Sunday, November 2, 2014

Fall Family History Event, Lansing, Michigan

esterday I attended the Fall Family History conference in Lansing, Michigan, an event sponsored by the Michigan Genealogical Council and the Archives of Michigan. The speaker was James M. Beidler, the author of The Family Tree German Genealogy Book, a fabulous handbook you should purchase if you have any German ancestors or if you do research for clients with German ancestors.  To my knowledge, I have only one German surname in my tree—Horner—and I have done very little research on this line. 

In the past, I have enjoyed James Beidler’s presentations at national genealogy conferences, so I was eager to hear him again.  In his first presentation, Mr. Beidler discussed the two main waves of German migration: the Germans who came to this country in the 1700s and those who came in the 1800s.  He showed maps of Europe illustrating where these different groups originated.  In addition, he spoke about the various ports they used to enter this country and how they migrated to other areas. There was also a discussion about the availability of records both here and overseas.  My Horner line entered this country in the 1700s and settled in North Carolina and then Tennessee. 



The next presentation was on Pennsylvania German church records, and the various religious denominations were summarized.   Mr. Beidler showed images of different types of church registers, and he explained the most common types of records. There was a fascinating discussion of German naming patterns, information you need to know if you ever do German research.   He then showed us a photograph of a beautiful Taufschein, a German birth and baptismal certificate, and told us they sell for hundreds of dollars on eBay.  Click here here to view the Taufscheine/Fraktur page of the Berks History Center.

I learned about the German inheritance pattern, which was unlike the primogeniture custom of the English.  If I understand the German law correctly, the oldest son didn’t inherit the land but instead the land was usually divided equally among the children. Later those children divided the land amongst their children. Eventually the land parcels became very small, and those small parcels caused many Germans to come to America seeking more land. This is a summary only of how I interpreted Mr. Beidler's speech. For a much more detailed explanation, you should read his book. 

In the afternoon Mr. Beidler spoke about the Pennsylvania State Archives and Library and later presented a German case study.  I squeezed in a visit to the Michigan State Archives to do some research late in the afternoon. It was a long, but rewarding day.

Thanks to Mr. Beidler’s presentation, I am now anxious to explore my German roots. Just now, I Googled the words “Horner” and “German” and found the Horner Library and Reading Room, a large repository of German books located in Philadelphia.  I like having a variety of ethnic groups in my family tree. 

If you have German roots, be sure to check out The Family Tree German Genealogy Book.

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 Nautical Illustrations," 2002.


Saturday, October 25, 2014

HOW TO DISSECT A CEMETERY











have numerous ancestors buried in Green Lawn Cemetery, New Hartford, Oneida County, New York, so I decided to study my family burials in this cemetery in greater depth. I hoped to discover people I might have missed, other individuals who married into the family, etc. The following is a list of the steps I took and some suggestions for future research.

STEP 1 – MAKE A CHART

I started with a chart that looked like this: 



STEP 2 – TRANSCRIBE INFORMATION FROM PHOTOGRAPHS OF GRAVESTONES

I have been to this cemetery many times and have taken photographs of every person I think could be remotely related to me.  From the photographs, I entered information into the chart. I listed the deceased individuals in order of death. The earliest deaths were listed first. As I proceeded, I added footnotes documenting where I located the information.

If you don’t have photographs of gravestones for your ancestors in a particular cemetery, jump to Step 3.

STEP 3 – GO TO FINDAGRAVE AND LOCATE THE CEMETERY. THEN DO A SEARCH FOR SURNAMES OF INTEREST

I then went to Find A Grave (www.findagrave.com) and selected Cemetery Search. I clicked the drop down box and selected New York, then Oneida County and then Search. From the resulting list I chose Green Lawn Cemetery.  Once I found that, I entered one of my surnames and received a list of all the people with that surname buried in that cemetery. I then compared the results with my chart.  You can also check out Billion Graves (http://billiongraves.com) and add their information, if it differs.  

