Wednesday, August 28, 2013

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY


This photograph is from an album that was originally in the home of my grand aunt, Winifred WILLIAMS Boyser, in Utica, New York. I don't know for certain the identity of the people in this photograph, but I can hazard a guess based on the date (April 4, 1915) that was written on the picture. Winifred was born in 1898, so she could be one of the ladies in the shot. My grand aunt, Isabel WILLIAMS Hamlin, was born in 1894, so she could be the other woman. Winifred was shorter, so I think she could be the one of the left. The setting is probably somewhere in Oneida County, New York.

The identity of the male is a mystery. Both of my grand uncles died prior to 1915. Robert Owen WILLIAMS died in 1906 from thyphoid fever, and William Richard WILLIAMS died in 1907 from a train accident.

April 4, 1915 was a Sunday, so perhaps this was taken after church.

I love the big muffs that the ladies are holding.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

FINDING YOUR SURNAMES IN OTHER FAMILY HISTORIES

hen looking for your ancestors, don’t forget to check the family histories of peripheral/collateral people who knew or married them. There are a number of places online you can search for family histories, and in many cases online access is free.  My favorite sites to find these books are:


SCRIPTURE LINE

Elizabeth SCRIPTURE (1803-1891) was my 3rd great grand aunt. She married James Root. I found Elizabeth’s marriage to James Root mentioned in The Route of the Roots (Roote - Root) and Collateral Families by Ferne Kitson Patterson. (1) This book states that Elizabeth SCRIPTURE was from Westmoreland, New York, which matches my records. (2)

Also in this book are informative sections on the Erie Canal (3), the Oneida Turnpike (4) and a detailed map of the Town of Vernon (5). This was the land of many of my ancestors.



SPAULDING LINE

My records show that Adolphus SPAULDING, my 3rd great grand uncle, married Polly Babbitt. In The Babbitt Family History 1643-1900 by William Bradford Browne, I found a reference to Mary Babbitt who married Adolphus Spaulding. (6) Polly is a nickname for Mary. Mary’s father was listed as Nathaniel Babbitt, who kept a tavern in East Sauquoit, Oneida County, New York. (7)  The book states that Nathaniel Babbitt was also at one time a blacksmith in Paris Hill. (8). Paris Hill is in Oneida County, New York. My Spaulding ancestors lived in or near Oneida County, New York.  I love this kind of information because it gives further credence to a person’s existence in a particular place at a particular time.

Sampson SPAULDING, my 4th great grand uncle, married Prudence Greenleaf.  In the Genealogy of the Greenleaf Family by James Edward Greenleaf, I found a reference to the marriage of Sampson Spaulding of Columbus and Prudence Greenleaf on March 30, 1814. (9) Prudence is listed as having a prior marriage and children with Alvin Lamb.(10) This is all useful information to document my Spaulding line.

Genealogical clues are hiding in places you might not think to look.  Be a detective, and you might be surprised what you find.



ILLUSTRATIONS BY:

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, Victorian Decorative Letters, 1999.

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, Old-Fashioned Silhouettes, 2001.

Dover Publications, Inc. Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, Elegant Floral Designs, 2003.

CITATION SOURCES:

(1) Ferne Kitson Patterson, The Route of the Roots (Roote - Root) and Collateral Families, (Interlaken, New York: I-T Publishing Corp., 1982)www.familysearch.org (accessed August 27, 2013), 31.

(2) Ferne Kitson Patterson, The Route of the Roots (Roote - Root) and Collateral Families, (Interlaken, New York: I-T Publishing Corp., 1982), www.familysearch.org (accessed August 27, 2013), 31.

(3) Ferne Kitson Patterson, The Route of the Roots (Roote - Root) and Collateral Families, (Interlaken, New York: I-T Publishing Corp., 1982), www.familysearch.org (accessed August 27, 2013), 27.

(4) Ferne Kitson Patterson, The Route of the Roots (Roote - Root) and Collateral Families, (Interlaken, New York: I-T Publishing Corp., 1982), www.familysearch.org (accessed August 27, 2013), 16.

(5) Ferne Kitson Patterson, The Route of the Roots (Roote - Root) and Collateral Families, (Interlaken, New York: I-T Publishing Corp., 1982), www.familysearch.org (accessed August 27, 2013), 60-61.

