My Very Irish Ancestor – He Had Two Names?

Genealogy, History
[caption id="attachment_26733" align="alignright" width="480"] Fall River, Massachusetts (Winter 1896)[/caption]My last name is Summers. However, our ancestors spelled it Sommers. Dad changed it when he enlisted in the Army. Earlier, he signed his social security application with an "o" not a "u". His father spelled it John Sommers. His father was John Sommers as well. Or, was it William Keefe? You see, my Irish great-grandfather had an alias; he had two names. Why? And how did I learn of his alias? My Irish Ancestor: the Scenario Nothing else provides the pleasure of playing detective as researching the family tree! I began the journey in the 1980s. It didn't take long for me to "locate" my father's father's father, an Irish ancestor. He was born in Fall River, Massachusetts on the 29th…
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Wilson H. Fitzgerald – “Rags to Riches” in Camden NJ

Genealogy, History
Probably the name Wilson Fitzgerald doesn't ring a bell for you. He was an imposing fellow, but it is the time and events in which he was involved that make him interesting. Wilson H. Fitzgerald... 1. Was a member of the Philadelphia Resolution Hose Company. 2. He built dozens of homes in Camden, New Jersey. 3. Pioneered special business practices in Camden, New Jersey. 4. Once traveled the rails West on one of Raymond's Vacation Excursions. 5. Was guilty of assault and battery against a fellow City Council member.¹ 6. Found a large chunk of human flesh on his property 5 miles from an explosion. 7. Found twenty-five or thirty Revolutionary War cannonballs on his property. 8. Helped his son-in-law escape charges for embezzling from the Postal Service. 9. Had…
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Eye Color and Genetic Inheritance: Dominant -vs.- Recessive

Biology, Genealogy
[caption id="attachment_18792" align="alignright" width="440"] Brown eyes, blue eyes.[/caption] Upon dying, a parent may leave his or her child a pecuniary inheritance. Yet, this is not the first one. Even during life, a parent provides his child with more than one genetic inheritance. One such inheritance involves eye color. Each parent contributes one eye color gene to his child. This means there are two different genes that determine the color of a child's eyes. But if the two genes represent different colors, what color will his eyes be? Observe, Note, Predict During the mid-1800s, an observant man, Gregor Mendel raised pea plants. He noted different plants produced peas with predictable variances. Using deductive reasoning, he uncovered the principle of dominant and recessive genes. After his death, his findings were applied not…
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A Chance Encounter Leads to a Rendezvous with History

Genealogy, History
[caption id="attachment_17629" align="alignright" width="440"] The Breakers Hotel in Atlantic City, NJ.[/caption] A rendezvous with history? One day, a car group of about four of us were traveling through Arrington in Nelson County, Virginia. We turned on to a road called Cold Storage Lane. It soon formed a V-intersection with Copperhead Road. The wedge of land was thin, like a slim slice of cheesecake, and it was easy to see into the woods. Then one of us noticed a stone or two—grave stones. Likely it was a small family graveyard. I asked the driver to stop, as I would sometimes transcribe a small graveyard—write down the inscriptions appearing on the stones—and put them online for others to view. The stones read as follows: Presented by the Employees Of the Breakers Hotel…
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Colonel Jacob Bucher Ayres Married into the Royal Stewarts

Genealogy, History
[caption id="attachment_18300" align="alignleft" width="380"] A young Jacob Bucher Ayres.[/caption] The Ayres family can be traced from England through Ireland through Scotland to Pennsylvania, USA. There are other lines of Ayres, but the line we discuss here descends from Samuel Ayres married to Margaret Richmond. Jacob Bucher Ayres, who went by his middle name only, was son of William, son of John, son of William, son of Samuel. [caption id="attachment_14222" align="alignright" width="244"] Bucher's father William.[/caption] [Jacob Bucher] "Bucher" and George Bucher Ayres, along with six others, were children of William Sr. and Mary Elizabeth Bucher Ayres. Mary had been married once before, in 1812, to one John Swift, having a son likewise named John. The author has not yet attempted to trace that family line. However, there has proved to be…
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Misfortune Gave Me Life

