Tuesday, December 30, 2014

New Year's Eve Tragedy Befalls Carillions

FultonHistory.com is a wonderful, free source for digitized New York State newspaper articles.

Many years ago, on a hunch, I researched the Carillion family of Queens, NY. I suspected that my 3rd great grandmother, Mary Henry, was related to the Carillions. And in recent posts you can see that indeed Mary Henry's maiden name was Carillion.

In my research into the Carillions I stumbled upon some newspaper articles about a drunk driving accident that took the life of Anna and Edward Carillion. For those of you who can follow such statements, Edward would be my 2nd cousin 3 times removed.

New Year's Eve, 1932:

Joseph Carillion and his family spent the day shopping in Jamaica, Queens, NY; not terribly far from their home at 90-06 202nd St., Hollis (part of which was called Belaire), Queens. At about 8 pm, laden with packages, the family of 5 disembarked from the trolley car which ran along Jamaica Avenue. Moments later a car driven by a drunk driver, Charles Neu, age 32, of Williston Park, NY, struck four of the Carillions; the mother Anna, age 40;  Robert, 15; Bessie, 7; and Edward, 3. Both Anna and Edward succumbed to their injuries while Robert and Bessie were taken to a near by Mary Immaculate Hospital to recover from their head injuries. Only the father, Joseph escaped injury. 

Two other sons, Joseph Jr. and Harold were not at the scene. Joseph Jr. was stationed in Honolulu, Hawaii at the time.

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Tuesday, January 3, 1933

A trial soon ensued.  Prior to the trial though, the newspapers were flooded with articles about the incident and filled with photos of the Carillion family which to me seems to be the media's attempt to endorse what I think is a blatant case of vehicular manslaughter committed while intoxicated. Mr. Neu, however,  was acquitted by a jury of his peers.

I wish the newspaper photos were clearer so I could really see if there is a family resemblance between my Henrys and these Carillion cousins.

Friday, December 19, 2014

What Should I Research this Recess?

The semester has ended. I have off from work between Christmas and New Year's Day. Thus, I am staring at my family tree pondering which brick-wall I would like to beat my head against for a few wintery days.

I have a pretty full tree. Pretty impressive if I do say so myself. 

I can name all 32 of my 3rd great grandparents. Their dates of birth range in time from 1782 to 1855. And of those 32 there are only 7 of them for whom I do not know either parents' names. Some of those will remain brick-walls, I know, but man would I love to be able to name all 64 of my 4th great grandparents. I really only have 15 unknowns.

For me though, my research is not about gathering names and dates so much as it is about gathering stories. There is no better resource for stories of your ancestors than newspapers. Hmm. Newspapers.

I think I will let brick-walls stand for this recess and use my time to glean what stories I can from the digitized newspapers I can access for free online. Watch out Brooklyn Daily Eagle! I'm coming for you!!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Wait! What About the Neighbors?

I am very frustrated by not being able to find Nicholas and Caroline Carillion (or how ever the hell you spell it) in the 1860 census. I find myself staring blankly at the their names listed in the 1875 NY State Census record I found for them.

Nicholas, Caroline, Louisa (who may be my Mary Carrion-Henry), John, Victor, Mary, Victor...wait!

The neighbors are Victor, Mary, and Victor. Wait Wait Wait Wait Wait.

My 3rd great grandmother Mary Carrion was married to a tinsmith name Victor Henry. Victor was Swiss but I'm inclined to believe he spoke French, as many Swiss do. Their first child was my great-great grandfather, also named Victor Henry who was born in June of 1874. This census would have been taken right before he turned 1.

You say Henry with your best French accent. Does it sound like An-ray? Arrai?

That is my Mary Carrion-Henry living right next door to her parents Nicholas and Caroline Carrion, with now who I believe is her sister Louisa and her brother John. John goes on to formalize the family name to Carillion.

I now have no doubt that John Carillion was indeed the brother of my Mary Henry. No doubt! None.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Spelling and Genetics

Anyone who really knows me knows that I really can't spell. Well, that is not to say my spelling is as bad as my father's - -  that man can't spell at all. And so it does not surprise me in the least bit that this tale of variant spelling stems from his side of the tree.

Many years ago, more than a decade I'm sure, I got a copy of my third great-grandmother's death certificate. Mary Henry, born about 1857, died in Woodhaven, Queens, New York in January of 1907. Her son August Henry (1879-1960) is listed as the informant. On the death certificate was scrawled a note that stated that August could  not recall his mother's maiden name but the maiden name is listed as Carrian.

At about that same point in time I observed August's marriage certificate from 1906. There too his mother's maiden name is listed as Carrion. His best man was Harry Carillion. Carrion. Carillion. Hmm. I thought those two names were pretty similar and thus I began researching Harry Carillion with the sense that this might have been a cousin. I could never find a family connection between the Mary Henry and Harry Carillion.

Years have passed.

Now I have taken a DNA test, as has my father and sister. Recently I was looking at some matches on my dad's side and I came across a woman who matched all three of us. I looked at her tree and initially I saw some old Long Island family names and thought for sure this must be a connection through my paternal grandfather's side. But then I saw it!

Down on her mother's side of the tree was the name John Carillion (born1863) and it all came flooding back to me. Harry Carillion's father was John Carillion. 

I wouldn't genetically match to an ancestor of some random childhood neighbor friend of great-great uncle August. Those Carillion's were cousins and more-so I suspect John Carillion was my Mary Henry's brother.

I contacted the man who administered the DNA test for this person we matched. He shared with me an article from The Brooklyn Eagle written on Wednesday, February 6, 1907 but I can't follow who's mother they are talking about in the article; August's or John's. I think it is John Carillion who wanted his nephew, August Henry, to pay support for John's mother & thus August's grandmother, but you tell me...

I ordered John Carillion's death certificate; his dates would be (1863-1940). It lists his parents as Nicholas Carillion and Caroline Laplage both born in France.

Some more poking around on Ancestry.com I have been able to find 3 census records:

1880 - Caroline Carrilion widow age 55 (born about 1855), John Carrilon age 16 (born about1864).
1875 - Nickolas Karron age 67 (born about 1808), Carline Karron age 55 (born about 1850), Louisa Karron age 18 (born about 1957) , John Karron age 11 (born about 1864).
1855 - Nicholas Carellon age 42 (born about 1813), Caroline Carellon age 28 (born about 1827).

