Book Review - La Lignée
French Genealogy - the Search in Reverse

Book Review - Ma généalogie : Comment retrouver l'histoire de ma famille?


Ma généalogie

The above is being sold in the news agents' shops, la presse, and stationers', la papeterie. As the author is Marie-Odile Mergnac, currently the most prolific of authors on French genealogy and one of the most respected of such, we snapped it up at our corner shop. Only to be disappointed; it is a rehash and a reduction of her masterpiece, Ma généalogie : de siècle en siècle, published in 2009. 

Ma généalogie : Comment retrouver l'histoire de ma famille? at 128 pages, is half the size of its parent book and so, is sold at half the price, c'est logique. The photos are all the same, but the children in costume of the larger book have been removed from the smaller. The structure of working backward in time instead of by type of document -- by far the best aspect of the earlier book -- is retained, thank heaven. A free tree chart (six generations) to fill in is included. While the original book is a paperback, the rehash is a hardback.



We are mystified by the marketing strategy here, but imagine it must be governed by price alone. The first book costs almost 30 euros, a lot to pay for what is, for most, a hobby. The second costs 15 euros. The low price and the marketing via shops at the bottom of the book market, where one also finds not only newspapers and magazines but envelopes, rubbish plastic toys and really cheap DVDs of bad films -- things people throw away soon -- indicate not only an effort to reach those with shallower pockets but a realization that genealogical research in France has escaped the confines of the secretive offices of the professional heir seekers and is now very much a popular pursuit.

Mergnac's work is impeccable, so the book is good. If you are serious, however, plunk for the much more thorough Ma généalogie : de siècle en siècle. For mercy's sake, do not buy both!

©2012 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy