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The Soul of the Family Tree: Ancestors, Stories, and the Spirits We Inherit

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Growing up in a passionately Norwegian-American Iowa town, Lori Erickson rolled her eyes at traditions like Nordic Fest and steaming pots of rømmegrøt. But like many Americans, she eventually felt drawn to genealogy, the "quintessential hobby of middle age." Her quest to know more about the Vikings and immigrants who perch in her family tree led her to visit Norse settleme Growing up in a passionately Norwegian-American Iowa town, Lori Erickson rolled her eyes at traditions like Nordic Fest and steaming pots of rømmegrøt. But like many Americans, she eventually felt drawn to genealogy, the "quintessential hobby of middle age." Her quest to know more about the Vikings and immigrants who perch in her family tree led her to visit Norse settlements and reenactments, medieval villages and modern museums, her picturesque hometown and her ancestor's farm on the fjords. Along the way, Erickson discovers how her soul has been shaped by her ancestors and finds unexpected spiritual guides among the seafaring Vikings and her hardscrabble immigrant forebears. Erickson's far-ranging journeys and spiritual musings show us how researching family history can be a powerful tool for inner growth. Travel with Erickson in The Soul of the Family Tree to learn how the spirits of your ancestral past can guide you today.


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Growing up in a passionately Norwegian-American Iowa town, Lori Erickson rolled her eyes at traditions like Nordic Fest and steaming pots of rømmegrøt. But like many Americans, she eventually felt drawn to genealogy, the "quintessential hobby of middle age." Her quest to know more about the Vikings and immigrants who perch in her family tree led her to visit Norse settleme Growing up in a passionately Norwegian-American Iowa town, Lori Erickson rolled her eyes at traditions like Nordic Fest and steaming pots of rømmegrøt. But like many Americans, she eventually felt drawn to genealogy, the "quintessential hobby of middle age." Her quest to know more about the Vikings and immigrants who perch in her family tree led her to visit Norse settlements and reenactments, medieval villages and modern museums, her picturesque hometown and her ancestor's farm on the fjords. Along the way, Erickson discovers how her soul has been shaped by her ancestors and finds unexpected spiritual guides among the seafaring Vikings and her hardscrabble immigrant forebears. Erickson's far-ranging journeys and spiritual musings show us how researching family history can be a powerful tool for inner growth. Travel with Erickson in The Soul of the Family Tree to learn how the spirits of your ancestral past can guide you today.

30 review for The Soul of the Family Tree: Ancestors, Stories, and the Spirits We Inherit

  1. 5 out of 5

    PamG

    The Soul of the Family Tree – Ancestors, Stories, and the Spirits We Inherit by Lori Erickson is categorized as genealogy but also as inspiration and spirituality and religion and spirituality. To me, there was some genealogy, but to me it felt like a memoir where the author was writing about an important part of her life; exploring the influences that helped shape her. She grew up in the Norwegian American town of Decorah, Iowa. While the author’s fascination began with genetic heritage, it The Soul of the Family Tree – Ancestors, Stories, and the Spirits We Inherit by Lori Erickson is categorized as genealogy but also as inspiration and spirituality and religion and spirituality. To me, there was some genealogy, but to me it felt like a memoir where the author was writing about an important part of her life; exploring the influences that helped shape her. She grew up in the Norwegian American town of Decorah, Iowa. While the author’s fascination began with genetic heritage, it moved on to how forces in the past may have impacted her. Could some of her traits such as her love for travel have been passed down to her? She felt she shared more with her ancestors than just DNA. Her explorations included visits to Newfoundland as she explored information about Vinland, visits to various museums and to several locations in Norway, participation in a Viking reenactment, and even learning about Norse runes. She was fascinated by the number of authors, artists, musicians, and scholars that have been influenced by Norse culture and how it has been reinterpreted. There is only a small amount of information on DNA and primary versus secondary source documents used in genealogy research. Most of the book is the author’s personal journey to help her better understand herself and those that influenced her whether it was people, religion, traditions or something else. This book was not quite what I expected, but I am glad I read it. I learned a few things and enjoyed the occasional humor. If you are interested in Vikings lore, this book spends a lot of time exploring various aspects of it. It is not an in-depth book on genealogy. Westminster John Knox Press and Lori Erickson provided a complimentary digital ARC of this novel via NetGalley. This is my honest review. Opinions are mine alone and are not biased in any way. Publication date is currently set for August 24, 2021.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Tami

