Question of the Week: Do you have authors or poets in your family tree?

+15 votes
1.1k views

Do you any have authors or poets in your family tree? Please tell us about them below. You can also use this question image to share your answer on social media.

in The Tree House by Eowyn Walker G2G Astronaut (1.6m points)
Albert Payson Terhune (Terhune-574) and I are 7th cousins, three times removed.  I love how the WikiTree Relationship Finder tool can give you that kind of information.  I spent a lot of months last year on Ancestry trying to figure out how I was related to him because I knew he was in the family tree somewhere but didn't know how far up it was.  I used to love reading his dog stories when I was a child.
Barbara, yes, yes, yes. I read Terhune devotedly until I "read him all up" --I was devoted and I still have dogs and had (not presently) a collie or three in his honor. (I'm still unable to state how old I was then, but I remember my intensity of loyalty.) Since my dad was born in Germany and my mom in Texas, I'm sure I have no claim of relationship to Terhune, but I advocate here that anyone not over 19 should become a Terhune reader--(or should it be 15 years old?)
I loved the Lad: A Dog books!!!!!!
Roberta,

My dad was born in Michigan and my mom in Germany so don't be too hasty in thinking you might not be related to a particular person.  I was amazed at how far back I was able to trace ancestry to some of the founding fathers of our country when I never knew any of that as I was growing up.  And I think 15 years old is about when I got to where I thought I was too smart and grown up to read dog stories!
My brother, Edward R Weingold is a playwright and author of a fantastic book titled "A map of the world with all faults." It is a real page turner of a story spanning 400 years about a bloodstained map that shows up at auction.
That does sound dangerously fascinating. Thanks!!!
It's a hard book to put down. Read the reviews on Amazon and you will see that it's not my prejudiced opinion.
My mother Elizabeth Alker 1918 - 2012 wrote her memoirs and I published it for her on Amazon. It's called 'The Road from Wigan Pier' and it focuses on her early life in Wigan where she lost most of her close family to various illnesses, and then her married life in Liverpool where she endured the separations and fears of WW2. I added many referenced end-notes to the book for those interested in Family trees. her author name is Elizabeth Smith.

I also am an author of two thrillers which are published on Amazon. 'Tissue of Lies' - a psychological thriller and 'Your Last Breath' - a darker serial-killer thriller. My author name is Carole Parkes.

40 Answers

+20 votes

My 8th great grandmother Mary White Rowlandson, who is part of the Puritan Great Migration Project, wrote an autobiographical narrative of her capture by the Indians. For nearly three cold winter months, Mary lived through traveling 150 miles, the death of her wounded child that she carried, and nearly starving to death. Her book became one of the 17th and 18th century's most popular reads and earned her place in the history of American literature. It has come out in several editions. This is the soft cover edition I bought for myself and my granddaughters.

by Alexis Nelson G2G6 Pilot (263k points)
edited by Alexis Nelson
+12 votes
My maternal grandmother has written an entire biography about her life (3 separate books, actually, making up the one chapter) and likewise her father wrote his own memoirs at one point. Both very accurate, detailed retellings of their lives (my grandmother owes it up to having a photographic memory).

My dad also apparently wrote poetry when he was younger, and while I'm no author or poet it's been pointed out that I always tend to write in a certain "formal" manner (i.e. proper punctuation etc) regardless of who I'm talking too or if it's needed, so it's probably something in the genes.
by Thomas Dowding G2G6 Mach 1 (19.4k points)
Thomas, my maternal grandmother also wrote two books, but she kept her writings in a locked suitcase under her bed. She later threw them in the trash after a publisher refused to publish them. I really wish she had kept them. You are so lucky to have your family memoirs, and I think you are right about the genes.
Thanks Alexis, and it's such a shame to hear about your grandmother's books! Part of my ambition for genealogy beyond my own curiosity is to keep as much of a record as I can available for future generations.
+14 votes

My wife, Laurie Ray Hill, is an author. Two of her plays have won awards; and her novel, Paper Stones, will be published at the end of this month by Inanna Publications.

And she is related to the famous Canadian poet Al Purdy. His grandmothers, Alice Miller and Annie Ireland, were sisters of Laurie's great grandparents Caroline (Miller) Ireland and Wm. H. Ireland. I figure that makes Laurie and Al double 2nd cousins once removed. (I'll be creating an Al Purdy profile soon.)

by Richard Hill G2G6 Mach 1 (14.3k points)
+12 votes

Alas, author James Truslow Adams is not a relative I can verify. 

