She was a beautiful, young Irish maid, working in a wealthy English household. Her employer’s oldest son fell in love with her. When he announced intentions to marry her, his parents said they would disown him. He married her anyway. Then, bride and groom ran away to live happily ever after. “Her name was Mary Cordial,” my maternal grandmother Marilyn Matilda Dietz told me, that distinct glimmer of pleasure in her eyes—the one she always had when she retold this story. “And you are her legacy.”

This blog is a resource for those who want to--have to--find out more about who they came from.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

FMC's First Meme

Taken from a previous post, I give you...

Monday, December 2, 2013 Announces the “Branch Out” Contest is offering yet another fantastic-sounding contest for us armchair genealogists. The "Branch Out" contest will have a total of six Grand Prize winners, each of whom will have access to the following:

- Twenty (20) hours of ProGenealogists research,
- One (1) year World Explorer Plus Membership
- One (1) DNA kit
- One (1) 8×8 Premium Leather Photo Book from

Click on this link to enter: Announcing the “Branch Out” Contest: Enter For A Chance To Win a Family History Package! 

Good luck!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Please Vote for "Ladies in Waiting"

This admittedly has little to do with genealogy, but as I do have a "witch" in my family tree, I'll post it under the banner of peripherally-related items. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

I found a Facebook contest run by Gaelsong, which asked entrants to write a 500-word maximum flash fiction piece based on the following photograph...

Image courtesy of

My humble entry, "Ladies in Waiting," appears here: I would appreciate it if you would click the link and then click the vote button on the upper left side of the story.

Some interesting facts about the names in the tale: Adaryn means "bird," Aveline means "little bird" and Turlough means "one who aids or rescues." All of these meanings are significant.

Feel free to post comments here or beneath the story on the story page. I love hearing from readers and answering questions, if there are any.

Voting takes place until Halloween. Thanks in advance for your vote!

Monday, August 12, 2013


I'd bet she's DAR.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Redheads and Dodos and Dinos -- Oh, my!

 Natural redheads make up approximately 2% of the United States' population.

American author and humorist Mark Twain (a.k.a. Samuel Langhorne Clemens) is credited with once having said, "Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated." So it would also seem to be with redheads, who "scientists" say will go the way of the dodo bird and the dinosaur before the end of the 21st Century.

This article from HowStuffWorks explains how the rumor began around 2005 and has spread despite the fact that a gene mutation like the one that causes red hair cannot "die out." Red hair will undoubtedly become more rare as time marches onward, but no--it isn't going anywhere, folks.

I think I'll go for a walk now...

Top photo source: Uploaded by user via Danielle on Pinterest

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Attention Social Media Users

Here's something to think about before posting a rant or other regrettable content:

How do you want to be remembered?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

It Takes A Family Tree

Does DNA give us much more than we originally thought?

Have you ever looked up certain branches of you family tree and noticed a trend or a pattern of behavior present across three or more generations? Epigenetics just might explain all that.

I have often wondered how it came to be that four generations of men in a certain branch of my family tree (possibly more--I still have a brick wall there to break down) have all had a wanderlust that drove them far from home, by land and by sea, even though circumstances separate these men in ways that make the much more simple idea that this was learned behavior highly unlikely.

Epigenetics--the idea that a grandparents' life experiences can shape who you are--may indeed play a role in such trends. The subtitle for the article claims "Your ancestors' lousy childhoods or excellent adventures might change your personality, bequeathing anxiety or resilience by altering the epigenetic expressions of genes in the brain."

Read the article here, and decide for yourself:
Grandma's Experiences Leave a Mark on Your Genes by Dan Hurley, Discover, June 11th, 2013.

Thoughts about this avenue of study? Post 'em if you've got 'em.

Image above courtesy of rajcreationzs /

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Post Card

Check out this video about the The Post Card, where genealogical researchers can get free access to a multitude of old newspapers courtesy of the hard work and dedication of the web site's owner, Tom Tryniski:

I have used this site several times for my research, and it has yielded some real gems about my family tree. One thing I discovered there is that my great-great grandmother Vermilyea Krismeyer's older brother, Mettis, was married to a woman named Nettie who apparently went "mad" after finding his stashed trunk full of gold. Upon discovering it, she told a neighbor that she "had to go" and took the booty down to New York City for a spending spree. Crazy? Like a fox, I'd say! You go, girl.

May you find a story as interesting as that in your own research. Happy hunting!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday: Charles Burger & Carolina Ruf (Durthaler)

Photo (c) Kathleen Powers, 2008

The weathered tombstone on the left marks the grave of Charles F. Burger, husband of Carolina Ruf (Durthaler), at Lutheran All Faiths Cemetery in Queens county, New York. He is a veteran of the Civil War, having first served in PA under his real name and later in NJ under the alias Charles Hesse. He was my 3xGGF on my Grandmother Marilyn's and Grandaunt Jeanne's mother's side of the family.