Sunday, June 10, 2007


I’ve described here before how I occasionally pick one name from
my family tree and do a quick Google to see if I can find anything
about them that I haven’t found before. Lately I’ve been doing
this at the Google Book website.

About a week ago I was looking for more confirmation of the
marriage of John Ellingwood (Ellinwood or Ellenwood in some of
the records) to Zerviah Abbott and my googling brought me to the
book A Genealogical Register of the Descendants of George
Abbot, of Andover: George Abbot, of Rowley, Thomas Abbot of
Andover, Arthur Abbot, of Ipswich, Robert Abbot, of Branford
Ct., and George Abbot of Norwalk, Ct.

Which, for interests of time and my aching fingers, will henceforth
be referred to in this piece as the Abbot Genealogical Register or

On Page 71 I found “Zerviah A.” listed among the children of
Jonathan and Mehitabel Abbott(they were both Abbotts by birth
descended from George Abbott and Hannah Chandler and were
3rd cousins) and her marriage in 1789 to “John Ellenwood” of
Bethel. I looked through the list of their children and compared
it to what I already had here, adding the names of spouses and
children I hadn’t know about to my files. Among them I found
listed my ancestor John E., his marriage to Rachel Barrows and
the names of their children includes my 2x great grandfather
Asa F. Ellingwood.

(Asa would marry Florilla Dunham in 1850 and it’s through them
that I’m related to Tim Abbott and Chris Dunham.)

While adding the names of Zerviah and John’s children to my files
one of the entries caught my interest. Their oldest child Sarah is
listed in the AGR as marrying a Thomas Libbey of Newry and
having a son with the name Varanes. It certainly was one of the
more unusual names I’ve run across among the family and it
made me wonder what had become of Varanes Libbey. So I
googled his name. There wasn’t much online on Varanes but there
was a surprise.

I found Varanes on a website on the early history of the Mormon
Church in Lowell Mass. that was compiled by Martha Mayo and
Connell O’Donovan. There are brief biographies of the church
members and Varanes is under the name Varanes/Varanus/
Veranus Libbe (or Libby):

“Born about 1819 in Maine or New Hampshire to Samuel Libby
and Sarah Stevens Ellenwood of Saco, York, Maine. Married Ann
Smith in 1842 (in Lowell?) Worked as a manufacturer and "white
washer" in the Lowell mills. Baptized in Lowell by Wilford
Woodruff on October 16, 1844 (along with Mary Thornton), and
almost immediately was made Branch President. By mid-
December 1844, he was replaced as Lowell Branch President by
travelling missionary Elder Jesse W. Crosby. He probably left
the Mormon Church about that time as well. Varanus and Ann
had three daughters: Lydia, Emma, and Charlotte.

Lydia A. Libby was born September 27, 1843 in Lowell. She never
married and lived with her parents the rest of her life, becoming a
dress maker to help support her family.

Emma Priscilla Libby was born June 2, 1849 in Medford,
Middlesex, Mass. She married Hugh Martin of Nova Scotia,

Canada in November 1869, and they also lived with her parents,
Varanus and Ann Smith Libby. Emma and Hugh Martin had one
daughter, Elizabeth E. Martin, born about 1872 in Lowell.

The last of the three daughters, Charlotte W. Libby, was born
about 1854. In 1870, she is living at home in Chelsea.

By the 1880 Census, the extended Varanus Libby family (except
Ann Smith Libby who had apparently dead) was all living

together on Walnut Street in Chelsea, Suffolk, Massachusetts
along with Ann's brother Elijah R. Smith.”

This was naturally all new to me since I hadn’t even known of
Varanes’ existence until an hour before I read this entry. I’m fairly
sure my Dad knew nothing of it. But his grandmother Clara
Ellingwood had died while both her sons were quite young so it is
possible that they’d never heard about their cousin Varanes.

I emailed Connell O’Donovan for permission to quote from his
website and research which he graciously gave.In his reply says
that he feels Varanes’s departure from the Latter Day Saints might
have been part of the upheavals over the doctrine of polygamy.
He included information that will appear in an article he hopes to
publish next year and which I’ll not mention here until it does
appear but there will be further mention of Varanes in it.

I’ll have some more thoughts on this in the next post.


Chris said...

FYI, Samuel and Sarah Libby have three children recorded in Bethel VRs (including the two who aren't mentioned in AGR): twin daughters Zeruiah (b. 27 Sept. 1816, d. 8 Oct. 1816) and Elvira (b. 27 Sept. 1816), and son Varanes (b. 11 Sept. 1818).

The marriage of Samuel and Sarah, on 30 Nov. 1815, was recorded in Rumford.


Janice said...


I am also an Abbott cousin. Our common ancestors were George & Hannah (Chandler) Abbott. I am a descendant of two of their sons: Thomas and John. We are also related through the Holt line.


Bill West said...

Thanks, Chris.

I checked some of the online VRs
but it was one of my late at night
sessions and I apparently didn't
look at Bethel.

Another reason I try to do more of
my research online on days off when I'm reasonably wide-eyed and bushy-tailed!

Bill West said...

Hey there cousin Janice!

You're the fourth one now I've found this year and the third from the Abbott line.

What's the odds that four of us
would all have blogs on genealogy
and/or New England?