Thursday, December 25, 2008


This time of year seems like the perfect time to reconnect with history and ancestors. I become very nostalgic during the Winter holidays.

When I was a child growing up in Massachusetts (and, for a few years, New York), we had the most fabulous holidays. I miss the possibility of snow this time of year. I miss my grandparents, who helped my dad to raise me and my sister. I miss my uncles, who were always generous.

Our family was not religious. I suppose they were fairly typical of many Massachusetts Congregational types. Church wasn't a big deal. Christmas wasn't about one of the mythological god-man archetypes, but rather about family gathering to give to one another and eat together, and just have a good time in general.

I miss eating dinner at grandma's table, enjoying grandpa's cooking, admiring my youngest uncle's latest hunting trophy, and seeing my eldest uncle during one of the few times his feet were on dry land.

Precious holiday memories put me in this nostalgic frame of mind that makes me want to reach out and touch as much history as I possibly can.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Hawksley DNA Project!

I am very pleased to announce that there is now a Hawksley DNA Surname Project underway with Family Tree DNA:

I enjoyed the experience of having my mtDNA tested with Family Tree DNA, and now I am group administrator for this surname study. It has been my goal to begin such a project for a couple of years now.

The goal of the project is very basic at this point - to determine if Hawksley families (mostly found throughout the U.K., Australia, and North America) are related. Depending on findings, perhaps the goals will expand to include a focus on a certain area from which many Hawksley families originate, a certain ancestor, etc.

Why a DNA Project?

The impetus for this project is the ubiquitous "brick wall" present in my personal Hawksley research. My husband's descent from John Goodwin Hawksley of Mars Hill, Maine, is documented. It is generally known that John Goodwin Hawksley was born in 1810 in Fredericton, New Brunswick (someday I hope to find the record to prove this; most likely a baptismal record).

Based upon research in the Isaac Adams-Rhoda Babcock file (in the archives department of NEHGS), John's mother is Mary Goodwin. His siblings are Mary, Sarah and Margaret. The letter that gives extensive information on the Goodwin family (written by the granddaughter of Margaret Hawksley) only says that Mary Goodwin married "an Englishman".

This "Englishman" died sometime between 1815 and 1824, at which time Mary (Goodwin) Hawksley married her second husband, William Madigan.

So, who was this nameless Hawksley? What brought him from England to New Brunswick? The Goodwins were a loyalist family - was this Hawksley a military man? Or simply looking for a new life in North America?

I have a Hawksley database, devoted to research on Hawksleys from around the world. None of the families are interconnected at this point, but my hope is that by keeping a database, I might somehow find the connection between my husband's and son's lineage and their ancestors in England.

I do not know what to expect of the DNA study. I'm generally optimistic, so when I submit our son's DNA for testing, I will hope very much for participants to join and test.

If you are interested in participating, please contact me. Any man with a variation of the surname, Hawksley, is welcome to join.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

A variety of things

I have not researched as much as I would like recently, because I've been working on the next issue of the Bartlett Society's newsletter, working on the upcoming issue of The Beltane Papers, and also still working on transferring my genealogy file from Family Tree Maker to Legacy (which I'm not doing by transferring the GEDCOM, but rather doing it from scratch, person by person, so I can cite my sources better). Also, NEHGS work takes a small chunk out of each day. I'm trying to finish my current project before the end of the year (but it is a confusing project!).

In addition, we moved on October 1 and my father had surgery on October 16. He went back into the hospital twice due to complications. Hubby left for Korea on November 6, and will be there for one year. It has been one heck of a crazy 6 weeks or so!

And then there's homeschooling my son and the other little things that have come up from day to day (including a major decision). Suffice it to say, life has been keeping me busy!

Tonight, to relax, I am working on my uncle's genealogy. I've been working on it for many months. My uncle (married to my dad's sister) has an interesting ancestry. His family came from Newfoundland. This was new territory for me. I'm constantly researching in Nova Scotia (for my Griswold, Murphy, and associated families) and New Brunswick (for my husband's Hawksley and Goodwin families), but Newfoundland?

The Walsh family came to Brockton, Massachusetts in the late 1890's. I used the census and vital records to put together the family tree between roughly 1890 and the 1940's.

Before that, they were at Colliers, which is part of the Harbor Main district of Conception Bay in Newfoundland. Researching back beyond Thomas Walsh and Johanna McDonald (married 24 November 1866 in Newfoundland) is the tricky part. I'm not sure if Thomas and Johanna were born in Newfoundland or Ireland. I'm working on trying to find their siblings and learning more about their children to round out my research for my uncle.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Oh happy day!

My genealogical correspondent in England has written to me, sharing some Hawksley information. I responded immediately, and the (rather large) envelope is now waiting by the door to go to the post office tomorrow. I can't wait to look more deeply into the information she sent!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Hawksley - little happy things

Although I have yet to find more on the elusive Englishman who came to New Brunswick, married Mary Goodwin, and produced 4 children with her in Fredericton (John Goodwin Hawksley, Mary Hawksley, Sarah Brown Hawksley, and Margaret Elizabeth Hawksley), I DO have a letter from England regarding the surname.