(6) William Bradford Browne, The Babbitt Family History: 1643-1900, (Taunton, Massachusetts: C. A. Hack & Son, 1912), www.archive.org (accessed August 27, 2013), 173.

(7) Ibid.

(8) Ibid.

(9) Greenleaf James Edward, Genealogy of the Greenleaf Family, (Boston, Massachusetts: Frank Wood, printer, 1896)www.archive.org (accessed August 27, 2013), 226.

(10) Ibid.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY

These photographs were in a scrapbook I inherited from my grand aunt, Winifred WILLIAMS, who lived in Utica, New York. I don't know the identity of the man near the car or of the woman off in the distance to the right. I wonder who took the picture. This brings home the point that we all should be making notations on our photographs for future generations.







Sunday, August 18, 2013

CENTENARIANS IN THE TREE: Dewey Miller

very once in a while you will find someone in your family who lived to be 100 or close to it. If you find one of these people, be sure to look for newspaper articles about them. Newspapers loved to run stories about people who defied the odds and lived to a grand old age. I have found two such people in my family tree, and articles about them have helped me break through some brick walls caused by common surnames.  Here is an example of one of them:

DEWEY MILLER (1787-1887)

New York researchers are blessed by having access to Old Fulton NY Postcards (www.fultonhistory.com), a free database of historical New York newspapers. I have found an enormous amount of family information on this site, including an article entitled “An Old Man’s Tea Party” published on October 22, 1887 in the Batavia NY Spirit of the Times.  In this article, I learned that a gigantic party occurred in Bryon, Genesee, New York, to celebrate Dewey’s 100 birthday and that a history of Dewey’s life was read to the crowd.  I discovered that Dewey was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts and that he had two wives—Electa and then Sally. (1). I learned further that Dewey’s father:
  • Was from Connecticut
  • Was a soldier in the Revolution
  • Had fought at the battle of Stillwater
  • Was a blacksmith
  • Moved to Remington, New York, around 1792 [?--date hard to read]
  • Moved to Brookfield, New York, in 1800       (2)



Unfortunately, the article does not give the name of Dewey’s father,  although I believe it to be Aaron. However, the “tea party” article gave me numerous clues for further research.  Because the article references Dewey’s father’s service in the Revolution, I went to Fold3 (www.fold3.com). Here I found a Revolutionary War pension file for Aaron MILLER which was applied for by his son John (3). In this file is an affidavit by Dewey MILLER and his wife Sally. (4) There is also an affidavit by Silas and Betsy Ames verifying that Aaron MILLER’s funeral took place in June of 1829 in Brookfield, New York. (5)  Betsy Ames’ maiden name was Cutler—she was my 3rd great grand aunt.  There is also a reference to Aaron being a blacksmith. (6)


I then went to The History of Pittsfield (Berkshire County), Massachusetts from the Year 1734 to the Year 1800 on Ancestry.com (7) and searched for Aaron Miller. I found an Aaron Miller, jun. listed as a soldier under the command of Capt. David Noble, who marched to Cambridge on April 22, 1775 during the war with Great Britain. (8) On page 478, I found an Aaron Miller listed as a private from Pittsfield and one of Capt. Noble’s minute men. (9) On p. 488, an Aaron Miller is listed as a soldier who marched to Albany under Capt. William Francis on January 14, 1776. (10). On p. 497, there is a Census of Pittsfield in 1772 listing an Aaron Miller (11)

Interestingly, Christie's auctioned off a muster roll of the minute men who marched from Pittsfield to Cambridge under the command of Captain David Noble. The price realized was $4,780. (12) You can see an image of the muster roll at: http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/lot/american-revolution-lexington-4300489-details.aspx?intObjectID=4300489.

There is more research to do, of course, but I believe that Dewey MILLER was my 4th great grand uncle, and that Dewey’s father was Aaron MILLER, my 5th great grandfather.  I believe my 5th great grandmother’s name was Bethiah DEWEY (it seems probable that Dewey Miller was named after her). My 4th great grandfather was Aaron MILLER (born approximately 1789 in Massachusetts) and my 4th great grandmother was NANCY CRANDALL (born in Rhode Island). 

There are numerous  articles about Dewey MILLER on www.fultonhistory.com, and they are filled with clues as to Dewey's ancestors and his descendants.  Do you have ancestors who lived to be 100? They don’t have to be direct line ancestors; collateral relatives can give you the information you need to break through your brick walls. 



ILLUSTRATIONS BY:

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, Victorian Decorative Letters, 1999.

