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The Journey Takers

Davis County Clipper, March 2, 2011

“Author Walks the Paths of History in a New Book” by Jennifer Wardell

In some ways, history is nothing more than the stories of a thousand different journeys.

Author Leslie Albrecht Huber chronicles some of those travels in “The Journey Takers,” which tells the story of both her ancestors’ voyage from Germany to America and her own journey trying to reconstruct their footsteps. She’ll be speaking about experiences with the book in a free lecture at the Bountiful/Davis Art Center on March 4 at 7:30 p.m., as well as at 9:20 a.m. at Bountiful High School on March 5 as part of the South Davis Regional Family History Fair.

“I hope people feel a connection to their own families by reading about these families,” said Huber. “That’s what I want most – for readers to see them as real people and understand their stories.”

It’s those stories she first fell in love with when she went to Germany in 1998, working at an archive near where her family is from. She immersed herself in the history, discovered things about herself while she was looking, and found that there was more of a connection between the past and the present than she had known.

“By telling the story of my family, I felt that I could tell the story of many families,” she said.

In order to write the book she wanted to, she went on to develop her skills as a writer for publications such as the History Channel Magazine and Ensign.

She uses her experience in researching her ancestors to weave some practical guidance about ancestor research through the book, shaping them into narrative rather than a list of facts.

“I want people to learn,” said Huber. “But I think they learn best through stories.”

Huber will also be speaking later in the day about tracing your ancestors from Europe and writing a page-turning history at the history fair, which will also feature several other speakers. The fair runs until 4:30 p.m. and is free to attend, but registration is required (you can register at the door, however).

She will also be doing a book signing at the history fair immediately following her noon presentation, and will do another one from 5-7 p.m. on March 5 at the Seagull Book in Centerville (316 N. Marketplace Dr.)

“People ask me how to write the stories of their own families, and my main advice is to just do it,” Huber said. “You don’t need to be a Pulitzer Prize-winning author to write a story that’s important to your family.”

BYU Magazine, Winter 2011

The Journey Takers is family history at its best. Leslie Albrecht Huber (BA ’98) transforms a buried past into a living present by following her journeying ancestors as they left their homes in Germany, Sweden, and England to travel to Zion in the American West. Huber’s exhaustive research takes her to her family’s homelands and enables her to reconstitute the communities, daily life, and eras in which her ancestors lived. Following them on their various journeys, she examines the historical impact of their decisions to emigrate.

The Federation of Genealogical Societies FORUM, Winter 2010

Book Review by Kelly Holderbaum

Have you ever looked beyond your ancestor’s names and thought about what they might have said, thought or felt as they traveled the road of life? Leslie Albrecht Huber intertwines her twentieth century life with that of her ancestors’ nineteenth century lives, in her quest to understand where her ancestors came from and how the generations came to her.

Huber travels to the places in Europe from which her families originated. She began in Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Germany where the Albrechts lived before sailing in 1880 from Hamburg bound for the United States. Huber tours the towns in which the Albrechts lived in an attempt to capture their emotions during the tides of historical changes. Huber explains how she comes to different realizations about her ancestors as she walks through her own life journey. She weaves a story of life, using historical context and what might have been into a story that is hard to put down. 

The next leg of Huber’s journey took her to Skane, Sweden to find Karsti Nilsdotter’s family. Here Huber tells how her ancestor, a 17-year-old Single woman, traveled to the United States. Huber then takes a look at her Harris family from Buckinghamshire, England to uncover how Karsti’s future husband came to the United States. Huber’s final journey takes her to Utah, the place that ties her family together. Each part of the book explains the trials the journey takers would have gone through and shows the faith immigrants needed to have to travel to an unknown place hoping and dreaming for a better life. 

The author does an excellent job of differentiating her thoughts from facts throughout the book, with the facts clearly documented unobtrusively in the endnotes. An index of people and places could have been added to the book to make it more valuable for research. 

For anyone with immigrant ancestors, this book will encourage you to find the path they took so you could be here today. Even though it may take months, years or a lifetime, this book encourages you to continue your search to find your family.

