Monday, December 19, 2011

Save Your Memories While They are Still Alive

Do you find yourself missing certain family members around the holidays?  Re-telling Grandpa's stories but apologizing - "I wish you had heard him tell that story, he did it so much better."?  Finding yourself telling the younger generation things about people that they never knew, but were an integral part of your life?

I know I do.

I have hit the place in my life where I am either the second or the first generation in my family.  I used to be one of those who sat at the kids' table - you know the one I mean.  The wobbly card table way at the end of the dining room table with both leaves in it, the kitchen table added to that, and then one or more card tables to get all of the kids at a table.  Or else I was one of the kids who knelt on the floor to eat my dinner, using the piano bench as a table.

We sat down there at the foot of the family, semi-listening to the grown-ups' talk, eating Aunt Blanche's Cherry Delight before we ate anything else, and pegging dinner rolls and olives at each other.

Today I sit at either the kitchen or the dining room table.

My dad's parents have passed on, as has my dad and all of his sisters and brothers.  That makes my generation the old folks.  Fortunately, Dad was the next-to-youngest, so my cousins are 10 - 15 years older than I am, so I am not the matriarch of the family!  And Mom's parents have also passed away, but Mom, Aunt Mildred, and Uncle Bill are still here, so I would probably be at the kitchen table.

Why do I mention this?

Two reasons.

The first is to give you a little tantalizing teaser about a new venture that Heritage and Family is about to embark upon.  I may even have a short video clip to show you in a couple more days.  This idea came about as the result of my own longing for the words and songs and stories of my family that have been lost.  My dad wrote a song for me when I was born, and I know all the words, I have a 3x5 card in his handwriting with the melody written on it, but I don't have his voice singing it for me.

I don't have Grandpa telling stories about his days running a steam shovel, nor Grandma James telling about life on "the farm".

So I have embarked on an outgrowth of the family history in the written form to family history on film.  Sort of an opportunity to ave your memories in advance.

Check back here in a few days to see more about it.  I'm pretty excited about it.

But there is a second reason that I bring this up.

It's almost Christmas.  A time when we get together with our families.  And a great opportunity to save some of those future memories.

So this year, drag out the video camera, or make sure you have your charger for your cell phone, and point that baby at someone and ask a question.

"How did you and Grandma meet?"

"Why does everyone call you 'Marie' when your name is Jeannie?"

"Tell that joke about the rattlesnake and the guy with the booze."

Then download them, save them, give them to your family, and plan to do this again next time.

You won't regret the time and effort it takes.

I promise.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Your Christmas Family Motto

                Being a genealogist means that I get to know a lot about people that I don’t know.

                Which is great fun if you are a nebby kind of gal like I am.  (“Nebby” is a Pittsburghese word – it means “nosey” – possibly a slopification of “neighborly” but who knows?!)  Imagine being paid to look deeply into someone else’s life.

                Sometimes I turn up great fun things.  I have a new client with a grandmother named “Cinderella”.  That is a first for me.   I hope she was worthy of the name, but since my task is the mother, not the grandmother, I don’t know much more about her than that.

                I have another client whose ancestors moved back and forth from the US to Canada based on what they thought of the US government.  Like us?  Stay here.  Dislike us?  Move to Quebec.  Decide we are okay after all?  Move back to the US.
                Or the great times infinity grandparents who immigrated to the US.  Neither spoke English, and neither spoke the other’s language.  But somehow they communicated well enough to get married and have a large and prosperous family.

                Of course sometimes the client’s family offers up some unpleasant surprises.  I mentioned slave-owning in my previous blog.  I have several clients who discovered (or already knew) that their family owned slaves just four generations ago.  Some were shocked.  Some tried to deny it.  Some tried to excuse it.  Some chose to ignore it and move on.

                On the home page of my website is my credo for doing genealogy and family history.  I realized early on that folks weren’t always going to like what I told them.  So I thought I should warn them up front that my goal is to uncover the truth.  Not the story you want to hear, but the real story.

               I wrote:

               "Our purpose is to know, understand, and celebrate the events that relate to our families.  
               While delving into the past may produce some less-than-savory ancestors, or put an end to a
               family legend, a sense of humor and a desire for truth will enable us to celebrate our families as
               they really were and are."    

