Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Saturday, April 26, 2014


Have you been shopping on lately? Although I love my local bookstores, there is nothing like the variety of books you can buy online. For example, I recently purchased a used copy of Safe Thus Far: A History of the Guilford Congregational Church, 1767-1997 by Larrimore C. Crockett. This book interests me because I have many ancestors from Guilford.

When it arrived the other day, I was astonished at the gem I had purchased.  The previous owner must have read it from cover to cover as there are many passages that are underlined. There also appears to be a signature by the author on the cover page. I quickly saw why the book was so closely read.

The Congregational Church of Guilford is one of the oldest churches in Vermont. (1) Using a number of sources, the author compiled a list of about twenty members of the original congregation. (2) Although a number of names on this list were of interest to me, one in particular caught my eye—Joel Cutler. Joel Cutler was my 5th great grandfather. In 1782, there occurred a church meeting at Hezekiah Stowell’s home concerning Joel Cutler and his wife, Sister Cutler. (3) Joel’s wife [my 5th great grandmother, Betsey Nichols] had charged David Joy, a town leader, with “lascivious carriage.” (4)

What the heck is “lascivious carriage”? I wondered. Here is what I found:

For a definition of “Lascivious Carriage,” see American Wiki Encyclopedia of Law Project (

In Commentaries on the Criminal Law, I read that a Vermont court decided that “where a man indecently exposed his person to a woman, and solicits her to have sexual intercourse with him, and persists in this solicitation against her opposition and remonstrance, his conduct amounts to ‘open and gross lewdness and lascivious behavior.’” (5)

According to the Vermont State Papers chapter entitled “Laws Passed, February, 1779,” courts were directed to punish persons guilty of “lascivious carriage” by fines, committing them to a house of correction or to corporal punishment depending on the nature of the offense. (6)

My understanding of the offense is that a man (not her husband) made some sort of improper gesture or behaved indecently toward my 5th great grandmother without her permission. She was offended, and the perpetrator was in trouble. Our concept of improper conduct is most likely different than that of Puritans in New England. However, certain behavior is outrageous despite the date on the calendar.

Because of David Joy’s behavior, Joel and Betsey (as well as their friends Mr. and Mrs. Ramsdell) stopped going to the Lord’s Supper, which was viewed as a breach of the church covenant. (7) So now we have the church angry at the Cutler and Ramsdell families. According to the Guilford Church Records, the lascivious carriage could not be proved, Brothers Cutler and Joy settled the matter and the church wanted Joel Cutler to forgive and forget and return to his duty to the church. (8) It is unknown if Joel ever returned to the church. (9)

Larrimore Crockett, the author of Safe Thus Far, notes that the behavior that motivated the church meeting on March 21, 1782 was the absence of the Cutlers and Ramsdells from Church, not the behavior of David Joy. (10)  He further states that “the records take pains to minimize” the charge of lascivious carriage. (11) He compares the charge to sexual harassment claims today. (12)

Somewhere between 1782 and the 1900s, my Cutler ancestors became Episcopalians. They also moved to New York.  I would love to know what really happened between Betsey Nichols Cutler and David Joy.

  • I plan to order the microfilm of the Guilford Congregational Church records from the FamilySearch Catalog.
  • Because of the gap in the Cutlers’ attendance at the Guilford Congregational Church and also certain periods of inactivity of the Church, I should research other churches in the area for references to Joel and his large family.
  • The bibliography of Safe Thus Far contains many fascinating publications that might be helpful in my research.


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

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, "Historic Costume From the Renaissance through the Nineteenth Century," 2004.

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, "Decorative Silhouettes," 2003.


(1) Crockett, Larrimore. "The Beginnings: 1767-1773." In Safe Thus Far: A History of the Guilford Congregational Church: 1767-1997, p. 17. Dummerton, Vermont: Black Mountain Press, 1999.

(2) Ibid., p. 15.

(3) Ibid., p. 17.

