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Showing posts from March, 2010

His Irish Eyes Weren't Smiling

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It's the time of the year when we celebrate our Irish heritage and I have plenty of it. 

My mom claimed Irish heritage through the Donaldsons.  My dad always made fun of her.  I think he bought into the stereotype that the Irish are drunks.  The rest of us didn't care, though.  We were proud to have Irish heritage.  My dad said that his father, James Quincy Davis, always told him the Davises were Welsh.

Very early in my research, I learned of Robert Hamilton, my fifth great-grandfather through my paternal grandmother, Jennie Esther Ballein.  Robert Hamilton was born in Ireland in 1760.  He came to America shortly before the Revolutionary War and served in that war.   I told my dad he had Irish blood and he promptly told me that only the male line (i.e., the Davises) counted when determining one's cultural heritage.

I will always remember the day that changed my dad's life.  I was sitting at a microfilm viewer looking for my great-great grandfather Isaac Davis in the 1…

The Name Game

Why did our ancestors have so many different variations on their names?  Since a very young age, I have known my full name and the correct spelling.  You probably have also.  But I see so many different names for the same people and families and, well, it's frustrating.

First, there is my great-great-grandmother, Lulu Dunn Wardlow.  I refer her to as Lulu, because that is the name on her gravestone.  However, I have seen her name spelled Eulala, Eulali, Ulalia, and Lula.  Someone told me I was wrong about her name but who's to say?

My great-grandmother, Rosa Ogden Davis, has been referred to as Thankful Rosa, Rozella, and Rosie. Again, she is referred to Rosa on her gravestone, so that is typically how I refer to her.

Ballein is problem name.  I have seen it written as Bowline and Bauline.  I can almost excuse this, though, since it is a somewhat unusual name.

Shaper is a problem for another reason.  It is pronounced the way it is written but, unfortunately, is similar to the …