Published April 10, 2022

My maternal grandfather Frank F Jordan (1895-1975) grew up in Volant, Pennsylvania. He enlisted in the army in 1917 and was assigned to the 324th Signal Corps. He trained at Fort Meade in Maryland, but never fought overseas. Searching Pennsylvania newspapers from the period, I learned that he was actually…

Read More World War 1 and a tale of two cousins

Published March 23, 2022

Everyone has skeletons in their family history closet, known and unknown. Some can seem quaint and even funny to us today, like my Coles ancestor who had to wear a scarlett “D” for drinking more alcohol than his puritan neighbors liked. But other skeletons can be viewed through current eyes…

Read More A tragic enslavement story

Published December 4, 2021

In 1791, Alexander Hamilton was the Secretary of the Treasury in the brand new United States of America. Hamilton proposed a tax on distilled spirits production to help pay down the national debt incurred during the Revolutionary War. In spite of opposition from people like Thomas Jefferson, congress approved the…

Read More The whiskey rebellion – defying Alexander Hamilton

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 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 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 675,000 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…

Read More The heavy toll of an influenza epidemic

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

Published January 30, 2017

In the early 20th century, men were often in the majority in co-ed colleges. In my grandfather’s graduating class of 1919 however, he was the only man. This unusual situation was due to world events of the time. Frank F. Jordan was a young man from Lawrence County, Pennsylvania. His…

Read More The male minority

Published May 6, 2015

My 4th great-grandfather was Henry Jordan (1755-1847). He came to the US from Germany, as a Hessian soldier paid by the British government during the Revolutionary War. The family story was that he was captured after the Battle of Trenton in December of 1776 and joined the American army. In…

Read More Henry Jordan and The Affair at Little Egg Harbor

Published April 25, 2015

Through the Daniels family, my mother’s western Pennsylvania ancestors are 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 on…

Read More The infamous King Beebe