Springfield Republican, October 31, 2010

“Belchertown Author Leslie Huber Releases Book About Personal Genealogical Search” By Kathryn Roy

A Belchertown woman has released her first book about her genealogical search for her ancestors and her life-changing experience that resulted from her cross-continental research.

Leslie Albrecht Huber’s “The Journey Takers” is getting rave reviews and some national exposure with its factual portrayals of the lives of her ancestors who emigrated from Germany, Sweden and England.

Click here to read the complete article.

Agawam Advertiser News, October 14, 2010

"Author Shares Story of Emotional Journey" By Sarah Platanitis

Leslie Huber, professional genealogist and award-winning author of “The Journey Takers,” was guest lecturer at this month’s well-attended Western Massachusetts Genealogy Society meeting at the Senior Center.

In her book, Huber tells the story of her paternal family and details her own emotional voyage to understand the stories of those forgotten by time. Dramatic black and white photos grace the cover of the paperback.

“All of us have the desire to think our families were unique and special,” said Huber. “Instead they were 100% ordinary. By telling my family’s story, I could tell the story of so many others.”

Click here to read the complete article.

Cape Cod Genealogical Society Blog, October 12, 2010

“The Journey Takers by Leslie Albrecht Huber – a Review” by Betsy Ferris

Immediately after listening to our wonderful speaker, Leslie Albrecht Huber, at the September 2010 meeting of the Cape Cod Genealogical Society, library volunteers Brenda Hayes and Betsy Ferris scrambled to purchase Leslie’s latest volume for the CCGS Library.  Her new book, The Journey Takers, is a story of her family, and even more a book about how to research and tell a family story, using many types of sources and resources, documenting information properly, and making the narrative as flowing and readable as a novel.

In this fascinating little tale are tips and inspiration for genealogist readers who travel vicariously with the author, chapter by chapter from Germany to Sweden, to England and back to Utah. The Journey Takers is listed in the Biography section of the CCGS Catalog of books under 92 ALBRECHT, Albrecht being the first family surname investigated along this literary journey. It is a wonderful read with extensive notes and bibliography.

Iowa Genealogical Society Review, October 2010

By Marti Rasmussen

This inspiring family history is a wish fulfilled for Leslie Albrecht Huber. She spent twelve years of hard research of her ancestors from Germany, Sweden and England. And what an accomplishment. The Journey Takers is good writing, exciting stories and excellence in genealogy research.

Click here to read the complete review.

American Spirit Magazine, Sept/Oct 2010

"Family Chronicles"

In a quest to trace her genealogical roots, genealogist and American Spirit contributing writer Leslie Albrecht Huber, followed the immigration journeys of her ancestors and chronicled those experiences as well as her family history in The Journey Takers (Foundation Books, 2010). Huber’s book presents the stories of her great-great-great-grandparents who lived in Germany, England, and Sweden, and the three families that merged after immigrating to Utah. For example, Huber tells the German side of her family’s story through the eyes of Georg and Mina Albrecht, who, in 1880, gathered their nine children and traveled to Hamburg where they boarded a ship for the United States.

Aided by thousands of hours of research, Huber traces her ancestors’ paths throughout Europe, wandering through her families’ hometowns and farms and describing how these encounters affected her. She weaves together thorough research, events in her own life and scenes from her ancestors’ lives to connect readers to an influential group of 19th-century European immigrants – and perhaps inspire those readers to take a similar journey.

JSONS (Journalism Students’ Online News Service): Emerson College, September 30, 2010

“Reviving Lost Ancestors” by Erica Kaliszewski

Leslie Albrecht Huber a genealogy aficionado, freelance writer, mother of four, and now author of her ten-year, project-turned-book entitled The Journey Takers, described how to delve into family history. She spoke on her own experiences Sept. 29 at the Boston Public Library.

Huber said her ancestral unearthing "changed my perspective on life."

