My name is Kristi. I find people. Dead people. I create timelines of their lives using anything I can find: journals, letters, documents and newspapers. I happen across incredible people all the time, some of those people are known, some not. I travel through their lives and help shine some light on their accomplishments, their sacrifices, and their legacy. It is a joyous adventure.
I watch genealogy shows and documentaries all the time, because I love watching a life story unfold, but shows focus on the scholarly journey. I want to show the the simple joy of being in an archives and jumping up and down throwing your fist in the air when you find something amazing. Especially when details fall into place one after another and a forgotten, amazing life comes into focus. My excitement is not so scholarly. I get shushed, a lot.
My background isn’t as important as the amazing souls I have uncovered. I have accomplished no great feats in my life. Raising my daughter has been my greatest joy. But my life’s passion has always been families and how history impacts the human story. I wrote my first family tree when I was eight years old. My mother got me a biography of John F. Kennedy at a yard sale and on the inside cover was a family tree. THAT’s where it all began. [Fun fact my daughter is named Kennedy.] I copied that tree over and over again on a piece of paper, then I moved on to the British Royal Family. It wasn’t until I was much older that I appreciated the impact society, events and history in the making had on those family trees I was drawing.
In a random act of kindness the universe put a woman named Dr. Josie Wells in my path. She is a woman every young girl should learn about in elementary school. Her determination, compassion and strength together with an indomitable spirit makes her the most amazing person I’ve ever met and I’ve never met her!
This blog is my ode to Josie, as well as my way of introducing her to the world. The last four years; researching her, finding her story, walking the streets of her communities, and learning who her people were has been an immense honor. Along the way I stumbled across some other women whose stories will find space here too. In addition, my hope is to give each of you a glimpse into the past that is so much more interesting and colorful and profound than anything you will find in the history books. Come with me. Let me share with you the pure JOY of Finding Josie.