Light a Candle for Thanksgiving

Plymouth, England, and Plymouth, Massachusetts, are already beginning celebrations (which will culminate in 2020) for the 400th anniversary of the voyage of the Mayflower, with special events on both sides of the Atlantic. “As one small candle may light a thousand, so the light here kindled has shown unto many” –Plymouth Colony Governor William... (Read More)

WWI Christmas Truce: When the Guns Stopped Firing

Introduction: Gena Philibert-Ortega is a genealogist and author of the book “From the Family Kitchen.” In this blog article, Gena tells a remarkable story: how the power of Christmas – with its hope of “peace on earth, good will to men” – temporarily stopped the fighting during WWI in 1914. By December 1914, Germany,... (Read More)

Ship Records for Genealogy: Newspapers & Passenger Lists

Every family historian wants to know the ship their ancestor came over on and the date that it arrived. Along with Thanksgiving, tomorrow we’ll be celebrating the arrival of the Mayflower in 1620. That trip took 66 days. Remarkably, when my ancestor William Kemp came to America 233 years later that trip still took... (Read More)

Are You Sure That Is How to Spell Your Ancestor’s Name?

Portraits of my Starbird ancestors hang on our wall on the landing at the top of the staircase. Over the years I have chained the family back from Martha Jane (Starbird) Richmond (1836-1905) to Robert Starbird (1782- ) to Moses Starbird (1743-1815) to John Starbird (1701-1753) to Thomas Starbird (1660-1723). All of them lived... (Read More)

Researching Your Family Heirlooms: Gaudy Dutch Pottery

Introduction: Mary Harrell-Sesniak is a genealogist, author and editor with a strong technology background. In this guest blog post, Mary shows how old newspapers can help you better understand your family heirlooms, focusing on some Gaudy Dutch pottery she inherited from her grandmother. The first step in compiling your family history begins in your... (Read More)

DNA Testing & Genealogy: Is It Working for You?

Clearly DNA testing is revolutionizing 21st Century family history research. DNA Testing Helps Orphan Find His Family There are heartwarming stories about successful DNA tests—like that of 80-year-old Patrick J. Holland, who was raised in an orphanage and through DNA testing finally found his family. Here is the full report on this touching family... (Read More)

Nursery Rhyme Origins Quiz: Meanings & History behind the Rhymes

Introduction: Mary Harrell-Sesniak is a genealogist, author and editor with a strong technology background. In this guest blog post, Mary provides another fun quiz to test your knowledge of the origins of some familiar nursery rhymes—and provides examples from historical newspapers. What was “Ring-a-Round the Rosie” really all about? Eventually all genealogists hear rumors... (Read More)