Friday, November 23, 2007

Western Massachusetts brick walls

Ah, the joy of brick walls! Of course, the fun part is smashing them down. Here is one that has plagued me for a long time now:

Esther, the wife of Edward Curtis.

Esther was born about 1748.

She was married about 1780 to Edward Curtis

Edward was born 4 May 1736 in Dudley, MA to Francis Curtis and Bethia Robinson. He was married 2 times prior - first to Lucy Chamberlin in 1770 in Dudley. Their son, Edward, was born in Dudley in 1771. Lucy's date and place of death are not known.

He was then married to a woman named Thankful, approximately 1775. Their children were born in Monson, MA - a son, Francis in 1777, and a daughter, Thankful in 1779. The wife Thankful might have died around 1779 or so.

THEN there is Esther, my ancestor. They possibly married around 1780, and my best guess is Monson, MA, as their children were born there as follows:

1. Lucy, b. 1782, married Smith Arnold in 1801 in Dudley, died 1856 in Belchertown

2. Penuel, b. 1784, married Esther Pierce in 1809 in Hopkinton, died after 1820 census (he had 3 children at least - a son Davis, born 1810 in Dudley, and another male and female child based on the 1820 census)

3. Esther May, born 1786 in Monson, married John Stone in 1810 in Dudley, had many children (my ancestor is a daughter, Sarah Emerson Stone), and died in 1860 in Thompson, CT (?).

Now, Lucy's death record does not give a place of birth for her mother; I can't find Penuel after 1820, though I have tried; and I have requested Esther May (Curtis) Stone's death certificate from the Town of Thompson (I hope they have it; a search of their records on microfilm didn't reveal her or her husband's deaths).

I've looked at different factors, like the names Penuel and Davis both being unusual first names, and perhaps working as last names; also, the granddaughter Sarah Emerson Stone - Emerson tends to be a last name. Since there are no Emersons on the father's side, I wonder if there is on the mother's side.

I've considered Esther as an Esther Penuel (Pennel, Pennell, Penel, etc.), an Esther Davis, and an Esther Emerson. However, Monson Vital Records are on microfilm and a pain to read through. But I think I will need to order the microfilm again to see what I find.

However, I first want to purchase the Corbin Collection, volume 2 on CD, as it includes records of Monson, Massachusetts. I have collected many of the Massachusetts Vital Records CDs (I need only Essex County), so I'd like to begin collecting others. They simplify searching immensely.

But there is nothing more satisfying than cranking through microfilm and finding answers in the semi-dark LDS. :-) If anyone can answer the question of Esther's surname, I would be most grateful. But finding the answer on your own is even better!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The blogeth moveth slowly...

Because I am ever so busy. Besides my life in general (the UU, the coven, my writing, homeschooling, motherhood), I am deeply immersed in verifying my husband's Bartlett line.

Gathering evidence in this instance may be a toughie, because it seems that Burrillville, Rhode Island records in Arnold's Rhode Island VRs are seriously lacking with regards to births. That does not necessarily mean the town doesn't have them; it just means that I may have to puruse a more involved path to confirm this lineage.

Fortunately, the task of the Mayflower Society and Bartlett Society historian is to be of assistance by giving suggestions and pointing potential members in the right direction. And even as a genealogist who is fairly cetain of what she is doing and how to do it, I would rather have a second pair of eyes (or even a third!) and a fellow experienced researcher to point out any potential problems.

This line encounters problems where Nathan Taft married Sarah "Sally" Kempton. There were "no known issue", but this is because they basically disappered from Uxbridge, MA and settled in Burrillville, RI. Worcester County deeds confirm this relocation.

Also, Nathan Taft married a second time to a woman named Elizabeth fairly soon after Sarah's death. The supposed daughter of Sarah and Nathan is Rizpah Taft, who married Eseck Darling.

Rizpah and Eseck (Ezek) had a son, Albert H. Darling, about 1840. There IS an Albert Darling born in 1842 in Rhode Island, but he is a son of Timothy and Pattey. However, if you look at the 1850 census, you will find Albert Darling, a son of Timothy and Patty, AND a different Albert H. Darling in Burrillville, son of Eseck and Rizpah.