(4) Ibid., p. 17.

(5) Bishop, Joel Prentiss. "Specific Offences." In Commentaries on the Criminal Law. Third Edition, Volume II, Chap. III, Section 27[13a], Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1865. ( accessed 21 Apr 2014).

(6) Vermont Council of Safety, 1777-1778, Vermont General Assembly, Vermont Council of Censors, 1785-1786, Vermont Office of Secretary of State, Vermont Council of Censors, 1792, “Laws Passed, February, 1779." In Vermont state papers: being a collection of records and documents, connected…., p. 290, Middlebury: J.W. Copeland, Printer, 1823. ( accessed 20 Apr 2014).

(7) Safe Thus Far, p. 17.

(8) Crockett, Larrimore. "The Beginnings: 1767-1773." In Safe Thus Far: A History of the Guilford Congregational Church: 1767-1997, p. 17. Dummerton, Vermont: Black Mountain Press, 1999. Citing Guilford Church Records, Vol. I, 8 (original lost, typed transcript exists, stored in the vault of the Guilford Town Clerk, Guilford Center, Vermont).

(9) Safe Thus Far, p. 17.

(10) Ibid., p. 47.

(11) Ibid., p. 47.

(12) Ibid., p. 47.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Saturday, April 19, 2014


Timelines can help you visualize your ancestor’s life. You can set them up to include personal as well as historic events. I used Family Tree Maker’s ( Timeline Report and, but there are many more (see a list at the bottom of this blog post).

Here are some of the discoveries you might uncover when you use a timeline. I used my grandmother, Jennie Williams Cutler (1892-1955) as an example.

1. Highlight the age differences of spouses.

Jennie was four years older than my grandfather. That was unusual in the early 1900s.

2. Tells you what new technology was discovered during their lifetime.

The Model T was manufactured in 1908 when she was 16. (1) Despite this, Jennie never drove a car during her lifetime.

3. Lets you know how old they were at the time of a much-publicized event.

My grandmother was 20 when the Titanic disaster happened in 1912. (2)  I image that she was reading the newspaper every day.

4. Tells you how old they were during a war.

World War I was occurring when Jennie was ages 22 to 27. (3) I’m sure that had an impact on dating and marriages. She was middle-aged by the time of World War II.

5. Informs you of their age when important laws were passed.

Jennie was 28 when women gained the right to vote in 1920. (4) Although she lost several years of voting privileges, at least she was able to vote for most of her life. Imagine her excitement! I can’t even envision what it would be like not to be able to vote.

Prohibition was the law from 1918 to 1933, when Jennie was 26-41. (5) This had a big impact on families.

6. Lets you know how old they were at the time of their marriage.

Jennie was 28 in 1920 when she married. I did not realize she was that old when she wed and wonder why. Perhaps she felt the need to tend to her parents since they had lost two of their children. World War I may also have been a contributing factor.

7. Tells you how old they were when their family members died.

In 1906, when Jennie was 14, her brother Robert died of Typhoid Fever. The very next year, her brother William was killed by a train. How traumatic that must have been for her to lose two brothers. Her father died in 1939 when she was 47 and then two years later her mother died. I did not realize that her parents died so close in time. That too must have been difficult for my grandmother.

8. Tells you their age when they witnessed the birth of a child.

Jennie was 31 in 1923 when she had her only child.

9. Shows you their age during a national crisis.

In 1929, when Jennie was 37, the Great Depression hit. (6)  Like most people, my grandparents had a hard time during the Depression, and they had a young child to support.

10. Gives you insight into epidemics happening during their lifetime.

The 6th Cholera pandemic was prevalent when Jennie was 7 through the age 31. (7) The flu epidemic was active when Jennie was 21-28. (8) These were no doubt fears in Jennie’s mind, especially when she had seen her brother die from Typhoid.

