Published August 7, 2018

Among the surnames of the St Kitts branch of my husband’s family tree is Maillard. Ann Francis Catherine Maillard (1828-1919) his 2nd great-grandmother, married William Mallalieu. William and Ann lived in the parish of Saint Ann, located on the northern half of the island. Curious about how far back the Maillards may…

Read More St Kitts land grab

Published January 28, 2018

1918 saw a devastating influenza pandemic that killed anywhere from 50 million to hundreds of millions of people worldwide, and upwards of 675,00o in the US alone. One hundred years later,  we are experiencing another wave of flu that has already claimed the lives of several dozen patients. One aspect of the 1918 outbreak…

Read More The heavy toll of an influenza epidemic

Published December 17, 2017

Ice hockey is believed to have common roots with the sport of golf: they may both descend from an old Dutch game called “kolf” or “colf”. The summer version of kolf was played outdoors on the grass or streets, with players competing to hit a distant target (a stick or…

Read More Ice hockey in the new world

Published November 28, 2017

My husband’s ancestors from St Kitts include his 3rd great-grandparents originally from Madeira, Francisco Ricardo de Meneses Cabral and Libania Joaquina Vieira da Silva. Their daughter Eliza was his 2nd great-grandmother, while another daughter Ascenia Augusta was the grandmother of Edgar Oscar Challenger (1905-2000), a labor leader and historian of St…

Read More Edgar Challenger in the FDR presidential library

Published October 9, 2017

My husband’s great grandfather Maurice John Macauley was an Irish physician who lived much of his life in England. Maurice’s older sister was Mary Elizabeth Macauley, born in 1868 in Belfast. Mary Elizabeth was married, for a very brief time, to another physician (both her husband and Maurice John attended…

Read More The wonderful jabberwocky animals

Published August 21, 2017

My paternal grandmother’s father was called Christopher Scaife Betterton. A carriage striper by profession, he came with his family to the US from England at age five. His father William Frank Betterton was a shoemaker in Sheffield who brought his young family to Rhinebeck NY in 1841. Christopher’s middle name was…

Read More Nice digs!

Published June 21, 2017

  The Moravian Archives in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania holds a wealth of period documents from their missionary efforts in St Kitts. Examination of the death records from 1854 shows a heartbreaking number – page after page – of parishioner deaths from cholera. Unfortunately, a combination of poor sanitary conditions and ignorance about…

Read More A fog of ignorance in the cholera epidemic of 1854

Published April 29, 2017

What did my husband’s Scottish ancestors have to do with protecting the expensive clothing, shoes, and powdered wigs of the wealthy? The Scottish branch of his family goes back in time from the surnames Dickson, to Garlick, to Balleny, and finally to Yule. His 5th great-grandfather Thomas Yule was born…

Read More Coming through!

Published April 4, 2017

In the civil marriage and birth records of St Kitts, my husband’s 2nd great grandfather Richard Johnson Marshall is listed as a school master, with race recorded as “colored”. It is known that he was born about 1845 on the nearby British West Indian island of Antigua, only a few…

Read More Mico – A path to education after slavery

Published March 5, 2017

Nicholas Cresswell was a young British man who traveled to the American colonies in 1774, stayed for about three years, and recorded his experiences in a diary. In April of 1775, he had made his way to what is now western Pennsylvania. On April 15th, he wrote “Crossed Jacob’s Creek…

Read More A grisly sight on the banks of the Monongahela