• New York
  • May2

    No Comments

    Little Chapel on the River: A Pub, a Town and the Search for What Matters MostLittle Chapel on the River: A Pub, a Town and the Search for What Matters Most by Gwendolyn Bounds

    My rating: 3 of 5 stars

    Little Chapel on the River is a community study of even tempo and simple observation. I appreciated the author’s reserve in description of both place and people.

    Over time she lets their actions and words paint the picture of a group of people whose intersection is not in their own backgrounds or personalites, but in their desire, no, their longing for a place to step out of life for a bit to contemplate and discuss what passes by on river and road.

    I had some difficulty in rating the book, though – I would give it a 3.5 stars if possible. My only complaint was that I found the stitching of the author’s passages to the life around the Little Chapel a little abrupt. I confess this was mainly an issue for me in the beginning of the book when I had not yet bought into the atmosphere and people of Guinan’s.

    Perhaps it is just that I found the apt simplicity of the writing at odds with the events of 9/11 that led to her journey up the river – but I suppose that a return to basics does make sense in retrospect and any other method would have run the risk of overexposing the image too early on.

    I would certainly recommend this to someone looking for a story of people and community.

    I actually found Little Chapel mentioned in a genealogy thread for people while searching for info on the Guinan family in my great-great-grandmother’s part of the tree. My Guinans happened to come from near Birr where the family in the book came from – so I thought I’d see if I could learn anything from the book.

    While I did not find too much info on the Ireland side of the story, I’m glad I found the book.

    View all my reviews

  • Mar2

    No Comments

    My grandmother Marie Simanek emigrated from Predmir, Czechoslovakia to New York in 1922, then returned home in 1926 to ask permission to marry my grandfather Joseph Vanac.

    In this photo she is returning to New York – with approval to marry! (She is the upper left-most woman in the rear. Click on the photo for a larger image.)
    It was taken in September, 1926 on the S.S. George Washington.

    Group Photo - SS George Washington, circa 1926

    The photo as a whole is one of my favorites, but the ladies at the bottom are my favorite favorite.

    Group Photo Crop - SS George Washington, circa 1926

  • Jan13

    No Comments

    Looking for Julia Connors' murderer, Police posted messages at a movie house in 1912While helping a friend find some records for her family, I learned of the terrible murder of Julia Connors in the Bronx in 1912.

    The horrific story was one that not only took over the New York area, but from the large number of newspaper reports found over at Chronicling America in 1912, it spread across the country.

    I do not wish to go into the details of the murder, and while it didn’t need any additional outrage to remain in the public’s eye, the case was fueled on by the facts that a local girl lied to the police about witnessing her that day and also by the subsequent suicide of her murderer.

    But, one thing I found intriguing was the piece of reporting at right, taken from The Evening World, July 9, 1912 edition.

    In the center of the long and detailed article, they reported: Read More | Comments

  • Jan7

    No Comments

    From an announcement of a sale on December 5, 1895:
    Early Views of American Cities – Works on Witchcraft and Genealogy

    You know, Because they go together so well.

    Witchcraft & Genealogy

  • Dec31

    No Comments

    While reading Vincent J. Cannato’s American Passage – The History of Ellis Island I found something interesting in the section about Annie Moore being the first official emigrant at Ellis Island.

    “How Annie became the first official immigrant at Ellis Island is unclear. One story claims that officials had rushed her ahead of a male Austrian immigrant. Another claimed that a fellow passenger named Mike Tierney, in a “spark of Celtic galantry,” pulled the Austrian away from the gangplank by his collar, shouting “Ladies first,” and let young Annie pass.” (Page 58)

    Annie Moore, Mike Tierney mention in American Passage While 1892 is too late for the Mike Tierney mentioned here as Annie Moore’s helper to be my great-grandfather (who arrived about 1880), I had a look into old Mike and see if there might not be some connection. (It would be a long shot if there were, but seems an interesting story to follow up on in any case.)

    Unfortunately, my first look searching the manifest at Ellis Island doesn’t show any Tierneys on the same ship as Annie Moore. Guess I’ll need to page through the whole thing in case there was a transcription error and/or check other ships that may have landed that same day. Or, it the story does have some truth to it, could it have possibly been a worker from Ellis Island? Hmm.

    Update (14 Feb 2013): I saw a mention of the Annie Moore story again today and looked around the see if I could find the source of that “spark of Celtic gallantry” quote – I see the quote has been used a few times online without having a Mike Tierney mentioned, but I haven’t found a source for it more detailed than “According to a local cub reporter….” (Before anyone suggests it, American Passage does not list a source for this story either.)

    I’ve searched the Chronicling America newspapers around 1892 to see if it might appear, but no luck yet. Has anyone actually seen the source of this quote, or better yet, one with the mention of the gallant Mr. Tierney?