Family Herstory

I've spent fourteen years on this platform, writing about my family's trees. I've written about postcards and photographs, pension files and census lists. The most satisfying posts connected people to details in humanizing ways. Of course not every entry succeeded. I am much more discriminating about pressing "publish" these days, so fewer posts are getting … Continue reading Family Herstory

Grandma Serena Had A Cat

This week's #family history challenge--What's Your Favorite Discovery--from Amy Johnson Crow's #52Ancestors52Weeks sparked a vivid memory. In mid-January 2009 I discovered first hand what our nation's capital is like in winter. Washington, D.C.'s humid air wraps your body in a vise; a cold breeze off the river increases its grip. I walked briskly from the … Continue reading Grandma Serena Had A Cat

Reading Between the Lines: A note from Ira Sayles, 1869

This post examines the letter Ira Sayles, my great-great-grandfather, wrote to his brother James in July of 1869 for its tantalizing clues of sibling whereabouts.Many thanks to cousin, blog-reader, and James Sayles descendant, Sharon Babcock, for sharing her family stash.   A bit of Review Ira Sayles (1817-1894) was one of nine children born to … Continue reading Reading Between the Lines: A note from Ira Sayles, 1869

Leaf Litter from the Family Tree

The leaves from our deciduous forests are turning yellow, or brown, and dropping with alacrity to the ground.  They carpet every surface--grass, water, rocks, moss, driveways. For years I have used the family tree metaphor to structure my genealogical research.  Only today did it strike me that leaf litter can also be an inspirational metaphor, … Continue reading Leaf Litter from the Family Tree

Serena’s Lament

Great-great-grandparents Serena and Ira Sayles were married in April of 1845, in Alfred, New York, but spent much of their lives from 1862 until 1894 separated by the demands of a post-war nation. Throughout their marriage Ira was an amateur geologist, and his last decade was spent traveling up and down the east coast for … Continue reading Serena’s Lament