I’ve been reading this book, Invincible Louisa by Cornelia Meigs, aloud to my littles almost every time while they do the dishes after a meal. I love it. I have always loved Louisa May Alcott, the subject of this biography, ever since my mom read Little Women aloud to me when I was a young girl. L.M. had such a heart for goodness, family, determination, and hard work. I kept feeling, as I read the book, that she was probably related to me since she has New England roots and I do too, and because I just couldn’t shake a “kindred feeling” while I was reading it.
I have learned so many things from this book! Did you know Louisa May was friends with Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau? You probably know that she modeled the character of Jo after herself, and the March sisters after her sisters. But did you know that she was the one who went off to help with the Civil War, not her father, like in the story?
I finally did some sleuthing on puzzilla.org, which makes it easy to see at a glance several generations on a family tree. Sure enough! Louisa May Alcott and I are fifth cousins four times removed, assuming that the data in the Familysearch database is correct! The relationship is through the same line of which I am descended from William Bradford. Louisa May and I share the same ancestor of Thomas Barnes, born 1621 in England. She was fifth cousins straight across with my third great grandfather Lorenzo Johnson, a Mormon pioneer who was born in Connecticut and crossed the plains. He was the first mayor of Springville Utah and helped to build sawmills.