace, readers learn the basic concepts of genetic genealogy. They then build on that knowledge as they study the testing, analysis, and application of YDNA, X-DNA, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), and autosomal DNA (atDNA) to reach and support genealogical conclusions. Each chapter includes exercises with answer keys for hands-on practice.
Blaine Bettinger is an intellectual property attorney in Syracuse, New York. The author of The Genetic Genealogist blog, he is a genealogy educator, a trustee of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, and organizer of the Shared cM Project, a crowdsourced project examining the associations between genetic data and genealogical relationships.
Debbie Parker Wayne is a professional genealogist who has conducted research for individuals as well as for the PBS series “Finding Your Roots” with Henry Louis Gates Jr. and other
television shows. She is an award-winning author, the coordinator for genetic genealogy institute courses, and the DNA Project Chair for the Texas State Genealogical Society.
Organize Your Genealogy: Strategies and Solutions for Every Researcher, (please click on title for additional information or to purchase – paid link), by Drew Smith, published 2016. Available as Paperback: $23.49 and Kindle ebook: $17.99.
Amazon description: Get Your Research in Order!
Stop struggling to manage all your genealogy facts, files, and data–make a plan of attack to maximize your progress. Organize Your Genealogy will show you how to use tried-and-true methods and the latest tech tools and genealogy software to organize your research plan, workspace, and family-history finds. In this book, you’ll learn how to organize your time and resources, including how to set goals and objectives, determine workable research questions, sort paper and digital documents, keep track of physical and online correspondence, prepare for a research trip, and follow a skill-building plan. With this comprehensive guide, you’ll make the most of your research time and energy and put yourself on a road to genealogy success.
Organize Your Genealogy features:
• Secrets to developing organized habits that will maximize your research time and progress
• Hints for setting up the right physical and online workspaces
• Proven, useful systems for organizing paper and electronic documents
• Tips for managing genealogy projects and goals
• The best tools for organizing every aspect of your ancestry research
• Easy-to-use checklists and worksheets to apply the book’s strategies
Whether you’re a newbie seeking best practices to get started or a seasoned researcher looking for new and better ways of getting organized, this guide will help you manage every facet of your ancestry research.
Practical Genealogy: 50 Simple Steps to Research Your Diverse Family History, (please click on title for additional information or to purchase – paid link), by Brian Sheffey, published 2020. Available as Paperback: $14.22 and Kindle ebook: $9.99.
Amazon description: The pursuit of family history tends to be shaped by several motives, including finding a larger familial historical picture, preserving the past for future generations, and storytelling. Practical Genealogy provides a method for investigating your family history by establishing an understanding of genealogy and the factors, tasks, and obstacles involved in the research. The end goal: find the information necessary to piece together your heritage.
Follow 50 steps that will fill in the puzzle of your lineage. Learn how to perform your own investigation through the lens of real-world obstacles like tracing ancestry through adoptions and orphanages. Practical Genealogy simplifies and breaks down the complex research process into actionable tips that can be conducted over a period of time. And most importantly, no blood test is necessary.
Inside Practical Genealogy you’ll find:
- Break through barriers―Learn how to negotiate common “brick wall” issues like missing chunks of family history or multiple names found for the same person.
- Case studies―Examples of actual genealogy research are provided to support the comprehension of each step of your exploration.
- See the BIG picture―Large fonts and easy-to-read images make learning easy for older adults.
When you take genealogy research into your own hands, your potential for discovery is limitless.
Genealogy/DNA True-Life Stories and Memoirs:
Finding Family: My Search for Roots and the Secrets in My DNA, (please click on title for additional information or to purchase – paid link), by Richard Hill, self-published 2012. Available as Paperback: $24.99 and Kindle ebook: $8.69.
Amazon description: Adopted at birth, Richard Hill embarks on a life-long quest to find his roots when, as a teenager, the “secret” slips out. For anyone fascinated with genealogy and the new science of genetic testing, this book is a page-turner! I found the story even more mesmerizing because it is a true account of this man’s unending persistence to learn the truth. You will rejoice with Richard as he slowly builds his facts and uncovers hidden family secrets. A true detective story, Richard Hill is known as the first person to absolutely identify adoptive parents using DNA testing.
Reunited: An Investigative Genealogist Unlocks Some of Life’s Greatest Family Mysteries, (please click title for information or to purchase – paid link), by Pamela Slaton, published 2012. Available as Paperback: $14.99 and Kindle ebook $7.99.
Amazon description: In this poignant and heartwarming narrative, renowned genealogist Pamela Slaton tells the most striking stories from her incredibly successful career of reconnecting adoptees with long-lost birth parents. After a traumatic reunion with her own birth mother, Pamela Slaton realized two things: that she wanted to help other adoptees have happier reunions with their birth families, and that she had the unique skill to do so – a strong ability to find what others could not.
