Monthly Archives: January 2019

Book Review: A Stitch in Time

On 4 August 1914, England declared war on Germany, and the War to End All Wars commenced. Patriotism pervaded the country, prompted by fife and drum corps marching through the city streets. Between 4 August and 12 September, the military held massive voluntary recruitment efforts. A total of 478,893 men joined the army during those two months. It is during one of these patriotic parades that the novel, A Stitch in Time, by Beryl Kingston, begins.

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Sum Total of Our Ancestors

“[You] are the sum total of [your] ancestors. You are not limited by their limitations, but you have the potential of their accumulated sense of possibilities. And, you are a product of their stories even though you don’t know it.” ~Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Like every family everywhere, our combined families (mine, my spouse’s, our stepfamilies’, and extended) are a blend of ups and downs, highs and lows.

Throughout the branches of our family trees, I have discovered abolitionists alongside slaveholders and freemen next to slaves. I hope that by telling each and every tale, no matter how distasteful, that I might help shine a light on one of the darkest times in American history.

It is because of our families’ connections to the many sides of slavery that I found Ancestry.com’s Railroad Ties both poignant and hopeful. I hope you find this short film as moving as I have.

Categories: Cole-Marriner Line, Spangler-Kenney Line, Taylor-Thomas Line, This Is My Life, Watts-Stark Line | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Book Review: The German Midwife

Occasionally, I read something so poignant and so profound that it speaks to my soul. Mandy Robotham’s debut novel, The German Midwife, is such a story. Set in Germany during the final years of World War II, this first-person narrative tells the tale of a midwife named Anke Hoff.

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Book Review: An Amish Homecoming

In the early 16th century, religious reformation swept through Europe. The schism between the Catholic Church and those protesting its overreach and corruption gave birth to Protestantism. Because of differences of opinion and interpretation of scripture, several Protestant sects emerged. One group was the Anabaptists, who believe that to be baptized, a person must first confess his/her faith in Christ. (For this reason, Anabaptists do not believe in christening infants.) From these Anabaptists came three “plain” communities: Amish, Mennonites, and Brethren with Amish being the most conservative.

Starting in the early 1700s, many Anabaptists immigrated to the Americas. In both my and my spouse’s family trees are individuals who practiced (or still practice) these Anabaptist faiths. It is because of my ancestral connection to these religions that I decided to venture beyond my historical fiction “comfort zone” and explore a new genre: contemporary Amish fiction.

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Interesting, Odd & Unusual Names

Hey creative writers and/or family historians!  Have you ever needed an itty-bitty bit of inspiration to kickstart your creativity?

If so, then you might want to check out these two sites. The first is Tales of a Family. Each month, blogger Ann Marie Bryant offers a weekly or bi-weekly creative writing/family history suggestion. Because of her writing challenges, I have pushed myself to include more personal narratives in my blog. For that, I thank her.

Or, is genealogy blogging more your style? Then, 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks just might be your cup of tea. Each week, Amy Johnson Crow offers a new topic to help you tell your family’s stories. Although I do not regularly participate in the 52 Weeks challenges—mostly because I already have a ton of tales waiting to be put to pen, I did find this week’s prompt promising: Unusual Names.

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Categories: Caimi-Culatina Line, Cole-Marriner Line, Extended Families, Harwick-Bush Line, Noel-Ardinger Line, Spangler-Kenney Line, Surnames from A to Z, Taylor-Thomas Line, Watts-Stark Line, Williams-Stott Line | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

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