Sunday, June 27, 2010


I took an after dinner walk tonight down Lincoln Blvd past my old
alma mater Abington High School. Strange to call it "old". It was
barely open a year when I started there as a sophomore but
that was 46 years ago now. I guess we both qualify as old. There
was no traffic on the street and I only saw two cars during the 20
minute walk down to the turnaround and back. The only other
living things were some birds and a very small rabbit who seemed
unafraid and let me get within a few feet of it.

Or maybe it was just frozen in terror.

The side of the road across from the school is a morass of bushes
and trees overgrown with vines. There were some small berries, red
and black, but I didn't touch any. In all that mass I'm sure there's
poison oak, sumac, or ivy somewhere and with my luck I'd brush
up against it. I'll bring the camera next time and take a picture to
identify them. I was pleasantly surprised by not having to wave off

With that solid wall of brush and vine any animal further in is
well protected from detection. I wouldn't be surprised if that is where
the doe who showed up outside my bathroom window the other
night came from. A look at GoogleMaps when I came home showed
me there's enough cover in this area of town to hide a whole dang
herd of deer or maybe a moose or three, and we in these apartments
would never know they were so close at hand.

The field behind the high school had a thick mist on it and the sun was
red and looked huge setting. By the time I got back here it was nearly
dark. It was a nice relaxing walk, and I hope to do it more often in the
weeks ahead.

And I'll be sure to bring the camera.


Having had such luck extending my German Offinger line a little
at FamilySearch Search, I decided to try my luck again there on
my Irish McFarland ancestors. I have a letter my late cousin
John McFarland that included what he knew about their
grandparents. It included what he believed were the names of
John McFarland and Annie Kelley's parents. I used that
information as my starting point.

According to John, my greatgrandfather's parents were
Michael McFarland and his wife Nora. maiden name unknown,
and he'd been born on 28Nov 1852 in Leitrim Ireland. I
entered the names, year and place in Record Search and selected
"exact, close and partial" as search parameters. There were no
exact or close hit, only over 2,000 partials but none with the right set
of parents for John McFarland. I tried Kiltrustan and Roscommon
next as places of birth.Annie was supposed to have been born in
Kiltrustan. Maybe John had actually been born there as well. No luck.

Setting great grandad John aside for the moment, I turned to Annie
Kelley, born to Patrick Kelley and Anne Byrne on 1Oct 1859 in
Kiltrustan, Roscommon, Ireland. My search on her was much more
successful. I found several exact matches and many partials for Anne's
baptism. Her name was given in Latin as "Annam" and her parents as
"Patricii" and "Annae", but there was a discrepancy with the date
cousin John had given for her birth. The date of baptism is given as
22Oct 1858, a full year earlier. But where everything elses matches up,
I have to assume that cousin John's information was incorrect.

Next I tried finding a record of John and Annie's marriage in Edinburgh
Scotland between 1877  but while there were several partial hits none
of them inspired me with absolute confidence that they were my great
grandparents. Nor did I find any records of Patrick Kelly residing in
Edinburgh at the time of the wedding.

However, further searches on John and Annie McFarland turned up
records of some of their childrens' marriages in Boston, Massachusetts,
including the names of the brides' parents:

Michael E. McFarland married 29Jun 1908 to Mary L. Carroll,
daughter of John J. Carroll and Mary A. McCaffrey.

Francis J. McFarland married 11Oct 1914 to Mary J. Carroll,
daughter of John Carroll and Mary McKeon.

John P. McFarland married  28Oct 1910 to Catherine Curran,
daughter of Patrick Curran and Margaret  McEleney.

Robert McFarland married 24Sep 1913 to Anna Fay, daughter
of John J.Fay and Catherine Murphy.

As you can see, they all married Irish lasses. Perhaps the families
knew each other in Ireland?

It's another avenue of exploration, and if it pans out, I'll write about
it here!

Saturday, June 26, 2010


Randy Seaver's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun asks this question this
week: "Why Do Genealogy?" :

"1) Think about the question: "Why do I pursue genealogy and family 
history research?"

2) Tell us about it on your own blog post, in a comment to this blog 
post, or in a comment on Facebook."

1. To learn more about those unknown relatives on my Mother's side of
our family.

2. To learn more about the relatives I do know about on my Dad's side,
along with the few who remain a a mystery. I'm talking about you, John
Cutter West. and you, Caleb Coburn's nameless wife!

3. To give me something to do until I figure out how to get my tv to
finally work, and probably even after that!

4. To give me something to talk about at work and bore my coworkers.

5. Finally, because I like it! Try and stop me!

Thursday, June 24, 2010


As an avid reader and a bookseller of 21 years now, I have thoughts
and opinions that really don't belong on my geneablog, so I've started
a second blog, EAST OF THE SUN, WEST OF THE MOON. 
I'll also be talking a bit about the music I listen to and enjoy there.

It's just started up, and I can't guarantee it will be deathless prose, but
drop on by, and if you have something you'd like to say about what you
like or dislike about books, feel free to give your opinion!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


One of my responsibilities at the bookstore is the local interest section,
a perfect match for me considering how my West roots run deep in
Massachusetts. And I have to admit whenever any books come into
the store about Colonial or Revolutionary War New England I check
to see if there is any mention of my ancestors in them.So when Yolanda
Lodi called me at work a few weeks ago about a new book by her
husband Edward Lodi about the King Philip's War I told her some of
my ancestors had fought in it. Yolanda offered to send along a copy of
the new title, "Curious Incidents in King Philip's War", for review
and I spent a few evenings enjoying what I read.

