Family Tree Fiction

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Ah, winter. Lovely, lovely winter.

It's almost at an end which is such a shame, because how perfect is winter and a book? Some would say the beach and a book but there is so much potential for disaster there. What if you get wet, and then get covered in sand, and get all this sandy, gritty mess all over the pages, or drop the book in the water-filled moat the kids have made in the sand, or even worse, what if you drop the Kindle? And then the sun glares off the pages, causing huge blind spots in your vision, or you have to wear non-prescription sunglasses and can't see, or you've got sunscreen all over your hands and you touch the pages, and its a library book! Or you spill your vanilla milkshake all over it... No. Too much can go wrong at the beach, way too much. But winter? Winter is perfect for reading on the couch or in bed, on the bus ride home, or at a café with a coffee. Fictional bliss!

On to the family history fiction.

You would not be wrong in assuming from the title "Kissing Mr Wrong" that this is one for those who like romantic comedy in the chick-lit vein. It is indeed. Yet besides the romantic angst and confusion, there is a lovely family history thread running through it with associated mystery to solve.

Set in England, Lu is a 30-something children's book illustrator whose beloved grandmother, Delia, has asked her to find out who her birth parents are. Delia knows she was adopted, she has her father's name and some documentation, and figures all Lu has to do is go on the internet, like they do on the TV shows.

Lu has never been interested in her family history, but as she embarks on a mission to find out who her real great-grandparents are, she finds herself becoming hooked on the research, and the war becomes more and more real to her.

If you're a long-time family historian and know a lot about the First World War, the information may be a bit basic for you, with scenes like the "Mr Wrong" of the story, Nick, teaching Lu how to find the information, and Lu learning details about the war, when she hasn't been all that interested before. But it's such a fun read, as you would expect a romantic-comedy to be. Like the scene where worried grandma Delia, concerned over having to be put under for dental surgery, says to Lu: "It'll be like Death Row, the lethal injection. I'm ninety-two, you know, no good to anyone, I've had my time. They'll want to put me down, save me being a drain on resources." She sighed. "It's probably for the best."

The story is of course all about the budding romance with the confusion, conflict, why Nick is the wrong one for Lu, domestic dramas and happy-ever-after, but the family history thread running through it is most enjoyable. I loved this story.

There are large-print versions floating around the library system, as well as an audio book version.

Family History month continues...

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We're right in the middle of Family History Month here at Auckland Libraries and there are plenty of terrific things going on for a few more weeks yet. Our librarians are still in recuperation mode following the hugely successful and fabulous Family History Expo last weekend (which we'll blog on soon.)
Presentations continue to take place at libraries across Auckland, so check out the library website to see what's on at a place near you.
This weekend Smita Biswas, Team Leader of the West Auckland Research Centre, will be on the Hindi radio station Humm FM (106.2FM) fielding your calls, so check it out on Saturday August 20th where Smita will discuss the value of family history research. Go to the station website for more info.
And this Wednesday August 24th at 12 noon, our lunchtime series features Keith Giles of Sir George Grey Special Collections. Keith will speak on the Carte-de-Visite in New Zealand: a photographic format that dominated family albums in the 1800s. You can book for this, and any other of our upcoming lunchtime talks, on our website here.
Enjoy the rest of family history month, everyone!
Joanne - Central Research

Do Over Your Genealogy

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The Genealogy Do-Over workbook: Get your genealogy and family history research back on track and still have fun! by Thomas MacEntee UNLOCK the past, South Australia, 2016

When placing books on display or returning them to the shelves, you sometimes come across a title that intrigues you, and this is one such booklet. The author decided to put aside all his family history research and start afresh, using material previously unavailable in a variety of formats. He acknowledges that not all readers may want to do this, so he also addresses the person who wants to re-examine their research methods.

Each month is devoted to a particular task. For instance, month one is setting all previous research aside and preparing to do the research, while month five is citing sources and building a research toolbox - and so on. The author takes you through a variety of steps: he provides website addresses and ideas on how to progress your research, questions to ask yourself along the way, and he illustrates these with examples of pitfalls and successes.

Even if you've been researching for a number of years, this book is well worth reading as it shows methods we should be using for our research. We may have fallen into bad habits and aren't necessarily getting the quantity and quality of results that we would be – if we'd employed better habits! The book is easy to read and I'm sure everyone will get something from it – so give it a try. 

Check out the entry on our library catalogue here.

Marie Hickey Central Research Centre