September 10, 1920

September 10, 1920

AATG_NoteOn September 10, 1920, my grandfather Alexander Andrew Gow and grandmother Daisy stepped on United States soil for the first time at Port Huron, Michigan. They had traveled aboard the Grand Truck railroad from Brant to Sarnia, Ontario, on their way to a new life in Los Angeles, California.
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Alexander Andrew Gow – My Most Challenging Ancestor

Alexander Andrew Gow – My Most Challenging Ancestor

Alexander and children

For the past 15 years, I have attempted to piece together the story of my mother’s family and her ancestry. I started with very little information, but one clue lead to another and I succeeded in identifying her parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents. Although both sides presented significant challenges, the most perplexing relative is my maternal grandfather. Starting with an all too common name, the man eluded census takers, doctored his own age, mistook his stepmother as his mother, and claimed to have been born in a country that records say otherwise. Most confusing of all, he changed his surname. My grandfather, Alexander Andrew Gow, is by far, my most challenging ancestor. Read more

My Grandmother was a Barnardo Child

My Grandmother was a Barnardo Child

Christmas came early to my house this week. A long-awaited package containing my Grandmother Daisy’s file of the time she spent in the Barnardo’s Children Home during the early 1900s finally arrived. I ordered the file a little over a year ago and had almost forgotten about it. Imagine my surprise when I found a rather large envelope in my mailbox with a British return address, labeled “private and confidential.” At last, the story of my grandmother’s custody in one of the most well-known child welfare organizations was about to unfold. Read more

Falling Down the Rabbit Hole

Falling Down the Rabbit Hole

rabbit holeI’ve always loved the story of ‘Alice in Wonderland’. The tale is full of adventure and sometimes utter nonsense. Much like family research. Like Alice, I sometimes chase white rabbits, never knowing where they will lead me.  And like Alice’s adventures, our research presents us many locked doors. All we have to do is find the right key.
Sometimes we choose the wrong door and head down a rabbit hole. This happened to me when I was researching my mother’s family.

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Re-introducing….Descended from Royalty

Re-introducing….Descended from Royalty

It has been a little over six months since my last post to Descended to Royalty. My humble apologies. I never meant to be away so long but as they say, life sometimes gets in the way of our dreams. A lot has happened during that time. I connected with lost brothers and sisters, and distant cousins. I discovered family secrets I never imagined. I honed my skills as a family historian and genealogist through conferences, collaboration, and a lot of time in front of the computer. And during all this, I kept telling myself that I needed to write about it. But I never seemed to have the time.

Now I am ready to write again. Read more

Legend-Busters – “DNA”

Legend-Busters – “DNA”

One of the pressing questions family historians try to answer is “where did my family come from?”

My grandmother told me that her family came from County Cork Ireland and that there use be a “Mac” on the front of her maiden name.  I was excited by the prospect that I had Irish blood in me. This was during the time when the popular soap opera Ryan’s Hope  was on television and being Irish was both adventurous and romantic. Of course we were from Ireland! Why would she tell me this if it is not true?
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