"Curious Incidents in King Philip's War" is a collection of unusual
tales of heroism, savagery, and in some cases the downright strange
during the bloody conflict. Mr. Lodi chose thirty stories taken from old
histories of New England and the war and edited them into short
chapters that are easy to read and enjoyable. There are events and
incidents I have not ever read about before starting from the very first
chapter, which tells how New York Governor Andros tried to take
advantage of the outbreak of the war to seize part of Connecticut!
Another chapter "Angel and Witch" revisits the legend of the Hadley
Angel that Mr. Lodi covered in two earlier books but adds the story
of a Hadley Witch and concludes with a tale about an usual fencing
exhibition. Each chapter also includes his commentary on the particular
event the stories cover and in some cases the veracity of the story.

Although several incidents from Lancaster appear in the book, alas,
none of them involve my relatives,but that didn't stop me from enjoying
it. There's a timeline of the  King Philip's War at the end of book as
well as a biblography of reading material stretching from the 19th
centuryto the present decade. I suspect I will find both useful in my
research into my ancestor's involvement in the war and recommend the
book to those interested in New England colonial history.

"Curious Incidents in King Philip's War"(ISBN 978-1-934400-20-3) ,
compiled and edited by Edward Lodi, is published in softcover and costs
$16.95. It's published by the Lodi's own Rock Village Publishing
Company and you can find it online or at your local bookstore. (They
specialize in books about New England and Yolanda has written some
cookbooks with great traditional New England recipes.) 

Disclaimer: I am a bookseller by trade. I'm recommending a book
you might like to read, and I received a review copy from the 
publishers, a common practice in the bookselling business.


Monday, June 21, 2010


Notice: If you are reading this on any other site other than
"West in New England" at Blogger or my blog
on the "Maine Genealogy Network"  you are reading 
copyrighted material taken from my blog without my permission.

 Well, it's happened again. A commercial website is publishing material
taken from my and other geneabloggers' blogs. One of the unifying
moments in the geneablogging community was a similar incident a few
years back that brought us closer together. It's been necessary since
then for us to remain vigilant and to react immediately when we see
any geneablogger's writing used in such a fashion.

In this case Thomas MacEntee issued a "Splog Alert" over on his
Geneabloggers blog about the site and told us how to
ask them to remove our intellectual property. Since then
has added  a "Contact" function and I've just sent my request through
that. If that fails, I will move on to lodging complaints to the parties
Thomas suggests that we use.

Now, I'm not very good at explaining just how sploggers profit from
what they do, but luckily footnoteMaven is, so check out her post
about it over on her blog here

Finally, Thomas suggested in an update that we strengthen our
copyrights with stronger language. If you look to the right on my site
you'll see I've followed that suggestion.

I await a reply from Until then, I will run that disclaimer
you see in boldface at the top of this post.


I just read an email from
"RootsFeed is not a Splog.

Your posts have been deleted"

I've removed their name from the disclaimer, but I think I'm going
to leave the rest there for now.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


So last night after posting my response to Randy Seaver's SNGF
challenge of "A Prolific Dad" I decided to run the names of some
of my Barker ancestors through FamilySearch's Record Search.
When I put in my the names of my 3x great grandparents
Nathaniel Barker and his wife Huldah Hastings, I found this

This is the Massachusetts Death Certificate for one Alexander Augustus
Barker born around June or July 1824 to Nathaniel Barker and Huldah
Hastings who died on 9Oct 1912. Well, this was news to me! I knew of
two sons for Nathaniel and Huldah, my 2x great grandfathers Amos
Hastings Barker and Nathaniel S. Barker but no other children.
Admittedly I hadn't started looking for any other siblings as yet,
but I'd never seen mention of Alexander on any of the places I'd found
Amos and Nathaniel S. If this was one of Nathaniel and Huldah's
children who'd headed south to Massachusetts, he'd done quite well
for himself, since the certificate lists his occupation as "Formerly Asst.
Supt. of  Cambridge Cem". It gives his place of burial as Mt.Auburn
Cemetery which is a beautiful place. I wonder if he'd picked out a good
spot for himself?

I decided to look further for Alexander Augustus Barker on Record
Search. I found a record of a marriage to a  Lydia Jane Hutchins on 4Jul
1855 in Carmel, Me. and the groom's father is listed as Nathaniel. It
seems the newlyweds left Maine soon after for Massachusetts because
they are enumerated on the 1855 Ma. State Census living in Watertown.
Alexander's occupation is given as  laborer. Next I found Alexander
and Lydia listed as the parents of a Frank W. Barker born in
Watertown, Ma. 19Feb 1858. Then on the Massachusetts
1865 State Census in Watertown Alexander is listed as "Supt. Mt.
Auburn Cemetery.  

