Book Review: Family Stories…and How I Found Mine

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

Family Stories…and How I Found Mine

By J. Michael Cleverley. Genealogical Publishing Co. 2020. 550 pages.

A few weeks ago, Dick wrote in this newsletter an article about family stories and their place within the context of the genealogy work we do. We know the general pattern—a bit of truth amid exaggeration, a tidbit of accuracy in the course of misunderstanding, a gram of reality in a sensational newspaper story.

J. Michael Cleverley took his family stories and started discovering his family history. Over a period of five years and travels across Europe and the United States, he found the records and visited the places his ancestors inhabited. He tells us about his ancestors, then he tells us about the history surrounding them.

Mr. Cleverley takes us back to 1083 and visits the life and times of his grandmother (some forty generations ago) Queen Matilda, wife of William the Conqueror. He takes us on through the generations and centuries of British history following the daily activities in the lives of his descendant ancestors.

The author brings the stories forward to colonial America, the Revolution, and covers the western migrations and settlement of the West. All the while, by telling us the stories about his ancestors with the close-up view of everyday life, we also remember some of the significant events of history.

Mr. Cleveley sought to commemorate his ancestors in an interesting and engaging way, and he did so. He offers his insights as to why we do genealogy, his search for his ancestors, and his experiences. He includes a long bibliography, an explanatory footnotes section, and a large index.

The book is a people book as well as a history book.

Family Stories…and How I Found Mine by J. Michael Cleverley may be ordered from the publisher, Genealogical Publishing Company, at: as well as from Amazon at:

One Comment

And we see here how names change, even within the same document. Look for Mr Clevely.


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