Book Review: The Journey Takers, by Leslie Albrecht Huber

Prepared by Gena Philibert-Ortega.

The Journey Takers, written by genealogist Leslie Albrecht Huber, is a book about Leslie's own journeys as she traces the migrations of her immigrant ancestors from Germany, Sweden, and England to the United States. She writes about her discoveries and also about the lives that her ancestor lived, taking the facts of her ancestor's lives and transforming them into real people who struggled and dreamed.

Divided into four parts, each section centers on a different ancestral family and their lives and migrations. The story of her ancestors is also weaved along with the story of Leslie, her immediate family, her research and analysis of that research. What makes this book unique from other books about genealogical research is that it also serves as a memoir of the years Leslie spent researching these families. Leslie's research takes her into archives and repositories in the United States as well as in Europe and shows the importance of going beyond Internet research. By incorporating Leslie's life into the story of her ancestors, the reader develops a better understanding of the everyday life of her ancestors. Leslie writes in a way that makes you empathize, and remember, what it's like to want to know more about your ancestors while balancing raising young children or other commitments. This way of presenting a family history might be one for readers to consider as they write their own family history narratives. Retelling the research process, including the dead-ends and the major discoveries, might provide a more enjoyable reading experience for non-genealogist family members.

Readers of The Journey Takers will also be interested in Leslie's website, Understanding Your Ancestors which includes articles on researching immigrant ancestors, Western European ancestors, record types and locality research. These online articles are a great addition to the book and allow you to trace your own journey takers.

The Journey Takers, by Leslie A. Huber, United States: Foundation Books, 2010.

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