As stated on the home page, Among My Branches is a website and blog where I explore the genealogies and histories of my paternal and maternal grandparents, William George Kernan (Living), Margaret Ann Lapham (1936-2004), Harry Loyd “Lee” Hamilton (Living), and Alberta Sebok (Living), one branch at a time. As such, this website presents the genealogies and family histories of my Kernan, Lapham, Hamilton, and Sebok families, as well as related families.
Why a History of My Families?
Growing up, I frequently heard bits and pieces from relatives about my family’s history. I recall vividly, for example, my great grandmother, Irene (Balla) Sebok (or “Momo” as we called her), telling me of how she picked cotton for $0.15 a pound during the Great Depression, and when her father took her to a polling place to vote for the first time, casting her first vote for Roosevelt. However, none of these instances (from any of my relatives) were very detailed, usually being anecdotal stories from my grandparents’ and great grandparents’ childhood. There was never a generation to generation account.
It was not until the 1990’s, when I was still in high school, that I was introduced to anything close to a genealogy of my family. My older sister, Laura, was given a family tree assignment in one of her classes, and an effort was made then to compile what could be found out from immediate relatives. This, however, was very simple and only included the names of about four generations back. Nevertheless, no further attempts were made in my immediate family to compile a detailed family history until I was in college, and was enrolled in a historical research course and assigned to research my own family history. At this point, which was in 2003, I began gathering information from my parents, grandparents, and great grandparents. It is from the research I complied during this course, and afterwards, that the details found on this site are taken.
Although I compiled the information found on this blog for academic purposes, there are, perhaps, more meaningful and personal reasons for why a history of my families should been compiled. The personal importance of family history has been arguably best expressed by Alex Haley, the Pulitzer Prize winning American author of the novel Roots: The Saga of an American Family, who once wrote:
“In all of us there is a hunger marrow deep to know our heritage−to know who we are and where we came from. Without this enriching knowledge there is a hallow yearning. No matter what our attainment in life, there is still a vacuum, an emptiness, and the most disquieting loneliness.”
It is my hope that relatives that are reading this will discover some of what they are looking for about our family history, and perhaps find it, in some way, enriching; and that non-relatives might be inspired to look into their own family history.
To learn more about the author of this website, please view the “About Me” page.
Additionally, many people have helped in compiling the histories and genealogies found on this website. Please view the “Acknowledgements” page to see a full list.
Please view the “Disclaimer” page to learn important information you should keep in mind as you read through the content of this website.