By Sara Boyle, intern
I love a good family story. Maybe because it checks all the boxes that grab a reader: true grit, fascinating characters, and thrilling plotlines. The storyteller in me not only loves finding out more about where my family came from, but hearing about other people’s roots as well. Growing up with my Irish father and southern Jewish mother, I can’t help but be fascinated by genealogy and the tales unearthed with a little bit of research on one’s past.
We are lucky enough at Bright Sky Press to receive and publish many stories focused on Texas families. In May, we are releasing From Matriarch to Mayor: Eliza Kempner to Lyda Ann Thomas, Four Generations of Galveston‘s Kempner Women Make Their Mark by Elise Hopkins Stephens. Stephens uses stunning detail to show the enormous impact the Kempner women have had and continue to have on the city of Galveston.
Other books focused on family history recently published by BSP are A Rose Blooms in Texas and And They Returned. Both focus on the strength of a matriarch in wartime and the women’s resolve to provide for their kin. Even in desperate times, both women value their family above themselves. Both women are committed to their values and vision, getting them through the rockiest times of their lives.
In these pieces, I see traces of my relatives everywhere. I see my great-grandfather coming to America in 1905 with $43 in his pocket, later founding a successful store that is still around today, expanded on a national scale. I see my grandmother, born in a tiny Irish village, making the journey to Singapore and the United States to visit her children spread out across the world. I see my dad, who didn’t go to college but worked tirelessly to move his way up the ladder and provide for his family.
Family stories not only make me reflect on where I’ve come from, but also make me think about how I will affect my family for years to come. Will I uphold the values my parents and grandparents instilled in me? How will my grandchildren gauge my impact? Asking these questions keeps me grounded and focused on how I can be a lasting legacy in my family’s story. Who is your family? Where did you come from?
Bright Sky Press, where Texas Meets Books Family.