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Comment: The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and works perfectly. All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. May include "From the library of" labels.
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Hey, America, Your Roots Are Showing Paperback – February 1, 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 63 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Barack Obama and Sarah Palin are cousins! So are Obama and Dick Cheney, Obama and Brad Pitt, and Obama and Rush Limbaugh! Wow. What are the odds? “Oh,” Smolenyak writes, “about 100 percent.” The most surprising thing about this lively book by a noted genealogist is that some things we think are surprising really aren’t. Technically speaking, we’re all related, if you go back far enough, but even starting from a mere 10 generations ago, you’ll find more than 1,000 direct ancestors have been generated, making unexpected kinships, well, expected. Geography plays a big role, too. Hillary Clinton is related to Celine Dion and Shania Twain, for example, because one of the branches of her family is French Canadian. By relating some of her more famous and intriguing genealogical investigations—the Obama–Brad Pitt connection, the history of a family Bible, Obama’s much-publicized Irish roots—Smolenyak shows readers just how exciting, shocking, and heartwarming the field of genealogy can be, and he busts a few fondly held myths about the work genealogists do. --David Pitt

About the Author

Megan Smolenyak is an incurable genealogist who loves solving mysteries, making unexpected discoveries, and pushing the boundaries of conventional genealogy.

A popular writer, speaker, and TV guest, she does all she can to get the g-word out there and inspire others in their quest for roots. She has appeared on Good Morning America, the Todayshow, CNN, NPR, and the BBC, and consulted on shows ranging from Who Do You Think You Are? to Top Chef. 

Megan is the author of six books (including Who Do You Think You Are? The Essential Guide to Tracing Your Family History, companion guide to the NBC series), a Huffington Post contributor, and former chief family historian and spokesperson for Ancestry.com. She lives in southern New Jersey with her husband and lots of research tools.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Citadel; Original edition (February 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080653446X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0806534466
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #826,744 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I preordered this wonderful book and read it as soon as it came in the mail. It is a great uplifting and motivating read for anyone interested in genealogy. I think it would even be a fun read for those not really interested in genealogy research. She is a great detective and a wonderful representative for all genealogists everywhere. She certainly has shown everyone that genealogy research can be anything but dull! She is an expert in the field but her writing is in no way condescending and makes you feel like you can follow the same research steps that she does. She also explained how DNA testing can be extremely helpful for genealogists. Thank you Megan Smolenyak!

[...]
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After seeing there were full 5 stars and over 30 reviews, I decided this author must have some good writing ability, and stories to tell about geneaology. Sure enough I was not disppointed, I am about 3/4 way thru this book and lounging my way through the last portion as I have two more days before the other two books written by her will arrive here. Yes, I ordered two more of her books. This book delves into various stories of a professional geneaologist, from tracking down descendants of a man who died in the civil war ship Monitor, to the man who helped make the famous Liberty statue on top of the U.S. Capitol building. The only part I did not particularly care for was the amount of ink spent on both the current President Obama and his wife, perhaps one chapter on him would have sufficed, as I am not a fan of Mr. Obama's policies. However I easily overlook that and focus on the excellant writing, attention to detail, use of the language, and well proofed and intelligently written but easy to read chapters in this book. I highly recommend this book, and plan on reading at least 2 more of her books on genealogy and genetics.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am not a 'genie' so was surprised and delighted to find this book about various aspects of a genealogists trade to be such an engrossing and interesting read.
Megan not only shares her stories of challenges and accomplishments, she also teaches us how to think about solving these types of puzzles.
Her easy story-telling style makes me feel included in her excitement and wonder at the many unexpected truths she unveils as she works her way through the cases.
This book seems appropriate for folks who are exploring their own family roots as well as those of us who are just intrigued by this type of detective work.
She clearly loves what she does and is a generous and dedicated professional with a lot of writing talent.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read this one in one evening after I purchased it for my kindle. It is a very enjoyable anecdotal book as well as being very informative about many uses and needs for genealogy that I had not realized before. I love a good detective story, and this meets the criteria. Other reviewers have covered content review, but I wanted to add that I was pleased with the Kindle format on this book. I have been disappointed with the formatting of some other books, feeling that I missed out on some of the images, etc, but the kindle formatting on this one was very good, with photos, images, and style intact.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I purchased this book to expand the search of my roots. Unfortunately I learned very little. The author used this book to 'sell' herself which did not reveal many specifics. If you are a beginner, or thinking of searching your family - for the first time, this may be helpful.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Nicely written in a folksy, home style. Some of the descriptions on how
Megan acquired her data were vague and could have been clarified.
Generally, not a bad job. Not exactly a desk reference, but might jog
my memory occasionally.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have been researching my family history for almost 30 years. I follow Megan on Facebook and Twitter, and wasn't sure what to expect when I downloaded this book on my Kindle. I really wasn't looking for a dry "how to" book.

However, I was very pleased and entertained! This is a collection of stories of of some of her most intriguing cases, both celebrity and non-celebrity. She tells about her brickwalls, how she got through them, and the "a-ha" moments. All written with a wonderful sense of humor.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am only about a quarter of the way through the book, but I am enjoying it thoroughly. It is not a "how to" book on genealogy. Rather, it's an amusing set of anecdotes about Megan Smolenyak's adventures as a professional genealogist and family historian. Along the way, it does illustrate the many approaches she takes and the tools she uses. But the real point of the book are the stories about her subjects and her journey to uncover them. It appeals to me as a relative newbie to the craft to see the possibilities of what can be done with genealogy, but also as a lover of mysteries. How she unravels each one is highly entertaining and her writing is very engaging.

Addl comments (as of 7/29/2015): Having now finished reading the book, I want to correct one impression I gave in the initial review. I picked up many tips on how to approach genealogical research from reading Megan's examples. One very valuable aspect is getting a glimpse in to how she thinks about a problem. Once you have the basic building blocks of your family tree, her creative thinking is exactly what you need to get to the next level and round out the stories. Loved it!
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