ISO my Family’s Sociological “Big Bang!”

According to my most recent research into the Bolling-Chambers-Taylor families, I am descended from an ancient line of folks who were known to be bald, short, fat, stammerers, and some even barbarians!

At my eldest grandson’s wedding in Chicago last weekend,  my third eldest grandson approached me for genealogical help. AndyFor his college sociology class his assignment was to check his ancestry to see what if any family members’ actions could be attributed to making significant sociological changes in our world as we know it today.  To help him, when I returned home, I started reviewing my genealogical works over the years, noting a few posts from earlier blogs that might be helpful, and looking for something that struck me as a “big bang!”

I then pulled up my DNA test results to copy the mapped area of our families origins and went back to the family tree and various iterations of the family surname “Bolling.” DNA Ethnicity by Regions of WorldThis process took me from my last name Boling in Maryland, to Bowling and Bolling in Virginia and Yorkshire, England, this is where my 12th great grandfather (Sir Tristam Bolling, III [1515-1561] of Bolling Hall in Bradford in Yorkshire, England)was born.  Next, onto my 16th through 27th De Bolling great grandfathers. That’s when the English DeBolling name changed to the French iteration “DeBoulogne” for my 28th through 36th great grandfathers (back to the year 891 when A De Therouanne De Boulogne was born in Flanders, France).  And then the surnames ceased and my ancestral relatives were identified by the geographic areas in which they lived, and in many cases ruled.  For example, my 37th great grandfather was known as Baldwin Baudouin I “Baas DeFer” “Iron Arm” the first Count of Flanders.

My Big Bang!

Next our family was found in Rhineland, Germany and lo and behold my 42nd great grandfather was Charles the Great, or Charlemagne, Emperor of the Roman Empire!–my big bang!

In the course of several hours I had traced my family line back beyond the 11th century United Kingdom and into the times before surnames, back to ancient and medieval times to France, Germany, Italy and earlier geographic names for these regions.  It was here that I discovered those bald, short, fat, stammering barbarians were Kings and Emperors who belonged to the ancient Merovingian and Carolingian Dynasties.  


Charlemagne (Charles the Great) Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire 742-814

I had actually traced our lineage back to the year 190 and the Germanic tribes that historians describe as the “Franks.”  The Franks, united by culture and language, had settled near the Rhine River by the end of the third century.  While the Roman Empire was failing, the Franks gradually expanded their territory westward into the Roman province of Gaul and were in control of an area that we know as present-day Belgium and Northeastern France when the Roman Empire fell in the year 476.

Clovis and the Merovingian Dynasty

The first great King of the Franks was Clovis, who was their leader between 481 and 511. Clovis’s family, referred to as the Merovingian dynasty, continued to expand its territory. The Frankish expansion grew as a result of the conversion of Clovis and his followers to Christianity, because Christians living in former Roman lands sought liberation from the barbarians who had gained control of large areas. This marked the beginning of a long and mutually beneficial alliance between the Franks and the Roman Catholic Church — which was also growing in power in the Middle Ages.

Charlemagne and the Carolingian Dynasty

The Franks continued to expand their territory through Western and Central Europe until their influence reached its height under Charles the Great–also known as Charlemagne, (my 42nd paternal great grandfather).  He was King of the Franks between 768 and 814 and a member of the Carolingian dynasty. Charlemagne’s alliance with the Roman Catholic Church was formalized in the year 800, when he was crowned Emperor by the pope. By the time of his death, Charlemagne’s empire encompassed present-day France, Germany and northern Italy. However, after the empire was divided among his sons, the power and influence of the Franks gradually declined. By the year 987, the Carolingian dynasty — and the dominant position of the Franks in European affairs — had come to an end.

A Closer Look at the Carolingians

The Carolingian (kărəlĬn´jēənz), Dynasty of Frankish rulers was founded in the seventh century by Pepin of Landen, who, as mayor of the palace, ruled the East Frankish kingdom of Austrasia or Dagobert I. His descendants, Pepin of Heristal (my 45th great grandfatherCharles Martel (my 44th great grandfather)Carloman and Pepin the Short (my 43rd great grandfather), continued to govern the territories under the normal kingship of the Merovingians.

King Pepin the short of Heristal

King Pepin the Short of Heristal

In 751, with the knowledge of backing up Pope Zacharias, Pepin the Short deposed the last Merovingian King, Childeric III. To emphasize the importance of the church and to legitimize his reign, Pepin was consecrated by a bishop of the Roman church. The family was at its height under Pepin’s son, Charlemagne, who was crowned Emperor in 800.

Treaty of VerdunCharlemagne’s empire was divided by the Treaty of Verdun (843) after the death of his son, Emperor Louis I among Louis’s three sons.Lothair_I Lothair I inherited the imperial title in the middle part of the empire Louis the German founded a dynasty that ruled in Germany kingdom of the East Franks until 911, his successors being Charles III (Charles the Fat), Arnulf, and Louis the Child. The third son of Louis I, Charles II (Charles the Bald), founded the French Carolingian Dynasty, which ruled, with interruptions, until 987. Its rulers were Louis II (Louis the Stammerer) Louis IIICarlomanCharles III (Charles the Simple), Louis IV (Louis d’Outremer), Lothair (941-86), and Louis V. In the Carolingian period, a landed economy was firmly established. The Kings consolidated their rule by issuing capitularies and worked closely with church officials. Until the late 9th century, Charlemagne and his successors were generous patrons of the arts. He encouraged the Carolingian Renaissance, a return to Roman classicism and Byzantine and Greco-Roman styles. Charlemagne successfully conquered all of Gaul and parts of Germany and Italy. He created a papal state in central Italy and 774. After his death the kingdom was divided; its authority eventually eroded was reestablished in France in 893.

Significance of the Franks

The Franks helped to bring stability to Europe in the Middle Ages. The Franks unified and Christianized most of Europe. In fact, the territories would not be united again in such an encompassing fashion until the time of Napoleon. The consolidation of authority in Europe under Charlemagne and his alliance with the Roman Catholic Church set the stage for the Holy Roman Empire.

For a complete timeline check out this one:  HistoryWorld – Charlemagne Timeline.

A Girl Jekyll and Hyde Who Embezzled $110,000

I subscribe to World Explorer which gives me full access to everything Ancestry has available, including, the military records site and, which includes unlimited access to more than 50 million pages from more than 1800 newspapers across the United States with billions of articles, obituaries, and announcements that may contain stories of my ancestors.

No this is not an advertisemnt or endorsement, but you can easily search for family members, dates, events, etc., much like you search and that where my interests lie.  In one of my browsing moments with no specific intent in mind, I came across the following article from the Washington Post Newspaper, dated January 18, 1920.  The article’s title A Girl Jekyll and Hyde Who Embezzled $110,000 initially caught my eye, but when I started reading it, the writer’s literary and story telling style impressed me–you might say, a novellette. I apologize for the article being longer than I would usually post.  But, I found myself juxtaposing this 1920′s article and writing style to that of today’s newspapers’ writers–nearly 100 years later. The differences in style as I see them quite naturally evolved as our society grew, emphasis on proper grammar changed, and how we now choose to divvy up our time for reading and prioritizing our limited time in general.  What hasn’t changed in all these years seems to be people’s greed and their willingness to risk all they have for social influence and material possessions in spite of their God-given talents and abilities, real family and friends.