And a search of the NYC death index revealed a death certificate for a Nicholas Carrion who died on March 10, 1876 at the age of 64 (born about 1812) in Brooklyn...which I have ordered.

Still no mention of Mary but that Louisa Karron would have been born the same year as my Mary Carrian-Henry. I think that is her. I think that Louisa Karron is my Mary Carrian-Henry.

Don't ask me the spelling of her maiden name though. I've no idea. Apparently, spelling was never a skill in this family.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Finding Your Roots: Our People, Our Tradition (S2E7)

Oh education. How you get in the way of my blogging.

The last episode of this season has already aired. I'm 4 episodes behind in my reviews. Not good, not good.

I'm not home Tuesday nights when this program aired on PBS so I typically watched them Wednesday nights online after I get home from school. That is when I start writing my reviews but eh, I haven't had time to proofread and flesh these most recent posts until now. 

Episode 7: Our People, Our Traditions, originally aired on Tuesday, November 4, 2014. It features musician Carole King, attorney Alan Dershowitz, and writer Tony Kushner and explores their Jewish ancestry. All three had ancestors who fled Eastern Europe to find sanctuary in America. Their ancestors showed incredible perseverance in the face of religious persecution.

Carole King was born Carol Joan Kline in Brooklyn, New York. She changed her name as a teenager. Not only was typical of Jewish performers to change their names at that time but Carole expressed that then there was something she just didn't like about herself. It was revealed that Carole's grandmother, whom she only knew as Sarah Besmogin, also changed her name. In December of 1911 Sarah fled the anti-Semitic Pogroms of Russia for New York. She arrived at Ellis Island as Sheina Besmosgin and from then on rarely spoke of her life back in Russia.

Tony Kushner, best known for his Pulitzer prize winning play, Angels in America, grew up in Louisiana. Many people are shocked to realize that there is a historic Jewish presence anywhere in the South but Tony said the Jewish community eh grew up in in Lake Charles, LA was very proud to express their culture but not devoid of anti-semantic experiences. He also expressed that antisemitism prepared him to face the homophobia he would endure coming out as a gay man while as a student at Columbia University in New York City. In fact, he goes on to say that it was his parents that taught him to not be ashamed of who he was and he used that lesson to inform them of his homosexuality.

Alan Dershowitz, a high-profile attorney also does pro-bono work for those in need of legal assistance. This is a value he learned from his Orthodox Jewish father; that it is a "Jew's job to defend the underdog." He credits the historic persecution of the Jews and the atrocities of the Holocaust as the force behind his commitment to protect and defend the individual's right to practice their faith.

Typically each episode concludes with looking at the guests DNA results. Interestingly, this episode did not.

The ancestors of these guests presented experiences that were typical of many Jewish immigrant experiences. Their ancestors experienced prejudice and discrimination due to their Jewish faith and those struggles against intolerance led them to America. To give the impression that religious freedom in America is without discrimination though, is false. 

As we sit down to Thanksgiving dinner this week let us remember that we live in a country where religious freedom is one of our founding principles. Cultivate tolerance of differences. Allow others to worship, or not, as they see fit. Happy Thanksgiving!

Watch this episode at : http://www.pbs.org/wnet/finding-your-roots/people-traditions-full-episode/12456/

Monday, November 17, 2014

Finding Your Roots: We Come From People (S2E6)

Ugh. Mid-term. It's that time of semester when my whole life becomes about homework. This semester it really isn't that bad. The course I am taking is really well designed and not as overwhelming as last semester BUT, I still don't have time to watch all that much TV and I certainly don't have time to write about it. I am very behind on reviewing this episode which initially aired on October 28, 2014

Episode 6: We Come From People featuring musician NAS, actor Angela Bassett, and presidential adviser Valerie Jarrett.

This episode traces the very prominent African-American guests’ ancestry into the institution of slavery in the U.S. Like most African-Americans, the guest knew very little about their ancestors of the 1800s. Tracing an African-American family back into slavery is often impossible so these guests' finds are pretty incredible. 

NAS, is a hip-hop artist born and raised in Brooklyn, NY but his roots are very southern. The researchers discovered that on his mother's line there were generations who married individuals with the same last name.

I don't want any comments about southern inbreeding, this happened among my very northern ancestors too. In small communities there aren't a lot of mates to choose from. In NAS's case, though, he has five generations of Littles marrying Littles from the same community.

One census record showed his black grandmother, Fannie Little-Little, living right next door to a white Fannie Little. As it turns out, the black Littles derived their last name from the white slave owners. Not all that unusual really; however, it does mean that not all those black Littles were biologically related. They had lost their names in slavery and took their slave owners name as their own last name. That is the irony of African-American genealogy; that we have to use the records and names of the white owners to learn about slave ancestors

Angela Bassett fully expected to find slaves in her lineage but expressed that it was overwhelming to imagine what it must have been to go through what they experienced.

Again, her ancestors white neighbor's name helped to unlock the family history. The neighbor, Elizabeth Ingram, was the daughter-in-law of the man who owned Angela's great-great grandparents. Their child, her great grandfather, was separated from his parents by sale to the white Bassett family. The researchers brought her face to face with the white slave-owning Bassetts. Quite a breathtaking moment. 

Valerie Jarrett, the senior adviser to President Barack Obama, has a history of high achieving African-Americans. Her great grandfather, Robert Robinson Taylor, was the first black person to graduate from MIT and was the first professionally trained black American architect. Another of her ancestors was Victor Rochon, a pre-Civil War free man of color was also an elected state representative in Louisianan who railed against the notion of separate but equal.it was interesting to see how she had lines of both free and enslaved African-Americans.

These lineages showed that finding the records of a slave ancestor can be bittersweet but the relationships between white slave owners and black slaves is often much more complex than one would expect. The episode underscored the fact that it is difficult if not impossible to extricate whites from the research of African-American genealogy.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Finding Your Roots Review: The Melting Pot (S2E5)

This episode of Finding Your Roots originally aired on Tuesday October 21, 2014. It featured three of America's celebrated chefs; Aaron Sanchez, Ming Tsai and Tom Colicchio. Each chef is noted for exploring the cuisine of his immigrant ancestors; Mexican, Chinese, and Italian respectively. 

You can watch it online at http://www.pbs.org/wnet/finding-your-roots/melting-pot-full-episode/12093/ 

I found this episode incredibly fascinating because I personally do not feel ties to any specific ethnicity. I identify myself as American. If pressed I might tell you that I'm mostly Irish-American; a people not highly noted for their delicious dishes.

