Fun in Twenty Twenty-One

It has taken a hot minute (or 6 months) for me to trust 2021 is going to be great.

But first a quick look back at 2020. The year started with promise and a long weekend in Whistler with the family. This was followed by some more fun and a visit from my parents. Five days after they left, California announced we would be shutting down for the Covid-19 Pandemic. The rear view on those early days brings back memories of the unknown, hope and anxiety, kids trying to figure out remote school, and a bobcat taking a stroll through my backyard. We were truly naïve to think we would be home for 2 weeks and the world would be all better.

As we adjusted our lives to keep those we love and those we don’t know safe, there were some bright spots. Finding ways to adventure away from everyone added some imagination to a couple of car trips Another highlight is my friends supporting each other while parking our cars in my cul de sac six feet apart. One of the things I am most proud of is how my children floated along the ebb and flow of the school schedules (remote, hybrid, in person, and quarantined). I am also thankful my husband was able to keep working. We ate together almost every day and worked through all of the changes and crazy details together.

At the beginning of the pandemic I believed since we were home I would accomplish every genealogy goal I ever had. I even pulled out all my genealogy boxes and placed them on the dining room table. Insert any laughing GIF from the internet and you will know how that turned out. Between sharing internet bandwidth, supporting a dyslexic kid with online learning (not for the faint hearted), and either cooking or cleaning the kitchen most of the day, my genealogy goals sat on the table for a couple of weeks before getting packed back into the office closet.

While my personal genealogy sat by the wayside, my local genealogy society, Marin County Genealogical Society found a great way to exist in a virtual world. We embraced Zoom early and often. Not only did we successfully move to meeting online, we created a new special interest group called Genealogy Social Hour. We have a topic for each month and come together with stories about our families in relation to the topic. I have learned so much about the other members of our society and am so thankful for the opportunity.

I did try again in September to get things going for my personal research but did not create any kind of research groove until the last days of 2020.

And then in 2021 I went crazy! I have so many new family stories to share. My husband gifted me a slide scanner for Christmas. I found answers to a branch of the family I have been researching for 20 years. I also learned some basic genealogy Latin for another branch leading me back another hundred years and 2 (or sometimes 3 or 4) generations. I also did research for a friend that gave me an incredible education in African American research. I have tackled the organization of DNA matches. My paternal side is already setup and my maternal side is about 50% there. And to catch us up to the end of May, I gave a presentation last week about the Scottish research that got my genealogy groove dancing again. I have so many blogposts to write to catch you up with it all.

My kids are now in their final days of school for the year. Thankfully school is ending with in person school. I have much to be excited for including continued genealogy research. This combined with vaccinations and hugging my parents again for the first trip in 14 months, I can now say 2021 is going to be great.

My new Board and Brush creation.

Adding A Face To A Name – Louis Radvanyi

Last week I was preparing a presentation I was giving at my local genealogy society. I was trying to locate a photo I wanted to include in the presentation. The photo was from 2004 so I was pretty sure it had been printed and placed into a photo album. The big question? Where was the safe place I put the photo album?!

I started tearing my office apart and flipping through all of the photo albums on the bookshelf. One album caught my eye. It is a photo album my husband’s grandmother had created for him. What made me stop and look was a photo of Grandma June and one of hubby’s best friends from college. The caption had me laughing out loud. I called my husband over and we began to flip through the album together. Most people know I am easily distracted by fun things!

Let me pause here to give you history about hubby’s family. Hubby’s great grandfather, Louis Radvanyi immigrated to the United States from Hungary. He lived in Whiting, Indiana where he worked as a painter at Standard Oil. He married Maria Nagy and had six children. Unfortunately, Louis passed away in his forties when he was hit by a car. Louis left very little documentation during his life in the United States.

My mother in law has told me a photo of Louis hung in her home as a young girl. Her memory is her Aunt Angie (One of Louis and Mary’s children) had taken the photo in order to duplicate it for all the siblings. The photo did not make it back to her childhood home. My mother in law did not know where the photo was located. Only that it was the only representation of her grandfather that existed. Over the years, I have reached out to a couple of my mother-in-law’s cousins to try to locate the photo.

Back to my crazed search for a photo. The funny caption from Hubby’s grandmother made me pause to flip through the rest of the photo album. I wanted to see what she had included. There were photos of my husband spanning his entire life. Most photos were a either of Hubby or Hubby and Grandma June.

Then there was the photo of a picture! It is a picture of the painting of Louis Radvanyi!!! We have finally added a face to the name. Apparently at some point before giving the photo to Angie, Grandma June had taken a photo of the picture of Louis.

Grandma June passed away in November 2017. She had moved out of her house about eight years before her death in order to received more care. I believe we came into possession of the photo album about that time as her house was cleaned out. I cannot believe we had a copy of this photo for so long and did not even know it!!

Good news about my presentation! I eventually found the photo I was looking for. The photo album was with my genealogy books and notebooks on the bookshelf. Right where it was supposed to be.

{Treasure Chest} Maria (Nagy) Radvanyi Death Certificate

Maria Nagy is my husband’s great grandmother. She was born 7 March 1888 in Jablonca, Abaúj-Torna, Hungary. After immigrating to the United States with her parents as a 1 year old baby, the family lived in Lake County, Indiana. Mary married Louis Radvanyi and raised her family in the same area. Maria passed away 6 April 1950 in Whiting, Lake, Indiana.