    Those who have an interest in genealogy and Scandinavian history will enjoy Lori Erickson’s new book about searching her family tree and how it relates to her spiritual life. To my knowledge, I have no family background that includes any Vikings, but I found this intriguing and enjoyed how she included the myths and related them to how we view the world today. Erickson was fortunate enough to be able to travel to the places that related to her family history and was even able to find the location Those who have an interest in genealogy and Scandinavian history will enjoy Lori Erickson’s new book about searching her family tree and how it relates to her spiritual life. To my knowledge, I have no family background that includes any Vikings, but I found this intriguing and enjoyed how she included the myths and related them to how we view the world today. Erickson was fortunate enough to be able to travel to the places that related to her family history and was even able to find the location of the land they once farmed. There are photographs included, so that made the experience of reading this even more relatable. Many thanks to NetGalley and Westminster John Know Press for allowing me to read an advance copy and give my honest review.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Tina

    I have to say I like the first part of this book, and what I loved about this book is the family tree parts. Then, The book took a turn to everything about the Norwegian/Vikings. I found the parts about Norwegian/Vikings boring and that was most of the book. I wanted more about genealogical research/Family tree stuff. This book was just not for me. I was kindly provided an e-copy of this book by the publisher (Westminster John Knox Press) or author (Lori Erickson) via NetGalley, so I can give ho I have to say I like the first part of this book, and what I loved about this book is the family tree parts. Then, The book took a turn to everything about the Norwegian/Vikings. I found the parts about Norwegian/Vikings boring and that was most of the book. I wanted more about genealogical research/Family tree stuff. This book was just not for me. I was kindly provided an e-copy of this book by the publisher (Westminster John Knox Press) or author (Lori Erickson) via NetGalley, so I can give honest review about how I feel about this book. I want to send a big Thank you to them for that.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Randal White

    I requested this book from NetGalley, thinking it was going to be about genealogy. The beginning was, but where the book really grabs you is when the author starts talking about Norse history. Being of Norwegian heritage, I found her stories and anecdotes to be very interesting. I read several of them to my wife (who is even more Norwegian than me). It was educational and fun.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    Lori Erickson became interested in her family history, but her infatuation focused more on the Norwegian ethnicity and potential connection to Leif Ericson than to correctly tracing her ancestry or a true exploration of her spiritual heritage. For most of the book she focused on what she wanted to learn rather than verifying the information first. While the narrative does not bore, it fails to demonstrate sound genealogical research. It does perhaps emphasize the influence of epigenetics. She fi Lori Erickson became interested in her family history, but her infatuation focused more on the Norwegian ethnicity and potential connection to Leif Ericson than to correctly tracing her ancestry or a true exploration of her spiritual heritage. For most of the book she focused on what she wanted to learn rather than verifying the information first. While the narrative does not bore, it fails to demonstrate sound genealogical research. It does perhaps emphasize the influence of epigenetics. She finally visited a museum, hiring a research to investigate one line. Although she mentions the conversion of many Norwegians to the Lutheran faith and Norse mythology, she never really explored those connections in the light of her own family history. It seemed to be more at a macro level than the micro level. I found myself disappointed a Christian publishing house published this book whose author's own statements fail to acknowledge the power of the Cross, opting instead for a dualistic-type religion. This review is based on an advance readers' edition provided through LibraryThing Early Reviewers program in exchange for an honest review. (2.5 stars)