When it comes down to lineage, Huber said, the lines become blurred. Generation after generation, stories "were forgotten." She said, it is now our job to research our roots as far back as possible to keep the history alive and thriving. "We must not forget where we come from," Huber said.

Click here to read the complete article.

National Genealogical Society Quarterly, September 2010

By Will White

Huber plucks from her family tree European immigrants to the United States – Albrechts, Hakers, Harrises, and Nilsdotters, calls them the Journey Takers, and tells their stories in excellent historical context. An appendix provides detailed genealogical information on cited family group sheets.

The Journey Takers is not unique. Other family histories describe the nineteenth-century German-Swiss-English immigration experience, and many describe subsequent treks across the United States by rail, boat, and wagon. What sets this story apart is its masterful telling.

Click here to read the complete review.

German Life Magazine, August/September 2010

“German-American Immigrant Histories Show Many Perspectives” by James M. Beidler
(quoting only part pertinent to The Journey Takers)

Where Fritschen’s account is methodical, Huber’s The Journey Takers (Foundation Books, 321 pages, $19.95) is a much more spiritual experience. She successfully intertwines her search for roots with the stories of those ancestors, who hail from Sweden and England in addition to German’s Mecklenburg area.

Her chapters on her Mecklenburg immigrants are the book’s Part One, and they set the stage for what she wishes to accomplish in an admirable way. For anyone attempting to better understand the social history of their German ancestors, one of the strengths of Huber’s book is its extensive bibliographic endnotes.

Click here to read the complete review.

Mormon Times, August 27, 2010
“Author Says Her Ancestors Were Ordinary – and Yours Were Too” by Hikari Loftus

Leslie Albrecht Huber's ancestors were not special. Nor were they extraordinary.

In fact, they were 100 percent, completely ordinary and just like everyone else around them. And if you ask her, she'll probably tell you that yours were, too — no matter what stories you've been told about descending from Indian princesses.

But that is why their story is so important for her to share.

"By telling their story, I could tell the story of millions of Americans who share this story. I could tell the story of so many other immigrants who had experiences just like them," Huber said.

Click here to read the complete story.

Family History Writing Blog, August 8, 2010

"Listening to an Expert Talk About Research"
by Joy Stubbs

“I'm in love with a new book. The author, Leslie Albrecht Huber, is an expert researcher. In her book, The Journey Takers, she intersperses the story of her own life journey with that of her ancestors' emigrant journeys. The stories of her discoveries and of their experiences in their life-changing "journey" to the new world is engaging. And I relate to Leslie's research experiences.”

Click here to read the complete entry.

Mormon Times, July 30, 2010
“Chasing Ancestors Across the Ocean” By Michael De Groote

PROVO, Utah — Leslie Albrecht Huber wants to be very clear about one thing: If you want to do research on your immigrant ancestors, you need to know their hometown in Europe. "The town name. This is the key piece of information that you need to trace your European ancestor and to continue to have success in Western Europe. You need to find the name of the Old World town where your family lived," Huber said to a class at BYU's Conference on Family History and Genealogy on Thursday.

Click here to read the complete review.

LDS Church News, July 29, 2010
“Finding Extraordinary Information for 'Ordinary' Ancestors” By R. Scott Lloyd

Are you faced with the task of telling the life story of ancestors for whom all you have are a few names and dates? Don't lose heart; if you poke around a bit, you might find a lot more information than you thought possible.
Leslie Albrecht Huber discussed tools and techniques for doing that in her presentation July 28 at the Conference on Family History and Genealogy at BYU.

Sister Huber, whose book The Journey Takers tells of her own European emigrant ancestors, says that in telling such stories, one might be tempted to assign "criteria" according to which ancestors are more promising for uncovering information,

Click here to read the complete review.

Swedish Council of America

The Journey Takers by Leslie Albrecht Huber
The Journey Takers (Foundation Books, 2010) is the story of one woman who, through years of extensive genealogical research and travel, sets out to document and understand the lives of her ancestors who emigrated from Germany, England and Sweden - the journey takers.  She examines the way these journeys have shaped her own life, and finds parallels between the long-ago lives of her ancestors and her own - most notably, through their shared values of family and faith.

