YOUR HOST

JIM WALTERS

So who is this guy?
Well, that would be me (the one in the center -- with Goldie and Luther at the local dog park.)

... and why is he doing this?
That will take a lot more explaining ...

I'm a former news editor and copy editor at the Los Angeles Times who has been compiled everything I can find about my paternal grandmother's family for about 30 years. In 1998, I made the leap from newspapers to the Internet, taking a position as editorial manager at GeoCities. In 1998, the company was bought by Yahoo! (which hosts The Family Parmelee website) and, like most of the staff, I was laid off the following year. I returned to The Times on a part-time basis in 2000 and taught a copy-editing class at the University of Southern California for several semesters. As circulation at The Times plummeted 20% in recent years, ownership changed and changed again and round after round of buyouts were offered. In the spring of 2008, I decided to get while the getting was good and opted for early retirement. So, in May 2008, I landed a part-time copy-editing gig at Orange Coast magazine in Newport Beach, and, in December 2009, I was named managing editor. I retired in January, 2015, and six weeks later I found myself undergoing triple-bypass surgery. Recovery is going well and I'm trying to put this website back on the tracks.

My father was an American history teacher who used to take us kids on summer vacation destinations like Gettysburg, Pa., Salem, Mass., and the Badlands of South Dakota. And as a grade-schooler, I enjoyed reading biographies of the likes of Lewis and Clark, Daniel Boone and Thomas Edison. And, after finding a typed, 15-page genealogy of my paternal grandmother's family, I realized that members of my family -- the Parmelees -- had also shaped this nation and had their own stories to tell.

This collection/obsession has turned my den into a family office: One computer has a database with 22,000 members of the family (living and dead) who are all linked and another 4,000 who I haven't been able to connect with the tree; a second computer is brimming with stories and maps; five milk crates are crammed with folders, notes, documents and photos, and a bookcase is packed with family lore.

A few years ago I published a family magazine, and since then I've fielded questions from others who are pursuing their Parmelee roots, no matter how they spell it. Although each puzzle has different pieces, the answer nearly always leads back to John Parmelee Sr., one of the founders of Guilford, Conn., in 1635 -- just 15 years after the Pilgrims' arrival.

In short, I've asked the family to take me on as its historian. I've been devoting at least one entire day a week to this project for the past couple of years. And living in Greater Los Angeles, you couldn't ask for better places to mine for information. Universities, libraries and government offices are within minutes of home.

I'm happy to field questions about the family -- but anything too extensive will have to wait. I'm always willing to give you a family group that shows how you fit into the family. The earliest generations of the family in Guilford or Pennsylvania you'll find here at the website and in the magazine. I've also tried to cover some of the most-asked questions too.

Enjoy your stay with The Family Parmelee.