STEP 4 – GO TO INTERMENT.NET AND ADD ADDITIONAL INFORMATION SUCH AS SECTION NUMBER AND RELATIONSHIPS

I then went to Interment.net (http://www.interment.net/data/us/ny/oneida/greenlawn/index.htm). Here I found information items such as the section in which someone was buried and sometimes notes about their family. I entered this information into my chart. As a general rule, families are buried together unless the purchased cemetery lot runs out of room. In that case, additional family members may be buried in the same cemetery in a newer section. By looking at the section numbers, you may be able to guess possible family relationships.

STEP 5 – GO TO OLD FULTON NY POSTCARDS, CHRONICLING  AMERICA OR ANY OF THE MANY HISTORIC NEWSPAPER WEBSITES

At this point my chart was several pages long. My next step was to see if I could find newspaper articles about the deaths of the people on my chart.  The death dates were all conveniently in order.  As I discovered death notices or obituaries, I entered the information onto my chart, again being sure to footnote my sources. 



STEP 6 – CHECK DEATHINDEXES.COM

I then went to the Online Searchable Death Indexes & Records available at http://www.deathindexes.com. New information was added to my chart. 

STEP 7—VISIT LEGACY.COM

I then searched Legacy.com (www.legacy.com) for the individuals who had died in the recent past. There is even a guest book where loved ones can add comments.  If you are lucky, you will find a photograph.




I now have a wonderful chart of my Marsh, Cutler and Park ancestors as well as collateral relatives (Cullen, Garnsey and Kaelin) in that cemetery. As I find more information, I can add to this master list. By getting organized, I surprised myself. I found new people to add to my tree, and I was able to add details to existing individuals.

Once you have your basic chart filled in with the above “free” information, you can then supplement the data in countless ways. The chart can be expanded with more columns or you can simply add additional information into the miscellaneous category. You could even attach a map of the cemetery.

Here are some ways to add more information to your chart:

  • Obtain death certificates.
  • Visit the cemetery and note the condition/type of stone, neighboring stones, etc.
  • Contact the cemetery sexton.
  • See if you can find church records for death information. Check FamilySearch.org.
  • Search the Social Security Death Index, which is located on Ancestry.com, GenealogyBank.com, FamilySearch.org, Stevemorse.org and elsewhere.
  • If you have a subscription to Ancestry.com, do searches in the “Death, Burial, Cemetery & Obituaries” database.
  • Explore the Family History Catalog (https://familysearch.org/catalog-search) for cemeteries in your place of interest. If you find something promising, order the microfilm. Members of the Daughters of the American Revolution often compiled cemetery records, and those records were frequently filmed.  You may find information in their records that is no longer available. With time, gravestones sometimes sink into the earth or disappear entirely. Cemeteries can be vandalized and gravestones can be destroyed.
  • Check out The USGenWeb Project (http://usgenweb.org) to see if they have cemetery records for your area of interest.
  • Contact local historical and genealogical societies. They often have files on the various cemeteries in their area.
  • Contact libraries near the cemetery to see if they have cemetery books.
  • Contact local funeral homes to see if they allow access to records of persons buried in that cemetery.
  • And don’t forget home sources, such as Bibles, funeral cards, scrapbook entries, etc.

This would be a fun project for you to do over the long winter.  And once you finish one cemetery, there are many more to go!



ILLUSTRATIONS BY:

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

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

Sunday, October 12, 2014

RESOURCES TO NAVIGATE THE WELSH MAZE

For some time I have been collecting useful links for learning about Wales and the Welsh. Today I thought I would share some of these resources with you in case you too are trying to sort through the maze of repetitive names, such as William Williams, Richard Pritchard, Hugh Hughes – well, you get the picture. I sometimes think the Welsh really wanted to remain anonymous.