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, American Historical Illustrations and Emblems, 2001.

CITATION SOURCES:

(1) “An Old Man’s Tea Party,” Batavia, New York, Spirit of the Times, October 22, 1887, digital image 850103, Old Fulton NY Post Cards (www.fultonhistory.com: accessed 18 Aug 2013).

(2) Ibid.

(3) Aaron Miller, Massachusetts, Pension Number R. 7174, Record Group 15, NARA M804. “Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files,” database, Fold3 (www.fold3.com: accessed 18 Aug 2013), Image #24781609.

(4) Ibid., Image #24781617.

(5) Ibid., Image #24781613.

(6) Ibid., Image #24781609.

(7) Ancestry.com. The History of Pittsfield (Berkshire County) Massachusetts : from the Year 1734 to the Year 1800 [database on-line]. Provo, UT: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005, (www.ancestry.com: accessed 18 Aug 2013), Original data: Smith, J. E. A.. The history of Pittsfield (Berkshire County) Massachusetts : from the year 1734 to the year 1800. Boston: Lee and Shepard, 1869.

(8) Ibid., p. 485.

(9) Ibid.., p. 478.

(10) Ibid., p. 488.

(11) Ibid., p. 497.

(12) Christie's, Auction Results, Fine Printed Books and Manuscripts including Americana, Lot 354, Sale 1388, http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/lot/american-revolution-lexington-4300489-details.aspx?intObjectID=4300489: accessed 18 Aug 2013.





Monday, August 12, 2013

STAYING SAFE IN NEW ENGLAND GARRISON HOUSES

hile researching my Scripture line on the New England Historic Genealogical Society’s website (http://www.americanancestors.org), I discovered a fascinating article in American Ancestors Magazine entitled “Garrisons in New England ‘…Whereto They Are Orderly Assigned’” by Todd Macalister. (1)

First, I needed to know about garrisons. According to An Account of the Early Land-grants of Groton, Massachusetts, the garrison houses were surrounded by a sturdy wall and port-holes for the use of muskets. (2) The houses were often built on hills so they could more easily view impending attacks, and they were designed to be bullet proof. (3)


After King Philip’s War, attacks continued in New England for another fifteen years. (4) Lists were made of families to be assigned to specific garrisons. (5) One of the towns that had such a list was Groton, Massachusetts, the home of a number of my ancestors. Todd Macalister, the author of the “Garrisons in New England” article, used “Garrisons in the West Regiment of Middlesex, 1692”(6), to review one of the lists from the eight garrisons in Groton.  On this list was Samuel Scripture. (7) I have two Samuel Scriptures in Groton during that time period on my tree:  Samuel SCRIPTURE was my 8th great grandfather, and another Samuel SCRIPTURE was my 7th great grand uncle.  My grandfather Samuel SCRIPTURE was married to Elizabeth KNAPP. On the same garrison roster is listed a James Knap (8), very possibly a relative. Also on this list is a Steven Holding (9). According to Todd Macalister, this was Stephen Holden. I have two Stephen HOLDENs in Groton during this time period.  Stephen HOLDEN (1642-1715) was my 8th great grand uncle. Another Stephen HOLDEN (1687-1757) was my 1st cousin 9x removed.  Both died in Groton.  In addition, there is a Nathaniel Laurence (10) on this list. I have a Nathaniel LAWRENCE who lived in Groton during that time period who was married to Anna SCRIPTURE, my 7th great grand aunt.  I feel pretty confident that there were a number of my ancestors in that particular garrison. 

Using a variety of resources, Todd Macalister researched the names in the garrison. He found that Samuel Scripture was a 42-year old former indentured servant of Samuel Davis. (11) That Samuel SCRIPTURE was indeed my 8th great grandfather.  Todd Macalister discovered that James Knap came from Watertown in the mid-1660s with fifty other families.(12) My Elizabeth KNAPP also came from Watertown. And, finally, the author made the discovery that Stephen Holden and two sons were captured and held by natives for two years (13) This is I did know and will have to research.


Some other towns that used garrisons were Chelmsford, Massachusetts (home of my Spaulding ancestors) and Marlborough (home of my Rice ancestors).  According to "Garrison in the West Regiment of Middlesex, 1692," my Spaulding ancestors were on the garrison lists in Chelmsford (14) and my Rice ancestors were on the garrison lists in Marlborough. (15) I suspect other names, such as “Baratt” (16), refer to my Barrett ancestors, who also lived in Chelmsford during that time. 

