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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 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
  • Cemeteries
    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