How ‘A Tree Grows in Brooklyn’ shapes my perspective of my 2x great-grandmothers

2x great grandmothers

Over a year ago, I took on a daunting task of blogging about the lives of my eight 2x-great grandmothers (2gg’s) aka the grandmothers of my own grandparents I have four grandparents, they each had two and that equals eight. Technically, I also had three step-2x-great-grandmothers who were the second spouses of my male ancestors, […]

Happy Birthday to my Cousin Rachel Carson

Rachel Carson Family Tree

Rachel Carson is my cousin and I’m pleased as punch. Today, May 27, is her birthday so I am finally publishing my little tribute to our family connection. I’ve spent most of my life having little to no information on the family of my great-grandmother, Jane Rice Remley. Her story was a mystery of half-hidden […]

All in My Queer Family: Discovering DNA Ties to My LGBTQ Friends in Pittsburgh

queer family of choice

One unexpected benefit of chronicling my family history has been discovering that people I already know are part of my extended family.  First there was my friend Dave Ninehouser (6th cousin) and then a neighbor, John Graf (4th cousin 1x removed), followed by finding new-to-me local folks who are also in my tree. Our pet […]

Today I Learned My Then-80-Year-Old 5th Great-Grandfather was Recruiting Newspaper Subscribers in 1858 for the Pittsburgh Gazette

My whole life long, I’ve had a connection to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette through my great-grandfather, Gilbert Remley. Gil had a long history as a newspaperman, starting as a copy boy for the Pittsburgh Sun in 1906 and retiring in August 1958 as the Executive Sports Editor for the Post-Gazette. Today, I learned something astonishing about […]

My Family Story: The Overshadowed Legacy of Caroline Ritter (1852-1906)

The final profile in my 2x great-grandmother series is Caroline Ritter (1852-1906) Caroline is the paternal grandmother of my paternal grandfather, James Vincent Pryor. I didn’t learn her name for several years of my family tree research, after I stumbled upon a 4th cousin who filled me in on the Pryor history. The Backstory To […]

My Family Story: The Hidden Legacy of Caroline Feil (1858-1936)

Welcome to the next installment of My Family Story focusing on my 2x great-grandmothers. This is the story of Caroline Feil Bliss (1858-1936) who is my maternal grandmother’s mother’s mother. Caroline was born in New Baltimore, Somerset County in 1858. The story of Grandma Caroline is itself quite a tale, as is the story of finding […]

RIP Uncle Ron Keck (1935-2018)

Pgh Lesbian Correspondents

This week, I learned that my Uncle Ron (Carl Ronald Keck) died over the weekend. He was 85 years old. I always liked my Uncle Ron. I thought he was funny even when he was using humor to hide some uncharitable thoughts. I thought he was fond of us (my brother and I) because he […]

My Family Story: The Complicated Life of Alice Jenkins (1873-1898)

Content Note: slavery, white privilege, sexism One of the few family history things that I knew growing up was that my great-grandmother, Harriet Hackney, was from rural Tennessee. She died before I was born so I didn’t know her personally, just through stories that my mother shared with me about her ‘Nana.’ The general impression […]

An Essay About St. Patrick’s Day and My Not-So Irish-American Cultural Heritage

Irish American Pittsburgh

Growing up in a working class Pittsburgh suburb, I knew two things to be true about my family – we were Roman Catholic and we were Irish (with a little German.) We were Irish Catholics and celebrated St. Patrick’s Day robustly. St. Patrick’s Day is also my younger brother’s birthday. Robustly meant lots of green […]

Dear Santa Letters from My Great-Grandmother Circa 1896

One of the sweetest moments in my family tree exploration was the discovery of a very simple item – a letter to Santa published in the Pittsburgh Press on 18 December 1896. The author was a 6-year-old girl named Jennie Rice. She lived at 70 Poplar Alley in the Lower Hill District. Jennie was either […]