11. Tells you the names of the presidents in power during your ancestor’s lifetime.

Jennie was alive during the administration of Grover Cleveland, William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman and Dwight Eisenhower. (9) The policies of presidents affect the lives of citizens in major ways. An investigation into the actions of the presidents living during your ancestor’s lifetime may shed light on their world.

Now, I am quite familiar with the information on Jennie, so her timeline was complete. But what if you have an ancestor who is more elusive? I tried a timeline for Cyrus Barber Marsh, my 2nd great grandfather. Here are some interesting things you might find on a timeline with a problematic ancestor:

12. Children conceived before a marriage.

I noticed that my records showed the birth of a daughter, Melissa Marsh, in 1846 when Cyrus was 27. However, the timeline indicated a marriage date of Cyrus to Caroline Park in 1852. Now I know that I should go back and investigate this matter. It is possible that they had a child before their marriage. Perhaps Melissa was from a previous marriage or maybe Melissa doesn’t belong in this family at all.

13. Missing census record.

I saw that there was no notation of a residence in 1860. I checked my records for Cyrus and was reminded that I did not have an 1860 census record for him. I now need to go back and see if I can locate him in an 1860 Census.

14. A father dying before your ancestor was an adult.

I noticed that Cyrus was 9 when his father died in 1828. Because his mother was still living, I will need to look for her as the head of household in the 1830 and 1840 census records. If she lived with some other family member or friend or if she married, then her discovery will be a challenge.

These are some of the ways I found that timelines helped me. I am sure there are many others. Sometimes it helps to get a visual of your ancestor’s life. Timelines sum up a life and present you with a report for inspection. A different perspective is sometimes all it takes to break through that wall.

Examples of time line generators:

Family Tree Maker Timeline Report

You can also create your own timeline using Word. You can easily find historical timelines on the Internet, such as Wikipedia Timeline of Early Modern History and extract the dates you need for your ancestor’s timeline.

There are many more websites that offer timeline programs, but I chose not to use any of the ones that make you create a password—I have enough passwords to remember.

Here is a good article that lists and describes timeline generators:

“Eight Excellent Free Timeline Creation Tools for Teachers”


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

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


(1) “Timeline Report for Jennie Williams,” FamilyTreeMaker 2012,, report generated 4 Apr 2014.

(2) Ibid.

(3) Custom Timeline for Jennie Williams generated 4 Apr 2014, “Create a Timeline,”, copyright © 1994-2011 Charles Benjamin Blish.

(4) FamilyTreeMaker.


(6) FamilyTreeMaker.


(8) Ibid.

(9) Ibid.

Copyright © 2014 Karin Hadden

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


Jane Williams Cutler Taylor

Copyright © 2014 Karin Hadden

Saturday, April 12, 2014

GENEALOGICAL JOURNEYS: Adoptees, Orphans and Recent Immigrants

I have been fretting lately about the fact that I can’t find the parents of my 5th great grandmother, Elizabeth “Betsey” Nichols who married Joel Cutler and lived in Vermont. No matter how many potential parents I look at, there is no good match. Then I started to think about how some people have much tougher searches. For example, adoptees often don’t know the names of their biological parents.  There are a fair number of adoptee hits in my DNA results. These people have no tree. Can you imagine how it feels to have no ancestors on your tree? They may have only a clue or two about the possible identities of their parents, and those clues may not be correct.  

And then there are the people whose families are new to this country, so they have to explore foreign countries and languages in order to find their ancestors. The countries may no longer exist. Most of my ancestors were from England, so I don’t have to grapple with an unfamiliar language. Okay, I have to deal with archaic handwriting, but at least it is not archaic and foreign.  

And then there are the orphans. Where do they begin to find their biological family?

Sometimes it is important to visualize life from someone else’s shoes. I would really love to find out the names of Betsey’s parents, but I guess I can’t complain too loudly if I don’t.

These are some websites I found for adoption and orphan research:

Adoption » Professionals, Volunteers & Other Research Services

How to Handle Adoption in the Family Tree: Do I Trace My Adopted Family, Birth Family or Both?