Basically, I need to obtain the necessary vitals and where those fail to establish the connection (particularly early vital that did not necessarily list parents, especially mothers' names or maiden names), I will need to turn to probate and deeds, and work my way from there.

It is not incredibly time-consuming to mail away for vital records, but it can be if I must go through deeds and probate. The search continues!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Bartlett Society Reunion follow-up

It was lovely. I really enjoyed being in Plymouth, visiting Plimoth Plantation and Mayflower II for the first time since my childhood, and meeting my distant cousins. Furthermore, I got a kick out of being referred to as "our favorite person this weekend."

This is "favorite person" designation was because I am taking on the position of editor of "The Bartlett Line." the newsletter of the Bartlett Society.

I think my favorite part of the weekend was "meeting" Robert Bartlett and Mary Warren, seeing their wedding, interacting with them at the dinner and breakfast, learning a new 17th century game, and a dance.

If you are a member, I highly recommend attending the annual meeting and reunion!

Monday, October 8, 2007

4 days and counting...

Only 4 days until we depart for the Bartlett Society Reunion! We leave on Friday morning, and initially planned on returning right after the event ended on Sunday. However, the Society president called me this morning and invited me, and my family, to lunch at his home, so I could sit with him, the other officers, and the current editor of the newsletter.

"My goodness", as my Nana would say. I feel quite honored. I am excited to be taking over the "Bartlett Line". I just hope they are not disappointed by my youth, my tattoos (lol), or anything else about me!

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Bartlett Society Reunion

The Society of Descendants of Robert Bartlett of Plymouth, Massachusetts is having its 100th reunion, October 13 and 14, 2007 at Plimoth Plantation.

I have been a member of the Society for about 5 years now, and I must say I am very excited about attending! I have already paid for our 2 adults and 1 child. I have reserved our room at the Pilgrim Sands Motel, just down the street from Plimoth Plantation, so if any other Society members are staying there, give me a shout!

I wonder, as I always do about genealogical things, if I will end up being the youngest adult member there. As genealogy is often considered the "hobby" of retirees, people are often surprised to see me at places like the LDS, Mayflower Society Library, NEHGS, etc. The people at the local LDS have commented a few times on my age (and I know people judge my age at around 26, but I'm actually 32... and 3/4... lol).

My son may be the youngest child at 4 (and 3/4... our birthdays are only 4 days apart), but who knows...

I'm very, very, very Bartlett. I've got something like 9 or 10 Bartlett lines, out of my 60+ Mayflower lines. My husband even has a Bartlett line. I suppose I shall have to bring my lineages with me, in case anyone asks. ;-)

In addition, I have volunteered to take over "The Bartlett Line" newsletter, the official newsletter of the Bartlett Society (and if you read my "Ramblings" blog, you will see that I am already an extremely busy person with my coven as both High Priestess and creative director of our local Pagan newsletter; I am chairperson of the Adult RE working group for our UU church steering committee; I am a SpiralScouts leader; a homeschooling mom; I volunteer for NEHGS; I am a writer; oh, and I've offered to handle the UU's newsletter too!).

Again, I am very excited about this reunion. I grew up in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, where visits to Plimoth Plantation, Plymouth Rock, and Mayflower II were de rigueur for elementary school students.

I will also take advantage of the opportunity to purchase Mayflower curriculum for homeschooling while I am there!

Plymouth, here we come... See you in 29 days!

Friday, August 17, 2007

1880 census follies

Where the heck is John Goodwin Hawksley in the 1880 census?

It is extremely aggravating that all the evidence puts him in Mars Hill, Maine in 1880, yet he is nowhere to be found in that census. He is in the 1870 census of Mars Hill, and the 1860 census of Alva Plantation (as John Oxla).

So why isn't his family anywhere in 1880? They certainly do pop up again in 1900, no problem.

An 1877 map of Mars Hill shows J. G. Hawksley and his son, J. A. Hawksley, living in Mars Hill, on the New Brunswick border.

Surrounding them is the land of J. Trueworthy, H. Hall, L.C. Clough, O. Frost, J. Boyd, R. M. Fulton, and Aaron Fulton. In the 1880 census, Robert M. Fulton is still in Mars Hill.

