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

Published June 29, 2019

My husband’s great uncle (who he grew up calling grandpa) was a Mallalieu, born in St Kitts in 1919. His middle name was Mumford, which would be considered unusual by most Americans today, but in his Kittitian family, it wasn’t the first occurrence. There was an earlier family member who…

Read More Crossed paths of Mumford and Mallalieu

Published June 16, 2019

Participation in a DNA surname project through FamilyTreeDNA has shown that my Brewster line descends from Elder William Brewster, passenger on the Mayflower and religious leader of the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts. The tricky part comes in documenting the tree from 1620 down to the present day. The older parts of the tree…

Read More Going off grid in The Oblong

Published March 31, 2019

While trying to reconstruct the history of family from Saint Kitts, I sometimes look at records in the Former British Colonial Dependencies Slave Registers. They can not only give clues to enslaved people, but also their slave owners. My husband’s third great-grandmother, Catherine Fasioux, was living in St Kitts in the early 1800s, where…

Read More Trying to make sense of slave registers

Published February 16, 2019

As a follow up to the blog post regarding an Andrew Cannonier of St Kitts, I have fallen down a rabbit hole with another Andrew Cannonier, who left the beautiful island of St Christopher and jumped, with both feet, into life as an American. I have found multiple Andrew Cannoniers…

Read More Jumping in with both feet

Published January 19, 2019

There are challenges researching the family tree for a surname like Smith or Jones, but it can be equally difficult to trace back an unusual last name. My husband’s great grandmother from St Kitts was born Margaret Johanna Cannonier (1868-1940), and I have been trying to make sense of how the…

Read More Cannonier – what’s in a name?

Published January 4, 2019

Today, the city of Beacon, NY is experiencing a resurgence as the “Brooklyn of the north”, home to art studios, hipster coffee shops, and affordable housing. At the turn of the twentieth century, when my grandparents lived there, it was know as NY State’s hat making capital, second only in US hat…

Read More Mad hatters