I moved in September and forgot to update the new address in the flyer.

I tried, but Word Press has made some changes and I kept messing it up. I think I’ve got it now, sort of.

I guess if I hope to do more posts, I will have to learn the new system!

There are still some copies of The Colberts and the Whelans available if you missed the sale of the book last year.

Section IV documents the military service of my father and my uncles and aunt. My Uncle Vincent wrote letters about his experience and Uncle Joe kept a log for several months until the Navy said no records until the end of the war.

They all survived the war. They didn’t talk much about it but they were so young and saw so much of the horrors of war.

From Military Service, Section IV, Chapter 25, Michael Colbert, U.S. Army, Page 294
From Military Service, Section IV, Chapter 26, Vincent Whelan U.S. Army, Page 317

If you would like to read more about their experiences the book can be ordered at


In my last post I said I was moving to Pennsylvania. There was a change of plans and I’m in Columbia, Maryland. My son and his family moved about 2 months after I did. Of course I moved right along with the pandemic and raced around to beat the closings. I got my Maryland driver’s license and registered my car just before the MVA closed.

My sister shipped out all the books, but there are still some available and I have them with me here in Maryland.

I didn’t have much chance to get to know my new community, but fortunately there are a lot of places to walk. I haven’t done much genealogical research, although I did just get a DNA match to a distant relative – one of the Ahern descendants. I’ve been baking, and putting together a Shutterfly photo book of pictures from my college trip to the USSR in 1971.


Columbia 1

Fountain in Columbia near Lake Kittmagundi

Columbia 2

Soft pretzels, interesting bake, have to try again

Columbia 3

Wilde Lake, Columbia

Columbia 4

Bolshoi, Moscow, 1971

The Colberts and the Whelans is at the printer and I should receive delivery the first week in January. I will ship the book to you as quickly as possible.

Thank you to everyone who pre-ordered a copy. If you haven’t ordered your copy yet, it’s not too late! Click here for order information.

I’m moving

It will be interesting January. I’m moving to Pennsylvania to be closer to my son and his family – his youngest two are 6 and 15 months and now it’s a 4-5 hour drive to see them.

January will be interesting – I’ll be packing up the house I have lived in for 24 years, including all my genealogical records and books.

My address will change but I can still be contacted through this blog and through the email address: colbertwhelanbook@gmail.com.


“To Press”

After several hiccups and glitches the book has gone “to press.” Soon I will get a proof copy. Keep your fingers crossed: if there are no changes then it goes to final printing. If there are changes there will be a two week delay.

I had hoped the book would have been ready for shipping by now, but it was a more challenging job than I thought it would be. I will keep you posted, but it looks like the arrival will be just after Christmas,  maybe in time for Little Christmas.

This is a very limited edition so if you would like to place an order, please click here.

Cover for blog

Publication Date

The Colberts and The Whelans is still available.


$47.50, includes shipping with media mail in the USA.

Please contact me at colbertwhelanbook@gmail for cost of shipping outside USA.

Limited Printing. Order Soon To Reserve Your Copy.

To order print out  the order form Flyer updated


Almost finished!!!!

It’s been years in the making, but I finally have a date that the book should be delivered: October 2019.

Here’s the timeline:

  • Now until August – Finish, review, format, etc all parts of the book.
  • July 20 – get a count of number of pages, number of books to order, and finalize all the details on the book with the company that will publish it (more information below) This is also when my first deposit is due.
  • July 31 – August ? – Work with the company to get the book ready for the printer.
  • August/September – proof copy – last chance to correct any mistakes
  • October – delivery

I will be using Otter Bay Books. This company is known for its family history books and I have seen several samples. I also corresponded with another family genealogist who had a book published with them a couple of years ago. One of the advantages of working with them is the coaching and advice. Even though I don’t have a contract with them yet I have talked to Ann Hughes and Kate Boyer several times and they have helped me with some of the challenges of putting a book like this together.

Some details:

  • Foil stamped hard cover
  • Fully indexed
  • Fully sourced.
  • More than 500  pages
  • Lots of photos – (I haven’t counted but more than 200)
  • Title page will have a Celtic border designed by my niece Kate Forman Ortiz.
  • Two illustrations by Kate:
    • The Whelans in 25 Douglass Street.
    • The Colberts in East Harlem

Here’s a peek at  the book

Sample from book

A few pages from the book:  photographs of some things that belonged to Annie Shanley Whelan, a Chapter on the family of my grandfather’s mother; and a page from the World War II log of my Uncle Joe.

If you are interested, please complete this form This will be a one time printing, not a print on demand. I can’t buy or store extra copies, so once the order goes in there won’t be another chance to buy a book.
Please pass this information on to anyone you think might be interested.
As soon as I have the final details I will post here, and on Facebook. If you completed the form look for an email from my sister Liz, who is handling the book orders.
Thanks for your patience.



Back to work

I had planned a post on “What’s Taking So Long?” to show some of the steps required to get the book ready for printing.

Before I started that there were a few delays:



Once December arrives Christmas preparation takes over. I did four Shutterfly photo books this year.

Sick Computercomputer

My computer has been ill and it seems to be a chronic illness which may require a visit to the computer doctor. It just refused to work, so I let it take a Christmas break and then did some cleaning and stuff to the extent of my knowledge (limited). It’s been working, but still shows signs of illness.

