Author and Speaker

Finding Ada

In the summer of 2015, I encouraged my husband Brent to join me in returning to the British Isles.  He agreed.

After a few weeks in London, we flew to Inverness, Scotland, located so far north in the Scottish Highlands that it was not yet fully dark when we landed at 11PM. We were picked up by friends, David and Jane Gardiner whom my daughter Becky and I had met briefly the previous year at church. David, a student of British family history and Jane, a gourmet chef, treated us like royalty.  Over the next two months the Gardeners kindly took us on several one and two-day outings where we saw parts of beautiful Scotland the average tourist never encounters. Not only did we learn much history of the island nation, but we also admittedly gained a few pounds (and I don’t mean Scottish Sterling Pounds) from Jane’s nightly five to seven-course meals.

Near the end of our two months, David, Brent and I had signed up for a family history conference being held at the John Gray Library Centre in Haddington. All hotels and bed-and-breakfasts were booked, but we managed to rent a little cottage outside of town for a week.

Some writers have commented that they occasionally feel a special influence guiding them. Such was the case at the conference. Brent had gone in early to save me a seat at a presentation. However, I had heard bagpipes playing outside and could not resist running out to listen to them playing in the town square for the weekly Farmers’ Market celebration.

Finally, I forced myself to go back into the conference. By the time I arrived (late) at the lecture, there was only one seat left in the entire room. I didn’t know it at the time but it was next to Helen Robinson, an outstanding historian of both Haddington, Scotland, and my 24th great grandmother, Ada de Warenne. I had not met Helen at the time, so I had no idea who she was. Helen was soon to become an important part of our life and my new quest to gain information on this newly found ancestor.

 Some days earlier, I had inquired at the same library regarding books and papers on Ada. We had found little material that even mentioned her name. Then the librarian brought me a paper by Helen, “The ‘King’s’ Palace: A Medieval Royal Palace Revealed,” along with Helen’s email address. Her well-written paper was a timely find for me. Helen and I emailed each other and then spoke briefly on the phone, hoping to find a time we could get together.

Within a day or two, Helen, Brent, and I met up again at the John Gray Library in Haddington. Upon hearing my goals to learn more about Ada, Helen offered to drive Brent and me to various sites. During the next few days, we were on our way and in research heaven as we traveled throughout the area to see many locations important to Ada almost nine-hundred years earlier.

All too soon, it was time for us to catch our ten-hour flight back to Arizona. We bid adieu to Scotland, confident that lasting friendships had been born.  My life had changed forever and I knew I would never be the same, having walked the land of my beloved ancestor.

My Writing Journey

My journey to know Countess Ada de Warenne began several years ago when my good friend Charlene, a professional genealogist, agreed to my request and took my old box of family history to her home to put it into some reasonable order. She returned several weeks later, having done extensive research into my family line. With… Continue Reading

Marriages in William the Lion’s Family

by Helen Robertson, Scottish Historian If Sarah’s line does come down through Isabel (William the Lion’s daughter) who married Robert de Ros in 1191, then her line is not through Ermengarde but through William’s mistress (also Isabel) the daughter of Robert de Avenel, Lord of Wark and Tweed. In 1183, Isabel, William’s natural (or illegitimate daughter) – married Robert de Brus (Third Lord of Annandale).  Robert died… Continue Reading

A Pawn for a King is now available!

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Have you heard of IANDS-International Association for Near Death Studies?

On the morning of Feb 24, I flew from Phoenix to Salt Lake City at the invitation of IANDS Utah.  IANDS stands for International Association for Near Death Studies and IANDS Utah is the largest local organization in the U.S. (Each group is independent of the international organization and operates separately.) I was in London,… Continue Reading

New Book Available – Memories of Heaven

I am so excited to bring forward a new book, Memories of Heaven: Together with the Hymn of the Pearl by Thomas the Apostle. Twenty years in the making, it has been a joyful labor of love to present such richly detailed accounts of those who retain memories of heaven, interspersed with quotes and texts from Plato to… Continue Reading

We are going back to London, England

Last summer Brent and I decided it was time for a trip of a lifetime.  We traveled to London, England, a city I have adored from my many years of reading Charles Dickens novels.  The beauty of the city, the architecture, the history and the velvet green countryside literally took my breathe away.  London is… Continue Reading