Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Did You Say Family History? We Have Some Of That

By Margo Hoornstra

My oldest grandson is amazing. My oldest son, his uncle, is pretty amazing too. You might ask why I would say that. Because it's true.

Though they are taking different paths, their journeys are much the same. They are each learning about and preserving their heritage. Some times they even cooperate in this 'joint venture'.

My grandson, a whiz on the internet as most thirteen year olds are these days, is using that means to research where he came from. (All without paying one single dime, I might add. I did say he was amazing.) He'll call me on the phone with some URL he wants me to go to. Clicking into the virtual world, up pops a picture of my father and the Air Force Squadron he served with in World War II. Or a picture of my great grand father. He's accumulated so many unknown facts and information about the lives of family members he never knew. My mother's father was the youngest of ten children. My grandmother had a younger sister who lived with them right after my grandparents married.

My son is now doing much the same thing without so much technology. His father's side of the family is more advanced when it comes to this heritage thing. Several years ago, a distant cousin began to seek out and accumulate family facts. He even put together and published a book of family lineage beginning with four brothers who traveled to America from Friesland a few hundred years ago. When volunteers to carry on this formalized tradition grew sparse, my son stepped up. Elected President of the Hoornstra Dutch Heritage Society this year, he's working on plans for a week end long reunion so distant relatives can become close friends.

My most recent release Night Stars and Mourning Doves (how's that for a smooth segue?) has to do with family. Family lost and family restored. It begins like this:

“Daddy. Where do stars live in the daytime?”

Eric Matthews glanced down at the small head nestled against his chest and swallowed. At four, his son’s questions about the world were endless. Not to mention at times a challenge to answer.

“Stars live in the sky all the time,” he began softly as the fan in his parents’ living room whirred against the early morning heat of summer. “It’s only after the sun goes down and the sky gets dark that we can see them.”

“Does Mommy live with the stars?”

Pulling the warmth of his son nearer, he shut his eyes. It had been a year since Jan died—along with their little girl—from complications after a miscarriage when she was six months along.

“She does now.” He pushed the words around the familiar ache that had become a permanent fixture by his heart. With his son tucked close, he shuddered at the cruel reality of his loss. Jan was considered an older mother when she carried and delivered Jay as it was. They were advised about the risks of trying for another child, but his wife insisted and he relented. Something he never should have done.

“Can we go outside tonight and see her?”

Eric opened his mouth to reply but could only haul in a gasp of frustration. His heart squeezed. “Mommy doesn’t live at a place where you can see her exactly.”

Two pasts riddled with grief, will they recognize love when it finds them?

Speaking of families, please remember our wounded warriors, today and every day. They gave their all, they deserve our best.

My days to blog here are the 11th and 23rd.

To learn more about me and my books, please visit me at:

My website:

My blog:




Amazon Author Page:


Jannine Gallant said...

I love genealogy. Spent several years researching family history all the way back to the shores of America in the early 1600's on one side. The Internet is a beautiful thing when it comes to that sort of research. Good for your son and grandson for keeping your history alive. My daughters could care less. Maybe someday...

Margo Hoornstra said...

The best part, my grandson found it all without paying a dime! What a genius! There is so much out there to learn about where we came from.

Alicia Dean said...

Very cool that your grandson is interested in genealogy. Your excerpt brought a tear to my eye! Must read that book....

Leah St. James said...

Margo, my husband digs around in genealogy quite a bit too. It is fascinating!

Margo Hoornstra said...

Alicia and Leah, Sorry, I was off line for a bit with some family business. (My cousin, who is more like my sister, having surgery.) My grandson is an old soul through and through, and we love him for it. Thanks, Alicia. High praise. Hope you enjoy the book.