Meeting of 9/17/15: ‘Where Do Parents Come From?’

Screen shot 2015-05-22 at 12.44.07 PMMeeting at Quigley’s Restaurant
593 Columbia Turnpike
East Greenbush, NY
September 17, 2015

Attending (18): A.J. Amato, Ron Annis, Pat Bailey, Melissa Bill, Terry Brewer, Debbie Brown, Peter Brown, Dean Calamaras, Doris Calamaras, Bill Dowd, Dick Drumm, Murray Forth, Ray Hannan, Carole Spencer, David Taylor, Rommel Tolentino, Stewart Wagner, Roberto Martrinez.

Guests (5): Julia Goodwin, Eddie Trevino, Monika Annis, Jeremy and Maggie Forth.

PROGRAM: “Where Do Parents Come From?”

Bill Dowd explaining a research point.
Bill Dowd explaining a research point.

Bill Dowd, who has recorded more than 24,000 relatives in a years-long search of his family’s roots, presented a PowerPoint how-to on such research, along with examples of what can be found.

He began with a display of a tree of five generations of his ancestors and explained how the numbers of people grow exponentially. Five generations linked to a single person — him — totals 31 people. But, add just one more generation and the number jumps to well over 100 even if some branches are “broken.” Thus, more than 100 lines to continue tracing after six generations. He also listed 40 sources of research tools, and counseled that perhaps the most importance is patience. Lots of it.

Screen shot 2015-09-18 at 10.05.20 AMHe also explained the origins of surnames, for the most part stemming from when nations began taxing the population and personal descriptions became necessary. They sometimes were occupational names (Carpenter, Baker, Fisher, etc.), sometimes locational (various words for rivers, fields, etc.), or even personally descriptive (Brown, Gray, etc.).

With that background explained, Bill went on to trace the origins of the surnames/maiden names of club members, pointing out that while most people know the nationality of their name, few know how the names came to be. He described the roots of the names Taylor, Brewer, Hannan, Amato, Brown, Wagner, Tolentino, Bill, Bailey, Butterworth, Dunn, Drumm, Martinez, Foote, Forth, Pitts, Lawie, Calamaras, Annis, and Leyhane.

He also described some members of his own tree, ranging from Colonel Samuel Miles who was on George Washington’s command staff in the Revolutionary War and  John George Burkhardt who was a member of Washington’s Life Guards; plus, several historic figures such as Pope Gregory X in the 13th Century, and Queen Isabella of Spain and Sir William Gardiner of England in the 15th Century. He noted that the farther back one can trace one’s roots, the chances increase greatly of being related to a figure of historic note; it’s a  matter of numbers — fewer people, more chances of being related.

He finished with “Australian Odyssey,” the story of Henry Jackson and Rachael Atkinson, two people convicted in English courts in the 1800s of different crimes, who then were deported to Australia where they met, married, and had 11 children — including the first recorded set of triplets in Australian history  — and a prosperous life during the days of the Australian gold rush. He explained that he had done a deep search of their stories because at one time he thought Henry Jackson was a great uncle or great grandparent of his; however, he found out that he was just a distant cousin, but enjoyed the story and the search so much he continued it to a conclusion.


GOLF TOURNAMENT — President Terry Brewer and Treasurer Murray Forth had just returned from participating in the annual Gift of Life Golf RTournament. They were part of a foursome with Jim Mendrysa and Rob Mangold, and won last year’s tournament. No final standings were available as of meeting time, but the team did record a 10-under-par score.

REMINDERS — Doris Calamaras is collecting used, clean medicine containers as part of a national project to distribute such items in the African nation of Malawi. Please remember to remove all labels. … Please let Debbie Brown know no later than Tuesday evening each week whether you will or will not attend a dinner meeting. … Please be sure to let Debbie Rodriguez know as you firm up plans for programs for your assigned dates.

RLI — The annual Rotary Leadership Institute, held at Siena College, is scheduled for Saturday, October 17, this year. The club will pay the registration fee for any member who wishes to attend. Bill Dowd will be attending Level 3 this year, and he urged others to take advantage of the opportunity at any level.

RYLA — We have five Maple Hill High School students signing up for the Rotary Youth Leadership program this year. Our club will pay for their tuition.

OPEN WORLD PROGRAM — Terry spoke about the opportunity to host Rotarians from other parts of the world during a five-day program, and asked any members who are interested to be in contact with him.

FUNDRAISER — Doris has volunteered to donate a handmade afghan to be raffled off, with proceeds going to the club treasury.

BREAKFAST MEETING — Terry spoke about the breakfast meeting series he wants to initiate in October as a way to attract potential new members whose schedules are unable to accommodate our current meeting schedule. Such breakfasts would be in addition to, rather than in place of, our Thursday dinner meetings, and be open to all current members as well. The first will take place  from 7 to 8 a.m. at the Comfort Inn on Miller Road, just off I-90 Exit 10, catered by Talk of the Town. Terry asked members to let him known the names of anyone we can invite, especially those who current members want to host by accompanying them to the breakfast.

WEBSITE QUIZ — Terry began what he said will be a periodic quiz about knowledge of what appears on our club website. The question tonight: What country in which polio had been eradicated has just experienced an outbreak? Roberto Martinez had the correct answer — Ukraine — and won a bottle of wine.

NEXT MEETING: 6:15 p.m. Thursday, September 24. The program: “Does Beer Spoil?”


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