  6. 5 out of 5

    Linda Weilgart

    This book is eminently readable for all kinds of people, even for those not especially interested in genealogy or their Norwegian heritage. Probably because my parents are first generation immigrants, genealogy is not something I feel compelled to research beyond what my family already knows, which is about back to my great-grandparents' level. Lori, however, writes so engagingly and personally, drawing the reader in to her own story of researching her past ancestors to Norway while weaving in r This book is eminently readable for all kinds of people, even for those not especially interested in genealogy or their Norwegian heritage. Probably because my parents are first generation immigrants, genealogy is not something I feel compelled to research beyond what my family already knows, which is about back to my great-grandparents' level. Lori, however, writes so engagingly and personally, drawing the reader in to her own story of researching her past ancestors to Norway while weaving in religion and spirituality, so the quest becomes manifold. She educates us about the pagan Norse gods, the history of the Vikings, and their eventual transformation to Christianity and ultimately, Lutheranism. Her travels in this quest take her to Norway, Iceland, L'Anse aux Meadows, Canada, and places in the US, where she gathers impressions and information. She is able to find a Viking that particularly speaks to her, and with whom she identifies--Gudrid the Far Traveler, who is indeed an impressive woman who conquered huge obstacles to achieve what she did. I especially appreciated the focus on spiritual beliefs as a part of ancestry that is harder to pin down than DNA, though also valuable in gaining a deeper understanding of who we are and where we came from. Lori chooses her own spiritual ancestors by which ones influenced her and guided her to the beliefs she now possesses. Ultimately, Lori shows us that each one of us is a mixture of the DNA and culture of our ancestors, melded with the belief systems and culture we have arrived at, partially by choice and partially by background. I think one of the most important things to us is a feeling of connection with others. Reaching back into history and finding strength from those that came before us provide one such connection. We also gain inspiration from the hardships they endured and the sacrifices they made, urging us to make the most of them so they were not in vain. I think this book speaks to people of all interests, mainly because the themes are universal, and the book is well-written with sparkles of humor interspersed throughout. I was given an advance copy to review from Westminster John Knox Press, for which I am grateful.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Lara

    The Soul of the Family Tree: Ancestry, Stories, and the Spirits We Inherit by Lori Erikson is her journey as she investigated her own family tree. Growing up in a passionately Norwegian-American Iowa town, she would roll her eyes at traditions like the Nordic Fest and steaming pots of rømmegrøt (a Norwegian porridge). Like many Americans, she eventually felt the draw of her genealogy as she calls the “quintessential hobby of middle age.” Her quest to know more about the Vikings and the immigrant The Soul of the Family Tree: Ancestry, Stories, and the Spirits We Inherit by Lori Erikson is her journey as she investigated her own family tree. Growing up in a passionately Norwegian-American Iowa town, she would roll her eyes at traditions like the Nordic Fest and steaming pots of rømmegrøt (a Norwegian porridge). Like many Americans, she eventually felt the draw of her genealogy as she calls the “quintessential hobby of middle age.” Her quest to know more about the Vikings and the immigrants who make up her family tree would lead her to visit Norse settlements and reenactments, medieval villages and modern museums, and her own hometown and ancestral farms on the fjords. While on this journey, she discovers how her soul has been shaped by her ancestors and finds unexpected spiritual guides among the seafaring Vikings and her immigrant ancestors. Can her journey show us how researching our own family history can be a powerful tool for inner growth? In The Soul of the Family Tree is a journey into more than just names and dates in the historical record. It is a journey to understand, know and connect with our ancestors. I have long been interested in my family history. I loved listening to stories about my ancestors. So a book about genealogy would be interesting. While most of the book is more a memoir about Ms. Erickson’s journey about her Norwegian heritage, the second half of the book does bring through the questions that are raised with a genealogy investigation particularly with the family stories that have been passed on, only to be discovered to be embellished or outright wrong. Part history lesson, part memoir, and part spiritual journey, The Soul of the Family Tree is a fascinating look into our connections with our ancestors and their place in historical events. Overall, I enjoyed reading Ms. Erickson’s journey. If you are interested in Viking history and a genealogy journey, you may enjoy The Soul of the Family Tree. The Soul of the Family Tree: Ancestry, Stories and the Spirits We Inherit is available August 24, 2021 in paperback and eBook

