Appomattox Court House Union soldiers

As has been noted elsewhere on this blog, my great-great-grandfather Seth Dunham came to California from Maine during the Gold Rush. His parents, James Dunham (b. abt 1788 in Orland, Hancock, Maine) and Elizabeth “Betsy” Gilpatrick (b. 27 May 1795 In Orland) had 10 other children besides Seth. So while I’ve paid much attention to… Read More


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


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


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


George Morton (1585-1624) and Nathaniel Morton (1613-1685) This past week my publisher delivered the files for my book to the printer.  I imagine that within the next couple of weeks I will have an actual copy of my first book in my hands. The book is Ascend: The Catholic Faith for a New Generation, published… Read More


When my great-great-great grandparents James Dunham (1788-?) and Betsy Gilpatrick (1795-1860) were married in 1814 in Orland, Hancock County, Maine, they created a link between my Dunham ancestors and the ancestors of John Hancock, signer of the Declaration of Independence. Governor Hancock is actually my second cousin. He is seven times removed because he and… Read More


Perhaps it has become a bit trite to say that you can’t choose your family. As worthwhile and notable as the lives of many Dunhams have been through the past centuries, it is only to be expected that some will fall short of what we might hope to learn about our ancestors. Certainly it is… Read More


My 9xgreat-grandfather Nathaniel Morton was the secretary of Plymouth Colony, having arrived there in 1623 at the age of 10. As secretary, he was the keeper of the records of the colony and compiled the colony’s first published history, based largely on accounts of his uncle Governor William Bradford. The following excerpt of Morton’s history… Read More


Brand Boulevard, Glendale, 1950s

Come away with me, Lucille In my merry Oldsmobile Down the road of life we’ll fly Automobubbling, you and I To the church we’ll swiftly steal Then our wedding bells will peal You can go as far as you like with me In my merry Oldsmobile. This was the refrain of the extremely popular 1905… Read More