• Feb10

    The real surprise in John McCain’s family tree: His grandfather was his own father!

    John McCain's Tree
    I suppose the Finding Your Roots team may have done this for clarity when using photos along with the need to pan across the screen, but it made my brain vibrate as it did. Click on the image for a larger view.

  • Feb3

    Update February 3, 2016: On a recent trip to Manhattan, I decided to take a walk over from midtown to see St. Stephen church myself… and found that it had been closed. (A quick Google finds that I am late to this party, as it had closed in 2014.)

    In relation to this older post below, I am unsure where the records for the church and St. Gabriel now reside, so I suppose I need to send another letter to the archdiocese. It is a sad thing to see such a beautiful church close. You can see some of the wonderful art work, including paintings by Constantino Brumidi at this link.

    In a previous post St. Gabriel Has Left The Building I outlined my search for the Manhattan church where my grandfather and siblings were baptized and hopefully the one where my great-grandparents were married.

    Glow of the City, Martin Lewis, 1929

    Martin Lewis, “Glow of the City” (1929)

    With some effort and a nice amount of luck I discovered information on the now dismantled St. Gabriel’s Church on East 37th Street.

    I then found through the Archdiocese of NY that the Church of St. Stephen now held those parish records and was able to obtain my grandfather’s baptism. (Still looking for the marriage record.)

    As is my wont, I posted the images I use here on this blog on The Flickr as it makes a fine scannable archive and doesn’t fill up my hosting quota here on this domain. A few days ago someone found that image and commented on it:

    This is the church whose steeple is seen in the famous print by artist Martin Lewis, “Glow of the City” (1929). I’ve looked a long time for the location of this church.

    I was not aware of the artist nor the print, but it has a wonderful feel of the time, don’t you think? I’ve since learned that while Australian born, he was a contemporary of Edward Hopper who is a favorite artist of mine.

    From Williamsburg Bridge, Edward Hopper, 1928

    Edward Hopper, “From Williamsburg Bridge”, 1928 Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

    In the days when I delivered construction materials and spent mornings sitting in a truck on the congested Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, I whiled away the time imagining Hopper making his studies of the buildings visible from my vantage point. A fine example is Hopper’s From Williamsburg Bridge, 1928 at right.

    I suggest that anyone who has an interest in the history and architecture of New York City just after the turn of the 20th century seek out the work of both of these artists.

    The Brooklyn Museum holds quite a few Lewis pieces in its collection. Visit the Metropolitan Museum for its collection of Edward Hopper’s work.

    The Glow of the City image above is courtesy of Smithsonian American Art Museum.

  • Jan12

    My cousin Jana in the Czech Republic recently found another cousin from her part of the tree. She recalled that I had emailed some photos to her a few years ago, and that one of them included this “new” cousin’s grandmother as a young woman, so Jana asked if I had a higher resolution scan to send her to share.

    It took me awhile to find the photo, as it was squirreled away in a triptych album in one of our boxes. While looking, I realized that I had completely forgotten about two very large envelopes full of old photos from my Czech side of the family, so I guess I’ll be breaking out the scanner and uploading to The Flickr again.

    Flickr is a great tool for us all to see and comment on the photos – I’ve learned who many unknown family were via my cousins in Ireland and the Czech Republic going through them and asking around over there.

    One photo I found last night really stood out for me – an absolutely beautiful little girl, all dressed up with a necklace and flower. So far, we don’t know who she is, but she is wonderful to look at.

    Beautiful Little Girl in our Czech family photos

  • Nov19

    A quote I’ve long loved from At Swim Two Birds

    Flann O'Brien Quote
    The original photo can be found here on the National Library of Ireland’s Flickr stream.

  • Nov12

    This is at best a step removed from genealogy, but is a very useful trick if you are a Google Chrome user. Have you ever visited a web page and had the same page load over and over even if you know it changed?

    I recently was updating a site I maintain and had this happen when I was testing how my changes looked. After making my changes, I clicked Google Chrome’s Refresh button and… still got the same page with old info.

    So, I then held down the Shift key while clicking refresh, which is supposed to clear any cached files for that page then load the page from scratch. And… *sad trombone*… same page, old info. That is not supposed to happen, Mr. Chrome.

    The caching problem can happen for various reasons, either due to poor web design or a recalcitrant web browser. You could go into the browser’s Tools –> Options and clear ALL of the cache. But, that’s annoying – like emptying out your entire refrigerator because some cheese went bad. (Or another, more valid, metaphor.)

    But, whatever the reason, I am now reaching deeper into my bag of magic tricks and sharing a nice easy but likely lesser known fix in The Google’s Chrome browser:

    When you really want to start a page from scratch in Chrome, use the following keystroke to open a Developer Tools panel on the right side of the page:

    Google Chrome Developer Tools panel <CTRL><SHIFT><I>
    for the Apple folks among you.

    I won’t go into any detail here, but you’ll notice there are a lot of things to play with in this panel – including a way to see what cookies are related to the page.

    RIGHT-Click the Refresh Button
    Once the developer tools panel is open, go over to the usual Refresh button at the top of the page and RIGHT-click on it. You’ll see a drop down menu that doesn’t normally appear there!

    Simply Left-click “Empty Cache and Hard Reload” and you will get the latest page loaded and ready to go.