Tuesday, November 30, 2010


I like to think I'm a reasonably intelligent person but there are some
things that are just beyond my ken. One of them is legalese. I've
been struggling to make heads or tails out the legal case cousin
Cornelius T. Dunham became embroiled in with an apparently
tenacious woman named Catherine Carson over a rice plantation
in South Carolina. Sometime during the Civil War a man named
Edmund Hyatt had taken out a mortgage on it with two men named
McBurney and Gillespie. Then C.T. was "assigned" the mortgage
and sought to foreclose, but by this time Ms.Carson was in possession
of the property and the lawsuits began to fly.

It appear the legal war was waged through the courts of South Carolina
and Massachusetts with two appearances at the United States Supreme
Court, one of which is described in the following record. I find it ironic
that Catherine Carson's case hinged on her claim that C.T. Dunham was 
a resident of South Carolina, not Massachusetts While he had once lived
and worked in Charleston, by the time this case was argued he and his 
family had long since returned to his native Massachusetts and taken up
residence there as the Federal Censuses show. My best guess is that
it was a delaying tactic on Ms. Carson's part since she'd been fighting
the foreclosure tooth and nail. It's at times like this that I had the legal
expertise of Perry Mason or Craig Manson!

So here are some of the particulars of the appearance of my cousin
before the U.S. Supreme Court. Oh, by the way, he won.



Submitted March 28,1887. — Decided April 25,1887.

When a case is removed from a state court to a Circuit Court of the
United States on the ground that the controversy is wholly between
citizens of different states, and the adverse party moves in the Circuit
Court to remand the case, denying the averments as to citizenship,
the burden is on the party at whose instance the suit was removed
to establish the citizenship necessary to give jurisdiction to the
Circuit Court.

Opinion of the Court.
A petition filed in a state court, showing on its face sufficient ground
for the removal of the cause to a Circuit Court of the United States,
may be amended in the latter court by adding to it a fuller statement
of the facts, germane to the petition, upon which the statements in
it were grounded.

In order to give jurisdiction to a Circuit Court of the United States
of a cause by removal from a state court, under the removal clauses
of the act of March 3, 1875, c. 137, it is necessary that the construction
ether of the Constitution of the Uuited States, or of some law or
treaty of the United States, should be directly involved in the suit;
but the jurisdiction for review of the judgments of state courts
given by § 709 of the Revised Statutes extends to adverse decisions
upon rights and titles claimed under commissions held or authority
exercised under the United States, as well as to rights claimed
under the Constitution laws or treaties of the United States.

A mortgage made in enemy's territory to a loyal citizen of the United
States does not necessarily imply unlawful intercourse between the
parties, contrary to the non-intercourse proclamation and act.

A petition for the removal of a cause from a state court should set
out the facts on which the right is claimed; not the conclusions of
law only. This was an appeal from an order of a Circuit Court 

remanding a case to the state court from which it had been 
removed. The case is stated in the opinion of the court.

Mr. Clarence A. Seward and Mi: James Lowndes for appellant. 

Mr. A. G. Magrath and Mr. H. E. Young also filed a brief for

Mr. William E. Earle for appellee.

Mr. Chief Justice Waite delivered the opinion of the court.

This is an appeal under § 5 of the act of March 3, 1875, c. 137, 18
Stat. 470, from an order of the Circuit Court remanding a suit which
had been removed from a state court. The record shows that on the
11th of August, 1886, C. T. Dunham, the appellee, filed a bill in equity
in the Court of Common Pleas of Berkeley County, South Carolina,
against Caroline Carson, to foreclose a mortgage made by William
McBurney and Alfred L. Gillespie to Edmund Hyatt, which had been
assigned to Dunham. Is is alleged that Mrs. Carson is in possession
of the mortgaged property, and that she and the plaintiff are the
only necessary parties to the suit. Service was made on Mrs. Carson
by publication, for the reason, as shown by affidavit, that she did
not reside in South Carolina, but in Rome, Italy. On the 9th of October,
1886, which was the day service on her was completed, she entered
her appearance by counsel, and at the same time filed her petition
for the removal of the suit to the Circuit Court of the United States
for the District of South Carolina, on the following grounds:

" I. That all the matters therein have been already adjudged in her
favor by the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of
South Carolina.

"II. That the complainant is barred of his present action by a
judgment of the said court in her favor on the matter in controversy.

" III. That this court is without jurisdiction because a prior suit on the
 like matter is pending in the aforesaid court of the United States,
which, by its receiver, has possession of the subject matter of
this suit.

" IV. That the bond and mortgage sued on are void under the laws
of the United States.

"V. That the defendant holds title to Dean Hall plantation, the property
involved in this suit and mentioned in the complaint in the above-
entitled suit, under an authority exercised under the United States,
to wit, under a conveyance from the United States marshal for the
district of South Carolina, made under a decree of the United States
Circuit Court, for the said district, all of which will more fully
appear by her answer.

