A Journey into the Past

This pandemic has lasted nearly 18 months. Needless to say, we haven’t travelled. I did undertake, however, a different kind of travel: a journey into the past. My father always said that he knew next to nothing about his parents’ families. A subscription to the family history website, http://www.ancestry.ca, helped me answer basic questions about them. But the more I learned, the more intrigued I became. The reason my dad knew nothing of his family history is shame. Family myths and gaps in the family story had covered up addictions, illegitimate births, and mental illness, all shameful in the 19th century. I learned that, in all families, where there are secrets, there is shame.

An account of my journey is on amazon. Part-memoir, part-social history of 19th century England, and part-research guide for the amateur family historian, this book chronicles my trip into the past. I tell the stories of the ancestors that hid in my family’s attic for 200 years. Their stories are miniatures: accounts of the ordinary lives of English people in the 19th century. Through them, I also saw broad patterns that reverberate through the generations of my family. Drawing upon my training as a psychotherapist, I use their stories to illustrate common themes in families. I show readers how family history research can help us gain a richer understanding, not only of our families, but of ourselves. Everyone who has gone before lives in us, as we will live in everyone who comes after.

For a limited time, November 1st to 5th, you can download an ebook version for free. This offer is available internationally. Just go to the amazon page in your country. Enjoy. Then post an honest review.

For a preview, click on the image:

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