So where did the Hawksley family go? Because it is not just John Goodwin Hawksley I can not find; it is the ENTIRE family. He had sons who were married by that time - John Allen Hawksley and my husband's ancestor, William Roger Hawksley. His daughters, Susan and Henrietta were married. Susan Caldwell is in the census; Henrietta Craig is not.

His son, Charles, had JUST gotten married in February 1880, but he is nowhere to be found. Nor are the many grandchildren living by that point.

Sons Joseph, Thomas, and George ought to be living with John Goodwin Hawksley, but I can't locate them. John's wife, Lucy, died in December of 1880, so she ought to be in the census. But she's not.

Where, oh where did they go, and why is it so important? Well, the 1880 census is the first census to inquire about a person's place of birth, and their parents' places of birth. This is important to me. I want to see how John answered. Based on a letter from his niece, his mother was from New Brunswick, her parents born in New Jersey. His father was born in England, but died when John was quite young.

I have pretty much given up on the 1880 census. Perhaps the census-taker was tired by the time he got to Robert Fulton's house, and decided he was done for the day!

Friday, August 10, 2007

William Barrett Haley & Bessie Philenia Harrison

I have a cousin through my Haley side who was a most fortuitous discovery. Actually, she discovered me on the internet. And through our teamwork, we have unraveled the mystery of the name of William Barrett Haley's wife. That was QUITE an accomplishment, considering that in the end, she had 5 different surnames!

Bessie Philenia Harrison was born 29 April 1851 in Sandwich, MA (according to a letter written by her daughter, Martha Lenora Haley) to Roselia (Rosella) F. Shaw and George Lewis Harrison. Roselia died 7 May 1851 in Sandwich, MA, very shortly after giving birth to Bessie.

The father, George, remarried. To whom, we do not yet know. Despite examination of Sandwich records, as well as those of surrounding towns and the 1860 census, we are at a loss as to the rest of George's life.

Meanwhile, Bessie (and, presumably, her siblings) was adopted by another family. Bessie went to John and Pamelia Covill (or Coville) in Sandwich, MA. Thus, her first marriage record is found under the name of "Bessie P. Covill". She married Matthew S. Fletcher in Sandwich on 4 Aug 1869, but he was lost at sea according to her daugther's letter.

So in Middleboro, MA on 28 March 1873, we find a Bessie Fletcher marrying William Barrett Haley. They had two daughters - Martha Lenora Haley and Cora May Haley, and supposedly a son by the name of Ray, who died young (no records have been found yet on a son).

William died rather young as well, in Plympton, MA on 24 Nov 1882. He was only 45, but had suffered as a Union prisoner of war at the Libby and Andersonville Prisons during the Civil War.

Another 6 years later, Bessie Haley married again, this time in Boston in 1888 to Charles Howard Noyes. Although Bessie was 37 years old, she had more children (having children in your late 30's and early 40's was a bit unusual for the 1800's). I am sure these sons - Frank Ellsworth Noyes, born in 1889, and Thomas Sylvester Clement Noyes, born in 1891, went on to have families - descendants related to my cousin Colleen through Bessie Harrison.

Bessie (Harrison) (Covill) (Fletcher) (Haley) Noyes's daughter, Martha Lenora Haley, married Alphonso Francis Cahoon.

These Harrison, Cahoon, and other related families have been the subject of my research this week. My cousin said she wanted to connect with the Cahoons, now that she had everything of her Fuller and Rogers Mayflower connections through Bessie's mother, Roselia Shaw (the Fuller family) and Abiather Cahoon's grandmother (Martha Rogers). These lines also tied in strongly with the Howland family and I found Hopkins for "good measure". :-)

Currently, I am back to the Haley family - specifically to Clarissa Barrett, who married Edward Marshall Haley. We have a mere 3 generations on the Barrett family: Clarissa, born 14 May 1814 in Plymouth; her father William; his grandfather, John.

