My Magnificent Obsession
A Guest Post By Author Martha Hix
Recently someone asked if I have hobbies. I had several in my younger years, but most have fallen away as my favorite pastime moved into the obsession category. That passion would be genealogy—the stuff that made Ancestry.com a household name. When I got started in my early 20s, it was arduous work. It took writing letters and viewing endless rolls of microfilm, plus visiting courthouses and libraries, but that was half the fun.
It is a strange pursuit for a virtual orphan—my parents and only sibling were gone by the time I was 18. My husband and daughters thought I was utterly ridiculous. So what! So what if no one was interested but me? So what if I never had grandkids? I kept collecting names, places, and stories, although I did have hopes I’d help somebody, someday.
The internet came along and things started popping. (Grandkids got to poppin’, too!) I joined an internet group focused on research in NW Alabama—wow! We called ourselves the “E-Agathas” and accomplished a lot. Even before the E-Agathas, I’d come to realize: The best part of genealogy is the living cousins.
It’s amazing the bond you have when you finally meet your 7th cousin, 5th removed.
My husband and kids didn’t get the message until Soledad O’Brien and her CNN news team showed up at our house in 2007, to talk about GGGrandfather Rand’s simply amazing two families, with special emphasis on the mixed-race side. We followed Soledad and her crew to East Texas to continue filming the documentary that became “Black in America,” a validation that genealogical research does have meaning. I’m awfully proud to have contributed to it. More than anything, I’m delighted to have dozens of “new” living cousins of the close variety!
Has genealogy helped me with writing? Yes! I’ve borrowed a tad of this, a smidgen of that for every book I’ve ever written and that includes the #TexanBrides series. The bride who trades places with Linnea in His Make-Believe Bride? Ermentrude wants to attend medical school in Fort Worth. It just so happens my great-uncle, Dr. S.A. Woodward, was the dean at the Fort Worth School of Medicine in the early part of the 20th century. In the late 19th, his grandfather, Dr. A.J. Oliver, went out to live in Plainview, just up the road from Lubbock, the locale for all three of the Texan Brides stories.
Family history came into play for His Rip-Roarin’ Bride—2nd in the series—when I grabbed a character from Germany and more from the area where I live now. While I created a character who told people he’d won a Medal of Honor in the Philippines during the Spanish-American War, my distant cousin, Major John A. Logan, actually did win this award, posthumously.
I’ve ID’d 26,000 relatives, so I won’t run out of ideas any time soon. Like I said, I’m obsessed!
Here’s a little sneak peek at HIS MAKE-BELIEVE BRIDE :
She’s a bride with a secret as big as Texas…
Widowed and alone, Linnea Powell agrees to swap places with a reluctant mail-order bride. Arriving in Lubbock, Texas, armed only with her future husband’s letters promising a prosperous life, Linnea feels hopeful—until the stagecoach leaves her standing before a handsome stranger who has more ambition than he does prospects. Still, Linnea accepts Sam Kincaid’s proposal, knowing the moment he seals their vows with a hungry kiss, she’ll never be able to keep her past a secret. For her appealing new husband is all too eager to share the marriage bed….
Sam knows there’s something mysterious about his new bride. But that only adds to Linnea’s allure. And when he learns his wife is really a vulnerable widow, he’s even more determined to give her the life and family she dreams of. Sam’s not afraid of hard work, especially when the prize is Linnea’s love. What the rugged rancher doesn’t know is that Linnea has an even bigger secret, one that could destroy his reputation—and shatter his heart….
About The Author:
Martha Hix is an internationally and multi published, award winning author. Living in the breathtakingly fabulous Texas Hill Country, she is blessed with a husband, two daughters and one son-in-law, their children, many friends and relatives, and has a house filled with books and spoiled four legged kids. She enjoys volunteering for good causes, and is an election judge and precinct chair for her county. She loves to hang out with her WINOS and Slacker girlfriends, and with her writing muse, Barbara Catlin. Visit her on the web at marthahix.com.