  8. 4 out of 5

    Karen Downing

    It’s a fitting start to The Soul of the Family Tree to begin with these words, “I wander…” and a photo of a statue of Gudrid, the Far Traveler. Journeying with Lori Erickson means a “wandering” from place to place, from past to present, from other to self as she discovers how her personal spiritual journey fits into a larger narrative. While this book can function as a how-to guide for those interested in genealogy, the book is more expensive than uncovering a family tree. Erickson is determined It’s a fitting start to The Soul of the Family Tree to begin with these words, “I wander…” and a photo of a statue of Gudrid, the Far Traveler. Journeying with Lori Erickson means a “wandering” from place to place, from past to present, from other to self as she discovers how her personal spiritual journey fits into a larger narrative. While this book can function as a how-to guide for those interested in genealogy, the book is more expensive than uncovering a family tree. Erickson is determined to better understand her spiritual DNA, and in doing so, models for readers how to live into that broader inquiry. Erickson’s pilgrimages take her from Decorah, Iowa to Norway, from spending time with Viking reenactors to delving into the mystery of the Kensington Rune Stone. Fans of Erickson’s other books will notice the consistent voice that makes for such pleasant company, one graced with humor, good will, and curiosity. As she explores the liminal places that take us to the realms of “betwixt and between,” she suggests that humility be brought to bear when examining our genealogical baggage. As Camus said, all travel involves a return to the self. Erickson adopts Gudrid as her foremother, and through Gudrid’s story and the narratives of other Vikings, Erickson better understands her own place in the world. We need not travel far to do this. While Erickson did journey to other places, she reminds us that imagination can be a primary tool for accessing the past. Not all readers will share Erickson’s Norweigan roots, but we are all related through the universality of story. In the twenty-first century, it’s easy to cocoon in our own isolated worlds, but Erickson’s wisdom suggests that we are in relationship with those who lived in the past, and that we want to consider what legacy we might leave for those generations to come.

  9. 5 out of 5

    T

    As someone who has also done the spit test, waited several weeks, and then gotten back results to discover previously unknown Norwegian (and Swedish) ancestry, this book sparked an interest. While, obviously, it is predicated on DNA science, don’t let that dissuade you. The author succinctly summarizes how it works and then it’s back to the history of her lineage (and the Vikings). I was also fascinated to learn about the concept of Ørlog which almost read as epigenetics. The first half of the b As someone who has also done the spit test, waited several weeks, and then gotten back results to discover previously unknown Norwegian (and Swedish) ancestry, this book sparked an interest. While, obviously, it is predicated on DNA science, don’t let that dissuade you. The author succinctly summarizes how it works and then it’s back to the history of her lineage (and the Vikings). I was also fascinated to learn about the concept of Ørlog which almost read as epigenetics. The first half of the book was interesting, where there was an overview of Viking history (if you’re looking for something more in-depth on the history, there are quite a few recent publications to look in to, Arthur Herman and Nancy Marie Brown in particular). However, once the book returned stateside, it dragged a bit for me and I found myself having to push through to finish. There was an interesting point made as to why DNA testing is so prevalent in the US compared to elsewhere. Americans don’t have the same ties, whereas elsewhere, as the relative in Norway stated, people have been living where their families have always lived (or, at the least, somewhat nearby). The US, however, doesn’t have that because of the makeup of this nation, indigenous people and descendants of slave notwithstanding, we are a nation of immigrants who have (though many times wrongly) moved around this country. One thing I do have to caution against, even though it was what set the author off on her quest, is don’t use the Icelandic landscape as your outdoor bathroom. That is incredibly frowned upon and there have been multiple news stories in Iceland asking tourists to refrain from engaging in this practice because it destroys the delicate flora. Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing a free copy of this title for me to read and review.>

  10. 5 out of 5

    Anam Cara

    This book was nothing like what I expected. It is mainly the account of a person who has Viking ancestry, her search into what Viking life was like, and then how she feels this made her the person she is. She seems to link things in her life that might be just a coincidence to her DNA- almost as though she had no choice in some things. It is as though there were such a thing as “spiritual DNA” I hold a different view of DNA, nature and nurture. I am well aware of my ancestors easily going back ov This book was nothing like what I expected. It is mainly the account of a person who has Viking ancestry, her search into what Viking life was like, and then how she feels this made her the person she is. She seems to link things in her life that might be just a coincidence to her DNA- almost as though she had no choice in some things. It is as though there were such a thing as “spiritual DNA” I hold a different view of DNA, nature and nurture. I am well aware of my ancestors easily going back over 400 years. I find some interesting things closer to my birth – my grandmother and I both love mysteries. My grandmother and my daughter both love and are very good at jigsaw puzzles. I attribute those things to the type of mind we have, but it is interesting that my other three children do not love puzzles and I am the only one who likes to read mysteries. As for spiritual things, and the soul of the family tree my attitude toward faith is much more what I learned from my mother than a grandmother or anything I learned about other ancestors. Interestingly enough, all four girls in my family were raised in the same church, but each of us has gone in different directions in our adult lives. If there is a spiritual DNA, you would think that we would be closer together. It is an interesting story, but much of it is old if one already has studied Vikings over the centuries, the countries they lived in, the peoples they encountered and intermarried with, the links with North America. The book, as far as I can tell, has nothing to do with the soul of the family tree. The fact that it is just rehashed information available elsewhere along with the deceptive title is the reason I only gave it 2 stars.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Dave Foster