"The controversy in said suit is also wholly between citizens of
different states, viz., between the said C. T. Dunham, who, as your
petitioner is informed and avers, was, at the commencement of said
suit, and now is, a citizen of the state of South Carolina, and your
petitioner, who was, at the commencement of said suit, and now is,
a citizen of the state of Massachusetts; or the controversy in said
suit is wholly between Mary A. Hyatt, who was, at the commencement
of said suit, and now is, a citizen of the state of New York, and who is
the sole and only real party in interest in said suit and in said 

controversy, and your petitioner, who was, at the commencement of 
the said suit, and now is, a citizen of the state of Massachusetts, and 
which controversy is the only controversy in said suit; that the said 
Mary A. Hyatt is the real party plaintiff in said suit, and the said 
C. T. Dunham is but a nominal and colorable plaintiff, and that his 
name has been used merely for the purpose of defeating the 
jurisdiction of the Circuit Court of the United States for the 
District of South Carolina, and that said suit is, in fact, a
controversy wholly between the said Mary A. Hyatt and your 

petitioner, notwithstanding the assignment to the said C. T. 
Dunham in the complaint in said suit mentioned."

On the 11th of November Dunham filed in the Circuit Court an answer
to the petition of Mrs. Carson for removal, in which he denied that he
was a citizen of South Carolina, and averred that he was a citizen of the
same state with her, namely, Massachusetts. The issue made by this
answer was set down for trial in the Circuit Court, accompanied by an
order " that on such trial the burden shall be upon the defendant,
Caroline Carson, to show that the plaintiff, C. T. Dunham, is not a
citizen of Massachusetts."

Upon this trial it was substantially admitted that Dunham was at the
commencement of the suit a citizen of Massachusetts, and thereupon
the suit was remanded. From an order to that effect this appeal was 


The Circuit Court did not err in holding that the burden of proof was on
Mrs. Carson to show that Dunham was not a citizen of Massachusetts.
As she was the actor in the removal proceeding, it rested on her to
make out the jurisdiction of the Circuit Court. Dunham having denied
that he was a citizen of South Carolina, as she had stated in her petition,
and having claimed that he was in fact a citizen of Massachusetts, the
same as herself, the affirmative was on her to prove that his claim was
not true, or, in other words, that he was a citizen of another state
than her own. 

Davis, J. Bancroft, United States Reports Vol 121: Cases Adjudged 
in the Supreme Court at October Term, 1886, Banks and Brothers,
Albany& New York 1887 pp421-430

Monday, November 29, 2010


We have two deadlines in the geneablogging  community this

The deadline to submit nominations for FamilyTree Magaszine's
2011 Top 40 Genealogy Blogs Awards is fast approaching. We
have until the end of Tuesday November 30 to visit the site and give
our fellow geneabloggers a well deserved honor.

The nomination page is here and you can read the rules and
see the different categories at The Genealogy Insider blog.

There's been a tremendous growth this past year of genealogy
blogs so the competition is going to be a tough one. Don't
assume that your favorite will make it anyway without you
bothering to nominate it. And being nominated  is a great 
confidence builder for a newer blogger.

So go out there folks and participate! We'll get to pick the
award winners from December 13th to December 20th!

Sunday, November 28, 2010


If you click on this photo to enlarge it, you'll see how close Cornelius 
and his family are buried to my Dad and Mom. Their graves are in 
the Veteran's Plot just beyond my car.

So just what sort of man was my distant cousin Cornelius Thomas
Dunham and what was his life like?

When I started researching him online I had the information from the
Dunham monument and the headstones in the plot:

Edward F Dunham
Annie S.B. Dunham

Marion Dunham Seaborn
John E. P Seaborn
Nov 30, 1835-Dec 23, 1900
Louise Seaborn Humphries

Abiel Silver
April 3, 1797
March 27, 1881
"He is risen"

His wife
Ednah Hastings
May 30th, 1797
Jan 12, 1892

Their daughter,
Ednah Charlotte
April 27, 1888

I had recently downloaded a history of Abington from Google Books
and started off my  search with that. I found Cornelius and his family,
as well as his ancestors, listed on page 370 of Benjamin Hobart's
"History of the town of Abington, Plymouth County, Massachusetts,
from its first settlement".

"IV. Cornelius T. Dunham, born in Abington, April 27, 1820; was 
married on the 7th of July, 1847, to Mrs. Ann B. Jenkins, (formerly 
Poyas,) of  Charleston, S. C. Their children were—

V. Henry Lucius, born September.8, 1848.
V. Edward Francis, born July 24, 1851.
V. Marion Porcher, born April 29, 1853.
V. Mary Emma, born August 7, 1857.
V. Elizabeth Ann, born February 18, 1859.
V. Cornelia Thomas, born April 24, 1862.
Of these, all were born in Charleston, S. C., excepting Mary Emma,
 who first saw the light in Abington; and Cornelia, in Winthrop, Mass."

