About Me

The first time I heard about genealogy was at a family reunion in 1992.  I was eleven years old and captivated by the research Agnes McWeeny Johnston brought to our annual Johnston Family gathering — stories of land grants, wagon trains, illegitimate children, horse-thievery, and murder.  I remember pouring over our family tree on long sheets of dot-matrix printer paper, and I wanted to learn more.

But genealogy was a completely inaccessible hobby for a pre-teen, pre-Internet.  To do family history research, you needed free time to travel to distant courthouses, and that pesky commitment called fifth grade was in my way.  Also, a car (and driver’s license) are required to get to exotic locations like Leake County, Mississippi.  Finances were a final barrier — money for stamps, photocopies, and record search fees add up quickly for an 11 year old.  Genealogy would just have to wait.

I remembered my interest in genealogy numerous times as I — and the Internet — grew up.  I would occasionally look at free resources online, but I had other commitments demanding my attention — college, career, newlywed years. I finally decided to dive into genealogy in 2012.  I was a stay-at-home mom with some free time and disposable income, so I joined Ancestry.  I also discovered Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research in my new home of Houston, Texas.  For the first time in my life, I had seemingly limitless resources to find out more about my family history.

I’ve continued this pursuit of history and my family tree for over eight years, adding DNA analysis, family history tourism, and now blogging to my ways of exploring this passion. With HistorTree, I aim to discover my family’s past and how it fits in the context of history.  I’m especially eager to document specific points in time when my ancestors interacted with historical events, making history personal for my sons and any of you who read along with us.



Published Works:

  • “Protect Family Secrets While Preserving Them for Future Generations,” Stirpes, Vol. 59, No. 4 (December 2020)
  • “Fold3 Search Basics: Finding Military Records for Early Americans, Modern-Day Veterans, and Everyone In Between,” Stirpes, Vol. 59, No. 3 (September 2020)
  • “I Discovered a Letter Written by My Ancestor on eBay — And How You Can, Too,” The Genealogical Record, Vol. 60, No. 1 & 2 (Spring 2020)
  • “Who Were the Parents of Mary Smart McMurry of Winn Parish, Louisiana?” Stirpes, Vol. 59, No. 1 (March 2020)
  • “Clayton Library: Ideal Meeting Place for Records Preservation,” The Clayton Advocate, Vol. 34, No. 1 (February 2020)
  • “Earth Survey and Google Earth Pro: Using Free Land Surveying Research Tools for Genealogy,” Stirpes, Vol. 58, No. 4 (December 2019)
  • “Three Generations in a Car: Planning a Family-Friendly Genealogy Road Trip,” Stirpes, Vol. 58, No. 2 (June 2019)


  • “Fold3 Search Basics,” Clayton Library Friends / Genealogy Face2Face Virtual Meeting, 13 August 2020
  • “Thomas Hendry & Sons: Patriot Family on the New York Frontier,” Lady Washington Chapter, NSDAR, Virtual Meeting, 14 April 2020, Houston, Texas
  • “American Revolution: More Than Two Sides,” Introduction to American Revolution Projects for Fifth Graders, 24 October 2019, Kolter Elementary, Houston, Texas