Climbing My Family Tree, Part 11E

Immigrant Rev. John McLeish

This is the third of four known letters authored by Rev. John McLeish (my three times great-grandfather) on his journey from Massachusetts to California during the gold rush of 1849. This letter was published in The Boston Olive Branch on December 15, 1849. Continue reading


Climbing My Family Tree, Part 11C

Immigrant Rev. John McLeish

This past week Wartburg College Professor of History, Terrence J. Lindell, contacted me through my WordPress account. While conducting research for a course he teaches on the gold rush of 1849, Professor Lindell discovered four letters my three times great-grandfather Rev. John McLeish wrote while on his trip from Melrose, Massachusetts to the gold mines outside Sacramento, California in 1849. Professor Lindell was kind enough to share the letters with me. Continue reading

Origins of White Supremacy

Last month I came across a YouTube video entitled, Understanding White Supremacy (And How to Defeat It). It is an interesting post that runs just over three minutes. You can get to it by clicking HERE.

Origins of White Supremacy

The piece was published on September 12, 2017, and has garnered just over 1,000 views. It was posted by acttv, which states on the site: “Do more than watch. Your home for progressive, action-oriented video from a grassroots, social-media community.” Continue reading

Climbing My Family Tree, Part 26

Immigrant Thomas Burgess I & Dorothy

The Burgess family line was one of the most challenging for me to investigate to date. There is a great deal of confusing and conflicting information regarding the origin of the family name. After careful research, the following captures my best understanding of this branch of my family tree.

Thomas Burgess I (my ten times great-grandfather), was born in West Tanfield, Yorkshire, England in 1603. He arrived in Salem, Massachusetts in 1637. He briefly lived in Salem, Lynn, and Duxbury, before settling in Sandwich. He became a well-respected townsman and acquired a great deal of land.

Thomas Burgess, Jr. left the Plymouth Colony and moved to Newport, Rhode Island in 1661, where the family remained for two more generations until Benjamin Burgess (my six times great-grandfather) moved to from Newport, Rhode Island to Newport, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Benjamin Burgess

Benjamin Burgess, Wayne, Maine, aged 101 years, 9 months


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Coming to America

When I look in the mirror, I see an American immigrant. And yet, how can that be?

I am a white male, I hold an advanced college degree, I speak fluent English, I am 55 years old.

Aren’t immigrants people of color? Don’t they only speak foreign languages? Aren’t they younger and less educated? Those are the stereotypes.

Statue of Liberty

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Playing the Race Card

What exactly is race, and why is it such an issue in our culture today?

According to Merriam-Webster, race is a category of humankind that shares certain distinctive physical traits. But if we are all part of humankind, why have our distinctive physical traits become so significant? Why do we treat people differently, based solely on the way they look?

Jax and Reddy haircut picture

Jax and Reddy are five year olds. Jax asked his mother to shave his head like his friend Reddy. That way he could trick their teacher because she would not be able to tell them apart.

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Are You Face Biased? Take This Test!

This test will tell you if you are unconsciously biased when you look at faces of strangers. Read on…

Psychologist Alex Todorov has conducted research at Princeton University proving when we see a new face, our brains decide whether a person is attractive and trustworthy within a tenth of a second. Within a tenth of a second! In less than a second we decide if someone is beautiful or unattractive, if someone can be trusted, or if they look shady. We make important judgements on people before knowing their life journey, their worldview, or even their name.

Look at the people below.


How long did you look at the pictures? Perhaps just two and a half seconds (a tenth of a second for each face)? What judgements did you make in that time?

If you were standing in a room with this group of people, and you were told to “partner up” with someone, who would you seek out? Who would you avoid?

Would you feel uncomfortable if any of these people sat next to you in your place of worship? Or on an airplane?  Continue reading