                What I find most interesting when I do my research and uncover the past of total strangers, is not so much the stories I find and present to my clients, but their reaction to the stories.  That tells me so much more about them and their family than any story or fact I dig up. 

                Are they overly proud of people and things in their past?
                Do they want to hush up unpleasant truths?
                Do they insist on the veracity of their family myths, in spite of contrary facts?
                Or do they wonder why and how things happened?
                Do they laugh at the humor and mourn the sorrows of the past?
                Can they accept that their ancestors, like themselves, were mere mortals, prone to deeds of greatness, generosity, and goodness as well as acts of stupidity, ignorance, cowardice, and fear?

                Which brings me to the upcoming holiday season, when we all get together with our families, and sometimes wonder if we were, indeed, switched at birth. 

                Amidst all the hustle and bustle, the crankiness, the overeating, the disappointment in gifts, and the turmoil that comes from enforced togetherness, remind yourself that these are your ancestors, or your descendants.  And make your purpose the same as mine when I research a client’s family:

    Know, understand, and celebrate our families.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Where are YOU From?

                “Where are you from?”
                Such an innocuous question.
                But if you are a genealogist, or are interested in your family history, this is a more difficult question.  To wit:
                I can tell you that I am currently from the Portland, Oregon area.
                I can tell you that I came here from North Caroline, where I did my graduate work.
                Or perhaps I can say that I am from Pennsylvania, my home state.  Or I could list Maryland, New Jersey, Delaware, Kentucky, and/or Oklahoma as other possible “froms”.
                My grandparents on Mom’s side of the family are from West Virginia.
                Dad’s family originally lived in Virginia.
                Mom’s family came to the US from Germany.
                The James family arrived from Wales, while the McConahys came from Ireland.
                So the question of my provenance is a difficult one to answer.
                I imagine the same is true for many of you, too.
                Even stay-at-home types, like my husband, get complicated.
                He has lived his whole life in the Portland metro area.  His dad is from Yakima, Washington.  His mom’s family moved here from Winchester, West Virginia.
                But before that that you can find a German mercenary who came to fight for the British, got captured, and chose to pledge his loyalty to the burgeoning nation and stayed on.
                My father-in-law’s family moved west from Pennsylvania.  They actually lived in the same part of the state in which part of my family lived.  Before that they were good, sturdy Yankee stock from New England.  There is even a famous preacher in the family.  Before the family lived here they lived in England and Holland.
                The places that we are from say something about us:  who we used to be, what we wanted to find, why we left.  We may have been driven by desire to go, driven by the weather to flee, driven by a government or religion or lifestyle to escape.
I think of my mother-in-law’s family who literally fled a flood that destroyed their entire life and all of their possessions.  The Vanport Flood exodus led to a series of events that ultimately led to the meeting, courtship, and marriage of my in-laws, so I find it hard to see the whole episode as anything other than good.  My husband is the result of that union.
I’ve lived all over this big sprawling country.  I have been fortunate enough to live in Switzerland one summer, and travel to Europe three other times.  Every place I have been to, visited, lived in, or passed by has felt like home to me.  There is something about each place that resonated with me – even sunny Mediterranean places that no one in my family ever hailed from.
Some might say that proves an enormous store-house of former lives is stacked up inside of me.
I prefer to think that for me every place that I am can be my home.  I can see myself living in any of the places I have been to, or I can see myself being from some of them (no offense to any Neapolitans, but I would rather be from Naples than live there!)
So to answer the question “Where are you from?” I suppose I have no answer that makes any sense. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

If a Picture is Worth a Thousand Words....

     Then I have a two-thousand word mystery on my hands.  This photo is of my Grandma James' father:  Thomas Braden McConahy, born in April of 1881.  Usually when we look at old photographs of family members we are struck my their homeliness, the odd hairstyles, the unsmiling faces.  But Great-grandpa McConahy is attractive, even by modern standards (although the front curl thing would HAVE to go today!)
     But that is not the mystery on my hands.  These are:

     Two more photographs of decent-looking men.  I think they are the same man, the upper one being a younger version of the lower photo.  
     The mystery?  I have no idea who they are.
     I only have the scanned versions of the photographs and the originals are with one of my sisters.  But they all three deny having the original.  Which means that someone has them but is too lazy to go dig them out and look at them.  
     Why do I want the originals?
     My Grandma James was pretty good about labeling photographs, so I am hoping that the name or names of the subject is written on the back.  So really, all that I want is for one of my sisters to go find the photos, flip them over, and see if there is anything on the backs.
     Which brings me to YOUR family photos.  If you haven't already done so, please start going through them and labeling each one.  Names, dates, places - all of those are important to include.  But so are other things.

