I have long been attached to all things historical--antiques, books, stories.
I love to do local history research, "local" being defined as where ever I am living at the time. For me, I have to be able to walk the land and sniff the same air as my subjects. Wealthier researchers might seek out the famous, those who trotted from New York City to London and back. But I think I actually prefer the stories of ordinary folks who lived closer to home, ordinary folks who sometimes found themselves in extraordinary circumstances.
A couple of years ago, I published a few articles on a strange murder that took place in Ellington in 1879. It became so engrossing that eventually the articles grew into a book length manuscript. I am trying to find a publisher now, and have my fingers crossed! The tentative title is No Sign of Lilac: The Murder of Emily Crosby. If you are familiar with the Sam Shepard case of the 1950s, you have a close idea of the plot. There are still some open questions regarding whatever happened to some of the individuals involved. I am particularly puzzled by whatever happed to the sister of the murdered woman, Sophronia WHEELER. She appears in the 1880 Census for Ellington, New York, then disappears from view. I suspect that she may have married and moved far away, but I have no leads.
I am currently working on another murder story. Whether I find enough facts to make a book length manuscript is not yet clear. I struggle with the idea of leaping into historical fiction, but have so far resisted. Basically, I think I prefer non-fiction, but non-fiction that is creatively written and literate.
I have often used geneaological research techniques in my work. But only recently have I decided to do my own family. I have been spurred by the fact that virtually nothing is known about my son's father's side of the family. Acquiring some genealogical software has definitely made it easier and far more addictive.
Jan Ellen Kurth of Ellington, New York
Updated May 27, 2008

Jan Ellen Kurth
4835 South Hill Road
PO Box 439
Ellington, NY 14732
A-United States
jnelkurth@yahoo.com

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