Mary (Gonyea) Devins: Death Certificate

As mentioned in an earlier post, I had made a significant breakthrough in my research of Mary (Gonyea) Devins, my 3rd-grand aunt and sister of my 3rd great grandfather Frederick Gonyea. Through I had been able to track down her obituary, which confirmed she did exist and lived to be 98. Not only is this remarkable given that I only had one previous mention of her in my grandparent’s original research, we had no dates, locations, or really proof. Only a name, written down by my grandparents when they interviewed my 2nd great grand-uncle Alberton Gonyea back in the 1980s.

Yesterday in the mail I received from the City of Plattsburgh, NY a copy of Mary’s death certificate. This was significant for a couple of reasons:

  • For the first time, I have direct evidence that her parents are Louis Gonyea and Salome Larocque (Sally LaRock).
  • I have a specific birthdate now (October 10, 1842), which is oddly 8 years earlier than what her gravestone mentions.
  • It mentions both her and her father as being born in Redford, NY. This is the earliest evidence I have of the Gonyea family in Redford (1842) and given the conflicting reports of where Louis was born, potential evidence that he was born in Redford. This potentially moves back the date of the Gonyea family migrating from Canada to the United States to the early 1800s instead of the mid 1800s that was my original theory.
  • Unfortunately Salome Larocque is listed with an unknown birth location. Very interesting that her mother’s name was written in the french spelling, that continues to validate that Salome Larocque and Sally LaRock are the same person.

Unfortunately tracking down Mary and Louis’ actual birth certificate may near be impossible. New York is infamous for having poor record keeping, especially in the northeastern portion of New York that is referred to as the black hole of genealogy. New York didn’t have mandated statewide records until the 1880s and very few records if any records exist from before then. The only reason I was able to trace my family back to Redford was thanks to death certificates mentioning Redford, old family genealogies that reference that town, and the Assumption of Mary Parish records for the local church in Redford, which only go back to the mid 1850s but thankfully recorded my 3rd-great grandfather’s birth and baptism.

Hard wire the home network

My home network, for a techie such as myself, was not very well designed. I take all of the blame. The two main mistakes are laughable:

  • My home wireless router (Apple Time Capsule)? Effectively buried by being located in the basement, since I was having cable modem signal issues and wanted to limit how many splitters the cable modem was going through. It’s like I decided to artificially limit its range in and around the house by in some cases making signals go through concrete!
  • My two AppleTVs both used wireless to connect to the Internet. In theory this isn’t a big problem right? Well, when you’re in a house with 10+ devices potentially on wifi at the same time, those AppleTVs have high bandwidth demands that can result in stuttering video and audio.
  • This basement network “closet” effectively laid on the carpet in a basement room underneath a rarely used TV, with no shelves and cables everywhere.

Given I’m on vacation this week, one of my home projects ended up being running ethernet cable around the house to rectify these two main problems. The new network design:

  • The home wireless router is now located on a shelf in the main living room on our first floor, effectively right in the middle of the house. In theory, there is no more centralized location for a wifi router to be. This should result in an impressive improvement in wireless range and performance.
  • The cable modem remains in the basement, now mounted on a wall close to where its ethernet cable (Cat 6a) can run upstairs to the wireless router.
  • Cat 6a cable now runs from the living room AppleTV into the basement and then back up to the living room in the spot where the wireless router is located. Now our main AppleTV has a direct, hard wire connection to the Internet and removes a major source of wifi congestion.
  • Cat 6a cable also now runs from the basement AppleTV to the wireless router. While not used much, it removes one more device form the wifi and ensures optimal performance when it is used.

I’ve already greatly improved wifi performance now that the router is mere feet away from me in the living room. I haven’t tried to stream a HD movie yet on the AppleTV, but I’ve noticed that both iTunes Radio and iCloud Photo Stream seem more reliable already. I’m curious to see how far the wifi signal reaches outside…we were on the edge of its range previously when sitting on our patio.

And now is redirected

I am pleased to announce that is now redirected to a new domain, This new domain consolidates several domains and will be the home to my future blog writing.

Links referencing the old URLs should redirect automatically. If they don’t, please let me know in the comments.

A new home and domain

I’m pleased to announce that my web site / blog now has a new home. I have consolidated my domains from and to Additionally, this is now hosted on a Digital Ocean VPS.

Consolidating Domains

I’ve been blogging now for about 12 years, with archives dating back 10 years. In the past, whenever I wanted to talk about a new subject, I generally just purchased a domain name and setup a new blog.

However this came with a number of downsides:

  • Multiple WordPress instances are a pain to administer, especially when there is security and plugin updates.
  • I felt like my thoughts were scattered across multiple platforms and not benefiting from being collected and promoted on a single site.
  • I found I was far more likely to neglect my sites.

Additionally, since I purchased several years ago, I have been wanting to have be my digital home. This seemed like a great opportunity to consolidate everything. and will eventually redirect here, with their archives imported.

Life in the fast lane

I have been less and less impressed with Dreamhost over the years. Their shared hosting seems to be so slow these days. I would wait seconds for WordPress pages to render. There is little control over the server and limitations to what I could do.

Running on a Digital Ocean VPS has been a revelation:

  • It’s insanely fast out of the box. Even the WordPress admin pages render in milliseconds it seems.
  • I have made the switch over to NGINX, which means even faster rendering and the ability to withstand the single digits of users hitting my site.
  • I’ve been able to do snapshots of my server’s configuration so I can instantly revert to it if needed.
  • I now have all server transactional email going through Dyn Email Delivery.
  • I can now experiment with the server’s configuration and try new tools, expanding my knowledge of administering Linux servers.

So far, so good on this experiment.