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    Family Trees: A History of Genealogy in America (Hardback) By (author) Francois Weil

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    DescriptionThe quest for roots has been an enduring American preoccupation. Over the centuries, generations have sketched coats of arms, embroidered family trees, established local genealogical societies, and carefully filled in the blanks in their bibles, all in pursuit of self-knowledge and status through kinship ties. This long and varied history of Americans' search for identity illuminates the story of America itself, according to Francois Weil, as fixations with social standing, racial purity, and national belonging gave way in the twentieth century to an embrace of diverse ethnicity and heritage. Seeking out one's ancestors was a genteel pursuit in the colonial era, when an aristocratic pedigree secured a place in the British Atlantic empire. Genealogy developed into a middle-class diversion in the young republic. But over the next century, knowledge of one's family background came to represent a quasi-scientific defense of elite "Anglo-Saxons" in a nation transformed by immigration and the emancipation of slaves. By the mid-twentieth century, when a new enthusiasm for cultural diversity took hold, the practice of tracing one's family tree had become thoroughly democratized and commercialized. Today, Ancestry.com attracts over two million members with census records and ship manifests, while popular television shows depict celebrities exploring archives and submitting to DNA testing to learn the stories of their forebears. Further advances in genetics promise new insights as Americans continue their restless pursuit of past and place in an ever-changing world.

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  • Full bibliographic data for Family Trees

    Family Trees
    A History of Genealogy in America
    Authors and contributors
    By (author) Francois Weil
    Physical properties
    Format: Hardback
    Number of pages: 250
    Width: 142 mm
    Height: 211 mm
    Thickness: 30 mm
    Weight: 454 g
    ISBN 13: 9780674045835
    ISBN 10: 0674045831

    BIC geographical qualifier V2: 1KBB
    B&T Book Type: NF
    Nielsen BookScan Product Class 3: T5.6
    BIC E4L: HIS
    B&T Modifier: Region of Publication: 01
    BIC subject category V2: HBTG, WQY
    B&T Modifier: Academic Level: 05
    B&T General Subject: 680
    B&T Modifier: Subject Development: 01
    LC subject heading:
    Warengruppen-Systematik des deutschen Buchhandels: 15590
    B&T Modifier: Text Format: 40
    B&T Modifier: Geographic Designator: 01
    Ingram Subject Code: HS
    BISAC V2.8: HIS036000
    Libri: I-HS
    B&T Approval Code: A18560000
    B&T Merchandise Category: UP
    DC22: 929.20973
    LC subject heading:
    BIC subject category V2: 1KBB
    BISAC V2.8: HIS054000, REF013000
    BISAC region code:
    LC subject heading: ,
    DC23: 929.20973
    LC classification: CS9 .W45 2013
    LC subject heading: ,
    Thema V1.0: NHTB, NHTG, WQY
    Thema geographical qualifier V1.0: 1KBB
    Imprint name
    Publication date
    30 April 2013
    Publication City/Country
    Cambridge, Mass
    Author Information
    Francois Weil is the Chancellor of the Universities of Paris. He is professor of history and a former president of the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales.
    Review quote
    For a nation...so committed presumably to the rejection of birth and blood, the people of the United States throughout their history have devoted an enormous amount of energy, time, and money to genealogy and the search for ancestors. To explain this anomaly--indeed, to explain how the search for ancestors evolved in different forms over four centuries and eventually became a distinctly American mode of genealogy--is the burden of Francois Weil's well-researched and readable book, "Family Trees." Weil, who is chancellor of the Universities of Paris and professor of history at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, knows America well, but he has sufficient distance to be honest and dispassionate about it. The result is a succinct history of genealogy in a nation that supposedly denies the importance of birth and ancestors.--Gordon S. Wood"New York Review of Books" (05/23/2013)"