Sunday, November 23, 2014


I mentioned in a previous post how many of my ancestors were already
related before their marriages. These were my paternal ancestors, whose
families had been among the early settlers of New England, when the
population was small, and travel between different areas was harder.
After three or four generations many of the people in a town were
related to each other, but by the 19th century many of those blood ties
were probably unknown. In my Dad's family, his ancestors had moved
from Massachusetts up to western Maine, away from the towns like
Andover and Groton where their families had first met and mingled.
Here's just two instances on my Dad's side of the family, his parents and
paternal grandparents, using the relationship calculator function on RootsMagic 6:

Floyd Earl West and Cora Bertha Barker
1. Fifth cousin twice removed (common ancestor: John Spaulding & Mary Barrett)
2. Eighth cousin (common ancestor: William Sargent & Elizabeth Perkins)
3. Eighth cousin (common ancestor: Henry Herrick & Editha Laskin)
4. Seventh cousin once removed (common ancestor: Richard Barker & Joanna Unk)
6. Tenth cousin (common ancestor: Hugh Sargent & Margaret Gifford)
7. Ninth cousin once removed (common ancestor: John Maverick & Mary Gye)
8. Eighth cousin 3 times removed (common ancestor: Nathan Halstead & Isabel Denton)

Philip Jonathan West and Clara J. Ellingwood
1. Sixth cousin (common ancestor: Samuel Phelps & Sarah Chandler)
2. Seventh cousin once removed (common ancestor: John Emery & Alice Grantham)
3. Seventh cousin once removed (common ancestor: John Prescott & Mary Gawkroger (Platts))
4. Eighth cousin (common ancestor: William Chandler & Annis Agnes Bayford)
5. Eighth cousin (common ancestor: Michael Bacon & Mary Jobo)
6. Eighth cousin (common ancestor: Joan Blessing)
7. Eighth cousin once removed (common ancestor: Willam Lakin & Mary Laudin)
8. Ninth cousin (common ancestor: Henry Chandler)
9. Ninth cousin (common ancestor: Richard Towne & Anne Denton)
10. Tenth cousin (common ancestor: Richard Bayford & Joan Searle)
11. Eleventh cousin once removed (common ancestor: John Adams & Margery Squier)

You can see how distant the relationships are. Their common ancestors lived one
and two centuries before them. Unless there was someone around who'd been
researching their family trees, there was no way they could have know they were

Saturday, November 22, 2014


I mentioned in my previous post that  my ancestors Jonathan Phelps and Beulah Parker
were both descended from John Ames and Priscilla Kimball.  Here's a chart showing their

I now also have a double descent from Samuel Phelps and Sara Chandler through
my great grandparents Philip J West and Clara Ellingwood, which goes like this:

Another example of how the small population in colonial New England led to many
entangled family lines!

Thursday, November 20, 2014


I haven't been able to find any  a marriage record as yet for Jonathan Phelps and
Beulah Parker, but I am convinced that Jonathan was the son of Samuel Phelps and
Elizabeth Andrews and that Beulah Parker was the daughter of John Parker and
Joanna Ames.

 The reasons I've come to this conclusion:

Discrepancies in "Aunt Betsey"(Ames)Putnam's story about her parents.

1. Her statement that when Lydia Phelps met and married John Ames it
was his second marriage.
There is quite a bit of information on John Ames
but there is no mention of a first marriage in any of it.

2.Her story that Lydia's parents were of Scottish descent:  I mentioned in my
last post that I recognized the names of Beulah's mother Joanna Ames in what
William Richard Cutter had written about the family. This is because I already had
Joanna Ames in my database. She was the daughter of my 8x great grandparents
John Ames and Priscilla Kimball, and she married John Parker. The Parker, Ames,
and Kimball families had been living in Massachusetts for over a century by the
time of Lydia Phelps' birth.

