Family & Ancestry


Family

Q. Your books are often concerned with family relationships and ancestry. Are you part of a large family yourself, and is that important to you?

A. Yes to both questions. I belong to a huge extended family network of cousins that runs literally into the hundreds. Whenever we are living near, we are in and out of each other's houses; far apart, we always keep in touch. We're people from all walks of life.

Q. Your family is widely spread around the globe?

A. My close family includes citizens of Britain, Australia, New Zealand, France, and the USA. My own kids are American. By the time you get to second and third cousins, the net gets wider.

Q. And several religious faiths?

A. We can do Church of England, Church of Scotland, Catholic, Quaker, Christian Scientist, Jewish, Agnostic, atheist and I believe a Buddhist. And that's the close family. Big families give you a sense of balance.

Q. A sense of history too, perhaps.

A. You can see it at family gatherings. Thanks to the span of generations you can get with large families, my own son has met six generations of his family before reaching the age of twenty. So if he lives to a good age, he could finish by knowing nine generations. That's a total span of lives of about two hundred and seventy years. Add to that the stories the old ones told about the people they remember, and you have a Rutherfurd novel.

Did You Know?
As those who have read PARIS will know, the Parisian neighborhood of Les Halles, now known for its vast mall complex, was once the site of the Cimetière des Innocents, Paris’ largest cemetery. What started in the 12th century as a smallish graveyard ballooned to a resting place for over 2 million corpses ! By the 1780’s, the cemetery had become so overfilled and unhygienic that Louis XVI closed it, and ordered all bodies be exhumed and transferred to the Catacombs. Today, only one relic remains from the neighborhood’s eerie past - La Fontaine des Innocents – a fountain built in the sixteenth century which once marked the entrance to the graveyard.




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