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
Naming a blog can be as difficult as naming your first child. Our blog name is our brand in the blogging world. It’s what attracts readers to our posts. It’s what we hope will be inscribed on coffee mugs when we become famous. When I first conceived a genealogy-themed blog, I struggled with the name. It seemed all the good ones were taken. Then I came across an old Fox News report from 2006 claiming that “almost everyone on earth is descended from royalty.” This reminded me of a story I had heard regarding the Key family and their near claim to the British monarchy. Read more
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?