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It's All Relative: Adventures Up and Down…

It's All Relative: Adventures Up and Down the World's Family Tree (original 2017; edition 2017)

by A. J. Jacobs (Author)

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4462657,079 (3.54)33
Traces the author's three-year investigation into what constitutes family, describing how, after receiving an e-mail from a stranger who claimed to be a distant cousin, he embarked on an effort to build the biggest family tree in history.
Title:It's All Relative: Adventures Up and Down the World's Family Tree
Authors:A. J. Jacobs (Author)
Info:Simon & Schuster (2017), Edition: First Edition, 352 pages
Collections:Your library

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It's All Relative: Adventures Up and Down the World’s Family Tree by A. J. Jacobs (2017)

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Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
I am a cousin! Author Jacobs adopted this phrase as a marketing slogan as he planned what he hoped would be the world’s largest family reunion. Jacobs looks at the “why” of genealogy and family history in brief chapters about various aspects including DNA, privacy, black sheep, family feuds, and biological families vs families of choice. In between topics, Jacobs slips in a few paragraphs about the event planning with a countdown to the big day. The final chapter reflects on the event – what went well, what didn’t, and what it all means.

I am a cousin! If Jacobs’ goal is to foster connections and a perspective of shared humanity, then he succeeded with me. One of the people he met while promoting his event was Donny Osmond, who happens to be a distant cousin. (Really!) I also know a couple of the genealogists that Jacobs consulted while planning the big reunion and writing the book, so there are just two degrees of separation between us.

Even though this book is a “why” rather than a “how to” for aspiring genealogists, the appendix provides useful tips for getting started, and it includes a decent annotated bibliography. ( )
1 vote cbl_tn | Jul 7, 2024 |
I just gobbled this treat up! A.J. Jacobs makes me think, laugh/snort, make connections, learn, and ponder. I’m grateful that he takes me along on his journeys and quests. He generously shares his family and friends along the way, for which I’m grateful. His brilliance and heart have made me a loyal reader. I’ll read anything he writes. ( )
  sharishaw49 | Sep 20, 2023 |
I've read quite a few of A.J. Jacobs' books at this point, so I feel like I know what to expect. He generally takes a fairly serious topic and explores it with a fair dose of humor and lightheartedness. In this one, he takes on genealogy, acknowledging that at some point, we're all related. There's a little bit of everything in this book, culminating with his grand gesture to plan and execute a Global Family Reunion. I enjoyed this well enough, though I don't think it was my favorite of his. But still an entertaining read. ( )
  indygo88 | Aug 26, 2023 |
AJ Jacobs includes his usual humor and charm in this experimental tale. I think the book lacks in some areas though. For instance, he goes to great lengths to scientifically defend his beliefs in evolution, which is fine with me. I felt it was a little redundant. And though his comments on unique situations might be made with tongue in cheek, I'd like to see the same scientific evidence for atypical families. Are children more likely to finish school, less likely to have depression if they come from unique homes? Some studies have to exist. ( )
  OutOfTheBestBooks | Sep 24, 2021 |
I had no idea that AJ Jacobs was thinking about a global family tree. Not until I joined Wikitree which is a free online genealogy family tree website (wikitree dot com) where one can add ones family tree to connect to the (one huge) global tree - for free.

The theory is that if we all go back far enough, we are all related. I joined Wikitree back in 2016, and I have added my family tree.

I read this book on the same day it was released - November 2017 if I remember correctly.

I was so chuffed to read the names of some of my wikitree friends who were actually mentioned in Aj's book. There were some parts of this book that were a little dry. The DNA parts were fine, I had no trouble understanding those. But some of the more esoteric chapters and topics were a little over my head.

I gave it 4 stars. If you like genealogy, you will like this book. If you are into genetic genealogy, you may even LOVE this book!! ( )
  Robloz | Sep 23, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
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To Julie, Jasper, Zane, and Lucas
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Thanks for picking up this book.
Chapter 1
The Eighth Cousin
My story begins three years ago with one of the strangest emails I've ever received.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Traces the author's three-year investigation into what constitutes family, describing how, after receiving an e-mail from a stranger who claimed to be a distant cousin, he embarked on an effort to build the biggest family tree in history.

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