Category: Genealogy

The Best Online Genealogy Forum for Bahamians

If your family tree is rooted in Bahamian soil and you’re interested in tracing your ancestry, check out the Bahamas Genealogy Group (BGG).

The Best Online Genealogy Forum for Bahamians - The Bahamas Genealogy Group

(May 2, 1938) The wedding of Clarence Pedican to Lillian Saunders, Green Turtle Cay, Abaco, Bahamas. (Photo courtesy of the Albert Lowe Museum.)

It’s a Yahoo group of 600+ members, all Bahamian or of Bahamian descent, and its purpose is to promote and preserve quality Bahamian genealogical and historical information.

What Do You Call Your Great-Grandmother?

In our family, great-grandmothers were called Gan Gan. It’s what all the kids of my generation called our great-grandmother, May Curry, and it’s what all my cousins’ kids called my grandmother, Lurey (Curry) Albury. We never knew where the term originated — I think we all assumed it was something unique to our family.

My Gan Gan – Marion Mayfield (Gates) Curry

The Queen and I

In researching a previous blog post about Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s Finding Your Roots, I checked on WikiTree to find out whether he and I might be related, since we each have Gates ancestors who emigrated from Ireland to America.

Though I wasn’t able to find a family connection between Mr. Gates and me, I did a bit of exploring to find out what other famous relatives I might have.

Happy 40th Anniversary to GTC's Albert Lowe Museum

Join us on January 7 as we celebrate the 40th anniversary of Green Turtle Cay's Albert Lowe Museum!

Artist, historian and founder of the Albert Lowe Museum, Alton Lowe.

It’s hard to believe, but before the Bahamas gained independence in 1973, few Bahamians knew very much about their own history.

“We were taught English history in school,” my cousin Alton Lowe told me. “It wasn’t until I went to the U.S. to study art that I learned about the history of my own country.”

The more Alton learned, the more dedicated he became to preserving the information for future generations, and ensuring that all Bahamians had the chance to learn about their unique roots.

What Alton discovered about his home country shaped his artistic career — most of his oil paintings feature colourful and traditional Bahamian scenes and people.

It also inspired him to purchase a historic Green Turtle Cay home and establish the Albert Lowe Museum.

Daily Photo – June 15, 2016

Recognize any of these costumed Green Turtle Cay residents?

While researching the book about Green Turtle Cay history on which I’m currently working, I’ve come across many photos with unidentified subjects.

Every day this month, I’m running one of these images in hopes that some of you may recognize yourselves, your friends or your family members. Please feel free to forward a link to this page to anyone who may be able to help identify the folks in the photo.

If you spot any familiar faces, please leave a comment below, or contact me directly.

As a thank you, everyone who comments or contacts me with information about the photo subjects will be entered in a draw to win a copy of the book once it’s published later this year.

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Daily Photo – June 14, 2016

Recognize any of these faces from Green Turtle Cay?

While researching the book about Green Turtle Cay history on which I’m currently working, I’ve come across many photos with unidentified subjects.

Every day this month, I’m running one of these images in hopes that some of you may recognize yourselves, your friends or your family members. Please feel free to forward a link to this page to anyone who may be able to help identify the folks in the photo.

If you spot any familiar faces, please leave a comment below, or contact me directly.

As a thank you, everyone who comments or contacts me with information about the photo subjects will be entered in a draw to win a copy of the book once it’s published later this year.

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Daily Photo – June 13, 2016

Recognize any of these faces from Green Turtle Cay?

While researching the book about Green Turtle Cay history on which I’m currently working, I’ve come across many photos with unidentified subjects.

Every day this month, I’m running one of these images in hopes that some of you may recognize yourselves, your friends or your family members. Please feel free to forward a link to this page to anyone who may be able to help identify the folks in the photo.

If you spot any familiar faces, please leave a comment below, or contact me directly.

As a thank you, everyone who comments or contacts me with information about the photo subjects will be entered in a draw to win a copy of the book once it’s published later this year.

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Daily Photo – June 12, 2016

Can you help identify these kids?

As part of my research for the book about Green Turtle Cay history on which I’m currently working, I’ve come across many photos with unidentified subjects.

Every day this month, I’m running one of these images in hopes that some of you may recognize yourselves, your friends or your family members. Please feel free to forward a link to this page to anyone who may be able to help identify the folks in the photo.

If you spot any familiar faces, please leave a comment below, or contact me directly.

