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About Me

I am the keeper of family stories, letters, pictures, research, combat records, casualty reports, and terrible telegrams. Active on several history and military Facebook pages, I help administer local ones–Audubon County, Dallas County, and Guthrie County, Iowa–the places where my motherline stories originated.
Born two days before D-Day to an Iowa farmer who became an Army Air Corps pilot, then an instructor–with orders for combat when the war ended–and an Iowa waitress who lost three of her five brothers during that war. I spent my childhood in an Iowa farmhouse with a front porch. Now I live with my husband, a Vietnam veteran, in a suburban house with a front porch.
A former Cub Scouts den mom and graduate of the University of Northern Iowa, I’ve published two genealogies, as well as dozens of essays in newspapers and magazines, including Midwest Living and The Des Moines Register.

Not everyone will be interested in all of my stories, so they are divided into categories:

Books & Authors–Books I’ve especially appreciated.

Depression Era–Stories from my motherline and from letters they wrote to their “Navy boys,” who enlisted in 1934. Most of these are set in the small town of Dexter, Iowa.

Dexter (Iowa) History–I help administer Dexter’s Museum FB page, and this is the handiest place to keep stories and pictures together. Museum season is from April through October.

Early Ancestry–Stories too early for Turn of Century.

Growing Up on a Farm–Dexter area 1950s and 1950s.

Kidney-Walker Genealogy (new)–Stories from my husband’s ancestry, including one about an anvil.

Miscellaneous–These didn’t fit anywhere else.

Turn Of Century–Motherline stories through WWI, mostly Audubon County and Guthrie County.

Uncategorized–tried to delete.

WWII–The main reason I started writing–to make sure the Wilson story is never forgotten. Dallas County: Dexter, Minburn, Perry.



Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD you God gives you. – Exodus 20:12

He determines the number of the stars; He calls them each by name. – Psalm 147:4



  1. Impressive body of work! Thank you for letting know about your work.

    I can send you a copy of a research project I did several years ago about a WW2 MIA 8th AF B-17 gunner if like.

  2. Joy, thank you for posting that wonderful picture of my grandmother, Lora Electa Barnes, to her Find-a-Grave site.

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