Monocacy Battlefield – There’s an App for That!

The Monocacy National Battlefield  is a local treasure for students, historians and civil war buffs.  The battlefield is located in Frederick, Md and where  “The Battle that saved Washington” took place on July9, 1864.  Managed by the National Park Service it  is a fee-free park , open seven days a week from 8:30am – 5:00pm.  During summer months the park rangers and volunteers offer walking tours and special programs.  The visitor center is a state of the art facility and offers an eight – minute fiberoptic map presentation,  several interactive exihibits and numerous artifacts currently on display. 

I recently had the pleasure of meeting a ranger from the park who shared that there is an iPhone/iPad app for the battlefield.  The Monocacy National Battlfied app is loaded with facts and interesting features ranging  from the civilians who lived there to the soldiers who faught there.  For a list of all the features check out their website.  Kudo’s on a job well done and for making history fun.



Fearless Females – Amanda Malvina Fitzalan Delzell


March 3 — Do you share a first name with one of your female ancestors? Perhaps you  were named for your great-grandmother, or your name follows a particular naming pattern. If not, then list the most unique or unusual female first name you’ve come across in your family tree.

Amanda Malvina Fitzalan Delzell

Reading glasses resting on an open book

Looking at this interesting name the goal was to discover additional genealogical information on the Delzell family.

Amanda Malvina Fitzhallen Delzell was born 16 May 1852, daughter of Sarah Ann Robinson Worthington Clarke and Robert Delzell.

In researching the name I found that is was not a family naming pattern nor a clue to ancestors.

 It turns out that Amanda Milvena Fitzallen was a heroine in The Children of the Abbey – an eighteenth  century novel by the Irish romantic novelist Regina Maria Roche.  The book remained a best seller until the end of the nineteeth century. It was filled with adventure and misfortunes and is set in Wales, Ireland, Scotland and England.  Jane Austen mentioned the work in her novel, Emma. I interpret the mention as a positive recommendation of the novel.

While it does not provide surname clues it does tell me that her mother was well-read, modern and perhaps a hopeless romantic.






Fearless Females-What’s in a name?

March 3 — Do you share a first name with one of your female ancestors? Perhaps you were named for your great-grandmother, or your name follows a particular naming pattern. If not, then list the most unique or unusual female first name you’ve come across in your family tree.

Sarah Ann Robinson Worthington Clarke Delzell Carder. 

How is that for a name?  It would never fit on our standardized forms of today.

The long name has genealogical significance and offers a clue to ancestors.  A name to preserve and pass down through the generations. The name is so important that they named their first daughter the EXACT same name. Sadly the first Sarah died as an infant in 1826.

Sarah Ann Robinson Worthington Clarke was born June 22, 1830 in Frederick County, Maryland. The child of Elizabeth Simpson & William Clarke. Her father William, was born in Newtownards, County Down, Ireland on March 25, 1799.  Elizabeth Simpson descends from some of the first and finest families in Maryland.

In dissecting I turned first to the Irish naming pattern from her father’s native land. The pattern states that the first daughter is named after the mother’s mother.

So we have a match!

Sarah-maternal grandmothers name (SARAH WORTHINGTON)

Ann – maternal great grandmother was (ANN RIDGELY)

Robinson -(?) A clue that needs researching! I can’t find anywhere in the maternal line so I am assuming it is from the paternal line.

Worthington – Grandmother’s last name – (SARAH WORTHINGTON)

Delzell – She married Robert Delzell in Frederick County, MD 15 Feb 1848.

Carder – She married John F. Carder 18 Oct 1855

A long name indeed and a very interesting naming pattern filled with genealogical significance.


Life is a box of chocolates

On Valentine’s Day I read a tweet from my youngest daugther that was so deep rooted in pure, raw emotion it moved my soul and touched my heart. I have found Twitter to be a place to express feelings -feelings otherwise we might not bother to share. In 140 characters or less she expressed a heart felt sentiment, “Never knew how much a box of chocolates and a hug could mean to someone until it’s gone, rest in peace Pop I love you.” Sometimes it is the smallest gestures, a modest gift, that create our most treasured memories. For you see each Valentine’s Day my father would deliver a small red box filled with a few chocolates and a lifetime of love. Yes Valentine’s Day will never be the same without you and that box of chocolates. We love you Pop (Bernie Gardiner) and you will forever be in our hearts. For your girls – life is a box of chocolates.