Reunited shares the riveting stories of some of Pam’s most powerful cases from her long career as an investigative genealogist, and the lessons learned along the way. From the identical twins separated at birth, unknowingly part of a secret study on development, to the man who finally met his birth mother just in the nick of time, Reunited is a collection of these unforgettable moments, told by the woman who orchestrated and witnessed them first-hand. Both heartbreaking and inspiring, they will move anyone who knows the true life-affirming power of family.
Listening to the Voices of Our Ancestors, (please click title for information or to purchase – paid link), by Megan Reilly Koepsell, published 2020. Available as Paperback: $15.12 and Kindle ebook: $5.49.
Amazon Description: Discover the secrets of your ancestral past and find our what your ancestors may be trying to tell you. This profound and insightful book will help you become aware of the subtle signs of how your own family members might be working alongside you in your genealogical searches.
In Search of Our Ancestors: 101 Inspiring Stories of Serendipity and Connection, (please click title for information or to purchase – paid link), by Megan Smolenyak, published 2015. Available as Kindle ebook: $8.99.
Amazon description: With over 100 true stories of the amazing luck, unexpected kindness, and unusual serendipity encountered by researchers as they explore their roots, In Search of Our Ancestors offers an inspirational look at the rewards of family history. No story is longer than a few pages, but most are such touchingly personal tales that you may find yourself reading just one or two at a time. The photo of a great-great-great grandmother’s “free pass” (that proved she was not a slave) and its accompanying story of being made into a medal and touring the country is a definite tearjerker, as are the multiple stories of lives being saved through families passing on information about genetically inherited diseases. To lighten the mood a bit, laugh along with the researcher who discovered his wife was also his fifth cousin, or with the fellow who managed to ruin his family’s tales of famous ancestors, uncovering a war deserter instead. A few stories have relevant research information at the end, but the book isn’t aimed at your practical side. More than anything, this collection is designed to simply share the warmth and surprises that genealogical research can bring if you stick with the hunt, keep your sense of humor, and listen to your heart.
A Broken Tree: How DNA Exposed a Family’s Secrets, (please click title for information or to purchase – paid link), by Stephen F. Anderson, published 2019. Available as Hardcover: $30.00 and Kindle ebook: $15.39.
Amazon description: All families have stories and all families have secrets. Some stories can be hidden forever. Others come out over time, or suddenly through revelation. With the advent of easy to obtain and cheap DNA kits, more and more people are stumbling across biological secrets they never suspected, sometimes with happy outcomes, but sometimes with shocking results.
In this book, the author provides a real-life example of the shocking revelations and aftermath of DNA investigation. Growing up as one of nine children, Stephen Anderson suspected from a young age that something was amiss. A chance accident, and a small crack in the history of his family broke open. More would come to be revealed as the author sets out on a journey to find answers to his questions. Any reader wondering what a DNA test might reveal will find here one extreme example of family secrets gone awry. As each member learns more about his or her own identity, new family members pop up, fade out, or pass away before relationships can be established or even revealed.
More and more people are undergoing DNA tests and seeking to find long lost relatives though ancestry searches. What they find might upturn all their shared assumptions about family, identity, belonging, and history. Join Stephen as he uncovers his own family’s secrets, the impact they’ve had on his life and his family’s, and what they are all doing now to heal fresh wounds.
Hey, America, Your Roots Are Showing: Adventures in Discovering News-Making Connections, Unexpected Ancestors, and Long-Hidden Secrets, and Solving Historical Puzzles, (please click on title for information or to purchase – paid link), by Megan Smolenyak, published 2011. Available as Paperback: $14.90 and Kindle ebook: $9.99.
Amazon description: You’ve heard of the Dog Whisperer? Meet the Ancestor Rescuer.
Part forensic scientist, part master sleuth, Megan Smolenyak has solved some of America’s oldest and most fascinating genealogical mysteries. You’ve read the headlines; now get the inside story as the “Indiana Jones of genealogy” reveals how she cracked her news-making cases, became the face of this increasingly popular field–and redefined history along the way.
How did Smolenyak discover Barack Obama’s Irish ancestry–and his relation to Brad Pitt? Or the journey of Michelle Obama’s family from slavery to the White House? Or the startling links between outspoken politicians Al Sharpton and Strom Thurmond? And why is Smolenyak’s name squared? Test your own skills as she shares her exciting secrets.
The Lost Family: How DNA Testing Is Upending Who We Are, (please click on title for information or to purchase – paid link), by Libby Copeland, published 2020. Available as Harcover: $15.99, Paperback $17.00 and Kindle ebook: $14.59.
Amazon description: A deeply reported look at the rise of home genetic testing and the seismic shock it has had on individual lives.
You swab your cheek or spit into a vial, then send it away to a lab somewhere. Weeks later you get a report that might tell you where your ancestors came from or if you carry certain genetic risks. Or the report could reveal a long-buried family secret and upend your entire sense of identity. Soon a lark becomes an obsession, an incessant desire to find answers to questions at the core of your being, like “Who am I?” and “Where did I come from?” Welcome to the age of home genetic testing.