     This could so easily be labelled "Betty Jane" and left at that.  ("Betty Jane" being my Mom)  But there are so many things to be addressed.  WHEN was this charming photo taken?  Where was she?  And most importantly:  WHY WAS SHE SUNBATHING IN PUBLIC WITH HER HAIR IN CURLERS?  
     Now THAT story has to be worth at least a thousand words right there.
     And someday I'll tell it to you.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Genealogy: I've Started. Now What?

This is the transcript for my radio blog today.  You can hear it at

Good morning and welcome to Heritage and Family.  This show is about genealogy – what it is, how to do it, and what we end up with when we are finished.  My name is Kate Eakman, your host, and the owner of Heritage and Family, a family history and genealogy service.  You can find us on the web at, on Facebook, Twitter, and here on Thursday mornings at BlogTalkRadio.

Speaking of our presence on the web, if you haven’t visited our website recently, please do so.  My son has been feverishly working to transform my website-in-a-can to something more professional and better looking, and I must say I like it a lot!  There is still some work to do, but it’s much nicer than the one I cobbled together.  And a BIG thank you to Clovis Davis, a photographer who has perfected the art of wet plate photography.  The photo on the home page is one that Clovis took several years ago of our reenacting group.  He is so meticulous at what he does that his images can be mistaken for those of 150+ years ago.

This is a nice segue – speaking of the Civil War and genealogy:  If you live in the Portland, Oregon metro area and are interested in some Civil War genealogy, you might be interested in this one….Starting in February I will be teaching an Adult Continuing Education class at Mt. Hood Community College called “Discovering Your Civil War Ancestor”.  This is a non-credit class that runs five Saturdays from 10 – noon, and the purpose is to teach students how to research and then write up the STORY of their family’s Civil War ancestor.  If you are interested, check out the Mt Hood website

Last week we talked about what you need to get started on your family history or genealogy or family tree.  The most important items are:  paper, family, the ability to listen, the ability to think like an historian or detective, and the willingness to ask questions and then go find out if the answers are true.

If you used last week as a sort of lesson to get started on your own family’s history, hooray for you!  This week we are going to talk about the dreaded “what next?”  At some point after you begin your family tree you run out of information.  Mom and Dad and the grandparents seem to be of no additional use to you, but you haven’t gone all the way back to The Mayflower or the Norman Conquest or Adam and Eve.

What now?

Today we are going to talk about that very thing – what methods are available to you to get that family tree growing – both taller and fluffier.  Right now it might look a little spindly – sort of like a Charlie Brown Christmas tree.

Here are some suggestions for your next step.  Or steps.  (and by the way, if you are listening to this show live and want to call, feel free.  The phone number is   646.649.0871 and I will be happy to answer your questions or hear about YOUR experiences in creating your family tree.) 

First, make sure that you have everything on the family members you have accumulated.  Do you have all of the basics:  full name, date and place of birth, date and place of marriage/s, date and place of death if applicable, the full name of each spouse (with his/her basics), the basics for each child, and the same for each sibling.

Now, unless everyone in your family has incredible memories, this isn’t as easy as it sounds.  So you drag out all of the “stuff” that everyone has accumulated.  Baby books, newspaper clippings, wedding invitations, obituaries, school report cards, get it all out and go through it. 

I just dragged my son’s baby book off of the shelf and here is what it tells me:  his full name, date of birth, place of birth, the names of some people with the same last name as his (Parker) with one even noted “uncle”; photographs of his first home in an apartment in Oklahoma; a mini family tree with his parents, grandparents, and great grandparents names; his aunts and uncles with their date and place of birth (including in-laws); a clipping of his birth announcement from the local paper (which tells me the name of the local paper so that I can look at their website etc to see if there is additional information available there); names of family members still living at his 1st – 3rd birthdays and Christmases; locations of his grandparents’ homes in the “places baby visited” section; a plane ticket on TWA for travel with his mother to his grandparents which tells us his mother’s REAL first name (no, it’s not “Kate”).