Researching Orphans in Genealogy

Research Orphan Train Ancestors

Orphans and Adoption


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

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, "Decorative Silhouettes," 2003.

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, "Early American Design Motifs," 2003.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Women with Gumption: Mayflower Descendant Grandma Moses

Do you have a female ancestor who started a new career late in life? Is there a woman in your tree who defied the odds and made a name for herself despite her age and income? Many people believe that women used to just stay home and tend to housework and family matters. I think they were more talented and industrious than we might suspect.

Since my blog is called “The Art of Genealogy,” I thought I would talk about one of my favorite female artists:  the wonderful Grandma Moses.  I love her colorful, folksy depiction of everyday life in upstate New York, Vermont and Virginia. I grew up in upstate New York, and much of her work reminds me of the scenery of my childhood. My mother, also an artist, used to talk about Grandma Moses with admiration when I was a child.  I would be thrilled to have "Grandma" in my family tree, but so far I have found no connection.

There are hundreds of newspaper articles and plenty of books about Grandma Moses. One of my favorite books is The Essential Grandma Moses by Jane Kallir. Whenever I want to relax and feel good, I grab this little book and read about a woman from humble beginnings on a farm who became one of the most beloved artists in our country. The book is filled with reproductions of her artwork—covered bridges, weddings, snow-covered hills, horses pulling carts, maple sugar making, picnics and autumn trees. On page 22, there is a photograph of Grandma’s gnarled fingers holding a paintbrush. She did not let arthritis stop her from being great.


“Grandma Moses” was born Anna Mary Robertson on 7 Sep 1860 in Washington County, New York to parents of Scotch and Irish heritage. (1) When she was 27, Anna married Thomas Salmon Moses, and they moved to Virginia. (2) Anna would bear ten children with only five living past infancy. (3) In 1905, Thomas convinced Anna to move back to New York. (4) There Anna began experimenting with painting to pass the time. (5) In 1918, at the age of 58, Anna produced one of her first paintings called “Fireboard.” (6) Anna’s pastime of choice was embroidery, but she gave it up due to arthritis. (7) Louis J. Caldor, a New York City art collector, discovered her paintings in a drugstore window in 1938. (8) In 1940, Anna debuted at the Galerie St. Etienne with an exhibit called “What a Farm Wife Painted.” (9) The December 28, 1953 issue of Time Magazine had Grandma on the cover with the caption "Christmas is not just one day."


According to the Francis Cooke Society, Grandma Moses was a descendant of the Mayflower passenger Francis Cooke. (10) She was also a member of the DAR. See the article entitled “Grandma Moses to Give DAR Painting of Famous Battle." Check out her “Battle of Bennington” painting at "By, For, and of the People: Folk Art and Americana in the DAR Museum."

Anna was 101 when she died in 1961. (11) She continued to paint until the last few months before her death. (12) What an inspiration to all of us!


If you would like to read and learn more about this amazing woman, these are some links to interesting information about Grandma Moses:

Guide to the Robertson Family Papers, 1820-1907

Grandma Moses Is Dead at 101; Primitive Artist 'Just Wore Out'


Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, "Decorative Silhouettes," 2003.

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

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, "Dover's Greatest Clips," 2010.


(1) Jane Kallir, The Essential Grandma Moses, (New York, New York: The Wonderland Press, 2001), p. 9.

(2) Ibid., p. 15

(3) Ibid., p. 17.

(4) Ibid., pp. 17 and 18.

(5) Ibid., p. 19.

(6) Ibid., p. 19.

(7) Ibid., pp. 25 and 26.

(8) Ibid., p. 29.

(9) Ibid., p. 33.

(10) “Famous Descendants of Mayflower Passenger Francis Cooke,” Francis Cooke Society, ( accessed 4 Apr 2014).

(11) Op Cit., The Essential Grandma Moses, p. 103.

(12) Ibid., p. 102.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014