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    In every family, someone ends up with “the stuff.” It is the goal of The Family Curator to inspire, enlighten, and encourage other family curators in their efforts to preserve and share their own family treasures.

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    « Celebrating Seven Years of Blogging at The Family Curator | Main | The Annual "What Are You Reading This Summer?" Post »

    Summer Reading for Genealogists Part 1: Relax & Read

    For many book lovers, summer reading brings back memories of lazy beach days and poolside paperbacks. And with the recent popularity of family history, you can have your genealogy and a light mystery too, or historical fiction if that's more your style. Read on:

    NEW! Jefferson Tayte Genealogical Mystery: The Lost Empress, by Steve Robinson (Thomas & Mercer, October 21, 2014)

    Jefferson Tayte is at it again in the fourth book by British author Steve Robinson, due out this fall and now available for pre-order. From the book jacket:

    On a foggy night in 1914, the ocean liner Empress of Ireland sank en route to England and now lies at the bottom of Canada's St. Lawrence River. The disaster saw a loss of life comparable to the Titanic and the Lusitania, and yet her tragedy has been forgotten.

    When genealogist Jefferson Tayte is shown a locket belonging to one of the Empress's victims, a British admiral's daughter named Alice Stilwell, he must travel to England to understand the course of events that led to her death.

    Tayte is expert in tracking killers across centuries. In The Lost Empress, his unique talents draw him to one of the greatest tragedies in maritime history as he unravels the truth behind Alice's death amidst a backdrop of pre-WWI espionage.

    Now is the time to catch up on this well-written mystery series if you missed the first few books. 

    In the Blood (Jefferson Tayte Genealogical Mystery)  was named one of Amazon UK's  "Best Books of 2011," and followed by To the Grave , and The Last Queen of England . Each new book seems to ramp up the action, leading the endearing main character Tayte into more danger than any genealogist should ever have to face. I'm hoping this next installment will see Jefferson more involved with a love-interest; he seemed to be getting a bit lonely. The plot is well paced, and the characters well-developed, making for great mystery reading anytime of the year.

    I've enjoyed following Steve Robinson's career since the geneablogging community first took note of his sleuthing genealogist Jefferson Tayte in the self-published Kindle book In the Blood. I had the pleasure of interviewing Steve in 2012 and hearing more about his personal interest in genealogy -- he says he is not a genealogist, but he was fascinated by the notion of a researcher who "gets into plenty of action as other people try to stop him from uncovering the past."  

    All three books are now available in print, eBook, and audio editions. 

    Read More about JT and Steve Robinson

    Book Review: In the Blood GeneaFiction

    Exclusive Interview with author Steve Robinson

    Celebrate Success with Author Steve Robinson -- You Helped

    News of author Robinson's book contract with Amazon Publishing, due to the success of the Jefferson Tayte Genealogical Crime Mystery Series

    He's Back! New Interview with the Author of The Last Queen of England

    An inside look at the story behind Jefferson Tayte's third adventure in the Genealogical Crime Mystery Series.


    Hiding the Past (The Forensic Genealogist Book 1), by Nathan Dylan Goodwin (2013)

    I didn't get around to reading this debut genealogical mystery until last month when I was away from home and happy to find it on my iPad Kindle App. Since the success of Steve Robinson's family history series, it seems like a every month a new genealogy-themed mystery is pushed out on the Kindle platform. I've dipped my toe into some titles that, to be honest, were true yawners. An subscription is no substitute for the talent to craft a good tale.

    Hiding the Past (The Forensic Genealogist Book 1)  was a pleasant, and entertaining surprise. In this debut series mystery Goodwin introduces Morton Farrier, Forensic Genealogist, a professional researcher who senses something isn't quite right when his latest client is conveniently found dead "by his own hand." Morton's investigations are reluctantly aided by his policewoman girlfriend, and nicely dove-tailed by his own family issues. 

    More than once I found myself laughing out loud with Morton's worldview, for instance, his fascination with unusual names comes out with the author's character list: there's Dr. Garlick, who bears "a strong resemblance to a garlic bulb" and the perfect brother Jeremy with the perfect name. I'm wondering where "Farrier" will lead?

    The cozy British village setting hints of hidden secrets, and of course it isn't long until the long arm of the past reaches out to quiet nosy researchers. This Kindle book was a fast read mostly because I enjoyed the story so much. A very enjoyable book!


