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During these unprecedented times, we are lucky to have genealogy as a silver lining to hopefully provide a temporary respite from the uncertainty that surrounds us. With safety as a first and foremost concern, what can we do until this health crisis is over?

While complying with requirements to stay at home, coming up with creative ways to keep busy and maintaining as much normalcy as possible is critical to overall health and well-being. Staying hopeful and positive is the best mental health medicine available in the coming days, weeks, or maybe even months.

The good news is, the dark clouds of social distancing will eventually pass. When they do, what accomplishments will we have to look back on? For those fortunate enough to be safely quarantined at home who are wondering how to stay positive and keep busy, now is the time for starting or expanding a family tree, researching to discover new ancestors, learning more about DNA testing, or organizing all those family files and photos that have been on the “to-do” list forever. There will never be a better time to reach out and call an elderly family member to say hello, check up on them, and ask about the family history. What about starting that Blog that you’ve thought about for so long but have never had the time for?

I am currently in the midst of a ProGen Study group (https://www.progenstudy.org/), focused on developing genealogical skills, in addition to being “On-the-Clock” to submit my application for certification to the Board for Certified Genealogists (https://bcgcertification.org/). I am taking full advantage of staying at home to dive into upcoming assignments and completing requirements for genealogical research reports. I’m also looking into future genealogy courses; however, I am somewhat hesitant since while enrolled in the Boston University Certificate in Genealogical Research course (https://genealogyonline.bu.edu/certificate) we had Hurricane Sandy and lost power for over a week, and now while in the ProGen class and BCG certification process, we have a global pandemic. To avoid another epic disaster, I may hold off 😊

Sending special thoughts and prayers to first responders and essential personnel on the front lines who only dream about wondering what to do to keep busy. Consider saying thank you with a random act of kindness, including genealogical research, if possible. We stand behind them and thank them as they lead the way to help end this historic event.

Be well, and stay safe as we all stick together while keeping apart. 🙏




My earliest childhood memories are vivid recollections of countless remarks of us being Irish. Long before I understood what that meant, it became ingrained in me as part of who I was. When old enough to start asking questions, I discovered my Grandmother’s maiden name was Kelly, which for me just confirmed our “Irishness.” Unfortunately, my questions stopped there.


Fast forward to the late 1990s when I began researching my family tree, regrettably after everyone had passed away. Based on my mother’s routine comments, I expected to find not too distant ancestors who were “off the boat” from Ireland. Twenty years ago, long before DNA testing and the internet we know today were available, research meant a trip to the archives or sending away for vital records via snail-mail. Two key findings would come to light as my research progressed; both were very surprising. First, my Irish ancestors came over around the time of the great famine, about 1850, and second that I had strong German roots. After growing up Irish, I was taken aback by now being German and wondered why no one in my family had ever mentioned it. After letting this new identity sink in, I embraced it by attempting to make Sauerbraten (which was not at all successful but driven by my Irish tenacity, I kept trying until I got it right : )


What I still hold near and dear to my heart is the pride and strong Irish identity I’ve inherited. Regardless of how long ago my Irish immigrant ancestors came over, most over a hundred years before I was born, I’ve always felt a deep connection to Ireland. I’ve been lucky enough to visit Ireland twice, once with my husband and two children to the west coast and a second trip to Dublin with a visit to the National Archives of Ireland. I had more determination than research experience back then and I still laugh when I think of the excitement of being in the Archives and asking them to help me find ancestors named Kelly. I certainly had a much better chance of success in making Sauerbraten then I did narrowing down my Kelly Clan with so little information to go on. Lessons learned!


Times have changed, and now DNA can bring so much more information to light as we search for our ancestors. On Ancestry.com, their Community History links my family to the southern area of Munster, Ireland, described as the perfect hiding place for rebels and outlaws. I love that and I wear it like a badge of honor.


Now blessed with four beautiful grandchildren, I have photos of each of them on their first St. Patrick’s day that I look at every day and now as I write. It’s never too early to make sure they all know that they are Irish (and of course German) and Grandma reminds them all the time.




Taking pride in all the ethnic puzzle pieces that make us who we are, those we know of and those yet to be discovered. ~Happy St. Patrick’s Day to All ~



While working on building my family tree in earlier years, I was excited to find a direct ancestor who served in the American Revolution. An obvious next step was to join the Daughter of the American Revolution, starting with finding a local chapter and attending a meeting as a guest and prospective member. What I learned was that my ancestor was not a recorded patriot, which I came to find out is an exciting event. What this also meant is that I needed to prove my lineal descent over six generations with documented proof to confirm the connection for each generation. With this exciting and daunting task before me, I was determined to link the almost two hundred years of ancestry between myself and my patriot.


My journey would span three states, countless hours of research in repositories, online databases, and several road trips to his home state of Maryland, where most of the family lived. Since genealogical research often leads to at least one cemetery visit, in 2008, I traveled to Stone Chapel Cemetery in Carroll County, Maryland. This visit would not only uncover a missing link that opened up a new branch of family history, but would also involve what I've always considered a jovial poke from my long-lost ancestors.


After roaming this cemetery for some time, finding my 3x Great-Grandmother, and delighting in the joy of my discovery, I headed back to my car. As I searched for my car keys, they were nowhere to be found in my purse. As a mild panic set in, I couldn't help but think that my ancestors were looking down laughing as they played this joke on me. After unsuccessfully retracing my steps in a systematic grid search, calling my husband (not that there was anything he could do from New Jersey), I considered calling the police as the sun began to set. Luckily a gentleman who was walking by stopped, possibly seeing my dread. After explaining my situation, he was kind enough to help me search, and after what seemed like an eternity, I found my keys not far from my newly found ancestor's grave. Beyond relieved, I thanked the wonderful man who stopped to help me then bid my ancestors farewell. As I drove away, I was now able to laugh about this wildly exciting adventure

All the years of diligent research and efforts became well worth it when my application was accepted. The journey was a valuable learning experience and also paved the way for other family members to join. I am especially proud to now have my daughter join me as a member, and I look to the future when my two granddaughters continue our new legacy of being recognized as Daughters of the American Revolution.



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