 The Washington Post (Washington, District of Columbia): Sunday, January 18, 1920



An Amazing But True Story of Petite and Pretty Chief Accountant Position of Trust Who Took Funds to Keep Her Private Business Going so That She Might Live in Luxury.

Girl Dr Jekyll Mr Hyde“Most extraordinary case I have ever known, ” was the comment of the court at a session of Manchester assizes held the other day in England, when Tracy Mary Brady, a petite accountant for a ship broker was arraigned, charged with larceny, falsifications of accounts and fraudulent conversion of monies, the property of her employers, and sentenced to 12 months imprisonment as a punishment for her sin and folly.
“A female Jekyll and Hyde,” they said, as the weeping girl, wearing some of the fine clothes and sparkling jewels that had been the cause of her downfall, was led away to her cell.

For Mary lived a full life. To all outward appearances, as she came and went about her daily work in the brokerage offices, where she was employed, she was an honest working girl, smart and capable, but living simply on the stipend that was paid to her in a weekly envelope. Little did her employer know that when she went home in the afternoon that it was a handsome home in Victoria Park, where she lived splendidly in affluence and riches. And not until the trial did they know that she was the proprietress of a jewelry shop that served the elite of Manchester.

All England gasped when the story of her frenzied finances came out.

“In all my long legal experience I have never met up with a case that might have paralleled this one,” remarked the girl’s lawyer as she sat bowed in humiliation before the bar of justice. The Manchester paper said that if her story had been the subject of a novel by popular author it would have been looked upon as improbable and ridiculous.

Mary Brady was a poor girl who dreamed, like Cinderella, of a life in a gorgeous palace, where she can frolic in ease and luxury against an environment: of social splendor and Royal gaiety, indulging her every wish and for fineries and frivolities out of an inexhaustible treasury provided to her by an indulgent Prince Charming.

But alas! When she woke to find no gallant prince to whisk her off to the grand ball and the Elysian fields of riches, she set off alone to satisfy her heart’s desire is honestly – and counted not the cost of the dizzy game she play until her house of cards came tumbling down upon her slender shoulders and buried her in shame.

Played for High Stakes

Instead, she wished and wished, kept on wishing, until her desires so obsessed her that she determined to have all the creature comforts and luxuries of life, regardless of how they came. Unashamed, emboldened by her first “successes” she went on and on, trampling all convention, disregarding the laws and unscrupulously playing for high stakes with loaded dice. And then came the fall!

Mary was born of humble and honest parentage in Ireland. Her father was a county inspector in the Royal Irish constabulary. He died when Mary was 14 years old, leaving a will and a large family. The widow had some means either reason of a portion of an estate left her by relative. Mary, who in early school days was known as a smart little thing with a head for business and organization, was sent to the Ursuline convent in Sligo, and later continued her education in a Francescan and convent at Nottingham where she was a novice.

By and by she went into the world to earn her own living. To Liverpool she went. My, what a big city! It was very first trip to a large city, and she loved it. The handsomely dressed men and women, the taxicabs and limousines, the theaters and operas, the elegant mansions where the rich land in full and plenty – all her life she had wanted these things. Why was she denied them? She walked in the streets of Liverpool looking in the shop windows at the lovely gowns and wraps, smelling the rich foods as the flavors drifted to her through the windows of the gilded palaces, what the gay throng of pleasure seekers and being these well-dressed women as they tripped lightly from their cars on the arms of their smiling consorts.

But all of these things were denied her. She had not a single friend in all this city throng. She had no funds except the meager pittance that was paid her every Saturday night, and most of it went to pay her board and lodging, former laundry and the few clothes she was able to buy. She had only her position as a sales girl with Lever Brothers – that in her dreams as she sat alone in her tiny hallroom apartment, on one of Liverpool’s small side streets.

How Can She Raise Herself?

And then came the thought: why should she not have all these things? She was pretty, she was smart, she could hold her own among all the other city girls, even though she was a quiet country Irish girl. But how? How is she to mount the latter, rung by rung, until she could command is pretty things for which her soul was longing? How can she raise herself so that she could mingle on an equal footing with these people of another social stratum? What she could dawdle away while waiting for her Prince Charming, or was she to hew her way to the top by her own resources?

She would do it. Ambition inflamed in her and she applied herself to her work at Lever Brothers, and so conscientiously and faithfully that presently she was rewarded with a promotion and an increase in salary. By and by came another increase, for Mary, as was mentioned before, was a woman with extraordinary business capacity. Shrewd, quick witted and courteous to her employers and their patrons, she soon became an invaluable asset to the firm. They reciprocated by elevating her to a position of trust all where she was given the handling of large sums of money. Her private life was above reproach: she was industrious, painstaking and careful of her conduct in and out of business hours. Mary was working for definite goal was leaving no stone unturned that would hinder her drive toward success.

After a time she heard about a new position in Manchester and filed an application. Her references were good, and when the Manchester firm came to look her up they found that Mary was all and more than they had hoped for. So she won: to the hustling, bustling city of Manchester from Liverpool, and resumed again her diligent search for the Golden fleece.

Now she had an important position. She was engaged in the offices of a thriving ship owners and brokerage company. The war was on, and every resource of the nation was combined in getting out every scrap of tonnage possible. Everyone was busy about his or her job in this big establishment. The contract had to be turned out, no matter what the cost. Shipbuilders were being paid good prices, with bonuses for quick delivery, and the officials distributed some of their profits in the way of increased salaries among their employees.

A Trusted Employee

Mary Brady was caught in this wave of prosperity. She had an important position. She was an expert accountant and cashier: through her pants test all the funds of the company. The company’s books were under her supervision, and she kept them in “apple pie order”. Mary was a trusted employee – capable, efficient and always on the job. She was rewarded proportionately.

And now came for temptation. Why should she not live like other people of means? Her salary had increased to such an amount that she could afford to live in better style. So the girl took apartments in the fashionable Midland hotel. There she met folks of different class from those she had ever known before. Better food, more sumptuous living quarters, style, smart people, music, dancing, service – these were the things that appealed to her.
She revealed in this new life. It was wine to her spirits. Pretty and well-dressed now, she was an attractive figure. And she had a pleasing personality that readily won over many new friends. She was in the environment where she could meet them. She was living up to the limit of her income and still she had not enough. She must develop other resources of revenue. But where? And how? She was a salaried girl with no independent means. She must have more money or give up the life she was living. And she loved it so!
There, in the office, she was handling large sums of money, the payroll and petty cash that approximated £50,000 a year. She was tempted to take some of it. Only a loan, she figured. But how could she repay it? How could she take that which did not belong to her without getting an accounting for it? Has she any right to lend herself out of the company’s funds? She wrestled with the problem.

