Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Once again it's the time of year when awards are handed
out, even in the geneablogging community. As a member of
the AGFH(Academy of Genealogy & Family History) it's my
pleasure to select the best blog posts in five different
categories So without further ado, here are my picks for the
2011 West in New England Genie Awards!

Best Picture (that would be a photograph)
I have two this year.
2xgreat grandmother Louisa Richardson West 1837-1925

3x great grandparents Louisa A Richardson West and Jonathan Phelps West and family.
Thanks again to cousin Lewis Wuori for sending these to me!

 Best Screen Play (story you would make into a movie including the cast),

My Genie Awards are more like Emmys than the Oscars because I tend to
write a series of posts on a subject. My "Best Screen Play" winner this year
are two entries in a long running (and still growing) series:

Andrew Jackson Dunham= Christian Bales
Sarah Dunham Dorr=Elizabeth McGovern
Richard C Dorr=Aidan Quinn
Clinton Door=Brendan Coyle(Bates from Downton Abbey)
A continuation from 2010 movie about the Dunhams of Abington.  The
roguish father, Andrew J Dunham; the daughter Sarah who marries a
plant foreman (Clinton) only to have him go insane and be comitted to
an insane asylum. and the grandson Richard who grows up to work in
Brazil of all places for a coffee company! 

Best Documentary (investigative research), 
My Mom's parents divorced when she was very young and she would never
talk about her father. With the help of some of my geneablogging friends
I was able to find out what became of him. The series starts here in last
March  and ends for the moment in November.

Best Biography
Filling in the Ellingwood side of my family tree led me to the story of one
branch that spreads from Canada to California and to contact with a distant
Ellingwood cousin. Again this is a series that starts in November.

Best Comedy.
Learn to speak the secret language of genealogy. Really! Well...Sort of!

And that concludes the 2011 Genie Awards!

This was written for the 114th edition of the Carnival of Genealogy run
by Jasia, the owner of the CreativeGene genealogy blog. If you haven't
checked out one of her CoG's yet, I strongly recommend  that you do.
It's a great way to get a tour of some of the best genealogy bloggers

Monday, January 30, 2012


I've mentioned the two Ellingwood genealogy books I own and the digital
edition of The Upton Memorial. I thought I'd share the other books I use in
my research. There are some printed books here on my bookshelves, mostly
history books, but because of space and financial limitations most of the
books on my ancestral history are digital editions here on my laptop.
These include:

George A Gordon & Silas Coburn
Genealogy of the Descendants Edward Colburn/Coburn
(Courier-Citiizen Company Press Lowell, Ma.1913)

Rev. Abiel Abbot & Rev.Ephraim Abbot
Genealogical Register of the Descendants of George Abbot of Andover,
George Abbot of Rowley, etc.

(James Munroe and Company, Boston, 1847)

Isaac Watson Dunham
Dunham Genealogy: Deacon John Dunham of Plymouth, Massachusetts
1589-1660 and His Descendants

(Bulletin Print, Norwich Conn 1907)

Enders Robinson
Genealogy of the Barker Family of Andover Massachusetts  
(University of Tulsa, Tulsa Oklahoma  1987)

John Adams Vinton
The Upton Memorial
(E.Upton & Sons, Bath, Me. 1874)

John W Houghton
The Houghton Genealogy: The Descendants of Ralph And John Houghton
of Lancaster, Massachusetts

(Frederick H Hitchcock Genealogical Publisher  New York 1912)

William Prescott
The Prescott Memorial: or a Genealogical Memoir of the Prescott family in

(Henry W Dutton & Son, Boston 1870)

I also have some histories of towns my ancestors lived in and nearly all the volumes
of Records & Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts.
So far I've used all these books mainly to flesh out the information I have
for my direct ancestors. Eventually, when I rfinish with the two Ellingwood books
I'll choose one of these digital books to start filling in the blanks for my collateral
lines. But I realize I need to analyze and double check each bit of information before
I add it to my tree, especially from the older books where some of it is more

family lore than fact.

I'll be listing the printed books next.


I received the following anonymous comment on my post about the
Civil War Memorial Bridge here in Abington and I thought I'd repost it
here so others like myself who might be interested in attending could see it:

Wonderful blog and great photos!

In answer to what will happen to honor our Civil War soldiers and the 300th Anniversary of Abington, MA, a subcommittee has been created and is run by Robyn Fernald of Abington.
I am also serving on the committee as a member of the 22nd MA Volunteer Infantry, Co.D. - US Sanitary Commission - Boston Branch who will be running a Civil War encampment the weekend of September 21-23, 2012.
There will be Union and Confederate units there at the event, many of whom belong to the Rockland GAR Hall.

