There comes a time in the evolution of genealogists, when they turn their attention from building family trees and acquiring as many names as possible, towards that of family historian, when the focus becomes that of filling out the branches of their tree with the leaves and foliage of those who have come before them. With a tree now containing over 11,000 names, for me that time has come.

That is not to say that the tree won’t continue to grow; it will. It is not to say that some branches will fall off as new evidence comes to correct the assumptions of the past that didn’t pan out; they will. The quest to break down the brick walls that obscure the tree will continue with the even greater focus that experience in working with these things brings to the table. And it’s not to say that storytelling was not a priority in the past; it was, but now it’s become pretty much the chief priority.

Stories will allow the bigger picture to be revealed in ways that a single blog post cannot. Hopefully, it will foster community in ways that have been sorely lacking the past few years. The first story is Westward Bound, which you can find here.

Along with family history stories, there will also be collections of posts that, together, are essentially stories of their own. Development of the Carquinez & Alhambra Valley Railroad — my garden model railroad layout — will be one of these types of story.

Westward Bound

The travel diary of a Hile family journey in 1919 from Hannibal, Missouri to the west coast

A Few Good Men

An historical account of Hile family service in the American military

Politics and Politicians

Family political figures, including a couple presidents, a senator or two, a few mayors, and God-knows who else

Let’s Be Honest Here

Difficult conversations, perhaps, about the Hile family encounter with race in America

Cane Ridge Meeting House, Kentucky

Quakers, Christians and Mormons

The role of organized religion in the Hile family

Making Believe

Construction of the Carquinez & Alhambra Valley Railroad