In The Lost Family, journalist Libby Copeland investigates what happens when we embark on a vast social experiment with little understanding of the ramifications. Copeland explores the culture of genealogy buffs, the science of DNA, and the business of companies like Ancestry and 23andMe, all while tracing the story of one woman, her unusual results, and a relentless methodical drive for answers that becomes a thoroughly modern genetic detective story.
The Lost Family delves into the many lives that have been irrevocably changed by home DNA tests—a technology that represents the end of family secrets. There are the adoptees who’ve used the tests to find their birth parents; donor-conceived adults who suddenly discover they have more than fifty siblings; hundreds of thousands of Americans who discover their fathers aren’t biologically related to them, a phenomenon so common it is known as a “non-paternity event”; and individuals who are left to grapple with their conceptions of race and ethnicity when their true ancestral histories are discovered. Throughout these accounts, Copeland explores the impulse toward genetic essentialism and raises the question of how much our genes should get to tell us about who we are. With more than thirty million people having undergone home DNA testing, the answer to that question is more important than ever.
Gripping and masterfully told, The Lost Family is a spectacular book on a big, timely subject.
Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love, (please click on title for information or to purchase – paid link), by Dani Shapiro, published 2020. Available as Hardcover: $8.94, Paperback: $14.59 and Kindle ebook: $12.99.
Amazon description: From the acclaimed, best-selling memoirist, novelist—“a writer of rare talent” (Cheryl Strayed)— and host of the hit podcast Family Secrets, comes a memoir about the staggering family secret uncovered by a genealogy test: an exploration of the urgent ethical questions surrounding fertility treatments and DNA testing, and a profound inquiry of paternity, identity, and love.
What makes us who we are? What combination of memory, history, biology, experience, and that ineffable thing called the soul defines us?
In the spring of 2016, through a genealogy website to which she had whimsically submitted her DNA for analysis, Dani Shapiro received the stunning news that her father was not her biological father. She woke up one morning and her entire history–the life she had lived–crumbled beneath her.
Inheritance is a book about secrets–secrets within families, kept out of shame or self-protectiveness; secrets we keep from one another in the name of love. It is the story of a woman’s urgent quest to unlock the story of her own identity, a story that has been scrupulously hidden from her for more than fifty years, years she had spent writing brilliantly, and compulsively, on themes of identity and family history. It is a book about the extraordinary moment we live in–a moment in which science and technology have outpaced not only medical ethics but also the capacities of the human heart to contend with the consequences of what we discover.
Maternal Failure, (please click on title for information or to purchase – paid link), by Barb Baltrinic, published 2018. Available as Paperback: $14.99 and Kindle ebook: $6.99.
Amazon description: My mother made choices which would become the secrets she carried to her grave. I had been born illegitimately, put up for adoption, but at nine months old I was taken out of the process when my mother married the man who eventually adopted me. Despite her taking me back, she was never able to bond with me. It wasn’t until I had children of my own that I became brave enough to research the many questions I had about my bio-father, and trying to understand my mother’s inability to love me. After her death I pursued uncovering all her secrets. This memoir follows the many dead-ends, shocking revelations, and extraordinary twists and turns I faced in my research. It was finally DNA which uncovered the biggest secrets my mother kept hidden. This book offers hope to others who seek answers about their adoption, finding bio-parents and bio-families, and using DNA testing to help solve the mystery of their beginnings. My life is now incredibly rich with the answers I have found and embraced. My search for answers helped me overcome my own feelings of frustration with my mother and her inability to love me. I now believe she did love me, but her many secrets locked her ability to build a relationship with a daughter who only wanted her love.
The Milkman’s Son: A Memoir of Family History. A DNA Mystery. A Story of Paternal Love. (please click on title for information or to purchase – paid link), by Randy Lindsay, published 2020. Available as Hardcover: $19.15 and Kindle ebook: $17.99.
Amazon description: Raised in a family he bore little resemblance to, Randy was jokingly referred to as “the milkman’s son.” This warm and candid memoir chronicles the unraveling of a family secret, which begins with Randy’s dad having dreams about deceased relatives urging him to complete their family tree. Randy agrees to help with the genealogy, but after his searching leads to a dead end, he takes a commercially available DNA test. The results reveal a possible genetic match to a sister, which begins a familial quest that forever changes the author’s life.
Featuring a cast of vivid characters richly drawn from two distinct families, The Milkman’s Son reveals one man’s family tree, pulling back layers of new information as he gets closer to the truth—a biological father, siblings, and family members he never knew about.
This is a story of accepting, forgiving, and reuniting. Most importantly, it’s about the bonds that connect us and the unconditional love that makes us feel like we belong.
Paper and Spit: Family found: How DNA and Genealogy revealed my first parents’ identity, (please click on title for information or to purchase – paid link), by Don Anderson, published 2017. Available as Paperback: $15.95 and Kindle ebook: $7.99.
Amazon description: Like many adoptees, Don Anderson wanted to know where he came from. But would he be setting himself up for disappointment by searching? Would he discover parents who were not alive—or worse, parents who didn’t want to know him? Would he be able to find them at all?
