Karin Wulf is a historian of eighteenth-century British America. Her research focuses on gender, family, and political culture; her latest book, Lineage: Genealogy and the Power of Connection in British America, 1680-1820 is forthcoming from Oxford University Press. She has written widely about the early American field (Vast Early America) and professional historical practice. Currently Executive Director of the Omohundro Institute of Early American History & Culture and Professor of History at William & Mary, in October 2021 she will join Brown University as Beatrice and Julio Mario Santo Domingo Director and Librarian of the John Carter Brown Library.
Genealogy is a global phenomenon as a hobby and big business. It also has a deep history in the early modern world, and in early America was compelling both for families and for the emerging state. Drawing on archival fragments as well as major collections, this lecture situates family history as a particular practice in early America, as well as sketches the long history of genealogy around the world.