Wednesday, July 26, 2017


My 3x great grandfather John Cutter West

So a little over a week ago I got my Ancestry DNA test results back and started exploring them. Some things have changed since then:

The number of matches who are 4th cousins or closer has gone up ten to 459.

Today Ancestry introduced me to my Genetic Circles, which are made up of those people who share a specific ancestor with me. More on that in another post.

But last week I started going through my DNA matches, starting with the three closest cousins on the list. One I was pretty sure was from my Mom's side of the family. When I finally figured out how to navigate the list I realized that the other two matches were as well. None had a family tree on Ancestry. So I messaged all three the following "form letter":

My name is Bill West and according to my Ancestry DNA test results we could be 2nd or 3rd cousins.

My Dad was Floyd West Jr, son of Floyd West Sr & Cora Bertha Barker. He was born in Bethel, Me.

My Mom was Anna M. White, daughter of Edward  F. White & Agnes McFarland and she was born in Boston, Ma.

You can view my tree at

Msg me back if any of this rings a bell. I'll be glad to share information with you.
Bill West

I haven't heard back yet from any of the three, but they haven't logged into Ancestry since I messaged them.Two haven't logged in for over six months. This looks like it will be a long wait.

But I had a happier result on the other side of the family. I was looking through the rest of the list and saw a 4th cousin who had a profile photo that looked of a person who looked like my Dad's Mom. I sent her the "form letter" and got a quick answer. Our DNA connection was not through my grandmother. It was from my 3x great grandfather, the Elusive John Cutter West.

My brickwall ancestor.

But that brickwall was going to come down.

To be continued.

Monday, July 24, 2017


Sarah (Farnham/Farnum)Abbott was the granddaughter of my 10x great grandfather and immigrant ancestor Ralph Farnham/Farnum of Andover, Ma. The reliable William Richard Cutter had this to say about him in one of his genealogical collections:

(I) Ralph Farnham, immigrant ancestor, was born in England in 1603. He came with his wife Alice from London in the brig “James”, sailing from Southampton, April 6, 1635. He gave his age as thirty-two, and his wife’s as twenty-eight and they had with them three young children, Mary, Thomas and Ralph. He was a barber by trade but followed husbandry after coming to New England. He settled first in Ipswich, of which he was proprietor in 1639. He settled finally in Andover, Massachusetts. He died January 5, 1692-93, and the inventory of his estate is dated March 29, 1693. Children: 1. Mary, born 1628, resided in Andover, where she died February 3, 1714; married Daniel Poor, of Andover, in Boston, October 20, 1650. 2. Thomas, mentioned below. 3. Ralph, born 1633, died January 8, 1691-92; married Elizabeth Holt, of Andover, October 26, 1658, she died October 14, 1710. 4. Sarah, born at Andover, married John Abbot, April 16, 1658; he was the ancestor of the most prominent Abbots in America. 5. John, born 1640.-p319

New England Families, Genealogical and Memorial: A Record of the Achievements of Her People in the Making of Commonwealths and the Founding of a Nation, Volume 1  Lewis historical publishing Company, New York 1913

I'm descended from Ralph Farnham Jr. and his wife Elizabeth Holt.

Saturday, July 22, 2017


Nearly 5 million new British church and newspaper records are in the Findmypast Friday releases
for 21 July:


Somerset Baptisms Index

OVER 2.1 MILLION RECORDS  Search transcripts of original baptism registers dating back to 1501 to discover where and when your Somerset ancestors were baptised as well as their religious denomination, parents' names, residence and father's occupation


Somerset Banns Index

BROWSE 258,000 VOLUMES Were your Somerset ancestors married via the ancient legal tradition of banns? Search transcripts dating back to 1577 to discover where and when their banns were read, their residence, marital status, intended year of marriage and the name and residence of their intended spouse.


Somerset Marriages Index

OVER 1 MILLION RECORDS Explore parish marriages spanning nearly 500 years. These transcripts will provide you with a marriage date, location and the names of the couples' fathers. Later records may even reveal the names of any witnesses present.

Somerset Burials Index

OVER 1.5 MILLION RECORDS Find out if your West Country ancestors were laid to rest in the county of Somerset and discover their year of birth, year of their death and residence as well as the date and location of their burial.


