Saturday, January 17, 2015

Uncle James "Buddy" Fitzgerald RYAN photo

I had previously posted about the military service of my paternal grandmother's brother, James Fitzgerald RYAN (1919-1995), who had served aboard the U.S.S. Prairie during World War II.

Today I received an email from Janice, a second cousin by marriage, whose husband is a grandson of  a sister of my grandmother and James. She attached a photo she came across of James ("Buddy") at the wedding of his nephew Paul, in 1954.

I had lamented not having a photo of Buddy, and now I do. Thanks, cousin Janice, for sharing this!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

TENNEY of Bradford and Rowley, Massachusetts

Been awhile since I've done a surname post... today I'm focusing on my TENNEY line.

Generation 1: My first American TENNEY ancestor was Thomas Tenney. He was born about 1614 in Rowley, Yorkshire, England. He married Ann Mighill in England, and arrived in Salem, Massachusetts, in December of 1638,  in the company of Ezekiel Rogers. By April of 1639, they had settled in Rowley.

He was a selectman, a "viewer of fences, highways, and chimneys", constable, and tithingman. In 1667 was also appointed as Sabbath enforcer (going to sabbath meetings was not optional in 17th century New England). Like many early colonial New England men, he was a jack-of-all-trades and active in the political life of his town.

Thomas died on 20 February 1699 in Bradford; he is buried in the Ancient Burying Ground.

Thomas Tenney headstone, via Find-A-Grave

I descend from two of Thomas and Ann's children, John and Mercy:

Generation 2a: John Tenney was born on 14 Dec 1640. He married Mercy Parrat, daughter of Francis Parrat and Elizabeth Northend, on 26 February 1663. John died on 13 April 1722.

Generation 2b: Mercy Tenney was born on 17 June 1644 in Rowley. She married Thomas Hardy II, son of Thomas Hardy I and Ann Unknown, on 22 September 1664 in Rowley.

Mercy Tenney Hardy headstone, via Find-A-Grave

Generation 3: Samuel Tenney was born to John Tenney and and Mercy Parrat on 20 November 1667.  He married Sarah Boynton, daughter of Joseph Boynton and Sara Swan,  on 18 December 1690 in Bradford.

He was appointed deacon in 1712, and was very highly respected. He was "a fine singer, and led the service of song for 25 years." He was also called, "by nature and grace, one of the most distinguished men of the times." He also served as Lieutenant in the Continental Army, and as a member of the Colonial Assembly, voted against receiving the king's charter-- a very brave move indeed, and 50 years before the War for American Independence!

Samuel died in Bradford on 3 February 1747. He had been "accustomed to pray earnestly for his children and his children's children, children to the last generation." As a genealogist and a Catholic, I love that my 8th great-grandfather prayed for his descendants-- and, I hope, still prays for them.

Samuel Tenney headstone, via Find-A-Grave

I descend from two of Samuel and Sarah's children, John II and Susannah:

Generation 4a: John Tenney II was born on 8 December 1692 in Bradford. He married Hannah Jewett, daughter of Maximilian Jewett and Sarah Hardy, in Rowley on 23 January 1717. John II died in Bradford on 23 August 1732.

Generation 4b: Susannah Tenney was born on 5 February 1695 in Bradford. She married John Bailey, son of Joseph Bailey and Abigail Trumbull, in 1712 in Bradford. Her death date is unknown.

Generation 5:  Hannah Tenney was born to John Tenney and Hannah Jewett on 8 November 1721 in Bradford. She married Philip Hardy, son of Benjamin Hardy and Rebecca Bond, in Bradford on 22 December 1743. She died in Pelham, New Hampshire in 1790.

Ancestry Line 1:

Thomas TENNEY (1614-1699) m. Ann MIGHILL
John TENNEY (1640-1722) m. Mercy PARRAT
Samuel TENNEY (1667-1747) m. Sarah BOYNTON
John TENNEY II (1692-1732) m. Hannah JEWETT
Hannah TENNEY (1721-1790) m. Philip HARDY
Zilpha HARDY (b. 1756) m. Amos BAILEY
Jonathan BAILEY (b. 1788) m. Sarah CLARK
Arvilla BAILEY (b. 1816) m. Joshua PALMER 
George Bailey PALMER (1850-1926) m. Mary Olivia PURINTON
Frank Bailey PALMER (1888-1958) m. Bessie Maud WINSLOW
Dorothy Elizabeth PALMER (1918-1984) m. Henry Richard HOWES
S. Howes (1937-1999) m. my father
Me (b. 1974)