P.S. Does anyone know what that building is? It’s part of the Colbert family history. It was  torn down as part of the Columbia University expansion in Manhattanville. It’s on my screen because I had somehow hit a button in the picture and have no idea how to change it. I look at it and wonder what it was like when it was first built in 1896. I don’t think it was orange.

Details, details

There’s a lot to be done to put the book together. I’ve been cleaning up the index. I am a fan of indexes and always check the index of a non-fiction book. Some are good, some are bad. I used to be critical of some indexes. I’m not now, not after indexing my book. It is very easy and very hard. Tagging the names and places to be indexed is simple. Getting it perfect, not so much. Here’s an example:


See how Anne Getty is on two lines instead of combined into one. OOPS! I forgot to put a space between the b. and 1890. This one was simple to find and tedious to fix. (They’re all tedious to fix.) Some I will stare at, enlarge, and still not see the mistake. The fastest way to fix these is to delete the offending tag and do it over. 

The index is 11 pages long, and I finished the review and the fixing today. I’m sure if I check it again in a few days I will find something wrong with it. I apologize in advance for the mistakes in the index. 



The Book – Update

It’s getting closer – for real. What’s next?

  • In about a week I will print the “final” draft. Once that’s reviewed and updated
  • I will break the large document into sections, format, and insert the photographs.
  • The photographs: I have a lot and some of them are in poor condition. I will fix as many as I can, as best as I can.

My sister Liz and I have set up an email address just for the book: ColbertWhelanBook  AT gmail.com. Just change the AT to @ – I want to avoid spam. If you want to get email updates send an email or fill out the form at The Book

What’s in the book?

Here’s part of the Table of Contents.

Table of Contents


Table of Contents 3

But wait, there’s more:

Uncle Vincent Whelan wrote two letters in the 1980s describing his experience in the Army. I combined the letters. Here’s an excerpt:

You can’t image what a death wish our instructors had. Here we were guys from New York, all we knew about horses was that they were good for pulling coal, milk and vegetable wagons. The instructors knew that during daily drills half the troop was yelling, “Whoa boy, please whoa,” as the horses galloped through the state of Kansas. The other half were unseated just as they got on their horses. We could have shot our officers and our horses because we did not know how to shoot, let alone ride a horse.

Vincent Whelan Fort Riley


Uncle Joe Colbert joined the Navy before the war started along with two of his cousins, Bill Rogers and Gerard Rutan. He kept a log until March 1942  when, “A notice went up on the bulletin board to discontinue using a diary of any sort for the duration of the war while on this ship – so I’ll have to knock off. So long until after the war, 21 March 1942.”

At sea Sun – 9 Feb 1942 – We arrived in Jamaica Friday morning and left Friday night for a rendezvous at sea north of Cuba. There we will relieve a convoy of troop transports from two destroyers. Our duty will be to escort them to South America. Enroute we thought we had picked up a submarine but it was only a school of fish. I sure hope we do run into one tho. Boy wouldn’t I like to catch one of them on my fantail. FINIS

Joe Colbert white uniform

Back to work.

I’m not researching!

There comes a time when writing a family history book that you have to stop researching. I am in the final phases of the Colbert-Whelan Family History book and I am putting aside interesting leads for future research. I researching a little to  “fill in the blanks” as I review the book.

My grandfather, James Whelan, had a first cousin named Thomas Phelan, born in 1891. The names may seem different, but in Ireland in the 19th century everyone used the names Whelan and Phelan interchangeably.

With all the new Irish records available I easily located marriage and death records for most of his brothers and sisters, but couldn’t find Thomas. A quick check of Ancestry found that he had emigrated to the United States in 1916.

Thomas Whelan PAR 1916 1

Thomas Phelan, occupation: Ecclesiastical Studies

Thomas Whelan PAR 1916 2

Going to; Uncle, Father Wm. Ryan, St. Leo’s, Denver, Col.

Maybe Thomas had planned to be a priest, but he married in 1928 and had two children. He remained in Denver.

Who is Father William Ryan????

He wasn’t Thomas’ uncle – his mother’s name was Murnane, but his paternal grandmother’s name was Ryan, so maybe he was a cousin. This is on the list for further research.

Googling Father William Ryan (actually O’Ryan)  and St. Leo’s Roman Catholic Church resulted in a lot of hits.

Father O’Ryan was well known in his day. He was born in Cashel, County Tipperary in 1861 and became a priest in 1885. He left for Colorado not long after where he became the pastor of St. Leo’s.

He was known for his writing, his oratorical skills, and his charity work. Among the organizations he was instrumental in forming were the Hospital Association for the care of the sick poor and the Colorado State Tuberculosis Society. He was a member of the Colorado State Board of Charities and Correction.

In 1887 he helped found the Charity Organizations Associations. This was the start of the United Way.

FAther Oryan united way

He died in 1940 and is buried in Mount Olivet Cemetery.

photo of father oryan


So what is happening with the book? It’s close to finished. I’m reviewing each chapter and finding weird typos (and fixing them). I’ve been in touch with some cousins and will be in touch with more to double check the information I have about their grandparents and great grandparents. And I’ve been trying to fixing photographs as best I can. 

MIchael before and after

Michael Colbert, U.S. Army, World War II. I cleaned it up a bit and cropped it.

James Colbert before and after

James Colbert (1895-1943), my grandfather’s brother


Another project – taking pictures of some items we have that belonged to my grandparents.

WS Annie Shanley teapot 2

Teapot owned by Annie Shanley Whelan

Stay tuned for more information on the book.