So now the question was, how did somebody born and raised in the
town of Abington, Ma, end up living in Charleston, S.C.?  The answer
is simple: shoes. Abington is situated in the middle of an area that once
was the shoe manufacturing capital of America, and Cornelius, like
many of his Dunham relatives, made a career out the shoe industry.
I don't know when or how he moved to Charleston but he shows up
in the Charlotte Street directories listed as "CT Dunham, Boots &
Shoes" at about the time of his marriage. His wife Ann Ball Poyas
was a member of a prominent South Carolinian family whose
ancestor had immigrated to America from France in the late 18th
century but I've found no information as to how the marriage was
viewed by her relatives.

The Dunhams were living in Charleston as late as the 1860 Federal
Census but since their youngest child was born back in Massachusetts
in 1862 it is possible they moved north after the outbreak of the Civil
War. By the 1870 Census the family, along with two domestic servants,
was living here in Abington and Cornelius' occupation was listed as
"Boot and Shoe dealer". Business must have been good for Cornelius
because ten years later the Dunhams were lving on Pembroke St in
Boston where Cornelius was a prominent member of the newly
established Swedenborgian Church. He died of apoplexy on 15Aug

My research into cousin Cornelius T Dunham turned up two major
surprises. The first is that Cornelius was involved in a courtcase
that made it up to the Supreme court of the  United States.

The second surprise involves Abiel Silver, his wife Ednah Hastings
and their daughter.

These will be the subjects of the  posts to follow.

To be continued.....

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Happy Thanksgiving, and welcome to  the Second Great
American Local Poem And Song Genealogy Challenge

The rules for the Challenge were as follows:

1. Find a poem by a local poet, famous or obscure, from the region
one of 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.Or 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.)

3.Tell us how the subject of the poem or song relates to your ancestor's
home or life.

4.Submit your post's link here to me by November 18th and I'll publish
all the entries on Thanksgiving Day, November 25th!

This year's edition is bigger than the inaugural event and every
post is awesome. Each contributor rose to the Challenge and
found great poems or songss that connected with their family
in some way and in some cases were actually written by a relative.
I've organized them by state and regions so we can take a
lyrical tour of the world! 

 This Challenge is dedicated to our late fellow geneablogger
Terry Thornton who loved a good poem as much as a good laugh.
In that spirit I'm awarding the "WillyPuckerbrush" Award to Nancy
of the My Ancestors and Me blog for her entry.

So, sit back and relax with that sandwich made with leftover
turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce, and your beverage of choice
and enjoy some great poetry and songs!

We start off with a poem by Rosetta Munroe Spencer,
"What's in a Birthday?" posted by Heather Wilkinson
Rojo over at her Nutfield Genealogy blog. Rosetta is
Heather's distant cousin and Heather shares what she's
learned about her talented relative.

William Henry Channing was a clergyman with a
more gentle approach than those of the Puritan era..
Carol Yates Wilkerson shares a short poem Channing
authored that has significance to her family at
her iPentimento blog.

Jacky at Vermont Genealogy has a poem she describes
as a "treasure for a genealogist". It was written by her great
grandmother Elizabeth Beard Baker and in it she describes
her parents and siblings. What a unique family record!

Awhile back singer/songwriter Nick Humphries sent
me a link to his video of his song "The Wangan Camp" in which
he sets Holman Day's poem to music. I'm reposting it here so
those who haven't discovered it yet can do so now and enjoy

New Hampshire
Poet Robert Frost was an inhabitant of New Hampshire and
wrote many poems that resonate with New Englanders. My
ancestors from New Hampshire and Maine must have spent
many days "Mending Wall" between their farm and their
neighbors, which is why Frost's poem of that name touches

As those of us interested in New England history know,
the Puritans could be a contentious lot, even the clergy!
T.K. of Before My Time shares A Poem by John Cotton
with us written to her 9x great grandfather the Reverend
Samuel Stone. Was the poem meant as a compliment
or a subtle rebuke? Read it for yourself and decide.

New York
Barbara Poole recently received a poem from her cousin
and, as she tells it, "I realized it was a a story of a person's
life, more like an obituary". Read about the life of Jason
Adams at Barbara's blog, "Life from the Roots"

Deborah Newton-Carter's 5x great grandfather Asaph
Morse was a veteran of the Revolutionary War and set
his experiences into the appropriately named "Revolutionary
Song. " You can enjoy it at her blog, In Black and White:
Cross-Cultural Genealogy

As I said earlier, Nancy the author of the My Ancestors and 
Me blog has won the "Willy Puckerbrush" award for funniest
poem for her post about the brutal winters of upstate New York
and "The Chateaugay Thaw". I think Terry would have gotten
a chuckle out of this one!

