About Me

I was born and raised in Upstate New York. I met my husband in college, and we’ve been married for 47 years. He’s my life’s partner in all the ways that are good. After our daughter was grown, we moved to the Pacific Northwest and, after retirement, the South. That worked for me. I love to explore new places, meet new people, and add new experiences, all fodder for my writing.

I remember the first time I heard the words ‘science fiction.’ I was in the 8th grade and our English teacher had started a creative writing class after school. We spoke of our reading interests, and a boy mentioned he enjoyed science fiction. He introduced me to H.G. Wells, and I was hooked.

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12 responses to “About Me

  1. Mary Jo Davies

    Just tripped across your website, googling Ralstons, we have e-mailed before. I am researching Frederick Ralston, younger bro to Charles, both sons of Wm. & Matilda. Great site. Keep in touch. MJ

  2. Kenneth Patchen

    Dear Nancy Lanni– As a child in the late 1950s, I learned from my parents that we had a relative named Gen. Freegift Patchen. That was it. Nothing more. Today, on a whim, I pumped his name into Google and up pops your work here about him. I’m amazed. I’ve learned more about him in the past few minutes than I’ve known these past 60 years or so. But, the best part is this. So many other aspects of this period seem to have our family on the side of the Torries, so it is good to know we weren’t all totally resistant to the idea of a new nation where we could commit our own atrocities on others. Hate to have a nation on the planet not comitting atrocities, wouldn’t we? Anyway, I had to chuckle at Freegift being a prisoner. Other revolutionary members of our family were prisoners of the British, and even in World War II my father got to be a German POW. We do seem to have a knack for it. Thank you so much for posting the results of your investigations and interests. I see the comment before this one from Mary Jo Davies is about her interest in information about Ralstons. I loved that too. I married an Elizabeth Ralston and it made my life wonderful. You have made this day wonderful. Thank you. Ken

  3. Hello Nancy. I am a descendant of Mehitable Russell, I believe. I have seen another spelling of her name, Methitable, on some research given to me by cousins in Nebraska. I’m wondering if you could shed light in my direction to learn more about my 3rd or4th great grandmother? I have enjoyed reading you postings. Thank you for what you do. Kindest regards, Lydia Lee in reno, Nevada

    • Lydia: How good to hear from you. I assume that your Mehitable is the one called Hetty born 1836 who married David Wagonner Utts. I see a lovely photograph of her on ancestry.com, and one of David Utts. If you read Elvira Sophronia Pierce Bourne’s diary that I posted, you will see a few references to her and her family. The Russells were close friends as well as relative. Between the 1850 NY census and 1853, Waitstill Pierce Russell separated from her husband.

      “Whereas John Pierce has taken letters of administration upon the estate of Levi Pierce his father deceased and whereas there is or will be due Waitstill Russel, the daughter of said Levi Pierce deceased, about the sum of four hundred Dollars, which is claimed by her husband Gideon Russel the said Gideon and Waitstill living separate and apart from each other which claim of said Gideon is disputed by the heirs of said Levi–Now therefore we the undersigned Waitstill Russel, Levi Russel and William Russel sons of said Waitstill, hereby authorize & request the said John Pierce to pay over to said Waitstill any and all sums which may be due her as heir at law of the said Levi Pierce deceased and we covenant & agree jointly and severally that we and each of us will justly indemnify and … the … John … in all … on the account of the payment of said sum or sums to said Waitstill as aforesaid. In witness whereof we have set our hands and seals this 12th day of March 1853. Signed by Weightstill Russell, Levi Russell, William Russell.

      You might find more of this in the court records of Otsego County, probably the surrogate’s court. By the 1860 census Waitstill is living alone with Hetty and Dorliska, Gideon having died the year before.

      1870 Federal Clinton, IA
      David W. Utts 33 Tinsmith born PA
      Hetta 33 born NY
      Jay A. 1 born IA
      Jennie A. 11/12 IA
      [Source Citation Year 1870; Census Place Lyons Ward S. Clinton, IA; Roll M593_; Page 3348; Image 671; Family History Library Film: 545883.]

      Hetty lived only 10 years after their marriage, having 3 children.

      • Der Ms. Lanni:

        As a granddaughter of Benjamin Franklin Pierce, I am a descendant of Levi Pierce. I tried to contact you at your site, but no matter how many times I type the “word or letters/numbers” for verification (over 30 times I suspect), it would say ‘incorrect code,’ so the message to you was never sent. I have some questions regarding some dates. Can you please contact me at lyon1555@roadrunner.com? Thank you for your anticipated assistance.
        Sincerely,

        Martha Lyon

  4. Barbara Baxter Barrett

    Dear Miss Nancy;

    Hell0, I am the daughter of Sarah Stephenson Pierce (daughter of Benjamin Pierce). I love your website, it is extremely informative. I would like to purchase any/all of your books. I have a collection of books and would like to add yours to them. Would it be possible for me to purchase a hard copy first edition signed book(s) by you? I would also like to purchase the paperbacks to read for myself. Also, were you ever able to confirm a connection between our relative Levi Pierce to Captain Michael Pierce? I know the book I got from my mother his parents as John & Rebecca Pierce but no lob or dob. Then the book picks up to Caleb Pierce. I see you are a genealogist. I can tell you are a good one too! I am attempting a couple of projects of my own for the family if you could e-mail me, I will let you know the details. Thank you so much for all the work you did in following our family lineage and sharing it. I send you a big warm hug. You have put a name to some photos I got from my mother but no one in the family could identify. Now I know who they are and will label them promptly! I hope you have received many blessings as a result of your devoted work. Looking forward to hearing from you. S/Barbara

  5. margaret viele buck

    My Grandfather was a viele but I do not know his name as no one told me. He had one child, my mother who grew up in the South.
    My Grandmother married right after her 18th birthday. There marriage did not last long. My grandmother was a cummings of Binghampton, New York. If you can in any way assist me I would greatly appreciate it. Everyone is dead in my family, so there is no one to help me on this quest.
    Sincerely
    margaret buck

    • Margaret: You need to begin with your mother’s birth and death certificates. They should give you her father’s name. Once you have that, I might be able to get you started. Write me at nancylanni@yahoo.com, and put Viele genealogy in the subject line.

  6. Sallie Cuyler Guyder

    Dear Nancy,
    We enjoy reading the Lanni family history.
    Hope you are well.
    Sending our best,
    Mark and Sallie

  7. Brenda Ralston Terelly

    Hi Nancy! My name is Brenda Terelly (nee Ralston) and my Great Great Grandmother was Mary Augusta (Herdman) Hannah. Married to John Rozeboom or Roseboom Hannah. Her parents were William Herdman and Margarett Davey. Once upon a time you had posted on your website letter that were written by Susan Herdman to my GGG that were quite interesting and I found comical. Mary seemed to be quite the rebel. Would I be able to access these online again? I would like to print them for my Ralston binders that I am getting ready for my kids. I’m sure it was found on your website, but it has changed. Lovely website by the way and congrats on your writing! I should get a copy. I like science fiction and fantasy…:)

    Regards
    Brenda Ralston-Terelly

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