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The Unrevealed Secrets in Your Family Tree
Is there a relative about whom you know little?  Have you ever wondered what the lives of distant (or not so distant) ancestors of yours were like?  Who these people were?  What their personalities were like?  How they felt about their mate, parents, siblings, children, and their work?  What their talents, fears, and secret dreams were?  Whether they were happy and loving or did such joy elude them?  Now you can obtain an in-depth astrological analysis of the birth date of a single relative, ancestor or whole ancestral families!  Time of birth is not required.  Their dates of birth, marriage, and dates of other important events can now take you back in time.  Ancestors of the distant past or relatives who were, heretofore, mere names and dates on your family tree spring to life in an oral narrative.  The insights you find in such a narrative may not be obtainable in any other manner.  Even if you already know something of an ancestor or relative, this is a way of answering specific questions you may have about what kind of person they were.  However, knowing or obtaining their date of birth is essential for creating a narrative and the dates of important events in their lives add revealing details about their experiences.

How is such insight possible?  An astrological analysis and synthesis is based on the positions of the planets on the date of birth and subsequent dates in an ancestor's life.  Members of a family can be compared to reveal their interpersonal relationships.  Astrological references to the planets are included if you request them.  The narrative sounds like a biographical account yet the personality insights go beyond the usual biography.  Astrological charts used in the analysis are included (if requested) with the tape recording made of the session.

Your Ancestral Astrotale™ is Awaiting Its Creation
Here is the process.  When you call, Gary will obtain any information about the relative, ancestor or branch of your family tree you choose to explore.  Please have the name, date of birth, name of spouse, date of marriage, dates of significant events in their life (that you know), date of death, and birth dates of spouse and children of your ancestor(s) when you call.  You can ask specific questions about your ancestor(s) during your session (though not all questions can be answered).  You decide if you want Gary to include the astrological reasons for what he tells you.  Using the information gathered from you and gleaned from the astrological analysis, your ancestor(s) personality traits and the nature of their family relationships can be revealed.  This may be the only way you can ever learn what your ancestors or distant relatives were really like!

Cost:  the minimum, one-quarter hour appointment is $25, a 30 minute appointment is $50, 45 minutes cost $75, and 60 minutes cost $99.  The fee for an appointment lasting any number of minutes between the above times or more than an hour is calculated at the rate of $1.66 per minute.  For example, if the total time of your session is 37 minutes, the fee is computed by multiplying $1.66 times 37 = $61 (rounded up or down to the nearest U.S. dollar).  See the fee schedule for other incremental appointment lengths from which you can choose.  If you want a recording and you choose a session of less than 45 minutes duration, $5.00 will added to the fee to cover the cost of the tape, padded mailer, and postage.

Gary Brand is the creator of Ancestral Astrotales™.  A professional astrologer since 1982 and life-long researcher, he has decades of experience interpreting and comparing birth charts and gleaning the meaning of events in the lives of clients.  Applying this experience to his interest in genealogy and historical research, he has created a distinctive combination of his abilities and interests.  What emerges from this synthesis is a unique, intriguing story.


The following is an example of an Ancestral Astrotale™ for Gary's ancestors, William Lowry and Emma Shaw Lowry.  This story is primarily based on dates collected through his genealogical research.  The dates it contains are mostly from cemetery records and gravestones.  A few dates, some biographical data and some anecdotes are from Frank Wilmes, grandson of William and Emma Lowry and Gary's grandfather.  William Lowry and Emma Shaw Lowry were Gary's great, great grandparents.  Unless a source is given, descriptions of personalities and events are derived from astrological charts.

The Setting for the Story - a River Frontier Town
This Ancestral Astrotale™ reveals how the Lowry family lived out their lives in the bustling, frontier town of Keokuk, Iowa.  Back in the mid 19th century, Keokuk was one of the places to be in Iowa.  It is located in the extreme southeast corner of the state, less than five miles from the Missouri border and near the confluence of the Des Moine and Mississippi Rivers.  In 1848, Keokuk became the fourth town incorporated in Iowa, just two years after Iowa became a state.  At this time, Iowa was still part frontier and only the southeastern portion of the state was organized into counties.  The census of 1860 shows that Keokuk, with a population of 8,136, was the third largest town in Iowa; only Davenport and Dubuque were larger.  In the mid-1800s, the mighty Mississippi River was the frontier of "civilization" in this young part of the country.  All of Iowa's largest towns at this time were built on this great "river road" of commerce, including Keokuk.  Timber and other resources were floated or transported down river and steamboats full of passengers and cargo plied her untamed, swift currents (there were no dams spanning the river as there are today).

