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”

Fallen Heroes: Private Daniel K. Hinkel

There are may families where multiple siblings serve their country in the military, in peacetime and during periods of conflict. A large percentage of those families’ sons and daughters will serve without suffering any loss at all. There are those cases however, like this one, where the family sacrifices one of those children to conflict.Continue reading “Fallen Heroes: Private Daniel K. Hinkel”

Fallen Heroes: Corporal Arthur T. Friley

Many imagine that only men from the Navy or Coast Guard saw duty on the numerous patrol boats that operated in the rivers of South Vietnam. The Army, however, also played a part in what they referred to as “riverine” operations. The story of this fallen hero is one example of that type of service.Continue reading “Fallen Heroes: Corporal Arthur T. Friley”

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”

Fallen Heroes: Specialist 5 James B. Alexander

The first Tuscarawas County soldier to lose his life in Vietnam was not some young-faced draftee straight out of high school. He was a career soldier who had served in two previous wars and been wounded in battle once. His death, and those that died with him that day, would bring the Vietnam War intoContinue reading “Fallen Heroes: Specialist 5 James B. Alexander”

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”

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”