I had a few great-great grandparents who were born in Ireland and came to the U.S. In their childhood whereas Aaron, Ming, and Tom are descended of recent immigrants.  

Aaron's mother was raised in Sonora, Mexico and came to New York to open a restaurant when Aaron was a child. But that was not Aaron's family member to come to the United States. His great-grandfather, Rafael Gabilondo was one of more than 890,000 Mexicans who fled to the U.S. during the Mexican Revolution. At the height of the Revolution, he persuaded the U.S. to allow him to bring 2,000 head of cattle from his ranch in Mexico to the U.S. In 1931, two decades after fleeing Mexico, Gabilondo bought a new ranch in Mexico where his descendants would live for generations.

Tom Colicchio's research took Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. to Ellis Island - which is a little misleading because one does not have to go Ellis Island to research their immigrant ancestor. Ellis Island's records are available online through Ancestry.com and for free at  http://www.libertyellisfoundation.org/passenger

Tom's grandfather was born in Italy in 1903 but Tom's great-grandfather arrived in the U.S. in 1901. Similar to Aaron's story, we learn Tom's ancestors traveled back and forth between the U.S. and their native homeland multiple times at a time when travel was an arduous task.

As for Ming, he knew his immigrant ancestors well. His grandparents came from China later in their lives after having endured many atrocities during the Communist Revolution. 

I think the most exciting revelation was the one object Ming's grandfather took with him when he left China. That was a book tracing Ming's genealogy back to 891 A.D. The researchers for this program were able to confirm the contents of the book with the one remaining stele, or stone table, that exists in Ming's family's hometown. These records revealed the identity of Ming's 36th great grandfather; 36th!! The stele led the researchers to records in the Shanghai Library that stretched the family history back even further to ninety generations. Ming is a direct descendant of one of the first five emperors of China, Huang Di; his 116th great-grandfather is often cited as the father of the Chinese Language.

I think this episode really presented the fact that immigrants find their way to the United States not because of a lack of love for their homeland but rather because in many instances the living conditions are difficult to endure due to war, natural disasters, and/or poverty. However proud of their ancestors' cultures, I do believe these guests would include the "hyphen American" when identifying their ethnicities.

Tonight's episode features actor Angela Bassett, rapper NAS, and presidential adviser Valerie Jarrett. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Finding Your Roots Review: Roots of Freedom (S2E4)

This week's episode featured guests Ben Affleck, Khandi Alexander, and Benjamin Jealous. All three guests had ancestors in the American Revolution. Hey, I have ancestors who served in the American Revolution. And my niece, Sofie, has patriots on both sides of her family tree. I suspect this is not as unusual as most Americans think.

The message that was really underscored in this episode is that the American Revolution which was fought for independence from Great Britain on the basis that all men were created equal did not create a country that treated all men equally. Once independent, the infant nation of the United States continued to uphold the institution of slavery for nearly another century.

Actor Ben Affleck learned that his sixth great-grandfather served in the Revolution during the summer of 1776 when he was just 18 years old. Actor/dancer Khandi Alexander, knew nothing of her family history. She learned that her second great-grandfather was a slave who was fathered by the white slave-owner. It was through that man that Khandi is descended from a patriot soldier. That patriot owned 85 slaves who worked his large Southern plantation. Some patriot, right? But the truth is that most of our founding fathers owned slaves.

Khandi spoke a bit about identifying herself as "black" as opposed to "African-American." She said she didn't feel connected to Africa. Her DNA test showed that she was 74% African and was able to point to the specific regions in African from which her slave ancestors originated. These results obviously moved her to the point of stating that she guessed she was African-American after all.

 I didn't know of Benjamin Jealous until this program. He is a civil rights activist and former president of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People). Jealous is biracial; his mother is black and his father is white. His black lineage showed that he is descended from an man named Peter G. Morgan who was born a slave but in his lifetime worked and earned money enough to purchase his own freedom right before the Civil War. Once freed, he purchased the ownership of his wife and daughters. Then he freed them as well with a beautifully written, very moving, manumission statement written in 1864.

I loved that the document brought Jealous to tears. And loved that Jealous expressed his love for the document.

Additionally, the research revealed that Jealous had 8 ancestors who served in the Revolution including a man who served as a fife player at the battles of Lexington and Concord. That man lived to be 100 years old and the researchers were able to find a photograph of him; not the most attractive photo but still a very impressive find.

He identified himself as African-American yet his DNA test revealed that he is 80% European and only 18% African which Gates commented on to the effect of Jealous was the whitest leader of the NAACP. Sometimes I feel Gates comments too much on race, really. We're only of one race, Dr. Gates; human. And personally, I think it's much more important who we identify with as individuals than what DNA says we are or are not.

All in all I really enjoyed this episode and I really loved how the guests were moved by the stories Gates revealed to them. You can what this episode online at http://www.pbs.org/wnet/finding-your-roots/roots-freedom-full-episode/11903/  

Next Tuesday's episode will explore the ancestry of three celebrity chefs; Tom Colicchio, Aaron Sanchez and Ming Tsai.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

My Certificate has Arrived!

Tuesday evening I returned home from my late shift to discover that my certificate of membership had arrived from the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). It is official!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Finding Your Roots Review: Our American Storytellers (S2E3)

The third episode of this second season of  Finding Your Roots focused on the impact the Civil War had on the ancestors of journalist Anderson Cooper, documentarian Ken Burns, and playwright Anna Deavere Smith. If you missed it you can watch it online at
http://video.pbs.org/video/2365335848/ .

Anderson Cooper is the son of Gloria Vanderbilt of the New York Vanderbilts. Alluding to the profound and noteworthy role the Vanderbilts played in the history of New York, Anderson stated that when he was a child he thought that when grandparents died they became statues. Very cute, Anderson, very cute. The program did discuss his wealthy high-society Vanderbilts a bit but mostly it focused on his father's side and his deep Southern roots.

Cooper's father, Wyatt Emory Cooper, died of a heart attack when Anderson was just 11 years old and so Anderson knew little of his Southern family history although he did express that he connected more with that side of his family tree than with that of the Vanderbilts.

Several of his Cooper ancestors fought for the Confederate Army and like the average Confederates were merely small farm owners who did not own slaves. However, we learned that his third great-grandfather did own a plantation, though, and in a shocking discovery learned that he was murdered by one of his own slaves.

