rita ackerman

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I was born near Dodge City, Kansas; “The Cowboy Capitol of the World” and grew up with a love of the Old West. I watched all the Westerns of the 1950s and 1960s: Gunsmoke, Bonanza, Have Gun Will Travel, The Legend of Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, Death Valley Days, Shenandoah, The Rifleman and so many others. My first celebrity crush was Johnny Crawford who played Lucas McCane’s son Mark on The Rifleman.

We moved to Arizona in 1967 and for a time I was waylaid by teenage things and then getting a degree in Social Work from ASU. My senior year I met my husband and we were married a couple of years later. The next summer I began doing genealogy. I had never known my father and it started by asking questions about him and his family and grew into an obsession to learn everything I could about all of my ancestors and their families. I’m proud to know I have Revolutionary Soldiers and a few Loyalists. Ancestors who fought on both sides of the War Between the States and pioneers who crisscrossed this country leaving small but important marks in their wake.

In time I became involved in teaching beginning genealogy classes, then speaking at meetings. I took the Association of Professional Genealogists course and became a professional genealogist in 1990. I’ve done research throughout the country for my own family and clients. I specialize in Arizona and its history.

With my name listed on the researcher list at the Arizona State Archives and other professional lists I was contacted to do some research for an author working on a book on the death of the youngest Earp brother, Warren Baxter Earp. My life had come full circle and I was back into the Old West in a big way.

I have attended numerous events in Tombstone, Arizona and other cities and met some of the actors I loved on television and authors and historians from all aspects related to the Wild West. A challenge led to me writing O.K. Corral Postscript: The Death of Ike Clanton which is currently out of print. (I am working on a second edition.) I have also written for Wild West magazine, the journal of the National Outlaw and Lawmen Association (now the Wild West History Association) and other journals. I write a monthly column on the buildings and people of historic Tombstone for the Tombstone Times.

I have worked for many family history seekers, heir research companies, the Canadian Broadcasting Association, authors, documentaries and other research projects.

I am past editor of the Phoenix Writers Club newsletter, co-leader of the Writers Inspiration Group, and a founder member of the Family History Society of Arizona. I love to read, write, paint, draw, journal, visit my grandkids, learn new things, play with my dog and visit Arizona locations with my husband. Live is never dull.



  1. Randy Ackerman says:

    I figure it is worth a try, and so this note. I am doing some casual and extremely amateur research on my father’s side of the family of which, little is known. My father told me a story years ago about his grandfather Ackerman who left the northeast (New York and Connecticut) to move to Arizona for his consumption (TB). His name could have been Charles, or C.W. Ackerman(n). As you are already aware, there is no shortage of Ackermans in Arizona. According to my father, C.W. had no empathy for those with a toothache as he died in his 90’s with a full head of dark hair, and all thirty-two teeth. His son, John Henry Ackerman was left in the northeast and eventually became my paternal grandfather. Unfortunately, I never met him as he died several years before my birth in Connecticut. If any of this sounds familiar, I would certainly appreciate knowing about it… if not…. well, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

    Enjoyed reading about your journeys into history. Sorry I don’t know how else to contact you.

    Best Regards,

    Randy Ackerman

  2. Hi,

    I’ve been tagged in a Writing Process Blog Hop and as part of the process, I need to tag three other bloggers. You’ve been blogging a lot about the writing process lately, so I thought this would be right up you alley!

    It’s an easy process – All you have to do is answer these four questions and nominate three other bloggers.

    1) What am I working on?
    2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
    3) Why do I write what I do?
    4) How does my writing process work?

    Let me know if you’re game, so I can post a short bio and link to your blog.

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