Saturday, December 26, 2009

Moving into the New Year

After being listed in GeneaBloggers's new blogs today, I looked back at the first post I placed on this blog almost 3 years ago and thought, "Wow! Things certainly have changed!"

My son turned 7 this month (and I turned 35), thus making it 7 years since I became a stay-at-home mom.  Even though I became passionate about genealogy at the age of 12, and researched sporadically from then until I was 28, I never had the time to dedicate until I swapped full time jobs - from paralegal to mother.

Every day since then, my life has been about indulging my dreams - homeschooling mom, traveling the world, writing, and genealogy. This year brought the biggest change of all when we moved to South Korea. 2010 will bring yet another big move. 

It is amazing to contrast and compare "then" and "now" as 2010 approaches. Where were you 5 years ago? 10 years ago?  In life?  In genealogy? 

How will you begin 2010?

I will begin it with - don't laugh - genealogy.

My husband had to work Christmas week, including on the holiday. However, in a day and a half, he will be home for 6 days. I will close myself up in the bedroom with my laptop and wireless internet, books and vital records CDs, pedigree charts and plenty of scrap paper.

Every so often I will yell for my husband to bring me a can of ginger ale or some crackers and cheese. He will entertain our son, take him outside to play, take him for his martial arts class, while I move into 2010 as productively as possible!

And wondering if it is too early to consider how I might spend some of my tax return...  (As a descendant of Hope Howland, I simply must add volume 3 of the John Howland books to my collection!)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

2010 Genealogy Goals

Great-great grandmother Emma, why doth thou elude me?

Despite my belief that the first place I would visit for foreign research would be Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, it seems that the mystery of Emma and my husband's Loyalist ancestors will have to wait...

Or perhaps not with regard to the unknown Hawksley ancestor.

At this very moment, we are waiting impatiently to know where the military will move us, and hoping that it will be Europe.  Where we are now (South Korea) was not exactly on my list of places I wanted to visit - this assignment is more of a gateway to the places I have always wanted to see.

Besides the obvious educational value to us as a homeschooling family (bringing our son to see ruins, cathedrals, tombs, and more!), the genealogical value of such an assignment is immense.  Germany seems the most likely place for my husband's job, and we do get some preference because he has been in South Korea for 2 years.

What does that mean for me in 2010, if (when!  The power of positive thinking!) we move to Germany?

1.  A visit to Italy is my first and foremost goal.  I have been in touch with my cousins Mauro (in Savigliano) and Claudia (in Cuneo, where my great-great grandfather was born).

I would hop on a train and find my way to Cuneo immediately to research my great-great grandfather's parents, as well as to meet the 6 cousins whose names I already know.

After that, it would be time to see Moneglia, where my great-great grandmother was born.  My Italian ancestors would be within my grasp at last!  (That, and one of my favorite international cuisines...)

2.  France would be the next likely destination.  The family story is that great-great grandpa Galfre's parents or grandparents were from France.  If I confirm this, I would certainly have to cross the border.  This is one of the reasons I am grateful that we have been learning French as a family!

Even if the story did not turn out to be true, I would like very much to see the train station at Ventimiglia, which is about 20 miles from the border.  This is where great-great grandpa worked as a baggage master, before coming to Massachusetts.

3.  Manchester, England is where my great-great grandfather, John Wood, was born.  His parents immigrated to Connecticut with the children.  How wonderful it would be to see the places mentioned in the British censuses, visit the General Register's office, and collect birth, marriage and death records on John, his parents, his grandparents, and more!

Meanwhile, maybe I will find out if there is a list somewhere of British soldiers who fought during the Revolution or the War of 1812, and which ones might have been stationed at Fredericton, New Brunswick.  If I can find one named Hawksley, he might be the man I seek...

4.  Our 3-year assignment to Europe would not be completed without trekking to Dublin, Ireland, where my 4th great-grandfather, Edward Marshall Haley, went to college.  We don't know exactly which county or town he comes from in Ireland, but his granddaughter said he went to school in Dublin, received an allowance from his parents, and used that allowance to travel to Massachusetts.

If I can pinpoint the school he attended, then perhaps I can learn where he was born!  I have his parent's names, his birthdate, and an adventurous spirit to get me started.

When I think about the New Year and all the possibilities in store, I am excited for each new day - each new possible discovery!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Blake family of Dorchester, MA

Cold days keep us indoors, and since we are more than prepared for the holidays this week (and I have given my son a partial homeschooling break - we are doing half our usual work for two weeks), more time than ever has been devoted to genealogy.