The 1870 Federal Census shows the Barkers still living in Watertown
with their son and two daughters. Alexander's position is now given as
"Foreman at Mt. Auburn Cemetery" . Sometime before 1880 the
family moved to Cambridge and Alexander is listed as "Sexton in
Cemetery." By 1900 the now 76 year-old Alexander was working as
the cemetery gatekeeper, so I suspect his Lexington Ave home must
be only a short distance away from the place.

Now if I can find a record of his birth to Nathaniel and Huldah, I can
add a gravely distinguished 2x great granduncle to my family tree!!

Saturday, June 19, 2010


It's Saturday night and time once more for Randy Seaver's Saturday
Night Genealogy Fun. at Genea-Musings! This week's challenge is 
"A Prolific Dad":

1) Determine who is one of the most prolific fathers in your genealogy 
database or in your ancestry. By prolific, I mean the one who fathered 
the most children.

2) Tell us about him in your own blog post, in comments to this blog

post, or in comments on Facebook.

Okay, the most prolific recent ancestor would be my 2x great grandfather
Amos Hastings Barker. He and Betsey Jane Moore Barker had twelve
children, six boys and six girls. But HIS great grandfather Jonathan
Barker had thirteen with Abigail (Mitchell) Barker, But three of those
died in infancy or at a very early age.

The Barkers were a prolific bunch and I really need to start tracing the
lines of my ancestors' siblings.

Pictured below are Amos and Betsey Barker at a picnic celebrating their
50th wedding anniversary along with their children and some grandchildren.


The other night I flashed on the memory of a song, and it brought back
memories of the summer we moved out of Dorchester to Abington.
Bear with me here as I explain.

 One of my Facebook friends uses what I believe are Japanese Kanji
characters as part of her screen name. I was looking at something she'd
posted and thought how much things have changed from when I was a
kid in the way Japanese culture has become so popular. That was the
thought that reminded me about the Japanese language song that
became an American hit back in the 1960's. I could remember the
music and in my mind I could "hear" it being sung. What was that song?
I could even recall it playing in the car one day as we pulled into the
driveway of the new house on Bicknell Hill Rd!

And that got me started on the memories. The contractor had left a
small mound of dirt on the front lawn next to the driveway that had
quickly been covered by weeds. In fact the there was a whole section
of the backyard that was basically knee high tall grass and Dad bought
one of those old fashioned weed whackers. You know, the ones with
the serrated blade that you swing like a golf club? Of course, the motor
driven weed whackers were a few years away in the future from 1963.
Guess who got to use that weed whacker club a whole lot?

There was only two other buildings on the street at the time that first
summer. Our next door neighbor was Assistant School Superintendent
in Abington, and there was a family across the street from us. The rest
was empty space, part of an old farm, and across the street was a big
field that once  might have been used for crops or pasture but now was
just more of that tall grass waving in the wind. Part of our back yard
was actually in the next town over, Whitman, and less than a half mile
away from us was Spivack's farm, where cows still grazed in the pasture
or stood stoically in a small corral next to Washington St staring at the
cars whizzing by.

City boy that I was, I was a little disappointed that the closest movie
theater was a good walk away in Whitman Center. And there was only
one library in Abington, and it was smaller than the ones I had haunted
in Boston, and it was open fewer hours!  But I met some of the kids in
the neighborhood and soon enough I was playing football and wiffleball,
so I survived the lack of a  city sized library.

One image from that first summer in Abington is of one night when we'd
been out someplace and returned home shortly after dark. As the car
pulled off of Washington St onto Bicknell Hill Rd we could see something
red glowing in the dark on our front lawn. It was the eyes of a rabbit
reflecting the car headlights. In fact, there was more than one rabbit,
maybe a half dozen, and they froze there in the grass as they were caught
in the lights. Then we pulled into the driveway, Dad turned off the
headlights and the engine and the rabbits scattered away into the dark
as we all got out of the car.

All that came to mind because of my thinking about that Japanese song
from 46 years ago. I couldn't remember the name so I posted a question
on Facebook asking if anyone knew what it was and genealogist George
Morgan told me it was "Sukiyaki". I found it online and if you click

Does it spark any memories for you? 

Thursday, June 17, 2010


In Part 1 I discussed how I found  information on my Offinger ancestors.
Now I'm going to discuss  that information and what it tells me about the
family's history.

Charles Offinger and Johanna Luick arrived in New York City aboard
the Deutschland on 13Jun 1870.Whether they were already a couple or
met onboard is unknown, but both were in Massachusetts by the end of
the summer. Johanna was working as domestic servant in the Jamaica
Plain neighborhood of Boston on 4Aug 1870 for the John D Wester
family. Charles was enumerated on 29Aug in the Cambridgeport section
of Cambridge and apparently was living in an apartment building with
other young men from Wurtemburg, all but one under the age of thirty
and all giving their occupation as something connected with furniture-

Then Charles and Johanna  wed on 11Sep 1870. On 19Dec 1870 a
Charles Offinger is born to Charles and Johanna Offinger in Cambridge,
Middlesex, Ma. Did Johanna's pregnancy happen before they left
Wurtemburg or was Charles the product of a shipboard romance?
Either way, he must have died at a young age because he does not
appear as one of the Offinger children listed on the 1880 census.

