About Jim
placeholder for image Who am I, Anyways?
They say that it's important to "find ourselves." I don't know what that means, exactly, other than that I'm still looking... and probably will be for awhile, especially if I can't find my glasses.

I'm from rural upper Michigan, a place where it snows, on average, 218in (5.5m) each winter; that is a two-hour drive from the nearest Starbucks; and a five-hour drive to the nearest highway. Though I moved away years ago, I still retain the values I learned growing up: Hard work, helpfulness, friendliness, and an unceasing optimism that pervades even my darkest hours.

Although my family is full of scientists, I got a Bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of Michigan, and a Master's Degree in Agricultural Science from Colorado State University. (At this writing, I'm halfway through a second Master's Degree in Political Science at George Mason University.) If ever I don't know something, I endeavor to find out; everyone in my immediate family holds at least one advanced degree, and I expect to end up with 3 or 4. I've got a few certifications, too, to supplement.

I live in the Washington, DC metro area, and work as one of the horde of nameless federal bureaucrats, in which my mission has been to reduce complexity and complication in routine processes (where legally possible). It's obviously difficult to measure such a thing, but my 'best estimate' is that I've cut somewhere around 2,500 - 3,000 hours of redundant or unnecessary work per year, allowing both internal and external stakeholders to spend more time on what matters, instead of shuffling papers.

I do a lot of traveling, personally and professionally, and I am convinced that it is impossible to understand the world without seeing it. I speak four languages (albeit three of them marginally) and often grumble that the Tower of Babel is the only thing keeping me from world domination. The inconveniently large size of the world might be a factor, too. I'm most at home walking through the woods, connecting with the world around me.

Where will I end up? This, I have no idea. Stay tuned... for the next several decades.

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Famous Ancestors
It turns out that I've got a few ancestors of some repute:
  • James Dandridge Halyburton
    Attorney and Judge in Richmond, VA
    As the senior judge on the Virginia Court of Appeals, he was asked tom administer the Oath of Office to CSA president Jefferson Davis. The book The Sweeter the Juice discusses the descendents of him and his household slave.
    Many centuries back, the Halyburton clan was quite powerful in Braveheart-era Scotland, serving in a variety of roles in the Scottish royal house and occupying Dirleton Castle outside of Edinburgh.
  • William Branch Giles
    Governor of Virginia, Member of Congress
    Great-great-great-grandson of Jonathan Giles, who arrived in North America in 1624; and Robert Knowles, who arrived in North America before 1620. These are the first of many European immigrants in my lineage.
    Giles spent several stints in politics, and was steadfast in his belief that executive authority should never go unchecked; he resisted several attempts to strengthen his office. Giles County, in southwest Virginia, is named after him (although it's highly unlikely he ever set foot there).
  • Roger Vaughn
    Fought in the Battle of Agincourt
  • John Dudley (lineage uncertain)
    Duke of Northumbria
    Dudley was effectively in charge of England during the brief reign of Edward V (the only surviving son of Henry VIII), who was underage and in poor health. He supported Edward's revision of succession rules to favor his cousin (Lady Jane Grey) over his sisters; it's unclear whether this was because the said cousin was also Dudley's cousin, or if the Duke was simply being a loyal servant of the king. Either way, when one of the said sisters ended up in power, Dudley was stripped of his Dukedom and head.
  • Leofric of Leofwine (lineage uncertain)
    Earl of Mercia and husband of Lady Godiva
    A few centuries later, his descendents would adopt the family name dePeyton, and later Peyton.
    The great-great-great-great-great-grandson of another Leofric, who (if this lineage is true) is my oldest documented ancestor.
©2015-2019 by Jim Suits. All views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author unless otherwise noted. None of the organizations with which the author has any kind of affiliation (past, present, or future) endorse, support, or are even aware of, this content.