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Gathering Leaves – The Book

Gathering Leaves is more than just a history of my family. Its original working title was “How I Did It!” Besides all of the detail and footnotes, I hope to convey to the casual reader my tips and tricks for how anyone with access to the Internet can find their ancestors and connect with long-lost cousins. This began as a labor of love twenty-five years … Continue reading Gathering Leaves – The Book

German American Heritage Month 2021 is in October

This was originally posted September 2010 during German American Heritage Month In 2021, it is observed in the month of October. In the post, I discuss the intolerance and bigotry shown towards German Americans a little over 100 years ago during WWI. I hope that by posting this readers will understand that we need to stop the cycle of violence & racial injustice and come … Continue reading German American Heritage Month 2021 is in October

Irish Legends

I detailed the branches stemming from my third great-grandmother, Mary Emily Knox, which I recently discovered, in a previous post. One of those branches was the branch of my 7th great-grandmother, Jane Winder, and her father, the Rev. John Winder. There is new and, unfortunately, conflicting information to add regarding the branch stemming from John Winder and our connection to to two Irish legends. John … Continue reading Irish Legends

My Mother’s Mother’s Mother…

While I await my DNA results, I continue to follow the paper trail, finding new and exciting branches in my family tree. For example, I have discovered who my mother’s mother’s mother’s mother’s mother’s mother’s mother’s mother’s mother was. Her name was Mary Jenkinson, and finding her in 17th Century England reminds me of an episode of Arrested Development – the one where Michael discovered … Continue reading My Mother’s Mother’s Mother…

Why They Did the Things They Did

One facet of my study of family history involves finding answers to why my ancestors did the things they did. For example, some of the questions I seek to answer are: ‘How and why did my Southern ancestors maintain and defend the system of slavery?’ ‘What made my DeBacker family pull up roots in Belgium and go to Kansas in the 1880s?’ ‘Why did my … Continue reading Why They Did the Things They Did

Here’s Something I’ve Not Seen Before

Here’s something I’ve not seen before: a Marriage Bond. As I was doing some research this afternoon I came across a document titled marriage bond and it was essentially a contract signed by my great great grandfather Constantine Kollros and his future brother-in-law, Erhardt Eichhorn. The purpose of the document was to confirm Constantine’s intent to marry, Erhardt’s sister, Maria Eichhorn. Constantine was required to … Continue reading Here’s Something I’ve Not Seen Before

Knox, Knox, Who’s there?

When I was growing up, one of the family legends from my maternal grandmother was that we were direct descendants of John Knox, the Reformer – the man who founded the Presbyterian Church in Scotland. This connection to a famous individual who was a contemporary of Mary Queen of Scots and Elizabeth the First was supposedly through my great, great, great-grandmother, Mary Emily Knox Kelsey … Continue reading Knox, Knox, Who’s there?

Finally, DNA Testing

After a long time of procrastinating, I have finally decided to get a DNA kit from If I want to revise and update my book, Gathering Leaves, I figure that I should at least include a chapter with a firsthand account/personal journey regarding DNA testing. For the past few months, I have been binge-watching episodes of Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. … Continue reading Finally, DNA Testing