Ken Burns, who produced the acclaimed documentary The Civil War in 1990, learned that he had relatives on the Conferedate side as well. Disappointed to learn of ancestors on that side of the battle, Ken stated, "I'm not sure defend is the right word, you just have to accept your family." That is the message I hope I send through my blog.

Burns also expressed disappointment in learning that he had ancestors who owned slaves. He stated it's not a guilt that he felt but a sadness which is exactly how I felt when I learned of my slave owning ancestors. His family, of course, was in the South, mine were not.

But not all of Burns's discovers were disappointing. He also learned that he is related to his hero, Abraham Lincoln; a 5th cousin four times removed. Also, his DNA supported the family legend that he is indeed related to the Scottish poet Robert Burns; not directly descended from him but nonetheless related. 

I think the most interesting story of the three celebrities was that of Anna Deavere Smith's great-great grandfather, Basil Biggs. His family farmland in Gettysburg was used as a Confederate filed hospital during the Civil War. After the War, Basil was put in charge of re-interring the hastily buried Union soldiers into the neat orderly graves that would come to be known as the Gettysburg National Cemetery. Finally we learn through Basil's obituary that he was an active conductor in the Underground Railroad, helping Southern slaves escape to the North.

Tomorrow's episode will feature actor Ben Affleck, dancer/actor Khandi Alexander, and civic leader Ben Jealous.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Searching Google for Genealogy Information

Someone recently asked me if I use Google to search for genealogy information. Well, yes, I do.

In my role as an academic librarian I tend to discourage my students from starting their research at Google. I don't want them to rely too heavily on their ability to discern quality resources from misinformation when they are starting out especially when they have access to quality databases right at their fingertips through my library's website.

But when I hit a roadblock in my genealogy research, yes, yes indeed I hit up "The Google." Sometimes it leads me to new information that can be helpful. Sometimes...

The problems with using a search engine for genealogy research is that one tends to get thousands of results that do not apply to your family history.

For example, many surnames are very common and I'm not talking about just the Smiths. Try a search for Harrison genealogy and you will get over 2 million hits. Put it in quotes, "Harrison genealogy" and you will still get over 38,000 hits. Good luck sifting through all of that.

Secondly, many last names have other meanings. I have been helping a friend research his Tax family history - - um, not this history of his family's taxes. Oy vey.

And then there are times when you're just not searching the way the engine is indexing the web. For example, you might look for "Harrison genealogy" but there are lots of words and phrases similar in meaning to the word genealogy like family history and ancestry.

A long time ago someone recommended this website to me, http://www.googleguide.com. That offers all sorts of advice on constructing better Google searches.

When I search Google for genealogy information, I use what are called search operators; like those quotation marks I alluded to earlier. Commonly, I search the name of my ancestor, often in quotes, and then the word genealogy. Be mindful though that a webpage might contain your ancestor's name in directory fashion; as "Losee, Cornelius" rather than "Cornelius Losee."

When the quotes don't limit my search results to what I consider a manageable amount of hits, I sometimes preface my search with the operator allintitle: which tells Google to search for those terms just in the title of the webpage.

As you can see below sometimes the use of allintitle: combine with the use of quotes can be a little overkill and result in too few hits.

Here is a list to show you how using these operators alter my search results:
Cornelius Losee =  439,000        
allintitle: Cornelius Losee = 373
"Cornelius Losee"= 2,360
allintitle: "Cornelius Losee" = 299
"Losee, Cornelius"= 897         
allintitle: "Losee, Cornelius" = 8
Cornelius Losee genealogy = 26,700         
allintitle: Cornelius Losee genealogy = 7
"Cornelius Losee" genealogy = 1,110        
allintitle: "Cornelius Losee" genealogy = 7
"Cornelius Losee genealogy"= 4 
allintitle: "Cornelius Losee genealogy" = 1

Monday, October 6, 2014

Finding Your Roots Review: Born Champions (S2 E2)

The second episode of the second season of Finding Your Roots ran on Tuesday, September 30. Again, I didn't get to watch it until the evening of Wednesday, October 1 online. Season 2 Episode 2 (S2E2) is available at http://video.pbs.org/video/2365327450/.

This episode, Born Champions, like the last, explored the ancestry of three celebrities. On this episode the celebrities were tennis star Billie Jean King, recently retired New York Yankee Derek Jeter, and basketball player Rebecca Lobo. 

The title of the episode led me to believe that we might see some evidence in their family trees that contributed to these individuals' great athleticism. That was not the case though. No one's ancestors seemed to be star athletes. Nonetheless, it was another fascinating episode.

The surprising thing to me is how the researchers for this program discover family heirlooms and photos. We are given the impression that these celebrities have some interest in the family history which makes me wonder how they do not know on their own that such treasures exist. For example, in Billie Jean King's "Book of Life" they revealed a page from a family bible. Billie did not know the bible existed. How does that happen?

In the instance of Derek Jeter, Louis Henry Gates, Jr. presented him with a photo of his great-great grandfather, Green Jeter. Now that I could understand finding a photo of him. Green was a minister. The church he built, which still stands, could have an archive of images unknown to the family; obviously the case. But for Rebecca Lobo, where did they find a photo of her great grandmother? Her great grandmother was not a prominent member of a community whose image was stored in some historical collection. Where did they get that?  And the diary of Lobo's other great grandmother, what relative was hiding that away? 

The inclusion of such family heirlooms amazed me. 

Each guest also had their DNA tested which is always the case on this program and is always so fascinating to me. The DNA results for King, whose real last name is Moffitt, refuted her family lore that she had Native American ancestry. Her ancestry is 100% European.

Lobo's test revealed that she has approximately 10% of her DNA derived from someone of Jewish origin. She had never heard of any Jewish ancestors but such a significant percentage suggests it could be inherited from an unknown great-grandfather. I think Gates was a little too convinced of that possibility. Autosomal DNA cannot exact the ancestor from which you derive a segment of your DNA. Only Y-DNA and mitochondrial-DNA testing is that specific. Y-DNA, which only men have, can only determine the most paternal line. And mitochondrial-DNA can only determine one's most maternal line. So Lobo's 10% Ashkenazi Jewish DNA coming from that unknown great-grandfather is good guess and very likely but still just a guess. 

