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?
After World War I, a movement began to commemorate unknown fallen soldiers with a single tomb. On November 11, 1920, two years following the Armistice that ended the war, both France and the UK buried the remains of soldiers whose bodies couldn’t be identified. The British soldier was chosen from one of four who’d been exhumed from different battlefields in France, and transported back to England. This Unknown Warrior is to be found at Westminster Abbey in London. The French Unknown Soldier lies at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. In 1921, a similar monument was set up at the Arlington National Cemetery in the US. There are similar tombs in 58 countries at last count.




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