As a thank you, everyone who comments or contacts me with information about the photo subjects will be entered in a draw to win a copy of the book once it’s published later this year.

Next image: Daily Photo June 13

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Daily Photo – June 11, 2016

Do You Recognize These Faces?

There’s a note with this photo indicating that the two girls are sisters… any idea who they might be?

As part of my research for the book about Green Turtle Cay history on which I’m currently working, I’ve come across many photos with unidentified subjects.

Every day this month, I’m running one of these images in hopes that some of you may recognize yourselves, your friends or your family members. Please feel free to forward a link to this page to anyone who may be able to help identify the folks in the photo.

If you spot any familiar faces, please leave a comment below, or contact me directly.

As a thank you, everyone who comments or contacts me with information about the photo subjects will be entered in a draw to win a copy of the book once it’s published later this year.

Next image: Daily Photo June 12

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Daily Photo – June 10, 2016

Can You Help Identify These People?

As part of my research for the book about Green Turtle Cay history on which I’m currently working, I’ve come across many photos with unidentified subjects.

Every day this month, I’m running one of these images in hopes that some of you may recognize yourselves, your friends or your family members. Please feel free to forward a link to this page to anyone who may be able to help identify the folks in the photo.

If you spot any familiar faces, please leave a comment below, or contact me directly.

As a thank you, everyone who comments or contacts me with information about the photo subjects will be entered in a draw to win a copy of the book once it’s published later this year.

Next image: Daily Photo June 11

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Daily Photo – June 9, 2016

Can you help identify these ladies?

As part of my research for the book about Green Turtle Cay history on which I’m currently working, I’ve come across many photos with unidentified subjects.

Every day this month, I’m running one of these images in hopes that some of you may recognize yourselves, your friends or your family members. Please feel free to forward a link to this page to anyone who may be able to help identify the folks in the photo.

If you spot any familiar faces, please leave a comment below, or contact me directly.

As a thank you, everyone who comments or contacts me with information about the photo subjects will be entered in a draw to win a copy of the book once it’s published later this year.

Next image: Daily Photo June 10

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Wreckers, Rogues and Rebels: Our Adventurous Abaco Ancestors

I always look forward to Green Turtle Cay’s Island Roots Heritage Festival, but this year, I’m even more excited than usual.

13010848_10153753541368500_8267926738831053579_nFirst, I love the theme: Adventure, Enterprise and Infamy. Given the cay’s quaint and relatively conservative atmosphere, it’s hard to believe that some of our Abaconian ancestors were pirates. Many were wreckers. Others made illicit fortunes as blockade runners and bootleggers. I’m really looking forward to exploring the more adventurous (and, in some cases, infamous) sides of our Abaco forefathers.

Speaking of forefathers, if you’d like to know more about yours, the Genealogy Research Center (across from the Gospel Chapel) will be open throughout the festival. It’s a cool, quiet place to research your own Abaco ancestry and get to know some of the Bahamas’ best genealogists.

And, as always, the weekend will be full of Bahamian cuisine, crafts and entertainment, including performances by the Royal Bahamas Defense Force Marching Band, Julien Believe, Green Turtle Cay’s own Gully Roosters, the Sax Man, Sawyerboy and the New Entry Band. And of course, two of my favourites – the plaiting of the Maypole and Junkanoo.

Beyond all this, however, there’s another reason I’m excited about this year’s festival — for the first time, I’ll be giving a presentation as part of the festival lecture series.

Dr. Peter Roberts, of the Bahamas DNA Project, at the Island Roots Heritage Festival, Abaco, Bahamas.

Peter Roberts, of the Bahamas DNA Project, during his presentation at the Island Roots Heritage Festival.

Having attended lectures about Bahamian history, local conservation efforts and genealogy at past Island Roots Heritage Festivals, I’ve found them all to be interesting, entertaining and informative. The lectures are one of my favourite parts of the festival, which is why I’m so excited to be able to present one!

Entitled “Our Wrecking Ancestors: Scoundrels or Saviours?” my presentation takes place at 3:00 pm on Saturday, May 7, at the Catechist George Reckley Hall at St. Peter’s Church, across from Settlement Point.

In conducting research for the book about GTC history on which I’m currently working, I’ve developed a fascination with wrecking — arguably Green Turtle Cay’s first real industry. While some viewed wreckers as saviours, providing life-saving aid to the crews of foundering vessels, many saw them as little more than glorified pirates.