MISCELLANEOUS LINKS








A SAMPLING OF WELSH RESOURCES ON FAMILYSEARCH









HISTORY OF WALES



NEWSPAPERS/PERIODICALS



LEARNING THE LANGUAGE




THE WELSH IN VARIOUS U.S. STATES




Jane Owen Williams
1860-1941


BOOKS ABOUT WALES OR THE WELSH

Sunday, October 5, 2014

STRIKING PAY DIRT ON GOOGLE

While watching television the other night, I decided to do a little family history research on Google—nothing serious.  I have Googled my poor family to death, so I didn’t expect to find anything new. My search was:

“Marquis ? Scripture”

As used in the above example, the question mark wild card will give you an assortment of hits with different middle names, middle initials or no middle name at all.  As background, Marquis Scripture was my 2nd great grandfather. He is a bit of a mystery because his father is unknown, and he took the surname of his mother, Marilda Scripture.



 The first few hits were nothing new to me, but then I came upon my hit of the century:

” Supreme Court Appellate Court Division – Page 15 – Google Books...” (1)

This search result was from the Last Will and Testament of Harriet Scripture, Marquis’ wife. (2) Harriet’s maiden name was Bowles, and she was my 2nd great grandmother.  The Last Will and Testament was an exhibit to a court case in the Supreme Court Appellate Division in the State of New York filed by George R. Taylor [my great grand uncle] against Claude W. Goodenough [not my ancestor]. (3) The case involved a contract dispute over approximately fifty acres of land in Oneida County, New York. (4)  I learned that the land had been in my family with various family owners from the mid-1800s to 1924. (5)  There were a number of deeds attached as exhibits from different years among assorted family members.   

As I browsed the document I found page after page filled with genealogical information on many people with different surnames in my family tree.  There were leases, warranty deeds, quit-claim deeds, title searches, a number of Last Wills and Testaments, affidavits, the Plaintiff’s Brief and the Defendant’s Brief.  I had struck pay dirt! If I had searched for these documents in the Oneida County, New York courthouse, it would have taken hours. I don’t live in New York, so going to that courthouse is not a frequent event. But, here, I had the documents delivered to my computer screen in minutes!  I know that good genealogists always attempt to locate the original documents, and now, thanks to the documents being file date stamped, that task will be much easier.




So what have I learned from this event?
  • Don’t stop doing occasional Internet searches on your family, because new material is posted all the time.
  • Deeds are an incredible genealogical source. By looking at the neighboring landowners to a parcel of property, you may very well find a relative or ancestor.
  • Legal cases are another wonderful source of ancestral information. You would be surprised how often people got into legal tangles. 
  • It is important to utilize wild cards in your searches because these aids hone in on the information you need to find. You’ll get better results, and it will save you time.


ILLUSTRATIONS BY:

Blanche Cirker, ed., "1268 Old-Time Cuts and Ornaments," Electronic Clip Art, 2006, Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York.

CITATION SOURCES:

(1) “Exhibit B,” The Last Will and Testament of Harriet Scripture, George R. Taylor, Plaintiff, against Claude W. Goodenough, Defendant, Submission of Controversy Upon Agreed Statement of Facts, O. Gregory Burns, Attorney for Plaintiff, and Pirnie Pritchard, Attorney for the Defendant, State of New York Supreme Court Appellate Division – Fourth Department, Goodenow Printing Company, Inc ., p. 15 (books.google.com/books?id=_dNcbuwGNScC : accessed 5 Oct 2014).

(2) Ibid.

(3) Ibid.

(4) Statement of Facts, George R. Taylor, Plaintiff, against Claude W. Goodenough, Defendant, Submission of Controversy Upon Agreed Statement of Facts, O. Gregory Burns, Attorney for Plaintiff, and Pirnie Pritchard, Attorney for the Defendant, State of New York Supreme Court Appellate Division – Fourth Department, Goodenow Printing Company, Inc ., p. 1 (books.google.com/books?id=_dNcbuwGNScC : accessed 5 Oct 2014).

(5) Ibid., Statement of Facts, George R. Taylor, Plaintiff, against Claude W. Goodenough, Defendant, p. 11.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

DISCOVERIES AT THE JERVIS LIBRARY

This summer I had a chance to explore the genealogy collection at the Jervis Public Library in Rome, Oneida County, New York.  They have a special floor dedicated to history and genealogy. Click here to see a list of their extensive holdings. 