In working to make the transition from Family Tree Maker to Legacy, I have finished moving my husband's family and my father's paternal family. I am currently looking at my father's maternal side.

The Shaws are done and now I am working on the Blake family of Dorchester, Massachusetts.

The Blake Family

The Blakes have a long legacy in Pitminster, Somerset, England. I am fortunate that they have been studied extensively, with many articles published about them over the years (however one must discount the lineage perpetuated by Somerby!).

However, I am even more fortunate that someone in the family thought to keep a large number of Blake documents, which began my interest in genealogy at the age of 12.

The Blake Family in Middleborough, MassachusettsMy grandmother, Barbara (Shaw) Wood, had a crumbling leather wallet that included documents such as deeds, family trees and a few miscellaneous little items (a receipt from the Order of Odd Fellows, reprinted "Confederate Money"), as well as photographs.

This is the photo that appears in my sidebar, and was the first old family photo I ever saw.  Kneeling on the ground is lovely Nina Gertrude Blake (later to become Shaw), my great-grandmother.  Her mother, Ada Estella (Gay) Blake, is standing at the table behind her.  Her father, Edward Blake, is sitting on the right side of the table.

Edward was a locksmith and musician.  His shop was in Middleborough, Plymouth County, Massachusetts.

He was born in 1856 in Wrentham, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, as was his father, Jeremiah Darling Blake (1820-1900).  In fact, 7 generations of my Blake family were born in Wrentham.  Most died there as well.  Anybody researching Blakes in Wrentham vital records must be very careful to ensure that they are connecting the correct parents, siblings, spouses, and dates!

Prior to that their ancestors were in Dorchester, Suffolk County, Massachusetts.

Another thing found in that old leather wallet were my great-great-great grandfather Jeremiah's papers from the Civil War.  I found official Leave papers, Discharge papers, his Pension, and a letter from an attorney in Washington, D.C. informing him about the pension.

I sent the entire file of yellowed old documents to the New England Historic Genealogical Society, except for the family photographs and miscellaneous little documents.  NEHGS added the deeds, family trees, and Civil War papers to their Dorchester, MA Blake family collection.

However, before I sent them, I made sure to photocopy everything and scrapbook the copies.  I gave the family photographs to my aunt, and she had everything scanned onto CD (I did not have a scanner at this time).  She provided me with 2 or 3 CDs of old photographs after we cleaned out my grandmother's house, which included unexpected photos, such as a baby photo of Nina Gertrude Blake in 1891.

They also printed everything on photo-quality paper and sent these to accompany the CDs. 

The copies hang in my home, and can be reproduced any time from CD.  Meanwhile, I know the originals are being kept safe at my aunt's home.

It is amazing to think that things that are over 100 years old can still be enjoyed by people today. 

Now to go back in time about 500 years to spend a little time on my Blakes!

Family Holiday Traditions

To be honest, our family really does not have any holiday traditions.  Christmas is generally a bank holiday for us... a bank holiday with gifts! 

Thanksgiving, on the other hand, has some serious traditions behind it, particularly for those of us who are from New England.  I'm fairly uptight about Thanksgiving, to the point that I shudder at the sight of macaroni and cheese, collared greens, or any other non-traditional food on the table for that meal (not in my house, of course, but if I go to a party or potluck, I must often endure this sight...  ;).

So, for us, there is no baking day, no making of paper chains (although we enjoyed this as children) or stringing of popcorn, and no religious observation at Christmas time.

The magickal night for our family is Solstice, when we observe the longest period of darkness in a 24-hour day, waiting for the sun's light to return.  This is symbolic of the rebirth of the God from the Goddess.  Modern Pagans such as myself refer to this holiday by a variety of names, including Yule and Midwinter.

The evergreen tree decorated with lights is a reminder that life never ends, but merely sleeps.

Next year I hope to start actually incorporating some crafty traditions into our winter holiday season.  I would like to develop some additional Solstice traditions (besides placing a candle in the window in honor of the sun, watching for the sunrise, and having a ritual to honor the Goddess and the returning God) to pass on down through the family.

Telling ancestor stories at Samhain (Halloween) is probably my favorite tradition of all time, but it might be nice to also pass along such stories at Midwinter.

May your winter holidays, no matter what you choose to celebrate, be lovely, filled with light and warmth, family and friends!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Mary Elizabeth Haley - adoption

I have worked hard to put together a complete genealogy of my Haley family, and there were only two challenges that remained.

Until recently.

Now, there is only one.

The one Haley mystery I solved was that of Mary Elizabeth Haley, born 14 October 1860 in Plympton, Plymouth County, Massachusetts.  Her parents were John Barrett Haley and Mary Peterson.