Ancestry Line 2:

Thomas TENNEY (1614-1699) m. Ann MIGHILL
John TENNEY (1640-1722) m. Mercy PARRAT
Samuel TENNEY (1667-1747) m. Sarah BOYNTON
Susannah TENNEY (b. 1695) m. John BAILEY
Jonathan BAILEY I (b. 1728) m. Martha CLARK
Amos BAILEY (b. 1756) m. Zilpha HARDY
Jonathan BAILEY II (b. 1788) m. Sarah CLARK
Arvilla BAILEY (b. 1816) m. Joshua PALMER 
George Bailey PALMER (1850-1926) m. Mary Olivia PURINTON
Frank Bailey PALMER (1888-1958) m. Bessie Maud WINSLOW
Dorothy Elizabeth PALMER (1918-1984) m. Henry Richard HOWES
S. Howes (1937-1999) m. my father
Me (b. 1974)

Ancestry Line 3:

Thomas TENNEY (1614-1699) m. Ann MIGHILL
Mercy TENNEY (1644-1716) m. Thomas HARDY
Benjamin HARDY (1679-1763) m. Rebecca BOND
Philip HARDY (b. 1719) m. Hannah TENNEY
Zilpha HARDY (b. 1756) m. Amos BAILEY
Jonathan BAILEY (b. 1788) m. Sarah CLARK
Arvilla BAILEY (b. 1816) m. Joshua PALMER 
George Bailey PALMER (1850-1926) m. Mary Olivia PURINTON
Frank Bailey PALMER (1888-1958) m. Bessie Maud WINSLOW
Dorothy Elizabeth PALMER (1918-1984) m. Henry Richard HOWES
S. Howes (1937-1999) m. my father
Me (b. 1974)

Source: The Tenney Family, or The Descendants of Thomas Tenney of Rowley Massachusetts by Martha Jane Tenney.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

In 1914...

For the coming new year, I thought I would take a time machine back to 1914-- 100 years ago-- and see what life was like and what was happening.

1914, via the Great War, marked the end of the Edwardian era and what Mark Twain had dubbed "The Gilded Age." We were transitioning between the Victorian age to the twenties-- fashions, society, and technology were changing dramatically and rapidly.

Men's fashion color lithograph, 1914

The president was Woodrow Wilson.

Average life expectancy was 52 years for males, and 56 years for females.

The average cost of an automobile in 1914 was about $550.

1914 Dodge Brothers Touring Car

The First World War began on 28 July 1914, though the U.S. was declared neutral and would not officially get involved until 1917.

Phonographs allowed people to listen to pre-recorded music on cylinders whenever they wanted to; a musical hit of 1914 was "You Stole My Heart Away" by Henry Burr:

Motion pictures were still in their infancy, and Charlie Chaplin made his debut in a short film called "Making A Living", released on 2 February 1914.

The Panama Canal opened on August 15, and the first ship crossed from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean.

At the time, a substance called radium that we now know to be extremely dangerous was widely used as glow-in-the-dark paint for clock dials. It was even used in medicine, as it was thought to destroy cancer (instead of causing it).

Electricity was still not widely used by the majority of people at home, as it was expensive,  and there was no standardization of power or plugs or outlets. And as people didn't fully understand how electricity worked yet, things like improper (or absent) insulation were a serious danger.

On a more personal note, my 3rd great-grandfather George Albert Baker passed away in Gloucester, Massachusetts on 9 July.

George Baker with his grandson Everett, c. 1910

A lot has changed in the past 100 years, so much so that if we were to bring someone from that time to ours, they would quite literally be in shock.

What will people in 2114 say about 2014?

May 2015 bring peace, prosperity, and joy to us all!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Festival Of Lights

One of the main things I love about genealogy is how it brings history to life. It's much more than collecting names and dates, it's about really getting to know who your ancestors were as people-- what did they do? What did they believe? What did they wear? What did they eat? How did they entertain themselves?

At this time of year, it's worth exploring how our ancestors celebrated Christmas. But considering that my grandfather was Jewish, and that Hanukkah begins at sundown on the 16th, I thought I would start there.