Families can have connections with schools and Nolichucky
Roots shares a poem about Georgetown University written
by her husband's grandfather entitled "The Old North".

North Carolina
Greta Koehl's brings us the lyrics to "The Ballad of Naomi Wise"
which she tells us "is considered to be the oldest American murder
ballad". Check them out as well as the links to a performance of
the song and a discussion of its origins at Greta's Genealogy Blog.

Suzanne Silk Strickland's grandfather didn't live long enough to
meet his great grandson which is what makes his poem "To A
Little Boy from an Old Man" so moving.  See for yourself at
Suzanne's blog, My Genealogy Girl.

The lives of our ancestors and our family histories have
always been greatly affected by the land. Doreen Paul
of Graveyard Rabbit of Sandusky Bay submits a
poem about the marshlands of Ohio in Twilight on Sandusky
Marsh, by John Hay 

Randy Clark shares a view of a town he lived in as a child in 
A favorite poem about Logansport, Indiana . 
Reading it brought back memories of the places I knew in my
own childhood here in Massachusetts

Leah The Internet Genealogist's ancestors helped settle Marshall 
County, Indiana in the 1830's.  She blogs about a poem written
by Minnie Swindell celebrating those early pioneers in the post
entitled "Marshall County"

Poet Josiah D Archer lived in Thorncreek Township, Indiana,
as did Becky Wiseman's ancestors. Archer wrote a book of
poetry about the area and Becky shares two of them with us
in "Ballads of Blue River" at her her blog Kinexxions


The coming of the Industrial age in America presented new 
challenges to our ancestors, some of which we still face today.
Jean Hibben of Circlemending found a poem written in 1899
by her grandmother Pauline Elizabeth Miller about the torment
of riding a streetcar while "Going Home At Night". Those of us
who've ridden in a crowded subway car will empathize!

Apple of Apple's Tree went looking for a poem that connected
with her Michigan ancestors, and wouldn't you know it, she found
one about growing apple orchards. This is the type of poetry that
resonated with our farmer ancestors. Read her post Plant
Orchards-1853 and see why it would!

Blogger Alanna of Confessions of a Gen-a-holic is a Fitzgerald
and submits a post about the most famous Fitzgerald in Michigan
history, "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" (one of my favorite
songs) and no, she isn't related to Edmund. I bet you won't be able
to keep from humming along as you read the lyrics!   

Our Michigan medley continues as Jasia from Creative Gene reminisces
with Kid Rock about summer in Michigan with "Rockin' Out on 
Michigan via The Kid" .   Rock on, Jasia!

Elizabeth O' Neal has ancestors who lived in Nebraska, Iowa and
South Dakota and has chosen a poem by Ted Kooser that is
rich in imagery of a hot summer day in the region.  You can read
"So...This is Nebraska" at Elizabeth's blog Little Bytes of Life.

You probably have never heard of Tami Glatz' distant cousin
Dr Brewster Higley but you have heard of his poem "The Western
Home" albeit in another form with a different title. Read "Home
on the Range" over at Relatively Curious About Genealogy for
the whole story

Carolyn the Family Tree Gal's pioneer ancestors lived in Utah and
shares a poem about an item about a common item in everyday
life back then, the pocket knife. It's short but poignant.

Next we have a Texas trio. We start with Vickie Everhart's
story of a relative who was part of a dark episode in Texas' War
of Independence. It was memorialized in a poem by Walt Whitman
and you can read it in Great American Poems :: Whitman Writes 
About Texas at BeNotForgot.

Then sashay over to John Newmark's Transylvanian Dutch blog 
and give a listen to the state song of Texas, which isn't the one
you may think is. Find out more about it and the connection to

We finish up Texas with Judith Richards Schubert whose hometown is
Mineral Wells, Texas and she's found a poem about it that speaks
to her soul. You can read it and learn about the poet in her post 
My Home Town by Dorothy Hansen at Genealogy Traces.

Over at Call Me-Shell Michelle Robillard offers her translation of
the French-Canadian song "Alouette, Gentille Alouette" and tells us
how it brings back memories of happy times with her grandfather,. 

Sean Lamb's family has a legend that they might be related to English
poet and author Charles Lamb. He shares with us the poetic epitaph
from the poet's headstone at Finding the Flock

Randy Seaver posted a poem this morning, and although he
didn't submit it to the Challenge I'm including it because it
speaks both to the holiday and to the Challenge. The poem is
"Thanksgiving" by Edgar Alan Guest and it says it all about
what the holiday should mean to everyone. You can enjoy it
at Randy's Genea-Musings blog.

That concludes this years's Great American Local Poem And
Song Genealogy Challenge. I want to thank all the participants 
once again for a job well done and for the enjoyment I got out
of reading their posts. I'll do this again next year, so start looking
for poems or songs you can submit now!(and I'll try to come up 
with a shorter name for it by then as well!)

