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.