The Arch Ceremony will be on Sept 22. Details are still being ironed out. It is my hope to recreate some small parts of the grand procession Mr. Hobarth (town historian) wrote about when North, East, South and Abington proper celebrated the end of the war.

If you are interested in more information about us, here are some links thru Facebook
Island Grove Encampment Event:

22nd MA Vol. Infantry Co. D.

US Sanitary Commission - Boston Branch 

I look forward to attending this with my camera!

Sunday, January 29, 2012


Many genealogists , including myself, spend a lot of time in cemeteries. We
hunt for dead relatives, either ours or someone elses' to take pictures of
gravestones sometimes in the hopes of finding missing birth or death dates
on our family trees. But that information is not already correct.

Case in point:

Here's a photo of a  gravestone with some of my West family members. On
the right of the stone are the names and dates for my 2x great grandparents
Jonathan Phelps West and Louisa Amata Richardson West. On the left are the
names and dates of their son, my great granduncle John Cuvier West and his
wife Louise A. 

The only problem is, his wife was named Emily Enman.

I have the documentation to prove it. I have the image of the record of their
marriage in Gorham, New Hampshire on 28Jul 1893. I have the images for the
1900 and 1910 Federal Censuses for Berlin New Hampshire which shows Emily
as John's wife.   I have the entry in the West Family Bible for the marriage of
John and Emily but none for a marriage with anyone named Louise.

So, how did this happen?

Human error.

Emily's middle name was Louise. My theory is that after her death the family
either commisioned a new gravestone for both couples or had Emily's name
added to it, and in that process, the stonecutter was given wrong  information
or misread the information. (Perhaps it was caused by distance because Emily
died in New Jersey, possibly visiting a relative.)  Further proof of that is the
date for John's birth year is incorrect; he was in 1867, not 1869. As for Emily,
both her birthdate and death dates are incorrect. She was born in 1872 and died
in 1939.

If another West cousin researching the family didn't have the information
I have and used the inscription on this gravestone their family tree would be

So, before you accept the information on a gravestone, remember, it isn't
always written in stone.

Friday, January 27, 2012


A few weeks back was the anniversary of my 7x great grandparents Samuel
Upton and Abigail Frost of Salem Massachusetts. I sometimes use family
events as inspirations for blogposts, so I checked my digital edition of John
Adams Vinton's The Upton Memorial and found this:

"The father of William and Samuel Upton by will gave them his negro. This negro,
whose name was Thomas. was in 1699, the date of the inventory, about thirteen
years old, and was valued at thirty pounds or one hundred dollars. This sum may
have been equivalent to ten times its amount now. if we may judge from the
valuation of the oxen and other live stock in the same inventory. This negro slave
faithfully served William and Samuel Upton eighteen years; and they then gave
him his liberty. The deed of manumission is dated Dec. 21, 1717. At the same time,
they gave security to the town treasurer of Salem. that they would meet all charges
 which might arise against the said black man."

-The Upton Memorial by John Adams
Vinton  (E. Upton & Son, Bath Me. 1874)p32

As a historian I was already aware of the fact that there had been slavery in
Massachusetts in the colonial period, but this was the first time I'd seen details
about one of my ancestors having a slave. Ironically, John Upton had been an
indentured servant himself, having been one of many Scottish prisoners sent to
Massachusetts by Oilver Cromwell. I wondered what the "security" was that
Samuel and William had to give to the town for Thomas' freedom was all about,
and whether there was any record of what became of him.  A Google search turned
up the following:

"1717, Dec. 21. William and Samuel Upton, of this town, liberate Thomas, 
who had faithfully served their father, John Upton, of Reading. They give 
security to the treasurer, that they will meet all charges, which may accrue 
against the said black man." -Annals of Salem Vol 2  by Joseph Barlow Felt
(W.& S. B. Ives, Salem, Ma 1849) p415

I found further explanation of the security in a third book:

"Humane masters who desired to emancipate their slaves were embarrassed by a
statute unfriendly to manumission. The Act of 1703 deterred many persons from
emancipating their slaves on account of its unjust and hard requirements. And under
it quite a deal of litigation arose. It required every master who desired to liberate
his slave, before doing so, to furnish a bond to the treasurer of the town or place in
which he resided, in a sum not less than fifty pounds. This was to indemnify the town
or place in case the Negro slave thus emancipated should, through lameness or 

sickness, become a charge. In case a master failed to furnish such security, his 
emancipated slaves were still contemplated by the law as in bondage 
notwithstanding any manumission or instrument of freedom to them made or 
given."-History of the Negro race in America from 1619 to 1880: Vol2  George
Washington Williams  (G.P Putnam & Sons 1882) pp206-207

I culdn't find any mention of the fate of Thomas the slave, so I went back to the Annals
of Salem to see what else I could find and got more, but not on the Uptons. Instead, it
was on another of my ancestral lines, the Mavericks:

