Genealogy gurus share their reading recommendations.
Likes and dislikes: I particularly liked how the stories reveal the multiple ways we discover our families’ pasts. The stories relating to the Holocaust are especially moving and sad. The editor includes seven of his own essays out of 72 total in the book. Perhaps this is a bit excessive, but each of Mokotoff’s essays is an appropriate selection.
Behind the scenes: I read this book because it was recommended on the Association of Professional Genealogists e-mail list.
Lasting impressions: The last and longest story, Olga Zabludoff’s “When Good Men Did Nothing,” is especially moving. It’s about restoring a Jewish cemetery in Butrimonys, Lithuania, where Olga’s ancestors are buried. Not only are the cemeteries restored and commemorated, but a group of locals helps make it all possible. Then there are the departing words of Olga’s key informant: “How could it have happened?”
Best bonus: These stories will definitely motivate any genealogist, whether Jewish or not, to reconstitute their family’s past, and to put flesh on their relatives’ bones.