Who do you think you are? My research revealed a Vaudeville Star!

Charles Cartmell & Laura Harris

I love nothing better than rising early on Sunday’s and delving into my genealogical research with a hot cup of coffee in hand.  I often find myself jumping from one familiar line to another.  I wrote out my research objectives for the day and began searching for information on my GREENE lineage.

I had no idea the delightful surprise I would unveil! The Greene/Green lineage is typically stuffy people with lofty accomplishment.  One of the most noted  is  Thomas Greene  (the second proprietary Governor of Maryland. But today the discovery of an entire family of performers has shed some liveliness on the family line.

The research focus of the day was my 2nd great grand Aunt – EMMA GREEN (1858-1910?). EMMA was the daughter of ELIZABETH CLARK (1825-?) and GILES THOME GREEN (1803-1863).  Elizabeth being much younger than her husband found herself a young widower and left to the rearing of EMMA and her brother ANDREW.

EMMA lived and worked in her mother’s hotel in Uniontown, MD  and on February 19, 1880, EMMA married THOMAS HARRIS (1855-1934)  in Carroll County, MD.

EMMA and THOMAS are listed twice in the 1880 census. One listing their residence and place of work at their mother’s hotel in Uniontown. The second entry was in Baltimore, MD but when I looked at the occupation it listed them both as ACTORS!  A husband and wife team well…well…well.  Finally a little bit of fun in the Green family!  woohoo.  This discovery inspired me to dig a little deeper, after all these are the first actors in the family.

By the 1900’s EMMA and THOMAS were still residing in the Baltimore area and their family had been blessed by the addition of four children.  The 1900 census also revealed that two of the children THOMAS, JR. and LAURA are also actors!  So now I am really excited a family of actors!  What a fun Sunday this was turning out to be!  Errands and household chores could wait.  Due to the excitement I abandoned my typical research protocol and turned to the universe for answers…translated that means to google. So my chubby little fingers deftly typed  LAURA HARRIS + THOMAS HARRIS +ACTOR and Bingo.  The very first result returned was a bio from Will Rogers book – “The Papers of Will Rogers from Vaudeville to Broadway.” Here is the excerpt:


So now we can add ANOTHER actor to the family, CHARLES CARTMELL, husband of LAURA HARRIS. If you have lost count we are up to five actors in the same family.

The trio appeared on Broadway together in 1903  All three where on stage for the opening night of the musical comedy “Mrs. Delaney of Newport.”

In 1908 CHARLES & LAURA found themselves on Broadway again in GEORGE M. COHAN’s “Fifty Miles to Boston.” One of Cohan’s featured song’s written in the musical was “Harrigan” Click  here to listen to a great recording of the song I found on YouTube.

Words and Lyrics by GEORGE M. COHAN:

H-A- Double R-I
G-A-N spells Harrigan!
Proud of all the Irish that’s in me.
Divil a man can say a word agin me!
Oh, H-A-Double R-I
G-A-N you see!
It’s the name,
That no shame has ever been connected with
It’s a name that a shame never has been connected with
Harrigan, that’s me!

By 1910 the three actors  – THOMAS, CHARLES and LAURA were  residing in Manhattan, NY .  The census confirmed again that all three were still performing.

In 1912 CHARLES would go on New York’s Broadway theatre solo in the musical comedy, “The Sun Dodgers.” He is listed as performing a dance specialty.

The newspaper archives are filled with rich stories and complimentary reviews of “CARTMELL & HARRIS Vaudeville performances. They travelled all of America and Europe delighting audiences with their talents. One of their most famous numbers that all three performed in was a dancing, comedy skit titled “Golfing with Cupid.”

Below is a picture and excert from the review of their skit:

Cartmell & Harris in "Golfing with Cupid"

Click on the link below for the full article.