If you would like to see what these garrison houses looked like, see Photographs of Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Structures in Massachusetts taken 1887-1945 by Harriette Merrifield Forbes and search for “garrison”: http://www.americanantiquarian.org/forbesplaceindex.htm. You can also visit New England Garrison Houses at http://www.newenglandfrontier.com/home_files/Garrisons.htm.


CITATION SOURCES:

(1) Macalister. Todd, “Garrisons in New England ‘…Whereto They Are Orderly Assigned,’” American Ancestors Magazine, Vol. 11. Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2010. (Online database. AmericanAncestors.org. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2010.)

(2) Green, Samuel Abbot, An Account of the Early Land-grants of Groton, Massachusetts, Groton, Massachusetts, 1879 (Online at www.archive.org, book contributor: Library of Congress; digitizing sponsor: Sloan Foundation).

(3) Op cit, “Garrisons in New England,” p. 36.

(4) Ibid, p. 35.

(5) Ibid.

(6) Hammond, Isaac C., “Garrison in the West Regiment of Middlesex, 1692,” American Ancestors Magazine, Vol. 43. Boston: MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1847-. (Online database: AmericanAncestors.org, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2001-2013.)

(7) Op cit., “Garrisons in New England,” p. 37.

(8) Ibid.

(9) Ibid.

(10) Ibid.

(11) Ibid.

(12) Ibid.

(13) Ibid.

(14) Op cit., “Garrison in the West Regiment of Middlesex, 1692,” pp. 372-374.

(15) Ibid., p. 372.

(16) Ibid., p. 373.

ILLUSTRATIONS BY:

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, 1200 Ornamental Letters, 2007.

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, Victorian Goods and Merchandise, 2006.

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, 1565 Spot Illustrations and Motifs, 2007.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Sunday, August 4, 2013

PUTTING THE PIECES TOGETHER

very week I discover another distant cousin who has information on one of the many surnames I am exploring. Recently I received my DNA results from FamilyTreeDNA (http://www.familytreedna.com). In corresponding with one of my matches, I learned more about my Scripture line. Another match is from my Brashear line. Piece by piece, we are helping each other reconstruct the lives of people long gone.

Some of the people I have communicated with have written books. I buy these books, every one of them, and they have been fantastic. They contain photographs and tidbits that I would never find online or even at an archive or courthouse.

Here are a few I have discovered:

For my Cutler and Spaulding lines:

Away amongst strangers : the Civil War letters and family histories of Aaron M. Cutler, Battery A, First New York Light Artillery and Stephen Tillinghast Spaulding, Company G, 140th New York Volunteer Infantry, Army of the Potomac by Richard W. Roth

For my Brashear line:

Granny Bess by Moses M. Coleman, Jr.



It is so important to reach out to others. Ask questions. Share. When you think you have exhausted your resources, don’t give up your search. There is information out there. It’s hiding in places all over the country and world.

E-mail makes it so easy. No envelopes, no postage, just type up a few lines and press the button. If you have had your DNA tested, be sure to contact the people who have similar DNA. You just never know what you will discover.  As I suggested in an earlier post (http://www.theartofgenealogy.com/2013/07/finding-cousins-with-findagrave.html), plant a flower on FindAGrave.

While researching my Myers’ line, I discovered a book entitled Pownal—A Town’s Two Hundred Years and More by Joseph Parks. I e-mailed the Solomon Wright Public Library in Pownal, Vermont, where the book was being sold, and a few weeks later I had the book. The book contains several references to the Myers family.   

Bit by bit, your tree will grow. Sure, you will have setbacks, a mix-up here and there. Sometimes you have to kill off a few incorrect ancestors, but slowly your tree will flourish.



Your tree will never be perfect, but eventually you need to document your efforts so others can carry on your research. Here are some ideas:
  • Write a book.
  • Publish a blog.
  • Create scrapbooks.
  • Do an oral history.
  • Mail newsletters to relatives.
  • Offer your research to a relevant historical society.


Piece by piece, you will recreate your personal history and then pass it along for others so the ball will keep moving.



ILLUSTRATIONS BY:

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, 1200 Ornamental Letters, 2007.

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, Old-Fashioned Silhouettes, 2001.

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, Trees & Leaves, 2004.

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, Elegant Floral Designs, 2003.