A “Blue Devil”: Joseph Aloysius Downey

As much as I enjoy researching the family histories of other people, my greatest satisfaction comes from exploring my own family’s history. It is especially satisfying when that research helps answer questions that may have been left unanswered for decades. This is one of those times. James Downey (1847- c. 1910) was born in IrelandContinue reading “A “Blue Devil”: Joseph Aloysius Downey”

The White Hill Chain Works of Fieldsboro, New Jersey

Old photographs often offer glimpses of what life was like for our ancestors, and the world in which they lived and worked. One such photograph of the White Hill Chain Works in my own collection did just that. All I had to do was take the time to look. During the 19th century the areaContinue reading “The White Hill Chain Works of Fieldsboro, New Jersey”

Michael Sunningshine and The Rocket’s Red Glare

One of the most fascinating things about conducting family history, whether your own or someone else’s, is the discovery of personal connections to significant historic events. My fourth great-grandfather, the subject of this post, was present at an event that has become part of the shared American consciousness. The greatest challenge of studying the SunningshineContinue reading “Michael Sunningshine and The Rocket’s Red Glare”

Harry Ashworth 1944-1945

When I was pursuing my master’s degree in military history, I decided that I wanted to give my grandfather an opportunity to help me document his military service. I created a questionnaire for him to fill out, and told him that I would not share any of the information he provided until after he, andContinue reading “Harry Ashworth 1944-1945”

Harry Ashworth 1943-1944

I use this blog as a chance to explore, and help others discover, the lives of people in their families and communities. It is fun, and therapeutic, for me to spend my free-time researching and writing about people whose lives may not have received any attention at all until now. This time I continue myContinue reading “Harry Ashworth 1943-1944”

Harry Ashworth 1942-1943

I use this blog as a chance to explore, and help others discover, the lives of people in their families and communities. It is fun, and therapeutic, for me to spend my free-time researching and writing about people whose lives may not have received any attention at all until now. This time I continue myContinue reading “Harry Ashworth 1942-1943”

When Harry Met Myrtle

I use this blog as a chance to explore, and help others discover, the lives of people in their families and communities. It is fun, and therapeutic, for me to spend my free-time researching and writing about people whose lives may not have received any attention at all until now. This time I continue myContinue reading “When Harry Met Myrtle”

Young Harry Ashworth

I use this blog as a chance to explore, and help others discover, the lives of people in their families and communities. It is fun, and therapeutic, for me to spend my free-time researching and writing about people whose lives may not have received any attention at all until now. This time I am goingContinue reading “Young Harry Ashworth”

A Document Unlocks a Life: Francis McManus

When conducting family history research sometimes a single document holds the key that unlocks an ancestor’s story that otherwise has been forgotten. Just such a document revealed itself while I was conducting research into the history of my great-grandmother Elnor Josephine McManus’s (1890-1975) family. This document, concerning her brother Francis (Frank) McManus’s (1886-1935) admittance toContinue reading “A Document Unlocks a Life: Francis McManus”

10,000 Miles: Jesse William Learish & the USS Asheville

One of the most enjoyable exercises in family history is when one is given a photograph of someone whose name or life has been lost to history. They stare out at you from the image, longing to be identified and to have their story told. My wife’s family had in their collection an image ofContinue reading “10,000 Miles: Jesse William Learish & the USS Asheville”