I've been slaving away at Donnerpedia and it's getting closer to being ready for prime time -- no launch date in sight, though -- and in reviewing New Light and all the information I've collected over the years, I have to say it's my readers who have helped me the most.
Oh, sure, I've pestered my share of historians, researchers, librarians, archivists, and sundry other victims over the years, and they've all been helpful, some of them exceptionally so -- Will Bagley, for instance, has been putting up with me since about 1993.
But really, as a group, it's been readers who have helped the most, often in unexpected ways. Readers have supplied me with information and photos, blown my mind with new ideas and insights, asked terrific questions, pointed out errors, inconsistencies, and typos, given me praise and encouragement, and generally kept me going. Oh, sure, there's an occasional crank, jerk, or weirdo, but on the whole it's been good.
I just wish I could remember everyone. I've moved into new computers twice and had a couple of hard drive crashes, so I've lost a lot of the e-mail I'd hoarded over the years. However, a few people stand out. Jo Ann Schmidt, for instance, is the Donner Genealogy Queen, as far as I'm concerned, and then there's Gabrielle Burton, and Marilyn Acuff, and Anne Trussell, and then there are all the descendants, Donner Party buffs, historians, students, novelists, dog handlers, genealogists, reporters, documentarians...
I could go on. However, the one person I really want to thank is Ken Dunn. He's corresponded with me for years, listened to me whine and wonder and rhapsodize, answered questions, asked questions, helped with research, alerted me to news, and much, much more. Most of all, he's a bouncer -- not a chucker-out, an idea bouncer. Ken knows his stuff when it comes to the Donner Party, and when I need to really thrash something out, I write to Ken. Answering questions all the time gets a bit wearing, so it's a relief to have somebody knowledgeable to talk to. Thanks, guy.