Thomas Raynard and Elizabeth Mann
circa 1865

Welcome to My Family Forest

Genealogical data can seem like a forest of details. I hope this website will help you find your way home. What details should be included is an important issue. So, I'm considering the question in light of its purposes:
  • Preserve historic stories and photos before they're lost
  • Help myself, and my extended family, understand our roots
  • Create a basis for future documentation of family history
  • Make connections with living cousins
Some of the information may be sensitive, and I certainly don't want to cause any concerns over that. Most of the sensitive information is data on living persons, especially children (minors). I don't see any need to include data on minors. But if I leave out all data on living persons, it will be difficult to meet the last objective. So I think the data on living persons should be available to family members under password control. For access, click here. If I'm showing data that causes you concern, let me know, I'll remove it.

Strangers in the Box

Come, look with me inside this drawer,
In this box I've often seen,
At the pictures, black and white,
Faces proud, still, serene.

I wish I knew the people,
These strangers in the box,
Their names and all their memories
Are lost among my socks.

I wonder what their lives were like.
How did they spend their days?
What about their special times?
I'll never know their ways.

If only someone had taken time
To tell who, what, where, when,
These faces of my heritage
Would come to life again.

Could this become the fate
Of the pictures we take today?
The faces and the memories
Someday to be tossed away?

Make time to save your memories*,
Seize the opportunity when it knocks,
Or someday you and yours could be
The strangers in the box.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 
© 1997 by Pamela A. Harazim

*Note: changed "pictures" to "memories".

All of the material on the website is linked to the menu on the left which is always in view. If you don't see a menu, click here. You can browse your family tree by clicking on your family name under 'Family Trees' or check out the stories and photo pages by selecting your family under 'Story Boards'. The newest stories are listed on top, with the date they were entered.

One of the great features of the web is your ability to click on a word or phrase and switch to a related document. I have created links from characters in the stories to their descriptions in the family trees. This should eliminate any ambiguity caused by referring to a person with a popular name or by some spelling variant. For example, see the Richard Mann story.

What's New

During the summer of 2007 I traveled to Lewistown and Plentywood Montana. I hadn't been to Lewistown, where I grew up, for 20 years, and I hadn't been to Plentywood, where I was born, for 70 years. My objective was to locate the homesteads near Lewistown of my grandfather, Dave Spoon, and those near Plentywood of my great-grandfather, Richard Mann. In addition, I wanted to discover more details of their lives and visit their graves. All was accomplished and much of the information is being added to this website.

More cousins are finding this site and some have contributed data and photos. For example, see the information on Henry DeMaeght. (Prudence DeMaeght married Bruno Van Hee.) Don't forget to click on "Media" and "Close Relatives" to see what's available.


The Family Trees are based on software that can be purchased at most computer stores, such as 'Family Tree Maker'. It is a database of parent/child relationships, vital statistics, notes and other data. I use Family Tree Maker to record data, and to export a GEDCOM file. The GEDCOM file is used by phpGedView software to produce Family Tree web pages. The resulting web pages retain most of the information and relationships of the original family tree database, but in a form that can be navigated with a web browser (you don't need family tree software to view it). In addition to displaying the information from the GEDCOM files, phpGedView updates and enhances the information so software such as Family Tree Maker is no longer needed.

In addition to vital statistics and parent/child relationships, this site contains regular web pages, and multimedia computer files. I'm hoping characters in the stories and photos will seem more relevant to you than names on a list. I also expect these webpages to be indexed by search engines, such as Google, that will help more family members find us.

The ultimate success and value of this site depends on the active collaboration of many family members. Everyone has stories, photos and vital statistics that could be included in this site. I will get them in if you provide them. Imagine what a great resource it would be if every adult supplied one story about their parents.

Many thanks to all the family members who supplied stories, photos and statistics.
It's their efforts that make this project worthwhile.