Laurie (Smith) Keller
Privacy Level: Private with Public Biography and Family Tree (Yellow)

Laurie (Smith) Keller

Laurie I. Keller formerly Smith
Born 1940s.
Ancestors ancestors
[children unknown]
Died 2020s.
Problems/Questions Profile manager: Michael Tryon private message [send private message]
Profile last modified | Created 17 May 2014
This page has been accessed 4,361 times.
This person was an active member. Their account has been anonymized and is now closed. Changes should not be made to it without first contacting the WikiTree Team.
Laurie (Smith) Keller has German Roots.
Laurie (Smith) Keller was a wonderful member of our WikiTree community who has passed away. Laurie (Smith) Keller made many contributions and will be missed.
This user is a native speaker of English.
Dieser Benutzer hat sehr gute Deutschkenntnisse.
Este usuario puede contribuir con un nivel avanzado de español.
Questo utente può contribuire con un livello intermedio di italiano.
Denna användare har grundläggande kunskaper i svenska.



Laurie was born 15 Dec 1945 in Chicago, daughter of Courtland George Smith and Clara Kuhnau. She had one brother, Randall Dixon Smith, who passed away in 2015. She married Thomas Lamar Keller in 1966 and they divorced in 1980. She married second Jonathan E. Blandon in 1981. Jonathan died in 1991. She married last David Kirby in 2003. She had no children. She passed away 19 Apr 2022.

Laurie was a very active WikiTree member, particularly in the Tryon surname study which contained one of her most frustrating brick walls. She was a wonderful collaborator and will be greatly missed. Below you will find her autobiography and also an interview with her which will give you a much greater understanding of her life than I could hope to do here.

Autobiography (17 Dec 2017)

I became interested in pursuing genealogy and family history at the age of 12 when a school project asked me to find as much as possible out from parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles about my family history and then to link it to American history. (Thank you, Miss Davis!) As is so usual, finding out threw up more questions than answers, where great aunts said, "I think it was spelled this way," and my surviving great grandmother told me her husband's grandfather had to change his name because of war with Russia, but she wasn't sure why, or what he was called before. Thankfully, over the last 50+ years I've been able to answer those questions, but each time I find an answer another question pops up. Why did this or that ancestor leave Europe and head for north America? Who went with them? What did they do for a living? Who's the child nobody mentioned after it was born? What happened to it?

Now I find myself chipping away at brick walls, helping out those researching the same or similar surnames in hopes of uncovering that mystery woman (I have at least two in my father's line) and otherwise just enjoying the fun of the chase and the flush of success when something is found or a link is finally made.

My other life? I studied at University of Southern California and the University of California Berkeley, exiting with a BA in English Language & Literature with a minor in Linguistics (a long time ago now), and went on to not quite finish an MA in 16th - 17th Century English literature. As I needed money (don't we all), I started working part-time during my MA study, and ended up as a female pioneer in computing, starting with a class in Fortran IV in 1964 and going on to full-time work in the area in 1968. I didn't finish the MA because computing became more interesting. I worked in the USA (California and New York) and in England for a wide variety of companies in a variety of fields ranging from front-of-house theatre (Music Center Operating Company in LA), an airline, an oil company (Iraq Petroleum Co., for my sins), on Wall Street, in electronics, in oil exploration, and in aerospace. I eventually got tired of being on-call all the time, and took up a post as lecturer (= asst. prof.) in computer science at the Open University in the UK. I continued there for the next 23 years as senior lecturer (= assoc. prof.), head of postgraduate studies and head of the computing department. As well as computing I've taught introductory engineering, mathematics (not very well; it's not my forté), project management and womens studies (women and science and technology). Along the way I completed an MSc in digital communications technology at University College, London because I got tired of trying to explain how I could teach computing without having a computing degree. My initial research area was in the area of problem determination in complex systems; later I worked in the area human-computer interaction and examined success factors in post-graduate study in technical areas.

I took early retirement in 2005 to help bring up my husband's grandson, who needed new parents after the early death of his mother. My husband is emeritus professor of modern European history at University College London, and has taught me a healthy respect for sources and care in evaluating them. He asks interesting questions like: "At the end of the American Civil War, how did the government go about, paying discharging and dispersing such a large citizen-army?"

My work, but also my interests, enabled me to travel a lot: around the USA, Canada, Mexico, the Middle East, Europe, western and southeast Asia, north and east Africa and Australia, but for the last 15 years I've been bringing up our boy, pursuing my hobby (obsession) and volunteering for Guide Dogs for the Blind as a sighted guide.

Interview with Laurie Keller (26 Sep 2001)

There is an interview with Laurie Keller conducted by Janet Abbate for the IEEE History Center, 26 September 2001 [1] where you can learn more about her life.



Entirely German, primarily from Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen) and West Prussia. My maternal grandmother together with her mother and siblings left Niedersachsen for America, travelling via Antwerp on the Red Star Line in the spring of 1892. They landed at Ellis Island early in May that year. Her father had travelled the year before. My maternal grandfather's parents were both from West Prussia (Posen area) and left Germany shortly after they married in 1872, travelling to Wisconsin first, then Minnesota where they settled (and many cousins remain). All their children -- 9 sons and 1 daughter -- were born in America.


