Don’t Forget St. Gertrude

Well, you learn something new every day. Not only is today St. Patrick’s Day, but it is also St. Gertrude’s Day. And Gertrude is the patron saint of cats.   Ironically, or maybe not, one of the few photographs I have is this one, of my great-grandmother, Rose Glennon Lamb and her daughter, Gertrude in the back row. There is also a cat in…

Kilroy Was Here and So Was Gertrude: Telling Family Stories

Kilroy Was Here   It’s 1948. My Grandpa Art Lamb marries Rita Hubbarth. His father, Jimmy Lamb, gives Rita a plastic pregnant doll. He tells his new daughter-in-law that the doll’s name is Gertrude. What it says on the base of the stand is “Kilroy was here,” a popular World War II reference. Get it? Kilroy, pregnant girl-doll? According to my grandmother,Rita, the doll…

Research, Records, and…Nova Scotia? A Census Glitch.

1905 New York State Census Yonkers, 2nd District, 6th Ward I ran into some trouble trying to find my great-grandfather, James, in the 1905 New York State census.  He lived in Yonkers in 1900. He lived in Yonkers in 1910. Where did he go in between? Admittedly, I searched online, the easy way with FamilySearch.org (Beta). I filled in the forms – name (James…

Cemeteries Tell Stories. Listen.

Have you visited a cemetery lately? Cemeteries tell stories. They tell a story of a town, a church, a family. If you’re writing historical fiction, researching history through cemeteries is a great way to see life from another time. Now, it sounds weird to talk about “life” and “cemeteries” at the same time. I get that. Put all the spooky, unfounded fears aside and…

Saloons, Cockfighting, and Covering Your …Research.

Grandpa’s been at it again. “A young man, of Irish descent, recently committed a piece of roguery near this place…for which he was summarily dealt with…he was lodged in jail.” (The Statesman, 2/2/1871) The place he was near? “Two doors north of the Catholic Church, as if to give dignity to the institution, a new liquor saloon has recently been opened…to which…is attached a…