Digger: A Memoir, (please click on title for information or to purchase – paid link), by Barbara McCollough, published 2019. Available as Paperback: $13.99 and Kindle ebook: $7.99.
Amazon description: A remarkable and inspiring memoir of the author’s suspense-filled journey to unmask family secrets in order to find the truth at the core of her existence: whether she had a twin sister from whom she was separated at birth.
Digger is an astonishing story, beautifully written, full of suspense, and threaded with the insight and wisdom of the author who has devoted her life to finding the truth of a family secret – whether or not she had a twin. Thrilling, inspiring, and deeply poignant, this is also a story about the search for wholeness, that longing of the heart which is universal.Words cannot convey the power of this memoir – its dramatic momentum, mystical threads, and profound understanding of human nature and familial relationships. Digger is a landmark book, a remarkable achievement which deserves the highest possible recommendation.
Olivia Ames Hoblitzelle – Author of Ten Thousand Joys & Ten Thousand Sorrows: a Couple’s Journey Through Alzheimer’s and Aging with Wisdom: Reflections, Stories & Teachings.
Swabbed & Found: An Adopted Man’s DNA Journey to Discover his Family Tree, (please click on title for information or to purchase – paid link), by Frank Billingsley, published 2017. Available as Hardcover: $18.17 and Kindle ebook: $10.99.
Amazon description: As Houston’s beloved KPRC weatherman for more than 20 years, Frank Billingsley seems like a relative to many people. His optimistic presence comes into their homes and reassures that even the gloomiest of rainclouds probably has a silver lining. He has such a way with people that it is obvious that he comes by his sunny, outgoing demeanor naturally.
Billingsley always wondered if he got his personality, his bright blue eyes, or his love of people from his mother or his father. But he was adopted, so he never knew. Swabbed & Found is the fascinating story of how he combined cutting-edge DNA tests and genealogical programs in combination with his investigative skills to put the pieces of his family tree in order. Along the way he discovered that people are not always who they seem, or even who they think they are. Each time he would think that he had come to a dead end, he found himself helped by a new friend or a newly discovered relative, until finally, he was able to find the family he had wondered about for his whole life.
The science of genealogy is booming, and in his typical open fashion, Billingsley puts a human face on it. His story shows that who we are is not necessarily who gave us our eye color, but who we love. Knowing our genealogical background is important, but wielding that information with care and compassion is a vital part of this new science.
Providing a clear road map of how the DNA discovery process works, resources, and explanations of just what second cousin-once-removed really means, as well as insight on life as a gay public figure in the South, this generous book makes it clear why Billingsley has found such a home in Houston’s heart. Anyone who has ever wondered about missing branches on their family tree, wanted to know more about their heritage, or wanted to understand, once and for all, that we are all really one big family, will find Swabbed & Found enlightening and engaging.
The Lies That Bind: An Adoptee’s Journey Through Rejection, Redirection, DNA, and Discovery, (please click on title for information or to purchase – paid link), by Laureen Pittman, published 2019. Available as Paperback: $7.99 and Kindle ebook: $1.99.
Amazon description: Born in a California women’s prison in 1963, Laureen Pittman was relinquished for adoption. As a child, Laureen was conditioned to believe that being adopted didn’t matter. So, it didn’t . . . until it did.
Through scraps of information, Laureen stitched together her history – one that started in the psychedelic sixties and ended up in a future where DNA could solve mysteries. She never imagined that spitting into a plastic tube, along with painstaking research and the explosion of technology would reveal the answers to her identity.
Laureen’s tale is for anyone who has ever questioned who they are, where they came from, or how they fit in. Her journey to find her truth illustrates the strength and power of our need for connection, belonging, and healing through knowledge.
The Stranger in My Genes: A Memoir, (please click on title for information or to purchase – paid link), by Bill Griffeth, published 2016. Available as Hardcover: $29.95 and Kindle ebook: $14.99.
Amazon description: Bill Griffeth, longtime genealogy buff, takes a DNA test that has an unexpected outcome: “If the results were correct, it meant that the family tree I had spent years documenting was not my own.” Bill undertakes a quest to solve the mystery of his origins, which shakes his sense of identity. As he takes us on his journey, we learn about choices made by his ancestors, parents, and others, and we see Bill measure and weigh his own difficult choices as he confronts the past.
All About You: An Adopted Child’s Memoir, (please click on title for information or to purchase – paid link), by Liz Butler Duren, published 2017. Available as Paperback: $13.43 and Kindle ebook: $5.99.
Amazon description: This isn’t just another story about a search for a birth mother. This is a story about secrets and lies and the lengths people will go to to protect a grand Southern family name from scandal. It’s a story about tireless perseverance in claiming a meaningful life when your very birth seemed to be a cause for shame. Where secrets are buried deeper than the family silver when the Yankees came a callin’. But mostly, it’s proof that Soap Opera plot lines and real life have WAY more in common than we are willing to admit ( except for that whole coming back from the dead part… ) I lived in a world of wild imagination fueled by long stretches of childhood boredom, so what else was I going to do but keep the endless storyline going until the truth finally came out and we cried mascara-stained tears.
