Tracing Your Roots - How a published book reunited an American family
Tracing your roots can be one of the most rewarding experiences of one's life, and when the researcher is a professional writer, the project can turn out to be a published book that reunites the family clan.
Dandelion author, Laurel Johnson has written a memorable account of her grandmother, Esther Clara Sanow, captured from transcribed recorded sessions that her uncle Dr. Donald H. Ford, Professor Emeritus, State College, PA, had the wisdom to capture before Esther Clara passed away in 1989.
Esther’s memory now lives on in Johnson’s extraordinary book,
My Name is Esther Clara.
Born in 1898 as the youngest of 10 children, Esther’s life and memories span some of the most significant periods of the 20th century.
“Tracing your roots can be filled with wonderful surprises, as Laurel Johnson discovered,” states Carol Adler, Dandelion President CEO. “As soon as her book was published, the order phone started ringing from members of the Sanow family.
"I could hear the tears in their voices as they told me proudly of their relationship to Laurel and her grandmother and then launched into their own personal narratives about this amazing woman and how she was related to them.”
Family reunions continue in person as Johnson travels through the Midwest giving talks and readings where members of the family are often in attendance.
Following is an account of one of Johnson’s most recent events:
“My talk at the group in Clay Center KS was a great success. Forty-five people attended the luncheon. Most were over age 50 but some were much younger.
“The mother of one of the staff members had given her daughter Esther Clara to read. The daughter passed it on to a couple of her co-workers, and that's how the decision was made to schedule my appearance.”
Johnson sold out her supply of books, placed it in the community library, and ordered more.
“A book doesn’t have to be a best seller to have a profound impact upon its readers,” says Adler, “and perhaps in the long run, that’s what really matters. Esther Clara’s story beautifully narrated by her granddaughter has not only reunited the family clan; it has also provided enriched the lives of every person who has read it.”
Read an excerpt of My Name is Esther Clara
Reviews of My Name is Esther Clara
The Alley of Wishes, by Laurel Johnson
The Alley of Wishes and My Name is Esther Clara are also available on
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