Olive Tree Genealogy Blog, July 28, 2010
By Lorine McGinnis Schulze

I started reading Leslie Albrecht Huber's book The Journey Takers last week. It's compelling reading. Leslie has created a story that allows her ancestors (the Journey Takers) to come alive.

Through her own experiences as she follows their footsteps, Leslie weaves a narrative which takes us to Germany, Sweden, United Kingdom and Utah. She creates fictional scenes of historical accuracy in which she describes her ancestors and their emotions.

It's an unusual and intriguing method of writing a family history and one I'm enjoying very much.

Midwest Book Review (five stars)

The Journey Takers is the true story of author Leslie Albrecht Huber's ancestors, from their emigration from Germany, Sweden and England to the trials and travails they endured while seeking to build a new life for themselves in America. Thousands of hours of research enable Huber to reconstruct a deeply personal, profoundly vivid picture of challenges these men and women faced. Extensive notes and a list of sources round out this captivating portrayal, solidly grounded in reference yet written as smoothly flowing as a novel. Highly recommended.

Lebanon Daily News, Roots and Branches Column, June 13, 2010

"Reading Book on Immigrants a Spiritual Journey" By James Beidler

In a dozen years of column writing, you could easily say I've seen the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to family-history books. I've seen books so scholarly that the text was strangled by footnotes. I've read ones that were little more than a compilation of names and dates. (Oops, I even compiled one like that some 20 years ago!) And I've read ones that were more fiction than fact, with tales of heraldry, knights and Adam at the top of the chart. But I've never read a book that fascinated me as much as Leslie Albrecht Huber's "The Journey Takers" (Foundation Books, 321 pages, $19.95).

Reading the advance review copy of her book was truly an experience on the spiritual plane as she relates the tales of German, Swedish and English ancestors. In her narrative, she rather seamlessly alternates amongst passages that lay out the information from records directly mentioning her ancestors, relate her feelings as she went through her present-day search, and -- finally and most importantly -- use her many historical sources to create scenes from the everyday lives of her ancestors.

Click here to read the complete review.

Genea-Musings, Tuesday, June 29, 2010

By Randy Seaver

Leslie's book provides a magnificent example of family history writing - displaying the breadth and depth of her research, weaving historical and cultural events into the lives of her ancestors, and re-creating realistic scenes and family conversations at places in the stories. Throughout the book, Leslie's own family challenges and triumphs are woven into the narrative - she takes you from the ancestral past to her family's present on the same page. This reader felt that he was riding along with Leslie while visiting the ancestral places, and was witnessing her struggles as she tried to balance her family life with the thrill and drive to do more family research.

Click here to read the complete review.

Memoir Mentor, July 9, 2010

"No Ordinary Family History" by Dawn Thurston

I recently finished another family history I’d like to recommend to you, one that will surely go on the top of my list. It’s The Journey Takers, written by Leslie Albrecht Huber....Huber’s narrative traces the lives of several families on her paternal line who made the brave choice to forsake their homeland–in this case, Germany, England, and Sweden–to immigrate to America. Hence, the title, The Journey Takers. This is an interesting focus, one that provides a unified theme to the varied individual life stories.The Journey Takers is also about Huber’s own journey, actually several journeys, including research trips to her ancestral homelands to comb through archives, talk to the locals, and walk the land her people called their own. While researching for this book–a ten-year project, she tells us–her own young family is also in a state of flux. Educational pursuits and job responsibilities require the Hubers to move to several different states and spend a year in Spain. She recounts these different experiences in an engaging way, candidly telling us about her difficult pregnancies, parenting adjustments, and frustrations about being sidetracked from her research and writing goals...I felt like I knew this woman and could relate to her conflicted desires...Huber has done her reseach, in both primary documents and social history, which she combines in an interesting, seamless way, documented inobtrusively with endnotes that appear at the back of the book.

Click here to read the complete review.