Gates estimated that we get 12.5% of our DNA from each of our great-grandparents but the truth is we do not inherit out DNA equally for each of our ancestors. DNA its only equally inherited from our parents. In theory we get 25% from each grandparent which means in theory we get 12.5% from each great-grandparent - - In theory. Given the recombinant nature of DNA though, those percentages are only approximations. In the 50% I got from my dad, I did not necessarily get equal potions from each of his parents. DNA mixes itself up before it devised into the sex cells. So that 10% Jewish DNA probably, PROBABLY, is in part inherited from Lobo's unknown great-grandparent.

In the case of Derek Jeter's DNA testing, Y-DNA testing suggested that the slave owner also fathered Derek's great-great grandfather. Y-DNA is more exacting than autosomal testing but still not 100% proof. Comparing the Y-chromosome of a known direct male descendant to a possible direct male descendent can suggest who fathered a child. Direct male descendant means a pure male line; father to son to son to son... And this program was able to do that for Derek but brothers have the same Y-chromosome. [Insert shoulder shrug here.]

Tomorrow’s episode will feature journalist Anderson Cooper, documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, and actress/playwright/professor Anna Deavere Smith.

Friday, October 3, 2014

A Sad Way to Start Family History Month, Again

Two years ago on October 1, we lost my great uncle, William Cramer, Sr. This past Wednesday, October 1, we lost my Uncle (who was great), Walter E. Seidel Jr.

At the age of 64, Walter succumbed to brain cancer after a year long, arduous battle. He was a good uncle, a good father, a good husband, a good friend, a good man. He was the devoted husband of my father's sister, Jane. He raised two very strong women, my cousins; Joan Campbell and Therese Reese. He will remain deeply loved by his grandchildren.

He had served our country in the Army during Vietnam. He worked hard and rose through the ranks of his carpenters' union. But more than any other accomplishment, my uncle was a level-headed, wise and learned adviser to many. He was a supportive relative and friend who sincerely had your best interest at heart. I will miss him as will the entire extended family. We will miss him dearly.

SEIDEL - Walter E. Jr. on October 1, 2014. Walter served in the US Army and was a Vietnam Veteran. Devoted husband of Jane. Beloved father of Joan Campbell (Robert), and Therese Reese (Patrick). Loving brother of Barbara Seidel, Jerry, Daniel, Matthew, Stephen, and Maria Ashmore. Cherished grandfather of 4. Reposing Wednesday 2-4 & 7-9:30pm at C.S.Bartholomew & Son Funeral Home, 302 S. Bedford Ave, Bellmore, NY. www.csbartholomewandson.com. Funeral Mass Thursday 10AM at Cure of Ars R C Church, Merrick, NY. Private Cremation. In lieu of flowers, donations in Walter's name to
would be appreciated. - See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/newsday/obituary.aspx?n=walter-seidel&pid=172681341&fhid=27296#sthash.PQd1DerN.dpuf
SEIDEL - Walter E. Jr. on October 1, 2014. Walter served in the US Army and was a Vietnam Veteran. Devoted husband of Jane. Beloved father of Joan Campbell (Robert), and Therese Reese (Patrick). Loving brother of Barbara Seidel, Jerry, Daniel, Matthew, Stephen, and Maria Ashmore. Cherished grandfather of 4. Reposing Wednesday 2-4 & 7-9:30pm at C.S.Bartholomew & Son Funeral Home, 302 S. Bedford Ave, Bellmore, NY. www.csbartholomewandson.com. Funeral Mass Thursday 10AM at Cure of Ars R C Church, Merrick, NY. Private Cremation. In lieu of flowers, donations in Walter's name to
would be appreciated. - See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/newsday/obituary.aspx?n=walter-seidel&pid=172681341&fhid=27296#sthash.PQd1DerN.dpuf

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Happy Family History Month

October is Family History Month. Every year I try to come up with a project to celebrate Family History Month. In the past I have written biographies on each of my direct ancestors, digitized family photos, started this blog, reached out to cousin to blog for me, yaddah, yaddah, yaddah. This year I don't really have a plan but I'm going to try to do something everyday and I will report on what I've done to celebrate this month of family mindfulness.

Today I am going to watch episode 2 of Finding Your Roots that I did not get to see last night. I watch it mostly to see what resources and techniques they use that I can perhaps apply to further my own family research. And tomorrow I'll probably blog about it.

I encourage you to make sometime this month to connect to your own family history whether that takes the form of research into your genealogy, communication with relatives, or just reflection on what it means to be family - - try it.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Finding Your Roots Review: In Search of Our Fathers

The first episode of the second season of Finding Your Roots ran on Tuesday, September 23 at 8 p.m. on PBS. Tuesdays are my late night at work and I don't get home until well after the broadcast. Sadness. BUT Cousin Mary gave me a heads up that PBS hosts the full episodes online and so I was able to watch it last night. Season 2 Episode 1 (S2E1) is available at http://video.pbs.org/video/2365322326/.

The guests on this episode included author Stephen King, actor Courtney B. Vance, and Canadian singer-actress Gloria Reuben. I did not know Gloria Reuben at all her genealogy was fascinating...but I'll get to that.

I really like this program as much as Who Do You Thing You Are? and maybe even more. The stories are really filled with world history and present excellent genealogy research skills. There is no facade that these celebrities conducted the research on their own. They did not. Although, it does make it seem like Louis Henry Gates, Jr. did all the research. To his credit though, he does say "we" an awful lot and does acknowledge other genealogist doing research for the program but not by their names.

Each episode will explore the ancestry of three celebrities. Each guest will walk away with a "Book of Life" and really, so so much more. You could really see how strongly each of these guest were moved by the ancestry revealed to them. It was really quite beautiful.

This week all three guests were interested in learning more about their fathers. Stephen King’s father abandoned Stephen and his mother when Stephen was just two. Courtney Vance’s father did not know his biological parents. Gloria Reuben’s father was 78 years old when she was born and died when she was very young.

One of the most amazing revelations, in my opinion, was the photo they found of Stephen King's father whom he had never seen. It wasn't just that Stephen hadn't see THAT photo, he never saw any photo of his father before that moment. That was powerful. 

In the research for Courtney Vance I feel the most powerful revelation came with the results of a DNA test. Courtney's father knew nothing of his biological parents. A scandal found through newspapers articles suggested that a specific Reverend in the Chicago community in which Courtney's biological grandmother could have been the father of Courtney's father. Present day DNA testing proved that the Reverend was not the father and yielded a Y-DNA match to another man which, if that man has no adoption in his patrilineal line, would give Courtney  a family surname for his father's lineage.

