Thursday, September 27, 2012

Family Tree Magazine, Houston City Guide and the Writing Bug

Today's mail included a copy of the October/November 2012 issue of Family Tree Magazine. I stood at the mailbox and flipped through the glossy pages of the magazine until I reached the familiar newsprint center that contained the city guides.

This issue includes a city guide for Houston...and I wrote it.

I am very proud of this city guide because it's time the 4th largest city in the United States got its chance to be in the spotlight. This city has a rich history and its records are of exponential value to genealogists. I also feel blessed that the Family Tree Magazine gave me the opportunity.

If my paternal grandmother was still alive, I'd send her my copy of the magazine. She was a journalism major (Oklahoma A & M, Class of 1934) and talked often of her time at the Duncan Banner. She was the society columnist (sadly with no byline) until she married in 1937. That was the end of her journalism career.

In the 1990's my grandma and I were both employed in the family business. One of my tasks was to write catalog copy. Short descriptions of many similar looking items. How many ways can one describe tan leather? I'd write the descriptions and she'd proofread and edit. As tedious as it sounded, she really did enjoy editing. We'd sit on the office couch and try to make 50 almost identical items sound different from each other. Sometimes my grandma would talk about her college paper and columnist days.

Looking back now, I see this is where my writing ability came from. I'm the only one of six grandchildren to catch that bug, and I'm glad I did. I wish I'd asked her more about her brief journalism career.

My grandmother passed away before I started researching my ancestors. Since then, I was given the all the family history writing that her brother did. I connected with her nephew who made a career in the newspaper industry. I also found that her great-uncle authored Early Days in Cooke County 1848-1873. Knowing the writing history of my ancestors makes sense of my own tendency to put words on paper, computer screen, website and even this blog.

Since I can't give the magazine to my grandma, I'm going to give it to my mom. She can put it on the Coffee Table of Accomplishment.

If you get Family Tree Magazine, I hope you enjoy the Houston City Guide (there's one for Ft. Wayne in there, too).

Should your family history research ever lead you to Houston, do let me know so I can show you the genealogical sights and sites of the area. It's a great place to visit.


  1. That's is great, congratulations. I guess it is exciting to see your name in print on a magazine article.

  2. Amy, your article about what Houston has to offer the genealogy community is right on. You are one talented young lady. I am proud to call you my friend.

  3. Congratulations, Amy! Locality guides are such valuable resources, and I'm looking forward to reading about Houston. I can just imagine your grandmother looking over your shoulder, proud that you're following in her footsteps.

  4. Thanks, Shelley. I think she would like it.