    The Soul of the Family Tree. The title is the theme. The background is that genealogy is more than a bunch of beggating, who begat whom. It is often where we start when researching out ancestors, compiling a list of who was born, lived, married, had a family, and died and when and where this happened. But Lori Erickson wanted to learn and feel the “why”. Why did this person live here, was it simply a matter of being born there? Why was that person willing to risk their life, their tie to the loc The Soul of the Family Tree. The title is the theme. The background is that genealogy is more than a bunch of beggating, who begat whom. It is often where we start when researching out ancestors, compiling a list of who was born, lived, married, had a family, and died and when and where this happened. But Lori Erickson wanted to learn and feel the “why”. Why did this person live here, was it simply a matter of being born there? Why was that person willing to risk their life, their tie to the local family, to travel or to search or move permanently? Was it a search for wealth? For religious freedom? Was it fear? In Lori Erickson’s case, this was part of her search for her genetic roots but also the roots of her soul. The book is both personal to her and general to all of us out there who want to understand our connection to our pasts. The focus is on her search, her goal of understanding her background, and of understanding her need to search. Is it because of her “Viking” heritage since they were a people famed for their history of striking out into the unknown? The book is a travel story as well as a personal story. Lori Erickson explains her paper research and her goal of feeling a connection with her ancestors by traveling to stand where they stood and feeling the dirt that they walked on. The author makes that connection, and also learns that not all family history is glamourous, and that there is good, bad, and ugly. I enjoyed the reading experience. It gets a thumbs up from me.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Candace S.

    I confess that this book was different than I expected. I loved the concept—exploring your own genealogy to better connect with your historical and spiritual ancestry. In tracing her own Norse heritage, Erickson discovered the concept of öorlog: “a combination of our DNA, ancestral karma, and inherited conditions, plus the accumulation of our actions, words, and intentions in our present lifetimes.” And I think this book is at its best when it’s exploring this idea: how we are spiritually connec I confess that this book was different than I expected. I loved the concept—exploring your own genealogy to better connect with your historical and spiritual ancestry. In tracing her own Norse heritage, Erickson discovered the concept of öorlog: “a combination of our DNA, ancestral karma, and inherited conditions, plus the accumulation of our actions, words, and intentions in our present lifetimes.” And I think this book is at its best when it’s exploring this idea: how we are spiritually connected to our past. I loved the concept of “creating new storylines with ancient materials” in order to better understand ourselves. I was less interested in the long stretches where it delved into long history lessons on Nordic and Viking culture without bringing it back to the ways she incorporates this knowledge into her modern life. If you have a lot of interest in Norse and Viking history and religion you will likely really enjoy this book. If you are looking for a model for how to incorporate such a spiritual journey into your own life, you’ll need to look elsewhere. Thank you to Westminster John Knox Press, the author, and NetGalley for providing me a copy of this book for review.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    A book about someone's quest to chart their family tree could be a bit...boring. After all, it's her family's lineage it's tracing, not mine. But Lori Erickson's The Soul of the Family Tree is utterly compelling. Perhaps it's because I share a love of the show Vikings, and Scandinavian history, but I really enjoyed this book. Her prose is beautiful, accessible, relatable. And that cover--breathtaking. I also really liked how it mixed the spiritual side of things. This is most likely owing to the A book about someone's quest to chart their family tree could be a bit...boring. After all, it's her family's lineage it's tracing, not mine. But Lori Erickson's The Soul of the Family Tree is utterly compelling. Perhaps it's because I share a love of the show Vikings, and Scandinavian history, but I really enjoyed this book. Her prose is beautiful, accessible, relatable. And that cover--breathtaking. I also really liked how it mixed the spiritual side of things. This is most likely owing to the fact that the publishing house places an emphasis on the theological side of things, but with much of modern publishing being so dismissive of religion in general, I appreciated it. I highly recommend this. It's a must read for anyone interested in the study of genealogy, but it's just a downright fun romp through the author's family history. Thank you to LibraryThing and Westminster John Knox Press for sending me an ARC to review.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    Lori Erickson is one of my favorite writers. Lori shares personal stories and experiences as she writes with insight and humor in a way that connects deeply with the reader. Many are searching for their roots in ancestry. We each are filled with the genetic makeup of thousands of people who have gone before us. As Lori explores her own personal heritage, we find common ground with her in seeking meaning through our past. Not everyone in our family tree is perfect and we may find skeletons in our Lori Erickson is one of my favorite writers. Lori shares personal stories and experiences as she writes with insight and humor in a way that connects deeply with the reader. Many are searching for their roots in ancestry. We each are filled with the genetic makeup of thousands of people who have gone before us. As Lori explores her own personal heritage, we find common ground with her in seeking meaning through our past. Not everyone in our family tree is perfect and we may find skeletons in our ancestral closets, but just as Lori discovers, even these have helped Lori as well as us become who we are meant to be and who we may yet become. There are lessons to be learned in all situations and celebrations to be had in discovering how we have come to our place in the world. Lori's book guides us and gives us great joy and deep satisfaction in reading of her discoveries and applying them to our own lives. I highly recommend this as well as Lori's earlier books.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Trudy Foote

