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 August 31, 2015

Two recent episodes of the “Who Do You Think You Are” TV series in the US and the UK featured celebrities discovering Huguenot roots. American TV host Tom Bergeron and British actor Derek Jacobi learned about their French Huguenot ancestors and the challenges they faced in the 16th and 17th…

Read More Huguenot – or not?

Published July 28, 2015

There is a very good historical drama showing currently on PBS, called The Crimson Field. It takes place at a field hospital in France during World War I. The military personnel in the series are part of England’s Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC). The show deals with a variety of…

Read More The Crimson Field and Bovril Alley

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 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 March 5, 2015

Because many genealogical records from the island of St. Kitts have not been digitized and put online, I have often turned to civil registry records on microfilm. While looking through page after page of Kittitian death records from the mid 1800s, I suddenly noticed that over the space of just…

Read More St Kitts – The Flood of 1880

Published March 1, 2015

As the northeast United States experiences record cold temperatures this winter, I have been reading about how the brutally freezing European winter of 1709 led to the immigration of a number of my ancestors from the southwest area of Germany known as the Palatine region. The surnames of Palatine Germans…

Read More Cold enough for you?

Published February 10, 2015

Known for beautiful scenery and stately mansions, the Hudson River was once home to some pretty radical thoughts and actions. Among my paternal ancestors in this area was a family of 18th century Dutch settlers called Dederick. Jury William Dederick lived in Saugerties, NY, and was active in local politics…

Read More Hudson River Valley – radical hotbed?