Eventually came a time when she must do something. Her bills at Midland were greater than she could pay. She was using so much of her funds for the day expenses of her new life that when these bills were presented she was unable to meet them. How could she make more money?

And then came an inspiration. She had it! She would go into business for herself! She would “borrow” money from her employers without telling them about it and later pay it back of the profits she would make. Fourth with began her peculations. They were small at first and she deftly covered them up in the books by false entries. As time went on they grew larger and larger, but always the girl was able to hide her defalcations from the company officials through expert manipulations of her accounts. In time she had gathered a considerable sum – enough to start her own business.

Got the Goods on the Margin

Now she went out and engaged herself a little shop in the middle of the Manchester shopping district. With the funds she had appropriated she was able to establish credit and get goods on a margin. She kept right on at her position in the shipyard and employed a manager, a woman who she knew and trusted. To her intimate friends she confided the information that she was in business and directed them to her shop. They went and bought her goods. Others patronize the little jewel shop and it leaped overnight into a flourishing business

.By day Mary worked faithfully in the offices of the ship brokers.

After hours she looked over her jewelry shop with her manager for an hour or so and then gave the rest of the evening over to the life she loved – social splendor. Money! It came to her last. She had “borrowed” from her employer large amounts, but she would pay back very shortly. Her business was prospering.

After time married took a house of her own in Victoria Park, a palatial little place, where she had entertained the friends she had met at the Midland and elsewhere. Clothes, expensive clothes, furs, elegant furniture, and house decorations – all these came her way. Curious people might have wondered how Mary maintained herself so luxuriously on her shipyard salary, but her friends knew about the jewelry shop. They patted her on the back and told her she was the smartest woman in the world. They were proud of such an energetic and resourceful little woman.

There were no romances in this life of Mary’s – saved one. There was never a suggestion of immorality of any kind or shape. Mary had a sweetheart in the service and she was true to him. Perhaps she might have married one of the firm, a junior partner, if she had loved him or set her For him. But Mary loved another. Instead, she introduced one of her sisters to the junior partner of the firm and a forthwith became engaged to be married.

For two years Mary Brady lived this life of shipbuilders’ accountant and jewelry shopkeeper. Money, money, money – how she loved it! It was also fascinating – this business of a young country girl engaged in business for herself. She was still “borrowing” from the firm; but wasn’t her business growing, and wouldn’t she soon be able to repay it without anyone being any the wiser?

All the time she was going a faster pace. It cost considerable to maintain the house in Victoria Park and entertain her friends and style. The prices of everything were constantly increasing. Nor could she received from the position into which she had climbed. She must make a bold front of it and keep things going, no matter what the cost. Even though there came a time when she had to go to a money lender to temporarily bolster her business, Mary kept serenely on her way, confident that she could pull through.

She Turned to Cards

Eventually she found herself face to face with a desperate situation. The pace was faster than she could stand, the demands greater than her resources. She must go slow on the office defalcations in order that she might keep her tracks well covered up. Auditing her jewelry shop accounts, she found that she had asked and received as much credit as she reasonably could without inviting undue comment. She can go no further in either direction. But something must be done.

Then she turned to cards. She had learned to play bridge and other games of chance with the paste boards. Adroit and cool in business, she applied the same methods to her card playing. Sometimes she won and applied her earnings to her business. More often she lost – lost the money that was needed to keep up the jewelry shop. Deeper and deeper she became enmeshed. Recklessly she plunged on and on, trying to recoup her losses and thinking all the time the tide would turn and she would work her way out of the dismal mess.

And then came the crash! One day an officer of the law stepped into the office where Mary was working as a cashier at a salary of £4 a week. He tapped her on her shoulder and said you are under arrest. She was led away, white with fear, but trying to smile and telling her friends that always come out right in the end.

The scene changes to the courtroom. The newspapers have told the whole story of Mary Brady and her dual life; all about the jewelry shop and the Palace in Victoria Park. The court room is crowded as the cashier is led before the presiding justice. All is hushed silence as the prosecuting attorney recites that Mary Brady was a single woman and had been for seven or eight years employed by Messrs. Thoresen as a cashier at a salary of £4 a week. The practices of the she has accused were said to have begun in 1917 and the frauds discovered in July 1919. Mary pleads “guilty.” To the police officer who had arrested her she said, “I cannot deny having had the money, but I can get friends to help me repay it.” She gave the amount as £10,000.

“Is that correct?” asks the court. “The sum was largely in excess of that amount,” comes the reply.

The official receiver in bankruptcy, when called by Mary’s attorney, testifies, saying he is administering her estate as trustee and that the state has realized £8,400. And then follows a running fire of questions and answers.

“Has she given you every assistance?” “Yes.”

“Is she a woman of exceptional business capacity?” “I should think so.”
“Had the prisoner’s employers put in a proof, and if so, for how much?” “£22,000.”

What She Told the Police

“According to the police, the prisoner when arrested said she had lost the money by gambling and cards, except when she had spent on dress. Went to the estate consist of?” “The estate consisted of dresses, furs, jewelry, furniture, a house in Victoria Park, and a jewelry business.”
“How did she pay for the business?” “In cash. It cost £2,000.”

“Is there anything to show how she paid for these things, the furs, the jewelry and so on?” “I do not think she made any secret of the fact that she paid for them out of money referred to in the prosecution.

“Did she spent largely on dress?” “Undoubtedly.”

“On expensive furs?” “Yes, on beautiful furs.”
“Was the business successful?” “I should say it was moderately successful. She would probably make from £50 to £600 a year.”

“Was she there during the day?” “She looked after the business, but had a manageress.”

“Was the business partly paid for by a loan from a money lender of £1,500?” “It is difficult to say.”

“Was there a loan from a money lender?” “Yes.”

It was suggested further by the receiver that Mary Brady must have lost thousands of pounds at cards played at the Midland Hotel.

“With whom did she play?” “I cannot tell you. I shall have to investigate these matters very closely in bankruptcy in view of this trial. I thought it was fairer not to conduct the bankruptcy proceedings until this was over.”

Addressing the court for the defense, Mary Brady’s attorney sketched the whole story of her life, from her birth in Ireland up to the present proceedings, omitting no detail. He told of her life and the Midland Hotel, where she had met the class of people who encouraged her to spend and live high. He told how she conceived the idea of starting a business for herself and how her defalcations began in the office where she handled so much money. They were trifling at first; then larger sums were taken to cover up the small. Finally she was swamped by the drain on her and began play cards for sums which she could not afford to lose. She lost, and did not require much imagination to show where the money came from.

Fought Against Disaster

She had filed a petition in bankruptcy and had made an exhaustive return in an effort to stave off disaster. The costs in this case were being paid for by a married sister. His client was absolutely without a penny and was ruined. There was no suggestion of immorality. It was no small punishment that she had to face so much publicly in the public journals and there had been attacks on her which were without foundation, pleaded the attorney for the defense.