British Newspapers

New articles: 1,161,996
New Titles: 9
Covering: South East England, Kidderminster, Southwestern Scotland, Aberdeenshire and the central Lowlands
Discover: Thousands of local and regional publications across the England, Wales, and Scotland

Friday, July 21, 2017


Going back up the family tree to the ancestors of the Abbott wives, we start with George Abbott's
father in law William Chandler. Luckily I found n family genealogy one written by George
Chandler in 1883.  The biography of William Chandler includes a rather convoluted theory about
the possible identity of William's wife Annis:

WILLIAM1 CHANDLER and Annis  his wife settled, 1637, in Roxbury, Mass. They brought with them four children. Their youngest, Sarah, is the only one whose birth is recorded in this country. In the history of Roxbury it is stated that, " It has been remarked that no people can boast of more honorable descent than are those of Massachusetts;" and that, "The Roxbury people were the best that came" from England.

What Annis's surname was before marriage does not clearly appear. Dea. George Alcock, of Roxbury, in his will of 1640, said: "To our brother Edward Porter 20 bushels of Indian Corne, and to our brother Chandler the Monye he oweth me" "for half the fence betwixt him and me." "My brother Mr. Hooker" to be "overseer." Mrs. Alcock was sister of Rev. Thos. Hooker. She died in Roxbury. Edward Porter married a sister of Dea. George Alcock. Gov. Dudley, in a letter to Lady Lincoln, says, "Mrs. Alcock, sister to Mr.Hooker." Hence it may well be supposed that " Annis "*was a sister of Dea. George Alcock.

Annis Chandler was admitted to the church in Roxbury "at the same time her husband William Chandler was."

The Roxbury Records, as reprinted in the "Norfolk County Journal," say: "William Chandler came to N. E. about the yearr 1637. He brought 4 small children: Thomas, Hannah, John, William; his 5th child Sarah was born here; he lived a very religious and godly life among us, and fell into a Consumption to which he had, a long time, been inclined; he lay near a yeare sick, in all which time his faith, patience & Godliness & Contentation So Shined that Christ was much glorified in him—he was a man of Weake parts but Excellent faith and holiness; he was a Very thankful man, and much magnified God's goodness. He was poor, but God prepared the hearts of his people to him that he never wanted that which was (at least in his Esteem) Very plentiful and Comfortable to him —he died about the____  in the yeare 1641, and left a Sweet memory and Savor behind him."
The Eliot Church Records say, " William Chandler, a Christian. Godly brother, died of a Consumption month 11, day 26, 1641, and was buried 1!< (11) 1641, in Roxbury." 

The children of William Chandler were:
2. i. Hannah, b. about 1629; m. first, "12 Dec. 1046," say the Eliot Church Records of Roxbury, in the hand writing of John Eliot the apostle, "George Abbot;" second, 1690, Rev. Francis Dane, of Andover.

3.  ii. Thomas, b. 1630; ra. Hannah Brewer.

4. iii. William; m. first. Aug. 18 (or 3, another record says), 1658, Mary Dane, of Ipswich; second, 8 Oct. 1679, Bridget Henchman, widow of James Richardson, by " Sam'l Adams, commissioner."

5. iv. John; m. "ffeb. 16, 1658," Elizabeth Douglas.

6. v. Sarah, b." Roxbury; m. first, 4 Nov. 1659, William Cleaves; second, Wilson ; third, 11 Oct. 1688, Eph. Stephens ; fourth, Allen.


The Chandler Family: The Descendants of William and Annis Chandler who Settled in Roxbury, Mass., 1637,  Printed for the Family, Press of C.Hamilton. Worcester, Ma. 1883

I have a double descent from William Chandler, one through my Abbott line, and the other through
my Phelps line, which I will be discussing in the future.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017


5x great grandfather Jonathan Abbott 3rd was born on 29 Aug 1740 in Andover, Ma. He married
his cousin Mehitable Abbott, (daughter of Ephraim Abbott but I don't know yet what degree cousin she was to Jonathan.) in 1764. After she died on 1 Jan. 1777, he married another cousin Dorcas Abbott (daughter of Stephen Abbott) on 17Dec 1778. She died on . 3 Mar. 1844.

Jonathan had nine children, six with Mehitable, three with Dorcas, all of whom were born at Andover, Ma.

