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 March 16, 2016

Among the many Palatine Germans in my family tree was a man named Jury William Dederich (1711-1786). He lived in Ulster County, NY, in a Palatine settlement called West Camp, located in the Hudson River Valley. Through ancestry.com, I recently found a copy of his will written in 1786. In…

Read More Hobnobbing with the Rockefellers

Published December 20, 2015

My Brewster tree goes back to the earliest New Netherlands settlers of the Hudson River Valley. One branch comes down from Pieter Janse Loockermans, an immigrant from Turnhout, a city in the Flemish section of Belgium. Pieter came to New Netherlands in about 1640 and settled in Beverwyck in present-day…

Read More First appearance of Santa Claus in the US – 1675

Published September 29, 2015

Great Britain in the early 18th century was becoming a naval superpower, with colonies that spanned the globe. They wanted to take advantage of the natural resources provided by these colonies, in order to supply their ever growing need for shipping capacity. The Palatine Germans of the Hudson River Valley…

Read More Immigrants, monopolies, and labor disputes – 18th century style

Published April 25, 2015

  Through the Daniels family, my mother’s western Pennsylvania family is descended from the interesting and colorful Beebe family of Long Island. Samuel Beebe (1631-1712) left Broughton, Northamptonshire, England in 1650, sailing to the Massachusetts Bay Colony. After settling for a time in New London, Connecticut, he eventually ended up…

Read More The infamous King Beebe

Published April 5, 2015

One of the founding fathers of the United States was an ancestor on my mother’s family tree, named Robert Coles. He connects to my maternal ancestors of Western Pennsylvania through his daughter Ann, who married into the Townsend family of Long Island. Robert came to the American colonies with the…

Read More Robert Coles – skeletons in the colonial closet

Published October 2, 2014

My mother’s family tree is composed primarily of German, English, and Scotch Irish ancestors who came to the US as far back as the 1600s. They eventually settled in Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio, but the earliest immigrants among them started out in New England and Long Island. After reading…

Read More The Townsends of Oyster Bay and Washington’s spy ring

Published September 29, 2014

On my Brewster/Betterton family tree, there is a large branch of Dutch and English ancestors who lived in the area of Albany, NY and the Hudson River valley. One such ancestor was Peter (Pieter) Mees Hogeboom. He was a Dutch merchant and landowner who lived during the 18th century in…

Read More Mum Bett – early civil rights figure