My presentation will focus on how I researched and wrote my book The Family, and how I used my family stories to embody the major currents of 20th century Jewish history. I will begin by sketching in the basics of the story: how the family of my great-great grandfather divided into three branches at the turn of the last century (US, Israel, Holocaust). Next, I will step back to address particular genealogical issues that I encountered in the course of research and writing, including archival research in the US, Israel and Eastern Europe. I will also share anecdotes about some lucky discoveries I made securing official documents, private family records and in researching websites. Finally, I will consider the intersection of family history and Big History and talk about how to enter imaginatively into past catastrophes without sensationalizing the lives of our ancestors.