"Charles Offinger, cabinet maker, h. Harvard near Weston" appears
in the Cambridge City Directory for 1871. In 1872 and 1875 his
address is given as "6 Portland"  but by 1878 he'd moved to a house at
"19 Vine". Something must have changed in the next two years as in the
1880 directory he's listed as  "Offinger Charles, laborer, h. rear 13 Vine".
This must be the house listed as 11 Vine St on the 1880 Cambridge
Federal Census. By this time he and Johanna had six children, ranging
from 12 year old Emelia to two year old Julia. His occupation is
however listed as a cabinetmaker.

Wait a minute! Twelve year old Emelia? Where did she come from?
That would put her birth two years before Charles and Johanna married.
Given the times, I doubt they would have had a child out of wedlock in
Germany so at the moment my theory is that Emelia was a child from a
previous marriage of either Charles or Johanna. This is the only mention
of her I can find so far so she might have died sometime shortly after
1880. Charles is listed a final time in the 1881 Cambridge City Directory,
once more as a cabinet maker. He died on 17 Jul 1881 leaving 36 year
old Johanna to raise their children alone.

I haven't found any trace of Johanna from 1881 until the Boston City
Directory of 1895. It was published in Oct 1894 and shows that
Johanna had now moved into Boston and living at a house on
"Metropolitan Ave near Washington". Son Albert is listed as a clerk and
as a boarder at the same address, as well as son Frederick, who was a
clerk at 105 Summer St, Room 14". They might all have been there since
1890 when the boys are listed at that address.Perhaps Johanna lived
there as well since  Albert and Frederick were only still in their late teens.
I found no mention of William, Pauline or Julia in the directories prior to

The year 1895 would hold both joy and sorrow for the Offingers. Son
Frederick died at age 23 on 26Jul 1895, and my great grandmother
Pauline married Edward J .White on 27Nov. Johanna and Albert were
now joined at Metropolitan Ave by third son William. He died young at
age 22 on 24Aug 1898 and now daughter Julia moved into the household.
On the 1900 Federal Census the household consisted of 56 year old
Johanna, 29 year old Albert, a curtain hanger, and 21 year old Julia, a
bookkeeper and saleswoman.

Albert married Hattie Heckman on 6Jun1905 in Boston. I've found no
record that they ever had any children.Albert appears in the Boston City
Directories as an upholsterer at 23 Metropolitan Ave right up until 1946
when he would have been 76 years old. I've yet to find a date of death
for him.

Julia married John W. McCarthy on 25Feb 1906 and had five children.
So far I haven't found any records of any descendants or of her death.

As for Johanna Luick Offinger, she may have moved out of Metropolitan
Ave when Albert married because when she died at home on 14Aug 1908,
her residence is listed as 32 Folsom Street. She'd been fighting cancer for
a year and a half.

And except for what little information I had about great grandmother
Pauline and her children, I  knew none of this until a week ago Sunday
when I entered Pauline's name in FamilySearch's Record Search!


As I posted here, James Tanner's post over at Genealogy's Star about
the Family Search sites led me to investigating the Record Search
function there with great results. The most important of these dealt with
my Mom's paternal ancestors. Her parents divorced when Mom was
seven or eight years old and there was no contact with her father
afterward and while Mom knew somethings about her White or
Offinger cousins, she seldom mentioned them to any of us. I had
found some information online about her grandfather Edward J
White's family but very little about her grandmother, Pauline "Lena"
Offinger. Awhile back I found a record of a Charles Offinger living in
Cambridge, Middlesex, Ma in the mid-nineteenth century and thought
he might be Pauline's father but had no proof to confirm that idea. So
I entered Pauline's name in Record Search and one brick wall came
tumbling down. I spent a good portion of the day going back and forth
between Record Search and and ended up with quite
a bit of new information.

First I found the record of Pauline's marriage to Edward J . White on
27Nov 1895 in the Massachusetts Marriages 1695-1910 collection.
From this I learned that Pauline was born in Cambridge, that her father
was indeed a Charles Offinger and her mother was "Johanna C.". I also
learned that Edward's father was Patrick G. White and his mother was
"Mary". A search for Patrick and Mary led to numerous possibilities but
no concrete evidence. However, a search for Charles was very productive!

From the Massachusetts Marriages  1695-1910 I learned Charles was
Charles J. Offinger, born in Wurtemburg, Germany in 1848 to Jacob
Offinger and his wife Christiana. Johanna was Johanna C. Luick,
daughter of Christian Luick and his wife Christina. She also was born in
Wurtemburg but four years earlier than Charles. I found records of the
births of their children in the Massachusetts Births and Christenings 
1639-1915 collection, and records of their deaths and two of their sons,
Frederick and William, in the Massachusetts Deaths and Burials 
1695-1910. Three children married : Albert, Julia, and great grandmother

Next I went over to the New York Passenger Lists 
1820-1957 I found the image of the passenger list for the ship  
Deutschland showing that Charles and Johanna arrived in New York
City from Bremen on 13Jun 1870. I found the census records for 1870,
1880 and 1900 for them and also the census records for their children
Julia and Albert. Then I found  entries for them in the City Directories.

So, what does this all tell me? Quite a bit, and it also adds a few questions
to the mix.

