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"The ancestor of every action is a thought." Ralph Waldo Emerson


* Wedding Wednesday: Jack and Jackie An American Love Story

Looking for a good summer read? Check out Jack and Jackie, Portrait of An American Marriage by New York Times best-selling author Christopher Andersen. One of the most iconic love stories of our time, the lives of John Fitzgerald Kennedy and Jacqueline Lee Bouvier are full of scandal and drama. I loved it and couldn't put it down. It reads like fiction but it's reality!

Click to read more ...


* Summer Vacation: Vintage Jersey Shore Pictures

A love of the beach must run in the family! I've found many vintage pictures of my family playing on the beaches of the Jersey shore. The pictures range from early 1920's-1938. With each picture you get a snapshot of typical clothing, photography, and technology of the time period. I love the clothes! I wonder what they would think about what we wear to the beach?

A few historical events during this time period:

Prohibition began in 1920 and ended in 1933, The Wall Street Crash of 1929- resulting in a 12 year Great Depression, 1931 Inventor Thomas Edison dies, 1934  Fuji Photo Film founded,  1935 Kodachrome color reversal film is developed by Eastman Kodak, 1937 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is released, and in 1938 Fuji is making cameras and lenses in addition to film.

Also keep in mind that many of these young men and women would soon find themselves in the midst of WWII. My grandfather and his 4 brothers all served their country, and my grandmother worked as a volunteer for the red cross. Their lives changed so much in just a few years from these happy summer days down the Jersey shore.

Ocean Grove, NJ 1923-ish

The little girl 3rd from the left is my Grandmother and she was born in 1917. I think she looks about 6 years old here, so I'm estimating this picture to be from about 1923.

Ocean Grove, NJ about 1923 - left to right- unknown, unknown, My Grandmother Marjorie Middleton, My Great Grandfather Wentworth Middleton

Ocean Grove, NJ about 1923 left to right- unknown, Marjorie Middleton, Wentworth Middleton, unknown

Atlantic City, NJ 1929

My Great Great Grandfather, Thomas Nolen













Atlantic City, NJ 1933

My Grandfather Joseph K Wright, Atlantic City NJ, 1933

Atlantic City, NJ 1936

My Great Uncle John "Jack" Wright, The Brighton Hotel- Atlantic City NJ, 1936

Atlantic City, NJ 1937

Atlantic City, NJ 1937 left to right: unknown, My Great Uncles Vincent Wright and Jerome Wright

Toms River, NJ 1938

Jack Wright, Marjorie Middleton Wright, Joseph K Wright, Jo?, Toms River NJ, 1938

Atlantic City, NJ 1938

My Grandparents Joseph and Marjorie Wright, Atlantic City, 1938




Marjorie, Atlantic City NJ, 1938


* Sightseeing Sundays: Historic Chincoteague, VA 

Chincoteague, Virginia- pronounced "shing-kuh-TEEG", is located on the Eastern Shore of the Delmarva Peninsula. The island of Chincoteague is very unique, boasting fresh seafood, history, and a beautiful beach! It's connected to Assateague Island National Seashore. I've been visiting since I was a baby. My grandparents once lived not to far from it. This is where I learned how to boogie board, dive through waves, and collect seashells.

The beach is a barrier island and with each year hurricanes and storms have slowly but surely eroded the sandy beaches. When I was little we used to buy a special pass, get there early, and drive our Izuzu Trooper down the sandy beach to find own private beach spot! Within the past 30 years the size of the beach has eroded to at least half the size it used to be. Gone are the bath houses, high dunes, and large parking lots. I hope it's around for my future generations to enjoy.

My sister and I dancing on the beachA nosy pony wants to meet my dad Old Bathing Houses at Assateague (date unknown) 






 A herd of wild ponies have inhabited this sandy, marshy, pine tree covered island for over 200 years. No one knows for sure how the Chincoteague Ponies ended up on this island. One popular legend is that when a Spanish ship sank off the coast in the 1600's the surviving ponies swam to the island. There is a protected wildlife refuge where the herds roam wild. When I was a kid, the ponies would venture all the way to the road- sometimes right up to your car! In the picture above you can see a nosy pony checking out our car! I'm in the back in my car seat, what a treat. But I haven't seen them get that close in the past 10 years or so.

A famous annual event is "Pony Penning Day". Selected young ponies are herded from Assateague into the bay and they swim across to Chincoteague. Following the short swim they are penned and auctioned off. This has been a long held tradition, 2011 marks the 86th year. The 2011 Pony Penning Day and Fireman's Carnival is this week! The ponies will swim on Wednesday July, 27, 2011 and the auction will be on Thursday July 28, 2011. I've never been but I bet it's a really amazing thing to watch!

