Climbing the Family Tree in Philadelphia

Header image by Dave Z (Flickr: CITY HALL PHILADELPHIA) [CC BY 2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

Today’s post comes from Jacque.

In early October Lou and I travelled to Philadelphia for a long weekend in the City of Brotherly Love to see the sights and climb some ancient branches of the family tree.   We made our plans with my sister and her husband, who wanted the climb the family tree with us.

We were scheduled to leave on Wednesday. Tuesday, my sister and her husband were packed and ready to head North from Iowa. She picked up a knife to scrape a label off a can. The knife slipped. A perfectly positioned ½ inch cut at the base of her thumb severed the tendon. She called from the Dr.s’ office to report that instead of going to Philly, she was going to surgery. The surgery appears successful, but her hand and arm are swathed in an enormous splint because it is of great importance not to move the thumb while the tendon heals. Not only did she miss the trip to Philly, she can’t even drive in Iowa. She called SW airlines, cancelled her plane tickets and put them on hold for another trip.

We left for the airport early, early Wednesday morning; 530 am early, to arrive in time for a very delayed flight—plane repairs. The layover in Chicago was even more delayed—more plane repairs. That plane they finally just replaced after 2 hours of waiting. HMMM. In what condition does Southwest Airlines keep their planes? So our ETA of 12:55pm stretched to an actual arrival time of 5pm. Argh.

We arrived famished and tired. However, we were delighted that the train into Philadelphia was simple to locate and right on time, zipping us right into the Center City area. Yippee. We were on our way. We walked to our B and B through the beautiful neighborhoods surrounding Rittenhouse Square, noticing an array of restaurants with really great looking menus. Philadelphia is a fabulous city in which to be hungry. It has great restaurants, one of my favorite parts of travel. My first meal of crabcakes was delicious.

Highlights of the sightseeing and family tree climbing are as follows:

  • A tour of Independence Hall which revealed that the Founding Fathers rented the space to meet from the Colony of Pennsylvania. The USA owns it now, but we did not own it then!
  • The National Jewish Museum which provided me with a list of Jewish Geneology sites and which confirmed the presence of many Jewish soldiers from the Philadelphia area in the American Revolution. Maybe my 7th great grandfather, Michael Klein/Kline/Cline will reveal himself there.
  • I was blessed by a cardboard Pope Francis in City Hall.
  • Reading Market—a fabulous Inner city market with more great food (see sandwich picture).
  • Rittenhouse Square—a lovely park that hosted a wonderful art/craft show over the weekend—is filled with jugglers, mimes, families with children, dogs and musicians.
  • The Betsy Ross House where I learned a lot more about the Free Quakers from whom I am descended. And there I learned that my cousin, Timothy Matlack, was the scrivener of the Declaration of Independence. His grandfather, Mark Stratton is also my 7th great grandfather whose grave I located at the Medford Friends Meeting Cemetery, 20 miles from Center City Philadelphia in New Jersey.  And I had not heard of this man before.
  • LaReserve B and B. We had a comfy stay there with excellent breakfasts.
  • And did I mention the food? The Osteria on S. Broad was the highlight.

What a great city to tour! I would do it again; however, I will not fly Southwest again. We arrived back at the airport early Sunday morning to fly home, where we found the Southwest computers all down and the agents printing and collecting tickets.

So we arrived home late. The flights were delayed due to computer failure. Of course they were. Sigh.

33 thoughts on “Climbing the Family Tree in Philadelphia”

  1. I think whatever city I am in gets top billing while I am there. I have fond memories of San Francisco, San Diego, and San Antonio. Also many places a little closer to home – Duluth, Bayfield, Hayward, Spirit Lake, Pepin, Red Wing, Winona, Northfield…

    I think Cardboard Pope Francis would make a good band name.

    Liked by 7 people

  2. Favorite cities that I have been to for sight seeing in order: Savannah, GA; Washington D.C.; Seattle; Chicago (but I once lived there); Albuquerque/Santa Fe/Taos; Anchorage and area; Boston; San Francisco/Bay Area; Philadelphia; Pittsburgh; San Diego; St. Louis; Kansas City.
    Can I call all of CT a city? Then it would be number 4.
    But I did not get to tour Philadelphia well.
    Nave not done Steve’s Portland, which would be right up there with Seattle I think. Not many many other Cities, like Denver.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. NYC. Once while working in Brooklyn Heights, I began waking over THE bridge and spotted a purple footprint. About ten yards down was a second pointed toward Manhattan. How far would it? I had all day to find out. Lead me on! We went over THE bridge, right turn through Chinatown. Left and south to the financial district, World Trade center (still standing but no footprints to the elevators. Down to the Battery. Weaving Between Seventh and Fifth Avenue. Exhausted the trail, thankfully, at Times Square. I never have discovered who walked all those miles. Maybe A Purple Footed Odor Eater.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Good morning. New York City is hard to beat. I think of it as a great cultural center and a great city in many other ways.

    I visited Azerbaijan as an agricultural volunteer and spent several day in Baku, the capital of that country. I would place Baku near the top of my list of favorite cities. There are nice places to walk there along the shore of the Caspian sea and many good places to eat. the people are very friendly and there are many interest historic sites to see. It is unfortunate that this city was behind the Iron Curtain for many years and is still having difficulties recovering from many years of Russian occupation.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. G’mornin’, y’all! Best walking city in the US (in my limited experience) is New Orleans. Which, since it is in the South where they swallow syllables and consonants, is pronounced something like “Narluns.” (Hence my contracted morning greeting.) What an exotic city to explore.