"The first notice that we have of this disfranchised class, is in 1637, when Capt. 
Wm.Peirce was employed to carry out, to the West Indies, some Pequods, lately 
captured, and sell them there for slaves. On his return from Tortugas, Feb. 26, 
1638, he had, as part of his cargo, a number of negroes. These appear to have 
been purchased by Samuel Maverick,  of Noddle's Island, and others. Whether 
any of them were bought by inhabitants of Salem is not known."-Annals of 
Salem Vol2 p414

Elias and Moses Maverick are my 9x great grandfathers and Samuel was their older
brother.  Samuel was actually already livng on Nottle Island in Boston Harbor before
John Winthrop and the Puritans arrived to establish the Massachusetts Bay Colony in
1630. Some accounts have him living there as early as 1624. So not only had some of
my ancestors been slave owners, one of them had actually been the first to own slaves
in Massachusetts.

That wasn't the only information I found on Samuel Maverick and his slaves.
George Washington Williams cites an incident recorded by John Josselyn in his book
Two Voyages To New England which was first printed in 1674:

"The Second of October,(1639) about 9 of the clock in the morning, Mr. Mavericks Negro woman came to my chamber window, and in her own Countrey language and tune sang very loud and shril, going out to her, she used a great deal of respect towards me, and willingly would have expressed her grief in English ; but I apprehended it by her countenance and deportment, whereupon I repaired to my host, to learn of him the cause, and resolved to intreat him in her behalf, for that I understood before, that she had been a Queen in her own Countrey, and observed a very humble and dutiful garb used towards her by another Negro who was her maid. Mr. Maverick was desirous to have a breed of Negroes, and therefore seeing she would not yield by perswasions to company with a Negro young man he had in his house; he commanded him will'd she nill'd she to go to bed to her, which was no sooner done but she kickt him out again, this she took in high disdain beyond her slavery, and this was the cause of her grief".
History of the Negro race in America from 1619 to 1880: Vol2 pp174-175
In other words, in the interests of breeding her Samuel Maverick had ordered his male
slave to force himself on the female slave.

 We often remind each other that when researching our family tree, we have to
expect to find the bad along with the good. The Maverick story is one of the bad.

I still haven't found any more mention of Thomas who had been the slave of John Upton.
I've no way of knowing how old he was when he first came into the Upton household.
I do know that John Upton was 77 years old when he died so perhaps serving an
elderly man wasn't too harsh a life for young Thomas.  Slavery in Massachusetts wasn't
abolished until 1783 so the Upton brothers didn't have to free him and pay the
equivalent of about $150 to the town to support him if he couldn't care for himself.
I hope they did so out of the conviction that slavery was wrong.

Monday, January 23, 2012


Wow, I can't believe it has been five years since I began this blog. Of course,
I need to do my now traditional annual disclosure about why this was my
second geneablog:

"Yes, now it can be told. My first geneablog was a failure. I was new
to this whole idea and started out enthusiastically and wrote
five posts within a few days for my blog which I'd named
West of New England. But when I went to add a new post a day
or so later, I discovered I couldn't recall the password for the blog.
After about a half an hour I gave up and just recreated the blog.
I'd saved what I'd written so I created a new blogger account
and started a new geneablog, West in New England. And that's why
the first five posts are all dated Jan 23,2007."

And that's also how I learned the first rule of blogging, "Don't forget
your password!"

Seriously, I'm glad I stuck with it. Through this blog I've come in contact
with cousins I might otherwise have never known about. It's also been
the means by which I discovered the online genealogy community, a
bunch of great people with whom I can share my passion for history and
genealogy. My life is better for that.

I hope I've entertained and informed my readers over these past five years,
and I thank you all for your support and encouragement.

I'm still having fun with blogging and genealogy, so I think I'll shoot for
another five years!

Sunday, January 22, 2012


It's once more Saturday night and time for Saturday Night Genealogy Fun on
Randy Seaver's Genea-Musings. Here's  this week's challenge:

Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to follow Chris Staats' rules (from Freaky Friday: Random Research Reports)  for picking a random person's name and then doing some online research about that person.  Here are Chris's rules:

1. Go to The Random Name Generator and click the red “Generate Name” button at the top of the screen (more than once if you want).  Pick one of the names you see.

2. Go to and enter your generated name in the search box on the main search page. [Randy's add:  If you don't have, go to and do it there - it's free.]

3. From the results, your research target will be the first census result for your generated name.

4. Using whatever online resources are at your disposal, see what else you can discover about your random person and write about it. It can be a formal report complete with footnotes, or just a “research story” about what you tried, problems you overcame, or success you had. Maybe you want to create a research plan for practice?

