From Ireland to Germany to Italy to Mexico: How America’s Source of Immigrants Has Changed in the States, 1850 – 2013

Explore the top countries of origin for immigrants in each state from 1850 to 2013.

Source: From Ireland to Germany to Italy to Mexico: How America’s Source of Immigrants Has Changed in the States, 1850 – 2013


Liebster Blog Award

Since I began blogging about genealogy back in June 2012 (I know way back then), I have seen numerous blogs on WordPress and BlogPost with awards on them, though I must admit I didn’t know much about them. To be honest, I still don’t. However, I have always thought that they are really nice ways to show a blogger that their blogs is thought of and considered to be worthwhile to read. Earlier this month, my blog was kindly nominated for the Liebster Blog Award.

Liebster Blog Award

In order to accept the Liebster Award, one must do the following things:

1.  Thank (and link to) the presenter of my 2013 Liebster Award:

I would like to thank Currentdescendent for nominating me for this blog award. I truly appreciate the kind words and support for my little (but growing) blog about my family history. Currentdescendent has her own genealogy blog, called The Family Kalamazoo, which is filled with wonderful stories and great photos about her families. If you enjoy genealogy blogs, you should visit hers.

2.  Post 11 fascinating facts about one’s own self:

Eleven fascinating facts about myself….Yikes! Ok, I will try to come up with eleven about me, though I’m not sure how fascinating they will be, lol.

  • (1) I am (as Currentdescendent point out) in my mid-30s and I have something of an addiction to genealogy.
  • (2) I became interested in genealogy while in college, when I was assigned to research my ancestry in a research course.
  • (3) I was a bit intimidated by undertaking to research my ancestry to begin with, but over time I came to really enjoy it. It is fascinating to me to learn things about my own ancestors and where they fit in history.
  • (4) I am forever a student of history. As I put in my bio, there is just something compelling about the past. Whether it’s world history, art history, natural history, or architectural history, history is interesting to me.
  • (5) I love to do genealogical research with the new resources available online, but I also like going to archives, libraries, and genealogical centers.
  • (6) Since I first began researching my ancestry in, I have come in contact with numerous distant relatives all over the United States and some in other countries, which has been a really rewarding experience.
  • (7) I am often mistaken for my father or grandfather, who are also named William, when contacted via email–most of my relatives don’t assume a person in their 30s (or 20s as the case was when I began) would be researching their ancestry.
  • (8) I attended UCLA and earned a BA in 2005.
  • (9) I am a fraternal twin–my twin is my brother Gerad. I also have an older sister.
  • (10) I like spending my free time at museums or taking historical tours.
  • (11) I live in Southern California.

3.  Answer the 11 questions that my nominator made up for me: 

Currentdescendent‘s 11 questions for me are as follows: please list 11 fun facts about your ancestors.

  • (1) My 3rd great grandfather Owen Kiernan (1836-1901) came close to being a part owner of a bakery that was among those that became Nabisco.
  • (2) My 2nd great grandfather Alexander Balla (1886-1950) worked on the Brooklyn Bridge after he arrived in America.
  • (3) None of my male ancestors in my Kernan branch appear to have served in The Civil War, The Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, or the Vietnam War. From my research, it appears that they were too old to serve or had families by the time the wars started. I have no direct ancestor in any branch that served in World War II or the Vietnam War.
  • (4) When my great grandmother Irene (Balla) Sebok (1913-2006) was a baby, someone broke into her parents apartment in New York and tried to kidnap her. This prompted their move to Texas soon after.
  • (5) Oral history states that my 3rd great grandfather, István “Steven” Balla (1858-1930), abandoned his family in Hungary after stealing Army pay he was responsible for in the pay-corps he served in. Research shows that if true he blew it all once in America, as he was a sewer worker in Ohio soon after arriving.
  • (6) I have Quaker roots on both my Father’s side (via my Lapham branch) and my Mother’s side (via my Worthington branch).
  • (7) My 2nd great grandfather, Frank Sebok (1875-1951), had a glass eye. He lost an eye from when a cork exploded out of a bottle while he was attending to bottles of moonshine in his basement on a hot day.
  • (8) During the Great Depression, my 2nd great grandfather, George Kernan (1884-1960), and my great grandfather, Delmar Kernan (1908-1979), were employed as movers. Delmar earned 15 cents a day. My great grandmother Irene (Balla) Sebok (1913-2006), picked cotton in Texas cotton fields for 10 cents a pound.
  • (9) My 4th great grandfather, Felix Kiernan (ca. 1796-1883) sued the city he was living in after falling into an open whole in a city street.
  • (10) Oral history claims that I have Cherokee roots on both my Father’s side and my Mother’s side.
  • (11) I share common ancestors with a few famous people, such as Lucille Ball, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Susan B. Anthony, Presidents George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush, and Norman Rockwell.

4.  Make up 11 questions to be answered by the 11 blogs who I choose to award the Liebster to:

Here are the questions I came up with for the blogs I nominated:

  • (1) How long have you been researching your family history?
  • (2) What made you begin researching your family history?
  • (3) Was there an ancestor or relative in your family that was also interested in family history or preserved important documents and records?
  • (4) Have you uncovered any connections to famous people?
  • (5) What is the furthest generation back that you have a photograph for that ancestor–i.e., 1st, 2nd, 3rd great grandparent, etc.
  • (6) Do you have any family recipes that have been handed down through the generations?
  • (7) What was the country of origins for your grandparents?
  • (8) Name a fun fact from your paternal grandfather’s ancestry?
  • (9) Name a fun fact from your paternal grandmother’s ancestry?
  • (10) Name a fun fact from your maternal grandfather’s ancestry?
  • (11) Name a fun fact from your maternal grandmother’s ancestry?

5.  Nominate 11 bloggers who I personally enjoy, AND whose subscriber count does not exceed 200 and link to the 11 I choose, and then be sure to tell them why my website is pinging at them.

These are the eleven bloggers I nominate for the Liebster Blog Award. Each are wonderful and worthwhile genealogy related blogs for you to enjoy as much as I do. (I have no idea how to check how many people follow a blog, so I nominated some of the genealogy related blogs that I really enjoy reading.)

Thank you again Currentdescendent for the nomination. I truly appreciate it.

PS: If anyone knows the significance of 11 in connection to this blog award or the word Liebster, could you please let me know–I am curious.

2012 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 3,200 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 5 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Some Updates

I have been updating some of the content sections of my blog, which include:

  • Adding a “Link” tab, under which I have put together lists of genealogy websites, country specific genealogy websites, surname specific genealogy websites, genealogy blogs, and other blogs.
  • Under the “Kernan,” “Lapham,” “Hamilton,” and “Sebok” tabs, I have add a page for the known generations for each of these branches, as well as a page listing the related branches for each. These will have links leading to pages presenting my research on each of these generations and branches.

I still have a lot I want to add, and hope to do so soon. 🙂

Keep Calm and…

One of the more interesting and nostalgic memes to surface on the internet in recent years is the “Keep Calm” poster. This meme is modeled on the World War II era poster “Keep Calm and Carry On,” that was developed by the British Government to raise the morale of the public during the war.

I particularly love this meme because it is so nostalgic and it is fun to see how people use it, which has covered a variety of subjects including politics, pop culture, inspirational, and particularly humor. Several generator sites now exist to allow people to create their own “Keep Calm” posters, some of which allow you to have them made into real posters or put on mugs, t-shirts, bags, etc. Perhaps the nicest one I have seen is “The Keep Calm-O-Matic.” I created the one included here using this site.