An officer who was engaged to marry her still desired to make her his wife notwithstanding any sentence his Lordship might pass. The prisoner came of an excellent family and one of her sisters was engaged to marry a partner in the prosecuting firm.
The justice in passing sentence said it was a most unhappy case. It caused him as a Judge deep personal grief.

“Your great charm of manner,” he went on, “and your opportunities have led to one thing only – your appearance in the criminal dock of this assize. I am sure that no judge feels more deeply than myself the promptings of pity and sympathy. On the other hand, I realize always the duty of a judge to administer the law, to inflict proper punishment and to do that which will be a warning to others. In the present case it is impossible to overlook the serious nature of your offense.

“You were trusted and you violated your trust. You stole the property that you undertook to guard. I cannot see any element of remorse. I hope this case will warn all men and women that integrity of character is the only basis for lasting happiness. Your serious and prolonged dishonesty calls for substantial punishment, and the least sentence I can pass upon your set of 12 months’ imprisonment.”

They led Mary Brady away to her cell – away to a dreary dungeon so unlike the beautiful house in Victoria Park and totally bereft of all the fine appointments and fine friends who flattered her in the days of her “prosperity.”

Irish-American Heritage Month: March 2014

DNA Test Reveals 10% Irish Ancestry

From my dna report–A Look Into My Irish Ancestry - Primarily in: Ireland, Wales, Scotland, but some lived in France, and England:

Emerald IsleI guess the DNA results that revealed my blood lineage as 10 percent Irish, allow me to legitimately wear green today to honor my Irish heritage.  Ireland, called the Emerald Isle for its rolling green hills, is the second largest island in the British Isles, just off the west coast of Britain. Along with Wales, Scotland and a handful of other isolated communities in the area, it is a last holdout of the ancient Celtic languages that were once spoken throughout much of western Europe. Though closely tied to England, both geographically and historically, the Irish have fiercely maintained their unique character throughout the centuries.

My family’s Irish Surnames:

Irish Ancestry 1Irish Ancestry 2

People of prehistoric Ireland and Scotland

After the Ice Age glaciers retreated from northern Europe more than 9,000 years ago, hunter gatherers and farmers spread north into what is now Great Britain and Ireland. Around 500 B.C., the Bronze Age culture spread across all of western Europe, including the British Isles. These new people originated in central Europe, near what is Austria today. Many tribes existed, but they were collectively known as the Celts.

Population expansion

From around 400 B.C. to 275 B.C., Celtic tribes expanded to the Iberian Peninsula, France, England, Scotland and Ireland—even as far east as Turkey. As the Roman Empire expanded beyond the Italian peninsula, it began to come into increasing contact with the Celts of France, whom the Romans called “Gauls.”

A Tribe of Gauls on an Expedition by Alphonse De Neuville

Roman invasions

The Romans eventually conquered the Gauls and then invaded the British Isles in 43 A.D. They conquered most of southern Britain and occupied it over the course of a few decades. Those Celts who were not assimilated into the Roman Empire and retreated to other areas that remained under Celtic control, such as Wales, Ireland, Scotland, the Isle of Man and Brittany. The Roman presence largely wiped out most traces of Celtic culture in England—even replacing the language. Since the Romans never occupied Ireland or Scotland in any real sense, they are among the few places where Celtic languages have survived to this day.

Another thing the Romans brought was Christianity. During the few hundred years that the Romans occupied Britain, they promoted Christianity with varying degrees of force. Many missionaries traveled to the area and succeeded in converting the Celts from their pagan Druidism, though pagan religions resurfaced after the Roman Empire’s collapse.

Viking invasions

Beginning in the late 8th century, Viking raiders began attacking the east coast of England and the northern islands off Scotland.  During the next few centuries, they controlled parts of the islands, exacting tribute, pillaging villages and monasteries, and occasionally setting up trade outposts. During the 9th century, the Vikings established Dublin in western Ireland as a trade port. Vikings controlled this area of Ireland for nearly 300 years, but their power diminished after heavy losses at the Battle of Clontarf in 1014.

Norman invasions

During the 12th century, Ireland consisted of a number of small warring kingdoms. When Diarmait Mac Murchada, the petty king of Leinster, was deposed by the Irish High King, he turned to England for help. Henry II, the Norman ruler of England, sent Norman mercenaries who assisted Mac Murchada and he regained control of Leinster, though shortly thereafter he died. In 1171, Henry II landed with a large army and seized control of Ireland. With the support of Pope Adrian IV, Henry II took the title “Lord of Ireland” and the Emerald Isle became part of the English Kingdom.

Drawing of Diarmait Mac Murchada, from W.R. Wilde’s A Descriptive Catalogue of the Antiquities in the Museum of the Royal Irish Academy, Vol. 1 (Dublin & London, 1863), page 310.
King Henry II by unknown artist. Nation Portrait Gallery, London.
Pope Adrian IV

The Norman kings, ruling primarily from France, gave rise to the House of Plantagenet, a line of kings who began to merge and modernize the kingdom of England. Beginning in 1277, Edward I put down a revolt in Wales and led a full-scale invasion of the country, bringing it under control of the English crown. He then seized political control of Scotland during a succession dispute, leading to a rebellion there. Edward’s campaign against the Scots was less successful and remained unresolved at his death. By decisively defeating Edward’s son at Bannockburn in 1314, the Scots assured their independence.

The Great Plague of the 14th century devastated the Norman and English leadership in Ireland. This destruction of outside authority promoted a renewal of Irish political power, culture and language.

Early modern Ireland

Beginning in 1537 and for the next 70 years, the English monarchy reconquered Ireland. The English attempted to force acceptance of Protestantism among the Irish people, who had mostly remained Catholic. When forced conversion failed, the British Crown replaced the Irish landowners with thousands of Protestant colonists from England and Scotland. England also sold Irish prisoners and “undesirables” to Caribbean plantations as slaves.

The Irish diaspora

Two famines, one in 1740-41 and the second in 1845-52, decimated Ireland. They brought widespread death from starvation and disease and created a massive exodus of refugees. The first famine, caused by severe winter weather, led to the deaths of some 400,000 people; about 150,000 Irish left the country. The second, called the “Great Famine,” was the result of potato blight, killing 1 million people by starvation. Another million Irish fled the country, most immigrating to England, Australia, Canada and the United States, creating a worldwide Irish diaspora.

Victims of the Irish Potato Famine immigrate to North America by ship
The Irish Famine: Interior of a Peasant’s Hut by H. Werdmuller

And, from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Facts for Features

Percentage of U.S. Residents with Irish AncestryOriginally a religious holiday to honor St. Patrick, who introduced Christianity to Ireland in the fifth century, St. Patrick’s Day has evolved into a celebration for all things Irish. The world’s first St. Patrick’s Day parade occurred on March 17, 1762, in New York City, featuring Irish soldiers serving in the English military. This parade became an annual event, with President Truman attending in 1948. Congress proclaimed March as Irish-American Heritage Month in 1995, and the President issues a proclamation commemorating the occasion each year.