5. Post about it on your own blog, or as a comment here, or a comment on Facebook, Google Plus or Twitter.

So, my name was Jerrold Gibson.
I entered the name at  and was taken to the Historical Records
page. The first hit was for a Jerrold Gibson on the 1900 federal Census for
Lacrosse Ward 9 in Lacrosse Wi. at 1413 Caledonia St. He was 4 years old and
born in Minnesota in July 1895. His parents listed on the Census are Archie
A. and Lillian Gibson. Archie's occupation is given as merchant and apparently
business was good enough to be able to employ the 18 year old Carrie Knudson
as a servant, but not for long.

On the 1905 Wisconsin Stete census Archie is listed as a mail carrier. Carrie is

By the 1910 Census there were more changes. For one thing, Jerrold's name was
now spelled as Gerald and would be on all further records I found. There was
now a younger sister, 8 year old Mildred. The family was no longer living on
Caledonia St but at 1102 Charles St. Father Archie is now listed as a "Distributor"
for the Post Office.

On June 5 1917 Gerald registered for the World War 1 draft. He gives his date of
birth as July 25th 1895 and his occupation as Motion Picture Operator at the Casino.
He is living at 912 or 412 Vine St.

On the 1920 Census the whole family  is living together  on.Vine St. Archie had
switched jobs again and was now a traveling salesman for the Elite Cream Co.
24 year old Gerald is single and not working, and there is another sibling, 7 year
old brother Laurence.

In 1930 there is a Gerald A Gibson living in Minneapolis on Dupont St with his wife
Charlotte and four children, three girls and one boy. This Gerald's a schoolteacher.
While I can't be absolutely sure this is the right man, one of his daughters is named
Lillian and the other Mildred. Since Lillian was 8 years old at the time of the Census,
that would mean he married Charlotte in 1921 and 1922. One interesting point is
that the family seemed to move around a lot after the marriage: Lillian the oldest
child was born in Montana in 1822, Wilma in Idaho in 1923, then Mildred and son
Gerard in Florida, 1925 and 1927 respectively.

I couldn't find a record of the marriage.

I found Gerald's death on the California Death Index 1940-1997. It had the correct
DOB of Jul 25th 1895 and gave his mother Lilian's last name as Graves. He died on
April 7th 1991 at the age of 96,

I next looked on Family Search using Gerald Gibson and his wife's name Charlotte.
I found the record for a fifth child, Richard Laurence Gibson, which gives Charlotte's
last name as Kaug.  I had no luck finding a record of Gerald and Charlotte's marriage
nor could I find one by a Google search or on Rootsweb.

So to summarize, Gerald A Gibson was born on July 25th 1895 to Archie Gibson and
Lillian Graves.  In 1917 he was working at the Casino movie theater in La Crosse WI.
where he had grown up. Sometime between 1920 and 1922 he married Charlotte
Kaug and became a schoolteacher. He and his wife moved around before settling
in Minneapolis. and had at least five children together. Finally, Gerald Gibson died
in Santa Cruz California  on April 7th 1991 at age 96.

Thanks for the challenge, Randy!

Saturday, January 14, 2012


I was working on adding the Indiana descendants of my 5x great grandparents
Joseph and Sara (Herrick) Ellingwood of Lyndesborough, NH when I came to
the case of my 3rd cousin 3x removed Emaline Ellingwood.  Emaline was Joseph
and Sarah's great great granddaughter and this is her line of descent:
Joseph Ellingwood & Sarah Herrick
Joseph Ellingwood Jr & Mary Punchard
Francis Ellingwood & Elizabeth Whiting
Joshua Ellingwood & Elizabeth Dille
Emaline Ellingwood & Albert S Brooks

Emaline was born in Indiana on 16Mar 1862, 31 years after the death of her
great grandfather Joseph Jr. She was married at age 16 to an Albert S Brooks,
gave birth to two children, a boy and a girl who both died in infancy, by age 19,
and died at age 21 on 11Sep 1883.

And as I added the information and sources to my tree, I wondered if anyone
back in New Hampshire even knew she had existed.

I thought back to the letter Return Ellingwood wrote to her nephew Charles
Fletcher in Ohio in 1825 and how she mentions she hadn't seen her brother
Joseph Sr for ten years. And he lived only one state away from her, much
closer than the brothers and sister who had moved westward to New York,
Ohio, and Indiana. Apparently  Return and her sister Martha had kept in
touch by writing letters but Martha died in 1823 and Return's letter to Charles
in 1825 was her delayed response to learning the news.

