Saturday, February 25, 2012

Book Review: Running Away to Home by Jennifer Wilson

Wilson, Jennifer. Running Away to Home. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2011.

Jennifer Wilson, a free-lance travel writer living in Des Moines, Iowa, and her husband Jim, an architect, (and their two young children) decide to take a year to live in Croatia, the land of Jennifer's ancestors, in hopes of discovering more about them. They face a number of obstacles including the difficulty of finding housing in her ancestral village, the language barrier, and access to records. Jennifer seems to be a bit unprepared for her genealogical ventures. An organized research plan is never shown and most of what she is doing seems to be random. She also seems to be content to leave her research at the parents of her immigrant ancestors instead of trying to go back further.  She does mention loss of records in the narrative, but the main record mentioned as being lost is the record of burials. I'm certain there are other records which could have been explored for the time period. The Family History Library guide mentions some that they have filmed or are in the process of filming. The reader does come away with a feel for some of the family's experiences in the country, but there are gaps in the narrative and places where you want more details and many places where you want far less information.

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