Counting Kids: Nathaniel’s Offspring

I get questions quite regularly from people who are unclear on how many children Nathaniel fathered.  There is some room for confusion, because some of the children were born in the ten year pause between the second and third novels, and some of them died in that period, as well.

And it is recorded incorrectly in a couple places. Here’s the definitive answer in the form of a family tree. Before you click on it for a larger, more legible version, be warned that if you have not yet read the novels but intend to, you will find this chart chock full of spoilers. It also provides a little bit of context for The Gilded Hour, but nothing spoilerish at all. This chart includes all children born, even those who died at birth or shortly after.

Really I should post this in the FAQ section, but the software is misbehaving and I haven’t had the time to figure out what’s wrong and how to fix it.

resources and research: Queen of Swords

I had an email from a historian today:

I just finished reading your latest installment of the Wilderness series, and as always, enjoyed it quite a bit. I was curious as to what sources you consulted for your discussion of Indians in New Orleans. I am a history professor at Tulane and while my field is general social history, my specialty is in immigrant and ethnic history. I have recently begun researching 18th century S/E Louisiana Native Americans and I was struck by your description/discussion of Indians in your novel, hence, my e-mail. As you are undoubtedly aware, sources about native Americans, especially small tribes, are sparse. If, and when you have a moment, I would love to hear about your research.

When I sent the answer it occurred to me that other people might be interested. So here you go:

I had to piece information together from a dozen or so different sources. Below is a list of the ones I used most. Latour’s Memoir was most useful in a general way, and included names in some places which was very helpful. The Perdue book was also really useful for my purposes. […] I had to make do with mostly secondary resources, and my writer’s imagination.

Laussat, Pierre-CLément. Memoirs of My Life to My Son during the Years 1803 and after, Which I Spent in Public Service in Louisiana as Commissioner of the French Government for the Retrocession to France of That Colony and for Its Transfer to the United States. Baton Rouge: Published for the Historic New Orleans Collection by the Louisiana State University Press, 1978.

Smith, Gene, ed. [Arsene Lacarriere Latour’s] Historical Memoir of the War in West Florida and Louisiana in 1814-15. Gainesville: Historic New Orleans Collection and University Press of Florida, 1999.

Griffiths, N. The Contexts of Acadian History, 1686-1784. Montréal: Published for the Centre for Canadian Studies, Mount Allison University by McGill-Queen’s University, 1992.

Walker, Daniel. No More, No More. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2004.

Owsley, Frank. Struggle for the Gulf Borderlands: the Creek War and the Battle of New Orleans, 1812-1815 University: University of Alabama Press, 2000.

Perdue, Theda. “Mixed Blood” Indians: Racial Construction in the Early South. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2003.

Halbert, H.S. and T.H. Ball. The Creek War of 1813 and 1814. Chicago, Illinois: Donohue & Henneberry, 1895 (

Phillip, Chief and Tom Mould. Choctaw Tales. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2004.

I found the name Juzan in relationship to the Choctaws who fought in the Battle of New Orleans, and pursued that through genealogical sources. The discussion boards at gave me a lot of information to start search primary records:

Juzan family genealogy

Similar information from a different angle from

more genealogy

Websites dedicated to documenting the men who fought in the Battle of New Orleans also produced some leads:

military history

fictional genealogy

So the weekend was taken up with more seasonal insanity, including dinner with some neighbors (one of whom produced the X-Files, and tells wonderful stories about his many years in the business), and baking cookies (put two of my favorite recipes up on the forum) and otherwise running around. Except for Farscape, of course, and Angels in America (on HBO) I’ve had little sit-down time at all.

bonner family tree

But I wrote well on Friday and today I’ve already got some serious words down, including finishing a possible foreword for the new novel that recaps the first three. While I was putting it together I wished for some heavy duty concordance software that would just chug away and spit out all the details nicely formatted. Tell me, oh software, on what page in ITW do we first get a good look at Curiosity’s eyes?

As a part of the process I did a full family tree on my genealogy software (Reunion, which is excellent, by the way, but only for us sensible enough to be on a Mac). It produces nice graphics if you ask it politely, like this waterfall tree of the Bonner family genealogy. you can click on it to get a better look. WARNING! The chart contains spoilers... as Erin points out in a comment, below. Thanks, Erin.

fiction & genealogy & names

This is a letter I got from a reader recently:

I’m thoroughly enjoying your books […] My ancestor William Markham was the first white man to befriend the Mohawks, or so they say in the family. I do know quite a lot about his grandson, Col. Wm Markham III who founded the small town of Rush south of Rochester and who built a lovely home in the area in 1794. I look forward to your new book.

I’m always really pleased when readers find personal connections to the historical context of the books. I do quite a lot of genealogy myself. On my maternal grandfather’s line I have ancestors studded all over the east coast from the earliest days of the Dutch settlements in New Amsterdam — many of the names I use in the novels come out of my family research.

Winifred King Benham (known generally as the witch of Wallingford) was tried three times for witchcraft and was never convicted. She was also my nine-times great grandmother, and someday I will have to write about her.

One of the very best parts of research is the naming of characters. It’s great fun to see if I can get the more outrageous names I run across in newspapers and histories to work for one character or another.