And in the case of Gloria Reuben, the most moving discovery, and as Gates expressed the most rare of findings, was the name and age of the woman who was Gloria's slave ancestor taken from Africa and brought to Jamaica.

Next week’s episode will feature tennis star Billie Jean King, New York Yankees Derek Jeter, and basketball player Rebecca Lobo.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Free Webinar: NEHGS "How to Apply to Lineage Societies"

Apropos to my last posting about joining lineage societies, The New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) is offering a FREE Webinar on Tuesday, Sweptember 30, 2014 3 p.m. EDT (2 p.m. CDT; 1 p.m. MDT; 12 p.m. PDT) presented by, Genealogist Lindsay Fulton, called How to Apply to Lineage Societies: Tips from NEHGS.

"Want to join a hereditary society, such as the Daughters of the American Revolution or the General Society of Mayflower Descendants? Don't know where to begin? Join genealogist Lindsay Fulton as she provides a step-by-step look at the application process, tips for when you can't find vital records, and examples from our research services team."

You can register at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7831887655955467777

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Joining a Lineage Organization

There are literally hundreds of lineage organizations based in the United States and thousands of them worldwide. Those are groups that limit membership to individuals who meet specific criteria based on their ancestry. In other words, they require their members to be descendants of a specific type of person of historical importance. 

I have recently been approved for membership to The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) but there are groups such as the :
  • Associated Daughters of Early American Witches
  • Children of the Confederacy
  • Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War
  • Descendants of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence 
  • First Families of St. Louis 
  • Hereditary Order of the Families of Presidents and First Ladies of America 
  • Holland Society of New York 
  • International Society of the Descendants of Charlemagne
  • Jamestowne Society
  • Mayflower Society 
  • National Society of Descendants of Early Quakers 
  • Order of Descendants of Colonial Physicians and Chirurgiens 
  • Pioneers of Alaska 
  • Society of Descendants of the Alamo 
  • Society of the War of 1812 
  • Sons of Utah Pioneers 
  • United Empire Loyalists' Association
...just to name a few. Basically, if you are descended from anyone of any historical importance  - - and who isn't? - - you can probably find a lineage based organization to join.

The next question that arises is why would one join such an organization. Well, maybe you're just into history or your cultural heritage. Organization of this vein help to promote the history of their cultural or historically significant events. They also often provide scholarships to their members and the descendants of members. They often do a lot of good supporting the needs of the community. You will probably also get a subscription to an interesting magazine from the organization, a shiny membership pin, and tons of friendships with others who have the same interest as you do. But the most significant reason I sought to join a lineage based organization was to validate the quality of my genealogy research. 

Nowadays with the advances in DNA one could probably take a simply saliva test to prove linage to a historical figure; and many of these types of organization are now accepting DNA as additional evidence for membership. If you read my posts on DNA research though, you know that you can share a common ancestor with someone very far back in history and not necessarily have any DNA in common that cousin. Cousin Mary at Threading Needles in a Haystack and I are 6th cousins (once removed) and AncestryDNA did not find us to be a genetic match. Yet she and I can document our individual lineages back to a couple who were married here on Long Island in the late 1700s.

So how does one go about joining a lineage organization?

Once you figure out who in your family history fits the particular criteria for membership to such a society, you must carefully document your ancestry back to that person. And I mean carefully. The amount of documentation required will vary by society. Some will have specific definitions as to what type of documents are considered "proof"  but generally you will have to provide documentation that links you to your parent, your parent to their parent, and so on using vital statistics records like birth, death, and marriage certificates. In instances where those type of documents do not exist, you will have to provide other sources of connection; church register entries, wills, property deeds, military service records, newspaper articles, etc.

For some lineage societies you may only have to link yourself to your parent and then, maybe, provide his or her military service record. In my case I had to document 8 generation of my lineage to join the DAR; from me to my patriot. Now if my mother had been a member of the DAR I would have only had to document my connection to her. And now that I am a member of the DAR, someday my niece could join with a lot less effort than I had to muster by simply linking herself to my mother through me. So the volume of documentation that is required for membership will vary from organization to organization and from circumstance to circumstance.

Just as always is the case with quality genealogy research, though, a considerable amount of time is often involved in completing a membership application. If like me, you have many generation to document you will probably have and a ton of records to submit - - - with citations!! Yes, citations as to where you obtained the documentation.

Some lineage societies will also require that you be "sponsored" meaning that a local chapter of the organization supports your application. So if you are thinking of joining a lineage society, reach out to them and they will help guide you through their application process.

And yes friends, there will be fees as there are with joining any organization. But I pay beaucoup bucks each year in fees and dues to belong to professional organizations for my job, why not join an organization that validates the quality of my genealogy research - - my research that I love so much?

Thursday, September 11, 2014


Today I received word from the genealogist for my local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution that my application for membership has been accepted. It took me years of research and documentation. I documented 8 generation. No other woman in this line had ever applied for membership.

Generation 1: Me

Generation 2: My mom.

Generation 3: Her dad.

Generation 4: His mother, my great grandmother, Mary Elizabeth “Mayme” Sharp-Gardner.
Generation 5: Her father, my great-great grandfather, Daniel Sharp.
Generation 6: His mother, my 3rd great grandmother, Ann Moore.

Generation 7: Her mother, my 4th great grandmother, Eleanor Moore.
b. 1767 in Bedford, New Hampshire
d. October 19, 1836 in Kingsey, Quebec, Canada
m. 1784 to William Moore (b. 1763 in Londonderry, NH  - d. July 8, 1817 in Kingsey, Quebec, Canada)

William and Eleanor were first cousins. Willam, was the son of Lt. Colonel Robert Moore. Eleanor was the daughter of Colonel Daniel Moore of Bedford, NH.

Generation 8: Father of Eleanor Moore, Patriot Colonel Daniel Moore.

The DAR has other members who are known descendents of Daniel Moore but I am the first to submit the lineage of ...

Generation 8. Father of William Moore, Patriot Lt. Colonel Robert Moore.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Who Do You Think You Are?: Kelsey Grammer

This week’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are? featured actor Kelsey Grammer who strangely reminds me of my step-father. They look a lot alike but my step-father was such a terrible human being, Kelsey seems like such a warm kind man...in any case...

