Family History

The Contemplative Beard of David Costlow (1853-1924)

The Contemplative Beard of David Costlow (1853-1924)

The beard of David Costlow (1853-1924) is a soft and greying cloud in active weather. David’s calm eyes rest contemplatively above a yard that teeters tenuously between kempt and neglect.

The Last Will and Testament of Christopher Adkins (1825-1887), My 4th Great Grandfather

The Last Will and Testament of Christopher Adkins (1825-1887), My 4th Great Grandfather

“I Christopher Adkins, of Epsom, in the County of Daviess, and State of Indiana, merchant, being of sound and disposing mind and memory …” - I believe this to be the last will and testament of my 4th great grandfather, Christopher Adkins (1825-1887).

My 2nd Great Grandmother: Marie Zuchowska Pawlowski (b. 1851)

My 2nd Great Grandmother: Marie Zuchowska Pawlowski (b. 1851)

Marie Zuchowska Pawlowski was my 2nd great grandmother. Born around 1851 in what is present day Poland, she came to the U.S. with her husband, Baltazar, in 1907. They settled in Detroit, MI to join their children. This is her story.

Greek Tsardoulias Brothers Buy and Operate Hotel James in Greenville, Ohio

Greek Tsardoulias Brothers Buy and Operate Hotel James in Greenville, Ohio

In 1925 two recent Greek immigrant brothers, Nicholas and Angelos Tsardoulias, purchased and began operating the Hotel James in Greenville, Ohio. They are likely cousins of mine. This is their story.

1942 Letterman of Saint Michael High School in Flint, MI: Michael John Hanley Jr. (1924-2015)

1942 Letterman of Saint Michael High School in Flint, MI: Michael John Hanley Jr. (1924-2015)

Letterman (1942) of the Saint Michael High School Basketball team in Flint, MI and my grandfather, Michael John Hanley Jr. (1924-2015). This is his story.

Sophocles Tsardoulias (1895-1895): On When to Hire Genealogy Help

Sophocles Tsardoulias (1895-1895): On When to Hire Genealogy Help

How I decided to hire expert genealogy help to research my Greek roots: The story of my 2nd great uncle, Sophocles Tsardoulias (1895-1895).

Agnieszka "Agnes" Szaroleta Grzeskowiak (1854-1918)

Agnieszka "Agnes" Szaroleta Grzeskowiak (1854-1918)

Agnieszka “Agnes” Szaroleta Grzeskowiak (1854-1918) was my 2nd great grandmother. She was married to my 2nd great grandfather, Albert Grzeskowiak (1849-1931). They came to the U.S. from Poland in the early 1880s and settled in Detroit, MI.

Elderly Alcoholic Bachelor Dies Alone: Joseph Costlow (1855-1932)

Elderly Alcoholic Bachelor Dies Alone: Joseph Costlow (1855-1932)

Joseph Costlow (1855-1932), a lifetime bachelor of Cambria Count, PA, was my 3rd great uncle. He died, seemingly alone, from complications of his alcoholism. This is his story.

Anthony Karatzis (1921-1926)

Anthony Karatzis (1921-1926)

Tragically, Anthony Karatzis (Karr) was struck and killed by an automobile before his 5th birthday. This is his story.

"A pugilistic neck, a powerful man, but essentially very meek" - Chester Joseph Stuve (1913-1978)

"A pugilistic neck, a powerful man, but essentially very meek" - Chester Joseph Stuve (1913-1978)

My 1st cousins, 2x removed, Chester Joseph Stuve (1913-1978) was "A good-natured fellow, an enthusiastic athlete, and a diligent student." Apparently his also had a strong neck. Here is his story as told through yearbook photos.

Young Detroit Woman Wins Free Pint of Ice Cream: Georgia Vakendis (1929-2001)

Young Detroit Woman Wins Free Pint of Ice Cream: Georgia Vakendis (1929-2001)

In the summer of 1949 Georgia Vakendis (1929-2001), my 2nd cousin 1x removed, won a free pint of Cunningham’s Famous Ice Cream. This is her story.

Teenager Survives Mule Kick to Face: William Marion Arvin (1889-1960)

Teenager Survives Mule Kick to Face: William Marion Arvin (1889-1960)

This newspaper article from July 1, 1905 describes the violent mule kick suffered by my 1st cousin 3x removed, William Marion Arvin (1889-1960).

Hanley Photo and Frame Mystery

Hanley Photo and Frame Mystery

There’s an oval framed photograph in my family collection that I’ve not been able to identify. Here’s the story of how I took it apart looking for clues.

Albert "Rabbit" Zenner (1886-1964): Woodsman of the Upper Peninsula

Albert "Rabbit" Zenner (1886-1964): Woodsman of the Upper Peninsula

When you discover a relative in your family tree nicknamed "Rabbit" you obviously have to find and tell his story. Here it is.

Planes, Shuffleboard, and Hats: The Elegant Lydia Schmidt McNamara (1876-1961)

Planes, Shuffleboard, and Hats: The Elegant Lydia Schmidt McNamara (1876-1961)

Lydia Schmidt McNamara (1876-1961) was an elegant woman with a fondness for hats, planes, and jewelry. There is photographic evidence that she fancied shuffleboard as well.

Pneumonia in Detroit: Franciszka "Frances" Grzeskowiak (1886-1905)

Pneumonia in Detroit: Franciszka "Frances" Grzeskowiak (1886-1905)

Pneumonia was one of the leading causes of U.S. deaths in the early 1900s. It took the life of my 2nd great aunt, Francisczka “Frances” Grzeskowiak (1886-1905). This is her story.

Blind Man Marries Wife, Sight Unseen: Padraig Hanley (abt. 1810) - 4th Great Grandfather

Blind Man Marries Wife, Sight Unseen: Padraig Hanley (abt. 1810) - 4th Great Grandfather

Blind from a mining accident in Ireland, Padraig Hanley (abt. 1810) was my 4th great grandfather. This is his story.

Helen Borowski Nizol (1900-1935): Mother Dies, Leaves Young Children, Just as Her Own Mother Did

Helen Borowski Nizol (1900-1935): Mother Dies, Leaves Young Children, Just as Her Own Mother Did

Helen Borowski Nizol left 4 young sons when she died at age 34. Her own mother died when she was only 10. This is her story.

The Psychogenealogist Pic of the Week (#79) - Blarney Romany Caravans, Ireland 1971

The Psychogenealogist Pic of the Week (#79) - Blarney Romany Caravans, Ireland 1971

In 1971 my grandparents took a trip to Ireland. Blarney was one of their many stops in County Cork and adjoining areas. I just love this photo of a horse drawn Blarney Romany Caravan they saw along the way.