Hanukkah is on 25th of Kislev on the [lunar] Jewish calendar, which falls anywhere between late November through December. Its proximity to Christmas has raised its status in western, predominantly Christian countries from the minor holiday it traditionally was to a bigger one. 

Hanukkah commemorates the liberation of the Jews from evil King Antiochus and the re-dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem; the story is found in the first and second book of Maccabees, among deuterocanonical books in the Bible. The miracle is that, when the Temple was rededicated, they had only enough oil for the menorah to burn for one day, but it lasted for eight.

Celebration of Hanukkah involves lighting candles in the menorah, a 9-pronged candelabra. On the first night, only one candle is placed in the rightmost prong of menorah and lit, and each night another is added, from right to left, until on the last night all of the candles are lit. Hanukkah candles are supposed to be only for viewing and remembering the miracle; the shamash is the candle that is used to light the others, and it is placed in its own separate prong (usually the center, but sometimes on the side, depending on the style of the menorah).

On the first night of Hanukkah, three blessings are recited as the candles are lit:

First blessing: "Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, Who has kept us alive, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this season."

Second Blessing: "Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to kindle the Hanukkah light[s]."

Third blessing: "Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, Who performed miracles for our ancestors in those days at this time."

On the subsequent nights, only the second two are recited.

Then the Hanerot Halalu hymn is sung-- it sounds like this:

And, as with all Jewish holidays except for Yom Kippur, there is food, glorious food-- brisket, latkes (potato pancakes, usually served with sour cream or apple sauce), a beet soup called borscht, kugel (a noodle dish), and jelly-filled donuts called sufganoit.

It's customary today in predominantly Christian countries for Jews to exchange small gifts on each night of Hanukkah-- mainly because most don't live separately from gentiles like they traditionally have in the past, and it stinks watching your Christian friends getting gifts while you just get to spin a dreidel. It used to be, though, that the only gifts were in the form of "gelt" given to children (in the form of both real money and coin-shaped chocolates) during Hanukkah.

My own Jewish ancestors were from Volhynia, Ukraine, part of what was known as the "Pale Of Settlement." Jews were basically forced to live here in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Most who lived here were poor; my grandfather and his brothers actually had to share shoes-- the family literally didn't have enough money for everyone to have their own pairs. So I doubt that there was a lot of gelt to be given.

They would have no doubt played the previously mentioned dreidel game, however.

I myself am Christian and celebrate Christmas, but I love my Jewish ancestry, and have a menorah. It's been a few years since I've busted it out and lit candles...

To my Jewish family, friends, and readers, Happy Hanukkah!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Christmas past: 1979

In 1979, at 4 1/2 years old I moved with my family to California because my dad got transferred for his job. We ended up living there until moving to Florida in the winter of 1982. I remember it pretty well, though.

So Christmas of '79 would have been the first one celebrated in our house in California.

We always had our main Christmas celebration on Christmas Eve night, and did our gift exchange then, while we basically just had a nice dinner and relaxed on Christmas Day. I know that Germans traditionally do their gift exchange on Christmas Eve, but in our case I think that, with five kids, it was just easier for my parents if we opened our presents then instead of waking them up to do so at oh dark thirty in the morning.

My sister holding me

Me opening presents

Mom, my sister, and me

My brothers with one of their gifts, "Sudden Death"

Me with a couple of my gifts, a polar bear and a tricycle--
strangely, I remember the bear, but not the trike

Me playing with my brother's new game

Friday, December 12, 2014

Christmas past: 1976

I've in the process of scanning old family photos to my computer-- a pretty big project, as there are a lot of photos-- and since Christmas is coming up, I was inspired to share some pictures of "Christmases past."

This is from 1976:

My sibs, my mom (holding me), and my maternal grandmother Dorothy

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Pearl Harbor not totally unexpected

December 7 marks the 73rd anniversary of the Japanese attack on the American naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

We tend to think of this event as being a complete surprise, but according to the archived newspapers I've come across (especially Australian papers), we were expecting trouble from Japan. We just thought that they would strike in either Thailand or Singapore. 

I'm no expert in World War II, so this for me was quite interesting. 

I know I've written this before, but it's important, so I'll continue to write it until my fingers fall off: old newspapers are rich and excellent resources. They are essentially time capsules that allow us  contemporary perspectives of historical events, not of modern people and historians, but those who experienced and witnessed them.

There are paid services like and GenealogyBank, but there are at least a couple of places on the net to get free access to digitized newspapers as well:

Google Newspapers