With Mehitable
Mehitabel, b. 29 Sept. 1764 ; m. Benjamin Russell
Sarah, b. 22 June, 1766; d 25 July, 1845 ; m. Jonathan Stickney
Zerviah, b. 19 Mar. 1768; m. John Ellingwood Sr.
Abigail, b. 30 July, 1770; d. 2 June, 1810; m. Theodore Russell
Hannah, b. 18 Nov. 1774; m. Simeon Twitchell
Jonathan, b. 11 June, 1776; d. 7 Jan. 1843; m. Betsey Batchelder

With Dorcas
Stephen, b. 30 Dec. 1779; d. I Oct. 1835; m. Hannah Russell
Dorcas, b. 6 Mar. 1782; m. George Valpey
Phebe, b. 17 Jan. 1788; m. Joshua Ballard

Of the six older children, four moved to Maine: Mehitable, Zerviah, Hannah and Jonathan.

Jonathan was a Revolutionary War veteran but trying to nail down exactly where he served is made difficult by him being one of several Jonathan Abbotts from Andover who served.

He seems to have been well off, though. He died in Andover on 26Dec 1821 leaviing a will in which he left $300 dollars to each of his daughters and thirty silver teaspoons which were to be divided equally among them.He left all his clothes to oldest son Jonathan and his real estate to younger son Stephen.   

By this time, my 4x great grandmother Zerviah(Abbott) Ellingwood had  been married over thirty years in Maine.  

Monday, July 17, 2017


UPDATE: I have broken down my John Cutter West brickwall. Details to follow in a 
later post. 

Late Saturday afternoon I glanced at my email and found  my Ancestry DNA test results were in!  This was an early and pleasant surprise because Ancestry had said it would be 6-8 weeks before I'd see them and here they were in 4 weeks.

So I opened the email, hit the link to see my results....and found my self slightly confused and mystified.

Here's the Ethnicity Estimate graphic:

And here's the entire Ethnicity Estimate:
51% Irish
25% Scandinavian
12% Iberian Peninsula

Low confidence:
1% Africa North
3% Italy/Greece
2% Great Britain
2% Europe East
2% Europe West.
Less than 1% European Jew
Less than 1% Caucasus

It's those small amounts of exotic (for me) genes that have m emystified : North African, Italy/Greece, Europe East, Europe West, Caucasus. Did I have Crusader ancestors who brought home wives from the wars or did some Vikings with wives from their travels settle among the Irish?

More bits of information from the test results:

I have 449 DNA matches who are 4th cousins or closer, and 138  of them with share hints I have.

My total DNA matches when more distant cousins are factored in are  19,300!

As Ancestry finds more matches those numbers will go up.

The frustrating  part is the number of people I have matches with who don't have family trees on Ancestry so I can see how we match up. I don't understand why people would do that. Are they only interested in their ethnic origins but not in their ancestors? It's like buying a sports car but never driving it!

Ah well!

I'm in the early stages of exploring all this. I'll be blogging more about it as I go along.


The Findmypastfriday records released for 14July add 121,606 more records to the English Roman Catholic collections:


England Roman Catholic Parish Baptisms

New records: 94,687
Total records: 583,192
Covering: Parishes throughout the Roman Catholic Diocese of Westminster
Discover: Birth date, baptism date, location, parents’ names & additional notes

England Roman Catholic Parish Marriages

New records: 8,817
Total records: 110,962
Covering: Parishes throughout the Roman Catholic Diocese of Westminster
Discover: Marriage date, location, father’s name, spouse’s details & additional notes

England Roman Catholic Parish Burials

New records: 1,857
Total records: 51,737
Covering: Parishes throughout the Roman Catholic Diocese of Westminster
Discover: Birth year, death date, burial date, location, parents’ names & burial plot

England Roman Catholic Parish Congregational Records

New records: 16,245
Total records: 169,210
Covering: Parishes throughout the Roman Catholic Diocese of Westminster
Discover: Your ancestor’s relationship with their local parish

England Roman Catholic Parish Registers Browse

New records: 118,334
Total records: 747 registers
Covering: Parishes throughout the Roman Catholic Diocese of Westminster
Discover: Thousands of sacramental registers of baptisms, marriages & burials


Friday, July 14, 2017


My 6x great grandfather Jonathan Abbott Jr. was born in Andover, Ma on 14Dec 1714 and married  Martha Lovejoy there on 8 Oct 1739. They had three children there, all of whom are mentioned
in Jonathan's will:

Jonathan Abbott 3rd, b.29 Aug 1740  Andover, Essex, Ma; m. cousin Mehitable Abbott.

