Friday, August 7, 2020

Mecklenburg County, Virginia Genealogy

One of my genealogy colleagues has a wonderful website with much of her research in Mecklenburg County. She is in the process of writing a monograph on the Newman family line. Check her website, Julie's Mecklenburg, Virginia Discoveries and search surnames, photos of people and places, African-American resources, Chancery records, churches, plats and land notes, oral histories and interviews, and more. Her Website is:

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

"Women as bright as Stars" by Rosemary Rowland

Researching female ancestors is a difficult task. Women are left out of the history books. Their busy lives and contributions to family and community oftentimes ignored. 

Thanks to Rosemary Rowland, the women of the small rural village of Newfield, New York are recognized and now part of written history. 

Rosemary starts her books with a quote from author Donald Dean Parker, who wrote Local History, How to Gather it, Write It, and Publish It. Mr. Parker states: It is not, after all, the highly trained historian who will write the local history of each community in this vast country. If the local history of the United States is to be written at all, it will have to be done by an interested, if amateur citizen or citizens in each community."

I would not say Rosemary is an "amateur," because she has published a well researched and documented book. But she does fit into Mr. Parker's category as an interested citizen of the community in which she lives.

To give a glimpse of the scope of her research into the women who called Newfield home during the 1800s, there are nine pages, two columns of names in the index.

This book is not just for those who have female ancestors in the Tompkins County, New York area. Rosemary divided the chapters into categories, such as Land, Farming, Business, African Americans, The Arts, Education, etc. Consequently, any family historian can learn the issues of the day, can learn what daily life was like for women everywhere during the 19th century.

Her book, recently published, has garnered much interest. Bravo! Rosemary. A job very well done.

To order your copy email Rosemary at:


Thursday, July 2, 2020

St. Joseph's Home Peekskill, New York - Contact information

Several years ago I contacted the Franciscan Sisters in Peekskill, New York to inquire about my grandfather's records. My grandfather, Harry Nunn, and six of his eight siblings were admitted into St. Joseph's Home in June 1900. I had worked eight years to break through this family's brick wall. I had no idea where the records would be, but I was on a mission. 

To my surprise a lovely nun came to the phone and when asked where I could get my grandfather's records, she replied in a soft tone, "I have them." You could have knocked me over with a feather!! This lovely person worked with the home's archives and appreciated genealogy. She copied my grandfather's intake and outtake documents as well as those of each of his siblings. The day the postman delivered that manila envelope I was in "heaven." 

Over the years I've posted several blogs about St. Joseph's home, and it is the most visited blog of any I have written. I still receive requests from family historians on how to get their family records from St. Joseph's Home. Since it has been quite a few years since I received my grandfather's records, I decided to find out what the latest procedure was. The last I knew, since the nun who help me had passed away, no one else had stepped forward to respond to these requests.

I sent an email to the Field Library in Peekskill, and was delighted to learn that the reference librarian who I'd met all those years ago, is still there and has worked with the Franciscan Sisters to make records available. The Sisters have given permission to add their contact information on the library's website. It is listed under Local History. 

The contact is: Sister Laura and any information about St. Joseph’s Home can be obtained by emailing Sister Laura at  Please include St. Joseph Home Request in the Subject line. 

Friday, November 22, 2019

John and Sarah Decker of Cayutaville, New York

We are so excited that hubby's book, The Descendants of John and Sarah Decker, is now available on Sign in to FamilySearch and click on "Books." Then Search John Decker, Cayuta, NY. The book is digitized and searchable. The text, photos, and descendant charts for each generation comprises 53 pages, two maps of the area are on page 2. There are forty-seven pages have newspaper clippings of birth/marriage/death, society notes, military notes. The index is four pages, two columns.

It was so neat to read through this work online. Hubby had the book bound by Bridgeport Bindery near Springfield, MA, then sent a copy to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. Besides having the book on their library shelves, they digitized it for all to read. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

The Death of Cassie White

Cassie White is not a family member, though she feels that way to me. And yes, this is a shameless commercial. Cassie White is the reason I've not had time to devote to chasing down my ancestors. She is the subject of the third Caitlyn Jamison mystery that I've written/published over the past four years. The writing is fun, challenging, and provides a learning event every day. Just like genealogy. But putting on the marketing hat, which every author has to do if they want to sell books, is not an easy one for most writers. Me included. Below is a synopsis of the story. The books can be purchased directly from me (signed), or on or Barnes and Noble online. Please pass the word. Thanks!!!

Caitlyn Jamison, a self-employed graphic artist living in a suburb of Washington, DC, is strong willed, and when confronted with an injustice, she throws caution aside and pursues the case. This passion for justice is how she met, worked with, and then developed a personal relationship with Sheriff Ethan Ewing.

The first two books, An Unexpected Death and Fatal Dose are set in the Finger Lakes Region of Upstate New York. The third book, The Death of Cassie White, is set in Virginia’s Northern Neck.

The Caitlyn Jamison mysteries feature strong characters, interesting and current plot lines, where clues and red herrings are interspersed to keep the reader turning the pages. After reading An Unexpected Death, one retired New York State police chief said, “You had me. I missed that one clue . . .”