This is her death certificate:

Out With The Old

My blog is officially back online!  The small problems I was having two weeks ago with the blog were actually bigger problems.  A huge thank you to my hubby (aka Chief Technology Officer) for delegating my issues to Justin in Canada.  Justin does technology for a living and made it possible to move my blog from one host company to another without losing any data.  I am really excited about a more stable environment.

To celebrate the big move to Go Daddy, I decided to give my blog a new look.  I have chosen the twenty seventeen theme from WordPress.   The clean look really appeals to me.  Also, I get to display a photo of one of my favorite oak trees I see on my walks on Mt. Burdell.

I hope you enjoy the new look!  Time to get back to the regularly scheduled program – Genealogy!


A Few Technical Difficulties…

I am currently having some issues with my blog.  You may notice that the entire right hand side of the blog is missing.  Just a little problem….

I have contacted my family’s CTO (Chief Technology Officer), aka husband, to help me get this fixed.  This is definitely an opportunity to update the blog since I have not done so in a couple of years. There may be a new look for the blog when I am up and running again.

Hopefully, I can pull this off in the next few days!  I have had an incredible genealogy month and have so much to share!!

My Genealogy Baby Is Growing Up!

Time flies when you are having fun!  My genealogy blog is five years old today! To celebrate we made a traditional banana split.

2016-04-02 16.35.00

I am looking forward to another 5 years!

Dempsey Family In A City Directory

My paternal grandmother’s maiden name is Dempsey.  She grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  I recently began using a technique to mine hints from by dataset (read more here).  I applied this same technique to the city directory database at  One of the hints was for Charles F Dempsey.  He is my grandmother’s father and my great-grandfather.

I was not surprised to find the family living at 1415 Brookline Boulevard.  This is an address I have found time and again for the family.

Dempsey, Charles F (Amelia J) entry, Polk's Pittsburgh City Directory 1937.  Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: R.L. Polk & Co., Publishers, 1937. Page 343. Accessed 9 June 2015 at, U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database online].
Dempsey, Charles F (Amelia J) entry, Polk’s Pittsburgh City Directory 1937. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: R.L. Polk & Co., Publishers, 1937. Page 343. Accessed 9 June 2015 at, U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database online].
 What I love is the entire family is listed in the directory.  James and Mary Dempsey arrived in the United States from Scotland in 1883 or 1884.  They had five children: Catherine, Charles, Edward, James Leo, and John (alpha order). You can easily see each child listed in the city directory.  The entire family, except for James Leo and his wife Clara, lived just a few houses away from each other.  James and Clara were living only 5 blocks away on the same street as Clara’s parents.

1403 Brookline Boulevard, Pittsburgh, PA
1403 Brookline Boulevard, Pittsburgh, PA

1415 Brookline Boulevard, Pittsburgh, PA
1415 Brookline Boulevard, Pittsburgh, PA


Happy Thanksgiving!

Every year our family celebrates the tradition of going around the Thanksgiving dinner table and telling everyone what we are thankful for.  Since I cannot be at the table with you today, I thought I would share my thankfuls:

I am thankful for:

  • my wonderful husband.
  • every second I get to spend with my ladybugs, Julia and Mia.
  • the continuing health of my family.
  • two new cousins joining the family next year.
  • our new home.
  • the opportunity to open my girls eyes to a much bigger world out there during our vacation this year.
  • some of the best friends a girl could ask for.
  • a couple of amazing genealogy finds this year.
  • and of course, my ancestors!

Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours!

The Day My Blog Was Hacked

One of the only times I hope I did not have traffic on my website was yesterday.  My domain name was taken over by Islamic terrorists.  No joke!  If you visited my blog yesterday you would have seen a black page with writing on the top and a link to a Facebook page for terrorists.

The hackers also took over my husband’s blog for the family business.  In some ways it was helpful because several customers called the shop to inform us of the hostile takeover.  We were surprised to find out that this is a known problem for our domain host.  I might be naive but I was taken aback that people I see as thugs have an organized IT department taking over websites all over the world.

Now that the reins to my blog have been handed back over, the control freak in my is a bit more restful.  I am in charge again and we are back to our regularly scheduled programming – GENEALOGY!

Follow Friday – The Stories That Bind Us

Earlier this week I was reading the Monday Recap at the Geni Blog when a highlighted article caught my attention.  I want to pass it on this Friday in case you did not see it already.  The Stories That Bind Us by Bruce Feiler in the New York Times is a great piece.

The article expresses how important it is to create a family narrative.  Mr. Feiler states that it is the most important thing you can do for your family.  The article goes on to look at the benefits of knowing your family story.  One of the important points the article makes is that you have to tell the whole story. You cannot form a narrative that is all hunky dory or all gore.  Kids need to know that families can make it through the ups and downs.

Although I have heard of the concept before, as a mom to two young kids, it is always nice to hear things again ( My memory disappeared after the first one was born!).  I enjoy researching my family history.  This article reminds me that a few hours a week to myself doing my hobby actually benefits my entire family.  Mommy guilt just got thrown out the window.