    Erickson’s book is offering the reader a roundtrip ticket to a pilgrimage in discovering the heart of their own ancestry. Inside is a guidebook to follow as you create your journey. This memoir is exploring the author’s Scandinavian roots that not only informs but inspires. Erickson shares in detail the steps to her discoveries and how it goes beyond Norwegian Vikings, Norse foods and annual festivals. In reporting her lineage also known as Oorlog in Nordic terms, she reveals the female side. Of Erickson’s book is offering the reader a roundtrip ticket to a pilgrimage in discovering the heart of their own ancestry. Inside is a guidebook to follow as you create your journey. This memoir is exploring the author’s Scandinavian roots that not only informs but inspires. Erickson shares in detail the steps to her discoveries and how it goes beyond Norwegian Vikings, Norse foods and annual festivals. In reporting her lineage also known as Oorlog in Nordic terms, she reveals the female side. Often times women are reduced to a mere mention, a dot on the family tree or worse yet, portrayed in a negative light. There is an entire chapter on the folklore behind Volva a female staff carrying spiritual leader. Erickson was inspired through her research to create the term ‘spiritual DNA’ that goes beyond the spit in the tube of ones genealogy. This memoir is a real balance of stories to give us the whole picture of how our past has the power to return us to today, transformed.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Carol Custer

    I enjoyed this book and I think it will appeal to different people for different things. Some will like the historical aspects, some the family histories, and some the descriptions of Norway. For me, my favorite parts were about the author thinking about her ancestors and I took a virtual trip with her to Norway - a trip I'll likely never make - as she retraced the steps of her ancestors. And mine. I couldn't help but think about my grandparents who came from Norway as a young married couple and I enjoyed this book and I think it will appeal to different people for different things. Some will like the historical aspects, some the family histories, and some the descriptions of Norway. For me, my favorite parts were about the author thinking about her ancestors and I took a virtual trip with her to Norway - a trip I'll likely never make - as she retraced the steps of her ancestors. And mine. I couldn't help but think about my grandparents who came from Norway as a young married couple and settled in Minnesota. I think especially about my Grandmother - still a teenager - who couldn't speak English, and how she must have missed her family. They never returned to Norway though she especially, longed to. This was a fascinating look at my heritage.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    It was a different take on genealogy/family history, one that was more involved in experiencing the spiritual journey of our ancestors. If you have Viking blood, you'll appreciate the history. If you don't, you'll have to substitute the history of the family you're researching. Our ancestors had spiritual beliefs. She says you'll find very few atheists in our histories. By understanding their spiritual views, you get a better idea of who they were and what they valued. That's really what we want It was a different take on genealogy/family history, one that was more involved in experiencing the spiritual journey of our ancestors. If you have Viking blood, you'll appreciate the history. If you don't, you'll have to substitute the history of the family you're researching. Our ancestors had spiritual beliefs. She says you'll find very few atheists in our histories. By understanding their spiritual views, you get a better idea of who they were and what they valued. That's really what we want to learn in studying our family histories!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Heidi