To access the Local History Room, you take an elevator to the second floor.  However, there are other genealogical and historical items throughout the library. For example, the librarians have the books regarding local cemeteries behind their desk on the main floor.

The Local History Room contains a wide variety of publications. Some that caught my eye were:
  • 200 Years of Vernon Center’s Presbyterian Chuch by Eugene Butler
  • Early Potters and Potteries of New York State by William Ketchum
  • Families of Olde Whitesborough, 1784-1824 by Claire Sperry
  • The Genealogical Journal of Oneida County, New York
  • Italians to America by Glazier and Filby
  • Legacy by the Herkimer County Historical Society
  • Onondaga’s Centennial by Dwight Bruce
  • Pioneers of Madison County by William Tuttle
  • Pioneers of Vernon Center, New York by Eugene Butler
  • Tree Talks by the Central New York Genealogical Society
  • Yesteryears, a quarterly magazine about New York history

If you have New York ancestors, you know how difficult it is to find information on them. These niche publications just might help you.


In addition to Central New York specific publications, there are many publications that cover a wider geographic area such as:
  • Abstract of Graves of Revolutionary Patriots
  • The Connecticut Nutmegger
  • D.A.R. Magazine
  • Lexington, Mass: Records of Births, Marriages and Deaths to January 1, 1898
  • The New England Historical and Genealogical Register
  • The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record



There were also many county histories and surnames books.

I had great fun exploring the above-mentioned publications, but my most important discovery came from the Records of the Glenside Cemetery, New York Mills, Oneida County, New York.  I have been to this cemetery many times because I have numerous Welsh ancestors buried there from my mother’s maternal line.   I have tried to obtain information from the cemetery association but have been unsuccessful. So I was thrilled to find a written record of interments at Glenside. 




I began browsing the names and, to my surprise, I found another line of my family buried in this cemetery.  This line was from my mother’s side, but it was her father’s family.  Esther Barber Marsh was my 3rd great grandmother. Until visiting the Jervis Library, I had been unable to discover the location of her gravestone.  The book showed a record for Ester B. Marsh, who died on 21 Dec 1856, at the age of 80. (1)The date matched my records exactly.  After her name there followed four more burial records for other members of my family.

On another page, I found more records from this line. One entry read “Three little lambs” and then noted the deaths of three children under the age of 7 who had died in 1863. Their parents were J. M. and Esther Bell. (2)  Esther Marsh Bell was my 2nd great grand aunt. Her husband was John Morris Bell, and their unfortunate children (Sarah, George and Amos) were my 1st cousins 3x removed. Now I want to find out why these children died. Can you imagine losing three children in one year?  I also want to go back to the Glenside Cemetery and locate the stones.

So, thank you, Jervis Public Library, for your cemetery books and for the many other genealogical publications. It is because of repositories like this that we can slowly piece together the past.




SOURCE CITATIONS:

(1) Edmunds, Elizabeth. "Ledger [Record 1884—8--]." In Records of the Glenside Cemetery, New York Mills, Oneida County, New York, No. 62; records copied and compiled in May 1978 from an old ledger now in the custody of the Glenside Cemetery Association in New York Mills, New York.

(2) Edmunds, Elizabeth. "Ledger [Record 1884—47--]." In Records of the Glenside Cemetery, New York Mills, Oneida County, New York, No. 41; records copied  and compiled in May 1978 from an old ledger now in the custody of the Glenside Cemetery Association in New York Mills, New York.

ILLUSTRATION BY:

Illustrations from Dover Publications, Inc., Mineloa, New York, Electronic Clip Art, 1268 Old-Time Cuts and Ornaments, 2006.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

A VISIT TO MOUNT CLEMENS LIBRARY

Yesterday I visited the Mount Clemens Library located at 150 Cass Avenue in Mount Clemens, Michigan. I had heard that they have a terrific genealogy collection, so I wanted to investigate their holdings.  I blogged about this library’s online resources last year. Click here here if you want to read that post.