First, here's the family of Charles and Johanna:
Charles (Carl) J.Offinger( b1848 Wurtemburg, Germany, d17Jul 1881
Cambridge, Middlesex, Ma.), m. Johanna C Luick (b.1844 Wurtemburg,
Germany, d 14Aug 1908, Boston, Suffolk, Ma.)11Sep 1870 Cambridge,
Middlesex, Ma.
Emelia (?) b. 1868 Wurtemburg Germany


Albert C. Offinger, (b 1871 Cambridge Middlesex Ma,   d.?), m. Hattie
Heckman 6Jun1905, Boston, Suffolk, Ma.

Frederic H. Offinger (b. 14Apr 1872 Cambridge, Middlesex, Ma, d.26Jul
1895, Boston, Suffolk, Ma)

Pauline Marie Offinger (b 17Dec 1873 Cambridge,Middlesex, Ma, d.?)
m. Edward J.White  27Nov 1895 Cambridge, Middlesex, Ma

William Offinger (b10Feb 1876 Cambridgeport, Middlesex, Ma d24Aug
1898 Boston, Suffolk, Ma)

Julia Offinger (b.29Oct 1877 Cambridge, Middlesex, Ma d?) m. John
McCarthy 25Feb 1906 Boston,Suffolk,Ma .

I bet you can tell from that list what my new mysteries are!

To be continued next post.

Monday, June 14, 2010


Whenever I post something here about my Dad's side of the family in
Maine, I make it a practice to post a copy of it to my blog over at
Chris Dunham's Maine Genealogy Network on the off chance that the
information I write about might prove useful to others  or might find
another unknown cousin. I did that with my post  ANSWERS AND 
a few comments on it that answered some of the questions and
provided a link to a very interesting map!

The first comment:

The 1858 Oxford County map shows J. C. West living on the Bear River
Road (what is now Route 26), just north of Grafton town line. It appears 
to have been the same place occupied by "J. E. Brooks" on this 1880
map. Heywood's History of Upton says that Joseph E. Brooks
"built a set of buildings" here about 1870, but doesn't mention that the
Wests had earlier lived here.

The 1880 map shows J. P. West living on what is now Back Street in 
Upton. This is confirmed by Heywood, who says that Jonathan P. 
West bought a farm of Stevens Morse south of the Back Street school 
house "about 1862, living there until his death in 1917, at the age of 86.  

I followed the link and found a map of Upton and vicinity on which were
located the exact locations of Jonathan Phelps West's farm, and Hiram
West's Saw and Grist Mill. If you click on the large pink square marked
Upton and enlarge it you can see them too!

The second comment answered my question about Asa West gave up
on hops as a crop on his farm:

"I may have an answer why Asa stopped growing hops by 1880. An
article in the Lewiston Evening Journal of 8 July 1880 said that 
"hop-raising has been rather a poor business in New England for 
the last few years. The low prices ruling for the last few years 
previous to the fall of 1879, has given such a meagre return for 
the labor and land invested in the cultivation of hops that last 
year many plowed up the vines and abandoned the culture."

I followed the link Chris provided again and found the site which displays
three pages from the newspaper. The article Chris quoted is on the first
page on the left in the upper left hand side. You need to enlarge the
image to see it. There's a lot of information there about other crop
values and I plan to compare it to the 1880 agricultural schedules that
I have for the West brothers and other relatives. So my speculation
that there just wasn't a profitable market for hops in New England was

Thanks Chris for those answers and for being kind enough to let me
quote your comments here!

And for those of you with Maine roots, check out the Maine Genealogy

Sunday, June 13, 2010


 Last week I had success finding information on my mother's family at
FamilySearch  Record Search and since then I've gone back and tried
looking up other family members. This morning I entered my great
grandfather Philip John West's name in the search box and Maine as a
location. I was hoping to find a record of his marriage to my great
grandmother Clara (Ellingwood) Tidwell. but apparently my streak of
genealogy luck was at an end. Then on a hunch I tried New Hampshire
as a location, since both the West and Ellingwood families moved back
and forth from one state to the other.

And my streak of luck continued!

The first three entries on the screen were from the New Hampshire 
Marriages 1720-1920 collection and all were transcriptions of my
great grandparents' marriage.

The first:
Groom's Name: Philip J. West
Groom's Birth Date:
Groom's Birthplace: Upton, Me
Groom's Age:
Bride's Name: Clara J. Tigwell
Bride's Birth Date: 1865
Bride's Birthplace: Dummer, Nh
Bride's Age: 29
Marriage Date: 25 May 1894
Marriage Place: Marriage Index, , Misc, New Hampshire
Groom's Father's Name: Jonathan West
Groom's Mother's Name: Louisa Richardson
Bride's Father's Name: Truman Ellingwood
Bride's Mother's Name: Florilla Dunham
Groom's Race:
Groom's Marital Status:
Groom's Previous Wife's Name:
Bride's Race:
Bride's Marital Status:
Bride's Previous Husband's Name:
Indexing Project (Batch) Number: M73156-1
System Origin: New Hampshire-VR
Source Film Number: 1001321
Reference Number: 2:1V4P54S
Collection: New Hampshire Marriages, 1720-1920

