Okay, so this post will be a bit of rant mixed with some fun genealogy. Last year, a great-grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt asked for my assistance in making a chart to demonstrate the mildly complicated nature of the presidents’ maternal grandparents and their previous spouses. More on that in a moment. I also mentioned to the great-grandson that years ago, thanks to late William Addams Reitwiesner, I learned of one of the more surprising close kinships of the 26th President, to presidential assassin Lee Harvey Oswald! Mr. Roosevelt said he would be interested in that chart as well, so I made the chart below that demonstrates the kinship. Similar in pattern to the kinship I had described in a previous post regarding the kinship of Mark Wahlberg and Nathaniel Hawthorne, Theodore Roosevelt’s matrilineal ancestors are the patrilineal ancestors of Lee Harvey Oswald, making them third cousins once removed, with their common ancestors being Joseph and Anne (Carter) Oswald of Liberty County, Georgia. Continue reading Roosevelts without middle names
I recently gave a talk to the Colorado Sons of the American Revolution (my first in-person lecture in over two years, and first time in Colorado!). My talk was on the ancestors of American presidents, 1789-2022, and specifically spoke to which presidents have joined, or could have joined, the S.A.R., while also noting that several presidents lived before the organization was founded in 1889. A Pittsburgh chapter of the S.A.R. had a page showing the sixteen presidents who were members of S.A.R. themselves, from Rutherford B. Hayes through George W. Bush. (The page also shows Grant, who died before the S.A.R. was founded but was a member of a parent organization, the Sons of Revolutionary War Sires.) Continue reading Patriotic presidential ancestors
As I was driving to the grocery store recently, I saw an electronic billboard featuring a design of colored barbed wire with the date February 19, 1942. I realized instantly that this is a second “date which will live in infamy,” and one that quickly followed the first. On that date President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed Executive Order No. 9066, authorizing the internment of Japanese Americans living along the West Coast … two-thirds of whom were American citizens.
As a young girl, I had heard a bit about what happened from my grandparents. Many neighbors of Japanese descent had been required to assemble at Portland’s Pacific International Livestock Exposition Center, where they lived in repurposed animal buildings until rudimentary camps were constructed throughout the West and Midwest. Continue reading Sailors will be sailors?
In January, Ann Lawthers urged genealogists visiting cemeteries to apply some of the insights garnered from their research, in this case about how the changing cultural norms around death translated into stone: Continue reading 2021: the year in review
Over the fall, our daughters took an art class at the Museum of Fine Arts each Sunday. This gave my wife and me two hours to stroll around the museum, enjoy a leisurely lunch or, weather permitting, enjoy the outdoors. While visiting a section of Japanese art, I noticed a lot of the art work was donated by American art collector Denman Waldo Ross (1853-1935), a trustee of the museum. I have encountered Ross’s middle name of Waldo several times over the years, and for New Englanders this usually indicates a descent from Cornelius Waldo of Ipswich and Chelmsford, Massachusetts. Continue reading Where’s Waldo?
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
– Hebrews 11: 1
A comment on my recent post, Seeing double, reminded readers of yet another tribute honoring the Pilgrim legacy, the National Monument to the Forefathers. The gentleman who commented called the monument one of Plymouth’s best kept secrets. Its location, off-the-beaten path, on an 11-acre site in a residential neighborhood, does make it less-visited than the iconic Mayflower and Rock.
It has been said that the monument’s sheer size and multitude of visual elements, the centerpiece of which is the figure of Faith, overwhelms modern sensibilities. It is not signposted on the highway, Route 3, but only on Route 3A, the secondary road into Plymouth, and since that is the road I take, I always make the “detour” up the hill to visit. Continue reading The power of Faith
Finding Aaron, it turned out, meant finding Francis, a family connection in my own backyard. I’ve written several posts about my genealogical journey to learn about my maternal grandfather, John Joseph Osborne, and, in the course of that journey, I discovered ancestral roots in the ancient colony of Acadia in Nova Scotia; family members accused during the Salem Witchcraft hysteria; a great-great-great-grandfather who was one of the first patients to be operated on using ether; and a great-great-great-great-great-grandfather, Aaron Osborn (the older version of the surname was spelled without the last e), who set out with his fellow Danvers militiamen on the morning of 19 April 1775 to answer the Lexington Alarm. Continue reading Finding Francis
Beautiful Jim Key was a famous horse born in 1889 and owned by the former slave, self-trained veterinarian, and patent medicine salesman William Key. William was a skilled horseman who rescued an Arabian mare, a badly abused former circus horse, and bred her to a Standardbred stallion. Continue reading Beautiful Jim Key
An occasional question I receive relates to two practices used in publications by my longtime friend and colleague, Gary Boyd Roberts, that I would summarize as retroactive suffixes and surnames. The latter is used in many other genealogical compendia, largely in relation to royal genealogy (which I’ll discuss in part two of this post), while the former is perhaps less common, and used more often in identifying Americans after 1620. I would identify Gary as belonging to “Team Present,” in terms of using a modern genealogical naming system for past eras, while Vita Brevis editor Scott Steward would belong to “Team Contemporary” in trying to identify people by the names they used in their lifetimes. I would put myself in “Team Whatever,” usually omitting suffixes entirely, except when their contemporary identification is useful to determine how they might fit genealogically into a family. Continue reading Retroactive suffixes
With Patriots’ Day almost upon us, I feel especially lucky to be working remotely from my historic hometown of Lebanon, Connecticut. While many New England towns have their own history during the Revolutionary War, Lebanon to this day is still very much defined by its patriotic past. Although large in acreage, Lebanon has one of the smaller populations. As a small town in eastern Connecticut, Lebanon consists primarily of farms, rural roads, historic homes, and a deep-rooted patriotic history. Continue reading Heartbeat of the Revolution