<a href=”” >Review of “Golfing with Cupid”</a>

In 1918 they performed opening night in Raymond Hitchcock’s HitchyKoo a musical revue with two acts and 14 scenes on Broadway.

The 1930’s found the three actors residing in an actor’s colony in Freeport, Long Island, NY.  Vaudeville actors established the community around 1910 and lived there while not on the road performing.

Another point  of interest is THOMAS HARRIS is now listed in the census as “THOMAS MCSWIGGAN”  Perhaps his birth name was McSwiggan, and his alias of Harris was a stage name. Personally I like it, sounds like a bartender on Grey’s Anatomy.

I love finding obituaries, and I was hoping that the obit of THOMAS HARRIS would answer all of my questions.  However it only created more!  Now I find out that his wife, EMMA GREEN was also an actress and prior her death they also performed together. So if you are still counting we are now up to six actors in the same family.

In addition to that fact the obit lists her name as EMMA MURRAY – who the heck is that?  Her maiden name was GREEN.  Ok – I will just chalk this up to another stage name.  This story is now is now frustrating me. Two steps forward and one step back.

From the best that I can tell with my preliminary research THOMAS MCGUIGAN was born on February 3, 1855 in Philadelphia, PA the son of a saloon-keeper.  At the age of seven he joined a minstrel troupe as a young boy he tap-danced for Abraham Lincoln. In 1875 he made his first appearance at Fox’s Theatre in Philadelphia. In 1876 he formed a team with JACK  MCNEIL.

In 1879 both Harris & McNeil joined “The Three Arnold Brothers”,  while performing with the minstrel troupe the two would dissolve their partnership.  At that point THOMAS began performing with his wife EMMA.  The playbills listed them as “The Harrises.” They performed together until 1889 when Thomas took a stock engagement at the Odeon Theatre in Baltimore.  He remained there 10 years performing one season with his son Tommy and daughter Laura calling themselves “The Three Harrrises.”  He then worked for four years with his daughter and son-in law under the bill of “Harris and Cartmell.” He had an illustrious career and continued performing almost to the end of his days.  He was also lovingly called the “Colonel” and the Mark Twain of Vaudeville.   Thomas Harris aka McSwiggan aka McGuigan passed away in Freeport, Long Island New York in 1934.

Below is the obituary for Thomas Harris:

Charles Cartmell, husband to Laura Harris passed away a few year later.

Below is the obituary of Charles Cartmell:










While I don’t have all of the pieces of the puzzle in place.  I have discovered something about my family that I never knew.  It certainly brightened my day and I hope it brightened yours as well.  You just never know what you discover.


Frederick County Land Records

Are you looking for ancestors in Frederick County, do you want to know where they lived.  The state of Maryland has digitized land records online to help you in your search.  Just visit Maryland land records by clicking the link.

Montgomery County Courthouse 1835

The courthouse where your  ancestors lived can unlock a variety of clues.  I have transcribed the notes below. I wish I knew the final outcome.

“The joint and severally answers of William Gardiner and Henrietta his wife to the bill of Ann William complainant.  These defendants answering for himself and herself and not one for the other answering say that Francis Simpson executed the deed of trust, mentioned in the complaintants bill to William Clarke for the purposes therein mentioned and they admit that the defendant William Gardiner purchased the land conveyed by a deed of trust, to Clarke and gave him single bills for the same as in the said bill is alleged and defendants admit that the said Clarke executed to this defendant Williams a bond of conveyance for the said land conditioned as in the said bill.

