Author Archives: kjw616

About kjw616

I am a genealogy detective. I have already written one book about my Irish family's journey from 19th century Ireland to the United States- a family history sprinkled with personal anecdotes. My second book was intended to be a similar story about my Russian ancestors. Instead, it turned into a tale of just my father's immediate family. It is the tale of what happens when 6 children from New Jersey are moved to the Soviet Union by their Russian-born parents during the Great Depression. It details who lives, who dies, and who is able to return to NJ during a time when leaving the USSR was not an easy endeavor, particularly during World War II and the Cold War. It is my hope that those interested in history during this time period will find this story fascinating as well as those fellow amateur family historians who will learn some of the tools such as, visits to the National Archives, and local libraries I used to uncover this story.

Looking Back on “Dad Called it Decoration Day.”

During various news reports this weekend, I heard several newscasters discussing the history of what is now called Memorial Day but was initially referred to as Decoration Day. Well, that was not news to me, since I discussed this same … Continue reading

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Adding to Dad’s Box of News

On Wednesday, the 45th President of the United States was impeached. It was a sad moment for me, not because I didn’t believe there was sufficient evidence to proceed to a trial, but because our country had again elected a … Continue reading

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Grandpa Got Caught

What’s a man to do when he has six children ranging in age from four to eleven, he has a mortgage to pay, his wife does not speak the language of the country where he is living, and he is … Continue reading

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Looking forward to that Chat

Children are born curious. They learn at an amazing rate and are driven by their need for answers. Among their most favorite words are what, who,  and why, why, why? My grandson recently spotted my Kindle lying on my end … Continue reading

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While in Castlebar, Ireland last month, my husband and I were taken to the Mayo Peace Park and Garden of Remembrance by several of our local friends. On the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion, I thought it was a … Continue reading

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Where Were They on D-Day?

As I watch all the pageantry happening at Buckingham Palace in advance of the 75th anniversary of D-Day, I decided to check out what my father and his family were doing on that historic day—taking care to not spoil my … Continue reading

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Back in Castlebar

Here’s an update to what happened to the Brennan family Bible, which I had spoken about a few years ago. (Not Lincoln or the Queen—but Still Very Cool.) I recently went to Ireland to visit the beautiful country where many … Continue reading

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100 Years Ago Today

One hundred years ago today, my father was born in the town of Rockaway, New Jersey–the fifth child of Russian immigrants. While I would never claim that “my dad was better than your dad,” I will assert that my father’s … Continue reading

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Daddy Went to Spy School!

Every few months I google my name to see if anything new has appeared—my maiden name, not my current name. I try the many variations I have discovered, and this week, I got a new hit. On the second page … Continue reading

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What Would Dad Think About Me?

As I get older, I have found myself analyzing much of my past and present behavior. Maybe I am checking off the boxes before I cross through the pearly gates. Was I good mother, wife, friend, daughter? Knowing now so … Continue reading

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