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

Published September 7, 2020

Most of my paternal ancestors lived for hundred of years in the Hudson River valley of NY State, from Putnam County in the south, extending up to Albany in the north. One lady from my Brewster line did something quite different – she followed her husband to the California gold…

Read More Go west, young man – and woman

Published August 19, 2020

A couple of weeks ago, I was idly googling about my husband’s Martin ancestors from Norfolk who were millers or in mill management. Using the search terms “John Martin” and “mill” brought up a hit that was a bit of a shock, and opened up a whole new family branch…

Read More A shocker, courtesy of the Google machine

Published July 22, 2020

I’ve written several blog posts regarding the Cannoniers of St Kitts. My husband’s great grandmother was Margaret Johanna Cannonier, born in 1868, daughter of a planter on the Lamberts sugar estate. Her father was John Henry Cannonier, about whom little is known. He was born about 1832, married Madeiran Eliza…

Read More A Cannonier connection to newspaper publishing?

Published July 3, 2020

In my last blog post, I wrote about a connection between my husband’s 2nd great grandmother Lillian Ann Gracey (c.1836-1920) and the Irish scholar and politician Eoin MacNeill. Now I’ll turn to another mystery, regarding Lillian’s father Robert Gracey. Lillian married twice: first to Arthur Boyle in 1855, then to…

Read More The mysterious Mr. Gracey

Published June 24, 2020

Eoin MacNeill was an influential Irish scholar and a key figure in the emergence of an independent Republic of Ireland in the early twentieth century. He was a co-founder of the Gaelic League, which sought to re-introduce the study of Gaelic language, history, and culture in Ireland. He led the…

Read More The mysterious Eoin MacNeill connection

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