Shaking the Family Tree

Shaking the Family Tree

Blue Bloods, Black Sheep, and Other Obsessions of An Accidental Genealogist

Book - 2010
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As a historian, Buzzy Jackson thought she knew the answers to these simple questions--that is, until she took a look at her scrawny family tree. With a name like Jackson (the twentieth most common American surname), she knew she must have more relatives and more family history out there, somewhere. Her first visit to the Boulder Genealogy Society brought her more questions than answers . . . but it also gave her a tantalizing peek into the fascinating (and enormous) community of family-tree huggers and after-hours Alex Haleys.

In Shaking the Family Tree , Jackson dives headfirst into her family gene pool: flying cross-country to locate an ancient family graveyard, embarking on a weeklong genealogy Caribbean cruise, and even submitting her DNA for testing to try to find her Jacksons. And in the process of researching her own family lore ( Who was Bullwhip Jackson? ) she meets legions of other genealogy buffs who are as interesting as they are driven--from the boy who saved his allowance so he could order his great-grandfather's death certificate to the woman who spends her free time documenting the cemeteries of Colorado ghost towns.

Through Jackson's research she connects with distant relatives, traces her roots back more than 250 years and in the process comes to discover--genetically, historically, and emotionally--the true meaning of "family" for herself.
Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster, 2010.
ISBN: 9781439112991
Characteristics: xi, 241 p. ;,22 cm.


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May 09, 2018

The ancient Greeks, author "Buzzy" Jackson points out, had two distinct words for the concept of time: 'kairos' versus 'chronos'. The former term denotes what people spend most of their lives thinking about in terms of to-do lists, urgent appointments, shopping deals, and the rest, representing time in the present and upcoming future. The latter term denotes what people think about at the moments of deepest reflection, representing time like a set of ripples in an eternal ocean as one generation flows into another.

Jackson's excellent book describes her own look at her ancestors not just in terms of American history but even looking at early human evolution. The work is also quite more than that. She interviews a number of influential figures within the field of genealogy and tries to get a handle on what motivates people to put themselves into the shoes of their relatives. The book is highly recommended, page after page being filled with interesting information.

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