Family roots are often based on legends passed on from one generation to the next. With those legends, certain inaccuracies are injected into the conversation - sometimes to avoid embarrassment; other times, to inflate the persona of the ancestor. Rarely are family histories totally accurate, and it takes significant research by an interested party to attempt to sort out the fact from the fiction.
Even seemingly accurate information conveyed from one generation to the next is now genetically challengeable by the myriad of DNA tests that are available, often with surprising results. Regardless of the family information conveyed to successive generations, or the genetic accuracy of that information, each of our families have skeletons hidden in our closets that, until someone delves into them, remain safely hidden from unsuspecting or disinterested descendants.
Once uncovered, however, those skeletons can be quite surprising in some cases and very enlightening in others. This book takes a look at one of those families - through the lens of an amateur genealogist who makes some pretty revealing discoveries along the way. There are murders and peccadilloes of all sorts, trysts, migrations, slave ownership, ties to both British royalty and New World "landed gentry," brothers against brothers in the American Civil War, and the full range of juicy tidbits that no family can escape.
The information in this book is not laid out in chronological order; rather, the author chose to arbitrarily travel through time, both backward and forward in a series of vignettes, to visit some of the more interesting situations that were uncovered in the family that was the subject of his genealogical research. Each chapter has at least one element that is based on a historical fact. However, the details filled in around that central fact are based on the author's perception of what "might have been." The challenge throughout this novel was to seamlessly blend historical facts and fiction. Because the basic premise of the book is fiction, there is no bibliography to cite historical sources.