New York: Telling family secrets, March 21

Tracing the Tribe readers will note that I try to track the speaking engagements of Steve Luxenberg, author of the award-winning “Annie’s Ghosts: A Journey into a Family Secret.”

Although some people think it may be strange that I do so, Steve’s book should be a must on everyone’s to-read list. If you haven’t read it, get yourself a copy. All genealogists and family history researchers should read it.

In addition to telling a compelling story, Steve’s use of all possible resources to solve his family mystery can provide clues and tips to all of us.

A Washington Post associated editor working on special projects, Steve will be speaking to the Jewish Genealogical Society of New York at 2pm on Sunday, March 21, at the Center for Jewish History in Manhattan.

Steve’s mother was an only child. That’s what she told everyone, sometimes within minutes of meeting them.

When Steve heard that his mother had been hiding the existence of a sister, he was bewildered.

Through personal letters and photographs, official records and archival documents, as well as dozens of interviews, Steve revisits his mother’s world in the 1930s and 1940s in search of how and why the secret was born.

Employing his skills as a journalist, he pieces together the story of his mother’s motivations, his aunt’s unknown life, and the times in which they lived. His search takes him to imperial Russia and Depression-era Detroit, through the Holocaust in Ukraine and the Philippine war zone, and back to the places where his aunt languished in anonymity.

Steve has worked for more than 30 years as a newspaper editor and reporter, beginning at the Baltimore Sun. He joined the Washington Post in 1985 as deputy editor of the newspaper’s investigative/special projects staff, headed by assistant managing editor Bob Woodward. In 1991, he succeeded Woodward as head of the investigative staff.

His professional investigative journalism skills served him well when it came time to write the book.

Married with two children, Steve grew up in Detroit, where “Annie’s Ghosts” is centered.

If you haven’t read the book yet, a book-signing will follow his talk.

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