Mount Clemens Public Library
Mount Clemens, Michigan

In order to visit the genealogy/history room, you first must sign in at the librarian’s desk located in the center of the library.  One of the librarians will unlock the door for you. Sometimes there are volunteers stationed in the genealogy section to help you, but yesterday I was on my own. I picked up a handout  titled “Welcome to the Mount Clemens Public Library Local History Room.” http://www.mtclib.org/docs/genealogy%20welcome.pdf.  This gave me a good summary of their collection.

Mount Clemens Local History Room
Mount Clemens, Michigan


The first room had a number of tables where you could do research, two computers for online research (they have access to Ancestry Library, Fold3, Heritage Quest and AmericanAncestors.org) and hundreds of books. Like a puppy with a new stuffed toy, I began scanning the stacks excitedly.   

There was a section of new acquisitions by the entrance, where I found many helpful guidebooks for genealogical research as well as specific interest publications, such as African-American research.  I was impressed that their books were so current.

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Against one wall I discovered the Nellie D. Metler (Mrs. John R. Murphy) Ontario Collection, which contained:

Marriage Registers of Upper Canada/Canada West
Canadian Genealogist
Surrogate Court Indexes
The Ontario Register

and much more



GERMAN RESOURCES:

For those with German ancestors, there are many volumes of the Map Guide to German Parish Registers and also Germans to America.

MICHIGAN RESOURCES:

Not surprisingly, there were numerous books on Michigan history and genealogy, such as the Michigan Pioneer and Historical Society Collections.




The second room had microfilm readers, hundreds of microfilm rolls and many shelves of publications, such as funeral home books, The New England Historical and Genealogical Register and Michigan History Magazine.

MICROFILM HOLDINGS:

There were drawers and shelves full of microfilm, such as:

Newspapers: Detroit News, Macomb Daily, Daily Leader and more

Michigan Censuses and Vital Records

and more...

Microfilm

There were also city directories and old phone books from the Detroit area. 

POLISH RESOURCES:

If you have Polish ancestors, you’ll want to explore “Polish Eaglet,” a periodical by the Polish Genealogical Society of Michigan. For an index of articles, click here.

FRENCH-CANADIAN RESOURCES

There were many French-Canadian books such as:

Michigan’s Habitant Heritage (http://www.habitantheritage.org/our_journal)

After I had explored the rooms, I settled down and did some personal research using the following books.
  • Boston Marriages from 1700 to 1809 compiled by Edward W. McGlenen
  • Scots-Irish Links by David Dobson
  • Family Maps of Washtenaw County, Michigan


There is something for nearly everyone in this collection. If you live in Michigan, be sure to visit this fabulous library. If you can’t visit, be sure to check out their online resources at http://www.mtclib.org/genealog.htm.






Saturday, September 13, 2014

CHICAGO HISTORY MUSEUM

Historical events greatly influenced the lives of our ancestors. Think of the Depression, the San Francisco Earthquake, the many wars, floods, epidemics, the sinking of the Titanic, the changing laws, train wrecks, mining disasters, the Gold Rush. You have to know history if you want to do excellent genealogy research.  One book I recommend is History for Genealogists by Judy Jacobson. 



This summer I had the chance to visit the marvelous Chicago History Museum at 1601 N. Clark Street in Lincoln Park. Here I learned about the many industries of Chicago (meatpacking, railroads, steel, advertising, retail, mail order and so much more). On one of the walls is a detailed timeline of important dates in Chicago history. 

THE GREAT CHICAGO FIRE

One section is devoted to the great Chicago fire that occurred on October 8, 1871. Were your ancestors living in Chicago at that time? I hope not.  It was interesting to see some of the items that somehow survived the blaze, such as a beautiful porcelain doll. As you walk through the exhibit, you can read about how the city restored its vitality and in 1893 hosted the World’s Columbian Exposition. Oh, yes, you can also read about Mrs. O’Leary’s cow.  Click here to read more about the fire.

CRIME AND GANGS

Another section of the museum highlights the 1929 Saint Valentine's Day Massacre There are also displays that discuss the 1920's gangsters of Chicago and the Chicago Crime Commission.  During the Prohibition, as you know, people were devising ways to make alcohol. A copper still and bucket are on display.  For more on the gangs, check out Chicago Gangland History Those were wild times. 

