Journeys Home: Inspiring Stories, Plus Tips and Strategies To Find Your Family History

& others. National Geographic. Feb. 2015. 288p. illus. index. ISBN 9781426213816. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781426215025. TRAV
Family secrets, mysteries, and lore are the impetus for the emotion-filled sojourns described in this beautifully illustrated essay collection and genealogy guide. The 26 essays, covering places as diverse as Scotland, Cambodia, Mexico, Italy, Japan, and India, open with one by travel writer and actor McCarthy, who describes his at-first-reluctant exploration of his Irish roots. Many of the other entries also recount traveling to a far-off country that was the home of the writer's ancestors, but others tell stories of going back home after a long period away—in the case of a man who escaped Cambodia as a refugee—or visiting a family homestead in a different locale in one's own country, in the case of an American who finds her Midwestern roots. Whatever the story, each writer describes a moment when confusion, sadness, or detachment fell away and they knew they belonged. For readers who sense similar longings, each entry comes with sidebars on exploring the culture of the place by cooking its food, listening to its music, or even visiting. The book closes with a useful how-to on investigating your origins; general information comes first, in subsections such as "Talk to Your Elders" and "Get a DNA Test" and is followed by country-specific advice relating to the nations visited in the writings.
VERDICT This poignant and information-filled travelog and genealogy primer is ideal for public libraries.
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