This is a blog about my family history, and the information found on it mainly comes from research that I began compiling in 2003-2004 (and have updated since then) for a research course I was taking while I was an undergraduate in college. This research, and thus the information on this blog, presents the family history and genealogy of four branches of my ancestry, with related families included. These four branches can be seen as the four “cardinal branches” of my family tree, with each of them corresponding to the families of my four grandparents−Kernan, Lapham, Hamilton, and Sebok.
Information for each of these “cardinal branches,” and their related families, can be found by clicking on the top menu tabs named for each respective branch. Additionally, this site will have blog posts consisting of interesting stories from my family history, anniversary posts, and new information I uncover on my journey to fill-in gaps in my family history.
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 family to compile a detailed family history until I was in college (at UCLA), 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, with a great deal of help coming from my paternal grandmother, Margaret (Lapham) Kernan. 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.
Family histories and genealogies are always a work in progress and are based on available information. Nevertheless, every attempt has been made to be as accurate as possible, in both facts and oral accounts. If you are related to any of the families or persons discussed on this site and have corrections, further information, photographs, or documents you would like to share, please feel free to contact me.
Additionally, I will not be including detailed information on any living relatives on this blog. If I have done so, and it is about you, please let me know and I will correct it.