    Best sightly city abroad (in my experience) is London. You know what they say: If you are tired of London, you are tired of life. To which I say if you have blistered feet and the devil’s own thirst, you’re probably an American tourist who needs to limp into some friendly public house where they pull tall glasses of dark ale.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I’ve never been to Philly; have always wanted to visit. Mark Stratton’s headstone looks like a backwards, truncated Minnesota.

    I would have to pick San Francisco as my favorite city to visit but this discussion reminds me of al the cities I HAVEN’T visited. Need to get going.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Some small towns I loved seeing: Port Angelse, WA; Julian, CA; Greensburrg, PA. Coffeyville, KS; Lexington, MO; Half Moon Bay, CA; Mystic, CT and many other towns along the CT coast; Many on N. WI; Lake City, MN; Pipestone; Lincoln Country in IL; Spearfish SD; Carlsbad, NM; Shiprock, NM; St. Ignace, MI; Copper Harbor, MI; Lake Charles, LA; Eureka, NV; Owensboro, KY; Casper, WY; Rutland, VT; Utica, NY; Billings, MT and manyh more.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Small towns are potentially great places in my mind. I lived for many years in Clarks Grove, a town with of about 700 people. It was once a place where everyone knew each other. I think it would have been nice to live among people who were so well acquainted with each other. When we lived there it was mostly a bed room community where many people worked out of town and were only home early and late in the day. There were still some old timers who had lived there their entire life and some who were born there, and lived other places before returning.

      I did get to know many of my neighbors which included some very nice people. There were some I got to know fairly well who were not so nice and some who were nice but had a very narrow view of the world. I found the narrow view or the not so nice view tended to nominate. I am happier in Minneapolis where most of the people have a wider view of the world and the occasional person who is not so nice is off set by many people who are not that way.


    2. Jerome az, gardiner mt,Medora nd, brule wi, banff,ab,homer ak,Bellingham wa,crested butte co,Asheville nc,

      San Francisco, New Orleans, Nyc, Chicago, Bozeman,Seattle,San Antonio,Vancouver,Toronto Atlanta,Boston, dc,Miami,Pheonix
      Denver salt lake city, Fairbanks, Vegas,

      anywhere in Ireland, most places in China, anywhere in Italy, Cologne,Florence
      Milan lake come,Prague Budapest pest, Vienna Bangkok,London, Paris, Hong Kong,
      time to renew my passport, travel on the horizon again


  8. Nicely done, Jacque. Have never been to Philly, will have to put it on the list.

    My favorite city for sightseeing? Can’t really say. Maybe the next one? I like to revisit many of the places I’ve been, but also love exploring places I haven’t seen before. Also, it’s one thing, as a tourist, to visit all the must-see places, quite another to discover all the hidden treasures that only people intimately familiar with know about. That’s one reason why I love the Twin Cities, and why I do better in a city I’m at least somewhat familiar with.

    I like visiting places I can nod in recognition to because I’ve seen them on TV and the print media so much. Seeing for the first time the Red Square with St. Basil’s Cathedral, Lenin’s Tomb with The Kremlin as a backdrop, was such a thrill. Same thing for Tiananmen Square and The Forbidden City. The Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe fall in that category as well. But more often than not, it’s the little hidden gems that you stumble upon that leave a lasting memory.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Love your photo with the Pope, Jacque. That’s quite a genealogy finding T. Matlack in your past!

    Having finally been to France this past spring, I’ll have to vote for both Paris and Avignon, the two cities in which we were able to spend several days. But I don’t disagree with any of the offerings above – I would love to visit all of them, with a person who finds them fascinating.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. In my old age I’m not much for any city…but loved many when I was younger. Of all the big cities, I have spent the most time in New York, loved San Francisco in the sixties, many good sightseeing walks in Zurich and Paris. Most recently, enjoyed Bergen and Oslo, Gothenburg, Uppsala and Stockholm. Mahtowa township and Cloquet back streets seem to be as far as I get these days. Oh, did do some sightseeing in Leadville this summer…including a newly restored Jewish synagogue that is now a sweet little museum.

    Oh, did you ask about food? hmmmm…..yes. Highlight of any city visit.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Afternoon all. Similarly to Linda, my favorite place is often the last place that I’ve visited. Young Adult and I adored Castle Rock, which was the closest city to our campsite in July. But I’ve also loved Rome (food & fountains), Queenstown (wool shops & food), Paris (museums & food), St. Petersburg (statues, but not the food), Cape Town (history & food), Barcelona (art, food), London (well, everything). Hmmm…. I’m sensing a trend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Perhaps they are all out exporing new cities. Daughter and 3 friends have planned a trip to DC for spring break in February. They are very excited and have plans for lots of museums and landmarks.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. In no particular order: Sydney, London, Prague, Salzburg, Barcelona, Lisbon, Sevillle, Capetown. For all my traveling internationally, I have yet to experience San Francisco, San Diego, Savannah, Charleston, New Orleans.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Baboons will have to travel and report on it. My travel days are about done. To think two years ago I biked over 3000 miles. Now I can barely walk two blocks.
    We are hoping next year to do a trip to San Diego to visit more than anything else. Not sure if Sandy will be up to it. Hoping.
    Travel on baboons.

    Liked by 3 people

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