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I’m Passionate About Family History

My name is Nancy Hendrickson and I’m thrilled to have you here.

Here, you’ll find articles and images that touch on every part of genealogy – whether you’ve been searching for decades or just got started a few months ago.


Although you may know me as the author of the Unofficial Guide to, I’ve written close to 30 books and hund

I have “done” genealogy since I was a little girl. Although I always enjoy finding new ancestors and adding their names and dates to my genealogy software, it’s the stories that fascinate me.

The first family stories I remember are from my maternal grandmother who told me how her grandfather was wounded at the Civil War battle of Shiloh. My other grandmother’s story was about her father’s birth in the garden during a Civil War raid by Quantrell’s raiders, who had burned down the house.

In past years I’ve taught courses on writing a family history book. But, I know that not everyone wants to write a whole family history. Many people, like me, just want to capture stories. Those stories may be about today’s family. Or, they may be stories about ancestors who lived hundreds of years ago.

Now I know, I can’t accurately write a story about someone who lived in the 1600s. But what I can do is write a paragraph or two about where they lived, or what their daily life might have been like. These are the things I discover through research. They’re also a part of the historical articles I’m loading up on the site here almost daily. In fact, if you want to get an idea of how I tackle those historical ancestors, click

The Spanish Soldier

The Blacksmith

I have great confidence that you’ll find many resources on my site to guide your family story adventure.

Nancy Hendrickson’s Own Story

I was born in St. Joseph, Missouri, home of the Pony Express. When I was 10-years-old, my dad moved us to San Diego, where he had found a better job.  Except for a brief stint when I returned to Missouri for college, I’ve lived in San Diego most of my life.

reed cemeteryI have an absolute passion for the frontier west. Most of my travels are to the backroads of the west, poking my nose into the places where history happened. I think the place that stunned me the most was Pecos National Historical Park, near Santa Fe, New Mexico. That’s because I realized I was walking the same ground that Coronado walked 500 years earlier. It gave me chills.

But of course I love trips that involve finding family history and stories. See that photo of me wearing the red shirt? It was taken during a favorite trip to Reed Cemetery near Harrisonville, Missouri. There, in an overgrown and untended cemetery I (with the help of Harrisonville genealogists) found the final resting place of my great-great-grandparents. That was a day I’ll never forget.

And see how this family story thing works? I’ve just told you three stories about me. Each was only a couple of sentences long, each was easy to write, and each was meaningful.  I hope this gives you an idea of how easy it’s going to be for you to capture family stories.

When I have time, I read a lot – primarily books about American history. I’m also an avid iPhoneographer and cemetery explorer.


Save Your Family Stories - 10 Easy Steps

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