A Famous Chincoteague Pony

The Island Roxy Theater, 2011Misty's Prints 2011

  "Misty of Chincoteague" was a wild pony born on the island, made famous in a book written by Marguerite Henry in 1947. Misty's story was brought to the big screen in the 1960s! The movie premiere of "Misty" was held at the Historic Island Roxy Theater. Misty herself walked down the center aisle before the show. To commemorate the occasion, her hoof prints were captured in the sidewalk outside of the theater. Since horses can't write their own name, it was Marguerite Henry who wrote "Misty" above the prints. I went to take a picture and I was surprised how worn down the dedication has become.  I think the hoof prints need to be preserved a little better! It would be such a shame for this historical landmark to be worn away don't you think? 

 The Island Roxy Theater is still in operation today! If you're looking for a beautiful beach on the Eastern Shore, I suggest you check out all Chincoteague has to offer. 


* How do you spell that? Understanding Lithuanian Surnames Ufuk Zivana © 2006Are you searching for a Lithuanian ancestor? A goal of mine is to learn more about my mom's Lithuanian roots. I've been researching my maternal great grandparents who emigrated from Lithuania to the US in the early 1900's. Without any knowledge of the Lithuanian language, I have been limited to the variations of their names as found in US records. The spellings are all over the place and I didn't know where to turn for information.

I posted a query on a Lithuanian genealogy forum shared by the Lithuanian Global Genealogical Society and Lithuanian Global Resources "Little Lithuania" to see if anyone could help me in my pursuit. Not only did I get helpful information to understand how Lithuania surnames are constructed, contributors were able to locate my ancestors! Within 24 hours I was lead to a ton of matching records- I still feel like I'm dreaming!

John Peters first responded to my post with a thorough introduction to understanding the in's and out's of how Lithuanian surnames are constructed and pronounced. In Lithuania, the suffix of the surname is modified to fit the gender role (male, single female, married female).

I found his breakdown very helpful and, with his permission, I want to share it with you!

To better understand the examples: My great grandfather's first name was either Laurentius, Lauros, or Roland; the English version of his last name was Alishusky. My great grandmother's first name was either Helen or Alexandra and her last name was something along the lines of Akamavicuis or Acamaviche.

"The surname is spelled today either as Alasauskas (pronounced ah-lah-SOWS-kahs) because the "s" has no marks over it.  The "sh" sound is represented by the letter "s^" ("s" with a little birdie over it, typed "s^" on non-Lithuanian keyboards).  There are several listings in the online phone book for Alasauskas but none for Alas^auskas.  It is possible that over the years, the "s^" has been simplified among Lithuanians to "s" without the mark.  Or it is spelled Olis^auskas and pronounced aw-lih-SHAUS-kahs.  So this may be the spelling of the surname you are looking for.

The letter "c" with no marks over it is pronounced "ts" as in the English word "bits", but never pronounced like the English "c" in "cave."  That "k" sound is represented in Lithuanian by the letter "k".  So the other surname is Akamavic^ius.  The ending "-uis" is an incorrect version of the common Lithuanian ending "-ius".  The letter "c^" is pronounced "ch" as in the English word "church."

As you may or may not know, the endings to these surnames are changed for women, depending on their marital status.  The ending "-iene" is used for a woman married to a man named Akamavic^ius (Mrs. Akamavic^iene).  Their unmarried daughter would be Miss Akamavic^iute.  Likewise, the wife of Mr. Alasauskas would be Mrs. Alasauskiene and their unmarried daughter would be Miss Alasauskaite.  Likewise, the wife of Mr. Olis^auskas would be Mrs. Olis^auskiene and their unmarried daughter would be Miss Olis^auskaite.

The given name for Catherine in Lithuanian is Katarina, Katryna, or Katre, sometimes Kotryna or Kotre. Lawrence or Laurence in Lithuanian is Laurencijus, Laurentas, Laurentinas or Laurynas. It is possible that at one time the short form might have been Lauras. Again, no "-uis" ending, but "-ius" or in this case "-ijus", pronounced virtually the same way.

Lithuanian doesn't use the letter "x" but "ks", so the male name Alexander is Aleksandras and the female version (Alexandra) is Aleksandra.

Helen is Elena, pronounced AH-leh-nah. Peter is Petras; Anthony is Antanas; Martha is Morta; and Cecilia is Cecile or Cecilija (pronounced tseh-TSIH-leeah)."

The different spellings I've found associated with my great grandparents surnames:



It might seem impossible to find ancestors with foreign or commonly misspelled names, but it can be done! You can learn SO MUCH by connecting with other researchers and genealogy communities. When I asked John Peters permission to share his response on my blog, he informed me of his "mission" to help others with genealogy research. He was inspired by the support and guidance he found in fellow researchers through his own personal search. I couldn't agree more! This blog is my way of sharing my "mission" to inspire and help YOU with your genealogy pursuits.