This is what happened. Family members moved away, sometimes to nearby 
towns and counties, sometimes far away. Keeping the family ties intact depended
on the written word and not everyone was fully capable of doing that. People in
rural areas often had a rudimentary ability to read and write but might not feel
comfortable enough to write long letters. As a generation or two passed and
the older members of the family on both ends died off, those family ties stretched
thin and then were severed completely. Someone if asked might vaguely recall
that their great grandfather's brother had moved someplace out West but they
wouldn't recall where it was or what his name had been. The kin on the other
end might know their grandparents came from Ohio but not know the family
had originally been from New Hampshire.

In some cases, it doesn't have to be distance but anger that separated one
branch one branch of a family from another. We've all heard about cases
where a family argument leads to two relatives never speaking again and
their descendants live in the same town not knowing about each other. I
know about that gap firsthand because of the divorce between our Mom's

This is how we end up with the NFR's (No Further Records) and brick walls.
We look for records, search archives and websites, and visit cemeteries
to find clues and reattach those family ties, because we're genealogists, and it's
the reason we do what we do.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


In her letter to nephew Charles Fletcher, Return Ellenwood had mentioned
that four of her brother Joseph's sons had left him. I couldn't quite decipher
the name of where they had moved to but I think it must have been somewhere
in upstate New York because that's where I've found three of them on the Federal
Census. Francis, John, and Joshua Ellingwood had gone to settle in Gennesee
and Wyoming Counties. The two younger brothers stayed put, but it seems
Francis had bigger plans.

In 1820 Francis was in Genessee NY but by 1823 he'd followed his uncle Benjamin
Tuck Ellenwood out to Ohio. Apparently there wasn't enough land there for Francis
because on 10Apr 1823 francis Ellingwood of Marietta Ohio purchased 163.87
acres of land from the U.S. Government at Brookville, Indiana.

Nine years later he made two more purchases of 160 acres each at Township 17.

By now Francis was living in Fayetter County Indiana but he must have moved
because three years later 10Aug 1837 he again purchased 159.76 acres  in
Township 17. This might have eventually become Fall Creek Township where
Francis was enumerated on the Federal Censuses of  1840, 1850 and 1860. Or
the land might have become the town of Woodbury, Indiana which a Francis
Ellingwood is credited with laying out in 1857.  It's possible that it was his oldest
son, who was also named Francis, that did that.

I don't know yet when Francis Ellingwood died. As I said, he appears on the 1860
Census and at that time he would have been 74 years old. But by the time of his
passing Francis had owned more land on the plains of Indiana than he probably
ever would had back in tiny New Hampshire.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Today I found 4x great uncle Benjamin Tuck Ellenwood's Revolutionary
War Pension file over on Among the images was this one,
a statement by his half sister Martha Ellenwood Fletcher. It was given on
22Jan 1819  in Belpre Township, Oho. As usual, I've tried to transcribe it
line for line. I'm not sure as to the last word above Martha's signature so
the (?) is mine.

What most impressed me in this is how Benjamin makes provision for his

I Martha Fletcher of lawful age testify
and say, that I am personally knowing that
Benjamin Ellingwood Some time in the revolu
-tion  War coming to my Fathers house in the
Town of Linesborough in the State of Newhampshire
And well recollect of the said Ellingwood saying
to my Father that he had enlisted into the
Service for the term of one year_at the same
time he left with my Father a horse with
a request to him if his the said Ellingwoods
Wife, should stand in need of assiistance in his
absence_to sell the horse and remit to her
the avails thereof, or if his wife chose to take the horse
herself to deliver it to her._the horse howeve rem
-ained in my Fathers posession until Ellingwood
returned home which is to the best of my recollection
& belief was twelve months or more from the time
he left the horse with my Father and
I perfectly well recollect at the time of Ellingwoods
returning of his saying to my Father that he
had Served his term of time he had enlisted
for & had got his discharge, and further recol
-lect of his taking the horse from my Fathers
and further the deponent saith More(?)
                                                     Martha Fletcher

Monday, January 09, 2012


I recently came across this on Ancestry on a family tree owned by
John K.(I don't want to give his full name without his permission ahead
of time). I asked hin if I could use it and he's graciously given me his
permission.Not only was it nice to discover a piece of family history,
it's nice to come into contact with another cousin!

Return was the youngest daughter of Joseph Ellingwood and his wife
Sarah. She never married and lived for a time with her brother John,
my 4x great grandfather. Apparently after John had become ill or
died she was taken care of by the town of Bethel Maine where she lived
until she was "struck off" to the care of someone named Peregrine Bartlett
in 1831.

This letter was written six years before then. According to John K, it was
in reply to a letter from her nephew Charles Fletcher telling of his mother
Martha Ellingwood's death. Return's reply is full of news of the family:

her brothers' illnesses, their children moved off and married, She says her
brother had moved to Vermont but the town Lempster she mentions is in
Sullivan County, New Hampshire, not far from the border with Vermont.