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Sunday, November 21, 2010


When I got home from the laundromat on Thursday night I started
researching Cornelius Thomas Dunham. I found him on quite a few
family trees on Rootsweb, along with records at FamilySearch
Record Search and Matters were complicated by
the existence of a Cornelius Livingston Dunham born in Abington
in March 1823 while the birth record for Cornelius Thomas Dunham
listed his birth as April 1820, not the April 1823 date on the
monument at Mt Cedar Cemetery. ((Cornelius L was the son of
another Cornelius Dunham, and the father of yet another Cornelius.
It's a New England thing: find a good name and keep using it until
it's all used up.)). Best of all I found an image of the Boston Deaths
registry for August 1895 which had the cause of death (apoplexy)
and the names of  Cornelius T.'s parents, Ezra Dunham (born in
Plymouth) and Polly Cary(born in North Bridgewater).

Using that information I was able to work back to our common
ancestors John Dunham and Abigail Barlow/Ballou. My family
is descended from their son Samuel Dunham, while Cornelius
was descended from Joseph Dunham. Cornelius Thomas Dunham
was my Dad's 6th cousin 3x removed through our Dunham line.
There's also a connection through Patience Barrows by way of
my Ellingwood line. My 3x great grandfather John Ellingwood
Jr was married to Rachel Barrows, Patience Barrow's grandniece.

Besides establishing the degree of relationship between my Dad
and Cornelius Dunham, my research also turned up some other 
interesting facts on Cornelius T. and his branch of the Dunham 
family, such as his wife and children being born in South Carolina,
I'll explore these in the next post

To be continued...

Thursday, November 18, 2010


I got off to a late start today so I decided to stay close to
home for my Thursday Road Trip and take a walk at
Mt. Vernon Cemetery here in Abington. My parents are
buried there in the Veterans Plot but I never really paid
much attention to the rest of the cemetery on my previous
visits. Today I took a look around after I visited them.

Both the Veterans' Plot and the nearby G.A.R. Civil
War Veterans Plot had been decorated with flags for
Veterans' Day.  I took some pictures of both, then
a nearby family plot drew my attention. In its center
stood a monument with a headless statue seated on the
top. I took a picture and then walked over to see the
inscription on the side. This is what I saw:

It reads:

"Cornelius T. Dunham
April, 1823-August, 1895
`Blessed are the pure of heart,
For they shall see God"

Ann Ball Dunham
September 1823-February (year is illegible)

Cornelia T. Dunham
April 24, 1862-November 8, 1944" 

I was, as we geneabloggers say, gobsmacked. Recently I've
been wrapped up in adding my Dunham ancestors and
collateral lines to my family tree on Ancestry. Chances were
very good that Cornelius was a distant cousin who I just
hadn't found yet in my research. I took more pictures of the
other sides of the monument and the other markers in the
plot for further reference and went off to do my laundry.

Needless to say, I had a lot to think about while at the
laundromat and once I got home, I started researching
Cornelius and his family. As it turns out, there's more 
than the Dunham connection and I'll be blogging next
about what I found. But above all that, I am struck
once more by what I call the "circle game" of my Dad's
family history.

What are the odds that my Dad who was born and raised
in Maine would end up being buried only a few yards away
from his distant unknown cousin in Massachusetts?


I confess. I'm a Scrooge. Well, maybe not quite a Scrooge.
But I heard the unwelcome news this morning that the local
"oldies" station had started their annual Christmas tradition
of playing "All Christmas Music" from now until the holiday.
This means that I'm going to have to find a different music
station to listen to until Christmas again.

Now let me explain my position on this: I love Christmas,
I love holiday music, but I don't want to be bombarded
with it before Thanksgiving has even been here.Some
malls and department stores started setting up their
Christmas displays and piping Christmas carols overhead
back in October, and they aren't doing it out of pure
love of the holiday, folks. They want us to start buying
their holiday merchandise before we buy it someplace
else. They play the music so we'll be in the mood to
spend. I work retail myself, and I expect our store
will start playing all Christmas music overhead next
week. We've already been playing one album in
the rotation for two weeks.

Too much, too soon.

Christmas shopping season didn't start until the day
after Thanksgiving when I was a kid. It's one of the
reasons I love the movie "Christmas Story". Everything
that Ralphie does in that movie is something I did at
Christmas: going to see a Christmas parade, seeing
Santa at the store to get my picture taken (well, I was
a bit younger, but look at the picture. I was even dressed
like Ralphie!) I even wanted a bb rifle! Christmas was
a special time that only happened for a few weeks every
year in December.

Now it startes in October, or God help us, in Spetember,
depending on which department store chain wants to get
an early start on getting our money.

So I emailed the program director at WODS:

"Subject: Holiday Tradition

Yep, it's time for my annual Holiday tradition. Your station 
starts playing all Christmas Music, and I stop listening to you 
until a few days before Christmas. Sorry, dudes, but you 
ruin my holiday mood by playing carols too early. How about 
letting Thanksgiving come and go before moving on to Christmas?
How about keeping the magic of Christmas alive without indulging
in overkill by rushing the season?

