Family History

Selfie at my grandparents' grave
Selfie with my grandparents

Genealogy

Excerpt from the manuscript of my family history Memoir, Secrets of the Asylum:

"Genealogy, in my view, was nothing more than the gathering of dry facts such as who begat whom, when they married, when they died.  What I wanted was a more coherent narrative of Mom's childhood; one that was continuous, had fewer contradictions, and more explanations for whatever had happened to her.  A lifetime of listening to Mom's brief and disjointed stories hadn't given me that, so I had no expectations of getting it out of genealogy.  Whenever I asked her how her genealogical research was going, Mom would spout random facts about her family.  "My great-great-grandfather Warren was listed as a pauper in the 1860 U.S. Census."  "My great-aunt Rose owned her house in 1920."   These historical non sequiturs were even less compelling to me than the ones I had heard all my life.  Mom's genealogical tidbits might have piqued my interest if they had somehow illuminated the story of her childhood, but they didn't."

Rest assured, I did not remain a reluctant genealogist. My memoir goes on to describe what turned me into a relentless family historian, how I turned up a shocking family secret, and how this new knowledge helped me come to terms with my relationship with my mother.

State Hospitals

(to come)

Family Dynamics

(to come)