- Virginia Johnson
Actor and travel writer Andrew McCarthy eventually discovered his family roots in Ireland and added on more family besides when he wed a Dublin girl.
His several-page story of a reunion across generations is part of Journeys Home, a collection of more than two dozen tales of seekers who found out more about themselves by finding where they came from: Cuba, Africa (and then to Virginia), Peru, Prague, India, Taiwan, and England, among others. Journeys Home is replete with glorious photographs, old and new, that are typical of the quality a reader would expect from its publisher, National Geographic.
Certainly, Journeys Home is timely. With technology zooming into courthouse and military records finding at least part of your family tree is not necessarily the difficult, years-long slog it once was. Ancestry.com/AncestryLibrary is available through CRRL, and FamilySearch.org hosts much shared information, too.
Journeys Home is heavy on story and personal reflection, but there is a section of practical suggestions at the end that will be useful for researchers who are just starting to discover their families’ pasts. The country-specific information, with links to national databases and helpful guides, is also quite handy.
Whether you are interested in pursuing your own research or not, Journeys Home stands as an enjoyable read, full of stories of people who sought their pasts to understand themselves better. Perhaps you will be inspired to become one of them. You can begin at CRRL’s Virginiana Room.