Geri's Genes

Friday, November 22, 2013


Aunt Gertrude Sheridan Muller had many keepsakes documenting her life. One item I found in her effects was a small funeral mass card for President John F Kennedy. In two different color pens she jotted down her emotions at that time. She reflected "Watched TV Day - Bullets flew, so sad." "We loved him."

50 years later, we love him too Aunt Gert, we love him too.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day

The background photo is of Cranndillon (Dillon Rd) in Virginia, Cavan County, Ireland. In 2006 mom took my Gram back to Ireland a second time. In hopes of really finding the place that John Dillon left, almost 200 years ago. While on their trip they happened to meet a Dillon family, right there in Cavan County. If a relation exists we are not certain at this time but there is a great possibility to find out. Walking down Crannadillon, from left, John Dillon, Gram (Alice Dillon Kreiter), John's wife Margaret, my Mom Ellen Neumann and the boy is a friends son Mathew O'Driscoll. The local historian, Peter Smith, of Cranadillon, Virginia, Cavan County, Ireland was able to tell us that in fact there were Dillon's in this area. Unknown to anyone was this road, so well travelled by, and was called Crannadillon, translated Dillon road. Who would have thought. That our Dillon's, who came to America, for a better life in 1850, did not leave with out a mark. John Dillon's family history in Ireland is almost vanished, but this road gives up hope that we may find more truths of what happened to our ancestors so long ago. Adorning this photo are shamrocks and pictures of John Dillon and his wife Mary Welsh. Though they have left this earth many, many years ago their legacy is eternal. From them have been born many generations of proud American's who never forgot from whence they came and are able walk the same roads they walked.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Born on the Fourth of July

Happy Birthday James Sheridan

My grandmother Alices' grandfather James C. Sheridan was born July 4, 1864 in New York City to Phillip and Florence Sheridan. He is the eldest sibling to Alexander P, Albert, Florence, Gertrude. I find the family in the 1870 NYC census but can not find them in the 1880 census nor can I find any documentation of the parents before the birth of James. I do know that Phillip Sheridan was born in Ireland and Florence was born in NYC or Ireland. The family myth is that our Sheridan family is related to the infamous General Sheridan, aren't they all. I have no proof of the connection but family lore prevails and my grandmother believes it. James married Alice Lynch on the 29th of June 1890 in NYC. They lived in a section of Queens, NY known by a few different names like Ravenswood, Astoria, or Long Island City. James was the father to eight children: Margaret, Alexander, James, Gertrude, May, John, Philip and Thomas. James occupation was that of a laborer for the city sanitation department. He was also a volunteer firefighter in the area they lived in. Sadly James died on March 15, 1910. Happy birthday in heaven great great grandfather James.

I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy
A Yankee Doodle, do or die
A real live nephew of my Uncle Sam
Born on the Fourth of July

I've got a Yankee Doodle sweetheart
She's my Yankee Doodle joy
Yankee Doodle came to London
Just to ride the ponies
I am the Yankee Doodle Boy

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


I have my immediate cousins, children born of my mother's sisters. As children and young adults we were very closely connected like real brothers and sisters. Attending family functions of all sorts together, supporting each other through all types of life moments and always each others confidant. I am the oldest of the bunch and have watched my baby cousins turn into adults with lives of their own. Through the years we have all chosen our own paths in life to follow, for better or worse. I feel as if our immediate family bonds of closeness and unity that were once there are now faded. Perhaps I am reading too much into this, but I guess I miss my cousins and what we once shared.

A decade ago a distant cousin contacted us out of the blue. Her mother was first cousins with my dad. From the moment I spoke to her we hit it off and she inspired my desire for genealogy and family history. Since then I have been fortunate to make contact with several other distant but related cousins. The terminology of our relationships could be described as first cousins once removed or 3rd cousins and others you would call shirttail relations. All in all no matter the distance of the relation I consider them family because we care about being united and connecting as a way to share not only family history but to be able to pass our history on to future generations. I am grateful for the chance of meeting a few of my new found cousins and some cousins I never met we communicate often on the phone or email. It is uncanny how by getting know them for such a short time that I feel like I've know them all my life.

Being the genealogist and family historian I value my relationships with family whole heartily. In time I am sure that my immediate cousins and I will be able to form newer bonds that can bring us close once again.

Wikipedia Cousin Relationship Chart

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Luella M. Dillon

Luella M. Dillon, wife of William Dillon, was born on this day January 14, 1865 in Morton, Illinois. She might be one of the lesser known relatives on the tree but to me she is of great importance. William Dillon was the seventh child born to John and Mary Dillon of Mongaup Valley, New York. William worked with his elder brother John J. Dillon, owner and editor of the Rural New Yorker agriculture magazine in New York City. William married Luella later in life and they adopted one daughter named Clare. William was successful with his career and established a home for his family in Westchester County, NY. Not much is known about Luella and her life before marriage to William except for that she was born in Illinois and her father was from Ireland and mother was from Illinois. This picture of Luella is from a US passport application that she and William applied for in the spring of 1922 for a trip to Europe. She became widowed in 1930. I discovered a ship manifest for September 1935 when Luella and Clare made a voyage to Sweden. In the future I will research her maiden name and I would like to know what happened to Luella and her daughter after 1935.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Beatrice & George Neumann

Twins Beatrice and George Neumann were born on this day January 13, 1911, in New York City to Alfred and Anita Neumann. Several years ago I had a chance to travel to San Diego, California and meet Celia Sanbrano, granddaughter of Beatrice. She showed me a rather old and tiny photograph of two small children sitting on the bottom step of an apartment building in New York City. The photo had seen better days. Celia let me take it home back to New York and I did my magic with photo retouching and brought it back to life. You can clearly see a pacifier on a string around one of the childrens neck.
Most of the Neumann family moved to California in the 30's - 40's, for reasons I don't know at this time. Beatrice married and became a mother and grandmother and passed away in 2002. George was in the US Army and married and moved to Maine. He passed away in 1979. I don't know if he has any living descendents.
Happy birthday in heaven Beatrice & George. You are gone but not forgotten.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there's some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

This poem makes me think of my ancestors in the thick of winter on a long journey. I close my eyes and see John J Dillon as a young man taking time to rest during a long trip and taking in the moment. He is leaning against the cold bark of a tall hemlock while reflecting on the days events. Perhaps he is on a journey to fight for the rights of dairy farmers. He looks beyond the dark horizon and remembers his father and mother, makes a prayer and says "But I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep..."