Thursday, September 21, 2017
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The island of Ireland, showing international border between Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland (Photo credit: Wikipedia) With My Aunt in It. My father’s people were German and English. My mother’s people were English and Scottish and Irish. My uncle, my mother’s younger brother, who never knew his father, took on a life-long hobby of researching the family’s genealogy and history. We are all in his debt. But, the story of Ireland was mixed. It seems our ancestor, Robert Notley, born in Manchester, England around 1720, was in the business of manufacturing linen. His work took him to... (Read More ...)

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, by Washington Irving The History Having recently visited my family’s homestead near Schenectady, New York, originally a Dutch settlement, stories from the area are of interest. My grandmother was buried in the cemetery of a Dutch Reformed Church, not unlike the one in Irving’s story. Ichabod Crane, Respectfully Dedicated to Washington Irving. by William J. Wilgus, artist chromolithograph, c. 1856 (Photo credit: Wikipedia) The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, by Washington Irving, is set in Tarrytown, New York, which is in the Hudson River Valley, like Schenectady,... (Read More ...)

My Great-Grandfather’s Name Was Abraham. Both my uncle on my mother’s side and my grandfather on my father’s side gathered extensive family genealogical records. This year, to celebrate my 65th birthday, my Texas-based brothers decided to gather their families with mine near Boston, where one of my sons lives. During the week, we drove to Guilderland Center, near where my father was born in Schenectady, New York. Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth President of the United States. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) There is an historic house, the Mynderse-Frederick House, there that used to belong to a... (Read More ...)

General Electric Research Laboratory in Schenectady, New York, United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia) What Is It About February and Suicide? I have long believed people have some control over the exact date of their death, short of a tragic accident. It may only be a day or two, or a week or two if they have some event they are trying to live to see. So, when my father died of a hemorrhagic stroke on February 12, 1991, four days after the stroke hit him, I thought he was trying to spare my mother the grief that would have marked Valentine’s Day the rest of her life. And, perhaps he was. But,... (Read More ...)

Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots Where Does the Name Covin Come From? My husband’s last name, Covin, is an Anglicized version of the original French name, Couvain. Apparently, a sailor, Jean-Pierre, from Marseilles, sailed with General Lafayette to serve in the American Revolutionary War. After the war, he asked permission to return from France and settle here. It is a very unusual name, except in South Carolina, where he first settled, Georgia, where my husband’s family has lived for five generations, and Texas, where one brother moved several generations after the first settlers.. Periodically,... (Read More ...)

Abraham Lincoln My mother chose my first name, Carol, so there would be no derivatives. Perhaps, it was because her name, Elizabeth, had so many derivatives – Liz, Liza, Beth, Ellie, Bett, Betsy, and the one she settled on, Betty. She took a lie detector test once and the technician, to get a baseline reading, asked her, “Is your name Betty.” “No.” He turned off the machine. She explained, “My name is Elizabeth. People call me Betty. So, for me no cute or teasing playground names. No annoying rhyming names. I was not born near Christmas, so it was not related... (Read More ...)

General Electric Research Laboratory in Schenectady, New York My uncle, who, for reasons I did not understand until I was in my 40s, never met his father, was fascinated by genealogy. Because of his interest and diligent research, including several trips to Ireland, I learned chilling and historically fascinating stories about our ancestors. My cousin has consolidated his father’s papers and taken up the research. In just one example, my mother’s ancestors, Scottish textile merchants, were approached by the British to resettle in Ireland, which they did. Some years later, textile exports... (Read More ...)

I know my first cousins. Second Cousin. Once Removed. Genealogy at the Family Christmas Party. We saw them about every five years when I was growing up. Each time, it was as though we lived across the street. Beyond that, however, my parents did not go. When I got to college, a boy called me and asked if I wanted to meet my Michigan cousins. “I don’t have any Michigan cousins.” As it turned out, he was right and I was wrong.  My grandfather had sisters who lived in Ohio and Michigan. My college roommate eventually introduced me to one of my great-aunts when she discovered the family connection... (Read More ...)