Most of American history was created by the parents and grandparents of millions of common Americans. The stories of the families of these common people are anything but common. Out of Africa and Through the Gateway is the story of one of those families.
The book is a historical narrative about the father and grandfathers of John W. Sparks and their roles in history. Much of what we understand about our American history is based on the nation's outstanding leaders or notorious villains. Yet, there are many interesting stories about how the ancestors of each American played their own unique roles in the making of the nation and the development of society as we know it today.
The story of the Sparks family is created by examining the historical events that surround records and scientific data that traces Mr. Sparks' oldest known ancestors from Africa to his hometown. His hometown is St. Louis, Missouri, also the home of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial and the Gateway Arch monument; thus, through the Gateway. Along the migration route members of the family encountered and participated in many historical events including: the first prehistoric farmers; Philistines invasion of Egypt; Roman conquering of Greece, Roman invasion of England, Thomas Jefferson's great great great grandmother; kidnapping of Pocahontas; founding of Maryland Colony; tobacco production; Daniel Boone; Native American wars; The Trail of Tears; the lead industry; U.S. highways; Teamsters and the trucking industry; the Gateway Arch; computing technology; and aerospace engineering. When helpful, bits of entertaining fiction thread the history into a complete fabric connecting the scraps of family data.
The book contains over 300 photos, maps, and other images that help bring the story to life. In addition to sources cited in the text, a list of over 30 references supporting the history is provided.
Out of Africa and Through the Gateway is an example of how anyone with enthusiasm for their genealogy can add understanding and interest to their collection of family trees, photo albums, and scrap books. Converting these precious sources into a story provides a much deeper understanding of history and family for both author and reader.