I've been taking pictures since my tenth birthday, when my Aunt Kathryn gave me a plastic dime-store camera which took 120 film. The first camera I bought for myself was a used Argus C-3 that I found in the local camera shop four years later. It was the only 35mm camera there that I could afford. I started converting to digital around 1999 when I bought a used Olympus C-2020z from a co-worker. For a while I shot in both digital and film but for the last ten years I've stuck pretty much to digital Nikon cameras, first using a D-50 , then a D-200 , and now a D-90 . I took the picture shown here with the D-90 from the boat that goes to Catalina Island from Newport Beach, California.

My mother-in-law died recently and I was given the task of converting the more significant photos in her old albums to digital copies. In the process of doing that, I decided to make a Website of it as well. A lot of these photos didn't have any captions or descriptions, but we are working on adding those.

Inspired partially by additional materials I was given during the above task, I've made a start of creating Web page genealogies for both Karla's side of the family and my side. The only one that's even close to complete so far is Karla's father's line, the Martensens. I've got lots of material available for my Born, Schaaf, and Coerber sides, and a small amount available for my Peters side (my father's mother), including information on my only ancestor who fought in the Civil War, but I've not put any of it online yet. Pages for those lines will be completed as I have the time. Unfortunately, I have hardly any material available for Karla's Paulsen (father's mother), Larsen (mother's father) or Schlemmer (mother's mother) sides. If any of her relatives know any detailed genealogical information about those sides, I would appreciate hearing from them.

I'm a Lutheran first of all by birth, but that in itself did not get me very far. I left the Lutheran church in my early twenties convinced that I had found a better way to live the Christian life. Much later I returned, this time a Lutheran by the conviction that there is no better way to live the Christian life. I've therefore created this site in appreciation of the teaching of Martin Luther and the Lutheran Confessions.

The graphic at right depicts the tower of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, where Martin Luther nailed his "Ninety Five Theses" to the door on October 31, 1517, an act which today marks the start of the Protestant Reformation.

This is the earliest site of mine that's still on the Web. It's more than a little dated, but I keep it around for sentimental reasons. I created its first version in 2001 after a visit to North Dakota to visit the farm on which my father had been raised, which was about five miles from the farm on which his father had been raised, pictured here, which my great-grandfather built about twenty years after he had immigrated here from Germany as a young man. We'd visited my father's home in North Dakota every year when I was young and that annual summer vacation was always the highlight of the year, but 2001 was the first time I'd returned in twenty-three years.