    I think I was looking for a book that would reflect more on the meaning of ancestry on a sort of larger level, on how our ancestors are and are not a part of who we are, especially as white people - since we tend to discard our ethnic identities after being in the USA for a while. This was fun and Erickson addresses some of these questions, but this is a book particularly about her own journey and her Nordic ancestry, perhaps encouraging us to do our own travel and exploring along these same lin I think I was looking for a book that would reflect more on the meaning of ancestry on a sort of larger level, on how our ancestors are and are not a part of who we are, especially as white people - since we tend to discard our ethnic identities after being in the USA for a while. This was fun and Erickson addresses some of these questions, but this is a book particularly about her own journey and her Nordic ancestry, perhaps encouraging us to do our own travel and exploring along these same lines in our own lives.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Wiese

    A very readable book. It held my interest, absolutely. The author gives direction and incentive to follow the genealogy path. She also gives her own journey of searching for wisdom and truth, which does give a good perspective to both the reasons for genealogy research, and for me, a good background on the town of Decorah, where I live, but don't always understand the good people I have more recently become acquainted with. I recommend this book if you wish to try to recognize those mystics amon A very readable book. It held my interest, absolutely. The author gives direction and incentive to follow the genealogy path. She also gives her own journey of searching for wisdom and truth, which does give a good perspective to both the reasons for genealogy research, and for me, a good background on the town of Decorah, where I live, but don't always understand the good people I have more recently become acquainted with. I recommend this book if you wish to try to recognize those mystics among us.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Farinella

    I absolutely loved Lori's previous books, so I jumped at the opportunity to review her latest offering and I wasn't disappointed. Accompany Lori as she seeks out her Nordic ancestors, physically, spiritually & emotionally. A kindred spirit, who I journeyed with, as she did all the footwork; spit, Viking grit, internet searches and what it truly means to come home to oneself. I absolutely loved Lori's previous books, so I jumped at the opportunity to review her latest offering and I wasn't disappointed. Accompany Lori as she seeks out her Nordic ancestors, physically, spiritually & emotionally. A kindred spirit, who I journeyed with, as she did all the footwork; spit, Viking grit, internet searches and what it truly means to come home to oneself.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    The author integrates genealogy, history, geography, spirituality - and humor, to tell the story of her ethnic heritage. Through her search for her roots she gives us a good model to follow for our own genealogical searches.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Gwen

    This book was ok. The first part was interesting but I had to slug my way through to the end. It went on and on about the Vikings and I think if the first part had continued thru the book it would have been better but that's my opinion. This book was ok. The first part was interesting but I had to slug my way through to the end. It went on and on about the Vikings and I think if the first part had continued thru the book it would have been better but that's my opinion.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Susan Schuler

    An inspirational guide for family historians and story seekers.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Darcy

    This is a lovely story...a personal search by one woman to fit into the larger picture of her Norwegian ancestors takes her all the way back to those marauding Vikings. It's a very fun trip! This is a lovely story...a personal search by one woman to fit into the larger picture of her Norwegian ancestors takes her all the way back to those marauding Vikings. It's a very fun trip!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Pattie

    Not what I thought - but interesting.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Meghann Russell

    I liked how she winds you into her life story about finding her way into the beginning of her ancestry and how she had to dig into the past to find the beginning. As a person who is doing just that, I felt very connected to her. It is a struggle to get so far at a fast pace and then get stuck.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Debra

    This was an enjoyable read. The author explores her family background both by traditional methods such as DNA testing, genealogical research, and visiting the sites where her ancestors lived, but also by more creative means. Since the author's background is almost entirely Norwegian, this includes reading some of the ancient Norse sagas and learning more about not only her own Norwegian ancestors, but also about the Vikings. In so doing the author's own family history comes alive and has a great This was an enjoyable read. The author explores her family background both by traditional methods such as DNA testing, genealogical research, and visiting the sites where her ancestors lived, but also by more creative means. Since the author's background is almost entirely Norwegian, this includes reading some of the ancient Norse sagas and learning more about not only her own Norwegian ancestors, but also about the Vikings. In so doing the author's own family history comes alive and has a greater impact on her sense of who she is. The takeaway for me is that learning more about the culture, values, and lived experiences of my own ancestors can be richly rewarding, and is surely as significant in helping me understand my family background as simply finding out their names and dates.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Te Bottei

  29. 4 out of 5

    Carol

  30. 4 out of 5

    Mary Beth

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