Sorry if that makes me sound like Ebenezer Scrooge, but 

there are a lot of others like me out here who feel the same way.

Have a Merry December.

Bill West"

So if that makes me a Scrooge, so be it.


Family Tree Magazine announced this past Monday that the
nomination process for this year's "40 Best Genealogy Blogs"
has begun. We have until November 30th, 2010 to submit
the names of our favorite geneablogs as nominees in one
of the following eight categories:

"Local/regional history and genealogy: blogs focusing
on research in a specific county, state or region. Most
library and archive blogs, as well as many local historical
and genealogical society blogs, would go here.

Heritage groups: Blogs focusing on the family history of
a specific ethnic, religious or national background (such
as African-American, Jewish, Polish, etc.)

Research advice and how-to: Blogs that primarily
explain how to research, analyze photos or perform
various family history tasks. The blogger offers tips,
strategies and examples; explains genealogical concepts;
and writes about how to use new resources.

Cemeteries: These blogs feature content primarily
about cemetery research and visiting cemeteries.
Many feature tombstone photos and transcriptions,
with information about those interred.

“My Family History”: Blogs about the blogger’s
own roots, including accounts of personal research,
their own family photos and heirlooms, stories,
recipes, etc.

“Everything” blogs: Blogs that cover it all—genealogy
news, research advice, opinions, local history, family
stories, etc.—go here.

New blogs: Was the blog you’re nominating launched
during the past year? Categorize it here, even if it would
also fit into another category.

Technology: Blogs focusing on genealogy websites,
software, DNA testing or other aspects of technology
as it relates to geneal

Go to 
for more information on the rules and to submit your
nominees! I've already started!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I've been posting a lot of pictures lately from the little roadtrips
I've taken on my days off from work and some folks might
wonder what connection they might have with genealogy or
my family history.

A little background first: up until recently I usually spent my
days off reading or on my computer. But after my health
problems earlier this year I resolved to get off my duff and
get out of my apartment and DO something. I also decided
I'd take along my digital camera to record anything I found
interesting along the way. So far, those trips have been to
some of the local land preservation areas.

When I am walking at someplace like World's End or
the Norris Reservation I find myself wondering if any of
my ancestors or relatives had lived nearby and walked
these trails or seen the views I see. Of course the skyline
would be much different; there were no skyscrapers
across Hingham Harbor in Boston. But there would have
been sailing vessels entering and leaving, and there
would have been farms with livestock in some of the
same spots they are today.

Because I live in one of the oldest areas of Massachusetts
I frequently drive by old houses with plaques on them that
tell when the house was built. I drove by some this past
Thursday dating back to the 1700's. Did any of my ancestors
know the people who lived in those houses? Could any of
them have actually visited them, or could they have even
been someone who'd lived there?  Marian Pierre-Louis
wrote a post at her Roots and Rambles blog about the
things she sees and notices driving through New England
which has given me even more to think about on my drives.

Eventually I'll be visiting the FHL, the NARA and other
places more closely connected to genealogy and I'll be
blogging about those trips. But while the weather is good
I plan to enjoy these woodland walks while wondering if
I'm following in my ancestors' footsteps. 

Monday, November 15, 2010


Sunday the Patriots were playing the Steelers in a night game
so I had a few hours to go out and get some fresh air. So I
drove down Rte 123 for twenty minutes to Norris Reservation
in Norwell. Despite the overcast of the afternoon it was a comparatively
mild day for November and it seemed the small dirt parking lot was
nearly full when I arrived.

I've never been to the Reservation before and was pleasantly surprised
by what I found in my brief visit. I entered through a carriage path
lined with large rhododendron plants and then crossed a wooden bridge
over a small waterfall from a pond on my left.

There were stone benches along the path and I spotted a picnic table
down next to the brook in the above picture.

Beyond bridge I followed Eleanor's Trail (which is named after Eleanor
Norris)through pines that towered over smaller colorful trees.While the
ground was covered with pine needles the footing was easier that at the
Tucker Reserve and without the wind of the past week it was a tranquil
scene. I encountered other walkers (some with dogs) but there was ample
room for us to pass each other comfortably.

Norris Reservation closes at sunset and with the overcast skies daylight
began to fade around 3:15 so I turned back at the halfway point and
headed back to my car. I'm going to try to return before snow starts
flying and make it all the way through to the banks of the North River,
and I certainly plan to go back next Spring when those rhododendrons
are in bloom!

You can learn more about the Norris Reservation and see more pictures
of it at


We'll be getting snow up here in New England soon so I'm
taking advantage of good weather on my two days a week
off while I can. Last Thursday a ride over to Hingham to
Turkey Hill and the Weir River Farm Reservation. It was
about a half an hour drive there and the last part of it was
up the winding Turkey Hill Lane past the New England
Friends Home to the top of the Hill.