Granted, not every baby book is that full of clues, but there will be some, especially if you start to think about each entry and each piece of paper that has been saved:  WHAT DOES THIS TELL ME?  Or WHAT DOES THIS VERIFY?

I mentioned including the information of siblings and children, including those who are not “directly” in your personal family lineage and I want to talk a bit more about that and why it is important to gather that information.

Sometimes a child or a sibling provides the clue you need to trace back to the previous generation.  We’ll talk more about this in a later episode, but let me explain briefly.

Prior to oh, say 1900, names tended to be spelled in a hit or miss fashion.  My maiden name, James, is relatively easy to get right, but my married name, Eakman, lends itself to all sorts of spelling variations.

Now imagine that you have a slightly unusual first name:  Zachariah, Johanna, or, in my husband’s family:  Orzella.  Remember, not every person had the luxury of time to complete a high school education.  So people even spelled their own names differently throughout their life. 

Census takers, records clerks, priests and ministers could also fall into the category of those who had trouble with spelling.  If you weren’t confident in the spelling of your name, you might not even realize that your name had been recorded with an outlandish spelling.

Sometimes a family members with a nice, boring name is a blessing.  And since you never know who you are going to need to trace your lineage, my policy is always to gather as much information about all family members as is available. 

Next, in conjunction with going through all the paper documents that have been kept over the years, is to collect more than the basic information on each person.  What school/s did each person attend?  Did they graduate?  Fail any grades?  What does each teacher say about this ancestor?

What about military service records?  Commendations?  Even a plain old DD214 will give you some good basic information:  full name, date and place of birth, hair and eye color, height, weight, marital status, number of years of HS, date and place of discharge, address of home on entrance into the service, branch of service, rank attained, date of entry and term of service, military specialty, and dates and location of training.  My dad’s DD214 also tells his blood type (O-positive).

Other paper documents might include religious, social, or fraternal organizations; paperwork related to a job or a company (including W2s); newspaper clippings about sports played or performances given.

Then there is the treasure trove that are family photos.  Here is where you can really score some information, and make yourself a hero to your family:  sit down with your family members (one at a time is fine) and go through each one and identify every little bitty thing you can about it.  Who is pictured?  When and where was it taken?  Why?  What event is happening?  What are they wearing/carrying/holding?  Whose couch/chair/front porch is that? 

And equally important – how do you know this?  Sometimes asking how they know will elicit even more information.  My mom and I were going through a stack of old photos and she told me casually “Oh that’s grandma and grandpa on the 25th wedding anniversary after they came in from working in the garden.”  Now I knew where they lived and there was no garden there.  But a little questioning uncovered the fact that my grandparents rented a piece of land with a friend to have a garden.  Because Grandma didn’t drive (another snippet of information!) they only went out after Grandpa got home from work and on weekends.

Do yourself and everyone else a favor and write down all of the pertinent information – I have found that a Post-It© note on the back of a photo is a good start.  Don’t leave them there, because they aren’t archival quality, but you can get away with it for a BRIEF period of time.

Now, about all of that “other” stuff that has been saved – the stuff that you are tempted to say is useless to you in your genealogical quest.  Nonsense!  Playbills, tickets, menus, programs…all of those mementos that have been cherished and saved for years and years are all valuable.  They tell you who did what.  Who was interested in what.  Whether some odd beads tell how your grandmother made jewelry out of wallpaper samples, or a single guitar pick tells the story of the time your father played a set with Janis Joplin, each treasure turns your ancestors into interesting, living people that you and others are interested in knowing all about.

Once again, time has flown and we are nearly out of time.  Next Thursday we will continue here for 30 minutes, 11 am Eastern time, 8 am here on the west coast.  Our topic will be Part One of a two-part discussion about turning the facts that you have collected into stories of your family’s past.   

Remember, for those of you who live in the Portland/Vacouver metro area, starting on February 3 and continuing through March 2 I will be teaching an Adult Continuing Education course called “Discovering Your Civil War Ancestor” at Mt.  Hood Community College.

