About Me

The Stuffy Bio:

     I’m a freelance writer and photographer with a love for Texas history, travel, historic architecture, genealogy and old cemeteries.

     I left the advertising industry after over 20 years to focus on family and writing . . . the best move ever!

Who I Am: A Lover of Stories about People and Places

     When I was young, my sister and I would spend time at my grandparents farm in Oklahoma, where my mother’s side of the family have lived since it was Indian Territory. My grandmother would chose one day each summer to be the family decoration day, when we would make the rounds to area cemeteries visiting ancestors’ graves, doing a bit of clean-up at the sites and leaving flowers.

Couple-on-the-beach-1921     After the graves had been decorated, my mother and grandmother would want to spend “time alone” with certain relatives buried in the cemeteries. At this point, my grandfather, who had been orphaned by the age of five and living on the streets, would walk up and down each row of stones and tell me stories about the people whose names he recognized…which were most of them! “Mrs. Keller used to make the most delicious biscuits, and would save one or two for me out of each batch. There’s old man so-and-so who ran the livery stable. He would let me sleep in the hayloft in exchange for cleaning the stalls each morning.”

     By the age of 12 I looked forward to these visits and hearing the stories. I had made the connection that there were stories…and people…behind the stones. Telling these stories kept their time period in history alive.

     At the same age I became fascinated with genealogy, thanks to spending so much time hearing my grandparents’ tales. Now, this was long before Alex Haley’s “Roots,” so we did things the hard way…looking through dusty, over-sized books at rural courthouses, walking the cemeteries to confirm dates and even visiting funeral homes to read their logs. As a tomboy, I loved the entries from the “wild west” era like, “killed by Injun, fell down well, or hit head from fall from horse (my great-great-grandfather’s notation). “

     Eventually I began to realize that I was just as interested in the stories about  people and places from the past that had no connection with my family. Now, my passion is traveling the state, and collecting Tales from Texas.

28 thoughts on “About Me

  1. Miles Montegut says:

    I’m looking forward to purchasing your book and finding more information on my ancestors who were buried just before the Great Storm and 1920, before the last raising.
    Thank you for your invaluable work.

    • admin says:

      Thank you for your kind words, and good luck in your search. Galveston is lucky to have quite an assortment of research options, even though so many resources were destroyed in the storm. Remember to check with the Galveston and Texas Research Center at the Rosenberg Library. The staff there is very knowledgable and helpful.

      • Jerry McGinty says:

        Are you or your husband related to the McGinty family? I am a McGinty researcher and published author of “Our McGinty Family in America.” I have extensive research on the McGintys in TX. I am related to all of them.

    • Ruslan says:

      I’ve had this on the shelf awhile now, but it seems there are aaywls a couple books ahead of it. I read The Devil in the White City several years ago and liked it. Imagine my surprise, though, when I read that one of Holmes’s murders occurred just a couple blocks from where I used to live here in Irvington(!)I still want to read this one too. Just not sure when I’ll get around to it. :-)-Jay

  2. Kathleen Moreland says:

    My husband’s family has a beautiful large angel on top of their structure in Galveston cemetery. The family name is Beissner. Do you know much about it?

    • admin says:

      Yes, that’s a lovely monument. There are quite a few Beissners buried on the island. Have you researched the family? I’m also fascinated by the Beissner home and buildings related to the family’s life.

  3. Mary Moorehead says:

    Would Kathleen Maca be interested in being a speaker at Lakewood Yacht Club in Seabrook for our Ladies Association October 20, 2017? We would love to have her interesting stories and there is an opportunity for her book sales.

  4. Janet L Saltsgiver says:

    We would very much like the address of the group that help the Historic preservation workshop for cemeteries. I would like to be on their mailing list if they have another one.

    • admin says:

      Probably the best thing to do is sign up to be on the email list for the Texas Historical Commission. It’s a great way to find out when workshops of many types are available in your area. Good luck!

  5. Frank van Waesberghe says:

    On 2 May 2018, you wrote an article about the Osage cathedral in Pawhuska. Edward vann Waesberghe was a brother of my grandfather. I found several fotos of the building of the church in 1910. I could send them as attachment, if you give me an email-adress, where to send

  6. Ronda Nugent says:

    I saw you on Texas Country Reporter. I’m interested in what you were using in the video to clean the gravestones. I have an old cemetery I’d like to work on but haven’t been successful in finding something that works to get off the years of grime regardless of how hard I scrub. Any advise would be appreciated.

    • admin says:

      Thanks for your question, Ronda! Believe it or not, no matter how dirty or stained the stone is, hard scrubbing isn’t the answer. I’m getting so many requests about cleaning the stones that I’m going to do a separate blog post about it for people to reference. In the meantime, you might be surprised that I used for the demonstration on the show was water and a soft, natural bristle brush! Chemicals of any kind have terrible long term damage to stones, and water can have surprising success! You can also use wooden popsicle sticks or chopsticks or even toothbrushes to clean inside the lettering or design crevices. Fully wet the stone before you begin working, and rinse often during the process! Let me know if there’s a specific type of stone (granite, marble, etc.) that you are trying to clean, but this method works across the board. Good luck!

