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Family Trees


The Journey-Takers recreates the Western European immigration experience through the stories of three families - one based in Germany, one in Sweden, and one in England - that all come together in the US.

Each section weaves together three layers. First, it follows the lives of these families, Leslie’s ancestors. The Journey Takers tells about Georg and Mina Albrecht who left the lush green of Germany with their nine children to start again in a barren, sparsely-settled town outside the borders of the US. It tells the story of Karsti Nilsdotter who set sail alone at age seventeen, following a faith to which she would devote her life. It describes Edmond Harris who lost everything on his journey when his family’s ship crashed on its way from Australia to California. Leslie relies on documents collected from the best archives and libraries in the world, as well as her own experiences and insights gained by wandering her ancestors’ hometowns and following in their footsteps to bring the families to life.

Second, The Journey Takers pulls in social history, fitting the families into their historical context. As peasants in Europe and farmers in small-town America, the stories of these families are the stories of the common people. This allows their lives to offer glimpses into the lives of the people they represent – the peasants and farmers who fill the family trees of millions of Americans. But while common, their stories are still dramatic, heart-wrenching, and inspiring.

Finally, the thread that ties everything together is Leslie’s own story. While learning about her family through numerous cross-country and cross-continent trips as well as late-night research sessions, her family’s lives and choices have a powerful impact on her. As she struggles to establish her own path as a new mother, her ancestors’ stories show her what family is really all about.

The Journey Takers leads the reader along a path of discovery that reaches into history to tell a story both intensely personal and yet with universal application.



Notes on Research
Family Tree


In Germany:
The Story of the Families of Georg Albrecht and Mina Haker

1. Foundations: Early Ancestors
2. Different Worlds: Mina’s Parents
3. Winds of Change: Georg’s Parents
4. A New Identity: Georg and Mina’s Journey


In Sweden:
The Story of the Family of Karsti Nilsdotter

5. Ordinary Lives: Karsti’s Grandparents
6. Choices: Karsti’s Parents
7. Something More: Karsti’s Journey


In England and Beyond:
The Story of Edmond Harris

8. Mistakes: Edmond’s Parents
9. Destinations: Edmond and Eliza’s Journey
10. Starting Over: Edmond and Karsti in Utah


In Fremont, Utah:
The Story of the Family of Earl Albrecht

11. Family Connections: Earl’s Parents
12. Point of Convergence: Earl’s Family
13. Moving Forward and Leaving Behind: Earl’s Descendants

Appendix: Family Group Sheets
About the Author



Click to download or view these pdf files.

Introductory Family Tree

*shows all four journey takers and their connection to me

German Family Tree

*shows the ancestors of Georg (George) and Mina (Minnie) Albrecht

Swedish Family Tree

*shows the ancestors of Karsti Nilsdotter (Chasty Nielson)

English Family Tree

*shows the family of Edmond Harris

Utah Family Tree

*shows the family from John and Chasty (Harris) Albrecht to the present