I suspect the Barrett family will either be found elsewhere in Massachusetts or came from England in the mid- to late 1700's. Today I will see if I can find anymore on their origins. The letter of Martha Haley mentions them as an "old" family in Massachusetts. But census and records give me reason to believe that perhaps they weren't as "old" as all that as far as New England goes.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Well, the craziness continues.

I am working hard on the details provided in the letter of Mary Elizabeth (Adams) Foster (daughter of Margaret Elizabeth Hawksley and Isaac Benjamin Adams). I have traced 4 of the 7 Goodwin children mentioned in it.

Meanwhile, I need to find the Alumni Dublinses (sp?) to look up a name. That means a trip to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. WHEN?

Summer means a slow down in genealogy work, mostly due to babysitting. I need a few days to rest my mind and refocus.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

NEHGS visit

The New England Historic Genealogical Society - the final frontier!

Day 7 of my vacation - Thursday

Have you ever seen Disney's Beauty and the Beast? My Thursday was like a fairy tale... At last my plans to visit the NEHGS library came to fruition, and there I was treated just like Belle, the staff and volunteers like the household items singing, "Be Our Guest."

Seriously. I do not exaggerate. This was the most amazing day of my life, next to giving birth to my son almost 5 years ago.

First I arrived at NEHGS and met Helen, the volunteer coordinator. Such a lovely and affable woman, she offered to assist me in any way I needed. I told her I needed to go to the special collections/manuscript department, and she rode the elevator with me up there.

She introduced me to Timothy, the archivist, with whom I have had some contact over the past few years. He immediately located the collection I desired and I began my search. This was the Isaac Adams collection and I was hoping to find the parentage of Margaret Elizabeth Hawksley, who married Isaac's son, Isaac.

YES! SWEET SUCCESS WAS MINE! It was only half the equation that I discovered - her mother - but still it answered so many questions about the family! Yes, I am still high with euphoria from that finding.

Next I took the elevator down to the microtext department and met Julie, one of the librarians. This woman was full of energy and eager to help. She assisted me in locating the parents of Ruhama (French) Wade. In the meantime, she also hailed Dave, the online genealogist for NEHGS.

Again, Dave is someone with whom I have had contact many times in the past, but only via email. Julie shouted, "We've got a Stoughtonette over here!" (as in Stoughton, Massachusetts) and Dave came to meet me. I introduced myself and told him how we had contact in the past before, and he immediately was all about helping me.

He ran to the library for a book, to his own computer for vital records, and more. He was incredibly friendly and knowledgeable. We even had a chance to chat a little bit about ourselves (Ozfest, man!) and get to know one another a bit.

Last, but not least, Helen came to find me one last time to ensure that I had found what I sought and ask if I wanted to leave any work with her. Awwwwww... I explained my biggest brick wall, which I hoped to come back in the future to work, and thanked her for her time and solicitousness.

I left walking on air.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Mayflower Society Visit

Monday, June 25, 2007

So this was my first visit to the Society of Mayflower Descendants in Plymouth; specifically to their library.

It was a good day of research (I had some tiny success in probates), researching Mayflower lineages, and meeting Paul Bumpus - the librarian who had about 50-something lineages (20-something proven!).He's a very cool guy; efficient, intelligent, and well-organized.

One of the volunteers suggested we go toe-to-toe on lineages (mine number in the 60's). But Paul was cool about the whole thing and would like to see me get them all proved. I will Paul. :-) Meeting you inspired me to work even harder on my supplementals!

David joined me on this journey and we enjoyed the atmosphere of beautiful Plymouth. We paused for lunch at Papa Gino's (a New England MUST for us), then drove the rest of the way to Manomet where I showed David the hidden White Horse Cemetery and plunged into Manomet Cemetery on a hunt for my Griswold ancestors.

Unfortunately, neither George Emery Griswold nor his wife, Rebecca (Parks), are buried there. Well, that's just another reason to return to Plymouth in the near future (like October for the Bartlett Society reunion).

On Sunday the 24th, I had also revisited the cemeteries in Plympton where my Wood and Haley families are buried.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Countdown to Massachusetts

My bags are packed (almost... I can't exactly stow my toothbrush away just yet!), and this includes my traveling genealogy research kit. I have a list of goals, family group sheets, blank research forms (logs and journals), pens, pencils, change (for copiers and whatnot), post-its, a small stapler, and paper clips. It is all ready to go!