However, G Aunt Kathleen (Jones) Carswell was the author of a book on her family's history as well as a history of Twiggs County, Georgia, and of the Jeffersonville Baptist Church.  If you're interested, the book titles are:

  • A History of the Descendants of Alexander Carswell and his Youngest Son Matthew Carswell

  • Collections of Twiggs Countians, Here and There

  • History, Jeffersonville Baptist Church, Jeffersonville, Georgia, 1849-1966

by Dorothy O'Hare G2G6 Mach 3 (35.1k points)
+12 votes

Whilst not a blood relation https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Hardy-1197 is only 9 degrees from me. His aunt is the grandmother of my grandmother's aunt.

by Hilary Gadsby G2G6 Pilot (110k points)
+14 votes

My husband's uncle (his mom's baby brother) was the author/motivational speaker Leo Buscaglia. Leo, who never married, spent a lot of time with his nieces and nephews, frequently taking them on outings to local beaches, museums and parks in the Los Angeles, CA area. Some of my husband's fondest childhood memories are of adventures with his free-spirited, fun Uncle Leo.

by Karen Macagno G2G6 (8.2k points)
Bless him!! I give "Uncle Leo" my humanistic blessings. He's achieving so much, truly!
+10 votes
Not quite an author, but a punlisher: https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Constable-1703 and a papermaker: https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Cowan-1439

They had children who got married... and, well, eventually I showed up!
by Greg Webber G2G6 (6.6k points)
+15 votes

My son has written scientific papers with titles like "Signaling in Plant Gravitropism" (In other words, how plants know which way is up.) That is probably all you want to know about that. Instead, I will tell you about a distant relative (his wife is my 7th cousin 5 times removed) who wrote something more interesting, about a crazy sea captain in pursuit of a great white whale.

Herman Melville's home, Arrowhead, is only 2 miles from here. If you take the guided tour, you can see the very desk at which he wrote Moby Dick! And his harpoon, which he kept handy next to the desk! And the window from which he could see Mount Greylock, which looked to him like a whale! After the tour, you can buy a bumper sticker that says "Call Me Ishmael."

I didn't do the tour today, but I did take a picture to show you.

by Joyce Vander Bogart G2G6 Mach 2 (21.5k points)
Joyce-- What state is this HUGE home located???

Arrowhead is in Pitttsfield, Massachusetts. It looks huge compared to the regulation house of 1753 (which I posted last week under the "Newest" challenge.) It looks small compared to the home of author Edith Wharton in nearby Lenox, Massachusetts.

+11 votes

I found Stephen Marshall Chalmers in my tree.  Pulp mystery novelist, and some non-fiction too.  I've not read any of them though.  Maybe one day!

by Andy Cranston G2G1 (1.9k points)
+10 votes

Various of my relatives (and I) have written textbooks, scientific papers, newspaper articles, government reports, and the like -- and I almost forgot: genealogies. I am not going to count these as authors.

But I do have a couple of once-renowned and now-mostly-forgotten poets:

And I have a great uncle and a great aunt who each wrote a book for children (neither of which was highly successful):

  • Franklin Stetson Clark (1893-1976), who was by profession a journalist, wrote Cuter Tooter, a children's book inspired by childhood experiences. It was published in 1957 by Lothrop, Lee & Shepard. Kirkus Reviews described it as "the freshly told story of a small boy, Bob Brown, an engaging little donkey, Cuter Tooter, and a long long trip to Colorado in 1898 to bring back cavalry horses for Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders" and "a delightful reading experience well within the grasp of slow fifth grade readers."
  • Helen Van Aken (1900-2000) wrote Tatsu the Dragon, about a Japanese dragon kite who gets turned into a real dragon and goes off to have adventures. I believe she would be delighted to know that Amazon is currently selling a Kindle version of her book, which they describe as a "multicultural children's book."
by Ellen Smith G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
edited by Ellen Smith
+11 votes
Other than  me *check my biography, there's also Clement Clarke Moore (Moore-19507}.  We are3rd cousins, 6 timrs removed..  He is a notable with a wikipedia article about him.

He wrote the Night Before Christmas
by David Hughey G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
+9 votes

My first cousin 3 times removed, Bessie Louise Pierce, (1886-1974) wrote A History of Chicago in three volumes, covering the period from 1673 to 1893. She started the fourth volume but died before it was finished. Her archives are kept by the University of Chicago.

