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What you leave behind

This time last week I was busy packing up everything I needed to evacuate for Hurricane Irma.  My mom, two neighbors and I were leaving the coast of Florida and heading inland to hopefully avoid the worst of it and to get out of our house in the flood zone.

Filling the car with people, groceries, bedding and whatever else you may need for an undetermined amount of time and leaving is scary stuff.  This was my first serious hurricane experience.  I am a New Yorker, we buy bread and milk and wait for the plow.

We stored important documents, photos and sentimental things up high.  I took all my genealogy folders, books and files and put them in plastic storage boxes lined with garbage bags and placed them on top of my bed.  I covered them with more garbage bags and blankets.  It broke my heart a little to leave them behind, but under these circumstances this was the best I could do.  I said a prayer and drove to safety.  The predictions changed multiple times over the next few days.  I…
Recent posts

Olga Poyhonnen

Olga Poyhonen is my maternal great grandmother and one of my family's most recent immigrants.  Olga traveled to New York from Nilisa, Finland to live with her older sister after the death of her father.  She traveled alone, in steerage, and came to work as a seamstress with her sister, Minna.  


 I am still learning about Olga and her sister.  I will have a lot more to say about her and how I came to have this picture of her and her young son soon.  

I didn't want this day to end without posting about Olga.  It was on this date, May 11, 1893 that Olga first disembarked in the great city of New York and began her life in America.  She was 14 years old.

Elizabeth Cassidy Schuler

One of my lofty genealogy goals for this year is, after years of neglect, to spend time focused on my paternal lines.  It was my mother's family that first piqued my curiosity in genealogy and so for years, they captured most of my attention.  

Elizabeth Cassidy Schuler is my two times great grandmother.  That is reasonably close, I should know something, or at least more than I do about her.  I find her to be mysterious and intriguing and I am determined to learn more.  

The earliest documentation I can find for Elizabeth Cassidy is the 1855 New York State Census.  She is 5 years old, referred to as Betsy Ann, the daughter of George and Mary Cassidy.  She is their second child of eight and the oldest girl. 

From 1855 to 1870, the Cassidy's live in Ward 14 in lower Manhattan, spanning 15 years they move from Election District 1, to 3, to 4 where I have discovered they lived at 130 Prince Street.  An interesting neighborhood now, for sure.  I wonder what it was like in 1870?  And …

What's in a name?

Long time, no write!  

As the year draws to a close, I have been thinking a lot about the discoveries I have made during the course of the year and the brick walls I have been able to poke some holes in.  
Work and real life have gotten in the way and I haven't been able to write very much over this year, but I have been making some progress in my research.  
I was spending some of my research time today thinking about where I need and want to go from here.  Is 2017 the year of my do-over?  I have been reading about different ways of recording and organizing my information.I learned a lot reading and rereading Kerry Scott's book How to Use Evernote for Genealogy.It is revolutionizing my organizing! 

I have been reviewing notes and research, sorting through filled notebooks in the hope of creating a  game plan for next year and I was pleased and surprised by the amount of surnames I now consider mine. I counted 45!  
45 names! I want to learn the origin of these last names, I want t…

Mary Jones Blake

Mary Jones Blake, my maternal great-great grandmother was born on this day-January 12th in 1861.  One hundred and fifty five years ago.  I grew up hearing the occasional anecdote about her, but never really learning the facts of her life. 
Mary's life was an ordinary one, but at the same time extraordinary. She was born four months before the United States Civil War and died after the conclusion of the second World War.  The 1865 New York Census lists her parents as basket makers and they lived in Johnsontown, NY a rural hamlet forty miles and a lifetime North of Manhattan. Mary's parents were born in Johnsontown, and I suspect their parents were as well. So was her daughter and all five of her grandchildren including, in 1906 my grandfather.
In the 1920's and 1930's when Mary was a grandmother, Johnsontown and several surrounding towns were demolished by NY and NJ Pallisades Interstate Park Commission to make room for Lake Welch, a swimming area, park and picnic area fo…

Thanks & Giving

It's been more than a month since I have updated and I won't let that happen again.  

Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope that anyone reading this has had a wonderful meal with family and friends, with many things and people to be thankful for this season.  

Here are some things that I am grateful for:

My thanks to everyone who has been helpful and support of me in my pursuit of the people, records, photos and more that have built and continue to build my family trees. My sister Stephanie, is an enthusiatic sounding board. My mother and my Aunt Evie continue to offer historical context and help to sort fact from fiction.  I could write a whole post about the support and help I received from my beloved Aunt Nancy and plan to do that separately. I was inspired to start blogging about my genealogy experience after participating in Amy Johnson Crow's 31 Days to Better Genealogy Project on Facebook.  Several members took the time to read and comment and it was a positive and encouraging e…

The War of the Roses

Alacrity: brisk and cheerful readiness.

I have never given much thought at all to my family's ancestors in context to the Civil War.  I was always a History buff throughout school, but growing up in New York's Hudson Valley, my focus was squarely on finding my Revolutionary War ancestors.  Most of what I know about the Civil War is straight out of Little Women.  

I was surprised recently to discover at least four ancestors (I can confirm) are in deed veterans of the Civil War.  And looking over my timelines I am pretty confident there are more. 

I finally got around to joining the Orange County Genealogy Society and while perusing their website I discovered the treasure trove of publications they have for sale.  This is very fortunate for me, as I now live in FL and feel so isolated and cut off from the Rockland Room collection at the New City Library.  It is this collection that really got me started in genealogy.  

From the OCGS, I ordered Monroe, Orange County, NY 1865 Census a…