At the bottom of my list of goals are the names, addresses, telephone numbers, and hours for some of the places I intend to visit - the NEHGS library and the Mayflower Society Library. I also plan to work on research at the Plymouth Public Library and Manomet Cemetery, as well as the beach.

No, wait... The beach thing, that's just for relaxation! And as much as we genealogists love traipsing through old cemeteries (could I be a female Indiana Jones? Mostly I've been referred to as Sherlock Holmes, however I don't have the necessary drug addiction; just the powers of observation. Personally, Lara Croft - the Angelina Jolie movie version - is my idol), we also need fun in the sun.

So after I break out the family group sheets, it'll be time to hit the sand!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Saturday FHL visit coming

I am looking forward to Saturday. The last of the microfilms I ordered recently has arrived at the local Family History Library has arrived. I won't be ordering anymore until after my trip to Massachusetts, and this will give me yet another bit of research completed.

This particular microfilm is part of my focus on the brick wall that is my great-great grandmother, Emma Anna (Murphy)(Regan) Shaw. She is probably the person I work on the most; she has her own folder dedicated to her.

The reason she is so frustrating, is because I have no documents on her prior to her 1888 marriage to my great-great grandfather, Erastus Shaw. We know her first husband's surname was Regan, but nothing more. And we know her parents are John Patrick Murphy and Mary Ann Fras(h)er, one of Irish descent (obviously), the other one of Scottish descent.

There are numerous conflicting records from 1888 through her 1945 death, including her marriage and death certificates, her son's birth, marriage, and death certificates, and censuses.

The confusion is particularly with regard to her birthplace. It has been given as Massachusetts, Maine, and Nova Scotia.

Personally, I am inclined to accept Nova Scotia as the correct place of birth since it appears on the earliest record we have of her (her marriage certificate of 1888). Also, if she had been born in Massachusetts or Maine, she OUGHT to appear in United States censuses for 1870 and 1880, as well as (possibly) the Massachusetts 1865 census (she was born approx. 1861-1863). But she doesn't.

So if that leaves Nova Scotia as the most logical option, that STILL leaves us with no town or county to explore. Thus, I have had to work my way through Nova Scotia, county by county, town by town over the past year. And it's getting me nowhere, except to know where she has NOT been.

Now, the only other clue is that she owned a store. It is true. The Middleboro Directory for 1897 and 1899 show that she was listed as both a "grocer" and as proprietor of a "dining room". However, these businesses MUST have been in Middleboro to be listed in the directory.

Though family lore places the businesses in the Cambridge area, I would think that would be included in any directory listing in another town. But as Emma and Erastus resided in Middleboro, it makes sense her business was there too.

So my latest focus is to go over Massachusetts deeds, county by county, both grantor and grantee indexes, from 1880 through 1889, to see if I can find Emma listed by her first married name.

It's all about going step by step, ruling some things out, and pursuing the other avenues that are still open to you!

Sunday, June 10, 2007


I am a huge fan of NEHGS - The New England Historic Genealogical Society. I volunteer for them as an Ambassador (the only one in Delaware) and doing transcription work for their website. I support them in financial ways when possible, not just with my $75 per year membership, but by sending them an additional donation each year.

When it comes to NEHGS, I simply can not express in words how wonderful I think they are. First of all, here is a society dedicated to New England Genealogy. Not only do they have a library of books, microfilms, manuscripts, and more (and I am SO looking forward to my visit to it), but also they have made huge amounts of vital records and more available through their website.

Members researching long distance, such as myself, enjoy this benefit immensely. When I grew up in Massachusetts, it was no problem for me to walk to the Bridgewater Town Hall and ask for the birth certificate of a great-grandmother who was born in 1832. But when we moved to Delaware in '99, I became one of the majority of long-distance genealogists.

In addition to their splendid website and library (again, I can't wait to spend a day or two there!), NEHGS has two of the best publications for New England genealogy - "The Register" which is a scholarly journal dedicated to New England families, and "New England Ancestors", the well-written magazine full of articles about New England records, how-to's, specific religious groups, towns, and more.