"On May 2, the body of the dead President was escorted by at least forty thousand Chicagoans through muddy streets to the Court House, where a crowd estimated at one hundred twenty-five thousand saw his remains. In the minds of many, John Wilkes Booth was not solely to blame; to them it appeared that the South had unleashed the emotional forces which had laid Lincoln low. The years to come were to witness Chicago participating in a dreary and vindictive punishment of those held guilty of the 'infernal rebellion."

Journalist Rick Kogan of the Chicago Tribune extracted the above quote from volume II as an example of her writing, saying "That is simply great writing, and it is everywhere to be found in these volumes."

by C Ryder G2G6 Mach 7 (75.4k points)
Wonderful!  Bessie is my 7th cousin once removed.  :-)
Yoo hoo, Jaki, that makes us 9th cousins, removed once. ✋Howdy!
Hi, cuz!
She has a look in her eyes that reminds me of my grandmother Eileen and her sisters. When I first discovered Bessie and saw her picture, I shuddered with recognition. We never met and I had no knowledge of her until recently.
+8 votes

My first cousin several times removed, George Anthony, was a poet who associated with the more well-known R. P. Blackmur.  I have yet to add him to WikiTree - his mother was Lillian (St. Onge) Palmer.

I am also 1st cousin 5x removed with Joseph-Clovis-Kemner Laflamme, who published a geology textbook in 1881.

by Brian Lamothe G2G6 Mach 2 (25.2k points)
edited by Brian Lamothe
+9 votes

I wrote a young adult novel that was published by HarperCollins three years ago. I'm working on two other novels now, one for teens and one for kids. 

My 2x great-grandfather, James Love Hopkins, wrote several volumes on legal matters that I understand were pretty influential in U.S. law for years. Hopkins on Patents and Hopkins on Unfair Trade were two of them.

My great uncle, Dr. William Summerson, wrote a textbook, Practical Physiological Chemistry, that was used in universities for quite some time.

by Lauren Hopkins G2G3 (3.1k points)
+7 votes
Henry Thoreau
by Jim Kuttler G2G1 (1.2k points)

Henry David Thoreau is still a major and implicit proponent of  deeply held American values and actions. Reading his work prompted me to have an even more intense literary life with supporting interests than I'd have dreamed as a long ago graduate student. It's way past time that I should read his works again. (I pledge to keep you posted.)

Henry David Thoreau is my 5th cousin 4 times removed in two different ways.
+7 votes

My father, Richard Erdoes, (Erdos-14) was a prolific writer, though he started out as an illustrator.  He illustrated and wrote children's books before he met John Fire Lame Deer, a Lakota medicine man.  Lame Deer told my father, "My medicine tells me" that they would collaborate to write Lame Deer's autobiography, Lame Deer: Seeker of Visions.  My father protested that he wrote only children's books, and that English was his second language, but Lame Deer persisted.  Richard wrote a chapter and an outline, not expecting it to sell, but it was picked up right away by Simon & Schuster, and became a best-seller when published in 1972.  Here's my father's Wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Erdoes

by Jaki Erdoes G2G6 Mach 2 (23.4k points)
p.s. I tried to use the new copyID function, but I can't get it to work.  https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Erdos-14  Maybe this will work.
I have never tried the copy ID function. What works here is going to the link icon, and pasting the web address. (If I said that right)
+9 votes
My 9th great-grandmother was the poet Anne Bradstreet (1612-1672.).   She was the daughter and spouse of Governors of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and is credited with being the first published poet of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
by Jeff Gilbert G2G Crew (860 points)
+9 votes
My great-great grandmother Petrine Bjørnsdatter is the aunt to Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson, the Nobel prize winner in literature 1903.
by Ragnar Flengsrud G2G1 (1.2k points)
+8 votes
According to the site Relativefinder.org, I have 80 authors in my family tree. I haven't looked into all of them, but I have found some that don't compute. Nevertheless, I know pretty certainly that I have the rather well-known lexicographer Noah Webster as a fourth cousin six times removed. (My mother was a Webster who I could trace back to Gov. John Webster of Conn.) That connection also takes me to another contemporary author who is very much alive: Margaret Atwood. Proud of that connection! BTW, I am an author as well, just not of the same caliber as my cousin Margaret. I have had many short stories published, written in German, and I have self-published a novel (in English), The Peace Bridge.
by Debbie Hubbard G2G Crew (470 points)
+7 votes
My father, Ian Mayelston Mudie was a South Australian poet and author, best known for “Riverboats”, his book on the Murray river trade.  He also had a great deal of poetry published, the last volume just prior to his death in 1976.  He also lectured on creative writing and conducted poetry workshops, not only in the city but also in the Australian outback.
by Bill Mudie G2G Crew (410 points)

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