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Family History Stories of the Past and Present
Sometimes, the journey is the reward
These our family stories - interesting tales we found along the way on our journey to discover our family history.
We hope you enjoy reading them and we hope they will inspire you to find your own family stories!
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The Wreck of the Angel Gabriel – My Ancestors who Crashed into America
While searching for Thomas Burnham (1623, Norwich, Norfolk, England - 19 May 1694, Ipswich, Essex, Massachusetts), I read an article about him possibly being one of three brothers who came to America
The “missing” Prussians and Beer
My oldest son, M***, (a senior in high school) was searching for colleges. He wanted to visit Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. As it turned out, some of the ancestors I was researching had lived near
Father and son in Civil War – How I “met” William Seward and Harriet Tubman
A fun weekend college searching with my son ended up with some unexpected finds. We brought both grandmothers along on a weekend trip. The purpose was to explore several colleges that my son was inter
I Met My Grandfather’s 93-year-old Cousin on the Internet
While searching for my family, I came across a posting from someone named Rapanault looking for a Renaud family. My great-grandmother was a Renaud and I remember her having a sister with the last name
Am I Royal?
My Memere always told me that she was French. Her family had came to the U.S. from Canada. It never occurred to me (or to her) that her family might have been partly German. We never wondered why the
He Ran Away From Home
If you would have asked his wife, Evelyn, up until October 28, 1913, she would have never guessed that her husband, Sherman Salisbury, would run away from home. Everything seemed to indicate that Sher
Grandmother and Grandchild Die Together
Charlotte Maria Burnham was born in Shaftsbury, VT in 1803. She was the daughter of Asa W. Burnham, a soldier in the Revolutionary War, and his wife, Lucy Huntington. Around 1824, the family moved to
The Relative Neighbor
In February 2007, I received a very random phone call from a man from South Carolina. Unfortunately, I was feeling pretty sick that day, so I didn't get the exact details. The man told me he had tried
I am the illegitimate mystery child
About a year or two ago, my mother told me a story about someone on the Internet claiming to be the child of either herself or her brother. She thought that someone might think she was rich and was lo
Great-grandfather of Benedict Arnold
In tracing my family, I discovered that I am a direct descendant of Thomas Waterman (one of the founders of Norwich, CT) and his wife, Miriam Tracy. Their daughter, Lydia, married Eleazer Burnham. Lyd
Hung as a witch
John Proctor came to America from England on the ship, "Susan and Ellen", in 1635. Accompanying him was his wife, Martha, age 28; his son, John, age three; and his daughter, Mary, age one. He is found
The Great Reno, Escape Artist
While looking for ancestors in a local cemetery, I came across a stone that read "The Great Reno (1890-1965)". I thought it was pretty funny that someone might have that on their gravestone. Knowing t
She wanted to be rich
I don't know how true this story is, but it's interesting just the same. It was found on rootsweb.com and was supposedly translated from: Une Genealogie Fontaine dit Bienvenu et ses descendants: 1668-
Willard and Walter
In July of 1888, Willard was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. He was the son of George W. Feige and Charlotte M. Salisbury. The proud grandparents on the Feige side were Wilhelm Friedrich Feige and
To those who come after us
I have wanted to write this for a while, but could not find the words. Looking back on this whole experience, searching for ancestors and developing this web site, I realize that it has become an o
As a child, I used to skateboard on cemetery roads. The local cemetery served as a playground. Reaching teenage years, yes, it became a place of romance (or a "makeout" spot, depending upon whether
Six Inches Under
There are many mystery graves in the cemetery. We have found several. This is the story of one. Last October (coincidentally Halloween), I discovered the grave of whom I thought might just be my g-
The Car Jack and the Hair Brush
It was supposed to be a cool autumn New England-type day, but typical of New England weather predictions, it turned out to be quite warm. We were in Connecticut on a mission: Find our ancestor's grave
The birth of Dauntless Spirit
Thanks to Micheline Gadbois MacDonald for sending us the story of the "birth" of her book, Dauntless Spirit. Dauntless Spirit is a historical fiction based on the life of Marie Pomponnelle. The book,
She was kicked out of her grave, which was kicked out of the cemetery...
Once upon a time, in the state of Massachusetts, there was a place called the "Swift River Valley"... "By the later part of the 19th century the valley towns were lively and productive. A branch o
Anita's Silver Baby Cup
Anita was born in Brooklyn in 1921. Three years later, Lou was born in Chicago. Fast forward 89 years to 2013. How did Lou, who has never heard of Anita, end up with Anita's silver baby cup in Pennsy
1867 - Why Do German Women Make Good Wives
"The culinary art forms a part of the education of women in Germany. The well-to-do tradesman, like the mechanic, takes pride in seeing his daughters good housekeepers. -- To effect this, the girl on
1914 - An interesting way to send a message
1914 - Carrier Pigeon is Bridal Messenger "NEW YORK, Nov. 3 - Ever since a Belgian rabbit escaped from one of the rooms on the fifth floor of the Prince George hotel, A. M. Gutterson, the assistan
The price of being "mean" in 1871
1871 Newspaper Article "The Pittsfield Mass., Eagle has unearthed the mean man of that village. He is 50 years old, worth $15,000, has driven all his four boys away from home by his stinginess and
A Really Bad Marriage
Julien La Touche, from La Rochelle, a soldier in the Grandfontaine Company of the Carignan Regiment, earned his living in the region of Trois-Rivieres. Because of his lack of talent as a farmer, he wa
Sorry, Mr. President
“Pittsfield, Mass., Sept. 3. - The President of the United States escaped a tragic death by only a few feet in a collision between his carriage and an electric street car in this city today, while one
The Deerfield Massacre - Capture of Himself, Wife and Others - Their Winter March to Canada
"Benjamin Burt was the twelfth child of David and Mary Holton Burt; he was born at Northampton, Mass., on November 17, 1680. During his childhood the borderland along the Connecticut valley was the th
1689 - Lachine Massacre
During the night of the 5th of August, 1689, amid a storm of rain and hail, 1400 Iroquois crossed lake St. Louis and silently disembarked near Lachine, and before daybreak, parties of them had surroun