Return's generation was part of the westward expansion out of New England.
Her brothers Benjamin Tuck Ellenwood, Daniel Ellenwood and her sister
Martha Ellenwood Fletcher had emigrated to Ohio. Two of her brother Joseph's
sons moved to upstate New York and a third eventually settled further out in
Indiana. Their children would move further on to Iowa and Nebraska..

I've transcribed the letter line for line as close as possible. Where I'm not sure
of a word a bold faced (?) appears.

Thanks once more to new-found cousin John K! 

Bethel January 18th 1825
Dear and affectionate Nephew, I have long sought an
oppurtunity to write to you but have not as yet improved any but
this morning taking it into Consideration that you would think
I had wholey forgotten you I therefore put by every obstacle and
Set myself Down to write a few Lines to you hoping they will find
find you enjoying good Health and the Smiles of providence. my health
has been more than useuly poor this year and a half the Disintey(
prevailed in this place that Season in a very great Degree and it was a
very Distrissing and Dying(?) time  hear but god in mercy chan-
-ged the Scene when the weather became Cooler the Sickness
abated. I was very Sick and the pain Setled in my Arms
and one foot So that I was allmost a Criple for two or three
months and my health is very poor eversince it has been a
very good Season the past year and very healthy o Charls how I long
to see you and all the rest as I expect you Sincerely feel the Loss of your
Mother which Loss I can heartily say I side (?) with you in but I
hope our Loss is gain to our parents I therefore hope you have
felt resind to the will of god I hope Charls you will Consider
the worth of your Soul and Strive to Secure an interest in Christ
in time before it is too Late give my respects to your father
and tell him I should be glad to know how it is with him about
these thing tell him that I have not Seen Brother Joseph nor any
of the family this ten years he has moved from greenefield into
the State of Vermont into a town around(?) Lempster his family
has all Left him and his wife is Dead She Died last July in
a very happy frame of mind and there is four of the family gone
to the (?) Purchase they are all married but Hiram  Brother John
Doesn't enjoy very good health his family is all Left him but
George the youngest son and I have not Lived there but
Little Since my Mother died but I make out very well
with Strangers brother jacobs family I dont hear anny thing about Cousin Jacob
is Settled in the Senter of this parish near the post office
which is kept at Dr Moses Masons and you may Direct
Letters to him I think you may all Least write once a
year (give?) my Love to Daniel's Widow and family Benjamins
family if you have oppertunity if they are alive So I Conclude
Sending my Love to you and your familey and
Subscribe myself your affectionate Aunt
Return Ellenwood.

Sunday, January 08, 2012


I'm still working my way back on the Ellingwood family tree, trying to fill in
the blank spaces by a combination of searches on Ancestry, FamilySearch
and Google. Presently I'm researching the siblings of my 4x great grandfather
John Ellingwood. His father Joseph had been married twice and John had
an older half-brother, Benjamin Tuck Ellenwood.(This was one of the older
spellings of the last name and it seems at this point in our branch of the that
it varied from sibling to sibling.) I know from both Florence O'Connor's and
Ralph Ellinwood's books on the family that Benjamin Tuck had eventually
moved out to Ohio with three of his sons.

Now my ancestor John had been one of eleven children by Joseph Ellingwood's
seconf wife. Of those, there were four that neither Ellingwood book had any
information for other than the date of birth. Reasoning that since their older
half-brother had migrated out to Ohio I started looking out in that direction.
I Googled "Benjamin Tuck Ellenwood"  and one of the hists was this book by
N.A. Gard:

Our Ellenwood clan: ancestors and descendants of our Revolutionary War soldier
ancestor, Benjamin Tuck Ellenwood, who came to Washington County, Ohio,

1811, also his half-brother Daniel Ellenwood, here 1795, and Daniel's sister,
Martha Ellenwood, and her husband, Sherebiah Fletcher, here before 1800, 
and some allied families

Both Daniel and Martha had been two of the siblings for whom I was looking for
information.  Heck, that title alone gave me a lot  even if is an out of print book
and presently unavailable from Amazon and Abe Books.  It is listed in the NEHGS
collection so I'll have to get in there to see it. Great motivation for the trip,eh?

But because of that stroke of genealogical serendipity I've been adding Fletcher
cousins to my family tree the last few nights and can start on Daniel next!


I took a walk this afternoon and after I got home I made the comment on
Facebook that it had been a beautiful sunset and that I thought that there's
something about growing older that makes us appreciate sunsets more. Fb
friend Robert Stanhope asked me in a comment if I'd read this poem by
New England poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. I hadn't but I looked it
up immediately. It's beautiful and nothing like what most of us expect in a
poem by Longfellow.

Thanks, Robert, for calling it to my attention!


Leafless are the trees; their purple branches
Spread themselves abroad, like reefs of coral,
Rising silent
In the Red Sea of the Winter sunset.