William's Origins and the Synchronicity of His Trade with His Personality
William E. Lowry was born in the western Pennsylvania town of Beaver on November 29, 1831.  Nothing is known about his parents or his early life but we know from his grandson Frank that he was of Scottish and Irish decent.  Military records describe him as having dark hair, a dark complexion, gray eyes and standing 5'8½" tall.  According to Frank, he had a full beard in his later years.  William was an experimenter and adventurer so he left his native state of Pennsylvania to settle in the young state of Iowa, probably during the early 1850s (when he was in his twenties).  His military records state that, by trade, he was a cooper in a sawmill.  Coopers used specialized tools to make barrels from scratch.  Coopering was a popular trade because almost every commodity was shipped in barrels at that time.  Coopers had to have minds geared to precision since all of the pieces of wood had to fit together tightly so the barrel wouldn't leak.  William had a keen mind and an eye for detail.  He was a perfectionist with an appreciation for beauty and form and both of these traits made him good at his trade.  Since he was his own worst critic, he probably didn't need anyone inspecting his finished barrels - there likely weren't any visible flaws.  Coopers were specialists and worked primarily on their own, which suited William's need for freedom.

Though Her Origins are Uncertain, Emma's Personality is Clear
Frank Wilmes related the only currently known piece of information about Emma's origins - that she was of English descent.  The Lowry family gravestone lists her date of birth as August 12, 1837.  Her place of birth and parents are unknown.  She enjoyed cooking and was very particular about her house.  She wanted a neat, clean, attractive decor.  Frank said that the only time their parlor was used was for funerals (this was before the advent of funeral homes) or when they entertained.  Emma had a strong sense of what she wanted and equally strong opinions, which were sometimes contrary to the norm.  She was an independent thinker.  In social groups of women, she took a leading role.

A Compatible Relationship is Revealed by their Wedding and Comparison
According to his pension record, William and Emma were married on July 6, 1856 in Alexandria, Missouri by a Justice of the Peace so it was not a big, planned wedding.  Alexandria is only a few miles across the Missouri border from Keokuk.  They may have married in Alexandria instead of Keokuk, where they subsequently lived, because Emma was only 18 years old at the time.  Emma was probably the reason this was an exciting time in William's life.  Their bedroom intimacy was passionate in the beginning but over the years Emma lost some of her interest.  William's head wound during the Civil War also had a dampening effect.  But they were both in this marriage for the long haul and didn't have any qualms about their commitment to one another.  William felt very comfortable with Emma, in part, because she was very accepting of his faults.  Emma appreciated William's attention to detail, his cleanliness and his neatness.  However, she sometimes didn't feel appreciated by William and he was critical at times.  According to Frank Wilmes, they had five children.

Personal Anecdotes Interwoven with Personality Traits
Emma loved to talk and the topic could be anything.  She had a very eclectic and curious mind, could strike up a conversation with anyone, and seldom stopped talking.  Her grandson Frank related the following story about her talking and William's humor.  The family spent most of their time in the kitchen where William read the newspaper while Emma cooked and talked.  From time to time, she would pause to catch her breath or because she was absorbed with her cooking.  Then William, whose pet name for his wife was "Phoebe" (an English name), put down his newspaper, took off his glasses and said, "Phoebe, is that all?"  She would get so mad at him for mocking her that she wouldn't talk anymore.

Frank Wilmes greatly admired his grandfather William and described him as his "ideal" and a "marvelous man."  Since William died when Frank was only six years old, he probably loomed larger than life in Frank's recollection.  Frank said that he patterned a great many things after this grandfather, the only grandfather he knew, since his paternal grandfather died before Frank was born.  One trait Frank patterned after William was his storytelling ability.  Frank found his grandfather fascinating and loved listening to his Civil War stories.  Unfortunately, Frank related none of these to his grandson, Gary (perhaps he forgot them - he was very young when he heard them).  However, through research of Civil War records, a detailed account of William's military service was obtained and augmented by interpretation of astrological influences affecting William on significant dates.


This example Ancestral Astrotale™ is based on military and pension records from the National Archives and on reports contained in the Congressionally mandated record of the Civil War, The War of the Rebellion.  Descriptions of William Lowry's (he was Gary Brand's great great grandfather) personal feelings are derived from astrological analysis.  William Lowry's Civil War experience began on February 29, 1864 when he volunteered to serve in the Iowa Cavalry.  He was assigned to Company C of the 3rd Regiment, Volunteer Iowa Cavalry, hereafter referred to as the 3rd Iowa Cavalry.  Why he didn't enlist earlier in the war is a mystery.  When he enlisted, it was both out of a sense of duty and because he was thinking that it would be an adventure.  What he didn't realize at the time was how homesick and debilitated he would soon become.