From the U.S. Census Bureau’s Facts for Features

MARCH MADNESS/Sports Celebration of Irish Heritage


Population of South Bend, Ind., home to the Fighting Irish of the University of Notre Dame. About 10.4 percent of South Bend’s population claims Irish ancestry.
Source: 2012 American Community Survey


Percentage of the Boston metropolitan area population that claims Irish ancestry, one of the highest percentages for the top 50 metro areas by population. Boston is home of the Celtics of the National Basketball Association.
Source: 2012 American Community Survey

78,390 and 16,167

Population of New Rochelle, N.Y., and Moraga, Calif., home to the Gaels of Iona University and St. Mary’s College of California, respectively. During college basketball’s March Madness, you will typically see these universities compete on the court, no doubt rooted on by some of the 8.4 percent of the New Rochelle population and 15.5 percent of the Moraga population that claim Irish ancestry.
Sources: 2012 American Community Survey

Population Distribution

34.1 million

Number of U.S. residents who claimed Irish ancestry in 2012. This number was more than seven times the population of Ireland itself (4.6 million). Irish was the nation’s second most frequently reported ancestry, trailing only German.
Sources: 2012 American Community Survey
Ireland Central Statistics Office


Percentage of the population in Massachusetts that claims Irish ancestry, which is among the highest in the nation. New York has 2.5 million people claiming Irish ancestry, which is among the most of any state.
Source: 2012 American Community Survey


Number of people with Irish ancestry who were naturalized citizens in 2012.
Source: 2012 American Community Survey

39.2 years old

Median age of those who claim Irish ancestry, which is higher than U.S. residents as a whole at 37.4 years.
Source: 2012 American Community Survey

Irish-Americans Today


Percentage of people of Irish ancestry, 25 or older, who had a bachelor’s degree or higher. In addition, 93.4 percent of Irish-Americans in this age group had at least a high school diploma. For the nation as a whole, the corresponding rates were 29.1 percent and 86.4 percent, respectively.
Source: 2012 American Community Survey


Median income for households headed by an Irish-American, higher than the $51,371 for all households. In addition, 7.4 percent of family households of Irish ancestry were in poverty, lower than the rate of 11.8 percent for all Americans.
Source: 2012 American Community Survey


Percentage of employed civilian Irish-Americans 16 or older who worked in management, professional and related occupations. Additionally, 25.9 percent worked in sales and office occupations; 15.9 percent in service occupations; 9.3 percent in production, transportation and material moving occupations; and 7.7 percent in natural resources, construction and maintenance occupations.
Source: 2012 American Community Survey


Percentage of householders of Irish ancestry who owned the home in which they live, with the remainder renting. For the nation as a whole, the homeownership rate was 63.9 percent.
Source: 2012 American Community Survey

Places to Spend the Day


Number of places in the United States that share the name of Ireland’s capital, Dublin. The most recent population for Dublin, Calif., was 47,156.
Source: 2012 Population Estimates

If you’re still not into the spirit of St. Paddy’s Day, then you might consider paying a visit to Emerald Isle, N.C., with 3,669 residents.
Source: 2012 Population Estimates

Other appropriate places in which to spend the day: the township of Irishtown, Ill., several places or townships named Clover (in South Carolina, Illinois, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin) or one of the seven places that are named Shamrock.

The Celebration

25.9 billion

U.S. beef production in pounds in 2012. Corned beef is a traditional St. Patrick’s Day dish.
Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service

$21.5 million

Value of potted florist chrysanthemum sales at wholesale in 2012 for operations with $100,000 or more sales. Lime green chrysanthemums are often requested for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.
Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service

Getting to Know My Cousin – 5 Generations Later

We are so blessed that our 13-year-old grand daughter is an avid reader and also enjoys writing her own stories.  So, when she came to me a couple of weeks ago to say she had a social studies project and wanted to focus on proactive women from our past I just jumped with joy.  It just so happened that I had some incomplete genealogical research sitting around that I had hoped to process into a post.  She picked up the torch and gleefully ran with it.  But, before we get to her story below, I’d like to share with you her relationship to the woman she writes about:

John Lothropp (also Lothrop or Lathrop; 1584–1653) was an English Anglican clergyman, who became a Congregationalist minister and emigrant to New England. He was the founder of Barnstable, Massachusetts. Reverend John Lathrop as he later became known was Julia Clifford Lathrop’s 6th great grandfather and just five short generations later our grand daughter Kylie McDaniel was born.  She is Reverend John Lathrop’s 11th great grand daughter. And, here’s Kylie’s story about her cousin.

 Julia Clifford Lathrop

By: Kylie McDaniel

Why was Julia Clifford Lathrop a significant person in the history of the United States?


Julia Clifford Lathrop was a very significant person in the history of the United States. She was appointed as head of the new United States Children’s Bureau of the Department of Commerce and Labor by president William Howard Taft while women were still fighting for their rights in the suffrage movement of 1848. She also joined in as many reform movements as she could. Becoming the head of the U.S. Children’s Bureau was a big deal not only because women still didn’t have their rights but, because she was the first woman to head a federal bureau at a president’s call with full concurrence from the senate.

How did Julia Clifford Lathrop affect others?

Julia affected others in many ways in her line of work. She helped fight for invalid children. She was also an activist. The reason behind the new Bureau was to investigate and report “upon all matters pertaining to the welfare of children and child life among all classes of our people.” As stated in my earlier paragraph, Julia was the first female head of any government bureau. She was the daughter of a suffragist. Her mother, Sarah Adeline Potter Lathrop, was a suffragist and was very enthusiastic about what she was fighting for. As a daughter of a suffragist, Julia would hear a lot about women’s rights in her home. votes-4-women.jpg

Her father, William Lathrop, was a personal friend of former president, Abe Lincoln. William also was a lawyer. Julia’s father, helped establish the republican party and served in the state legislature.

Julia worked at the U.S. Children’s Bureau of the Department of Commerce and Labor for 9 years where she mainly worked cases of child labor and juvenile delinquency. This was because she was born into a wealthy family and wanted to help kids who were not as fortunate as she had been. There, she helped many, many, children from child labor, juvenile delinquency, and many other things that involved children.

Julia involved herself in as many reform movements as she could. She joined her mother sometimes in the fight for women’s suffrage. She moved to Chicago in 1890 to join Jane Addams (a pioneer settlement social worker, public philosopher, sociologist, author, and leader in women’s suffrage and world peace), at the new Hull House. The Hull house was a settlement home in the U.S. that allowed European immigrants who had recently come to America to live there. Julia joined the Illinois Board of Charities in July 1893. She started a personal inspection of all 102 almshouses and farms in the county. In 1893-1894 she stopped that work to inspect county charity institutions that were in Cook County, Illinois. Julia’s descriptions of the Cook County Infirmary, asylum, and the other institutions were put into the Hull House Maps and Papers as its own chapter in 1895. She resigned from the Illinois Board of Charities in 1901 because performance of the staff of almost all of its institutions was really poor. In 1905 she rejoined the board and resigned once again in 1909 when her plan for reorganization was put into place. That same year, at Clifford W. Beers’ National Committee for Mental Hygiene, she became a charter member. Julia involved herself in very many reform movements.