John died 5 July 1862 at Fort Monroe, Hampton County, Virginia.

Mary (Peterson) Haley remarried on 3 June 1866 to Moses Sherman in Marshfield, Plymouth County, Massachusetts.  However, she died shortly thereafter on 25 March 1871 in Marshfield.

The two eldest daughters of John and Mary had documented marriages, and - while I'm not sure how they lived between 1871 and 1880 - were old enough not to be adopted or have their names changed.

Mary Elizabeth Haley was only 11 years old when her mother died, and I did not find her in her stepfather's family in the 1880 census.  I could not find a marriage or death record for her, so I surmised that her name was changed.  But who adopted her?

I started with the closest family members - her older sisters.  However, neither of her older sisters adopted her when they married. 

Before I even had an opportunity to start analyzing aunts and uncles, I had a chance encounter with Google that gave me the answer.

When I Googled "Mary Elizabeth Haley" I came up with the following result:

"List of Persons Whose Names Have Been Changed in Massachusetts 1780-1892", Collated and Published by the Secretary of the Commonwealth under Authority of Chapter 191 of the Acts of the Year 1893. Reprinted by Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, 1972.
I felt it was too much to hope; there were many Haley familys from Ireland who had settled in Boston, and the odds that this was my Mary Elizabeth Haley seemed slim.  Our Haley family had pretty much stuck to Plymouth County.
The website with the list of name changes gave the following entry:
1872 Apr 8 Mary Elizabeth Haley * Mary Elizabeth Thompson Marshfield
It was her!  I had been spared a huge amount of legwork (researching aunts and uncles), simply by Googling her name.  The answer was staring me in the face:
She was adopted by her maternal aunt and uncle, Daniel H. & Lydia A. (Peterson) Thompson.
After that, locating records on Mary Elizabeth (Haley) Thompson was a piece of cake.
She married Sidney Smith Baker on 30 September 1889 in Marshfield.  They had 6 children total, 4 of whom were still living in 1910.  The four children who lived to adulthood were Sally Thompson Baker (b. 1890), Sidney Smith Baker, Jr. (b. 1899), Arthur H. Baker (b. 1900), and Milton Baker (b. 1903).
I found birth records on 5 of the children, a death record on one, census entries through 1920 on all, census entires through 1930 on 3 of them, and even two Social Security Death Index entries.  I even found the marriage of the one living daughter in 1912.
Now I am left with only one mysterious Haley descendant who disappears at the age of 16, with no further record...
...and, of course, the life and ancestry of my 4th great-grandfather, Edward Marshall Haley!

Cold Weather Inspiration

Is it just me, or do the cold days inspire us to spend more time with vital records CDs, NEHGS, Family Tree MagazineGoogle Books, and internet genealogy in general?

Where I live, below-freezing temperatures are in the forecast.  Yesterday, I turned into a popsicle while doing my shopping (we currently reside overseas, and choose not to own a car). 

However, I came home and warmed my fingers right up at the computer with some genealogy.  I am still in the midst of transferring my file from Family Tree Maker to Legacy, person by person... 

This has also resulted in new discoveries (I am waiting for a death certificate on one to confirm my analysis of the facts, and will share it - there are many people out there who do not have this information; I am counting on you, O Town Clerk of Glocester, Rhode Island).

What have you been up to, fellow genealogists?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

William W. Winsor of Duxbury, Massachusetts

My great-great-great grandfather, William W. Winsor, has been a bit of a mystery. He was the son of the inn-keeper, John Winsor (who shared grog with the likes of Daniel Webster and Thoreau).

William's birth and marriage are documented, however he disappears after the 1860 census.

Tonight I went looking and finally figured out where he went.

While he appears in the 1860 census (taken 20 June 1860) in Duxbury, it seems he also appears in the census (taken 21 July 1860) of Tatooch (Tatoosh) Island, Clallam County, Washington.

I went on to find the following

The first American settlers at Port Angeles were Angus Johnson, Alexander Sampson (b. abt 1817, Duxbury), Rufus Holmes (b. abt 1814, Duxbury) and William Winsor, although accounts differ as to who arrived first and whether that first arrival came in 1856 or 1857. None brought families -- Sampson was separated from his wife and the others were bachelors. The men staked Donation Land Act claims near the Klallam villages. Sampson located his claim in the cemetery near Tse-whit-zen and residents resisted his intrusion until he worked out an agreement with a local leader that allowed him to build a home on the condition that he not disturb the graves.

