It all started over 40 years ago when my father handed me a pile of papers and said “See if you can do something with this”. The pile consisted of some notes from my father’s aunt and other research that my father, a Federal agent and Private Investigator, had done in New Haven, CT, where his family had settled upon immigrating to the US. Let’s say he did a lot of badge flashing to get into some records offices! His family of immigrants from Ireland were all very proud of their heritage and their homeland. Stories were passed down through generations and I believe that is why my father was interested in the facts behind the stories.
Not knowing what I was getting myself into, I took the challenge and began piecing our family history together and got hooked. This was all pre-computer age and so I spend a lot of time pouring over archives and mailing many, many letters hoping for replies.
Over the years I have been able to get extensive information on all of my paternal and maternal lines as well as some of my husband’s lines. I’ve been able to connect with other researchers and distant family members all over the world. For some lines, like my “Kieft” family, a group of us researchers from multiple countries worked together via email, resulting in major breakthroughs for that family history.
As I became more computer proficient and also became a web designer, I decided that I wanted to put as much of my information online as possible. I have almost all of my family lines represented on this site to some degree. While doing my Irish ancestry I became intrigued with the Irish immigrants who settled in New Haven, Connecticut. The lack of a website dealing with this topic led me to start my “Irish In New Haven” website. The link is in the sidebar.
I stopped updating the actual family trees on this website awhile ago, but I leave enough online so that if someone is researching their name, they can find my site and contact me. This has been extremely successful over the years. I get new emails all the time from people just starting their research. That is one of the most fulfilling aspects of running this site. I have a message in my sidebar explaining that the info on the site is not necessarily up to date.
I am also able to use the site as a way to share some special items such as a history of the farm that my Rundle ancestors lived in for over a century. A modern day owner had done some incredible research on Hole Farm in St. Neot, Cornwall and he expressed with me the desire to share his work with others. At that time his research was all hard copy. He sent me a copy and I scanned the entire project and posted the pdf for download on my site.
Recently, I started adding more and more “research tips” and research stories to help those who are doing their own genealogy research. Hopefully I can help others avoid those brick walls or learn a new way to look at data. I also like posting interesting tidbits that I find amusing as I do my research.
I hope that all genealogy researchers, as well as members of my connected family can find something to enjoy on this site.
Additions and Corrections: I have never and will never suggest that my research is flawless or complete. I’ve already stated that the info posted on the site is neither up to date or complete. I always welcome corrections and additions. I also welcome any content for the Irish in New Haven site.
Bottom line, please contact me at mpitkin (at) live.com if you have some additional information or corrections. I may already have it in my database, and if I don’t, I’ll be happy to update if you have legit sources.
I’m also happy to share register style reports for your family, so that you can see what I do and do not have. I just ask that any “stories” or “anecdotes” that are in my own words not be posted on sites like Ancestry if you post your tree. If you do share that type of content, please put in parenthesis and credit me. I’ve seen a lot of my anecdotal stories posted on Ancestry with no mention of where it came from. ( I do see a lot of trees that credit me..and I appreciate that!! )
~ Mary Stanford Pitkin mpitkin(at)live.com