• Jul19

    Back when my wife and I bought our new house, one of the first things that needed to be done was to raze the overgrown front yard that didn’t look like it had been touched since Nixon resigned. (I blame Nixon for all of my own failures to finish projects.)

    As I tangled with tons of ivy and yelled at yellowing yucca, I saw we had a bigger problem to deal with – the wood in our steps and a retaining wall was infested with termites. So, I ripped it all out immediately and began to devise a replacement.

    After some thought, I purchased several skids of Pennsylvania wall stone and other supplies, then spent several weeks building things back, all by hand. My technique was to lay out all the stone on the ground, then scan for the next “right” stone – and go until done.

    I found that within each skid of stone I had picked there happened to be some larger flat pieces – which led me to build the part I’m most proud of – the new steps.

    It was terrifically hard work at times, but I was gratified in the outcome. Until today I had completely attributed my apparent innate ability in this regard to my Czech grandfather, who was a stone mason. He worked in the cemeteries of Queens and also built a summer home and garage in upstate New York out of native stone.

    But, after seeing a photo today, I now think my stonework ability is more likely an inheritance shared by both my Czech and Irish sides. Behold a photo of stone steps on Skellig Michael alongside my own off the cuff handiwork…

    Skellig Steps Comparison

    By the way – no mortar was used in my steps or wall, only gravity.

  • Jul16

    Vacation

    Posted in: Fun

    Please excuse my quietitudinality – was on vacation for a few weeks, now catching up with work.
    Please accept this Cousin Battle Royale of the Pool as entertainment during this genealogical interlude:

  • Jun21

    Sorry, couldn’t resist the lithp joke – I wanted to post a favorite photo and on Thursdays past I’ve called them “Thilent Thursday” posts in an obvious hat-tip to Wordless Wednesday of many bloggerists.

    Toddler Mike Tierney, about 1929. But then I had a better idea.

    Or a worse one, depending on your perthpective.

    So, moving on. A favorite photo of my Dad as a toddler in a sailor-looking suit, about 1929, probably in Jamaica, Queens, NY.

    Mike Tierney, Navy Portrait, WWIIFunnily enough, he joined the US Navy in World War II.

  • Jun13

    I have been adding the basics of my family tree to the new Familysearch  – dig that new fan chart!

    Today I was working on one of my Czech lines, which of course contain all sorts of fun and exciting ácčěntéd characters. After I added my great-grandfather Vaclav Vaňáč and started to work on his parents, I looked up and realized there was an issue. Although the name shows properly in the “Vital Information” section of the main page, his name in the profile header mysteriously doesn’t contain the “ň” or the “č” – but still does have the accented “á”. Hmmm.

    I tried to send a message to the Familysearch support folks via their help center, but kept getting the error “Unable to create a case in our support system. Please try again later.

    Thus, wrote up this blog post to use when trying again later.


    Familysearch Missing Characters Capture

  • May28

    I have been on the trail of trying to find a lost Aunt in my family for several years. She was my grandmother’s daughter, born in Ireland and likely emigrated to New York as a teenager, many years after my Gran did.

    I have a much longer post in the making on this search and some possible good fortune – but I am in need of some help with one thing. I have not been able to discern what the handwriting says over the typewritten information on the following image.

    Lizzie Jennings Ellis Island record - handwriting in question

    Click to Enlarge.


    Does anyone out there have an idea of what it might be? Some quick context: this is a possible record for the Aunt I am seeking, and this part of the emigration lists the name and address of the person she is joining in the US.

    I have not found the “Father, Thomas Jennings” in question in NY at the time in censuses, directories, etc. BUT, this address is where my Gran lived in the 1920 census. No evidence of anyone named Jennings living at that location found yet.

    I am not sure the text handwritten in is anything special, but I am not getting anything from it but the initial “D…” and probably the second word is “to.” I’m wondering if it might be some common notation other researchers might recognize right off the bat.

    The original record on the Ellis Island site can be found here.