As a seventh generation Southerner, I grew up on stories.

My paternal grandfather was a born storyteller.  He just instinctively knew how to set up a story to hook you in, as well as how to pause just at the right times to keep you interested. He lived in the southern Appalachians all his life, so storytelling was in his blood.

My maternal grandfather told stories another way – through scrapbooks of his time in World War II and Korea.  Tiny black and white photos showed, rather than told, his story. I only met him three times, so the scrapbooks and photos he left behind are like tiny windows into the life of a person I really didn’t know.  Unlike all other branches of my family, my maternal grandfather was born in western North Dakota and spent time working on a combine crew across the great plains.


My maternal grandmother was a printer by trade. In a time when most women were stay at home moms, she owned her own business.  She helped get me started with book making in my early twenties. I came up with the design and she gave advice on the materials. To the day she died, she was true to herself and faced death from cancer like a boss.

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My paternal grandmother had an inherent fascination with knowing the stories of others.  She taught me to listen – a valuable tool for any storyteller.  She also had an innate way of sizing up people by instinct.  She was a great judge of character. Perhaps this skill was sharpened over thirty years of running a country store that was the hub of a small, rural farming community.

Both of my parents were the first in their families to receive college degrees and both went on to obtain a master’s degree.  Both were teachers.  Both have kept the oral history of our family alive by constantly telling stories that were told to them by their grandparents and great-grandparents.  I have spent years writing them down as part of researching my family history.

Somehow I ended up in the publishing industry – it makes perfect sense if you think about it, although it isn’t what I thought I’d end up doing for a career.  I spend my days working with scholarly and academic publishers – they publish research and scientific studies, but I secretly dream of writing for travel blogs.

I love using photography and rich descriptive words to paint a picture of a place or a bit of history.  It is scientific in a way because you have to do your research – you have to find that one unique quality that brings a place to life in the minds of others.  Once you have it, it is up to you to weave it together in a way that evokes a connection in others.

When successful, the payoff is magical.

I guess telling stories is in my blood…

…and I absolutely love it… 🙂


13 thoughts on “About

  1. I enjoyed reading this piece of history. It brought back memories from the past. The article makes you realize how much miss relatives from the past.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. My second Great-Grandmother was Charlotte Roden and I found your site when I googled her name. I have been to the Roden Cemetery and attended 2 of the Roden reunions. I was very interested in your site. I have a copy of the picture that is on your site that I received while attending the reunion one year.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hello Ms Bean, Yours is the most detailed explanation I have read of the hanging of Harris Stephens. Harris is in my direct paternal line: Harris Stephens; Isaac Thomas Franklin Stephens; David Harris Stephens; Shelly Jackson Stephens; William Hubbard Stephens; then me, William D. Stephens (Bill). Can you offer more detail or your reference for the hanging? Bill

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Bill – apologies for my delayed response. I ran across the story of Harris Stephens in my research about my third great grandfather. Apparently my relative signed up for the Confederate army at a big bbq that Harris had in Randolph County. Pages 57-58 of Historical Records of Randolph County, Alabama 1832-1900, compiled by Marilyn Davis Barefield. Copyright, 1985, by Southern Historical Press (the Rev. Silas Emmett Lucas). ISBN 0-89308-548-0 has a bit about Harris. Also, I got some of my information from Mildred Laney as well. Ms. Laney passed away in 2012, but was an avid genealogist and, I believe, a descendant of Stephens through her mother’s line. Hope this helps. 😉


  4. Hello Heather, this is a long shot, but I’ve been trying to get ahold of an Ancestry member in regards to my ancestors. I’m not sure if you are that person, but I figured I’d give it a try. If you are involved in Ancestry I’d be happy to give you some more info on what and who I am looking for. If not I’m sorry to have wasted your time.


  5. Well I’ve hit a bit of a road block. I can trace for certain my line to John Patton Kennedy and I believe through certain records and date I can connect him to James Kennedy born around 1800. I thought I saw that you had information on him and other Kennedys. I would love to see any information you have. 😃
    Thank you very much


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