First Shots Fired at and by William
On April 29, 1864, William's regiment was transferred from St. Louis, Missouri to Memphis, Tennessee where they were subsequently headquartered.  On June 1, 1864, the 3rd Iowa Cavalry, 510 men strong, left Memphis on their first expedition into northern Mississippi (Id., p. 140).  The regiment was commanded by Lt. Col. John Noble who reported that they advanced to Collierville, Tennessee "…encamping there at sundown amid a great rain-storm, the first of an almost continuous shower for the rest of [the next] six days (Id.)."  On June 7, two miles past Ripley, Mississippi, Company C (William's company) was ordered to find forage for the horses and a skirmish ensued with Confederate cavalry (Id., pp. 140-141).  Since it was late in the day, Company C and subsequent reinforcements were ordered to pull back to the Brigade camp after dark.  This was the first fight in which William and his company were involved.  At this time, William was enthused and confident but he was prone to take chances.  He was also in grave danger.

A Valliant Defense at the Battle of Brice's Crossroads, Mississippi
On June 10, the 3rd Iowa Cavalry broke camp at 7:00 AM and by 11:00 AM they joined the battle of Brice's Crossroads near Guntown, Mississippi, which had begun early that morning (Id., p. 141).  After driving back three Confederate charges, William's regiment was relieved by infantry regiments.  However, the Confederates soon routed the Union infantry and the 3rd Iowa Cavalry had to protect the infantry's retreat.  The only rest William's regiment had that night was from 11:00 PM until 2:00 AM, then they continued their retreat back toward Ripley, Mississippi (Id., p. 142).

William Wounded in an Ignominious Rout
The rout of the Union army continued on the morning of June 11 as the 3rd and 4th Iowa Cavalry brought up the Union rear.  William's regiment was pushed through the town of Ripley, Mississippi by the pursuing Confederates.  On the retreat from Ripley, Company C was under heavy fire and William was severely wounded when he was shot in the back of the head.  His Captain, William Wilson, later recalled that his head wound was responsible for "…greatly deranging his mind at the time."  Lt. Col. Noble reported that "…the duty was severe" and that the 3rd Iowa Cavalry was under continuous fire that morning and afternoon until they were relieved by other cavalry regiments.  The Union army continued to retreat throughout the night, without food or rest.

On June 12, the Union army finally rested until noon when they marched the rest of the day and all night back to Memphis where they camped at daylight on June 13.  In all, the 3rd Iowa Cavalry covered at least 75 miles in the two day forced retreat to Memphis (the Brigade Commander reported that they traveled a total of 325 miles during this expedition).  William's regiment suffered losses of 5 men killed, 20 wounded, and 45 missing.  Less than two weeks later, a Board of Inquiry was convened "…to investigate and report the facts connected with the disaster to the late expedition" to Ripley, Mississippi.  After a month of inquiry, the Board adjourned without placing blame on any of the commanding generals.

The Battle of Tupelo, Mississippi
On the morning of June 24, 1864, the 3rd Iowa Cavalry left Memphis, again on expedition into northern Mississippi.  On July 6 and 7 they advanced toward Ripley, Mississippi and fought Confederates within four miles of the town.  On July 8, they pushed the Confederates through Ripley and vindicated themselves after the ignominious defeat they had suffered at the battle of Brice's Crossroads a month earlier.  On July 9-13, the regiment engaged in frequent battle as they advanced toward Tupelo, Mississippi.  On July 14-15, they fought in the battle of Tupelo, Mississippi and then returned to Memphis, this time as victors.  His chart shows that William was missing his family and was feeling physically weak and uncomfortable.  Col. Noble reported that the weather was very hot.  William's head wound was probably exacting a heavy toll but he was still on active duty with a bullet in his head!  Frank Wilmes said that William had the bullet removed after the war and that he showed it to Frank.

Another Expedition, then Hospitalization
On August 5, 1864, the 3rd Iowa Cavalry was part of another expedition into Mississippi.  On the 8th, they broke camp at 3:30 AM and marched 18 miles to the Tallahatchie River.  At 11:00 AM, they dismounted and engaged Confederates who were guarding the railroad bridge.  It was a hot day.  Under fire from Union artillery, the Confederates withdrew and the 3rd Iowa Cavalry crossed the river.  That night they constructed a bridge and at 2:00 AM the next morning they crossed it.  After fighting the Confederates all morning, the 3rd Iowa and the 10th Missouri Cavalry routed them.  On August 11, 56 sick and wounded men (William among them) and 60 disabled horses from the 3rd Iowa Cavalry were sent back to Memphis.  The following day, William was admitted to Jackson U.S. Army General Hospital in Memphis with chronic diarrhea.  The chronic diarrhea from which he suffered was a result of his head wound and was a persistent problem the rest of his life.  He remained in the hospital for over a month so he must have been very sick.  On September 21, he returned to active duty.  From August 11-26, his regiment was on field duty but did not see any action.

