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I’d like to trace my family tree – but there aren’t any records | Coco Khan

Without historical documents, all I have to go on are my mother’s anecdotes. And she is what I’d call an unreliable source

Of my many lofty life goals (learning Italian, upholstering a chair, getting a cramp and not Googling “Am I dying?”) the least achievable is tracing my family tree. It’s futile for people like me – children of immigrants from countries that aren’t exactly known for their record-keeping – and me, especially.

Without historical documents, all I have to go on are my mother’s anecdotes. And she is what I’d call an unreliable source; her stories, like her recipes, are fantastic but lack specifics (“some salt”, “a bit of turmeric”, or the cryptic “cook it until it’s ready”).

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