    Riders on the Orphan Train, by Alison Moore (Roadworthy, 2012)

    In preparation for the Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference in San Antonio, Texas later this summer and the featured keynote by Orphan Train author/performer Alison Moore, readers might want know a bit more about this episode in American history when 250,000 displaced children were relocated from urban life to Western foster homes.

    Moore's multi-media presentation, "Riders on the Orphan Train" will be presented Thursday, 28 August at the Opening Penary Session. The program is part of the official outreach program of the National Orphan Train Complex Museum and Research Center in Kansas, and has grown from a short-story into a full-length historical novel highlighting the stories of the children who rode the orphan trains.

    Riders on the Orphan Train  is the fictional story of two children placed on a train in New York headed West to new homes and new lives. Their brief time together aboard the train leaves 11-year old Ezra and 12 year-old Maud with a friendship that endures throughout their lives.

    Amazon Prime Members can borrow Riders on the Orphan Train Kindle Edition  free on their Kindle device. 


    Orphan Train, a novel by Christina Baker Kline (Morrow, 2013)

    If you'd like to read more about the orphan trains and the children who rode them, you might also enjoy this New York Times Bestseller and popular book club selection, Orphan Train  , a novel by Christina Baker Kline.

    Told in the voices of both adult and child, Orphan Train, is more than the story of relocated children. It's an exploration of friendship and common threads in the lives of 91-year old orphan train rider Vivian and a local teenage girl performing community service hours rather than be sent to juvenile detention.

    Huffington Post calls Orphan Train "a gem." I have a borrowed copy on my nightstand and look forward to reading this promising story.

    Visit The Family Curator again for more recommended books in Part 2 of Summer Reading for Genealogists.

    Books mentioned in this article (Amazon Affiliate Links):



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    Reader Comments (8)

    No time to ready since Ancestry rudely gives us only the summer to get our data off their sites.

    See Spokt & it's Mayflower service to archive and moved sites!

    2014JL03 22:30 Sydney Australia

    July 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLarry

    I'm currently reading Mr. Flagler's St. Augustine. It's not fiction, but it's almost impossible to put down. Henry Flagler made St. Augustine, my home town, the tourist mecca it is today. He was a fascinating man and Thomas Graham, the author, tells his story beautifully. It's delightful to find a book that informs and entertains at the same time.

    July 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDenise Barrett Olson

    I'm reading The Devil In The White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness At The Fair That Changed America, by Seattle author Erik Larson. It is my new favorite genre, Historical True Crime. Since two of the photographs I collect have sent me off to research 19th century crime I thought I'd try a historical true crime novel. Love his writing style and his impeccible research.

    July 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterfootnoteMaven

    I loved The Devil in the White City, footnoteMaven; although it was a dreadful crime.

    And, Denise Olson, I'm with you in reading books set in my hometown or places I've visited. It's like making a return visit.

    July 3, 2014 | Registered CommenterFamily Curator

    Steve Robinson has deservedly cornered the market with his fictional genealogy mystery novels. His books are very entertaining. As a writer and professional genealogist myself, I have contributed my own genealogical thriller to the popular family history reading genre. My novel is called "Where's Merrill?" - but my work has a significant difference to Robinson's Jefferson Tayte series. My mystery thriller is based upon a REAL and sensational genealogy research case.

    I intend to write follow-ups based upon some more of my most memorable research cases. "Where's Merrill?" is proving popular and regularly features in Amazon's best-seller charts listed under the categories of Genealogy or Historical Fiction. In fact, "Where's Merrill?" has hit the #1 spot on several occasions for genealogy e-books in multiple sales territories.

    More info can be found here or at my blog site:

    Reviews from Denise or her blog followers will be welcomed and much appreciated.

    July 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGearoid O'Neary

    I enjoyed "Hiding the Past" very much -- for the intriguing and suspenseful story, the writing style, and the surprising touches of humor. I think it's a great read for anybody who does gen research. Like Morton Farrier, I want to be thorough in my research. I doubt I'll ever take it as far as Morton does, though. ;-)

    July 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterFran Salyers

    Hi Fran! I don't want to have my home exploded like Morton's, either! I do hope the author continues with this fun series.

    July 4, 2014 | Registered CommenterFamily Curator

    Congratulations on your new book, Gearoid! I look forward to checking it out.

    July 4, 2014 | Registered CommenterFamily Curator

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