rh01I write from three to seven book reviews a week for this site. The main goal of each review is to provide sufficient information about a book to allow the reader to determine the book’s potential value to their own library. In other words, to answer the question “should I buy this book?” I try to remain unbiased in my reviews, preferring to provide a summary or synopsis. To review this many books, I could not possibly read every page. Instead, I focus on author’s notes, forewords, introductions, and key sections of each book.

However, every now and then I pick up a book and start reading and have a difficult time stopping. These books tend to be highly insightful, educational, and most-importantly, well written. Such is the case with Finding Family: My Search for Roots and the Secrets in My DNA.

After the accidental discovery of his adoption, and sickbed revelations made by his adoptive father, Richard Hill began the arduous journey to finding his birth family. Hill recounts his own personal search for his birth family in gripping detail. There are many fiction author’s who could learn a thing or two from Hill’s writing. But, let me be clear, while this book is a story, according to the author it is also 100% true.

His mother’s name was Jackie. But was she dead or alive? She supposedly died in a car accident just a year or so after his birth. But Richard also learned this is a common story told to adoptees to keep them from digging too deeply into their past. Plus, one source told Richard she was a nurse who lived to become a professor. Oh, the tangled webs we weave. Such is the way with family research.

Through the chapters of this book, Hill not only reveals his own personal story, but he reveals the tips and tricks of his own success. Thinking like a detective, unearthing clues, and learning the system and how to manage it to your own advantage to find the answers. The climax of the book comes with the revelation that new simple DNA testing can prove relationships between parents and children, as well as siblings, cousins, and others.

Yes, this story is simply fun to read. But, this story is also useful to any adoptee looking for his or her biological family. In addition, these same techniques apply to any genealogical research. Following the paper trails, interviewing friends and family members, using directories, hunting down vital records, court records, and countless other research tools and sources are all critical to successfully uncovering one’s family history.

As I said at the beginning of this post, I typically avoid giving a personal opinion in my reviews. This time I am going to disregard my own rule and give this book two thumbs up (one from each hand). Even if you just read it for the story, this book is worth your time.

You can find Finding Family: My Search for Roots and the Secrets in My DNA at Family Roots Publishing; Price: $14.65.

 

Contents

1 Revelation

2 Moving On

3 Another Shoe Drops

4 No Time. No Way.

5 Lighting the Fire

6 Dead or Alive?

7 Breakthrough

8 Carol

9 Ethnic Soup

10 Lies

11 Eleanor

12 Michael

13 Confession

14 Paper Trails

15 Lynn

16 Tony’s Story

17 Ray

18 Plymouth

19 Family Bonds

20 Back in Gear

21 Conrad

22 Doubts

23 Paternity

24 Cookie Girl

25 Rumor Revisited

26 Roy

27 Girlfriends

28 Boyfriends

29 Social Insecurity

30 Transitions

31 Inspiration

32 Hitters

33 Online Assistance

34 Gerry

35 Fathers and Sons

36 Blues

37 Decisions

38 Results

39 Reunion

40 Blood

41 Revisions

42 Journey

43 Mission

44 Not Again

45 One Final Decision

46 Confirmation