Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

City of Remembering: A History of Genealogy in New Orleans

Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

City of Remembering: A History of Genealogy in New Orleans

Article excerpt

City of Remembering: A History of Genealogy in New Orleans. By Susan Tucker. (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2016. Pp. xii, 228. $35.00, ISBN 978-1-4968-0621-5.)

In City of Remembering: A History of Genealogy in New Orleans, New Orleanian Susan Tucker seeks to show the lineage of genealogy in the city as well as the rich "stuff" from which genealogies are made, including private and public records, stories, artifacts, neighborhoods, and even daily activities (p. 107). This is a tall task, especially considering the extremely complex racial and ethnic milieu of New Orleans. Throughout the detailed text. Tucker provides countless impressive color images, labeling each and adding helpful commentary for guidance concerning the implications of each figure. After the introduction, chapters 2 and 3 provide the reader with a history of leading figures and institutions--including priest Pere Antoine, New Orleans's St. Louis Cathedral, Susa Young Gates, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS)--concerning genealogy in the city and the nation. Tucker emphasizes how migration and geography at multiple scales informed record keeping and how multiple genealogical and historical societies emerged in colonial, new nation, and nativist contexts and sentiments. In chapter 3 Tucker aims to trace "The Journey to a Populist Culture of Searching," and in chapter 4 she explores "Public Genealogies around Creole and Other Ethnic Identities."

It is not until chapter 4 that Tucker provides more than limited attention to issues of race and ethnicity. While this chapter richly delves into these issues, with the exception of Native Americans, whiteness goes mostly unmarked in the first three chapters. Tucker's journey to a populist culture of searching emerges as one generally of white people, yet this focus is never discussed but rather assumed. She also does not discuss how groups that created resources and practices of genealogy like the Daughters of the American Revolution and the LDS have pasts embedded with discrimination against people of color, especially black people. …

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