Published July 3, 2020

In my last blog post, I wrote about a connection between my husband’s 2nd great grandmother Lillian Ann Gracey (c.1836-1920) and the Irish scholar and politician Eoin MacNeill. Now I’ll turn to another mystery, regarding Lillian’s father Robert Gracey. Lillian married twice: first to Arthur Boyle in 1855, then to…

Read More The mysterious Mr. Gracey

Published June 24, 2020

Eoin MacNeill was an influential Irish scholar and a key figure in the emergence of an independent Republic of Ireland in the early twentieth century. He was a co-founder of the Gaelic League, which sought to re-introduce the study of Gaelic language, history, and culture in Ireland. He led the…

Read More The mysterious Eoin MacNeill connection

Published June 5, 2020

When looking at racial issues today in the United States, it’s important to look back in history to see where we were, where we’ve come, and where we need to go. One aspect of the history of enslavement of African Americans that may not be well known is that it…

Read More Slavery in Pennsylvania

Published April 22, 2020

I’ve written about a branch of my husband’s West Indian family tree that includes Edgar Oscar Challenger, an historian, scholar, and labor leader from St Kitts. My hubbie is related to the Challenger family through his 3rd great grandparents from the island of Madeira. There’s another Edgar O. Challenger who…

Read More He died in harness

Published February 22, 2020
Published January 26, 2020

Always looking for new sources of records for my husband’s ancestors from St Kitts, I recently found a treasure trove of old records digitized on the Family Search website, for a small island just off the coast of St Kitts. St Eustatius (aka Statia) sits about 5 miles west of…

Read More A tiny island at the crossroads of the world

Published December 6, 2019

New York City death records can provide a wealth of genealogical information. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to locate the death certificate of my husband’s 2nd great-grandmother, Ann Marie Richardson. Ann Marie came to NYC from St Kitts about 1900, with several of her adult children. She was part of…

Read More A renaissance man in Harlem

Published September 26, 2019

The new 2019 season of the BBC series Who Do You Think You Are features an episode on the ancestors of tv personality Sharon Osbourne. Her Victorian Irish ancestors fled the potato famine, sailing to Massachusetts in hopes of securing jobs in a textile mill that would provide happy, prosperous…

Read More The streets weren’t paved with gold

Published August 29, 2019

While looking through old civil birth records from St Kitts, I noticed a registration for the child of Carl C. Lyon, a photographer in the capital city Basseterre. The name rang a bell. A photograph has been passed down by my husband’s Kittitian family, featuring his great-grandmother Margaret Johanna Cannonier…

Read More The traveling photographer

Published August 13, 2019

Slavery was abolished in the British West Indies in 1834. The transatlantic trade of enslaved Africans was abolished by Great Britain in 1807. So how can multiple births appear in the vital records of St Kitts from the 1860s, classifying parents as Africans? The mothers in these cases were most…

Read More The “liberated Africans” of St Kitts