Monday, December 19, 2011

An unexpected turn

My family research project took an unexpected turn last night. And I got my first big break.
My dad emailed me this photograph. "Who was she?" I asked.
"Marie-Grace Rousseau Gardner Hotchkiss."
"She was my dad's great-grandmother. She was originally from New Orleans but she was raised in Pennsylvania. After she'd returned to New Orleans, she met John Peter Hotchkiss (of Quaker descent) when she was seventeen. The next year she married him and returned to Pennsylvania with him. The records say her name was Mary-Grace Hotchkiss, but that was because when she got to Pennsylvania she Americanized her name." According to the records, John and Mary Grace Hotchkiss had 6 kids.
Hmm, that explains why after the divorce my dad decided to come to Louisiana. Turns out I'm not the only one researching this family.

Friday, December 16, 2011


My Innerstar gear arrived yesterday.

And today is my last day at Adams Middle School. After the holiday, I'm going to start school at Innerstar Magnet Academy.

You know what's strange? I spent two years trying to get away from AMS... and now that I've gotten my wish, it's almost like I don't want to go.

For starters, I'm going to miss my BF Harriet loads. Unless she finds a way to get into IMA... but that's not likely at this point. IMA is for gifted and talented girls.

Then, who is going to finish the yearbook?

Oh, and one more thing. I still haven't finished that family history project, and it bothers me. Some of the other kids have come with fascinating stories. Harriet's ancestors had been enslaved. Kat Engel's family comes from Germany and Norway. Lindsey's family is Jewish. Kate Osborne's great-grandparents survived the Great Depression.

So I haven't done a single solitary thing for the project because I've got nothing interesting to add.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Family Ties

Since the holiday season is about celebrating families, every student at Adams Middle School has been given an assignment. We're to research our family histories. The project is due the week we go home for Christmas break, and some of the best essays will be read aloud at the annual Christmas pageant this year.

My problem is, I have no clue how to even begin.

I know from earlier research that the name Hotchkiss is English and Scottish, and that my father, Donald Leroy Hotchkiss, comes from a long line of Pennsylvania Quakers. There is this one site,, but it doesn't tell me very much. Also, I don't know much about my mother's family. My mother, Jillian McCaughey Hotchkiss, is not very open about her heritage. My mother and my cousin Nicki's mother are twin sisters. Identical twin sisters -- in looks only. Personality wise they could not have been more different. Sometimes -- and I hate saying this -- I wish Aunt Joan was my mother.