Genealogy has become a widely popular pursuit, as millions of people now research their family history, trace their forebears, attend family reunions and travel to ancestral home sites. Geographers have much to contribute to the serious study of the family history phenomenon. Land records, maps and even GIS are increasingly used by genealogical investigators. As a cultural practice, it encompasses peoples' emotional attachments to ancestral places and is widely manifest on the ground as personal heritage travel. Family history research also has significant potential to challenge accepted geographical views of migration, ethnicity, socio-economic class and place-based identities. This volume is possibly the first ever book to address the geographical and scholarly aspects of this increasingly popular social phenomenon. It highlights tools and information sources used by geographers and their application to family history research. Furthermore, it examines family history as a socio-cultural practice, including the activities of tourism, archival research and DNA testing.
Dallen J. Timothy is Professor and Program Director, Tourism Development and Management, School of Community Resources and Development, Arizona State University, USA. Jeanne Kay Guelke is Professor Emerita in the Department of Geography, University of Waterloo, Canada.
'Dallen Timothy and Jeanne Kay Guelke have thrown open the door to the once derided study of genealogy in geographical investigations. While others have explored personal pasts, the authors of this edited volume offer a nuanced and critical view of how we can gain new insight into past geographies through genealogical records. They examine a host of technologies that offer new means to track people, families, and groups through time and space. Additionally, they offer a penetrating examination of genealogy as a cultural practice with a geography of its own.' Craig E. Colten, Louisiana State University, USA 'Geography and Genealogy: Locating Personal Pasts is a wonderful book that provides a fascinating introduction to the complex relationships between Geography, Genealogy, and Family History. This book takes readers on a journey to understand how geographical research skills can inform the pursuit of family history, and also how understanding family history as a cultural practice can in turn generate new insights about society amongst geographers. The editors have chosen an excellent set of contributors and produced a superb collection of essays to guide us on this journey. In doing so, they provide us with a great set of critical geographies to better know genealogy and geography.' Lawrence D. Berg, University of British Columbia, Canada 'Overall, Geography and Genealogy opens a new door to researchers in geography and cognate disciplines, by presenting a range of innovative and captivating theories, methodologies and practices that incorporate family history and genealogy into the study of space and place, at various temporal and spatial scales.' Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design 'While Geography and Genealogy testifies to the subversive power of genealogical research it is subversive in its own right: far from being abandoned as a source of identity, heritage, rescaled and reorganized, plays powerful roles within the post-modern condition. In addition this book informs an interested group of Anglo-American searchers with desires for personal histories and the transformative experiences this can trigger about the potential of geography and GIS in genealogical research. In the broader effort to develop GIS in academic and expert public history and heritage work, Geography and Genealogy contributes an engaging sense of personal involvement with mapping from the bottom up.' New Zealand Geographer