Book Review: Where’s Merrill? A genealogical thriller by Geroid O’Neary

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Jed is a genealogist contracted by Tim to find out more about his family as his mother Laura didn’t tell him anything about her background. Sensing some sense of shame about her history Tim hires Jed to dig into his family tree which initiates the search for Merrill who is Tim’s maternal grandfather. Extensive archives research yields birth, marriage and death certificates which map Tim’s ancestry.

I found this book interesting in the same way I find reality shows looking into celebrity family trees interesting however at times the book was hard to follow but the reader is helped by diagrams as the information is discovered about aunts, uncles and cousins. There are some suspenseful moments in the story and the author relates the sense of achievement of solving the puzzle of missing members of the family tree quite well, but it isn’t a high octane ride and is more about searching archives and inferring a situation in a given period of time rather than a fully fledged chase.

Still I was glued to the pages of this novel but the last 20% of the book could have been summed up more efficiently. This book is based on a true search and opens the issue up for those who want to search out their ancestors, what do they do when the trail ends with strangers? A thought-provoking read.

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