William Abbbott, b. 21 Jan 1746  Andover. Essex, Ma; m. cousin Sarah Holt

Martha Abbott ,  b.3 Feb 1749  Andover, Essex, Ma; m. Oliver Whiting.

There may have been a fourth child, Nathan, but I have found no record of his birth or any other
vital record for him.

Notice the sons married Lovejoy and Abbott cousins. It happened many times among George Abbott's descendants.In fact, Jonathan Jr.'s second wife was another cousin, Mary Abbott.

Jonathan Jr died on 31May 1794 and I found his will at There's two copies
of his will, worded exactly the same, but one is clearly a better handwritten copy of the orginal. I'll
be posting them here once I've transcribed them.

Sunday, July 09, 2017


 This week's Findmypast Friday release includes over 100 maps from Ireland:

 Dublin City Ordnance Survey Map 1847

33 MAPS 
Find out what Dublin was like when your ancestors walked its streets. Explore these large-scale government maps and uncover the locations of all the streets, buildings, gardens, lanes, barracks, hospitals, churches that made up the city at the start of the Great Famine.

Ireland, Maps and Surveys 1558-1610

Explore historic maps that were created to assist the English in the plantation of Ireland during the reigns of Elizabeth I and James I. The maps are beautifully decorated and were used to inform settlers of the locations of rivers, bogs, fortifications and harbours. They also detail the names of the numerous Gaelic clans and the lands they owned.

Wiltshire Wills and Probate Index 1530-1881

Does your family tree have roots in 16th century Wiltshire? Search for your ancestor in this free index to discover their occupation, if they left a will and when they left it, along with the archive reference number needed to order the original image.

London Marriage Licences 1521-1869

Explore PDF records containing thousands of names to find out if your London ancestors were married by licence. Discover their occupation, marital status, father’s name, previous spouse’s name (if widowed) and corresponding details for their spouse.

Saturday, July 01, 2017


Do you think one of your ancestors may have fought in the Revolutionary War? You can find out free for the next two weeks as the Fold3 website is giving researchers free access to their Revolutionary War collections. I received an email from them this morning with the details. Be sure to read the terms and conditions at the bottom of the notice:

Access Revolutionary War Records for Free*

Do you have ancestors who fought in the Revolutionary War? Now is the perfect time to learn more about them, as Fold3 is giving free access* to our Revolutionary War Collection July 1–15.

There are 20+ titles in our Revolutionary War Collection. Popular ones include:

Revolutionary War Pensions
The records in this collection include entire pension files for soldiers and sailors who served in the Revolutionary War. Unlike selected records, which were typically chosen subjectively for genealogical content, these records reveal more details about each veteran's history and service, as well as more information about his family, state of health, and life after the war. Every name mentioned in the pensions has been indexed, not just the soldier’s name, which makes finding people even easier.

Revolutionary War Service Records
These are compiled service records for the regular soldiers of the Continental Army, and for the militia, volunteers, and others who served with them. The records are arranged under the designation "Continental Troops" or a state name, then by organization, and then alphabetically by a soldier's surname. Records consist of card abstracts of entries relating to each soldier from original records. Also included are regimental lists including muster rolls, pay lists, and caption cards.

Revolutionary War Rolls
The primary function of the many Revolutionary War rolls maintained by the American Army was to provide basic information about the identities, numbers, condition, equipage, and pay status of the men and units that comprised the Army in order to facilitate administrative control. Browse these rolls by state and name of organization (regiment, battalion, guard, company, etc.). Find names of soldiers with the help of annotations supplied by other Fold3 users and feel free to add your own. Thousands of records from 138 rolls of microfilm provide names and details about the men who fought for independence.

Final Payment Vouchers Index for Military Pensions, 1818–1864
Pension payment records are not typically found in pension application files. These cards were created as an index for the final payments made to either the veteran or his widow. They provide additional details on where a family may have moved in the early- to mid-19th century, death dates of veterans, widows, or dependent children, and sometimes the maiden name of a widow.

Get started searching or browsing the Revolutionary War Collection on Fold3!.

*Access to the records in the featured collections will be free until July 15, 2017 at 11:59 p.m. MT. Free access requires registration for a free Fold3 account. After the free access period ends, you will only be able to view the records in the featured collections using a paid Fold3 membership.