My friend Curtis told me the view was great at the top of
the Hill and it sure was the case. I stopped first at the top
of the field above the Farm. A sign next to the path told
me that it had recently been woodlands but it was cleared
to help restore the habitat of vanishing New England
wildlife that flourished in the fields and meadows of farms.
Much of the farmland of the 19th century was reclaimed
by the trees and now 60% of Massachusetts is woodland.

I skipped visiting the barnyard and drove further up the Hill to the top.
You can see quite a distance out towards the Atlantic Ocean and across
towards the Boston skyline from there. And while the recent storm had
stripped much of the foliage from the trees, there was still splashes of
gold and yellow among the dark green of fir trees.

While it was a sunny day there was still a very brisk wind and I wanted
to make another stop before heading home, so I didn't go too far along
the trail down the Hill. I plan to return here (and to the other spots I've
visited recently) in the Spring when the weather is warmer and the
daylight is longer.

I got back into my car and drover further down Rte228 to Hull and
Nantasket Beach to watch the surf for awhile. That storm I mentioned
earlier was still affecting the ocean and I wasn't alone admiring the
view of waves breaking against the rocks below the seawall.

So that was my Thursday Road Trip, from open meadows and forests
to ocean waves less than an hour from my apartment!

You can read more about Turkey Hill and Weir River Farm at:

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Back in September I wrote a post about a lead I'd discovered
on FamilySearch Record Search to more information on my
3x great grandmother Lucy Stowe. Lucy was the wife of 
Wesley (Westley) Coburn but I'd never been able to
find evidence of who her parents were.

Then two weeks ago cousin Chris Dunham left a comment for
me which helped solve part of my genealogical puzzle:

"Lucy M. Stow and Wesley B. Coburn, both of Newry, married 
28 Feb. 1827 in Newry, according to town records.

Lucy was the daughter of Melvin and Ann V. Stowe. Melvin 

was the brother of Andrew Newell Stowe of Newry, both 
sons of Samuel and Abigail (Dana) Stowe of Sherborn, Mass.
(You'll find more on this family in Elizabeth Ellery Dana's  
The Dana family in America.) Melvin appears to have lived 
in Lisbon, Maine, in 1810, but removed to Newry by 1820.
He and his wife (whose maiden name I don't know) are buried 
in Sunday River Cemetery, Newry."

So thanks to Chris I now have two more family lines to investigate!

Friday, November 12, 2010


Last Sunday my brother-in-law Peter and I took a trip up to
Salem to tour the Peabody Essex Museum. We'd seen the
commercial for the ‎"The Emperor's Private Paradise: 
Treasures from the Forbidden City" from China and made
plans to go see it. Sunday was a dark overcast day and there
was very little traffic as Peter drove us up through Boston
to Salem. Many of my ancestors lived in the towns we crossed
along the way, such as Lynn and Saugus, as well as in Salem
itself where the Ellingwoods and Woodburys hailed from. In
fact we passed by a colonial era house in Salem with a plaque
that said it was a Woodbury residence!

The street the Museum sits on has been closed to traffic and 
is paved in cobblestone and had few pedestrians on it, but
there were plenty of people inside the Museum itself. There
appeared to be an Asian cultural day going on with including
a Qi Gong presentation, lessons in painting and performances
by musicians on traditional instruments.We paid for our 
admission and bought tickets to also tour the Yin Yu 
Tang house at 11:15. We had an hour to kill before then
so Pete and I split up until then. I visited the first floor of
the newer wing, which included Korean and Chinese art
as well as a gallery holding logbooks, journals and 
dutybooks from the 19th century when ships from Salem
merchants sailed all over the world.

                    Stone demons guard the doorways between the Korean 
                                                          and Chinese exhibits.

                                                        A 19th century sail-canoe

I rendezvoused with Pete back at the food court where we
picked up the audioplayers for the house tour. The Yin Yu 
Tang house is an actual Chinese ancestral home that was 
presented to the Museum by the Chinese government back
in 1980. There is an uneven stone floor on the first floor
so caution is necessary, but there is an elevator up to the 
second floor so much of the house is accessible to everyone.
What sticks most in my mind was the small speaker located
over the door to the main room which piped Maoist government
announcements into the house which could not be turned off nor
the volume lowered! 

We ate lunch when we finished the house tour, then went up 
to the third floor afterward to see"The Emperor's Private
Paradise" which was beautiful. I would have liked to take some
pictures but they are not allowed. If you are in the Boston area   
before the exhibit ends on Jan9 2011, you might want to go see
it. (It will be in NYC's Metropolitan Museum of Art from Feb.
to May and the Milwaukee Art Museum from June to Sept.).
The plan was to go our separate ways and meet up back at the
foodcourt at 2:30, so I toured the Indian, Pacific and Native 
American exhibits, finishing up in the Early Americana section
where I began to run out of gas. I knew this was so when I
felt like I could curl up in one of the beds in a furniture exhibit.
So I took the elevator back downstairs and waited for Pete.
From there we headed into Boston to run a few errands.