The probate file and Phelps genealogy information :

The match of the names of the children of Jonathan and Beulah in the probate file
with the names in Charlotte Helen Abbott's genealogy of the Phelps family. 
This gives credence to me of her identification of Jonathan as the son of
John Phelps and Elizabeth Andrews, members of two more long established
colonial Massachusetts families. I've used her genealogy of the Barker family as
a reference while working on my grandmother's family and found her to be
very reliable as I've been able to find records to verify her Barker genealogy.
Name Patterns:

Once again, the names of the children of Jonathan Phelps and Beulah Parker were:

Joanna is also the name of Beulah Parker's grandmother in Cutter's genealogy of
the family.

Lydia is the name of  Jonathan Phelps' sister in Abbott's Phelps family genealogy.

Jonathan could be named for his father or a number of other men with that name in the
Phelps and Ames families.

Francis was a Phelps family name because of the marriage of Rev Francis Dane's daughter Hannah to Samuel Phelps in 1684. (Ironic considering the events of the Salem Witch trials between the two families.) They are my 7x great grandparents through my Abbott line.

I still need to find a marriage record for Jonathan Phelps and Beulah Parker,
but for the reasons I've given here, I believe they are my 6x great grandparents.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


Continuing the story of my search to confirm the identities of the parents of
Lydia Phelps, my 5x great grandmother:

Having looked at the probate file of Jonathan Phelps at the American Ancestors
website, I next decided to see what I could find in Charlotte Helen Abbott's EarlyRecords Of The Phelps Family Of Andover on the Memorial Hall Library of Andover,
Ma. website. Since Beulah is a distinctive name I used that in the Find function of my
Firefox browser. I found two mentions of Beulah Parker. The first is on page 5 in the
list of the children of Samuel Phelps and Elizabeth Andrews.

It says their son Jonathan Phelps was born in 1726, that he married Beulah Parker
(but no date is given) .that he died in Groton, Ma in 1758, and that Beulah's second
husband was Peter Gilson. Notice the name of Jonathan's sister above his name.

The next mention of Jonathan and Beulah is the list of their children on page 9:

They match the names of the children in the probate file for Jonathan Phelps.

I decided to Google search next using the words Beulan, Parker, and Groton to
see if I could find more on Beulah. Old reliable William Richard Cutter came through for me again:

(III) John Parker, son of Samuel Parker (2), was born at Groton, in 1694. He married in that town, May 22, 1719, Joanna Ames. Children, born in Groton: 1. John, December 12, 1719. 2. Robert, January 20, 1720. 3. Jerusha, June 20, 1725. 4. Sarah, June 8, 1727. 5. Beulah, October 10, 1729. 6. Jonathan, December 1, 1732 (twin). 7. Relief (twin), December 1, 1732. 8. Deborah, June 4, 1736. 9. Oliver, mentioned below...-p1865

William Richard Cutter, Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of Boston and Eastern Massachusetts, Volume 4(Google eBook) Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1910 Boston (Mass.)

When I saw the name of Beulah's mother, I recognized it immediately.

To be continued.

Monday, November 17, 2014


Continuing the story of my search to confirm the identities of the parents of
Lydia Phelps, my 5x great grandmother:

I originally had Lydia's parents and Jonathan Phelps and Beulah Parker of
Groton, Ma. and then Hollis, New Hampshire. Sampson Read had cast doubt
on that in his genealogy of his family because of an interview with Betsey
(Ames)Putnam, my 4x great grandaunt, Betsey claimed that Jonathan Phelps
was a Scotsman because of stories Lydia had told her as a child.

The death date I had for Lydia's father Jonathan was 25Nov 1758.  Looking in the
Middlesex County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1648-1871 on the American Ancestors
website, I found this file:

((Middlesex County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1648-1871.Online database. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2014. 
(From records supplied by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Archives.)

I opened the file and looking at the first image I knew it was the right Jonathan

((Middlesex County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1648-1871.Online database. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2014.
(From records supplied by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Archives.) ))

The document reads:
To the Honourable Saml Danforth,  Esq, Judge of
Probate for the County of Middlesex
These are to inform your Honour that it is my Desire
that you would appoint Capt Abel Lawrance of Groton
Administrator to ye estate of my husband Jonathan
Phelps Late of Groton Deceased & in so doing you oblige
your Humble Servt.
Groton March 12th 1759 Bulah Phelps
P:S: It is my desire my Brother Robert Parker
should be Gardian for my children Viz Joanna
Lydia Jonathan and Francis.