The Foundling: The True Story of a Kidnapping, A Family Secret, and My Search for the Real Me, (please click on title for information or to purchase – paid link), by Paul Joseph Fronzak, published 2018. Available as Hardcover: $37.27, Paperback: $14.59 and Kindle ebook: $13.99.
Amazon description: This is the inspiring and “page-turning” (Booklist) true story of Paul Fronczak, a man who recently discovered that he had been kidnapped as a baby—and how his quest to find out who he really is upturned the genealogy industry, his own family, and set in motion the second longest cold-case in US history.
In 1964, a woman pretending to be a nurse kidnapped an infant boy named Paul Fronczak from a Chicago hospital.
Two years later, police found a boy abandoned outside a variety store in New Jersey. The FBI tracked down Dora Fronczak, the kidnapped infant’s mother, and she identified the abandoned boy as her son. The family spent the next fifty years believing they were whole again—but Paul was always unsure about his true identity.
Then, four years ago—spurred on by the birth of his first child, Emma Faith—Paul took a DNA test. The test revealed that he was definitely not Paul Fronczak. From that moment on, Paul has been on a tireless mission to find the man whose life he’s been living—and to discover who abandoned him, and why.
Poignant and inspiring, The Foundling is a story about a child lost and a faith found, about the permanence of families and the bloodlines that define you, and about the emotional toll of both losing your identity and rediscovering who you truly are.
My Secret: The true story of one woman’s adoption discovery and search, (please click on title for information or to purchase – paid ink), by Joanne E. Sayre, published 2016. Available as Paperback: $10.00 and Kindle ebook: $5.99.
Amazon description: What if you found out that you were adopted and everything you thought you knew about your family, your security, was shattered? My Secret is about my 40 year quest for truth about who I am. But, more than that, this story is about overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles to achieve a goal. My book begins when I was 7 and my 10 year-old male cousin proclaimed, “I don’t have to be nice to you ’cause you’re really not my cousin anyways. You’re ADOPTED.” I confronted my narcissistic mother with my revelation and she became furious. I soon learned that I was different, less than, and not to speak of it again. I was born in 1952 and began my search in 1973 when I turned 21. My undaunted determination led me from private detectives, online sources and social agencies to covert missions like trying to collect an aunt’s DNA sample at a family gathering. The hospital in Philadelphia, PA, where I was born was torn down and all birth records before 1964 destroyed. I have no original birth certificate on file. There were rumors, innuendos, false leads and small steps forward and backward. This is a true story and I believe readers will be drawn in by the intimacy of the journey. There are many books available on adoption, but I believe my book to be unique. There is a happy ending. Before any journey begins, one must be prepared to find the truth.
Healing the Family Heart Holes: A Genealogical Quest to Solve an Illegal Adoption Mystery Using DNA, Old Records, and Irish Luck, (please click on title for information or to purchase – paid link), by Robin Gerry, published 2019. Available as Paperback $9.95 and Kindle ebook: $7.50.
Amazon description: This book is the personal story of how one woman traced back her maternal family history to discover the true circumstances of her mother’s illegal ‘adoption’. Using DNA, genealogical research, the kindness of new found relatives and a willingness to keep cross referencing hundreds and hundreds of new family names and locations, the story unfolded within a historical context. It became a genealogical adventure with an honest to God princess, allegations of Islamic terrorism, an Irish bog man, movie stars, old kings of Ireland, as well as poor farmers, blacksmiths and saloon keepers. But primarily it was a story of discovering the power of raw endurance and survival in the face of overwhelming horror. And understanding the strength of carrying on after the trauma of oppression, famine, and war. It is the saga of intergenerational Irish and German immigration, family tragedy and triumph. The story reminds us of how understanding what happened within our own family history can have on healing our own hearts. It can be a beginners guide to start thinking about how to figure out your own family story.
The Asylum, (please click on title for information or to purchase – paid link), by Nathan Dylan Goodwin, published 2018. Available as Kindle eBook: $2.99.
Amazon description: The job presented to forensic genealogist, Morton Farrier, ought to have been simple and easy. But the surprise discovery of an additional marriage to his client’s father leads Morton on an inquiry, revolving around a mysterious death in the county asylum. Requiring his various investigative genealogical skills, Morton must work to unravel this complex eighty-year-old secret and finally reveal the truth to his client.
Hiding the Past (The Forensic Genealogist series – Book 1), (please click on title for information or to purchase – paid link), by Nathan Dylan Goodwin, published 2013. Available as Paperback: $12.89 and Kindle ebook: $5.29.
