Published August 24, 2022

Going back to the 1600s on my maternal grandfather’s tree, I’ve traced back to Laurens Jansen De Camp (about 1645-1719), a Huguenot who came to New Amsterdam in the 1660s. In the New World, he married Aeltje Mandeville, a Dutch woman born about 1657 in Holland. Aeltje’s father was Yellis…

Read More Location, location, location!

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 January 28, 2021

A 1764 diary of one Jabez Fitch provides a quick glimpse into an episode in one of my Brewster ancestor’s history. Jabez, a cousin of my 6th great-grandfather William Brewster, wrote about meeting William when he traveled from his home in the Oblong area of Dutchess County, New York to…

Read More Dangerous Times in Virginia

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 26, 2020

Always looking for new sources of records for my husband’s ancestors from St Kitts, I recently found a treasure trove of old records digitized on the Family Search website, for a small island just off the coast of St Kitts. St Eustatius (aka Statia) sits about 5 miles west of…

Read More A tiny island at the crossroads of the world

Published June 16, 2019

Participation in a DNA surname project through FamilyTreeDNA has shown that my Brewster line descends from Elder William Brewster, passenger on the Mayflower and religious leader of the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts. The tricky part comes in documenting the tree from 1620 down to the present day. The older parts of the tree…

Read More Going off grid in The Oblong

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