J.D.R. Hawkins

One bullet can make a man a hero… or a casualty.

The Mystery Remains


I have recently developed a profound interest in genealogy. Not just in general, but MY genealogy, to be specific. I guess this started while I was researching my Young Adult historical fiction about my hometown, Sioux City, and my great aunt. She and her husband ran a hotel downtown during Prohibition, and there are many colorful stories surrounding the place. Unfortunately, the hotel was razed in the 1960’s, but that doesn’t deter me from searching out interesting tidbits about my ancestors. It’s amazing what deep, dark secrets I’ve uncovered about my family!

My latest quandary is my great-great grandfather. He divorced Great-Great Grandma, a rare occurrence at the time, and after that, basically fell off the planet. The entire family lost contact and track of him. Some say he went to Texas, but most don’t have a clue. He is the key to my Irish ancestry, since his parents came over, but his story remains elusive for now.

After I wrote my first book about the Civil War titled A Beckoning Hellfire, my husband grew curious about his ancestors. He discovered that his great-great grandfather was a Confederate soldier who served as a Cherokee interpreter for Nathan Bedford Forrest. (Thanks to fellow Sons of Confederate Veterans member Lynn Herron for researching this!) A United Daughters of the Confederacy sister of mine recently posted that she discovered a Civil War ancestor who fought for the Union. She seemed appalled, but I think it is admirable, since men on both sides basically fought with the same valor and enthusiasm. In my opinion, there were no wrong sides in the War Between the States – just wrong governing that lead the country to such a disastrous result.

As I sit here watching a TV show about historic Scotland (my husband is a descendant), I long to find out more about my Irish clan. Maybe, someday, I’ll discover the truth.

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2 thoughts on “The Mystery Remains

  1. Sue Forrey on said:

    Hi Julie, It is easier than you think to find your family and the stories. Join ancestry.com(have to pay to join) and start looking on the LDS web site as well as other free sites. I have been a researcher for over 40 years and these web sites make it so much easier than when I started tracing my roots. If you have any questions – let me know. You basically know how to do research – writing books. This is a little different but you can do it! The passion to connect to the past is what keeps you going when you hit that “brick wall”….My Fathers family came from Londonderry Northern Ireland…..welcome to the family cuz!! sue

  2. Thanks Sue. I’ll take your advise, and if I hit a wall, I’ll let you know.

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