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?
This month four hundred years ago, the famed Mayflower began its journey across the Atlantic. After abandoning its sister ship, the Speedwell, which was not seaworthy, the Mayflower finally set sail in September. The people on the Mayflower all belonged to an obscure sect called the Brownists. The founder, Brown himself, had already abandoned the sect and returned to the king’s Church of England. The Pilgrim fathers were woefully badly prepared for their journey, lacking proper farm implements and livestock. The miracle is that they survived at all!




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