Lauren comes from a clan that has always included masters in various academic fields, such as science, mathematics, history, philosophy, the arts, etc. Lauren herself is a historian and anthropologist, who taught at Triscot University between 904 and 912. She is also a spirit-talker, though she has never considered religion as a potential profession; mostly she talks with spirits to help her understanding of history on the Land as well as other worlds such as Earth.
Before the establishment of the school system in 904, masters commonly went to the homes of people who hired them to teach their children various subjects. However, since Lauren's clan included so many masters, many Triscan parents agreed to send their children to the clan's home, where they might learn various subjects. In a way, it was a school before schools existed, albeit with a less strict schedule and curriculum than modern schools. Because of this arrangement, Lauren became friends with many of her family's students, over the years (as she was a student there, herself). One of her fellow students was a boy named Johann, whom she married in 895. His clan are prosperous farmers of white corn, hence the choice of the name 'Whitecorn' in 904, when the surname law was passed.
In 896, Lauren and Johann had their first child, a daughter named Suzu. But Lauren wanted to have lots of children, owing to the fact that she'd always been a bit disappointed about being an only child, herself. (She also believed it was unfortunate that human population growth had declined considerably, in modern times.) So, they would have six more children, over the next fifteen years. Due to her interest in Terran history, she chose to give each of her children a name from a different region of Earth. Anastasia was born in 898, Mireille in 900, Ulrich in 901, Ricardo in 904, Herschel in 907, and Vladimir in 911. It is unknown at this time whether they will have more children.
In 913, Lauren, Johann, and their children were among the settlers of South Port. Johann's clan sent him to open a new corn plantation there, to expand their business. Lauren herself helped establish the new village's university, where she is currently employed as a master. It was during a class field trip to the nearby Drop Lake Mountains that she discovered a plant called gentiana. While the plant had never before been found anywhere on the Land, one of her spirit friends confirmed that it did exist on Earth; hence the Terran name for it is used, rather than Lauren getting to make up a new name herself.
The same spirit informed her that the plant's roots could be used for making various beverages and medicines. He said that on Earth, there was a soft drink called "Moxie" that he believed used the root as a flavoring, but as that was a brand name, it probably shouldn't be used on the Land. The spirit told her that the drink's name had actually taken on an independent meaning (vigor, pep, courage) in one of Earth's languages. As Lauren had a fairly strong subword sense, with a little thought she decided that a similar Terran subword from another region of the planet was "genki," so she suggested that name when bringing a sample of the plant to a local producer of soft drinks (who was also among the village's settlers). Since that time, Genki has become a popular drink in South Port, as well as a few other villages (mainly Triscot, Woodstockade, Ship, and Shipsister).
In 914, a local spirit-maker began using gentian root to make a liqueur, and asked Lauren for a suggestion of what to name it. She said the first thing that popped into her mind when she tried the beverage was a Terran Renaissance song of which she was fond, called "Hélas Madame." Hence she suggested naming the drink "Hélas," which means "alas." The spirit-maker wasn't sure he wanted to give his drink a name that sounded negative, but he did so anyway, and the name certainly hasn't had a negative effect on sales. In fact, it's become popular in far more villages than Genki has.