Using supporting evidence that runs from the Solomon Islands and classical China to ancient Ireland, Akenson argues that there are four basic genealogical forms. Highly significant on its own, this insight also provides the information needed to assess the Latter-day Saints' efforts to provide a single narrative of how humanity keeps track of itself. Appendices cover topics of vital interest to historians, genealogists, and ethnographers, such as the use and limits of genetic data in genealogy, the reality of false-paternity as a widespread phenomenon in genealogical lines, and the vexing issues of incest and cousin-marriage. A unique study of a neglected topic, Some Family illuminates the stories that cultures tell themselves through their family trees.
Donald Harman Akenson is Douglas Professor of Canadian and Colonial History, Queen's University, the world's leading scholar on the Irish diaspora, and the author of several major works on the history of Judaism and Christianity.