Follow us online, and via Facebook and Twitter.  Until next Thursday, this has been a BlogTalkRadio broadcast from Heritage and Family, with me, Kate Eakman.  Until next week, happy hunting!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Austin Cecil Tasker - My Family's History

     The young man on the right is my grandfather:  Austin Cecil Tasker.  Don't know with whom he is standing, nor to whom the car belongs, but it's a great photo of a man who was already a grandfather when I met him. (!)
     Genealogy always starts with the people you know.  And usually, once you start researching, you realize that you don't know them at all.  How much do YOU know about your grandparents?  How often did you listen to their stories of "the olde days"?
     I suppose I listened no better than most kids.  I knew he was my grandpa and that was what mattered.  He gave me Canada Mints (those thick pink candies).  He was a preacher and worked for a local savings and loan.  He gave me butterscotch ice cream and sugar cookies and ginger ale before bed.  He liked baseball (the Pittsburgh Pirates) and pro wrestling.  Grandpa would whistle and sing all day long.  He liked to hunt and fish, and I grew up eating trout and rabbit and squirrel at his table.  He had this great collection of metal wind-up toys that I have no idea where they got to.  I hope my cousin Diane has them.  And he had one of those cans of "peanuts" that had a springy snake inside.
    But his history was most cloudy.  I don't suppose I cared to know it one way or the other.  But as I grew older I began to listen to his stories and I discovered such an interesting man.
     He was born Austin Cecil, his friends as an adult called him "Tom" (more on that later).  I don't know what his father or mother called him.  "Austin" sounds so pretentious for someone born in a little town in Mineral County West Virginia in 1903.  But, it was the sort of name that was popular at the time.
     Austin was the oldest of four children but he only had his mother for the first few years of his life.  Ida Miller Tasker died giving birth to the final child, leaving James Edgar a widower with four children under the age of 10.
     Austin went to live with family friends, but still saw his father and siblings as they grew up and grew older.  Too young to sign up for or be drafted in WWI, Austin eventually went to work across the state line in Johnstown, PA.
     One day as "Tom" (as he was known to his friends) and some buddies were walking home from work Tom spied a young lady sitting on the front porch of her mother's house.  Without knowing her name or any other facts about her, Tom announced his intention to marry the young lady.  He introduced himself and struck up a conversation, and within a few months Austin Cecil Tasker was the husband of the former Miss Edith Mae Wise.
     The young couple settled into married life quite nicely, except for the secret Austin, or Tom, was keeping from his bride.  One day soon after their marriage, a group of young men came banging on the door, asking for "Tom".  Edith politely told then that there was no Tom there, but the young men insisted, becoming loud and frightening the tiny lady.  She finally closed the door and barricaded herself inside, and the young men left.  Later than night she told her husband of the day's scare only to have him laugh and then sheepishly admit to his alter ego.
     Soon the family began to grow.  First came James Robert, named in honor of Austin's father.  Then Mildred Elizabeth, then William Cecil, and finally Betty Jane (my mother).  By the end of WWII the family was living in Somerset, PA, which was to be the home of Austin and Edith until their deaths.
     Austin held a variety of jobs - most of them doing construction.  I remember hearing that Grandpa worked a steam shovel and immediately associated him with Mike Mulligan and his famous steam shovel.  Grandpa helped to build several roads throughout Pennsylvania and New York, including the Pennsylvania Turnpike.  
(Yes, I know this photo is from BEFORE Grandma and Grandpa got married, but I am not the holder of ALL family mementos you know!)
     The family prospered, and Grandpa felt the calling of the ministry.  He became a minister for the Church of the Brethren and ministered to his flocks for decades.  I recall attending church one Sunday when Grandpa was the preacher, but sad-to-say, paid no attention at all to the sermon.  So I can't tell you what kind of preacher he was.  But I do know that he loved to sing.  Grandpa had one of those quavery tenors that makes you think of older men in barbershop quartets (which he participated in, as well as men's choirs) and he would sing while dressing, while doing chores, while walking or driving.  So I suppose I come by my own love of singing honestly.
     Here is the Austin Tasker family prior to their arrival on Court Avenue in Somerset.  Left to right are (Uncle) Jim, Grandpa (he was always a gentleman of his era and wore a hat whenever he went outside), (my Mom) Betty, (Uncle) Bill, Grandma, and (Aunt) Mildred.  The family was a happy family, close to each other,  some little spats no doubt, but nothing that kept any of them apart.  Today only Aunt Mildred, Uncle Bill, and my Mom are living, and Aunt Mildred is not well, but they still enjoy each other's company.  Uncle Bill and his wife (Aunt Cora Mae) and Mom are planning a vacation to New England and Canada next year.  Not sure my sisters and I could do the same without someone ending up dead!
     But back to the story.  For their 25th wedding anniversary, Austin and Edith celebrated in elaborate style. They spent the day working in a rented garden plot they had just outside of town.  But their family and friends had other ideas, so when the silver couple returned home, dirty and sweaty and tired, they were surprised by an anniversary party.
     I love this picture - seeing my grandparents smiling and happy and young, but obviously in the house I knew from later years.  I remember that little wooden moon and star decoration, and the Art Deco china cabinet now sits in my own mother's dining room.  I could describe the whole house to you - to grandma's left are the stairs to the second floor with three bedrooms and a bathroom, and more stairs up to the attic.  The living room is behind grandpa and the kitchen is behind grandma.  Again, I digress.
     Gradually the children grew up and moved away.  Grandchildren came to visit.  One of my favorite things every summer was to spend a week with Grandma and Grandpa all by myself - no sisters, just me.  And those summer-time before bed snacks - makes me wonder how I ever got to sleep!  By this time Grandpa was retired, so he worked for the Savings and Loan, mostly verifying that folks who got home improvement loans had actually improved their homes.  Only now do I realize that he was doing the kind of work that could be somewhat dangerous:  western PA, home of the Whiskey Rebellion, is still not a place where you want to go waaaay out in the country to poke your nose into someone else's business, especially if you are going to tell them they are in trouble.
     But then, Grandpa knew how to handle himself, and he was always good with people.  As a young boy, remember that he lived in West Virginia, and I recall him telling stories of "Revenuers" who came to look for stills in the woods, never to return.  And this was a man who successfully squirrel hunted well into his 70s.  So I suppose he knew what he was doing!
     Austin and Edith eventually moved into a retirement apartment complex, a little place with a view of the Somerset County Courthouse and within easy walking distance of "uptown".  
     Time and old age caught up with Austin, and after a series of heart attacks and the degradations of Alzheimer's, he died in 1992.
     Grandpa loved to go fishing (I can still hear him say it: "feeshing") and he made it a point to take each grandchild out at least once.  My great catch was a 5" blue gill and a similar-sized trout.  But he also took my son, Nathaniel, out for his first fishing experience.  Grandpa was feeling the effects of dementia, and I spent a great deal of time untangling lines and reels, but he and Nathaniel had a great time.  No one caught anything but they saw and poked a big green frog, and enjoyed the sun, and Nathaniel was young enough not to know any difference.  

