Published October 2, 2021

“Six degrees of separation” is an esoteric math concept that began with a short story written in 1929. The idea is that in an ever shrinking world, the connections between any two people might be reduced to no more than six associations. A popular exercise is to find six degrees…

Read More Six degrees of separation

Published August 18, 2021

In researching my husband’s Cannonier ancestors from St Kitts, I have come across connections to Cannoniers from Montserrat. I’ve also found one Cannonier who appears on the small West Indian island of Dominica. Originally populated by the native Ortoroid, Arawak and then Kalinago (also known as Carib) peoples, it was…

Read More A Cannonier from Dominica

Published June 27, 2021

Period newspapers can provide some very interesting reading as historical backgrounds for family research. My husband’s great-great-grandmother, Lillian Gracey Macauley (abt. 1836-1920) was a comfortably situated, upper middle class, Irish Catholic housewife living in Belfast in the 19th century. I found an article from the Belfast Morning News from November…

Read More The fighting priest of Gweedore

Published May 13, 2021

An online book selling marketplace is offering for sale a letter written in 1831 to my husband’s 3rd great-grandfather from St Kitts, Frederick Walton Mallalieu. In the letter, a London banker named William Wilson is pushing the services of his newly formed firm of Hankeys, Plummer & Wilson, in the…

Read More Sugar boom and bust

Published February 19, 2021

The Washington Post uses a rating system for statements made by politicians – the more Pinocchios earned, the less truthful the statement. That kind of analysis might be used in genealogy, to rate the accuracy of old family lore passed down through the generations. Is the old story completely wrong…

Read More Family lore – how many Pinocchios?

Published January 28, 2021

A 1764 diary of one Jabez Fitch provides a quick glimpse into an episode in one of my Brewster ancestor’s history. Jabez, a cousin of my 6th great-grandfather William Brewster, wrote about meeting William when he traveled from his home in the Oblong area of Dutchess County, New York to…

Read More Dangerous Times in Virginia

Published January 13, 2021

My husband’s 3rd great-grandfather was Frederick Walton Mallalieu (1802-1851), who was born in Lancashire, England, and came as a young man to the British West Indian island of St Kitts about 1820 and worked as the manager of the Belvedere sugar plantation. Only just leaving his teen years, his duties…

Read More Hidden story behind manumission

Published November 30, 2020

The voices of enslaved people of the past can sometimes be heard, albeit rarely and in painfully brief snippets. On the island of St Kitts, once part of the British West Indies, slavery existed until the 1830s. While the enslaved were brutally treated and had precious few rights, one avenue…

Read More The voices of the enslaved

Published October 21, 2020
Published September 16, 2020

In the mid 1980s, my husband’s Kittitian grandmother sketched a quick family tree of her ancestors. On her maternal side, she wrote a few minimal facts… her grandfather was a Cannonier, whose family came from France or Italy, she thought, and her grandmother was labeled only “Cabral, Madeira”. We also…

Read More Tracing an ancestor from Madeira to the West Indies