I’ve had so much fun over the past 15 months or so since I began this blog, learning about the Clarkes, my maternal grandmother’s ancestors. I’ve visited the places they lived in the California counties of Yolo and Colusa. Some of their homes are still standing, and at least one is still lived in by Clarke descendants. I’ve walked the cemeteries they are buried in, explored the upper Sacramento Valley where they grew their wheat and rice, and where many of William John and Catherine (Foster) Clarke’s descendants continue to live and work and farm.
I’m very excited to have made contact with Marilyn Kelly Ornbaun, one of my mother’s cousins (my second cousin 1x removed) who has worked for years on our family history. A friend of hers came across this blog and put us in touch with each other. Marilyn is on the board of the Sacramento Valley Museum in Williams, CA, and when we visited the museum in Chester, CA, her name was prevalent, acknowledging her donations of photographs and other items. (One of our common ancestors had been the first librarian in Chester, Katie Clarke Stover.) We’re having a wonderful time comparing notes on our research. Sadly, I was informed by Marilyn that another of my mother’s cousins, Joyce Dawley, who compiled a tremendous amount of family history research, died this past year. I so wish I had met her.
But now it’s time to bid a fond adieu to the Clarkes. Other branches of the family clamor for attention. Although I am anxious to dig further into my father’s side of the family, a recent trip back East caused me to turn my attention to the Hoffmans, my mother’s father’s family. I knew they had come west from Virginia in the 1870s, so I thought I’d see what I could learn about them while spending a little time in their old stomping grounds. What started out as a vacation to visit friends on the East coast turned into a genealogy bonanza, and I returned home with a greatly expanded knowledge of the Hoffman branch of my family. Get ready for a journey that encompasses everything from Europe’s religious wars of the 1300s to our own Civil War as we navigate the churning rapids of history with the Hoffmans.