     As you can see, a good time was had by all.

Austin Cecil Tasker
9 September 1903 - 30 January 1992

Friday, October 21, 2011

My Little Slice of History

I love history - always have.  The more I learn about a time and place, the more I want to know.  I like getting into the heads of folks from "back then" and understanding what made them different from me, and discovering how much like me they were.

Since I was very young my mom and dad provided the history of me (and my sisters, but really ME!) when they told family stories.  Some were funny - Aunt Mildred waking up her much younger sister to get up for school when Aunt Mildred had just gotten home (at a reasonable hour) from a date.  Some were dramatic - the time dad fell out of the tree, cut his neck and was knocked out cold, making his sister believe he was dead, so she buried him.  Some were romantic - mom seeing dad at the diner counter and telling a friend that she was going to marry that man.  Others were sad - dad's own father's death when my dad was barely a teenager.

Because my parents were such good story tellers, I was always intrigued by my family.  They seemed so much more interesting and alive than I was.  No snow up to the second story, no shoveling coal into the furnace, no dad gone for weeks at a time in order to find work and feed his family.  We lived ordinary lives.

As I got older I realized that my family considered their lives to be normal and ordinary, too.  EVERYONE had to walk to school, EVERYONE worked hard, ALL the dads took whatever work they could find, regardless of how far it took them from home.

Now that I am a historian and genealogist I know that the lives of my family, both the previous generation and the generations of the 18th century, were both normal and unique.  The general outline was the same as that of their neighbors and friends, but the details were uniquely their own.

As I continue to uncover the stories of my family's past I will record them here.  Sometimes I will debunk a long-cherished myth.  Other times I will prove the truth of the family legend.  And I have already found a couple of amazing ordinary folks lurking in our family tree.

Interested in uncovering more of your own family history?  Check out my company, Heritage and Family, and see what I have to offer.