Your defendant admits that the complainant has become entitled to one of the single bills aforesaid and obtained judgement therein against the defendant Williams That another of said single bills was assigned by Williams blank to a certain Henry Jamison and that said Jamison obtained judgement thereon, and levied a fieri facias on a part of the lands aforesaid, then in posession of these defendants or instructed to do so and that the said Hobbs and Price have obtained posession  of a part of said lands for a sum much below their real value and Williams appointed to do the same because he was not able to help himself. These defendants further admit that the said William Gardiner did apply the bond of conveyance aforesaid to the said Gustavas Warfield without any valuable consideration or a merely nominal one and that the said Gustavas Warfield well knew the purchase money for the said land was not paid.  These defendants admit that said William has become insolvent and that William Price in said bill mentioned has been appointeed his Trustee and that William Clarke has not take the proper steps to execute the trust  esposed in him and theses defendants have nothing to oppose to the prayer of the complainants bill, but desire that the lands purchase by this defendant William may be sold. The several conditions of said Simpson satisfied out of the balance one from the _____Williams of said land and the surplus paid to the custody of this defendant William and if any remaining, that it be paid over to this case of the defendants Wife and child and these defendants admit that claim of the said plaintiff is due within a small amount but they are entitled to credit on the note remaining in Francis Simpson’s lands  an allowance for mistakes in calculating  the purchase money and other allowances which these defendants pray may be ascertained by the the ___and they as in duty ___will ever pray.

State of Maryland

Montgomery County, Maryland

On this the 7th day of November Anno Domini 1835.  Personally appeared before the subscriber a Justiceof the Peace in and for said county.  William Gardiner and Henrietta his wife and made oath on the Holy Evangely of Almighty by God, that the matter and things in the above answers stated are true as stated to the best of their knowledge and beliefs.”

The port where my great grandfather set sail for America

The year was 1880 and my great grandfather, Terrence Daniel O’ Sullivan, was leaving the village of Loughfouder, County Kerry Ireland to set sail for America. Family lore tells that all of the O’ Sullivan children departed for the new land from Cobh.  Cobh, translates  into “cove”; and is pronounced the same way. When my great grandfather set sail it was known as Cobh but had several different names over the years, first being known as Cove in 1750. In 1849 it was changed to Queensland the name remained until it was changed back to Cobh in 1922.

On our recent trip to Ireland it was my intention to retrace his footsteps as best possible. We started with a lovely family reunion and then visited the homestead where he was born in 1865.  We then decided to travel to Cobh to see the port from which he emigrated to North America.

Cobh is situated on Great Island, one of three large islands in the Cork Harbor in County Cork, Ireland.  Over 6 million people emigrated from Ireland during the years of 1848-1950. 2.5 million sailed from Cobh making it the single most important port of emigration. Sadly Cobh is also famous for being the last port of call for the RMS Titanic on her tragic voyage. 123 passengers boarded the RMS Titanic on April 11, 1912.

Upon arriving the first thing that drew our attention was the view of the harbor.  Cobh is hilly and descends towards the water. The clean and narrow streets are lined with  brightly colored homes, stores and pubs that face southward towards the waterfront.  The people are exceptionally friendly.  My daughter and I walked up and down the streets and visited the lovely Kennedy Park.  The park was filled with people of all ages and a spectacular display of flowers.

Colleen & Puppy

We ran into a woman with an adorable puppy, just a mutt; but adorable just the same.  She immediately and without hesitation offered her sweet puppy to my daughter to hold.  She happily obliged.

Kennedy Park

The neo-Gothic cathedral of St. Colman is simply stunning.  It is a Roman Catholic cathedral and sits high on a hill overlooking the harbor as if it is protecting the town and the harbor.  The Cathedral is in everyday use for worship and prayer. It took 47 years to complete the building.

A trip to Cobh would not be complete without a visit to the museum to experience “The Queenstown Story”; which walks you through your ancestors emigration from the Great Potato Famine to the 1950’s.  They also chronicle the tragedies of RMS Titanic and Lusitania with several interactive displays.

We thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Cobh.  I could not help but think of Great Grandfather Sullivan and wonder what emotions were running through his head on the day of his journey.  Was he sad, excited…both?  One will never really know I guess.  I spent a lot of time gazing out into the harbor and envisiong him sailing on the ship headed to America.  The picture of the harbor is one that I cherish for it is from this port and this harbor that my line of the O’ Sullivan’s began the journey of a lifetime.

Cork Harbour

Tombstone Cold Case – Basil Dorsey, Jr.

Basil Dorsey, Jr.