Amazon description: Peter Coldrick had no past; that was the conclusion drawn by years of personal and professional research. Then he employed the services of one Morton Farrier, Forensic Genealogist – a stubborn, determined man who uses whatever means necessary to uncover the past. With the Coldrick Case, Morton faces his toughest and most dangerous assignment yet, where all of his investigative and genealogical skills are put to the test. However, others are also interested in the Coldrick family, people who will stop at nothing, including murder, to hide the past. As Morton begins to unearth his client’s mysterious past, he is forced to confront his own family’s dark history, a history which he knows little about. This is the first book in the Morton Farrier genealogical crime mystery series.
The Lost Ancestor (The Forensic Genealogist series – Book 2), (please click on title for information or to purchase – paid link), by Nathan Dylan Goodwin, published 2014. Available as Paperback: $12.99 and Kindle ebook: $5.99.
Amazon description: When Morton is called upon by Ray Mercer to investigate the 1911 disappearance of his great aunt, a housemaid working in a large Edwardian country house, he has no idea of the perilous journey into the past that he is about to make. Morton must use his not inconsiderable genealogical skills to solve the mystery of Mary Mercer’s disappearance, in the face of the dangers posed by those others who are determined to end his investigation at any cost.
The Orange Lilies: A Morton Farrier novella (The Forensic Genealogist series – Book 3), (please click on title for information or to purchase – paid link), by Nathan Dylan Goodwin, published 2014. Available as Paperback: $6.99 and Kindle ebook: $3.89.
Amazon description: Morton Farrier has spent his entire career as a forensic genealogist solving other people’s family history secrets, all the while knowing so little of his very own family’s mysterious past. However, this poignant Christmastime novella sees Morton’s skills put to use much closer to home, as he must confront his own past, present and future through events both present-day and one hundred years ago. It seems that not every soldier saw a truce on the Western Front that 1914 Christmas…
The America Ground (The Forensic Genealogist Series – Book 4), (please click on tittle for information or to purchase – paid link), by Nathan Dylan Goodwin, published 2015. Available as Paperback: $12.99 and Kindle ebook: $5.99.
Amazon description: Morton Farrier, the esteemed English forensic genealogist, had cleared a space in his busy schedule to track down his own elusive father finally. But he is then presented with a case that challenges his research skills in his quest to find the killer of a woman murdered more than one hundred and eighty years ago. Thoughts of his own family history are quickly and violently pushed to one side as Morton rushes to complete his investigation before other sinister elements succeed in derailing the case.
The Spyglass File (The Forensic Genealogist Series – Book 5), (please click on title for information or to purchase – paid link), by Nathan Dylan Goodwin, published 2016. Available in Paperback: $12.99 and Kindle ebook: $5.99.
Amazon description: Morton Farrier was no longer at the top of his game. His forensic genealogy career was faltering and he was refusing to accept any new cases, preferring instead to concentrate on locating his own elusive biological father. Yet, when a particular case presents itself, that of finding the family of a woman abandoned in the midst of the Battle of Britain, Morton is compelled to help her to unravel her past. Using all of his genealogical skills, he soon discovers that the case is connected to The Spyglass File—a secretive document which throws up links which threaten to disturb the wrongdoings of others, who would rather its contents, as well as their actions, remain hidden forever.
The Missing Man: A Morton Farrier novella (The Forensic Genealogist Series – Book 6), (please click on title for information or to purchase – paid link), by Nathan Dylan Goodwin, published 2017. Available in Paperback: $7.99 and Kindle ebook: $4.29.
Amazon description: It was to be the most important case of Morton Farrier’s career in forensic genealogy so far. A case that had eluded him for many years: finding his own father. Harley ‘Jack’ Jacklin disappeared just six days after a fatal fire at his Cape Cod home on Christmas Eve in 1976, leaving no trace behind. Now his son, Morton must travel to the East Coast of America to unravel the family’s dark secrets in order to discover what happened to him.
The Wicked Trade (The Forensic Genealogist Book 7), (please click on title for information or to purchase – paid link), by Nathan Dylan Goodwin, published 2018. Available as Paperback: $13.49 and Kindle ebook: $5.99.
Amazon description: When Morton Farrier is presented with a case revolving around a mysterious letter written by disreputable criminal, Ann Fothergill in 1827, he quickly finds himself delving into a shadowy Georgian underworld of smuggling and murder on the Kent and Sussex border. Morton must use his skills as a forensic genealogist to untangle Ann’s association with the notorious Aldington Gang and also with the brutal killing of Quartermaster Richard Morgan. As his research continues, Morton suspects that his client’s family might have more troubling and dangerous expectations of his findings.
The Sterling Affair (The Forensic Genealogist Book 8), please click on title for information or to purchase – paid link), by Nathan Dylan Goodwin, published 2020. Available as Paperback: $15.99 and Kindle ebook: $5.99.
Amazon Description: When an unannounced stranger comes calling at Morton Farrier’s front door, he finds himself faced with the most intriguing and confounding case of his career to-date as a forensic genealogist. He agrees to accept the contract to identify a man who had been secretly living under the name of his new client’s long-deceased brother. Morton must use his range of resources and research skills to help him deconstruct this mysterious man’s life, ultimately leading him back into the murky world of 1950s international affairs of state. Meanwhile, Morton is faced with his own alarmingly close DNA match which itself comes with far-reaching implications for the Farriers.