ARTIFACTS AND MAPS

If you have Chicago ancestors, you really need to see this museum.  There are displays of artifacts representing many different ethnic  groups who lived (and live) in Chicago: a Polish prayer book, a Jewish wedding ring and German sheet music were just some of many items I viewed.  There are community settlement maps on the walls for different decades showing where each ethnic group tended to reside. These maps are truly fascinating and could be very helpful if you are trying to figure out where an ancestor might have lived in Chicago. The Demographics of Chicago page at Wikipedia has an image of the 1950 Community Settlement Map. (1)

SETTLEMENT HOUSES

I enjoyed the exhibit about social reformer Jane Addams and her quest to help poor immigrants in the late 1800s with settlement houses designed to help the community. There is a Jane Addams Hull-House Museum in Chicago, which I want to visit.  Click here to read more.  If your ancestor was an immigrant in Chicago, Jane may have indirectly made their live easier.

FAMILY TREE

And, best of all for genealogy fans, the museum has a large family tree of the Pritzker family who came to Chicago in the late 1800s from Kiev and later became very successful. Below is a tiny snippet of the tree, but it is enormous and covers an entire wall. 

Chicago History Museum


RESEARCH

Now, I don’t have many Chicago ancestors, but Harry Brashear, one of my cousins, was a Chicago policeman during the 1930s. I would like to do more research on him.  The Chicago History Museum has a Research Center.  Click here for online resources .  Here is the link for family research:  http://chicagohistory.org/research/resources/family.


When you leave the museum, be sure to check out their excellent store, where you will find numerous books and really nice (not tacky) gifts. 



CITATION SOURCES:

(1) Wikipedia (http://www.wikipedia.com), "Demographics of Chicago," page was last modified on 25 June 2014.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Sunday, September 7, 2014

GRANDPARENTS DAY: MARTHA BRASHEAR

Today is National Grandparents Day.  Martha Brashear Taylor Ranke (1898-1972) was the only grandparent I remember.  I wrote my very first blog post about Martha.  That post will give you a sketch of Martha, but today I want to discuss Martha’s Scots-Irish and Huguenot ancestry. I love Martha because she has added variety to my family history research.




HUGUENOTS

Martha’s maiden name was Brashear. If you visit the website of the National Huguenot Society, you will see that the name Brasseur / Brashier / Brashear is a qualified Huguenot name. The Huguenots were Protestants who fled France due to religious persecution in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. See the Huguenot Timeline.

I am slowly researching this line back in time. My great grandfather was William Magruder Brashear (1858-1924); my 2nd great grandfather was Thomas Magruder Brashear (1816-1882); and my 3rd great grandfather was Ely Brashear (1774-1837). I believe that my line goes back to Benjamin (Benois) Brashear (Brasseur), the original immigrant. 

For those of you interested in Huguenot research, here are some links to helpful websites:



SCOTS-IRISH

Martha’s mother was Margaret Stewart (1869-1943), who was born in Canada to Michael Stewart and Jane McFarland.  Michael and Jane were from Northern Ireland. They were what you call Scots-Irish or Scotch-Irish, who were Protestant dissenters from Ulster, Ireland. Not surprisingly, the 1881 Census of Canada lists the Stewarts’ religion as Presbyterian. (1)

I was told by my mother that my father’s given name (Stewart) was in honor of the Stewart line.

It is interesting to note that my 3rd great grandfather, Ely Brashear, also married a woman of Scottish ancestry—Julia Magruder.  Magruder is a derivation of Clan Gregor or MacGregor. (2) This Magruder name was carried on as a middle name for many of Julia's descendants.

The Protestant religion was important to these families. I know that my grandmother often went to church and that the churches were some form of Protestantism depending on the area in which she lived.

If you are interested in Scots-Irish research, here are some useful links:


ILLUSTRATIONS BY:

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, "Women Illustrations," 2004.

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, " 1100 Pictorial Symbols," 2007.