"The Register" is basically a quarterly collection of genealogy reports on new discoveries or corrections on established New England families, and although the reports may seem boring to read unless your own ancestor is mentioned (which I probably have happen once or twice a year), it's actually a very useful journal. One article recently demonstrated how deeds revealed the maiden name of a woman in Bolton, Connecticut, whose descendants were well-documented, but whose parentage was unknown.

These reports illustrate the efforts of the researchers and serve as inspiration for me.

Well, I had best get back to the volunteer project I am working on for NEHGS at this moment. It is a real pleasure to be able to give something back to my favorite genealogical society.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007


I am very excited about my trip to Massachusetts. Although we grew up there, my husband and I have lived in Delaware for 7 years due to his Air Force career.

I grew up in Bridgewater; he grew up in Brockton. Hence, visits to Plimoth Plantation were fairly normal as school field trips for me (apparently, not for him). My grandmother even took my sister and I to see the Mayflower II one summer. How many people think this will be a fun event for their child? Well, it's pride in our heritage, of course.

When I developed an interest in genealogy, I was 12, and not sure how to go about it. I was probably about 15 when I saw the leather folder full of papers on the Blake family of Wrentham, MA; ;in my 20's when it was given to me; and probably about 25 when I delved deeply into genealogy.

So returning to Massachusetts is always an opportunity for new discoveries.

My plans are:

1. Visit NEHGS library in Boston. I want to do this first thing, Tuesday, June 26.

2. Visit Mayflower Society Library in Plymouth. I am SO excited about this!

3. Visit Plymouth Public Library. I've never been there. It's time to go.

4. Revisit White Horse Cemetery and Manomet Church Cemetery on Rt. 3A. I took so many photos last time, and they all came out perfectly.

However, my son was an infant at the time (now he is 4 1/2) and I was nursing, so I kept him with me 24/7. This time, I can leave him with his grandparents and my husband, and enjoy a leisurely exploration of the cemeteries with my Nana.

5. Visit Plymouth Town Hall. Of course, this depends on the people who work there, and what I find at the libraries. I won't pester the Town Clerk if I can find the info I seek at the libraries.

6. Visit a variety of Plymouth County cemeteries.

Today I want to set my research itinerary, print out the necessary family group sheets to bring with me, and determine whether or not I ought to lug my heavy binders of pedigree charts around. I expect I will bring the binders, simply because they are complete, and if I print a few pedigree charts, I may find I want more information...

Well, we shall see!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Genealogy: Not just for retirees!

So many people think of genealogy as an "old person's hobby" or something retirees do. But this is simply not true. Believe it or not, many of us are in our 20's, 30's, and 40's. I am not sure what fuels this passion, what it is that could make me drop everything to pursue a slender lead on an ancestors, but it is enjoyable.

I am a Nancy Drew collector, and have read these books since I was 9. Maybe this is part of it? My enjoyment of mysteries? I'm not much into mystery and suspense other than Nancy Drew; I suppose there is a love of both history and mystery there together. I adore vintage things, making puzzles, and more.

I am generally the youngest person in the local LDS, and I am the kind of person who loves to sit and listen to you talk about your family history. I have mine memorized for several generations, as well as my husband's!

This is not a hobby that appeals to older folks only; it appeals to anyone who enjoys mingling history and discovery, adventure and personal ties.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Wood family of Blue Hill, Maine

The torment of being without a computer has been somewhat alleviated as my husband fixed some minor problems with his PC, so I now have use of it. He has a laptop as well, but the PC is faster. My own PC will be repaired shortly, and I will also have a brand new laptop before the end of May (what every genealogist needs - it makes trips to the FHL, public library, town hall, cemeteries, etc. so much simpler!).

The only issue is that my backup of my GEDCOM is from January 2007. I had all new information that I had just entered into my FTM (Family Tree Maker) program recently, and it was saved, even uploaded to Rootsweb. But I simply had not yet backed it up to CD.

Fortunately the friend currently helping me to repair my computer can access it off the harddrive and email the file to me, so I am simply (ok, impatiently) awaiting my GEDCOM file. I will import it to FTM on my husband's computer and have a working back up (and when I purchase my laptop this coming month, I will be golden).