A handful of additional settlers arrived over the next few years. In 1859 several of the newer arrivals joined with Sampson, Holmes, and Winsor to form the Cherbourg Land Company to plat a town site and sell lots, despite the fact that by law their donation land claims were only for settlement, not re-sale. The company's name was inspired by Isaac Stevens (1818-1862), former governor of Washington Territory and at the time its Congressional delegate, who foresaw Port Angeles harbor as an important American navy base, dubbing it a "Cherbourg of the Pacific" (Martin, 14). (Cherbourg was a French seaport where Louis XIV established a fortified naval base.)

Cape Flattery Light on Tatoosh Island begins operating on December 28, 1857. Essay 5703

First Keepers

In 1860, William W. Winsor arrived at Tatoosh as the third head keeper. Shortly thereafter, a visitor described trying living conditions at the lighthouse. Rain seeped in under the roof’s shingles, wind drove chimney smoke back into the dwelling, and moss grew on interior walls. This state of affairs lasted until 1875, when authorities repaired the old keepers’ quarters and also built a new, detached living structure.

I thought it might simply be a coincidence that a William W. Winsor, the same age as my own 3rd great-grandfather would be the same one at Tatoosh Island, until I found this court case from the Plymouth County Court of Common Pleas, session begun 7 December 1857:

[16.] Zadock Bradford (Duxbury) v. William W. Winsor (Duxbury). Continued from August term.
Contract, for $90.88 for goods, wares and merchandize was sold and delivered.
Deft. being out of the Commonwealth and no personal service having been made upon him, he was duly notified by the plft.'s publication of an attested copy of the Court order for 3 successive weeks in the Old Colony Memorial.

Default by deft. Judgment for $90.88 and $20.52 costs.

The date is correct for my 3rd great-grandfather to have been the very same William W. Winsor at Tatoosh Island as the light keeper in 1860, and among the first group of white settlers at Port Angeles, Washington.

I have not yet pinpointed a death record, but this evening's discoveries certainly satisfied both the genealogist and Twihard in me.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Wood, Woodbury & Dodge in Beverly, MA

While I tend to stick to direct lines when it comes to pre-1850 ancestors, sometimes there are groups of people I know connect, or names that repeat so often that I feel the need to include siblings to ensure that I have the correct dates on a family.

The Wood family (my direct paternal ancestors) of Beverly, Essex County, Massachusetts (and later of Blue Hill, Hancock County, Maine) are such a family. For the first 3 generations, practically every son is named Anthony, Israel, or Joseph (my line, incidentally). This can cause confusion among somebody looking at online family trees for the first time.

Furthermore, there are several Woodburys who married into the Wood family. Once more, names are often repeated, particularly William, John and Humphrey.

And, finally, the Dodge family is married both to my Wood ancestors and into Woodbury collateral lines.

Today I am working on making sense of it all. My own lines through Wood, Woodbury and Dodge are quite straightforward. 

However, with all of the Woodbury and Dodge spouses, knowing they connect to the same ancestor, it does not make sense to leave them 'dangling' in my family tree. Unfortunately, many online family trees are incredibly confusing on these families. Even the ones that are well-documented have befuddled me. 

It is my goal today to ensure that I have connected the correct sons and daughters to the correct parents on the Woodbury family, before continuing with the file changeover.

I am pleased to say that I have 100% of my husband's family's information switched over from Family Tree Maker to Legacy. And I probably added more documentation in the course of my work.

It is quite an effort, working on each individual separately. I have researched these people time and again, and have very little to add to most of the entries, except a page number on a citation. 

Yet, many times I am pausing and re-addressing brick walls or disappearing relatives, and have been making new discoveries as a result.

It is Sunday morning here, so back to work for me!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

French-Canadian Ancestry

My husband's maternal lineage is almost entirely French-Canadian. This makes research both simple (I can focus entirely on one province; sometimes a second as families move) and difficult (there are ancestors with 4 or 5 names, not to mention the "dit" names).

This is probably my weak research point, so I am pleased that Cyprien Tanguay's Dictionnaire Genealogique is available online. 

While there are errors, and it is best to verify events with church records, these 7 volumes are a wonderful way to get started on checking names and dates.  This website is particularly useful to me, as I currently reside in Asia (off to Europe next year, we hope), and cannot simply hop in my car for a trip to Quebec.

I highly recommend this site to anybody with French-Canadian ancestors, with the reminder that - at some point - you should try to verify the dates and places with church records.  Or at least include the caveat in your genealogy that Tanguay's books do have errors, so that perhaps future generations who have the opportunity to visit Quebec will take the initiative to do so.