The second:
Groom's Name: Philip J. West
Groom's Birth Date: 1867
Groom's Birthplace:
Groom's Age: 27
Bride's Name: Cora J. Tywell
Bride's Birth Date: 1865
Bride's Birthplace:
Bride's Age: 29
Marriage Date: 25 May 1894
Marriage Place: Shelburne, Coos, New Hampshire
Groom's Father's Name: Jonathan West
Groom's Mother's Name: Louisa Richardson
Bride's Father's Name: Trueman Ellingwood
Bride's Mother's Name: Florilla Dunahm
Groom's Race:
Groom's Marital Status:
Groom's Previous Wife's Name:
Bride's Race:
Bride's Marital Status:
Bride's Previous Husband's Name:
Indexing Project (Batch) Number: I05109-6
System Origin: New Hampshire-EASy
Source Film Number: 988467
Reference Number:
Collection: New Hampshire Marriages, 1720-1920

And the third:

Groom's Name: Philip J. West
Groom's Birth Date:
Groom's Birthplace:
Groom's Age:
Bride's Name: Clara J. Tigwell
Bride's Birth Date:
Bride's Birthplace:
Bride's Age:
Marriage Date: 25 May 1894
Marriage Place: New Hampshire
Groom's Father's Name:
Groom's Mother's Name:
Bride's Father's Name:
Bride's Mother's Name:
Groom's Race:
Groom's Marital Status:
Groom's Previous Wife's Name:
Bride's Race:
Bride's Marital Status:
Bride's Previous Husband's Name:
Indexing Project (Batch) Number: M73156-1
System Origin: New_Hampshire-ODM
Source Film Number: 1001321
Reference Number:
Collection: New Hampshire Marriages, 1720-1920

Up until now I hadn't found the date and place of PJ and Clara's
marriage anywhere online so I'd put it aside to possibly be looked into
on a trip up north or perhaps an inquiry to the New Hampshire Vital
records site. Now  the information from these transcriptions to order
a copy of the actual marriage record!

One of the things I noticed about all three transcriptions are the mistakes
on the names. Clara's father Asa Freeman Ellingwood sometimes
went by the name Freeman Ellingwood but in the first two transcriptions
he's listed as Truman and Trueman. And poor Clara! All three have her
name from her first marriage wrong, Instead of Tidwell, it's Tigwell,
Tygwell  and in the second she's Cora Tywell! How do I notify Family
Search Record Search about those mistakes?

So I'm still on a lucky roll, genealogically speaking!


Saturday, June 12, 2010


Prior to following up on the link Randy Seavers gave to the
collection of the Federal Nonpopulation Census Schedules 1850-1880,
I hadn't really given much thought to how my West ancestors made their
daily living. I knew the regular census images said they  were farmers
which seems to have ended with my great grandfather P.J. West. My
grandfather Floyd Earl West Sr was a lumberman and his brother
Clarence worked as the caretaker of the  Azischohos Dam for over
fifty years. And frankly, I never noticed many farms up there when I
visited as a kid other than one near my Aunt Flossie's place in Milan,
NH. It wasn't until a few years ago when I found the Federal Census
images on that I learned that my West ancestors had
been farmers. I thought they were all lumbermen.

These schedules have been invaluable. Now I know what crops JP
and his brothers grew,that they periodically changed what they grew,
that they supplemented the income from the farms by cutting wood on
their farms. I think that Jonathan and Asa sold their logs to Hiram or
used his mill to turn them into lumber to be sold. But while I now know
what they did, I wonder about the why and how. That entry for a crop
of hops on Asa's farm in 1870 for example. How long had he been
growing hops and why did he start?  Why did he stop by 1880? Was
it a case of it not being a good cash crop, or due to weather conditions,
or was it just a one year experiment that failed? What prompted
Hiram's decision to sell his farm and run a saw-mill and grist-mill
instead?(more on that later)

Where in Upton was the farm that John Cutter West and then JP West
owned? When was it sold and why? Was it because JP's sons Paul,
John and PJ had no intererst in farming or did financial reasons force
him to sell?

So you can see that while the Nonpopulation Schedules provided me
with information I hadn't known about my family, they've also given me
more questions for which to find answers.

To me, that's the fun of genealogy! 

(As to that sale of Hiram's farm:it turns out he sold it to my 2x great
grandfather Asa F. Ellingwood in 1877 who then sold it agaIn sometime
between 1880 and 1885. I found that in Florence O'Connor's book,
The Ancestors and Descendants of Asa Freeman Ellingwood and 
Florilla (Dunham)Ellingwood. I should have known to check there first
for answers about my Ellingwood line! )

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Generally speaking, I try not to change my blog template too often. It
means going back to make sure older posts fit the new look. But I saw
this one and couldn't resist. I do, after all, work in a bookstore.

Besides, this one feels comfortable. It goes with my apartment.


Once again, definitions for the strange words that we type for
word verification for comments on blogs. This is a special
"I'm Jealous of All Geneabloggers Who Made it to Jamboree!" edition,
brought to you by the Acme Genealogy Answers Company:

denfu- A secret martial art used by dentists on their patients.

scrump-a very grouchy Southern Californian

hicalize-to hiccup. "Sid was embarrassed by how loudly he hicalized in the library"

cludd-the dirt and dust you discover when you finish clearing the clutter
off your desk, which of course leads to the scream "Holy Cludd!" Named
for the God of Clutter.

punfu-The secret verbal art I just used. Known only to myself and distant
cousin Chris Dunham.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010


Earlier this evening I was sitting here pondering all the material I've found of late which include the following images and records:

The Federal NonPopulation Agricultural and Business Schedules from on my 2x great-grandfather Jonathan Phelps West and his brothers Hiram and Asa West, my 3x great grandfather Nathaniel Baker, my 2x great grandfathers Nathaniel S. Barker and Hastings Barker, and 3x great grandfather Westley (Wesley) Coburn.