The Lie: When DNA Reveals the Family Secret, (please click on title for information or to purchase – paid link), by Heather Dawn Gray, published 2019. Available as Paperback: $12.33 and Kindle ebook: $0.99.
Amazon description: A simple DNA test sparks a journey of self-discovery. Jahana continues to struggle with her grief a year after her mother’s death. She wishes she knew her maternal relatives, but her mother refused to talk about them. To help her move on, Jahana’s husband buys her an Ancestry DNA kit. When the results come in, she discovers more than she bargained for. Her DNA reveals a family secret she would like to ignore, but can’t. The Lie is too big.
In the Blood (Jefferson Tayte Genealogical Mystery, Book 1), (please click on title for information or to purchase – paid link), by Steve Robinson, published 2014. Available as Paperback: $11.99 and Kindle ebook: $0.99.
Amazon description: Two hundred years ago a loyalist family fled to England to escape the American War of Independence and seemingly vanished into thin air. American genealogist Jefferson Tayte is hired to find out what happened, but it soon becomes apparent that a calculated killer is out to stop him.
In the Blood combines a centuries-old mystery with a present-day thriller that brings two people from opposite sides of the Atlantic together to uncover a series of carefully hidden crimes. Tayte’s research centres around the tragic life of a young Cornish girl, a writing box, and the discovery of a dark secret that he believes will lead him to the family he is looking for. Trouble is, someone else is looking for the same answers and will stop at nothing to find them.
In the Blood is the first book in the Jefferson Tayte mystery series.
To the Grave (Jefferson Tayte Genealogical Mystery, Book 2), (please click on title for information or to purchase – paid link), by Steve Robinson, published 2014. Available as Paperback: $11.99 and Kindle ebook: $4.99.
Amazon description: A curiously dated child’s suitcase arrives, unannounced and unexplained, in a modern-day Washington suburb. A week later, American genealogist Jefferson Tayte is sitting in an English hotel room, staring at the wrong end of a loaded gun.
In his latest journey into the past, Tayte lands in wartime Leicestershire, England. The genealogist had hoped simply to reunite his client with the birth mother she had never met, having no idea she had been adopted. Instead, he uncovers the tale of a young girl and an American serviceman from the US 82nd Airborne, and a stolen wartime love affair that went tragically wrong.
With To the Grave, Steve Robinson confirms his status as a master of the taut and delicately constructed historical thriller.
This is the second book in the Jefferson Tayte Genealogical Mystery series but can be enjoyed as a stand-alone story.
The Last Queen of England (Jefferson Tayte Genealogical Mystery, Book 3), (please click on title for information or to purchase – paid link), by Steve Robinson, published 2014. Available as Paperback: $11.99 and Kindle ebook: $5.49.
Amazon description: While on a visit to London, American genealogist Jefferson Tayte’s old friend and colleague dies in his arms. Before long, Tayte and a truth-seeking historian, Professor Jean Summer, find themselves following a corpse-ridden trail that takes them to the Royal Society of London, circa 1708.
What to make of the story of five men of science, colleagues of Isaac Newton and Christopher Wren, who were mysteriously hanged for high treason?
As they edge closer to the truth, Tayte and the professor find that death is once again in season. A new killer, bent on restoring what he sees as the true, royal bloodline, is on the loose…as is a Machiavellian heir-hunter who senses that the latest round of murder, kidnapping, and scandal represents an unmissable business opportunity.
The Last Queen of England is a racing thriller with a heart-stopping conclusion. It is the third book in the Jefferson Tayte Genealogical Mystery series but can be enjoyed as a stand-alone story.
The Lost Empress (Jefferson Tayte Genealogical Mystery, Book 4), (please click on title for information or to purchase – paid link), by Steve Robinson, published 2014. Available as Paperback: $11.99 and Kindle ebook: $5.99.
Amazon description: From acclaimed author Steve Robinson comes a bold new Jefferson Tayte mystery.
On a foggy night in 1914, the ocean liner Empress of Ireland sank en route between Canada and England. The disaster saw a loss of life comparable to the Titanic and the Lusitania, and yet her tragedy has been forgotten.
When genealogist Jefferson Tayte is shown a locket belonging to one of the Empress’s victims, a British admiral’s daughter named Alice Stilwell, he must travel to England to understand the course of events that led to her death.
Tayte is expert in tracking killers across centuries. In The Lost Empress, his unique talents draw him to one of the greatest tragedies in maritime history as he unravels the truth behind Alice’s death amidst a backdrop of pre-WWI espionage.
This is the fourth book in the Jefferson Tayte Genealogical Mystery series but can be enjoyed as a stand-alone story.