How might history have been different if Julia Clifford Lathrop had not reached her level of importance?

Women-get-the-vote.jpgIf Julia had not reached her level of importance, some women who were proactive about their rights and involve

d in humane charities-based organizations may not have aspired to do so because they would not have had such a role model to believe in. They may have gotten discouraged and felt that there was no point because nothing of significance had happened yet and  would have probably been convinced then nothing ever would. If it weren’t for Julia, and other women like her, women may have never gained their right to vote or be respected enough to hold leadership positions in private organizations and federal government! Also, because she was head of the U.S. Children’s Bureau, the children may have never had someone to help them fight against child labor, and offer programs that dealt with juvenile delinquencies, etc. They needed her!

child labor banned.jpg

Was there another person on the horizon who could have taken Julia Clifford Lathrop’s place?


Julia Clifford Lathrop was a unique person with her own unique qualities. She is the one and only. No one could have ever taken her place. Not in the U.S. Children’s Department, the Board of Charities, and not as a charter member of the Clifford W. Beers’ National Committee for Mental Hygiene. If she weren’t any of those things and was replaced by someone else, the United States would probably be a bit different than it is now. Thank you Julia Clifford Lathrop; for making the United States a better place for vassar college J.C.L..jpg

                  julia at her finest.jpg

How Well Does Your Family Know It’s History?

How well do you think you know your family’s history?

Story Telling2More importantly to me, I’d like to confirm that there is practical value in my documenting and sharing my family’s story.    I sure hope so, because this blog site, as my legacy to future generations of my family, is intended to provide accurate reflections from my family’s past and to hopefully create mirrors to future generations that instill in them a sense of pride, well-being, self esteem, a true belonging to a greater and more in depth personal family history that inspires them in their life’s pursuits.

brucerfeilerI have been looking into and compiling our family’s history since 1980.  I have been writing posts on this blog from this genealogical research since 2011. Family history and genealogical research fascinate me—but beyond just being interesting, exploring family history is an activity that can be traced back to both the Old and New Testament eras. (If you have read the New Testament, you may recall that the story of Jesus opens with a lengthy genealogy that traces all of his human ancestors–not the famous Christmas story that you may have expected.)

I mention this because Bruce Feiler, (New York Times columnist and author of six consecutive New York Times bestsellers), published a new book in January 2014,  The Secrets of Happy Families.   In it, is a section on the value of passing on family stories to children. This section gets at the heart of why I started this blog.  And, when Bible Gateway shared an excerpt from it on their blog, I felt compelled to also share it with you:

Guest Post by:   NY Times Best Selling Author, Bruce Feiler

Adapted from The Secrets of Happy Families.

I hit the breaking point as a parent a few years ago. It was the week of my extended family’s annual gathering in August. My parents were aging; my wife and I were straining under the chaos of young children; my sister was bracing to prepare her preteens for bullying, sex and cyber stalking.

Sure enough, one night all the tensions boiled over. At dinner, I noticed my nephew texting under the table. I knew I shouldn’t say anything, but I asked him to stop.

Ka-boom! My sister snapped at me to not discipline her child. My dad pointed out that my girls were the ones balancing spoons on their noses. My mom said none of the grandchildren had manners. Within minutes, everyone had fled to separate corners.

That night I began to wonder: What is the secret sauce that holds a family together? What are the ingredients that make some families effective, resilient, happy?

I spent the last few years trying to answer that question, meeting families, scholars and experts ranging from peace negotiators to online game designers to Warren Buffett’s bankers. After a while, a surprising theme emerged. The single most important thing you can do for your family may be the simplest of all: develop a strong family narrative.

I first heard this idea from Marshall Duke, a colorful psychologist at Emory University. In the mid-1990′s, Dr. Duke and colleague Robyn Fivush developed a measure called the “Do You Know?” scale that asked children to answer 20 questions. Examples included: Do you know where your grandparents grew up? Do you know where your mom and dad went to high school? Do you know where your parents met? Do you know an illness or something really terrible that happened in your family? Do you know the story of your birth?

Dr. Duke and Dr. Fivush asked those questions of four dozen families then compared the children’s results to a battery of psychological tests. Their overwhelming conclusion: The more children knew about their family’s history, the stronger their sense of control over their lives, the higher their self-esteem and the more successfully they believed their families functioned. The “Do You Know?” scale turned out to be the best single predictor of children’s emotional health and happiness.

“We were blown away,” Dr. Duke said.

Why does knowing where your grandmother went to school help a child overcome something as minor as a skinned knee or as major as a terrorist attack?

“The answers have to do with a child’s sense of being part of a larger family,” Dr. Duke said.

Psychologists have found that every family has a unifying narrative, he explained, and those narratives take one of three shapes.

First, the ascending family narrative: “Son, when we came to this country, we had nothing. Our family worked. We opened a store. Your grandfather went to high school. Your father went to college. And now you. …”

Second is the descending narrative: “Sweetheart, we used to have it all. Then we lost everything.”

“The most healthful narrative,” Dr. Duke continued, “is the third one. It’s called the oscillating family narrative: ‘Dear, let me tell you, we’ve had ups and downs in our family. We built a family business. Your grandfather was a pillar of the community. Your mother was on the board of the hospital. But we also had setbacks. You had an uncle who was once arrested. We had a house burn down. Your father lost a job. But no matter what happened, we always stuck together as a family.’ ”

Dr. Duke said that children who have the most self-confidence have what he and Dr. Fivush call a strong “inter-generational self.” They know they belong to something bigger than themselves.

Religious traditions do a particularly good job at conveying this message. Many Bible stories including overcoming suffering and bouncing back from difficult times. One reason religious communities are so tight is that they understand one of their roles is to help people who are experiencing pain and hardship.

Dr. Duke recommends that parents convey similar messages to their children. Any number of occasions work to convey this feeling: holidays, vacations, big family get-togethers, even a ride to the mall. The hokier the family’s tradition, he said, the more likely it is to be passed down. “These traditions become part of your family,” he said.

The bottom line: if you want a happier family, create, refine and retell the story of your family’s positive moments and your ability to bounce back from the difficult ones. That act alone may increase the odds that your family will thrive for many generations to come.

For more information, please visit

What’s in a Name…

As Shakespeare so eloquently wrote:

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet…


Were you aware that there is statistical information even about your surname or first name that you can use to have some fun or interesting discussions?  (And, yes, you also can use freely available statistics to help you make even the important decisions in your life or business!)  But on the lighter side for example, in 1995, the U.S. Census Bureau published a list of surnames occurring 100 times or more from the 1990 Decennial Census. The 1990 List contained 88,799 names that matched the above criteria. When the Census Bureau published the list following the 2000 Census, the list had increased to 151,671 names.  The bad news, due to budget constraints, the Census Bureau did not have resources to publish a similar list of surnames from the 2010 Census.

