My Family’s Baseball Legacy

Some of my favorite memories from my early childhood are of going to watch my dad play for the I.B.E.W. Local Union 164 softball team. In addition to going to games throughout the NY/NJ area, I travelled with him to tournaments in Chicago and Indianapolis. He was a pretty good pitcher and played the game hard. I remember him coming home with bloody, broken fingernails, bruises, and even the imprint of the softball’s stitches in his skin.

Brooklyn Dodgers LogoApparently, his skill and love for the game was hereditary. His father was good enough that ┬áhe was drafted by the Dodgers in the 1940s, when they still played in Brooklyn. Players made so little back then, however, that his dad encouraged him to get a “real” job instead so he became a union electrician instead, and thus missed an opportunity to possibly play with the likes of Jackie Robinson and Duke Snider.

But the baseball genes go even further back. A few months ago while looking up my family on Ancestry.com, I found the following listings (among others) for my great-great-grandfather in the city directories for Pottsville, PA and Jersey City, NJ in the 1880s & 1890s: Continue reading My Family’s Baseball Legacy

The Civil War Record of Sam Caton

Yesterday, I found my great-great-great-grandfather (Andrew Mason “Sam” Caton) in the 1907 Alabama Census of Confederate Soldiers. While I had previously found evidence of a 1st cousin 6x removed that was killed at the Battle of Murfreesboro and a great-great-great-grand uncle who died at the Battle of Chickamauga (both while fighting for the Confederacy), this was the first time I’d found a direct ancestor who served in the military during the Civil War. Continue reading The Civil War Record of Sam Caton

A Profile in Strength & Courage

A few weeks ago, my mom wrote on Facebook,

Thinking of my grandmother lately and realizing that she set some pretty good examples for me when I was young. I find myself … praying that I can live with the dignity and strength that she exemplified.

My great-grandmother died 4 years before I was born so I had no personal knowledge of the dignity and strength that my mom remembers, but my time researching my family’s history had enlightened me to a certain extent. Then earlier this week, I met up with some of my mom’s cousins from her father’s side of the family, who had also started researching that branch of the family tree. As we shared our (mostly their) information, stories, and findings, I thought back to what my mom had posted and realized again how strong of a woman my great-grandmother must have been.

A picture of my great-grandparents and 5 of their 9 children taken c. 1921.

Continue reading A Profile in Strength & Courage