Kelsey's parents divorced when he was very young and his grandmother, Evangeline, became a strong presence in his upbringing. Evangeline, like Kelsey, was not raised by her parents either. That is where Kelsey's research began; trying to answer the question why didn't Evangeline's parents raise her. As it turns out, Evangeline's father abandoned her mother resulting in her mother filing for divorce in the early 1900s.

It turned out that both of Evangeline's parents were likely alcoholics. I say likely because the mother's death from cirrhosis of the liver is not necessarily caused by alcoholism; likely but not definitely. 

Upon discovery of the circumstances surrounding Evangeline's upbringing, Kelsey opened up a bit about his own struggles with addiction. The episode went on to highlight the search from Kelsey's grandmother’s parents in California back to pioneers who traveled the Oregon Train in the 1850s which some viewers may have found most interesting but I myself loved watching Kelsey see the parallels between his own life and the lives of his ancestors. That is what I love about genealogy research for myself and for those I help with their own family history research.

Another statement Kelsey made that I just loved reflected the addictive quality of genealogy research; the gist of which was - - some blanks get filled in and new blanks open up. And so one digs further.

Next week's season finale on Wednesday, August 27 will feature actress Minnie Driver.

Monday, August 18, 2014

DNA Snags Another Cousin & a Half Step.

If you follow this blog you know that I have had my DNA tested through Ancestry.com. I have also had my father and sister do the test. Recently I even had a second/fourth cousin take the test too. Ya know, I actually have a lot of family lines that have intermarried giving me a fair share of double cousins; mostly 2 siblings from one family marrying 2 siblings from another family. Anyway...

From time to time I look at the results of my test, my father's and my sister's too, to see what new matches have come along. As more and more people do the test, the more and more matches everyone receives. Recently I looked to see if my father had any new matches and sure enough there was a man who's results indicated that he and my father are third cousins which means they have great-great grandparents in common. That isn't that far back at all. So through Ancestry.com I sent an email to my father's match.

This man has one of those very "old Long Island" last name so I asked him if he had roots in Freeport where my father's "old Long Island" family was from. This man's reply startled me. He said no but that his grandmother was a Hinch. A Hinch? Wait, my great-great grandmother was a Hinch! Annette "Annie" Hinch? "No," he replied, "Sarah Hinch."

Sarah Hinch and Annie Hinch were sisters. Therefor, this man has the same great-great grandparents as my father, just like the test indicated! Our common ancestors are Annie & Sarah's parents; James Hinch (1816-1886) and Jane Kavanaugh-Hinch (dates unknown).

These two sister's lines are even more entangled, though, through marriage.

Annie Hinch was the wife of Victor Henry. Annie and Victor had three children the oldest of which was my great grandfather, Charles A. Henry (1896-1949). When Great-Grandpa Charles Henry died in 1949 he left his wife, Anna Henry a widow at barely 50 years old. Eventually, Anna remarried to her husband's cousin, Frank Stoothoff; a child of Sarah Hinch's from her first marriage. This "new" cousin I found through AncestryDNA is descended from an offspring of Sarah's second marriage.

Confusing, I know, but given that you're already lost I have no reservations in saying that this "new" DNA cousin's grandfather was the half-brother of my grandmother's step-brother; so he is my grandma's step-half-brother's grandson by marriage. He is also, just like the DNA test results stated, my father's third cousin by blood.

Can you tell I am very impressed with this DNA testing stuff??

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Revisiting Edward Hughes

Last October I published a post on my discovery of the murder of my 3rd great grandmother's brother, Edward Hughes.

The story of his death seems so incomplete to me. I don't know why he got into the bar fight. Was he mouthy when he drank? Did he call someone an ethnic slur? Was it over an argument about politics? Was it over a women? The cause of the fight was not made clear in any of the articles I found.

And then I wonder what became of the man who beat up Edward, a beating which the coroner stated only accelerated the cause of death (alcoholism). What happened to the man acquitted of the crime; James W. Cain.

James Cain is more common a name than you would think. I am not able to pin down what happened to that man using ancestry.com searches or NYC vital records.

But wanting to know more, I ordered microfilm through familysearch.org for me to view at the Family History Library (FHL) nearest me. Fifteen dollars, $7.50 each for two reels of microfilm of Coroners Inquests from New York City, to find out the FHL near me doesn't have a functioning microfilm reader that prints. OY VEY! I'm not really complain about the cost of the film; that's not bad. The lack of a functioning printer on the other hand - - grrrrr.

I needed to make a second trip to the FHL with my camera to photograph the images I found on the microfilm. Yeah, so what I don't own a smart phone. Wanna make something of it? Hmm, maybe my short fuse is genetic but how will I ever know if I share that with Edward because the Coroner's inquest said nothing more than what the thin newspaper articles revealed.

32 years-old, died of the effects of alcoholism accelerated by a beating inflicted by James W. Cain. Period.

Let me tell you, the doctor's handwriting then was just as shitty as any doctor today.

I'm really sad about Edward's death. All the other Inquests on the film were 20 to 30 pages long. His was just 6 pages; the cover page, the plea of not guilty by James Cain, 3 eyewitness testimonies which said nothing as to what instigated the fight, and the doctor's description. I feel like they saw a drunk and didn't really care about justice for him. So sad. I hope James Cain made something decent of his life.

Friday, August 15, 2014

A DNA Prediction

Ancestry.com recently had their DNA kits on sale for $79.99 as opposed to the usual price of $99.99. Gotta keep your eyes peeled for when it is on sale if you are interested in taking the test.

I recently asked a cousin of mine to take the test. Cousin Jacquie and I are 2nd cousins but we are also 4th cousins. [Let the confusion set it.] See, her grandpa and my grandma were siblings which means we have the same great-grandparents in common; that makes us second cousins. BUT my grandpa and her grandma were 2nd cousins which means Cousin Jacquie and I also have a set of great-great-great grandparents in common making us 4th cousins. I know, I know it might be hard to follow. In any case...

This double cousining made me curious as to how we would match genetically. It is my prediction that the DNA results will match us as second cousins or closer, as first cousins because we are genetically second cousins and then some.

We will know in just a few short weeks because Cousin Jacquie has finally spit in the tube. YAY!!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Who Do You Think You Are? : Valerie Bertinelli

This week’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are? featured actress Valerie Bertinelli.

Valerie had the opportunity to research both sides of her family; her father’s Italian ancestry and  her mother’s English ancestry. Valerie stated in the episode that she has always thought of herself as Italian especially given her Italian last name. This is a condition I find befuddling. As English as my last name is I always identify myself as American. I would never think to call myself English or Irish or French Canadian but I digress.

