Preparing for our daughter’s wedding, I became obsessed about family history. Our family has lots of family stories, so it was a subject I have always been close to, but had not dove into with intensity.  I wanted to see how far back I could take the various family lines and how many stories I could prove – and how many I could add.

Names, dates, long charts can become boring and don’t say much about the individuals and the times in which they lived. So, we want this blog to be more about family stories, life histories, and information about the lives they lived and the era they lived in, and a repository of reflections and bits of information.

So, here we go.  This site takes as its starting point our immediate family – my wife Maraji, my daughter, Fawn, and myself, Richard.

It explores my side of the family, my father and mother, Worth Bagley Allen, Jr. and Mildred Louise Bondurant, and the ancestors that led to us being a family in this place and time.  Therefore, it is primarily devoted to the Allen, Bondurant, Mooneyham, Murdock, and Blake families who intermarried in the Piedmont area of North Carolina in the 19th and 20th centuries, and who originated in Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and France. Along the way we will also meet Gwynnes, Cooks, Richardsons, McHaffies, McKees, MacDonells, Reddicks, Ruddochs, Milligans, Witherspoons, Kearneys, and others.

It explores Maraji’s side of the family, her father and mother, Russell Levin and Rosalie Mann, and the ancestors that also led to us being a family in this place and time.   We will meet Levins and Manns of course, but also Singers, Levs, and many others as they journey from Eastern Europe, Germany, England, and even Ireland to where their lines intermingle in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  The journey will take us from shtetls through coal country and into urban American life.

We make no claims for this being a professional genealogical website. The Kitchen Table is being assembled just as if the family were gathered sharing information and stories.  We started it as a way of collecting family material in one place, honoring the people who made our lives possible by preserving their history, and to provide a point of contact for such sharing among far flung family members. We hope for the site to portray the lives and wanderings of our family while placing them in the context of their times.

We invite and encourage everyone from our diverse family lines to add to the site – make it yours.  Send us pictures, documents, stories, or anything you want that sheds light on our family members and the times and places in which they lived, and we’ll put it on the site.  Initiate some chats by responding to posts.  Agree or disagree.  We hope for the site to be living and growing.  Perhaps we will all learn something.


11 thoughts on “About”

  1. Rodney Perry said:

    Hello I ran into your blog and was happy and excited to read your posts! Barnaby Kearney Sr, was my 6th great grandfather! His father was Major Cornelious Kearney. I plan to go to Ireland in the Spring to pursue the family further. The primary reason for my note is to share with you that I and my partner own the Jones Cooke house (1789 with 1841 additions) and the Shemuel Kearney house (1759) which was moved th the Cooke site to save from demolition! The Cooke house is currently under full restoration with the Kearney house to follow!!

  2. Allison Parker said:

    Hi, wonderful to stumble onto your blog, Fiona O’Beolan was my13 times Great Grandmother and as I am researching my family, there are many Many Scottish relations, and am enjoying finding them all including you,

  3. What a wonderful tribute to your family — beautifully done! I found you when doing a google search for my 6th great-grandfather, James Monehan. What a pleasure to read about your great-grandmother. I will be back to read more.

  4. Karen Liane Parker said:

    So glad I stumbled upon your blog. I am also a descendant of Jean Pierre Bondurant. Coincidently, I am now living a fews hours from Genolac in France. I can’t wait to explore.

  5. I live in Pittsburgh, a city founded by the Scots Irish. While researching our history I learned about Mary Pattison, of Cookstown, County Tyrone. While engaged to marry a doctor, she met John Irwin who’d returned from America after fighting in the Revolutionary War w/Washington. Mary & John married, moved to Pittsburgh in 1787 & started a rope making business. Just a few years later John, severely wounded at the Battle in Paoli, died leaving Mary with a new, extremely difficult business to run & 4 young children. She made the business a huge, highly lucrative success. I’ve traced her descendants down to the present & none of them knew about this tremendous woman.
    In your research have you come across the Pattison name? I’m trying to locate any family ties that might still be in County Tyrone. Mary’s story fascinates me, entrepid, tenacious absolutely unexpected in the late 1700s. I believe she made the rope for the Lewis & Clark expedition but documentation of their purchases was destroyed. Their expedition was outfitted/built in Pittsburgh & Mary was the only rope maker in town at the time. It’s well documented that she made the rope for Admiral Perry’s navy used in battle on Lake Erie.

    • What a great story. Thank you for contacting me. It’s wonderful to know what your ancestorsdid for a living and tie it into their times. I wish I could help, but I know nothing about any Pattison family. Since we both have family who had lived around Cookstown I’d love to hear if the names Mordah/Murdah, Murdock, or Rutherford show up in relationship to your family. Wehave a Patterson line. Don’t know if there is some distant connection. Let’s stay in touch. https://richardgwynallenblog.wordpress.com/category/patterson-family/

      • I pitched an idea to our local NPR affiliate about doing periodic bits about notable Pittsburgh women & they like it, they’re starting off with Mary Pattison Irwin – will be recording it later this month.

  6. Danny Nichols said:

    I came across your site while searching for my Nichols family of Iredell Co., NC. They were neighbors to many of your family members mentioned in your stories. I did not, however, find any connections between those families. I want you to know how much I have enjoyed reading the stories you have included on your website. You have provided extensive research and education which I greatly appreciate. My families of Iredell are Nichols, Park, Callahan, Lock, Stevenson, Hill, and Kilpatrick that I am following. All appear to be connected to two families, that of Joshua and Jennet Nichols and Jacob and Agness Lock Nichols.
    Thank you again for providing much great insight into the families of the Rowan/Iredell, NC area.
    With kindest regards,
    Danny Nichols

  7. Andrew Persun said:


    My daughter recently discovered and brought your site to our attention. My siblings and I grew up in Paxtang, attended Paxtang Presbyterian Church and are also direct descendants of Thomas Rutherford and Jean Murdoch.

    My mother, Margaret Elder Rutherford (maiden name) — now deceased — was their sixth generation grand-daughter. Because she lived nearly her entire life in Paxtang and spent much of her her childhood summers on the Rutherford family farm she possessed a very thorough knowledge of our family history.

    Thank you for your very interesting blog. We look forward to future contributions.

    Andrew Persun

  8. Ben Tyree said:


    I stumbled across your website a few days ago and was blown away by the research on the Tyree’s. If you are able to email me at btyree11@gmail.com when you get a chance I would greatly appreciate it. It would be great to ask you a few questions and possibly exchange documents and such as well. Thank you so much for getting this great site going and I hope to hear from you soon!

    Best Regards,

    Ben Tyree
    Richmond, VA

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