The Last Payment Pension Voucher Records for my
Revolutionary War Veteran ancestors John Ames, Asa Barrows, Amos
Upton, Jonathan Barker, and Jonathan's brothers Benjamin and Jesse Barker.

The full text of a book about my Coburn ancestors,Genealogy of the
Descendants of Edward Colburn/Coburn.

The records from Family Search Record Search and on
my maternal White and Offinger family lines.

Now I have all this information. What are my next moves?

The first thing I've done is make back up copies of everything. Next:

I need to copy the transcription images from Family Search to make sure
I have the information I need to find or order the images of the originals
at the FHC.

I need to finish entering the information on the Whites and Offingers into
myPAF and RM4 files.

I need to print out copies of the images and the new family groups to add
to the appropriate 3-ringed binders.

I need to remember to properly cite the sources for this material now
rather than attempting to do so in a few months.

I need to analyze what these records tell me about these ancestors' lives.

I need...

I need....

I need a clone!

Sunday, June 06, 2010


It's Sunday and I was catching up on blogposts from the genealogy blogs I follow. One of them is James Tanner's Genealogy's Star. Today's post was "What is going on with Family Search?". Reading it brought the realization that it had been awhile since I'd used the Family Search Record Search, so followed the link from James' article. I took a few m inutes to decide which one of my ancestors I'd run a search on, and decided on my maternal grandfather, Edward F. White Sr. to see if I could find a record of his second marriage. Then I decided on searching for his parents, Edward J.White and Pauliine(Paulene, Lena) Offlinger/Offlincher/Offenger. I knew nothing of their families beyond some theories that Pauline's father was named Charles. So I put in the information that I had, hit search and .....BINGO!!

There from the Massachusetts Marriages 1695-1910 Collection was a transcription of their marriage record. They were married on 27Nov 1895 in Boston. And there on the screen were the names of their parents: Patrick G. White and his wife Mary, and Charles J. Offinger and his wife Johanna C. I'd found the names of my maternal great great grandparents! I also found records of the births of three of their daughters and added that data to my PAF file as well. I decided to push my luck a little and now search the names of the 2x great grandparents,so next I tried Charles Offinger and wife Johanna. My luck held true; I found a transcription and image of Johanna's death certificate. From this I learned that she'd died of cancer on 14Aug 1908 in Boston. She was a widow and died at home at 32 Folsom St She'd been born in Germany in 1844 and,most importantly, her maiden name was Luick!

Another result on the search screen was a record of Charles' and Johanna's marriage on 11Sep 1870 in Cambridge, Middlesex, Ma. and gave his occupation as cabinetmaker. This confirmed my theory that the Charles and Johanna Offingen I'd found on the 1880 Census in Cambridge and their daughter Lena were indeed my relatives. And once again I was l lucky, because the marriage license gave me the names of Charles' and Johanna's parents. His were Jacob Offinger and Christiana; hers were Christian Luick and Christine. (I'm a little bit skeptical about those last two.) I also found records of the marriages of some of their children on which Charles was listed as Carl,and the record of Charles' death on 17Jul 1881 in Cambridge at the age of 33. But a search on the names of Charles' and Johanna's parents came up with too many possibilities to narriow them down to definite people.

The same was true of Patrick White and his wife Mary.

Now I decided to search for these names over on

The first person I decided to look up was Charles Offinger. On a hunch, I checked the Immigration files, and once more I'd been lucky. Carl Offinger arrived in New York aboard the ship Deutschland on 13Jun 1870 from Bremen, Germany. I looked at the image of the passenger list and couldn't believe just how lucky I was. Listed below "Carl Offinger" was "Johanna Lucke"! Were the two of them already engaged when they came to America, or was it a shipboard romance that led to their marriage in Cambridge in September? I also found a Christian Luick in the 1880 Cambridge City Directory whose occupation was listed as "varnisher". Did he and his son in law Charles work together in the cabinetmaking industry?

All in all, it was a productive Sunday afternoon, and once again it proved that it pays to be persistent. But sometimes, it also helps to be lucky!

And thank you, James, for pointing me back towards Family Search Record Search!

Saturday, June 05, 2010


Jasia over at Creative Gene has done it again! The 94th Carnival of Genealogy
is up and there's some great genealogy blog reading for us to enjoy. The topic
for this edition was:

"... the changing roles of women. We all know that women's roles have
changed over the centuries but have you stopped to think about how and
when women's roles have changed within your own family?"

One of the great things about the CoG is that I always discover some new
geneablogs to follow written by talented, enthusiastic writers and that holds
true for this latest edition. Read the CoG and discover some for yourself!

Oh, and by the way, consider contributing a post to the next CoG yourself. The
theme for the 95th CoG is:

"...The Annual Swimsuit Edition! Yes folks, it's that time again... time to look
over your photo collection of bathing beauties and select one to share. Bring
us your pin-up girls, guys in Speedos, or kids building sand castles. Summer
is here and it's time to show us how your family members have enjoyed
the water and the summertime heat! The deadline for submissions is July
1st. Thirty submissions will be accepted.

