Passport applications can be an excellent source of genealogical information as some provide a physical description of the holder, his or her occupation, foreign destination and reason for travel and naturalization details, as well as the date and place of birth.

The earliest surviving U.S. passport was issued Dec. 27, 1778, in France by Benjamin Franklin, Arthur Lee and John Adams to W.D. Cheevert, David Sears and their servants for travel to Holland.

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Ellen Marie Killoran Deeny. Somehow, Grandma Deeny accepted all things in life. She loved her children, did what she could, and left the rest to Providence. Photo by: Martha Pinson

Someone who loved order must have spared the twin maples twenty paces in front of the old, clapboard farmhouse in central New Jersey. They lent a symmetry otherwise lacking and graciously shaded the lawn. The bank dropped sharply to a dirt road and a swampy pasture where weeping willows concealed the Dead River but not the hills rising beyond.

There’s something scary in Census Director John Thompson trying to secretly find someone to run the $13 billion 2020 decennial census — by using his personal e-mail because he wanted to hide the process.

There is something even more frightening in the blatant politics that were going on behind the scenes.

As I told you last week, the now-deposed Inspector General of the Commerce Department, which oversees the Census Bureau, issued an 82-page report in June that criticized Thompson for conducting the secret search.

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The Irish fighter boy & his flying shamrock Photo by: Findmypast.com

Findmypast is working in partnership with IrishCentral to share fascinating insights into your Irish ancestors. Click here to get a special half price subscription, and discover your Irish roots today!

There were 10 Irishmen who fought alongside British pilots during the Battle of Britain. Of these, one particularly distinguished himself: Brendan ‘Paddy’ Finucane won a Distinguished Flying Cross with 2 Bars (meaning he won the medal 3 times) as well as a Distinguished Service Order, and before his death in 1942, became a certified ‘Ace’.

Discover the jailbirds in your family tree with Findmypast’s Crime and Punishment month Photo by: Findmypast.com

Findmypast is working in partnership with IrishCentral to share fascinating insights into your Irish ancestors. Click here to get a special half price subscription, and discover your Irish roots today!

Just how murky is your past? Are there wrongdoers in your family tree? Perhaps you’re the descendant of legal eagles and lawmakers.

Claddagh ring, symbol of Irish love. Photo by: Findmypast

Findmypast is working in partnership with IrishCentral to share fascinating insights into your Irish ancestors. Click here to get a special half price subscription, and discover your Irish roots today!

Delving into Ireland’s traditions around courtship and love can be intriguing. Some of the tokens that were exchanged in the days before cards, flowers and chocolates may surprise you.

The sinking of The General Slocum killed over 1,000 New Yorkers. Someone with the same name as my great-grand-uncle was on board. Photo by: The World archives

On the morning of June 15, 1904, parishioners, mostly women and children, of St. Mark’s Evangelical Church in Manhattan, began boarding The General Slocum, a 264-foot side-wheeler excursion boat, for an all day picnic. Within hours, an event that caused the loss of more than one thousand lives would be part of history; it’s psychic impact incalculable.

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