My father's family were more mixed.

My father's mother's family were entirely Swedish. His mother, and her mother, were born in the United States, but his maternal grandfather came from Sweden in 1879 (and all his brothers, his sister and his parents followed in the next few years) and settled in Minnesota. They form a long line of Swedish indentured soldiers, going back to the late 1600s. His maternal grandmother's father's family came from Halland in Sweden, where they were members of what one might call the middle classes: many were priests or vicars of the Swedish Lutheran church, some were Army officers, and some managers of large estates. His maternal grandmother's mother's family were from humbler origins, farmers of the peasant classes from Kronoberg län.

My father's father's family -- his paternal grandmother was from Ireland and left (so the story goes) with her mother and siblings after the death of her father in around the early 1850s. Of her reported nine siblings, I've been able to trace four in the United States, all in western Ohio. My dad's paternal grandfather comes from a line stretching straight back to the Great Migration of the 1620s - 1640s with one or two additions from a bit later. They originally settled in Massachusetts, in both the Bay and Plymouth colonies, but over the next hundred years began moving westwards into Connecticut and thence into New York and on to Ohio.


  • Laurie S Keller in the U.S., Public Records Index, 1950-1993, Volume 2, b. 15 Dec 1945 (
  • Laurie Smith in the 1950 United States Federal Census, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, age 4, in the household of Courtland Smith (
  • Laurie Irene Smith and Thomas Lamar Keller in the California, U.S., Marriage Index, 1960-1985, 16 Jun 1966, Los Angeles, CA (
  • Laurie S Keller and Thomas L Keller in the California, U.S., Divorce Index, 1966-1984, 21 Nov 1980, Los Angeles, CA (
  • England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1916-2005 for Laurie S Keller and Jonatham E Blandon, Q1 1981, Bedford, Bedfordshire, England (
  • Laurie S Keller and David G Kirby in the England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1916-2005, 20 Jun 2003, Bedford, Bedfordshire, England

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Comments: 51

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Laurie, thank you for each of your more than 1000 contributions to our Shared Tree for the month of August 2019. All of your work makes our Tree all that much better.

Pippin Sheppard

WikiTree’s Appreciation Team

PS: You have the most fascinating biography.

posted by Pip Sheppard
Congratulations Laurie !
wonderful wikitreer
Laurie (Smith) Keller is a Wonderful WikiTreer.
Hi Laurie!

Congratulations on making more than 1,000 contributions to WikiTree for the Month of May. We all appreciate your efforts to make our Shared Tree the best it can be. Keep up the great work and THANK YOU!

Pip Sheppard

WikiTree Appreciation Team

posted by Pip Sheppard
I understand now that discrepancies exist and have detached Noah from father Josiah.
posted by N Gauthier
Hi :) reply for Noah Tryon-2845 ... I show that Josiah Tryon-1438 married Mary Elizabeth Sturtevant (Sturdivant) on 5 Jan 1804 in Middletown, Middlesex, Connecticut per Connecticut, Church Record Abstracts 1630-1920 on Do you have any insight about this ? Thanks
posted by N Gauthier
How and who to research my brother Timothy Michael Tryon June 9,1968 thru Aug 17,2008 laporte,Inc suicide Michigan prison. Hung himself I've also came across copy of death certificate on line tried to cage need voluntarily history album I've gotten back 1500
posted by Jodi Tryon
Jodi, See Tryon-4352, which is as much as I was able to find on your brother. I did check the newspapers at the time of his death but didn't find anything there. I've added a profile for your mother as well. You will need to send me the email address you use with and I can then make you manager so you can see everything that is there. I've put it on a fairly high level of privacy, but once you are manager you can change that to suit yourself.
posted by Laurie (Smith) Keller
Hi Laurie,

I wanted to say hello and thank you for helping on our family tree regarding my Gibbs family. All your help is appreciated. Jeremiah Gibbs is the focus as nobody knows really who his parents would of been although his military docs show leads I’ve followed. I come through his son Samuel Gibbs and Amy Babcock the brother of Samuel is John Young Gibbs his middle name “Young” per family was given to him by Jeremiah having a friend with last name young. I have much info on my Gibbs family and all the help is so much appreciated. Kindest regards


posted by Andrew Simpier
Thanks for tackling some of the Trion's in PA. That's been on my back burner for so long. I am not to familiar with it but I believe there is a Palatinate project or subproject that some of these should fall under.
posted by Michael Maranda
Hi there,

Just a friendly reminder that voting for the WikiTreer Awards 2018 is open. If you haven’t already voted, click here to vote now. Voting closes at 11:59PM GMT on Sunday, 28th January. The exciting awards show will be live cast on Saturday, February 10th, 8PM GMT. Hope you can join us as we celebrate all the incredible contributions made this year.

Susie :-)

posted by Susie MacLeod
Hi Laurie; Not to be concerned about the Harding profiles..I will poke around in them

then we might have a big mess:) Thanks for helping out..Keep in touch..M. Not sure that I am in that lineage....

posted by Marie Chantigny

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Categories: German Roots | Smith Researchers | Smith Name Study | Tryon Name Study | En | De-3 | Es-3 | It-2 | Sv-1