My Family Immigration Story: The Short Life of Sadie Butler (1872-1922)

I first learned about Sadie Butler in the early 2000’s when I sent away for the Catholic Diocesan records of my paternal great-grandfather whom I (erroneously) believed was Irish Catholic. To my surprise, I learned the Irish Kerr’s were Protestant via the marriage information of my second great-grandparents, John K Kerr (1869-1908) and Sarah A […]

#AMPLIFY LGBTQ Families, 40 Parents Share Their Experiences

Once again in honor of the 12th Annual Blogging for LGBTQ Families Day, I am sharing #AMPLIFY posts from parents, step parents  and grandparents and other caretakers of children.  Blogging for LGBTQ Families Day is meant to bring together people who are LGBTQ as well as our families and allies. It’s a celebration of LGBTQ families […]

My Family Story: The Hatfields and The McCoys

Hatfield Family

There are two parallel learning tracks with researching my family tree. First, I learn about the actual people to whom I am related – their names, occupations, where they lived, how they died, and sometimes even more details. The second track is the broader scope of historical facts that tie directly into their individual experiences. […]

My Easter Memories: Reflections on Faith, Food and Frightful Bunnies

Just some random Easter memories. What comes to your mind this time of year? As children, we had designated baskets. Mine was a big wicker style with a floppy yellow bow. My brother had an Easter cart that my father had used in his childhood. Options to hide were somewhat limited in our ranch style […]

My Family Immigration Story: The Tragic Life of Jennie Tarleton (1868-1944)

Scots Immigrants

I’ve heard tales of Jennie Tarleton my whole life long – the brave 17 year old Scots girl who set sail for the New World all alone from Glasgow. Jennie was my 2nd great-grandmother and her arrival in 1885 makes her my most “recent” immigrant ancestor. Everyone else was here long before she set foot […]

My Family’s Immigration Story

This was not something I thought about as a child in the 1970’s and 1980’s in suburban West Mifflin, Pennsylvania. I knew my living grandparents and their basic backstories and a little bit about their respective parents. I was raised to believe I was mostly an Irish Catholic/little bit of German kid which turned out […]

My Friend Dave Turns Out To Be My (Sixth) Cousin #NaBloPoMo

Cousins

The most exciting update to my genealogy hobby is the discovery that my actual friend, Dave Ninehouser, is in fact my sixth cousin. Dave is an awesome guy. He’s very progressive, likes animals, treats his wife with respect and appreciation, works food drives into lots of his efforts and intentionally relocated from Pittsburgh to Ambridge, […]

I Just Met My First Openly Gay Relative

I’m the only queer person that I know in my family. I have 20 first cousins and more than 60 second cousins plus untold third, fourth and once-removed cousins. Odds are good that someone else is also queer and/or trans, but no one is talking. It isn’t easy being the only openly queer family member, […]

#AMPLIFY LGBTQ Families, 29 Parents Share Their Experiences

Blogging for LGBTQ Families Day

For the past 18 months, I have been collecting Q&A responses from LGBTQ folks with ties to Western Pennsylvania. The project is called #AMPLIFY and we plan to continue seeking Q&A contributions through the end of 2017. Participants are 18+, identify as part of the LGBTQ community and have ties to Western Pennsylvania. We ask […]

My Friend John Should Be Turning 50 Today

Dr. John Ruffing

He wouldn’t want a fuss. He didn’t liked being fussed over. More than likely, he’d want solitude and not be particularly thrilled to turn 50. He would definitely not want to me to write (another) blog post about him. “You have to move on, Susie,” he would admonish me. “Stop living in the past.” Past […]