Valerie's English side traced back to Edward the First; King of England from 1239 to 1307. That of course for someone it today's day and age to be able to trace their lineage back to royalty but frankly, I found Valerie's Italian ancestry much more interesting. Perhaps it was because she connected with a cousin she didn't know she had. She traveled to Italy where she met her third cousin once removed. That sounds like a distant relationship but it just means this man Pietro and Valerie's father have a great-great grandparent in common.

Cousin Pietro knew much more about the family than Valerie’s father.  He shared with her a beautiful letter his father had in which he expresses the desire for the America cousins to come visit the homeland again. Here more than 40 years later, that wish came true when Valerie embarked on this research. I found that so very moving. Also, Pietro had held onto a postcard  that Valerie's great grandmother Maria had sent to the family right before she left for America. So sweet.

And speaking of America, Valerie has deep American roots. Like many Americans, Valerie identified with her most recent immigrant ancestor, the Italian Bertinelli's, but knew nothing of her American-ness. Valerie's maternal line goes back to a man named James Claypoole, who was very involved in the Quaker movement in England and America in  the17th century. James had emigrated to  Pennsylvania to practice his faith and was closely associated with the notable Colonist, William Penn. 

I found this episode really interesting and again, the encounter with her third cousin to be the most moving.

Next week’s episode of WDYTYA? is on TLC on Wednesday, August 20 at 9 p.m. Eastern time and  will feature actor Kelsey Grammer. I thought Kelsey would be the last of this season's episodes but I noticed in the intro a new face, actress Minnie Driver, and so I am excited to think we have at least another two more week of WDYTYA? this season.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Joseph Sauer's WWII Dog Tag

This is a follow-up to this past Wednesday's semi-wordless post. Many bloggers have a Wordless Wednesday post in which they just put up a picture. That is what I did except the picture actually had words in it so it was only kind of a Wordless Wednesday.

This is the image I posted. It is the WWII dog tag of my great grandmother's brother, Joseph A. Sauer.

This year marks the 100th anniversary, or centenary, of the start of WWI, or what at the time was called The Great War. WWI began on July 28, 1914 and lasted until November 11, 1918. You will see that there will be many events and programs this year reflecting on WWI. 

Joseph served in WWII though which started on September 1, 1939 and lasted until September 2, 1945. Joseph was kind of old to be a soldier at that time. He was born on May 6, 1902 in Manhattan. He enlisted on September 9, 1942 at the age of 40. He died on December 23, 1968, long after WWII. He is interred in Long Island National Cemetery in Pinelawn, NY. 

Joseph's brother-in-law, my great-grandpa Charles A. Henry, who was just a few years older than Joseph, served in WWI. Charles was born March 26, 1896. He enlisted on September 9, 1918. Joseph at that time would have only been 16; narrowly escaped the age requirement for enlisting in WWI.

Here is a photo of Charles A. Henry in his WWI uniform.

Although I love that WWI photo of my great-grandpa, I find something so poignant about Joseph's WWII dog tag. The purpose of the dog tag was to identify the dead. And although Joseph survived WWII, he knew when he was issued that item what its purpose was. It must have served as a constant reminder of the risk he was taking. 

Although the item does not reveal much genealogical information it does tell an important family story about service to ones country. It does list the name and address of the individual's next of kin, though. That much is genealogical. In this case, the unmarried Joseph's next of kin was his widowed mother. If his father was alive at the time, it would have listed him.

I don't know if you can see it but in the lower right hand corner there is a small stamped "O." This was Joseph's blood type. It was placed there to inform medic should the soldier need a blood transfusion. At this time they did not know about the Rh factor; the + or - that now accompanies a letter when you are told your blood type. I am also "O"; "O+" like my father.

In my opinion, the dog tag is the most personal of all items ever issued by the government. These items were there throughout all the battles and service the soldier endured. I am not sure what Joseph did in the war. I have never been able to find his WWII Enlistment Record. And I am not entirely sure how my father came to own this tag that belonged to his great uncle but it shakes me to my core to think about what this tag might have "seen" regardless of what war it was issued for or what service Joseph gave his country.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Who Do You Think You Are?: Rachel and Kayleen McAdams

This week’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are? featured actress Rachel McAdams and her sister Kayleen McAdams. The two learned about their maternal lineage, their mother's side of their family tree.

First the sisters traced their ancestry back to England to a couple who met while employed as servants in a manor near Plymouth, England; a manor house which is still standing and which the sisters got to visit. Their great-great grandfather was a footman at the house. I believe it was Rachel who commented that until she had watched Downton Abbey that position in a household would not have meant much to her.

The sisters' also remarked that the path they walked from the house could very well have been a path their ancestors walked as well, maybe even while the couple was courting. That sense of stepping on the same path your forefathers would have walked can be very overwhelming, even palpable at times. It is a sensation I often experience when visiting family gravesites. I wonder which relative or friend of the family stood right where I am now the day this ancestor was buried here. But I digress...

The episode then shifted to the sisters' ancestors in Canada. Like many of the early settlers of Canada, the McAdams sisters' Gray ancestors had once lived a region that is now the United States; specifically the Lake Champlain area on the border of Vermont and New York. The Grays were loyal to the King of England during the American Revolution. Like many Loyalists, the Grays thus fled to Canada when the war turned in favor of the Patriots. The Grays lived in a refugee camp in Quebec under very rough conditions. After the war, Mr. Gray, who had served in the war on the side of the British, was granted land in Canada near the St. Lawrence River. I too have ancestors who settled along the Canadian side of the St. Lawrence but they were actually from my Patriot line.

All in all I thought it was a good episode; not my favorite though. The one thing I did really like is that it showed relatives researching together. I don't think WDYTYA has done that before. And in a way, it reminded me very much of my research adventures with Cousin Mary over at Threading Needles in a Haystack. She and I are 6th cousins once removed - very distant by most peoples' standards but not as far apart as it seems. It is always nice to research with her, to have someone with which to share the excitement of a discovery, the shock and awe, and sometimes the frustration and murderous plots. I kid, we're not planning to kill our common ancestor, Jacob Raynor. He's long dead. We're just gonna kick his ass when we get to the other side for leaving no records behind. Grrrr, Jacob, grrrr.

Next week’s episode will feature actress Valerie Bertinelli.