The only other drawback is that I was in the midst of volunteer work for the LDS (Latter Day Saints), transcribing the 1900 census. I will have to either wait until my computer is fixed to continue, or download work to this computer too. I also have volunteered for NEHGS, but I can get on that pretty quickly - I am starting a brand new project, and nothing is on my (currently non-working) computer. So no lost time or work there, at least.

Despite the computer complications, I enjoyed a Saturday morning at the local FHL (Family History Library). Volunteers contacted me within about a week of one another to inform me of two films that had arrived, but when I got to the library on Saturday, I was happy to see a third film.

As of Saturday, I think I had 6 films ordered, so this leaves 3 to come. One was ordered in January and another in March; these backordered films are for Plymouth County, Massachusetts deeds. These must be in high demand, because I have waited a long time for them. I am crossing my fingers that they arrive soon, as they both may have vital clues to two brick wall ancestors.

The films that arrived and with which I worked were:

1. Intentions of Marriage for Portland, Maine - This is on my most fascinating brick wall ancestor, my great-great grandmother Emma Anna (Murphy) (Regan) Shaw. Her death record and obituary give her place of birth as Portland, Maine. Two censuses also list her nativity as Maine, but I believe this information is incorrect.

I am inclined to accept the information off her marriage record of 1888 (her 2nd marriage, this to my great-great grandfather, Erastus Bartlett Shaw), that she was born in Nova Scotia, Canada.

However, her first marriage certainly may have taken place in Portland, or perhaps she lived there for a time.

My goal in delving into the marriages and other records of Portland, Maine is to rule it out. And since we have no way of knowing which town (or even which county) in Nova Scotia is the one from which Emma came, I have to narrow this search down as well.

There is a great deal more to the Emma tale, and one day I will post my notes. Who knows - maybe someone will have a suggestion.

2. Vital Records of Sedgwick, Maine

3. Records of Christ Church in Blue Hill, Maine

Both Sedgwick and Blue Hill are in Hancock County, Maine. As the story goes, Joseph Wood (my paternal ancestor) and John Roundy went on up there in 1762 and created the town of Blue Hill out of the wilderness.

A long line of my paternal grandpas lived in Blue Hill, starting with Joseph and his wife, Ruth Haskell. They had Joseph Wood, who married Eleanor Carter in 1776 in Blue Hill.

They had Andrew Wood who married Hannah Ober. Their son, Benjamin Stone (sometimes listed as Stover) Wood, married Susan Whitmore (thus adding extensively to my nearly 60 Mayflower lines).

Their son, Lemuel Augustus Wood, is my great-great grandpa. Lemuel married a woman named Susan first. She must have passed away (divorce wasn't common then, though it was not unheard of), and then he came to Boston. So great-great grandpa was the last of my ancestors born in Blue Hill.

Lemuel married my great-great grandma, Georgianna Winsor (more Mayflower through there - someday I will post about how precisely my parents, all 4 of my grandparents, and most of my 8 great-grandparents are related).

Georgianna was probably considered an old maid by then (1884), at the age of 33 (she was born in 1851). But they had my dear great-grandpa Lewis Preston Wood in 1892. My beloved great-grandpa passed away when I was 6, but I remember him very well.

Thus is my line back to Blue Hill, Maine. Great-grandpa and great-grandma Wood (his wife's maiden name was Wood - that can get confusing!) had 8 children, my grandpa Vincent Wood being the third-born (but first to pass away in 1995).

Grandpa, of course, gave me my dad, and here I am.

So in looking at records of Sedgwick, I was confirming dates and names, particularly on the Ober lineage. And the records of Christ Church are really splendid. The film included deeds in Hancock County too, and the pastor of Christ Church - Daniel Miller - wrong extensive notes about the Natives in the area, wildlife, and the life of the inhabitants of Blue Hill. It was really a great read!

Unfortunately, the microfilm copier was out, so I had to take notes when I found information that I was trying to verify, to fix incorrect dates, etc. This is why I am eagerly awaiting my GEDCOM - I need to put all my notes into my file, and post the updated family tree.