As a volunteer for NEHGS, my name goes in their annual report. This person saw my name and wrote to inquire after a family connection. Even though I can only tell her what little I know (that the Hawksley ancestor did come from England to New Brunswick, and his first son was born in Fredericton in 1810), it does feel nice to have received the letter. You never know when a person may turn out to be a very good new friend.

I have been focused very much on the Hawksley side lately. I've tried to glean clues from naming patterns (Isabel is EVERYWHERE, and I think that Mary Goodwin's mother - a "Workman" - is either an Isabel, Elizabeth, or Sarah Workman; likewise, I believe her father is a James Goodwin).

I've tried to glean information from Loyalist sites, but there is nothing that pertains to this family (Mr. Goodwin was a Loyalist from NJ or NY, and settled in St. John, New Brunswick; he was a POW at one point, but escaped).

Last, but not least, I've tried to find information on British soldiers of the Revolution and War of 1812. Thus far, I can't find online muster rolls. I expect this will require a trip to Fredericton, which I am simply not prepared to make this year. (My husband will be in Korea; my son is 5, and I just can't imagine him sitting quietly as I search records and cemeteries.)

Alas, our move to Alaska will take us farther away from New Brunswick. However, I will do my best to keep researching via the net and regular mail, until I have exhausted my options!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Alaska in '09

Well, it looks like a change in plans, according to the Air Force. We are definitely moving and it will be Anchorage, Alaska at the end of 2009. I'll have to keep up with long-distance genealogy from there!

Meanwhile, I am getting "The Bartlett Line" out this week. I tried a new experiment with it - I printed the first page in color on about half of the newsletter. I'm curious if it will get positive or negative feedback.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Massachusetts & Italy

Hello my friends.

Exciting news to report!

1. Only 1 month until I return to my hometown in Massachusetts for a 10-day vacation that includes a huge family reunion. This family reunion also means that I will see my mother for the first time in 30 years, and meet my brother.

This will be my LAST chance at in-depth, on-site genealogical research in Massachusetts. Why? Because:

2. We are moving to Italy. This is molto bene! It has been our hope for many years, and now the Air Force is giving us the opportunity. The city in which we will live is a mere 3- to 4-hour drive (well, I expect to take a train!) from my family in Cuneo and elsewhere in the area.

I have several 3rd cousins residing in the town and regions that my great-great grandparents came from - the Piedmonte and Ligurian regions. These cousins are very close in age to me, all being born in the 1960'S and 1970's, and have children close to my son's age.

It will be a thrill to match faces to letters and e-mails, as well as - you guessed it - research my great-great grandparents IN their hometowns of Cuneo and Moneglia, and in San Remo where they lived after their marriage in 1894, but before their emigration to the U.S. in 1899!

Please wish me safe travels (October of this year), a safe time living there, and good luck in my research and journey!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Memorial Day weekend work

With this 3-day weekend, I intend to delve into my genealogical to-do list. This means finishing up the program change-over (or getting close, anyway... I still have thousands of names on which to work), and a few other items.

Very little gives me as much pleasure as passing a day in research. If only I could figure out how to get the wireless working on my laptop, I could pass that day outdoors!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

How many genealogy files does it take?

We all probably have it - the research file with which we began. Then it was refined. And then we refine it still further...

I am in the midst of that right now. I have taken my research file and now am putting it into a different program, with greater emphasis on accurate sources.

This is not to say that my GED file's sources are not accurate, but rather that I didn't enter as much detail as I could have. Starting from scratch feels good, if time-consuming!

So now instead of noting that an ancestor is found in Mayflower Families volume 18, for example, I will note that AND ensure that a page number is cited. Just an idea of what I'm trying to do - create a much more detailed file. I call it "the scholarly database".

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Making a case for packrats everywhere

I am the anti-packrat. I don't hold onto anything, unless it has important information, is a photograph, etc. This tends to include magazines. I recycle my NEHGS "Register," "New England Ancestors," "Family Tree Magazine," "Mayflower Quarterly," and other publications by bringing them to the local LDS for other genealogists.

I probably go through my magazines every few months, reread them to ensure I have no reason to hang onto them, and then pass them on.

Yesterday I received the newest volume of the "Register" and thought that they had been running the Bennet Eliot story for quite a long time; I wished it was useful to me as I read it, as it was full of wonderful information, and has run for several volumes.

For the heck of it, I turned on my Family Tree Maker to see if I had any Eliots in it. I did have an Elliott. A Sarah Elliott married to a John Aldis. And, apparently, she is the daughter of Philip Eliot, who is a son of Bennet Eliot and his wife, Lettice.

It now seems I must go back over the many "Register" volumes I have and reread the Bennet Eliot series of articles!