Deborah J. Lightfoot                Author and Editor

(aka Deborah Lightfoot Sizemore)

Selected Works

"A teenage girl runs away from her life of servitude only to be captured by a sorcerer who will help her discover her true past. … Carin and Verek’s well-crafted relationship balances in a tense power struggle … intriguing premise and original characters … Fine fantasy." —KIRKUS
NEW: E-Books and Paperbacks
History & Biography
FOUR STAR FUNERALS packs the emotional wallop of Titanic, darkened with a dash of Tales From the Crypt. This 10-author anthology about death and its aftershocks will sear your soul, make you laugh … and ultimately help you heal, if you’re haunted by a death that has upended your emotions in ways you never expected.
"A fascinating look at one man's life during an important era of American history."
"A most compelling and highly recommended slice of Texan-American regional history."
Midwest Book Review
"This history of the firm of Freese and Nichols and its substantial impact in Texas constitutes a survey of 100 years of civil and environmental engineering."
—Book News, Inc.
Magazine Articles
A biography of Yakima Canutt (1895–1986), a master of movie stuntwork from Stagecoach to Ivanhoe.
Reviews I've Written
Frances Mayes's Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy—a review recounting the parallels with my own move to Mexico.
Stephen Hawking's Black Holes and Baby Universes—space and time aren't what they seem.

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Lightfoot Family History

Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Stoke Bruerne, Northamptonshire, England
Lightfoots in America trace our ancestry to the Rev. Richard Lightfoot, rector of the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, 1601–1625

Richard Lightfoot Memorial -- Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Stoke Bruerne, Northamptonshire, England
Translated from the Latin:

"This tomb was placed here to the memory of Richard Lightfoot, minister of the gospel and rector of this church for twenty-four years, by J.L. [John Lightfoot], his son and heir. Death quietly and unexpectedly overtook him while feeding his flock by word and deed. His life was short, for it was a long meditation on death. Thus he taught others to live and himself to die. He died in the year of our Lord 1625, aged 63 years."

Diary of a Genealogical Traveler

Notes from a trip my husband, Gene Sizemore, and I made to England in 1989:

Thurs., Nov. 16, 1989

Check out of Gonville Hotel [in Cambridge] at about 11 a.m.; head west to Bedford, then toward Towcester.

Just before Towcester we turn off on a minor road to Stoke Bruern. Find church immediately. Locked for organ repairs, but the rector lends us the key. We find Richard Lightfoot memorial plaque, copy inscription, sketch family coat of arms. Fantastic find. Pick up literature about the church, buy notecards, leave 2 pounds in box for church upkeep.

Drive into village, past cottages with thatched roofs. Go over Grand Canal Bridge, follow signs to British Waterways Museum. Go through museum, learn about English canal system, boatmen, life on the boats, use of horses and "leggers" to tow and propel boats. Buy souvenirs including "canal roses" painting for Mom. Cross over canal on narrow bridge, have coffee and scones in Boat Inn tea room. Everybody makes great coffee in this country. Walk along tow path short ways—too cold to linger. Mallards swim furiously to shore to meet us, disappointed that we have nothing to feed them.

Return to car, drive few miles into Northampton. Go nearly all way 'round town looking for hotel. Finally find The Swallow—budget-bustingly expensive, but very comfortable: huge bath with a shower and washcloths—rare things in England. Amenities include coffee, tea, hot chocolate, shortbread on tea service; milk, fruit juice, Pepsi in fridge. Still no mixing faucets.

While Gene checks our route for tomorrow to York, I write to Mom about finding ancestor Richard.

Canal Roses: The Boatmen-Painters' Art

Folk art from the Canal Boatmen of Stoke Bruerne

Letter from Britain

Nov. 16, 1989

Hi Mom!

Today we made an exciting find—the very church where Richard Lightfoot was rector from 1601 until his death in 1625. The church was locked, but we walked over to the rectory, I identified myself as a descendant of Richard, and we got the key to the front door. There is a black bronze memorial to Richard near the organ. It's in Latin. I copied it, also sketched the coat of arms that is engraved on the memorial tablet. Elsewhere in the church there is a list of all rectors of St. Mary the Virgin since 1217, together with their patrons. Richard's patron was Sir Christopher Hatton. Apparently there is some tourist traffic through the village—in the church there was a table holding packets of notecards [with a drawing of the church] and an illustrated guide. Trusting folks—they just had a coin box and asked 1 pound Sterling for notes and 30 pence for guide. So I bought them. Anyhow, it was great fun to find Great-Great-Great (?) Grandpappy Richard.

The village of Stoke Bruerne is quaint and wonderful. Narrow streets, cottages with thatched roofs. A canal goes through the village. We spent some time at the Waterways Museum. I got you an example of the boatmen-painter's art. You'll have to wait till Christmas to see it.

Tomorrow . . . on to the Yorkshire Dales.


Lightfoot Family
Coat of Arms

(courtesy Mary Edd Morton)

Where Are
the Graves?

The Stoke Bruerne church organ is apparently difficult to keep in playable condition. In Mary Morton's book Calling All Lightfoots: A Lightfoot Family History, a 1964 visitor to the church (John Lewis Beckham) tells of searching for the graves of Richard Lightfoot and his wife Jane (Aske): "I never could find them but I think I know where they are. They are either under the organ or under the choir stalls. In 1901 someone . . . redecorated the church, with awful consequences . . . A huge, very bad organ, now unplayable, was installed . . . and tiny edges of tombstones are visible at the front. The plaque is right next to the organ. The new choir seats are over a bunch of other tombs, and these are right under the monument. In all other cases I could find, monuments on the walls announced people whose tombs were immediately below, which would mean that the choir seats are over the tomb, or the organ is."

When Gene and I were there, the organ was in pieces, apparently undergoing repairs once again.

If There's a Lightfoot In Your Family Tree . . .

. . . and there probably is; else you wouldn't be visiting my Family History page:

Mary Edd Morton's 2003 book, Calling All Lightfoots: A Lightfoot Family History, will surely fascinate you as it has me. My first reaction, when a cousin told me about the book, was: "Gee! I wish I'd written that!" But then I bought a copy, and I knew at a glance I couldn't have written this massive book. Edith Ellen Williams spent more than 50 years researching the material, which Mary Morton then compiled into book form after Edith's death at age 92. The book is an amazing achievement for both women. I'm proud to call them my relatives. —Deborah J. Lightfoot