Someday in the near future, I hope to see what is referred to as "The House on the Rock" in my great-grandfather's 1948 story of his visit to our family in Blue Hill. :-)

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The History and Mystery of the Middleboro Gazette, part 2

I have cousins who refer to me as "Nancy Drew" and "Sherlock Wendy," and I am pleased to think I have earned those nicknames. Here is what preliminary research on the "Middleborough Gazette" yielded.

Years Available

7 Oct 1852 – Samuel Brown publishes first issue of the Namasket Gazette

8 Apr 1853 – Frederick Goss takes over as publisher of the Namasket Gazette

15 Apr 1853 – Goss withdraws as publisher

7 Jul 1854 – Publisher Rev. Stillman Pratt forms printing partnership with Samuel P. Brown

6 Oct 1854 – Pratt and Brown dissolve partnership; Pratt takes over Gazette

31 Aug 1861 – Pratt writes parting editorial; son S. B. Pratt takes over as Editor

1 Sep 1862 – Publisher Rev. Stillman Pratt dies in Middleborough

7 Jan 1865 – Stillman B. Pratt, sole publisher

11 Jan 1868 – D. S. Hasty, new co-publisher as Pratt & Hasty

The Lost Years

1884 – Advertisement in the Middleboro Directory; Gazette published every Friday

1899 – Advertisement in the Middleboro-Lakeville Directory; Wood & Tinkham proprietors

13 Oct 1899 – Lorenzo Wood, weekly newspaper publisher, marries Lucy Savery Lovell

12 Aug 1900 – Birth of his daughter, Doris Marian Wood

12 Jul 1904 – Birth of his daughter, Mary Adeline Wood

Years Available

6 Jan 1905 – Wood and Tinkham publishers

13 Mar 1906 – Birth of Lorenzo Wood, Jr.

30 April 1909 – Obituary of former owner, James Madison Coombs (age 68)

1910 – Lorenzo Wood in census as newspaper editor

12 Mar 1910 – Birth of daughter Charlotte Lovell Wood

24 Jul 1910 – Death of daughter Charlotte Lovell Wood

24 Feb 1912 – Birth of son Alfred Lovell Wood

15 Aug 1919 – Publisher Lorenzo Wood rounds out 20 years at the helm (since 1899)

1920 – Lorenze Wood in census as publisher of a weekly newspaper

1930 – Lorenzo Wood in census as publisher of a weekly newspaper

1 May 1930 – Lorenzo Wood dies in Middleborough

Now, I have documented some descendants of Lorenzo Wood, and he has a grandson - his own namesake - living today. Hopefully he might have some answers...

Monday, March 26, 2007

The History and Mystery of the Middleboro Gazette

My family history can be traced back through many various generations in Middleborough, Massachusetts (also spelled Middleboro). This area is particularly important to me, as it is where one of my brick-wall ancestors lived with her husband.

As a result, I find the Middleboro Gazette a very useful newspaper. Unfortunately, a very large portion of the years are missing.

The Middleborough Public Library holds microfilms for 1852 through 1868, and 1904 onward. This is a problem, because we are looking at a 36 year gap. THIRTY-SIX YEARS.

And we all know that it only takes the decade between censuses for families to disappear. It has happened to us all. What is a genealogist to do?

We know very well that the Middleboro Gazette was in production during those missing years. The 1884 Middleborough Directory has an advertisement for the newspaper on page 97. Where did the missing years go?

The Wareham News was published under the same management at the time. Are there issues of that missing? According to my cousin, there are.

Did the missing issues disappear when the management changed? Do they still exist and, if so, where?

I would love for those issues to be found if they are still in existence, and researching this is definitely on my list of things to do!


Welcome to all genealogists. My name is Wendy, and I have been passionate about genealogy for almost 20 years. I have been actively researching it for 5, since I became a stay-at-home mom.

This blog's particular focus is on New England genealogy. It will mostly cover Plymouth County, Massachusetts to begin, and then work out from there. Sometimes I may discuss other items of interest - websites, magazines, societies, other areas of the world - but the main focus will be New England.

So I hope you will find this blog useful and interesting, and join me in my journey!