Genealogy, People
[caption id="attachment_13225" align="alignright" width="440"] The Honourable Sir Wandesforde[/caption] One woman's misfortune gave me life! How is that? Sometimes things just work out that way. One person’s prosperity results in another person’s misfortune. The opposite is also true. One person’s misfortune can result in the prosperity of someone else. In my case, the misfortune of my 3X-great grandmother opened the way for “yours truly” to prosper. How so? Sometime in Ireland during the interval 1791 to 1795, Bridget “Biddy” Kavanagh was born. Most girls married and Biddy was no exception. It was about 1823 to 1825. The man was Thomas Large. The location was probably Castle Comer, County Kilkenny. The couple was apparently in the employ of the “Honourable” C.H.B.C.S Wandesford [1]. He would also have been their landlord. Life Turns…
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Newsflash! Solution to Mystery of a Tombstone Found in a VA River

Genealogy
[caption id="attachment_8599" align="alignleft" width="340"] A tombstone was found in a river...[/caption] There was a tombstone that was discovered in a river in Augusta County. The name was not clear, but what was decipherable included the words, “daughter of J. & S. J. Sutton, born May 17, 1869, died March 18, 1889.” What was the name on the stone? Who did it belong to? Tombstone: SUTTON The name on the stone, if the woman had been unmarried, was Martha C. Sutton. She was the daughter of Joshua and Sallie J. Sutton. But just a little research revealed much more than this. Joshua was married to Sarah Jane Ralston. Sallie is a common abbreviation for the name Sarah. This couple proved to be prolific. Martha C. married at age 18 to Ambrose…
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String Genealogy and My Connection to Actress Clara Bow

Genealogy, People
[caption id="attachment_7729" align="alignright" width="440"] The truly beautiful actress, Clara Bow.[/caption] Clara Bow was a (let's call a spade a spade) gorgeous silent movie actress who suffered an unusually difficult upbringing. Her father Robert though a capable man never prospered. As a result, the family was poor. Her mother Sarah, injured in a fall, suffered brain damage that severely affected her personality and behavior. Sarah was cared for by her daughter, even though Sarah had at one time, nearly murdered Clara. Her Career Although she had been picked on as a child, she was surpassingly successful in her role as actress, making 46 silent films and 11 talkies. Called the “It” girl because of her appearance in a film having that title, she was viewed as a sex symbol of the…
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My Connection to the Royal House of Stewart

Genealogy
What is the Royal House of Stewart? The Encyclopedia Britannica teaches us that the Royal House of Stewart was a family of Scotland, later in England, that dates back to 1371, ending with the death of Henry, Cardinal Duke of York, in 1807. Now I am not British—nor am I directly related to the House of Stewart. I was born in New Jersey of quite ordinary (if interesting) roots. So how can I claim there is a connection between myself and the House of Stewart? The Author’s Mother I am an avid enthusiast of genealogy, the pursuit of the family tree. I have been heavily involved in climbing that tree for nearly twenty years. One branch of the Ayres family, my tie-in (through my mother) with the Stewart name, involves…
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Deciphering a Cryptic 1700s Philadelphia German Tombstone

Genealogy
Decipher a German tombstone? What trick is there to that? I was once deeply involved in genealogy researches. A distant Kite family member had connection to the original 13 settlers of the Philadelphia, PA area. These immigrant families were of German origin. In my pursuits, I had established an email list on a site that went “belly up.” Shortly before that, I had been invited by a Rootsweb representative to transfer my list to their oversight. Interested Researchers As of September 2019, the Original-13 list still exists there. For some, the tombstones of family members of these 13 are of special interest. One tombstone in particular caught their interest. It read very cryptically. Descendants wondered what language was used in the inscription. How did it read? Here is the transcription:…
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