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Dozens of Cousins; Blue Genes, Horse Thieves, and Other Relative Surprises in Your Family Tree Paperback – March 1, 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press (March 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580080383
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580080385
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,731,318 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 3, 1999
Format: Paperback
Lois Horowitz has written an entertaining and highly informative tome showing how nearly all of us are distantly related to one another. In my experience as both a genealogist and as a reference librarian, most family history researchers understandably limit their searches to one or two ancestral lines, usually those bearing their own parents' surnames. But if they were to embark on an exhaustive search for all of their ancestors, they'd probably need an additional lifetime. Mathematically, in each generation the number of unrelated direct ancestors doubles. Each of us has two parents, four grandparents, eight great-grandparents, etc. If we follow this geometric progression far enough back, we'll eventually have more ancestors than the world had people! Horowitz shows how the actual number of ancestors is considerably smaller, yet remains a significantly large number, because of the presence of related ancestors (e.g., cousins, multiple marriages, in-law marriages). In addition, she provides an excellent introduction to family history research, including the use of electronic sources.
W. Robert Chapman, Reference Librarian, Hartford (CT) Public Library
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Sundita on April 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
What Lois Horowitz does in this book is explain the kinds of complex relationships with one's ancestors and relatives. She explains what exactly a "3rd cousin, thrice removed" is, how many ancestors one can have, and what inbreeding can do to your family tree. Along with her simple explanations, she uses easy-to-understand charts. She also gives tips on interviewing relatives and what (not) to believe in public records. Lois briefly describes what to expect at genealogical "paradises" such as the National Archives or the Latter-Day Saints' Family History Centers. Although they're very interesting, the trivia on the margins of the pages are rather distracting All in all, I'd say that this book is decent in providing tips and background info to beginners.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Michael K. Smith TOP 500 REVIEWER on July 22, 2002
Format: Paperback
The author begins by noting her skepticism when she first read of the claimed kinship between Princess Diana and some twenty or thirty million Americans, via common ancestors. And, since heavy inbreeding usually causes aristocrats to have fewer individual ancestors than we commoners, perhaps the author had even more theoretical kin than that. From this preliminary hook, she leads the reader to consider the nature of family ties, the doubling effect, pedigree collapse, "sibling exchange" marriage, the side effects of inbreding and outbreeding, the nature of race, why so many great artists and musicians died without progeny, the practical limits to pushing your lineage into the past, interpreting the accuracy of family stories, family research in the Electronic Age, and -- squeezed into the final chapter -- a research check-list. And scattered throughout are scores of fascinating quotations and tidbits about the subject at hand, from such experts as Milton Rubincam and Eugene Stratton to Mark Twain and Kirk Douglas. This is not a methodological treatise or a how-to manual but a well-written presentation of the sort of information we probably all know but should periodically think about again.
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