Of course, Ethan and Lena are fictional characters, but you might be related to someone with stories that are just as exciting.
Genealogy — tracing one’s family tree — has been very popular over the past few years. In Beautiful Creatures, Ethan’s family tree appears on page 95. Both sides of Lena’s family are mapped out on pages 232-233.
Have you or anyone in your family tried to trace your roots? Can you go all the way back to the Civil War? If so, which side did they fight on? Or do you have ancestors on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line? Maybe your relatives were involved in a different way — as slaves or slave owners? Or free blacks in the North? (February is Black History Month — this would be a great time to discover your roots!)
If your relatives weren’t in the U.S. yet, what country did they come from? What was going on in that country at the time of the Civil War (1861-1865)?
If you’re adopted, try tracing your adoptive family’s history — it’s a part of you, too.
There are many computer programs that let you enter your information and then generate a family tree, but you can also do it old-school (by hand — gasp!). Wikitree has some free, printable, blank family trees.
Here are some nonprofit genealogy sites to get you started (BEWARE, many sites make you pay to search or join their site. Even nonprofit sites have ads that link to commercial sites).
If you don’t know where to start or this is all a confusing mess, ask a librarian for help getting started; many of them are experts and some libraries even have genealogical divisions or branches.
If you discover something cool, drop us a note at email@example.com!