Below, from the American Last Names page are the Top 10 Most Popular Surnames from both Censuses mentioned above:

10 most popular surnames in the USA:

Most Common Last Names

  • Although Smith remains the most common surname in America in 2000, six Hispanic names ranked in the top 25 most common surnames in the nation.
    • In addition, from the latest 2010 Census statistics, I found that the number of Hispanics living in the U.S. increased 43% from 2000 to 2010.
  • The surname Lee also made the top 25—ranking number 22 in the country in 2000—indicating a continuing rise in the Asian American population.
Biggest Gainers and Losers:

Growing diversity in the U.S. population is reflected in the two lists, with traditionally Caucasian surnames decreasing, and Latino and Asian names increasing. Among the top 100 surnames in America, these are the names with the biggest advances and declines from 1990 to 2000.

BIGGEST GAINERS, 1990 — 2000

1990 RANK
2000 RANK
+ 172
+ 106
+ 60
+ 53
+ 46
+ 36
+ 34
+ 28
+ 26
+ 26

BIGGEST LOSERS, 1990 — 2000

1990 RANK
2000 RANK
1. BARNES 79 99 - 20
2. SANDERS 75 88 - 13
3. PERRY 84 97 - 13
4. JENKINS 83 95 - 12
5. RICHARDSON 63 74 - 11
6. REED 55 65 - 10
7. GRAY 69 79 - 10
8. HARRIS 15 24 - 9
9. BELL 58 67 - 9
10. JAMES 71 80 - 9
11. ROSS 80 89 - 9

But, what about your surname?

If you didn’t see your surname in the lists above, you can find out if it made the lists of ranked surnames just by entering it into a searchable database of more than 150,000 last names.  Enter your last name in the Popularity Index database, and see its rank among the most common names in the United States according to 1990 and 2000 U.S. Census data — the two years for which these data were available when the original article and application were made available by the Social Security Administration.  For example, one of my family’s branch’s last name is Taylor.

Here’s what the app told me:
  • <Taylor was ranked #10
  • In 2000, Taylor was ranked #13.
  • The name Taylor has been searched 1651 times out of 2,285,965 total searches on the Popularity Index.

According to the 2000 data, although the entire list of 151,671 surnames covers about 90 percent of the population, it accounts for only about 3 percent of surnames in the United States!

The 2000 census found over 6 million surnames total, the vast majority (about 65%) held by just one person. So please don’t be discouraged if your surname was not on the list. Ninety-seven percent of all surnames in the United States didn’t make the list.

On the other hand, if you want to see the popularity of first names, try the Social Security office’s

I understand most parents put a lot of thought in choosing first names for their children. Some believe their baby’s name could impact his or her future success.  High-end recruiter The Ladders analyzed data around first names from its nearly 6 million members against variables such as industry, salary level, and location to prove a null hypothesis that what your mother names you makes a difference:

Top five baby names, by gender, in ratio to their overall frequency:

Top five highest-paid names:

Both lists were normalized for frequency (not just absolute counts) giving a ratio of [C-level first names]/[all first names]. Here are a few quick takeaways:

  • Christine was the only name that showed up on both the top five C-level and highest paid lists
  • The top 10, highest-paid, C-level executive names earn, on average, 10% more than other names
  • The top 25 most-popular names make about $7,000 more, on average, than the rest of the list
  • Females make, on average, 22% less than their male counterparts in all comparisons

Their overarching theory, based on their 6 million members

The shorter the name, the better! People who went by three-letter monikers (like BobTom and Rob) made the most money—and every additional letter in your name cost you $3,600 in annual salary. And that held true for both men and women—as most of the top earning names in the ladies’ category were short and sweet like LynnDana and Cathy.  One notable exception for the ladies was Christine, which ranked as the top C-level executive name for women, and was also on the top 5 high earners’names.

In 1913, “Thomas” was the 10th most popular name, “Richard” was 19th, and “Harry” was 13th. And, most of us can easily remember notables from history who were given these names. In 2012, however, these names ranked 63rd, 124th, and 718th, respectively.

The most popular names in 2012 (taken from the Social Security Administration’s web site):

Top 10 Baby Names For 2012

Baby Names

Rank Male name Female name
1 Jacob Sophia
2 Mason Emma
3 Ethan Isabella
4 Noah Olivia
5 William Ava
6 Liam Emily
7 Jayden Abigail
8 Michael Mia
9 Alexander Madison
10 Aiden Elizabeth

Note that the top 5 male names totaled only 4 percent of all males.  Similarly, the top 5 female names total only 5 percent of all females.

In contrast, the table 100 Years of Top Names shows the five most frequent given names for male and female babies born in each year 1913-2012.  And, over the last 100 years, the male name Michael has held the top spot most often (44 times), while the female name Mary has been ranked number one 43 times over those years.

I don’t know about you, but, whatever the popularity or rankings of our given and surnames, I’ve had mine too long and am too connected to my ancestral lineage to want to change them now.  I will say, though, that in my personal genealogical research of my tree and its branches proved my given name, Joanne, is unique with the exception of a 15th great grand aunt born in 1439, who was the daughter of my 16th great grandfather, Sir Thomas Carew of Devonshire, England.

My Surname ReportAnd, here’s my final table from my genealogical research.  It shows the top 20 surnames of the 18 pages of ranked surnames in my family tree.

ISO Family Athletes and Olympians

Origin of the Olympic Games

Greek Olympic GamesThe Olympic Games began in ancient Greece about 3,000 years ago.   From the 8th century B.C. to the 4th century A.D., the Games were held every four years in Olympia, in Southern Greece’s western peninsula, Peloponnese.  The Games honored the Greek God Zeus, who was the god of the sky and ruler of the Olympian Gods.  After the Roman Empire conquered Greece in the mid-2nd century B.C., the Games continued, but their standards and quality declined.

Emperor Theodosius I Bans all “Pagan” Festivals

In A.D. 393, Emperor Theodosius I, a Christian, called for a ban on all “pagan” festivals, ending the ancient Olympic tradition after nearly 12 centuries.  In November 1892 (about 1,500 years after the end of the ancient Greek Olympics,  Baron Pierre de Coubertin (1863-1937) of France (dedicated to promoting physical education), at a meeting of the Union des Sports Athlétiques in Paris, revived the idea of the Olympics as an international athletic competition held every four years. Upon approval two years later, he founded the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which would become the governing body of the modern Olympic Games.

The First Modern Day Olympics

The first modern-day Olympics took place in 1896 in Athens, and featured 280 participants from 13 nations, competing in 43 events. Since 1994, the Summer and Winter Olympic Games have been held separately and have alternated every two years.

By the time the 8th Olympic Games were held in Paris in the summer of 1924, more than 3,000 athletes from 44 nations (including 100+ women), competed and for the first time the Games featured a closing ceremony. And, included among the competitors was Frederick “Morgan” Taylor of Sioux City, Iowa, who went on the win the Olympic Gold Medal in the 400 Metre Hurdle Competition.