Basil Dorsey, Jr.

On my walks thru the Central Church Cemetery in New Market, MD. I noticed a plain, small and very old stone that caught my attention. It seemed so diminutive and simple that I wanted to find out a bit about the person buried beneath the stone.  As you can decipher from the photograph the information on the stone is limited –   Basil Dorsey, Jr. (1768-1823).  Nothing else is inscribed other than the name and date.  I decided to add this to my list of Cold Case Tombstones stories. This is a hobby of mine; just choosing a random tombstone and researching.

Basil Dorsey, Jr. was the son of Basil Dorsey (1720-1799) and Harriet Harris (1775-1829).  Jr. was born on Valentine’s Day in Anne Arundel County. In reading local history books it is written that his father, Judge Basil Dorsey,  was appointed the Justice for Frederick County, MD in 1777.

Basil Jr. and Harriet had two daughters Maria (1793-1812)  and Cordelia (1798-married Vachel Randall. and Cordelia.  Cordelia first married William Downey, and secondly Rev. Nicholas Dorsey of Elkridge, a Methodist preacher.

The article,  McKinsey Folger, “New Market’s Name believed Derived from Nearby Plains”  Frederick News Post 24-Sept-1941: pg 10. shares additional information about Cordelia Dorsey Downing. Pat Bishop’s article titled, “Central UM Church plans Hymn Sing Sunday” Frederick News Post 6-Nov-1971: pg 4-B4. Explains that Cordelia Downey donated the land for the church that sits across from her grave.  Isn’t it ironic that father of the person who donated the land has such a diminutive grave. 


Loughfouder, County Kerry, Ireland to Washington, DC

O' Sullivan Homestead

O' Sullivan Homestead

As I shared with you in my previous post I was setting to embark on my journey to Ireland for a family reunion.  One of the highlights of the reunion was a special visit to farm where my great-grandfather Terrence Daniel O’ Sullivan was born. He would drop the O’ from his name when he emigrated to America.   The farm sits on approximately 75 acres in Loughfouder, County Kerry, Ireland.  It is still owned by a direct descendant of Jeremiah born 1861.   It was an emotional journey walking in the same footsteps of my great-grandfather. Stopping several times down the deep descent to dab at the tears welled in my eyes.    I am not sure of the exact age of the home; but was told it was approximately 203 year old.  I do know that Terrance was born in the home in 1865.  While the home has deteriorated you can still enjoy the splendors of the farm and use your imagination to picture and warm and loving home some 200 years ago.The views seem to go on and on – green as far as the eye can see.  You can see livestock from adjoining farms, peat bogs and the glorious mountain ring around County Kerry.  According to the 1900 census Terrence immigrated in 1880; being 15 years of age.  I have never been able to substantiate this as I cannot find any details of his immigration. Someone once told me that when a family member set sail for America they hold an American wake; a metaphor for the departure of emigrants.  Often it was the last time they would ever see their family members alive.  Family lore states that when our ancestors would leave for America they would sew coins in the coats for safe keeping.

The were three rooms that we could access in the house and a flight of stairs that were not safe to climb.  In the kitchen you can see the remnants of the large fireplace where the food was cooked over the open hearth.  The home never had the modern conveniences of the 19th century.


Back of the Sullivan Home

11 children were born to James O’ Sullivan and Mary O’ Connor in this home.  The interior is small and I cannot imagine raising such a large family as the children worn all born close together (1861-1876).

Of the 11 original children the following had direct descendants represent them at the visitation of the homestead: Mary (1863), Edmond (1864) Terrence (1865), Patrick (1869).

It was very moving to see all of the grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great grandchildren and great-great-great grandchildren all visit the home as a family unit.  I could feel my great-grandfather smiling down from heaven as he witnessed my father, his grandson, walking through the same door that he did many times as a lad.

Descendants of the O'Sullivan children

Descendants of the O' Sullivan children

View of the Family Farm

View of the Family Farm

Great and Great -Great Grandaughters of Terrence Daniel O'Sullivan

Great and Great -Great Grandaughters of Terrence Daniel O'Sullivan