Mother Antonia: reading, organizing notes, Googling. When S. Antonia was a young student at the University of Chicago, she wrote affectionate, chatty letters to her friend Florence Guthrie of Blooming Prairie, MN, and encouraged Florence to join the Sisters of St. Joseph. Later, when Sister Antonia was president of CSC, a Sister Ste. Helene Guthrie was dean; in Liberating Sanctuary, S. Ste. Helene is referred to as S. Antonia’s “right arm.” I found a query on genealogy.com today that suggests that S. Ste. Helene was born Florence; they are the same person. Finding this tidbit was very satisfying. A tiny mystery solved; an example of the ways that personal and professional lives can influence one another.
A genealogy site was useful when I was researching Murderess. I think it was ancestry.com where I found an index mentioning the probate records of Celia’s owner (and probably father), whom she killed. I was able to order copies of the records from the LDS Church in Salt Lake City. (I remember standing in the parking lot of a rest stop in Wisconsin, en route to Christmas with the family, cell phone to ear, talking to an Elder who had called me to make sure I really meant to spend as much money as the copies were going to cost.) The records show the chilling legal proceedings of the dead man’s white family trying to re-enslave the black people, probably their cousins, whom he had freed.