Francesca MorganMar 25, 2022
A Nation of Descendants
Politics and the Practice of Genealogy in U.S. History
UNC Press 2021
In A Nation of Descendants: Politics and the Practice of Genealogy in U.S. History (University of North Carolina Press, 2021), historian Francesca Morgan tracks Americans’ obsession with tracing family ancestry. Morgan sheds light on the evolution of genealogical knowledge from the early republic to the present day. Although our New Books Network conversation concentrates on African Americans, in her text, she looks explicitly at how Anglo-American white, Mormon, Jewish, African American, and Native American people wrestled with locating and documenting their kin and ultimately shaped the practice of genealogy. A Nation of Descendants also explores the transformation of genealogical practices as it becomes commercialized and commodified.
N'Kosi Oates is a Ph.D. candidate in Africana Studies at Brown University. Find him on Twitter at NKosiOates.