From the hundred chimneys of the village,
Like the Afreet in the Arabian story,
Smoky columns
Tower aloft into the air of amber.

At the window winks the flickering fire-light;
Here and there the lamps of evening glimmer,
Social watch-fires
Answering one another through the darkness.

On the hearth the lighted logs are glowing,
And like Ariel in the cloven pine-tree
For its freedom
Groans and sighs the air imprisoned in them.

By the fireside there are old men seated,
Seeing ruined cities in the ashes,
Asking sadly
Of the Past what it can ne'er restore them.

By the fireside there are youthful dreamers,
Building castles fair, with stately stairways,
Asking blindly
Of the future what it cannot give them.

By the fireside tragedies are acted
In whose scenes appear two actors only,
Wife and husband,
And above them God the sole spectator.

By the fireside there are peace and comfort,
Wives and children, with fair thoughtful faces,
Waiting, watching
For a well-known footstep in the passage.

Each man's chimney is his Golden Milestone;
Is the central point, from which he measures
Every distance
Through the gateways of the world around him.

In his farthest wanderings still he sees it;
Hears the talking flame, the answering night-wind,
As he heard them
When he sat with those who were, but are not.

Happy he whom neither wealth nor fashion,
Nor the march of the encroaching city,
Drives an exile
From the hearth of his ancestral homestead.

We may build more splendid habitations,
Fill our rooms with paintings and with sculptures,
But we cannot
Buy with gold the old associations!

-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Friday, January 06, 2012


I've been reading science fiction and fantasy since I was eight years old. There's
a term used in that community called "Sense of Wonder". Loosely, it means that
ability a book or film has to draw you into its world, that sense of awe when you
read an engrossing book or see a great movie. I got that the first ime I read Tolkien,
Burroughs, Dunsany and others, and the first time that Imperial cruiser flew onto
the screen seemingly right over my head in the opening scene of the first Star
Wars film.

Now one of the things I found when I started really getting into genealogy is that
there is for me a similar "Sense of Wonder" for genealogy. In this case it doesn't
involve fantasy but rather family history. I get a real kick out of not just discovering
names and dates but also in putting the pieces together to try to solve the puzzles
of the lives attached to them. I was fascinated with  the story of John Wesley
Ellingwood and his children, and even more so that it put me in touch with another
Ellingwood cousin, Bonnie Grant. I've just added another whole group of Ellingwood
cousins to my family tree. I'm looking forward to seeing what the documents I've
found for  them might tell me of their lives. This is just for one line. Imagine what I
will find on the others!

There's been a lot of discussion lately about where the geneablogging community
is now and where it is heading and it's been interesting reading. I haven't thrown my
two cents in because frankly I don't have it. The people in the discussion have more
knowledge of the field and better writing skills than I'll ever have.

What I will say is this:

I know other genealogists have that same sense of genealogical wonder that I have.
I know this by all the posts on blogs or Facebook or Twitter where people excitedly
share their new discoveries or talk about being contacted by cousins who found
them through their blogs.

Should we be concerned about what the role of the geneablogging community has
become and where it will go in the future? Yes, we should.

Does every blogpost need to be meticulously sourced and cited? That's up to the
author of each blog.

But as we consider these issues, let's try to be constructive and not divisive.

Let's not do or say anything that will sour either our own or another's enjoyment
of genealogy.

As Randy Seaver says, Genealogy is FUN for so many of us.

Let's try to keep that sense of genealogy wonder going for us all.

Thursday, January 05, 2012


No matter the circumstances that might force them to find work in the United
States for a time, Enoch and Oscar Ellingwood always returned to their homes
in Hereford, Compton, Quebec, Canada. There seems to have been a lot of
passing back and forth across the border by the family, though . For one thing,
some of them would go across the border to Canaan Vermont to get married
by a Justice of the Peace. The children, though, were all baptized in Hereford,
sometimes a year after birth. Perhaps like Upton Maine they didn't have a year
round minister in Hereford? That delay lessened in the early twentieth century
when automobiles made travel faster for a preacher.

Others of the children and grandchildren moved back to the U.S, from Canada and
lived in northern New Hampshire. Oscar's son John was one of them. He was living
in Columbia NH when his oldest son Edward was struck and killed by a truck in

Tragedy would strike Oscar's family again seven years later in 1932  when his
oldest son Wesley went across the border to Canaan Vt. to commit suicide with a
gun.He was the father of eight adult children. Since this was era of the Great
Depression perhaps he'd been having financial problems when he took his own

But for the most part the two brothers' families grew and flourished. They did
what my Ellingwood ancestors seemed to do so well: they had big families.
Oscar had five children and nineteen grandchildren, Enoch had six children and  
thirteen grandchildren. Both men had numerous great grandchildren. Since I
started this series I've  wondered  how much they were able to keep in touch with
their parents and siblings who'd moved to California. Perhaps they wrote letters.
I doubt if they ever saw each other again in person after the family split up
sometime before 1870.


