He was not a pirate under Captain Jack Sparrow, but he did sail the seas and served under a another Captain Sparrow, for a very different cause. My fourth great-grandfather James Dunham was born 12 Sep 1758 in Plympton, Plymouth, Massachusetts, the son of Cornelius Dunham (1716-1766) and Patience Barrows (1724-1807). James was a sailor,… Read More


Plimouth Plantation

The earliest Dunham ancestor to come to North America was John Dunham, a Separatist who fled religious persecution in England by first emigrating to Leiden, Holland, and then to Plymouth Colony. He was my ninth great-grandfather. He was born about 1589; a record exists that year of his baptism at the Church of St. Mary… Read More


I am constantly amazed at the family connections to be made when undertaking family history research on the Internet. Not only has this blog enabled me to learn things from cousins I know, but it has also unearthed cousins I did not know about. All are so helpful and willing to share what they know.… Read More


In a previous post I mentioned that I had discovered that my great-grandparents José María Alvarado and Jesús García were married in San Diego on 10 Sep 1895. But where in San Diego? They had apparently met in Ensenada, and we do not yet know why they chose to be married in San Diego. The… Read More


Because the first children of my great-grandparents José María Alvarado and Jesús García de Alvarado were born in Ensenada, Baja California, and José María had indicated on his petition for naturalization that he emigrated to Los Angeles in 1899, I had always assumed that they were married in Ensenada. In a comment to a previous… Read More


Youth, as they say, is wasted on the young. And while you’ve got to love having non-conformist ancestors, sometimes their adventures make it difficult to track them. Case in point: my grandmother María Lucia “Lucille” Alvarado Wood Dunham Minasian. She was quite a handful, especially once she met up with my grandfather Sumner Earl Dunham… Read More


As my great-grandparents José María and Jesús Alvarado would exit the front door of their modest residence at the corner of Bellevue Avenue and North Broadway in 1900 Los Angeles, two blocks to the northwest they would see this grand house, built in 1887, on a hill above them. This was the residence of Joseph… Read More


The 1850 U. S. Census was a disaster in California. It was disorganized and many of the records were lost, requiring California to mandate a state census in 1852 to try to gauge the massive increase in population due to the Gold Rush. Among those Gold Rush newcomers was my great-great-grandfather Seth Dunham (4 May… Read More


Sonoratown along Buena Vista (North Broadway) From Fort Moore Hill

The city of Los Angeles, El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles, was founded on September 4, 1781 by a multi-racial group of settlers from Mission San Gabriel. The city continued to grow slowly; its leaders generally Californios of the landed classes who had received vast tracts of land, the ranchos, by grants from… Read More