Monthly Archives: May 2011

Walter’s War

Reenacting took center stage for me this past weekend, so I didn’t take the time to reflect on my father’s military service. Walter Albert Kelley Jr. (12 December 1924-6 October 2003) served in the Army Air Corps from April 1943 to May 1946, spending the last year of his enlistment near Calcutta, India. He did not see any combat duty but rather spent the first two years in Signal Corps training. In his own words, “After basic training, I was […]

Funeral Card Friday: William Presley the Deceiver

William Presley is my great-grandfather, my mother’s maternal grandfather. He has been a research challenge from start to [not yet] finished. Thankfully, I absconded with the funeral card above early in my genealogy research career. William died 10 December 1893 possibly in Long Branch, Monmouth County, New Jersey. He was actually 48 when he died, not 47 as the funeral card indicates. I know this because, despite all of William’s attempts to deceive me, I have proven that he was […]

How Many Women, Richard?

Richard Finlay has been a challenge throughout my genealogical research career. He is my great-grandfather, my mother’s grandfather. Richard was born 14 January 1845 in Markham Township, York County, Ontario, Canada, to Richard Finlay and Mary Stewart, both allegedly from Scotland and/or Ireland. I’ve been pretty unsuccessful at finding Richard or his family in the 1851 or 1861 Ontario censuses, but do have a will for his father. Richard (Jr.) claims to have come to the U.S. in 1863 in […]

Treasure Chest Thursday: Antique Store Find

The popular TV show American Pickers capitalizes on one of my favorite pastimes…treasure hunting. So, it’s Thursday and in the spring, summer, and fall, that usually means I am out in search of yard sales. But, alas, we have had a deluge so far today (and miserable weather in general so far this spring) and I’m not sure too many people will be setting up their treasures for me to pick through. So what’s a picker to do? Go to […]

Madness Monday: The Peter Burger Enigma

One cold, winter evening in late April(!) this year, I was bopping around on the Internet and decided to see what I could find on one of my Kelley collateral relatives. I was preparing for a talk that I gave last Friday at the National Genealogical Society Conference in Charleston, SC, called “Effective Internet Searching.” My Kelley ancestors arrived in the U.S. from England in 1872-73. William Joseph Kelley and Julia Matthis Kelley had 10 children, nine of whom made […]

Gilligan’s Epitaph

I grew up watching Gilligan’s Island on TV. It aired from 1964 to 1967 and was one of my favorite shows. The theme song still resonates, “Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip…” It was a fun show that helped exotic travel ideas grow in my mind. So when I had to write an epitaph of someone for an English assignment when I was in my junior year of high school, I […]

Plant Lady (In Honor of My Mother)

[I wrote this article about my mother when I was in a photojournalism class as a sergeant in the Marine Corps in 1981. I post it today to honor my mother on Mother’s Day as she mends from a traumatic injury.] She’s called the Plant Lady. To earn this title, Phyllis Kelley has spent many dedicated years bringing ailing plants back to life. Children, customers and neighbors bring plants to Phyllis knowing she will return them healthy. Phyllis, a 25-year […]

Ode to Sue

Here’s a poem that I wrote to my older sister, Sue, back in December 1977. The sentiments are still true today and I want to share them after spending the last five days with Sue as we worked through some health issues with our mother. Ode to Sue Although she started life before me And grew up before I came to know her She means an awful lot to me Which this poem ought to show her. We’ve had our […]