The rest of the file consists of images of the inventory of the estate, most of which
went to Beulah (Parker) Phelps.

Next I went to  website for the Memorial Hall Library of Andover, Ma. , specifically to
the page for the Abbott Genealogies. These are collected genealogies written by my
distant cousin Charlotte Helen Abbott . She was a well known genealogist who wrote
a series of columns on the histories of Andover families for the local town newspaper.
One of those families was the Phelps family.

I'll discuss what she wrote about Jonathan Phelps and Beulah Parker in my next post.

To be continued...

Saturday, November 15, 2014


A few years back I posted about the question of the identities of the parents of
Lydia (Phelps) West, my 5x great grandmother. The original information I had
was that she was the daughter of Jonathan Phelps and Beulah Parker of Groton,
Massachusetts. Then seven years ago I found this:

"My father was John Ames, who was born in Groton, Mass., and
mother was Lydia Phelps, who was born in Hollis, Mass... When
father married second wife, the widow of Sampson Read, she had
three children, Sampson, Lydia and Amy, then children by John
Ames were: John, Jonathan, Zekiel, Polly, Betsey, and Ralph;
all born in Groton, Mass., except Ralph, who was in Merrimac,
Mass., and myself in Hollis." --Aunt Betsey Putnam, as told to Axel
H. Reed, Genealogy, p. 17.

"Lydia Phelps, my mother, was of Scottish decent [sic], whose
parents were born in Scotland, and from whom the Reads got
their light eyes, so father Ames used to say."
--Aunt Betsey Putnam, as told to Axel H. Reed, Genealogy, p. 17.

((The source for the quotes is: "Genealogical Record of The Reads,
Reeds, the Bisbees, the Bradfords of the United States of America"
in the line of Esdras Read of Boston and England, 1635 to 1915.
Thomas Besbedge or Bisbee of Scituate, Mass. and England, 1634
to 1915. Governor William Bradford, of Plymouth, Mass., and
England, 1620 to 1915."
By Axel Hayford Reed, Glencoe, MN,
1915. I found them here at “The Ancestry of Overmire, Tifft, Richardson,
Bradford, Reed,” by Larry Overmire, RootsWeb World Connect Project,

On the strength of that I unlinked Jonathan Phelps and Beulah Paker as Lydia's
parents because their families had been in Massachusetts for nearly a century
before Lydia's birth. But I didn't remove them or their families from my database
until I found more definite proof one way or the other . Then a few months back
the NEHGS added the Middlesex County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1648-1871 
images to their American Ancestors and I started searching there for for the probate
files belonging  to my Middlesex County ancestors. One of the names I searched
for was Jonathan Phelps.

What I found there and one other place has I think settled the question of who
Lydia Phelps' parents were for me.

To be continued

Friday, November 14, 2014


There's now less than a week to go for blogpost submissions to the Sixth
Annual Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge. The deadline is Thursday,
November 20th and I'll be posting the list of links here on Thanksgiving
Day, Thursday, November 27th.

Once again the Challenge rules are:

1. Find a poem by a local poet, famous or obscure, from the region 
your ancestors lived in. It can be about an historical event, a
legend, a person, or even about some place (like a river)or a local
animal. It can even be a poem you or one of your ancestors have written!
0r if you prefer, post the lyrics of a song or a link to a video of someone
performing the song. 

2. Post the poem or song to your blog (remembering to cite the source
where you found it.).  If you wish to enter an older post, you may as long

as long as it has not appeared here in an earlier Poetry Challenge.
3.Tell us how the subject of the poem or song relates to your ancestor's
home or life, or the area of the country where they lived.

4.Submit your post's link here in a comment to me by midnight Thursday,

November 20th and I'll publish all links to the entries on Thanksgiving Day, 
November 27th.

If  you submit a humorous poem or song that will be entered under the
"Willy Puckerbrush" division. Willy was the late geneablogger Terry
Thornton's alias for some humorous posts and comments.

I've already received several blogpost links, and I hope there will be more
before the deadline falls.