Every few years I get the urge to dabble in genealogy. And every few years it gets a little easier. In the early 90's it was Family Tree Maker, replete with multiple floppy disks. Ship manifests and census were just becoming available digitally. Not for the faint of heart.
There's been quite a fuss about a nationalistic, Russian beer commercial David Duchovny made not long ago -- especially given that he recently discovered that his roots are actually in Ukraine. For obvious reasons, this is less than ideal timing.
Although members of Congress and the president are professing to pursue a humanitarian response to the border crisis, the proposed solutions often undercut the very protections that children have in current law in order to have the Border Patrol expedite their deportation back to Central America.
Those who love "The Boss" or are intrigued by family history will appreciate this charming video of Bruce Springsteen accepting the Ellis Island Family Heritage Award with his mother and her two sisters.
In all the fulminating going on about the children in the current border "crisis," there is one problem I have yet to hear addressed, by either side in the debate. Mostly, I suspect, because it would cost a lot of money to fix.
The Immigrant stands as a reminder that, while we have come so far in this nation of immigrants, we have still farther to go to live up to the promise of Emma Lazarus' poem inscribed beneath the broken chains on the pedestal where Lady Liberty stands in New York Harbor.
While not perfect, it is more than just a feel-good sports movie about overcoming obstacles (though it is, in fact, that). Million Dollar Arm is less a movie about sports (in this case, baseball) than a film about one man's transformation from sports agent to human being.
My grandmother's birthday was this week. She was born in 1877 and would have been 136 years old. And when, in her honor, I looked at some family photos, I discovered something that I had not noticed before.
Not long ago, I received a response to a letter I wrote to a stranger in Ireland -- in 1984. Making the experience more peculiar still is the fact that the gentleman I contacted had passed away in 1990. Perhaps I should explain.
As we mourn the passing of larger-than-life mayor, Ed Koch, who loved New York City so much that he spent $20,000 to ensure he would be buried there and never have to leave, it's worth remembering his immigrant father, Leib (later Louis) Koch.
With Hurricane Sandy's massive destruction, it's not surprising that we haven't heard much about Ellis Island. Those whose lives have been turned upside-down are naturally the first priority. But how did Ellis Island weather the storm?