SOURCE CITATIONS:

(1) "Canada Census, 1881," index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MVFH-K1N : accessed 06 Sep 2014), Michael Stewart, Innisfil, Simcoe South, Ontario, Canada; citing p. 41; Library and Archives Canada film number C-13250, Public Archives, Ottawa, Ontario; FHL microfilm 1375886.

(2) Wikipedia (http://www.wikipedia.com), “Clan Gregor,” rev. 29 March 2014.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

VISITING PLIMOTH / PLYMOUTH

First of all, let’s get the Plimoth / Plymouth words straight as they are a bit confusing. Plymouth is a town on the southern shore of Massachusetts, which was the site of the landing of the Pilgrims.  Plimoth is the old English spelling of the historic site.  (1)

Plimoth Plantation

This year I visited Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, Massachusetts.  I have not confirmed that any of my ancestors were on the Mayflower, but there are a few possibilities.  Even if you don’t have people in your tree from this area, Plimoth Plantation is a great way to spend the day.



We purchased our tickets at the Visitor Center and dashed past the crowds of school children. 

Wampanoag Homesite

Our first stop was the Wampanoag Homesite.  The workers in this section are Native people dressed in clothing worn in the 17th century. They are happy to answer questions about their history and culture. 

Wampanoag Homesite

Wampanoag Homesite

After leaving the Wampanoag Homesite, we followed a path that overlooked beautiful Plymouth Harbor. 

View from Plimoth Plantation

17th-Century English Village

We arrived after a few minutes at the 17th-Century English Village.  I adore living history museums. Here, the costumed village folk assume roles of the original residents.  They are trained to act as if they are truly Pilgrims in the 17th century.  The man in the photograph below was building a beanstalk.  He told us about his family and why some members left England due to economic hardship.

17th Century English Village
Plimoth Plantation

The photograph below shows a home that was being built by a colonist. They started with small sticks and then layered mud and grass to insulate their homes. 

17th Century English Village
Plimoth Plantation

 The harsh New England winters must have been dreadful. These were very tough people.

17th Century English Village
Plimoth Plantation

The following photograph shows a garden being tended by a woman. We asked her many questions, and she replied in great detail about the types of plantings, her family and life in the village.


17th Century English Village
Plimoth Plantation

I enjoyed looking at the farm animals throughout the village.  Click here for more information on the animals.

17th Century English Village
Plimoth Plantation

There is also a Craft Center at Plimoth Plantation, but it was being renovated when we visited Plimoth Plantation in May. 

Gift Shop

We headed back to the Visitor Center and entered the fabulous gift shop filled with books. Genealogists and family historians can spend a small fortune here. 

Visitors Center
Plimoth Plantation

Visitors Center
Plimoth Plantation
Mayflower II

We next walked to our car and drove a few miles to the harbor to see the Mayflower II, a replica of the original Mayflower.  

Mayflower II
We were able to board the ship and speak with the costumed Pilgrim character actors.  Imagine their journey on a crowded and small ship. It was nothing like the cruise ships we enjoy today.  I admire the bravery and tenacity of the Pilgrims.

Plymouth Rock

And, of course, we had to see the famous rock. Below are photographs of the enclosure that houses the rock and then a closeup of the rock itself.

Plymouth, Massachusetts

Plymouth Rock

Click here for more information about Plymouth rock.

Plimoth Grist Mill

We then headed up the hill past lovely homes and scenery toward the Plimoth Grist Mill. We were fortunate to have perfect weather the day we visited.  The town is magnificently maintained and very picturesque.  

Plymouth, Massachusetts
Plymouth, Massachusetts
Grist Mill
Plymouth, Massachusetts


Burial Hill

Unfortunately, we did not have the strength to explore the cemetery at Burial Hill. Maybe next time!

Burial Hill
Plymouth, Massachusetts

You have to visit Plymouth. I only scratched the surface of the sites to see. It truly deserves more than one day’s exploration.


CITATION SOURCES:

(1) Wikipedia (http://www.wikipedia.com), “Plymouth (Massachusetts),” rev. 8 June  2014.