Submit your blog article to the next edition of the Carnival of Genealogy
using our carnival submission form

I haven't submitted anything to the CoG since my little er...vacation.... Hmm,
I wonder if there's any more beach pictures in the Big Tub of Photographs?

Thursday, June 03, 2010


I've been discussing three of John Cutter West's surviving sons lives in the 1870s and 1880's using the Federal Nonpopulation Schedules 1850-1880 for the state of Maine. Asa, Jonathan and Hiram West did quite well for themselves, in my estimation. But there was a fourth brother, Leonidas. Where was he in all this?

The answer is simple: like many young veterans of the Civil War, he went West. Leonidas was the youngest son and probably didn't receive a very large inheritance from John Cutter West's estate. On 18Jan 1872 he married Valora Abbott and probably headed west shortly afterward since the couple were living in Minneapolis MN when their oldest son Otis Leroy West was born on 8Jan 1873. Leonidas apparently never owned a farm and his occupation on the Federal and Minnesota Censuses that I've found is given as "lumberman". In fact, I haven't found any indication that he ever owned his own home. Minneapolis City Directories that I've found have him at two different rented locations, first at "401 North Av N cor. Adams " and then at "1228 Adams". I think that at least the latter was a rented house because in the 1905 State Census there are five adults at 1228 Adams: Leonidas, Valora, their three adult children and their daughter in law. If it was an apartment it certainly would have been a crowded one! I believe Leonidas rented his home instead of owning one because of his chosen profession.

Leonidas was a lumberman, and that meant that he would be off at a lumbercamp for much of the year for an extended period of time. If he'd also owned a farm, that would put a large load on his wife Valora's shoulders until his sons Otis and Frank were old enough to help. By renting a home in Minneapolis he spared Valora the ardous life that women such as my great grandmother Clara Ellingwood experienced when her first husband Charles Tidswell went off to work as a lumber camp cook and left her to manage the farm. I also have to believe that Leonidas liked his chosen profession because he stayed at it in Minnesota for much of his life. Perhaps he gained some on the job training working for his brother Hiram at Hiram's sawmill before he set out for Minnesota?

Eventually age must have caught up with Leonidas. Sometime between the 1920 and 1930 Censuses he and Valora joined their sons Otis and frank out in Washington State. Otis was the manager of a succesful lumber and sawmill company and Frank had bought a ranch, and the winter weather certainly must have been milder than that in Minnesota. He died there in 1932.

Leonidas was just as succesful a man as his three older brothers. He just chose a different place and profession in which to do it!


All genealogists have one: a brickwall. Alright, there may be a lucky few upon
whom the Gods of Genealogy have smiled who don't have a brickwall. These 
are probably the same people who got A's on their trigonometry finals. But the 
rest of us, we have brickwalls, ancestors whose names, or places of birth, or 
parents elude us. Finding the missing information and smashing through that 
brickwall to the ancestors beyond it is the Holy Grail of genealogy. Sometimes 
we have more than one brickwall to breakdown.

In my case, I have several, the big one of course being the enigma that is the 
Elusive John Cutter West. (Yes, I meant to capitalize Elusive.) But there's 
another that nags at me for my attention when I look at my family tree:

What was the name of my 5x great grandfather Caleb Coburn's wife?

Now I admit that I've been fairly lucky with the majority of my female 
ancestors.There are only a few whose maiden names I don't know. But
in the case of Caleb's wife, I don't even have a first name. Everything I've
seen online so far about him makes no mention of the woman who gave
birth to Moses Coburn, my 4x great grandfather.(I mean, I'm pretty sure 
Moses didn't come into being from spontaneous generation or cloning, so
he had to have a mother.) None of the queries I posted to discussion
groups for the Coburn/Colburn family have been successful, either.

The other day I thought I might finally solve the mystery. I found a copy 
of the book "Genealogy of the Descendants of Edward Colburn/Coburn" 
online. The book was published in 1913, only sixty-six years after Moses' 
death and co-written by Silas Coburn. Surely this might have the woman's
name. I looked through it in much the same way as Wile E. Coyote goes 
through the latest Acme Catalogue. And there on page 48 I found:

"Caleb Coburn(Moses 3 Joseph2 Edward1) was born in Dracut December 
12, 1738; he married ________ ____________; they dwelt at Tyngsboro."
followed by an entry about their child Moses.

Now I'm wondering if there was some reason the name is unknown. Could 
there have been some family scandal that removed any mention of Caleb's 
wife's name from the Coburn family history? Or was she so forgettable a 
person that nobody remembered her name?

So she still remains a mystery, along with my other brickwalls that I keep 
trying to break down, because that's what genealogists do. Like Wile E.
Coyote, we keep chasing after our elusive Road Runner ancestors.

Anyone out there have an Acme Genealogy Answers Catalogue handy?

Wednesday, June 02, 2010


Lori Thornton has asked me to pass along word that the early registration deadlines for the FGS Conference in Knoxville and for APG's Professional Management Conference (PMC) have been extended until June 21, 2010 at midnight.

If you're thinking of attending, act now!