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”

John H. Kearns: Louisville, Kentucky

My neighbor’s whiskey-distilling ancestor, John H. Kearns, faced a fight in his hometown of Lebanon, Kentucky. The Temperance Movement worked hard and convinced his neighbors in the whiskey distilling town to go dry. John Kearns turned his attention to other business endeavors. While the Sunny Side Saloon was a popular watering hole in Lebanon, KentuckyContinue reading “John H. Kearns: Louisville, Kentucky”

John H. Kearns: Marion County, Kentucky

My neighbor is very aware of my interest in family histories and, after looking into his family history, I better understood his love of whiskey (which I share). His family, like mine, was scattered across the country and I have discovered that he has some very interesting ancestors; John H. Kearns (1858-1910) of Kentucky isContinue reading “John H. Kearns: Marion County, Kentucky”

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”

The Last Chapter: Frank Foote Part Three

Frank Foote, Jr. was convicted of manslaughter in the shooting death of George Clawson in December 1861 and experienced violence and death as a soldier during the Civil War from 1862 until 1865. He returned home to Cincinnati after the war to begin the last chapter of his short life, accompanied by the ghosts ofContinue reading “The Last Chapter: Frank Foote Part Three”

“On the Front Line All the Time.”: Frank Foote Part Two

Frank Foote, Jr., convicted of manslaughter in the shooting death of George Clawson in December 1861, found himself enlisted in Company I, 70th Ohio Volunteer Infantry in early 1862. He served in the regiment from 1862 until 1865, experienced a number of bloody engagements, until his discharge and return to Cincinnati. It is unclear exactlyContinue reading ““On the Front Line All the Time.”: Frank Foote Part Two”

“A Surly and Offensive Reply”: Frank Foote Part One

When studying an ancestor’s personal story, I often wonder how the events and actions they experienced impacted the course of their lives. In the case of my 3rd-great-uncle, Frank Foote, Junior, there is little doubt his death was hastened by the violence of his youth. (The Foote surname is spelled Foote and Foot in theContinue reading ““A Surly and Offensive Reply”: Frank Foote Part One”

Cleverest Young Boxer

Conducting family history and genealogy can be very rewarding for all the wonderful stories and people that you discover along the way. Family histories are also where one discovers the tragedies that one’s family has had to endure over the years. The story of Ernest “Kid” Eppenstiner, an up-and-coming boxer of the 1910s, is oneContinue reading “Cleverest Young Boxer”

The Acadian – Jean Poirier

One of the more interesting exercises in undertaking the study of family history in the United States is determining who was the very first, the “alpha” ancestor to arrive in North America for a specific family line. That individual may not be the most interesting of the family but their name can claim the uniqueContinue reading “The Acadian – Jean Poirier”