Er Ist Weider Da. Look Who’s Back, on Netflix

look_whos_back_constantinfilmAlthough the book Er Ist Weider Da (Translated into English as “Look Who’s Back,” although literally it should be “He’s here again”) was published in 2012, the German language movie released in 2015, Netflix picked it up in early 2016, I just now stumbled across this movie over the weekend. Probably an algorithmic thing (don’t ask).

Normally, I blog about either family history or science/science fiction. But in this case, let’s just call it science fictiony-historical satire with a dark edge.

It’s good. Scarily good. Hysterically funny in parts. Deeply, darkly disturbing in many others.

And completely misunderstood by most reviewers. Especially the ones writing only in English. Continue reading

Rebels, Loyalists, and Family Feuds: the Bonesteels and Simmons

battlesofsaratogaSince coming to Montreal last September, I have been asked by several people what my connection to Canada is.

One connection, my great x 3 grandfather Joseph Lewis, is from the mid to late 1800s. He left Canada to come to the US for work.

But another, slightly more indirect connection, dates back to the 1700s. And it involves war. Continue reading

André Patry and the King’s Daughter

FillesduRoi

My mother was descended from a King’s Daughter.

OK, not actually a princess. Just someone who was paid by the French government to go to New France and marry a local farmer. But it still sounds cool to say we’re related to a King’s Daughter. Continue reading

What’s in a name? That which we call…

rosebyanothernameOne thing I have struggled with while uncovering my family’s complicated past is the lack of consistency in naming conventions before the digital age.

In the Information Age, if you type in your name or ID with a single letter missing or out of place, your application gets rejected by whatever online program it is you’re trying to get access to. We all have numbers assigned to us—social security numbers, student numbers, worker numbers, case numbers, credit card numbers, you name it.

The past?

Thhppt. What’s a number? What’s a name? That which we would call a rose… Continue reading

Fred Langworthy and Susan O’Leary: Cultural Exiles

IMG_2437Since I wrote about an ancestor on my father’s side (one of his side’s anyway) from the 1920s, I thought the next story to introduce should be from someone on my mother’s side, from roughly the same time period.

But one generation later. And with a theme of religious intolerance. And possibly related to 19th century Irish-American history. Continue reading

The Apple Falls Far from the Tree

Apples groundMy family name is Apple, but I am not related to anyone by that name.

Well, legally, yes. And by marriage. But genealogically no. So the old adage is definitely NOT true. At least not genetically.** Continue reading