More Mapping for the Characters in the Nebraska Series

I am halfway through the Mandan video I plan to post.  The videos I’ve been making have taken longer than I expected they would.  All I can say is that what might seem like a quick project usually turns into a couple-hour project, no matter what it is.  This means I didn’t get to my word count.  My husband is currently flying back to South Korea, so it’s time to get back into the routine.  I’m happy to say I feel refreshed and ready to dive back into the world of storytelling.  😀

Today I was working on Isaac’s Decision, and I got to page two when I realized I needed to figure out how old the kids from the first generation of couples in the series (from A Bride for Tom to His Redeeming Bride) are at the point when Isaac’s Decision begins, which is in the winter of 1893. 

I might have changed a couple of names for Dave and Mary’s kids.  I don’t remember what I originally put for all of them when I did the mapping of the characters awhile back.  And just so everyone knows, in the timeline, here’s the order of the Nebraska books:

A Bride for Tom

A Husband for Margaret

Eye of the Beholder

The Wrong Husband

Shotgun Groom

His Redeeming Bride

Since I just started Shotgun Groom, I don’t have a list of children for Joel yet.  I also haven’t included Richard and Amanda.  Richard is the oldest Larson kid in the first generation.  I don’t know why, but I don’t feel any attachment to him.  I’d like to write a Sally and Rick story, though, because Sally Larson (aka Sally Johnson) was one of my favorite characters in Eye of the Beholder.  An idea is forming, but it’s not solid enough yet to write.  I can’t write the series in a specific order because I have to write each story as it comes to me.

Anyway, my original plan was to pair up two of Dave and Mary’s daughters, Rose and Harriet, with Doug and Bob Connealy (the lovable brothers in A Husband for Margaret), but as I was working through the math on their ages, I realized that idea isn’t going to happen.  However, Tom and Jessica have girls who can probably fill the plots I wanted to do with Doug and Bob.  I really liked Doug and Bob from A Husband for Margaret because they were opposites.  Doug was serious and skeptical while Bob was outspoken and optimistic.  I see them fighting over the same girl.  So instead of pairing them up with Rose and Harriet, I’ll look into pairing them up with two of Tom and Jessica’s daughters.  In case anyone wonders, poor Tom had all girls.  Four of them in all.  But he’ll have a bunch of grandsons, so it’ll work out for him in the end.  😉

Now, while I couldn’t work in Doug and Bob into the Dave and Mary part of the Larson family tree, I was able to work in a second daughter Joseph and Margaret Connealy had.  After dumping four boys on poor Margaret, I had to give her another girl after A Husband for Margaret ended.  The second girl they had is named Eva, and she’ll be sixteen at the time Isaac’s Decision begins.  I figure she’ll be his teacher.  Before someone cries foul because he’s seventeen and being taught by a sixteen-year-old, I learned that Laura Ingalls Wilder was fifteen when she taught students as old as eighteen.  So yes, this scenario could work.

I bet you’re wondering why Eva is even in Isaac’s Decision.  Dave, Isaac’s dad, is going to push for Isaac to court Eva.  We all know he ends up eloping with Emily Craftsman, but I have a good portion of the book to write before that happens.  I’m only two pages into Isaac’s Decision, but I already get the feeling that Emily’s friend who is currently engaged is going to end up with someone else, and I’ll arrange it so that her friend ends up with a Larson–which one, I don’t know yet.  My original plan was to stick with Dave and Mary’s kids, but the series is already branching out to include the other Larson family members.  You’d think sooner or later, I’d run out of ideas, but the more I write, the more ideas I get.  

Okay.  This post is long enough.  Here’s what I mapped out today regarding the Larson, the Craftsman, and the Johnson, and the Connealy families.

Nebraska Series: Children Born…

Neil Craftsman and Cassie
Emily (not Neil’s biological child) born April 10, 1875

Sarah Donner
Luke (father Jim Donner) born January 1883
Neil and Sarah Craftsman marry and have these children:
Elizabeth July 20, 1884
Stanley September 27, 1886

Dave and Mary Larson

Isaac born August 14, 1875    
Rachel born February 7, 1879
Adam born March 28, 1882
Jacob born January 1885
Harriet and Rose October 20, 1889 (I plan to use the twin theme in an upcoming romance)
Caroline born June 6, 1891
Eli born May 1, 1894
At the beginning of Isaac’s Decision, these are the ages of Dave and Mary’s children:
Isaac 17, Rachel 14 (birthday in Feb.), Adam 10 (almost 11), Jacob 8, Harriet and Rose are 3, Caroline 1

At the beginning of Isaac’s Decision, these are the ages of the Craftsman children:
Emily 17, Luke 10, Elizabeth 8, Stan 6
Tom and Jessica Larson

Tom and Jessica married in April 5, 1869; had first child 1870

Tom and Jessica’s children
Nelly born 1870
Patricia born 1872
Erin born 1874
Daisy born 1877
Margaret and Joseph Connealy married May, 1869
Doug 7, Bob 6, Charles 3, Ben 2  kids have blond hair and blue eyes
Margaret and Joseph’s children have brown hair and blue eyes

Doug born 1862
Bob born 1863
Charles born 1866
Ben born 1867
Charlotte born 1870
Eva born 1876 

1893: Eva Connealy age 16 (at the beginning of Isaac’s Decision)


Sally and Rick Johnson
Greg born 1870


Jenny Larson
Jeremy 1872

Jeremy and Owen Russell
Carl born August 1877
Emma born 1880

*Will see about Joel Larson after Shotgun Groom is finished.

About Ruth Ann Nordin

Ruth Ann Nordin mainly writes historical western romances and Regencies. From time to time, she branches out to contemporaries romances and other genres (such as science fiction thrillers). For more information, please go to or check out
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2 Responses to More Mapping for the Characters in the Nebraska Series

  1. julihoffman says:

    That is a LOT of facts to remember as a writer! LOL I think it’s great that your sharing the process of how you map out your characters. I like to do the same thing. I don’t have anywhere near as many characters to remember, but I have family trees, time lines, etc. I use for reference. Even so, I STILL get confused over silly stuff. You’d think you could remember all the facts since the characters are born within your head, but since I’m sure the inside of my brain looks like a circus, there’s NO WAY that can happen! 😉 Keep up the great work and thanks for sharing. I’m glad you were able to have some time with your husband. 🙂

    • It’s hard to keep track of everything in the stories. I should have started sooner on this list because now it’s taking me a good two hours to get to their birthdays and see how they match up for possible storylines in the future. I can’t have a 39-year-old guy with a 18-year-old young woman. I know the age difference does happen, but it weirds me out so I won’t do it. LOL

      I think the house you got up on your site is a great idea. And I know those stairs can be ridiculously narrow and close in some houses. I’d hate to go down a flight like that.

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