Gypsy Wanderer | Dreamer of Dreams | Storyteller of Bygone Days

I have always felt drawn to the past.

Growing up, my favorite subjects were Literature and History. I loved creating stories, characters, plots and problems. I loved watching my characters deal with the situations and ultimately, watched as they took on a life of their own within the pages of my tatter-edged notebooks. And I loved learning about ancient civilizations buried beneath flourishing cities, forgotten battles fought over forgotten wrongs, and fascinating stories about explorers and adventurers, leaders and entrepreneurs, and especially the rebels who bucked against “the norm” of society.

When I discovered genealogy, I realized my two favorite subjects could become one. I found names and dates on my family tree, but I also wanted more. These people had lived. I was interested in the dash or gap between the two dates listed on their tombstones. What had this person experienced? What trials had they been dealt? Did they move, cross oceans of water or land, leave behind family, lose someone they cherished? A parent, a child? Did they step foot on unbroken prairie and look around at the blowing grasses as the sun burnt their faces? What did they think of new technology? The telegraph, the telephone? Trains, automobiles, the whirring metal birds that filled the skies?

I found I had so many questions about my heritage, but I had few answers. By the time my interest in my family history perked, I had lost my grandparents. I wanted to fill in the large blank spaces, but where to turn? As I explored my family tree, I ran into many walls, but slowly, brick by brick, I’ve managed to peek through to the other side.

The stories that have been hidden for so long, buried deep beneath the tree are not always beautiful. But they are real. The people involved were not perfect, they made mistakes. But it’s the mistakes that make the stories perfect. Humans are imperfectly perfect by the mistakes they make.

They say, write what you know. This is what I know. The people who came before me, my ancestors, they are a part of me. I can look into a mirror and see the nose, the eyes, the bone structure of grandparents and great-grandparents. But it’s so much more than appearances. Little fragments of the persons they were live on inside me. I am a product of generations, of two people, two branches that grew, twined and twisted together, to form new leaves. As a result, little pieces of their spirits reside at my core.

And I write now to honor those spirits.

This space is where I share the stories I discover, the stories I create, and my everyday journeys as I unearth my past.

10 Things About Me…

1| I was born in Omaha, NE and grew up on a small acreage in the country. But Omaha always has (and always will be) home to me. Unless of course we’re talking about the Black Hills.

2| I love traveling + seeing new places + learning about new cultures. I credit my wandering ways to my father who is a truck driver. During summers and on winter + spring breaks, my brother and I spent many hours driving across the country with him. Because of that, I was lucky enough to visit every state in the western half of the US (with the exception of North Dakota, but don’t worry, I’m coming for you!), I’ve visited quite a few in the mid-atlantic and have dipped toes in both oceans. My current count is 26 of 50 states (also been to Washington DC) and it’s a bucket list of mine to visit all fifty. You’d be surprised at how differently we live even within our own country.

3| I’m extremely, terrifyingly organized.

4| But I also relate to Audrey Hepburn’s Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany’s
(I even have the tub sofa!)

5| Since becoming vegan, I find I really enjoy cooking.

6| As a child, I remember hearing stories of my great-uncle falling asleep in my childhood home and waking up to find the ghost of his grandmother tugging his toe and shaking her finger at him. He was also drunk so I can’t verify how truthful it is, but to this day, I can’t sleep if my toes aren’t covered.

7| Also, I totally believe in ghosties.

8| I’m terrified of water. I panic if water goes above my waist and I even hold my breath when crossing bridges. But I love hot tubs and taking baths. They’re my favorite way to relax. Go figure.

9| I’ve always wanted to play the violin. In like the traditional folk sense. Jig it up.

10| I’ve written two books, The Children’s Field and The Gritty Ones, and I’m currently at work on my third novel.



3 thoughts on “About”

  1. Thanks for the story about J.P. McManigle! …He was also my grandfather 3x removed. I am related to them through Annie McManigal….I only came upon your site through happenstance…I will share your information with other family members…

  2. Nice to meet you Brianna. I also share a passion for writing my goal is to write 1000 short stories and I am close to 600 right now. Writing has given me happiness and joy. It’s helped me cope with stress and helped turn terrible days into good days. I love writing for my friends. Look forward to reading and following your blog.

    1. Welcome! I know exactly how you feel…writing is such a wonderful way to express oneself and to help one cope with life’s every day problems occurrences. Thanks so much for stopping by!

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