((I first posted this back in May 2008. It's one of my favorites of all my

Massachusetts and New England has some interesting
geographical names and I thought I'd occasionally write about
some of the more unique ones. And if I'm going to do that, I
might as well start right at the top:


No, I'm not gargling.

That is the original Nipmuc Indian tribe name as well as the
official name for a lake that is also known as "Lake Webster"
because of the town where it is located. When I was a kid and
we drove by it once my folks told me the name meant "You
fish on your side, we'll fish on our side, and nobody fishes in
the middle." but according to the Wikipedia article here,
that definition was a humorous attempt by a local writer to
resolve the arguments over the meaning of the word.

The Nipmuc Indian Association of Connecticut (Webster is
close to the Connecticut-Massachusetts border) website says
the name incorporates the name of a local Nipmuc village of
Monuhchogok but there also seems to be some reference
to a "meeting place" in the name.

The word has several distinctions. It is often cited as the
longest place name in the USA and the 6th longest in the
world. The letter "g" is used 16 times which is the most
times any letter is used in any word in the English language
and the letter "a" is used 9 times, again the most times for
that letter in the language.

I think the Nipmucs would have preferred to keep their
beautiful lake and forgo the linguistic distinctions.

It is a mouthful, though, isn't it?

Do any of you fellow geneabloggers have a unique place name
near you? Write about it on your own blog and let me know
and I'll post the link here!


Randy has commented with "Funny Place Names"

Jessica has as well with "Speaking of Funny Place Names..."

Monday, January 02, 2012


Back in November I mentioned I'd discovered that my 8x great grandfather
William Barstow was among the early shipbuilders of New England and
that he'd built the second shipyard on the North River in Hanover Ma back
in the mid 1600's. Today my brother in law Peter and I took a walk along the
shores of the North River at the Norris Reservation which is a bit further down
the river from where my ancestor's shipyard would have been. Ironically, I
discovered when I got home and began thinking about this post that yesterday,
1Jan, was the 345th anniversary of his death in 1667.

Apart from the advantages to a shipbuilder of being a tidal river, the North
River  at the point where it passes through Norwell is beautiful to see.

Sunday, January 01, 2012


It's time once again for those of us looking into the past to look into our
future. So here are my genealogy goals and my plans on how to achieve

1.Work more on my maternal lines
Plan: Try to get into Boston and find the divorce record for my Mom's parents,
Send away for my McFarland grreat grandparents death certificates and any
other documents which might definitely establish their place of birth

2.Continue researching my paternal lines

Plan: I'm hoping to have the Ellingwood collateral lines done by midyear and
continue working on the others. The more recent Barker, Dunham and Coburn
lines in particular. As in last year, I need to get out more to the NEHGS and the
local Family History Center. And I still haven't made it into the Mass State Archives!
The trips to the local cemeteries have turned up family connections so I'll be
continuing those. I also hope to attend the Ellingwood Reunion again this year.

3. Break down that John Cutter West brick wall!
Plan: Same as last year: "A series of visits to the town halls and historical societies
of towns here in Plymouth County seems to be the only approach possible to
this mystery. The cemetery visits might also prove useful in this."

4. Join a local genealogy or historical society.
Plan: I'm ashamed to say I still haven't done this. I hope to change that soon. Work
schedule is no longer an obstacle.

5. Continue with Find A Grave activities
Plan: Get back to visiting the local cemeteries, taking pictures and posting them to
Find A Grave. This is a bit hindered right now by my lack of transportation but I
hope to have that taken care of by the end of this month.

6. Trim My Tree
Plan: I am paying the price of heedless gedcom downloads from PAF from when
I was a clueless newbie ten years ago, Multiple entries for one person and more
remote ancestors of dubious connections need to be removed. I made a start of this
in 2011 and must continue do so. The flip side of this is to be more vigilant in
adding new names and remember to cite sources.

7. Write more.
Plan: Continue blogging and try to equal if not surpass my output of 2011. I had
248 posts on West in New England, and 42 on The Old Colony Graveyard Rabbit.
I enjoy sharing the stories that I've discovered in my research.

8. Organize, Organize, ORGANIZE!!
Plan: Same as last year: JUST DO IT!

9. Scan, scan, SCAN!
Plan:  See #8

Last year I said that a lot of what I would accomplish would depend on my health.
This year I'm happy to say I don't see my health as an obstacle. Transportation has
been a problem for the past few months but I'm hoping to have Ping the Wonder
Car back on the road soon.

But as it has been in previous years, my biggest goal in my genealogy research is
to keep having fun with it!