Where are My Family’s Athletes?

F_Morgan_TaylorMedal RecordNow, if you have followed my blog posts, here’s where you might ask about whether Morgan Taylor might have been one of my paternal Taylor ancestors from my great grandmother “Lottie Taylor Chamber’s” branch.  Obviously, I would like to think so, but I have not uncovered any facts to prove such a statement at this time.  However, this does beg the question; “Did I descend from any ancestors who may have been athletes or even Olympians?” Our Bolling, Taylor, Chambers, and Ford ancestors were prominent within their society’s times for many reasons.  For example, they were freedom fighters, ministers, musicians, artists, writers, scholars, academicians, local and national government leaders, founders of cities, universities, and leaders among farmers and businesses.

As the televised ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics Games comes to a close this Sunday, February 23, at the symbolic hour of 20:14 local time, I am hopeful that I might have heard from some of my followers about family members who are or were athletes during their lives.  And, if I do, you can count on me to update you.  Meanwhile, Hooray to all America’s Olympians!

My Father Was Like Philip Seymour Hoffman

John T StasserI happened upon the post linked to below on John T. Strasser’s blog ( and had to share it.  If you go to “About” on his blog page, I fear his story got even sadder before it got better. He’s definitely a writer and I pray that he continues his life as a survivor and not a victim of his family and environs…

My Father Was Like Philip Seymour Hoffman.

See more:  From Homeless to USF Grad:

From “Baby Boomer” to “Sandwich Generation”

The Baby Boomer Generation

Baby Boomer GenerationI am proud to be a part of the “Baby Boomer” Generation, whose moniker is changing to the “Sandwich Generation.”

The happenings of our Baby Boomer generation were a mix of exciting and melancholy times. The number of historic events which took place in the last 60 years is unprecedented.

Take a look at the timelines from the Baby Boomer Era below  (from




The conditions of the economy, the state of the world, technology, and social trends all impact the overall behaviors of any generation.  Yet, how many other generations can boast of all the technological advances that changed our lives more than in any other generation before us? Individual freedoms increased exponentially across society by: age, gender, race, ethnicity.

So now, why the name change to the “Sandwich Generation,” you say?

Because baby boomers’ days of play, concerts, fights for freedoms (international and personal), party times, yuppie-hood, and even parenting have now turned into days of caring for their elderly parent and grandparents who most often are plagued with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other medical and economic conditions that are negatively impacting their quality of life at a time when baby boomers are entering their own retirement years.

Meanwhile, our  “Generation X”  and “Generation Y” children, aka “Millennials,” are still living at home with us or have added their families to our living arrangements.  If not, we are helping them financially with their struggles to live on their own as we all slowly emerge from the recent years of economic crisis.  And this is why the Baby Boomer Generation is now being called the Sandwich Generation.

Yes, we baby boomers are caring for the elderly and the younger generations in our families.   I tell you, we have our tasks set out before us.  And the big question is how will we manage a quality of life where we are productive, can enjoy ourselves in our autumn years, care for those family members who need it, and keep our relationships strong across all generations?

More to my point about just how difficult juggling this phase of our lives may be, please take a look at the 2010 lifestyle comparisons between us, the Baby Boomers (1946-1964), our children Generation X (1965-1976/1981), and our children/grandchildren Generation Y (1977/1982-1995/2001) that was published online by  the Echo Boom (

Level of trust toward authority

  • Boomers are confident of self, not authority.
  • Gen Xers have a low level of trust toward authority.
  • Millennials have a high level of trust toward authority. Yet they are less trustworthy of individual people. Perhaps it’s from being born into an age of terrorism or maybe it’s their overprotective parents or the danger-obsessed media.

What do they view as the ultimate reward?

  • Boomers want a prestigious title and the corner office.
  • Gen Xers want the freedom not to have to do something.
  • Millennials prefer meaningful work.

How were their parents with them?

  • Boomers had parents who were controlling.
  • Gen Xers parents were distant.
  • Millennials? Their parents were intruding. Or, as my Millennial-age intern tells me, they have “helicopter parents”—they’re always hovering.

What are their views toward having children?

  • Boomers are controlled, their children were planned.
  • Gen Xer’s are doubtful about the possibility of becoming parents.
  • Millennials are definite about parenthood. In fact, they view marriage and parenthood as more important than careers and success.

And overall family life?

  • Boomers were indulged as children.
  • Gen Xers were alienated as children.
  • Millennials were protected as children.

Views toward education?

  • Boomers want freedom of expression.
  • Gen Xers are pragmatic.
  • Millennials need the structure of accountability.

Political orientation

  • Thankfully, boomers want to attack oppression. Without those views we might not have had civil rights or protested Vietnam.
  • Gen Xers are apathetic and more worried about the individual.
  • And the Millennials, the facebookers and Tweeters? It should be no surprise that they crave community.

Last but not least, the views on the big question...

  • Boomers want to know, “What does it mean?”
  • Gen Xers need to know, “Does it work?”
  • Millennials are curious to know, “How do we build it?”

I encourage your comments since we’re all on this planet and in this life and times together.  

“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40)

100 Year Old BFFs

Best Friends Forever (BFFs)

Last week I wrote a post on this blog, “Our Kent Island Experience,” that was a story about my best friend of about 20 years (at that time) and our husbands’ day of “boating.” Some of the events of the day tested our relationship. Yet, nearly 40 years have since past and we still remain close friends, (BFFs), although we live nearly 400 miles/7 hours driving distance apart and only write occasional letters to each other.

The Heart of Our Relationship Never Skips a Beat

bffsWe were infants living next door to each other when our parents first got us together.  For our first 13 years we were inseparable.  I was the brains, she was the brawn.  I did her cleaning and helped her with her school work.  She showed me how she could walk on her toes with them curled under and how to carry a pregnant cat around in a paper bag. (Little did we know that when we opened the bag there would be a litter of kittens inside with their mom.)  In 2011 we spent the day together lunching and shopping in Providence, Rhode Island.  In 2013, we grabbed another day in Maryland and visited her older sisters. My husband drove us from place to place and we just caught up on old times.  Whenever we talk or meet, regardless of the circumstances, we haven’t skipped a beat in our relationship.  It’s always like time has stood still and we still share the same interests and have the same closeness and understanding of each other  we had when we were so very young.

BFFs for 94 Years!

So earlier this week, I sat down in the mid afternoon and turned on the TV to add some noise to the all too quiet house.  I happened upon the Steve Harvey Show in progress. He was just introducing two 100-year-old women who have been best friends for 94 years. They captured my attention, my heart, and reminded me of just how special relationships with close friends can be.   I hope my relationship with my friend will always be as special as theirs seems.  I thought you might like to see the two 100 Year Old BFFs, so here they are in two different segments on the Steve Harvey Show:

Pop Culture Questions Posed to Irene and Alice