Rosslyn Hotel signs (partially) lit, by Jim Winstead (flickr.com/jimwinstead)

Desperado, why don’t you come to your senses You been out ridin’ fences for so long now Oh, you’re a hard one I know that you got your reasons These things that are pleasin’ you Can hurt you somehow —The Eagles I have previously written about the unfortunate circumstances of my grandmother María Lucia “Lucille”… Read More


Across the Continent, Lithograph, Frances F. Palmer, 1869.

During the Civil War, Missouri and Tennessee were claimed by both the Union and the Confederacy. The Union dominance in each of these states was achieved by a difficult struggle on many fronts, and my great-great-grandfather William Ivans (1842-1908) lived through the most terrifying years of the war in these two states. He served for… Read More


On 24 September 1704, the Plymouth Colony Court of General Sessions granted liquor licenses to several colonists. Each deposited a bond (“surtie”) with the court to ensure orderly behavior of their patrons, except, for some reason, the last man listed. That would be my seventh great-grandfather Eleazer Dunham (1659-1719). He’s listed as an “inholder,” that… Read More


The family of Asa Dunham is recorded in the 1790 United States Census as having five members, including Asa and his wife Lydia. At the time they were living in Number 4 Plantation in Cumberland County; in 1790 the community had a population of 344. This area had first been settled in 1779, and would be incorporated as Paris only three years after the census.… Read More


The weakest link in my Dunham family tree is that of my 3x-great-grandfather James Dunham Jr. of Orland, Hancock, Maine. He was the father of my great-great-grandfather Seth Dunham, who came to California during the Gold Rush. While his parents are generally assumed to be James Dunham (12 Sep 1758-18 Aug 1829) and Elizabeth Robbins… Read More


San Quentin State Prison, circa 1910

My great grandparents Sumner Dunham (1871-1947) and Cora Belle Ivans (1873-1963) were married on 8 July 1894 in Cummings, Mendocino County, California, with Cora Belle’s parents William and Mary (Wilson) Ivans serving as official witnesses. It’s unlikely Cora Belle’s brother John E. Ivans, my great granduncle, would have been in attendance at the wedding. Then… Read More


I feel like Ruth Mendell could tell me a lot. Here’s the background. On 17 Nov 1864 my great-great-grandfather Seth Dunham married Lavina Jessie Springston in Napa, California. He was 38; she was 15. This particular genealogical mystery is about Lavinia’s ancestry. Lavina’s parents were William Springston, born about 1818 in Ohio, and Nancy, who… Read More


In the spirit of Halloween, when traditionally styled gravestones are popping up on lawns everywhere, I offer the real thing. Through the magic of findagrave.com, which contains some 65 million cemetery records, I found today photographs of headstones of several early Maine relatives, including the gravestone of my 4th great-grandparents James Dunham (1758-1829) and Elizabeth… Read More


Isaac Dunham was the first keeper of the lighthouse at Pemaquid Point, Maine, near Bristol in Lincoln County. After many catastrophic shipwrecks at that place, an act of May 18, 1826 provided $4,000 for the construction of the lighthouse. The lighthouse went into service on November 29, 1827 with Isaac, my first cousin five times… Read More