In The Death of Cassie White, Caitlyn is in Ingram Bay, Virginia, to interview with a potential client, one that is located in the same town to where her parents have recently moved. When the interview ends, she learns that skeletal remains were discovered in conservation land adjacent to her parents’ home. Against all advice, she pursues the case.

Her investigation brings her in contact with marine biologist Chad Owens who is working to solve his own mystery—a new and dangerous dead zone has developed in the Chesapeake Bay. She’d met Dr. Owens in Fatal Dose when she was in Riverview, New York, and he was monitoring the health of the Finger Lakes.

In the meantime, and unbeknownst to Caitlyn, her crime solving partner and romantic interest Ethan Ewing, has accepted another position, closer to Caitlyn, and is immediately sent to Ingram Bay on a suspected kidnapping case. Ethan and Caitlyn run into each other, quite unexpectedly, and their investigations become intertwined with Chad’s. Their cases are not without peril as they learn that the quaint town of Ingram Bay, Virginia, is full of secrets.

M.E. Maki Bio
Mary E. Maki grew up in the Finger Lakes Region of Upstate New York where her first two mystery books are set. Her third Caitlyn Jamison mystery is set in Virginia’s Northern Neck. A work in progress is a suspense novel set in Savannah, Georgia.

As well as writing mysteries, Mary is a family historian. Along those lines, she played an integral part on the team that produced three volumes of the Newtown (CT) Oral History Project, the Ulysses Historical Society (NY) Oral History Project, and the Newfield, NY Historical Society Oral History Project. She is a volunteer at the Historic Fredericksburg Foundation, Inc. and on the committee to create a visible likeness of the 18th century Fielding Lewis Store.

Mary is a member of Sisters in Crime, Fredericksburg’s Old Town Sleuths, and the Central Rappahannock Regional Library’s Memoir and Fiction Critique writing groups.



Published Works:
An Unexpected Death
Fatal Dose
The Death of Cassie White

Contact Information:

Sunday, November 17, 2019

John and Bridget Conlon of Bronx, New York

Another day of searching for a connection between the Conlon siblings so that I can prove that my Nana (Mary Agnes Doyle) and Mary (Mae) Conlon were truly cousins.

In the 1915 New York State Census, I found Mae and her bothers Edward, George and Lawrence living as “boarders” in the 1902 Wallace Street, Bronx home of John and Bridget Conlon. I learned that John worked his whole career as a street cleaner for the City of New York, as did Nana’s father, Patrick Doyle.

By 1917, the Conlon children were living at 164 East 97th Street, Manhattan, New York in the Doyle household.

John (b: abt 1871) and Bridget (b: abt 1873) had four children: Katherine (b: 1901), Elizabeth (b: 1903). Margaret (b: 1904), and Michael (b: 1912). I followed this family through 1940 where they lived in the same house (owned), and at that time, John was age 70, Bridget age 68, Elizabeth 36, and Michael 28 lived at home.

In 1910, John and Bridget had John Higgins (21), James, Thomas, and Peter Dignan, and George Markey “boarding” with them. In 1920, six year old Charlotte Sisler, William and Harold Shant, also six, all born in Ireland were “boarding” with them. More cousins? Or were the Conlon’s paid to take in boarders? But this last group were only six year olds. Another mystery to be solved.

Earlier in the year, my sister took a DNA test and the results came back she was closely related (second cousin, I believe) to a woman who was searching her Irish ancestors: Carney, Farley, Flanagan, Loreth, and Lahey. The woman whose test results were similar has not returned my sister’s attempt to contact. I’m hoping that some of these names will appear as I chase down the Conlon family.

No results on a Findagrave search for John, Bridget or Edward Conlon.

John and Mae (Conlon) Harrington of the Bronx, New York

On 24 March 2011 and 4 January 2013 I wrote blog posts about this couple. Mae is my grandmother’s cousin. In the past I’ve found very little about her and her family. Yesterday I decided to try again.

Thanks to Reclaim the Records, the books listing New York City marriages have been posted online. In 1930 Mae lived with my grandparents Harry and Mary (Doyle) Nunn in the Bronx. In 1940 Mae and her husband John Harrington were living in the Bronx, and stated they were at that same address in 1935. That cut the window for their marriage to five years. Their marriage date was found to be 25 March 1932. (Note my first blog post about Mae was a day after her 25 March wedding date-coincidence?)

My main goal is to connect Mae’s father, Edward Conlon, with my great-grandmother, Margaret (Conlon) Doyle. That I did not accomplish. But I’m getting close. There are other mysteries surrounding this family. I believe the mother Mary (O’Donnell?) Conlon died between 1905 and before the 1910 census as Edward listed himself as widower. I need to find her death date and cause of death. Then what happened to her husband, Edward? Mae and Anna disappear for a few years, until Mae is seen living with the Doyles. Where’s Anna? Mae’s brothers are in an orphanage, until they, too, are living with the Doyles in the 1920s.

I found an family tree that had Mae’s brother Edward married to Elizabeth “Lil” E. Graham (1892-1973). Earlier I’d found from a census document that Edward had a wife named Elizabeth, but had no maiden name. Now I do. Unfortunately, the woman who posted this tree on Ancestry has not been active for over a year. I sent her an email anyway, but we know what that tells us – sigh.

The other problem with this family is most did not marry, and the ones that did produced one or no children. There might not be much more information to be found, but their story deserves to be told and I intend to do that.