Either way, there’s no denying the vital role that wrecking played in establishing and shaping New Plymouth and other Abaco settlements. As part of my presentation, I’ll share some of the interesting tales — some amusing, others terrifying — I’ve uncovered about wrecking in Abaco.

Other lecturers scheduled for the 2016 festival series include:

  • Peter Roberts of the Bahamas DNA Project, will teach us how to use DNA and WikiTree to trace our Bahamian ancestry. (I attended Peter’s presentation on this topic at last year’s festival, and found it to be extremely helpful with my genealogical pursuits)
  • Shane Cash, history teacher at Forest Heights Academy, will provide an overview of the history of piracy, wrecking, blockade running and bootlegging in the Bahamas.

And for the full schedule of events for the 2016 Island Roots Heritage Festival weekend, click HERE.

Hope to see you there!

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42 Genealogical Questions to Ask Family Members Today

I was saddened to learn of the recent passing of Mr. Jack Lowe of Marsh Harbour.

Not long after I launched this blog, I received a note from Mr. Lowe’s daughter, Beth, saying that her Dad wanted to speak with me about Abaco history.

Preserving your family history: Questions to ask your parents and grandparents.

Mr. Jack Lowe (Photo: Beth Lowe Sawyer)

Mr. Lowe and I chatted a few times. He was incredibly generous in sharing his memories of growing up in Abaco. And he very graciously sent me a copy of his book, My Life – The Abaco Boy Story, which provides a vivid and fascinating account of his younger years, and of Abaco life during the early 20th century.

In conducting research for this blog and for other projects, I’ve referred to Mr. Lowe’s book many times. And each time I do, I marvel at what a wonderful gift he has given his children, grandchildren and all of us who are interested in the history of Abaco and the cays.

To Beth, Bernice and all of Mr. Lowe’s family, Tom and I send our love and condolences. We are so very sorry for your loss. May you find peace and healing during this time of sorrow.

To everyone else, I say simply this. If you’re fortunate enough to still have elderly relatives living, please, please record their stories and memories.

Wanted: Old Abaco Pics & Documents

I’ve always been interested in the history of Green Turtle Cay, but in the two-and-a-half years since I began this blog, my fascination has grown exponentially. Turns out our sleepy little cay has a surprisingly rich and intriguing past! I’ve discovered so many interesting characters and stories that I can’t wait to share.

bahamas, abaco, green turtle cay, history

New Plymouth’s Settlement Creek waterfront, prior to 1932. (Photo: Albert Lowe Museum)

Over the past year, I’ve been working with artist and historian (and my cousin) Alton Lowe to gather Green Turtle Cay stories and photographs for a book about the history of the cay. We want to create a piece that will be of interest to residents, visitors and (perhaps most importantly) future generations of Abaconians.

As part of our research, we’re seeking old photographs taken in Green Turtle Cay and other parts of Abaco. There’s a good chance that some of this blog’s readers (or your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.) have wonderful photographs and documents stashed away in albums and attics, and we hope you’ll consider sharing them.

Can You Help Identify Members of the Gallant Thirty?

After publishing the image below as part of my Remembrance Day post, readers wrote to me identifying two of the men pictured. I also heard from several others who know their loved ones were part of the Gallant Thirty, and would like to be able to identify them in the photo.

So, how many of these men can we name?

bahamas, nassau, gallant thirty, world war 1

According to the blog Forgotten Faces and Long Ago Places, #10 is Hershel Stanley Hall. The author says Mr. Hall was just seventeen when this photo was taken, right before the Gallant Thirty set sail.

Also, Bruce Maura sent a note to let me know that #31 is his grandfather, Bruce M. Maura.

That leaves the following men to be identified: Captain William F. Albury, Fletcher Albury, Dr R. W. Albury, George Aranha, Matthew Armbrister, Robert J. Atwill, Charles Bain, James Bain, Harold Bascombe, Charles Bethel, G. P. Bethel, Horatio C. O. Brown, Austin Dean, John Demeritte, Sidney C. Farrington, Frederick Flowers, A. Henry Fountain, George H. Johnson, Artie Kemp, James H. Knowles, Frederick C. C. Lightbourn, Origen H. Mason, Henry A. Roach, A. Vincent Roberts, James S. Taylor, William Thompson, John Williams and Reginald Wood.

If you can help put names to any of the unidentified faces, please let me know. Also, any guesses as to what’s in the box held by the men in the center of the front row?

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