Charles Robert Darwin
12 Feb 1809 - 19 Apr 1882
"When on board H.M.S. Beagle, as naturalist, I was much struck with certain facts in the distribution of the inhabitants of South America, and in the geological relations of the present to the past inhabitants of that continent. These facts seemed to me to throw some light on the origin of species -- that mystery of mysteries, as it has been called by one of our greatest philosophers. On my return home, it occurred to me, in 1837, that something might perhaps be made out on this question by patiently accumulating and reflecting on all sorts of facts which could possibly have any bearing on it. After five years' work I allowed myself to speculate on the subject, and drew up some short notes; these I enlarged in 1844 into a sketch of the conclusions, which then seemed to me probable: from that period to the present day I have steadily pursued the same object. I hope that I may be excused for entering on these personal details, as I give them to show that I have not been hasty in coming to a decision."
- Introduction to "The Origin of Species", 1859
The Needham genealogy was updated on 20 January 2007. There are quite a lot of changes, which are outlined on the introductory page of the site. Besides updating the lineage, there are three new photo galleries and a variety of other added documents.
The Simmons family tree has finally received its long-promised update as of 20 June 2007. The big news here is the discovery that Daniel Boone is my sixth-great-uncle. The Boone line is a well-researched one, so many new families have been added to the database.
I've discovered that I'm an eighth cousin of the new President of the United States, Barack Obama. His mother, from Kansas, was a Dunham and descended of Jonathan Singletary/Dunham (1639-1724). I've also learned of a similar relationships to the Bushes, by way of John Prescott (1604-1681), and to Richard Nixon on both sides of the family through Henry Howland (father of Pilgrim John Howland) and Martha Strode (a grandparent of Daniel Boone). I'll get all the details posted to the family sites soon.
Every April Kansas State University hosts a Boy Scout merit badge conference, where local experts counsel Scouts concerning a variety of topics. I've counseled the Space Exploration merit badge for several years now. The first half of the class includes a PowerPoint presentation focusing on the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station. After that, we go out and launch model rockets (usually into the teeth of a strong Kansas spring breeze!).
Several of my presentations are archived here. The requirements were recently updated, but neither science, technology, nor politics sit still very long. First the Vision for Space Exploration, and now the Flexible Path, have changed our approach to space travel, I'll be rather freely interpreting things to stay current.
"The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." - Jane Austen, "Northanger Abbey"
Last updated on Tuesday, 14-May-2013