  7. Gwen Miller says:

    Just saw you on Texas Country Reporter. What an interesting story. Just wondering if you could share your “recipe” for cleaning old stones so you can read the inscriptions. I was amazed how that worked. Thank you.

    • admin says:

      Gwen, Thank you so very much! So here’s something that may surprise you…all that I used for the demonstration was water and a soft, natural bristle brush! Chemicals have terrible long term damage to stones, and water can have surprising success! You can also use wooden popsicle sticks or chopsticks or even toothbrushes to clean inside the lettering or design crevices. Fully wet the stone before you begin working, and rinse often during the process! Let me know if there’s a specific type of stone (granite, marble, etc.) that you are trying to clean, but this method works across the board.

  8. Diane Roach says:

    I’m very interested in your book about the ghosts of Galveston because m y father was a third or fourth generation BOI Galvestonian, and one of his great-grandfathers was a police officer for the Port of Galveston who died in the 1900 hurricane. He was one of the few who were identified because he was still wearing his uniform when found after the storm. I think his name was Bernard Elfstrom.

  9. admin says:

    That’s fascinating! I would definitely suggest contacting the Galveston & Texas History Center at the Rosenberg Library in Galveston. They have wonderful archives and their archivists are so knowledgable. They would be able to tell you if they have any information about your ancestor or if not, suggest where you should try next!

  10. Larry Embry says:

    I saw your story on TCR concerning grave marker code/language. My maternal great-grandparents are buried in a small, community grave in Spanish Fort, Texas. Most of the markers (including their marker stone) was hand cast from cement with wording scratched out with a sharp object. After a hundred years of Texas weather, these markers are unfortunately, no longer legible. Is there a source that would have grave assignments for a Cemetary? If I could locate this grave, I would place a new stone at their gravesite. Thanks ahead for any help!

    • admin says:

      This can be so frustrating, and I’ve run across similar situations with my family members. The best place to begin is at the county courthouse to see what reference materials they might have for the cemetery. Every public cemetery has either a “Friends” group, caretaker or at the very least a land owner who may have documents regarding the plots. Also check with the county historical society or genealogy societies, as they actively search out information like this. Good luck with your quest! (I’m carrying a marker to Oklahoma this summer to finally mark the grave of my grandmother’s siblings..a long time coming!)

  11. Kristi Lee says:

    How can I get more information on Mae’s Hill Farm near La Grange Texas? My family is the Steinmann’s and I’m trying to learn some history on our locations in Fayette County. Any info would be appreciated.

  12. SHEILA says:

    Hi, I just received my “Ghosts of Galveston”&immediately went to the section on the Nichols building//JD ROGERS BUILDING…my cousin Michelle(she lives in the Houston area)&I who have been to Galveston many a time, took the restless spirit walk(the whole night was freaky, long story) with tour guide Brian, & Annabelle did indeed attach to michelle&i for a while…

  13. Faye Baker says:

    Hi Kathleen — I was looking for information on Sterling Mansion and found your photo. I was raised in LaPorte and now working on a project regarding that area. I am a long lost Texan living in Central California.
    I viewed some of your photos and stories on your website — how fun your travels must be. I would have stopped at that stone jail and stayed at the old motels too. That information and photos are treasures. Thanks for doing that.

  14. Sharon says:

    My grandmother worked as a housekeeper at the Hotel Galvez I believe shortly after its grand opening but I am not sure of the dates. I have pursued trying to obtain payroll records etc a while back from the Hotel Galvez and I have also been in contact with the Rosenberg Library In Galveston. I would most appreciate it if You can give me some insight or where I may obtain this information or even early photos of the hotel staff. Any information forthcoming would be highly appreciated! Sharon

    • admin says:

      Hello, Sharon! How wonderful to have a family connection with this historic property. Unfortunately, due to several changes of ownership through the last 110 years, many of the early records from the Galvez operations have been lost or discarded. It was one of my biggest challenges when writing the book about its history. I don’t think that the Galveston Texas history Center at Rosenberg Library has any photos or information about the staff, and I haven’t located many photos of that either. I think that many of these types of photos are in private family collections. I would suggest writing an appeal for information on my Facebook page for The History of the Hotel Galvez. Many locals and people with connections with the hotel follow this page, and might be of help. Good luck with your search, and keep me posted about your progress!

      • Sharon says:

        Thank You Kathleen for providing me this information. I ordered your book re the history of Hotel Galvez and I am quite anxious about this good read. It is a beautiful Hotel and I have been fortunate to stay a couple of times, Always enjoy its lavish buffet and beautiful interiors. I hope to meet You in the future perhaps at an event in Galveston , Houston, or Huntsville (fellow “Bearkat”). And, Yes, I will definitely keep You posted pertaining to any findings.

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