A Fateful Decision - Search and Destroy
November 29, 1864 was a significant day for the 3rd Iowa Cavalry for a decision was made to transfer the brigade it was in to another division.  This resulted in a shift in the use of the brigade from a fighting unit to destroying railroad equipment and Confederate supplies.  Brigadier General Grierson, commander of the Cavalry Division of the 16th Army Corp, described the three regiments of his 2nd Brigade (of which the 3rd Iowa Cavalry was one) as "…splendid troops; they are the best in the division."

On December 12, 1864, the 3rd Iowa Cavalry, now numbering only 320 men, left Memphis on their first search and destroy mission.  Col. Noble reported that all men were "…supplied with ten days' rations of pilot bread, three days' meat, and twenty days' coffee, sugar, and salt."  They arrived at the Shannon, Mississippi railroad depot on December 26 and their orders were to "…destroy the [railroad] bridges above that station…" for three miles.  They burned five bridges and tore up and burned the ties of one mile of track before camping at 11:00 PM.  The next day they marched to Okolona, Mississippi and destroyed a water tank, four railroad switches, the depot full of meat and meal, a building full of 3,000 barrels of corn, a large number of rebel uniforms, and four buildings full of rations, drugs and medicines.  On December 28, they arrived at Egypt Railroad Station where they destroyed almost a mile of track and set fire to depot buildings and five railroad cars containing 500 barrels of corn and 200 muskets.

Sherman's Path of Destruction Became Union Army Policy
Since it was not uncommon for the cavalry regiment to break camp in the middle of the night, even when not engaging Confederates, on New Year's Day, 1865, they left camp at Winona, Mississippi at 3:00 AM with orders to move to Grenada, Mississippi to destroy "…all public property found."  Col. Noble described the weather as cold and the roads rough.  They tore up some track, destroyed four locomotives, 19 box cars, 11 flat cars, a machine shop, and burned two depots with supplies, a boxcar of lumber, a boxcar of cotton, 6,000 barrels of wheat, 4,000 barrels of corn, 200 muskets, 10 boxes of ammunition, 100 bales of cotton and a rebel press.  Because food and medicine were not exempted from torching, this policy left much of the South in dire condition after the war.  Though Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman is historically singled out for the "scorched earth" practices of his "bummers" (soldiers allowed by their superiors to plunder and pillage), orders given to burn food and medicine apparently became widespread during the final year of the war, though this fact is omitted from most historical accounts.

The Last Engagement and the Long Journey Home
The cavalry regiment left Grenada at 2:00 PM, marched through Carrollton, Mississippi and camped at midnight.  They broke camp at 5:00 AM on January 2 and arrived at Black Hawk, Mississippi at 9:00 AM where they burned a storehouse of grain.  At 8:00 PM, they reached their Brigade, which was camped near Ebenezer, Mississippi, and then marched to Benton where they arrived at 2:30 AM the next day.  In the 48 hours since they left Winona, they had destroyed property along a 110 mile stretch in Mississippi.  On January 3, they were engaged in skirmishes until they reached Mechanicsburg where they camped.  The next day they were assigned the rear guard of the army and again had skirmishes with Confederates.  On January 5, they entered Vicksburg, Mississippi, boarded a steamer and were put in charge of more than 500 rebel prisoners.  They arrived at Memphis aboard a steamer on January 11.  They saw no more action before the war ended.

On March 18, 1865, William Lowry was transferred to a river transport after his company left him sick in Chickasaw, Alabama just north of Mobile.  Five days later, he was admitted to Jefferson General Hospital in Jeffersonville, Indiana (on the Ohio River) with a diagnosis of anasarca, a chronic heart disease, and cirrhosis of the liver.  On March 28, he was again transferred to a river transport at Jeffersonville bound for home.  On April 5, William was admitted to the U.S. Army General Hospital in Keokuk, Iowa with chronic diarrhea and wasn't discharged until May 10.  On May 20, 1865 William was honorably discharged from military service.  Despite his disability, he always spoke proudly of his wartime experiences.

Good Timing and Location are Keys to Success

Gary Brand, Traditional Astrologer
Tallahassee, Florida

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