Parrett, Donald & Jessie - young portrait

Dad and Mom

It started with Mom and Dad, of course. They married after WW II. My dad, a Navy vet, and my beautiful mother had dated in high school and reunited after he returned from the war. I was their first big project—born a year after they married.


The cover of my book looked just like this!

I was a reader early on. Loved reading. After working through the Dick and Jane books and other beginning readers, my next big literary landmark was Little Women. Fourth grade, I think. I cried when Beth died and dreamed of growing up to be a writer like Jo March.

spinesA neighbor woman gave me a big cardboard box full of Nancy Drew books when I was in junior high. She had been saving them to give to her daughter. Now with two sons and no daughter in sight, she passed me on them to me. And what a gift! I read a book a day during the summer—and always had a headache by nighttime.

Twila Tate

Twila Tate

Next stop, high school junior year. Twila Tate’s honors English class. An inspiring teacher, Mrs. Tate made me want to follow her lead and teach English someday. I decided that year to be a college English major.

And I did.


We got married in the black and white era!

Then I got married. This guy pictured here on the left also loved reading. He also loved genealogy. He took me to the genealogy library in Salt Lake City when I was twenty. I knew little about my heritage, but when I saw my Scottish grandmother’s birth record glowing at me from the microfilm reader, I was hooked.

And I’ve never looked back.

I eventually earned my degree in English from UCLA, and then—after four kids—I earned a master’s in communications. I worked for a while for a public relations firm, and published a variety of articles—under my own name, and as a ghostwriter.

Dawn's book

My family history about William Miller and Bella Bulloch Miller

Genealogy kept calling me.  In 1996 I published a short family history of my Scottish grandparents—a coal mining family from Lanarkshire. Shortly after, I began teaching life writing at a local college and presenting classes at family history seminars around the country. I’m still at it.

My husband and I wrote a book together—Breathe Life into Your Life Story—which was published in 2007.

In 2014, I published The Parrett Migration, the story of my father’s family. Lots of time. Satisfaction too great to describe.


Our Emma

That pretty much brings us to now. I live in Orange County, California, with my husband and dog, Emma. I have four children—all grown—three sons and one daughter.

I’m still reading, writing, and doing genealogy.

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