Friday, April 30, 2010

Happy 82nd Birthday, Melvin Koons!

May 1st 2010 will be a day to say

Happy Birthday, Melvin Koons!

I like this photo of you because I think it captures your on-the-go and get-it-done personality.

We've only talked on the phone twice, but I feel like I've known you most of my life. You would have been my Dad's cousin, had he lived and I think he would have liked you a lot!

This past year, you introduced me to your Mother Pearl Copeland's 'magic trunk' and all the family treasures inside. You provided the majority of photos that are in my book, and you had the technical expertise to spend hours scanning and emailing photos or sending them on CD. I cannot thank you enough.

I think that your mother Pearl Copeland and your father Frank Wilburn Koons would be very proud of all that you have done in your life, of your 3 sons, and of your 2 grandchildren. They would be happy to know that you chose a lovely woman in Earlene to marry and be by your side all these years.

Happy Birthday, Melvin and may you have many more!

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Happy 87th Birthday, Arlene Copeland!

On April 27, Arlene Webb Copeland celebrated her 87th birthday in the hospital. She was cheerful and happy to chat on the phone with me.
She received her and Ralph's copy of my book and she was pleased with it.

Arlene has seen a lot of changes in her lifetime, and she values her memories of her family and friends, as well as her long marriage to Ralph Copeland and the good friendships that she has with many others in Coffeyville, Kansas. She also has fond memories of her visit to California.

Happy Birthday Arlene! May you have many more!

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Thursday, April 29, 2010

What Price Genealogy?

I was showing some ladies my new book, and they loved it!

They wanted to hire me to do their genealogy. I said with the amount of time that I spent on my book, it would cost a year's salary!

It took me 2 years, sometimes working part time, sometimes working full time, and there was loads of overtime. Towards the end, I was physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted because I was creating the book at the same time.

I will take a break, and then I will tackle their genealogy! In the meantime, I have to earn a living so I have signed up to participate in the census. I have mixed feelings about this and will write more about my experience later.

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Friday, April 23, 2010

Looks Old, but it's New

Someone wrote to me that they admired my book and that it looked old, but was new. He said he was envious because he wished he knew enough about his family to write a book. This was my reply.

"Thanks for the compliment. Anyone can write a book about their family if they are passionate about what they have. My book has 500 pages and 500 photos and family trees. It's way too big - haha! I saw that you traced your family line back to 1756 - and you have photos and documents. With that, you could publish a book. What is interesting is that if you can look at your research and see how it fits in with your family today. Why? In 50 or 100 years, this will be fascinating to one of your descendants or a descendant of one of your relatives.

There is no way that my brother/sister/nephew/cousins/their kids would do the kind of research that I did - but they all want a copy of the book, just cause they are 'curious.'

I love history, so I wove in bits of historical facts, such as how long it takes to travel between states in a wagon train, or by railroad, or from Scotland to the US via steamship. Or how a wheat harvester makes his living. It fascinated me and it might fascinate someone else.

As people who research genealogy, we are the ones who can make it fascinating for others!

The fascinating stuff might be just a generation above you - if you can talk to people in their 80s and 90s, they have loads of stories and information that you could share with your family and descendants, and with others researching your family line.

Good luck!"

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Monday, April 19, 2010

Got the First Copies of the Book!

Wow - I received the first print run of 10 books this evening. "An American Genealogy: The Copeland Family of Montgomery County Kansas" is a beautiful book. I can't believe it! All the hard work, the research, the sharing of family stories and photographs - it's all between the pages and will preserve the history of the Copeland family for all times!

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Saturday, April 17, 2010

McKays McKinlays and Finneys

I am taking a break before I begin writing the other two American Genealogy books. I'm hoping that the McKays, McKinlays, and Finneys read my book and get inspired to send in memories and photos of their ancestors, grandparents, and parents. These are books about our families, both past and present!

I will admit that I couldn't resist and I have set up book files and placeholders for photos, and I've begun working on the photos that I do have. Then I put them in the book file and see how everthing looks.

So McKays, McKinlays, and Finneys - please read my book and then send in your materials.

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

What price books?

I was at the bookstore and discovered "Who Do You Think You Are?" by's chief genealogical consultant Megan Smolenyak. Her 204 page book sells for $24.95 - the same price as my "An American Genealogy: The Copeland Family of Montgomery County Kansas" book (which is 494 pages for the 7 x 10 copy, which will be available on - or 532 pages for the 6 x 10 copy, of which I have a very limited pre-print run).

BOTH are good values.

Megan's book is an "essential guide to tracing your family history" and is "a companion to the NBC series." My book has all of the research done, and it is told in an interview form with each of the original Copeland family members, and complimented by hundreds of photos!

I read the book this afternoon and found out about a whole bunch of resources that I didn't know about. That was good info because if I hit dead ends with the next batch of research, I have other resources to look at. Great!

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Monday, April 12, 2010

"An American Genealogy: The Copelands of Montgomery County Kansas" book is available for purchase!

Writing a book is like 9 months of pregnancy; publishing a book is like a horrendous labor. In this case, it was a nightmare, but I won't bore you with the details.

By next week, April 19, I should have a first print run of 10 books. This will be the 6 x 9 version, at 532 pages. This limited run is available for sale for $24.95 per copy when you order direct from me. I will even pay shipping costs to the lower 48 states.

After this run sells out, the books will be in the 7 x 10 size and also available for $24.95. You can get them from me with no shipping cost. Or you can order them from beginning late May - I will update this blog when they are available.

Although my name is listed as author, this is a collabrative work. Without the contributions of my new-found cousins and friends, there would be no book. I knew almost nothing about my family, and these cousins and friends helped me to get to know them. From their stories and photographs, we are able to have this book which forever preserves the unique individuals who made up The Copeland Family of Montgomery County Kansas.

I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did in creating it.

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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Book is Done!

Today I finished my book and started uploading the files to the publisher! The book looks fantastic!

It's 494 pages and probably has 494 photos - or more!

"An American Genealogy: The Copelands of Montgomery County Kansas" is a wonderful collection of conversations with the Copelands and has hundreds of photos. These Early Settlers and Old Pioneers come alive once again!

Although there are many Copelands in Montgomery County, only a few are descendants of these Early Settlers. The Copelands lived through a time of rapid changes in history, technology, family and social changes, as well as many wars. The lived, loved, lost, and survived.

In one month, the book will be available on I hope you enjoy it!

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