It was a good trip and I didn't see the entire Museum so I'd
like to return someday. I highly recommend the Peabody 
Essex Museum for anyone looking for a relaxing way to spend
a day seeing beautiful things.

Thanks Pete for the trip!

                             The exterior of the  rear of the Yin Yu Tang house.
                                             Pictures inside are prohibited.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


As Veteran's Day draws to a close, I'd like to thank some of my
family and ancestors who have served our country: I've listed my
Revolutionary War ancestors before and these are others who
fought(and in some cases died) in other wars.

The Civil War:

My great great grandfather Asa Freeman Ellingwood
My great great granduncle Oscar Phipps Ellingwood

My great great granduncle Leonidas West
My great great granduncle Asa Atwood West
My great great granduncle Franklin Dunham (died)
My 1st cousin 3x removed Charles O. Ellingwood (died)
My 1st cousin 4x removed Henry O. Ellingwood (died)  

The Spanish-American War
My first cousin 2x removed Hollis J Ellingwood

World War I
My grandfather Floyd E West Sr.

World War II

My Dad Floyd E West Jr
My Uncle Edward F White, Jr.
My uncle Charles Barger
Operation Iraqi Freedom

My nephew Paul Skarinka

I thank them all for their service.

Thursday, November 04, 2010


And I missed the deadline for posting for it! Arrgh! I've been so wrapped
up in researching my collateral line relatives lately my blogging has
been suffering. Anyway, the theme for the 99th CoG was religious rites
and there's a bunch of interesting  responses to it.

The next edition of the Carnival of Genealogy is its 100th and Jasia
has a special request:

"Call for Submissions! As I mentioned in a previous post, I am asking
all who have participated in past editions of the COG to participate in the 
100th edition. It's a FAMILY REUNION! There will not be the usual
cap of 30 submissions for this edition. Instead there will be a floor of 100!
I will not attempt to write comments nor choose a featured author this 
time around. I'm asking all of you to help me out here and make my 
dream come true. I would like to have 100 or more submissions from 
my friends, my COG family members, for this 100th edition. It's a tall 
order, yes. It hasn't been done before and therein lies the challenge. 
Can it be done? Only your time and efforts will determine that. I know 
there are many more than 100 authors who have participated in the 
previous 99 editions of the COG. I need at least 100 of you to step 
up and write a blog post to submit to the COG to make my day, 
my week, my month, and my blogging career. I don't know how
many past participants are reading this edition so I'm hoping you'll 
help me get the word out. Please share this info on FaceBook, Twitter, 
GeneaBloggers, Second Life, your own blogs, mainstream media, the 
4 major TV networks, genealogy conferences, and wherever past 
COG participants may gather!

And the topic for the 100th edition of the Carnival of Genealogy is... 

"There's one in every family!" Bring your stories of colorful 
characters, unique heirlooms, mouth-watering recipes, most dearly 
beloved pets, whatever! Interpret as you like. Every family has 
"special" individuals, you know, the ones with a green thumb, the
black sheep, the lone wolf, the blue-ribbon cook, the story-teller, 
the geek! I know you have treasured recipes and amazing heirlooms 
you've yet to share! Tell us about them and become a part of history 
in the 100th edition of the Carnival of Genealogy! The deadline for 
submissions is December 1st.

Submit your blog article to the 100th edition of the Carnival 

of Genealogy using our carnival submission form. Please use
a descriptive phrase in the title of any articles you plan to submit 
and/or write a brief description/introduction to your articles in 
the "comment" box of the blog carnival submission form. This 
will give readers an idea of what you've written about and 
hopefully interest them in clicking on your link. Past posts and 
future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page."

Alright, I'm in! Let's hit that 100!


I received the following press release from the NEHGS this
morning and thought  some of my readers might be 
interested in attending this event:

Winter Weekend Research Getaway - 
Effective Use of Technology
Thursday, January 27th  -  Saturday January 29th  
9:00AM- 5:00PM
New England Historic Genealogical Society
99 Newbury St.
Boston MA, 02116
NEHGS Weekend Research Getaways combine personal, guided
research at the NEHGS Research Library with themed educational
lectures to create a unique experience for every participant. Personal 
consultations with NEHGS genealogists throughout the program 
allow visitors to explore their own genealogical projects, under the 
guiding hand of the nation’s leading family history experts. 
Our Winter Research Getaway, “Effective Use of Technology,”
offers a variety of lectures surrounding “best practices” in using 
technology including researching online, software, and other topics 
relevant to any genealogist.

For more information, visit our website at
or call Joshua Taylor at 617-226-1226.