SK / GK Roots

Meet Benoni Stebbins, Puritan Bad Boy

I first became intrigued by Benoni Stebbins when I read a story about his early life that someone had posted on Ancestry.com. But the more I read about Benoni and his life and times, the more I realized that he was just one small player in a fascinating, and much larger global conflict. When I first started researching his story, it seemed to me that if his life were a movie, it would be a lighthearted comedy adventure, starring a young Mel Gibson, or maybe a handsome and snarky Chris Pratt, as the lead character. But as I continued reading about him, I began to consider his story as more of a bloody-fight-to-the-death Quentin Tarantino film instead. Read More

Hannah Feake Bowne, Not Just Your Average Quaker

I’m continually fascinated by the characters in my family tree. When I look at some of the amazing things that they accomplished, I feel like my own life is pretty underwhelming. Take Hannah Feake and her husband John Bowne, for instance… Read More

Boots On the Ground: Pearl Harbor, December 7th, 1941

My dad’s recollection of the morning of December 7th, 1941.

One Soldier’s Story

PFC Paul Alexakis officially enlisted in the United States army on April 7, 1941, in New York City. He accepted an assignment with the Field Artillery division in the Hawaiian Department of the army. Read More

Tales From the Neutral Ground; James Lyon (Part 2)

A recollection of the “Neutral Ground” as told by my fifth-great-grandfather James Lyon in 1848, during an interview with Judge James MacLean MacDonald.  Read More

Tales From the Neutral Ground; James Lyon (Part 1)

A recollection of the “Neutral Ground” as told by my fifth-great-grandfather James Lyon in 1848, during an interview with Judge James MacLean MacDonald.  Read More

Tales From the Neutral Ground; Martha Banks

A recollection of the “Neutral Ground” as told by my fifth-great-grandmother Martha Banks in 1851, during an interview with Judge James MacLean MacDonald.  Read More

The Neutral Ground

Yes, a picture is worth a thousand words, but sometimes words are all we have. Consider the following descriptions of a community in the midst of a war, and try to imagine the setting: Read More

What Exactly is a “Joiner”, Anyway?

My ancestor William Hallett (1615 – 1705) is rumored to have been apprenticed to a “joiner” in his youth. But what exactly is a joiner, anyway? The answer is a little complicated… Read More

So, Why “Hell Gate”?

Back in the mid 1600s, my 9th Great-Grandfather William Hallett owned a farm on the western edge of Long Island, in the area that is now present day Astoria. It was known as “Hellgate”, or “Hellgate Neck” named after the dangerous portion of the East River that bordered it. But why the name “Hellgate”?  Read More