Kindred (Jefferson Tayte Genealogical Mystery, Book 5), (please click on title for information or to purchase – paid link), by Steve Robinson, published 2016. Available as Paperback: $11.99 and Kindle ebook: $5.99.
Amazon description: Jefferson Tayte is good at finding people who don’t want to be found. For years he has followed faint genealogical trails to reunite families—and uncover long-hidden secrets. But Tayte is a loner, a man with no ties of his own; his true identity is the most elusive case of his career.
But that could all be about to change. Now Tayte has in his possession the beginnings of a new trail—clues his late mentor had started to gather—that might at last lead to his own family. With Professor Jean Summer, his partner in genealogical sleuthing, he travels to Munich to pick up the scent. But the hunt takes them deep into dangerous territory: the sinister secrets of World War II Germany, and those who must keep them buried at any cost.
When their investigations threaten to undermine a fascist organisation, Tayte and Summer know time is running out. Can they find their way to the dark heart of a deadly history before they become its latest victims?
This is the fifth book in the Jefferson Tayte Genealogical Mystery series but can be enjoyed as a stand-alone story.
Dying Games (Jefferson Tayte Genealogical Mystery, Book 6), (please click on title for information or to purchase – paid link), by Steve Robinson, published 2017. Available as Paperback: $11.99 and Kindle ebook: $5.99.
Amazon description: Washington, DC: Twin brothers are found drowned in a Perspex box, one gagged and strapped to a chair. It’s the latest in a series of cruel and elaborate murders with two things in common: the killer has left a family history chart at each crime scene, and the victims all have a connection to genealogical sleuth Jefferson Tayte.
Hoping his insight and expertise will help solve the case, the FBI summon Tayte back to the capital. But as he struggles to crack the clues, the killer strikes again—and again. Tayte is known as the best in the business, but this time he’s up against a genealogical mastermind who always seems to be one step ahead.
With the clock ticking and the body count rising, Tayte finds himself racked with guilt, his reputation and career in tatters. The killer is running rings around him; is it only a matter of time before he comes for the ultimate target?
This is the sixth book in the Jefferson Tayte Genealogical Mystery series but can be enjoyed as a stand-alone story.
Letters from the Dead (Jefferson Tayte Genealogical Mystery, Book 7),(please click on title for information or to purchase – paid link), by Steve Robinson, published 2018. Available as Paperback: $8.29 and Kindle ebook: $4.99.
Amazon Description: From acclaimed author Steve Robinson comes a thrilling new Jefferson Tayte mystery.
When genealogist Jefferson Tayte is hired to prove the identity of a black sheep in his client’s family tree, he unwillingly finds himself drawn into a murder investigation with nothing more to go on than a 150-year-old letter and a connection to a legendary ruby that has been missing for generations.
As more letters are mysteriously left for him, Tayte becomes immersed in a centuries-old tale of greed, murder and forbidden love that takes his research from the wilds of the Scottish Highlands to the colour and heat of colonial India.
A dark secret is buried in Jaipur, steeped in treachery and scandal. But why is it having such deadly repercussions in the present? Can Tayte find the ruby and prevent the past from repeating itself before it’s too late?
This is the seventh book in the Jefferson Tayte Genealogical Mystery series but it can be enjoyed as a stand-alone story.
Trace, (please click on title for information or to purchase – paid link), by John Ahrens, published 2019. Available as Paperback: $10.99 and Kindle ebook: $2.99.
Amazon Description: Edutainment: Learn about genetic genealogy and DNA testing through storytelling.
Heather Schmidt, a college student in Michigan, took a DNA test with Ancestry.com to learn about her ethnicity. She finds herself connected to another student a thousand miles away in Atlanta named Anthony LaGuerre. Together they embark on an adventure through history and across the globe as they uncover their common ancestry. Along the way they meet other distant cousins with whom they begin to reveal the story of a family going back to the 17th Century.
This novel weaves together a fictional story of distant relatives finding their common roots, despite their many differences and prejudices. At the same time, the reader learns more about genetic genealogy and DNA testing, and about how the world began to change in 1600s as trade became globalized.
The Jayne Sinclair Genealogical Mysteries: Books 1-3 (Jayne Sinclair Genealogy Mystery Box Set), (please click on title for information or to purchase – paid link), by MJ Lee. Available as Kindle ebook set: $9.99 or individually as paperbacks: various prices. There are seven books in the complete series.
Amazon Description: A thrilling saga of love, war, greed and revenge.Sometimes, digging up the past reveals more than secrets. Featuring Jayne Sinclair, genealogical detective.
Maze Investigations – The Genealogy Detectives (4 book series), (please click on title for information or to purchase – paid link), by M.K. Jones. Available as Kindle ebook: $9.99.
Amazon Description: Maggie Gilbert and her children, Jack and Alice, live a pretty normal life. That is, until Maggie starts looking into her family tree. In doing so, she uncovers a dark mystery that endangers her children. She has to solve a mystery in the past, if she is to save her family in the present.
This four book series is a supernatural mystery set in South Wales. It draws on real historical details.
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