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Sunday, March 29, 2015

AN INTERVIEW WITH NERGC 2015 PRESENTER MICHAEL BROPHY

The 13th New England Regional Genealogical Conference is only a few more weeks away,
(April 15-18 2015 at Providence, R.I.) and it's loaded with knowledgeable speakers giving
presentations on a variety of interesting subjects. One of those speakers will be professional
genealogist Michael Brophy. He's done research for the Who Do You Think You Are on Gwenyth Paltrow and for Dead Money, an Irish TV series.  He specializes in Irish and Irish-American
genealogy and in heir tracing, as well as technology for genealogy. Michael also is my fellow
resident of Abington, Massachusetts, a heavily Irish-American community. 

The organizers of the Conference asked New England genealogy bloggers to help get
out the word by conducting email interviews with the speakers.  I chose Michael because
of my own interest in my Irish heritage, and he graciously answered some questions for
me:

1. What prompted you to become a professional genealogist?
After a beloved Aunt died on my maternal side her son published a book that included a well researched family history. After admiring the work, I asked my recently retired father what we know about the Brophy side. He replied “Not much”. That set me us off on a father-son research project to find out as much as we could about our ancestry. A few years later, after taking several courses and attending a number of conferences, I started to take on clients for research and giving lectures.

2. What are the unique challenges of researching Irish genealogies?
Some the main building blocks of genealogies in the United States are federal census records and vital records which are birth, marriage, death and divorce records. In Ireland, the most of the 19th century census records were either destroyed deliberately by the British government or lost in the destruction of the Irish Public Records Office in 1922. Civil registration of vital records did not start for all Irish citizens until 1864, a late start when compared to the vital records we have for most New England town dating back to colonial times. Other records such as tax records and church records are typically used to compile genealogies that are not nearly as complete as the records we have in the US.

3. We live in a state, Massachusetts,with one of the largest Irish-American populations in America.
What are the the advantages and disadvantages of researching Irish-American genealogy here?   

The advantages are we in Massachusetts are the most open record state in the nation. Vital records have no restrictions, meaning that anyone can view any birth, marriage, or death record up to the present day excepting special cases such as adoption and illegitimacy. Our records repositories are close by in the Boston area and are easily accessible. We have an active genealogy community here with experience and know how in researching Irish-American families.

I suppose the drawbacks are that getting into Boston to the record repositories means traveling into Boston with all the associated headaches with traffic and parking. As with Irish-American research, researching a common Irish surname such Murphy, Kelly, or Sullivan will require a lot of patience and persistence as you eliminate the possibilities. Published genealogies of Irish-American families in Massachusetts are rare when compared to more established families in Massachusetts and elsewhere in New England.


4. Assuming we aren't still buried in snow drifts, will you be attending the Abington St. Patrick's Day Parade this year? 

My family and I were there and the parade was great as always. We kept moving to stay warm!

Michael will be giving a variety of presentations at the NERGC:
Snag-it For Genealogists on "Tech Day", Wednesday, April 15  9:30-10:30am.
Descendancy Research on Saturday, April 18 8:30-9:30am 
Kilroy Was Here: A Genealogy Case Study of a WW II Icon on Saturday, April 18 3:15-4:15pm.

He'll also be holding a free Special Interest Group discussion on Thursday, April 16 at
7:45 pm in the evening. The subject will be Irish genealogy.

That's a wide range of subjects! You can read fuller descriptions at the Conference Registration 
Brochure page and learn how to register for the NERGC on their main page here.

My thanks to Michael Brophy for taking part in this interview!


Friday, March 27, 2015

52 ANCESTORS IN 52 WEEKS 2015 WEEK 12: GEORGE FROST

For this week's entry in the 2015 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge, I'm looking into
the family of Samuel Upton's wife, the Frosts. The furthest back I can take that line
is to George Frost, Sarah's grandfather and my 9x great grandfather. I know nothing
about where and when he was born, nor do I know the name of his wife, nor the
date of his death. Given that he lived in an area of coastal Maine that suffered several
Indian attacks, it's possible any vital records were destroyed. What I do know is what I
found in this passage from Everett Schermerhorn Stackpole's book Old Kittery and Her Families:

George Frost lived at Winter Harbor, Saco, and was appraiser of the estate of Richard Williams in 1635. He served on the grand jury in 1640. Nothing more is known of him, but the fact that several Frosts appear in his vicinity a generation later, that can not be traced to any other ancestor, warrants the belief that he was the father of the following. Goody Frost was assigned to a pew in the church at Winter Harbor next to the pew of Goody Wakefield, 22 Sept. 1666.

Rebecca m. Simon, son of Robert Booth of Saco, who was born in 1641. They removed to Enfield, Conn., and she d. in 1668.


1 John m. Rose___
 

2. William m. Mary Wakefield.
-
p425

Old Kittery and Her Families (Google eBook) 
Press of Lewiston journal Company, 1903 - Kittery (Me.)

Both George's sons, John and William Frost, were killed by Indians. Luckily, William's
daughter Sarah wasn't and eventually married Samuel Upton.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

KINDLE-ING GENEALOGY: ADDING ONEDRIVE

I recently decided to finally take the plunge into backing up my files in the "cloud".
There are a lot of programs to choose from and for awhile I stressed out over which
one to choose. Dropbox, Google Drive, and One Drive were my final three choices, and
I ended up choosing Microsoft's OneDrive based on two features: first, the free 15GB
storage, and secondly, the OneDrive app for Kindle.



I went to the Micrsoft OneDrive website and created a Microsoft account (using a
different password than the ones I use for Gmail and Facebook). I then saw I could add
an additional 15GB by linking my Camera Roll to my OneDrive account. I knew I had a
Camera Roll on my Kindle, so if I was able to make that link I'd have a total of 30 free GB
to work with for my genealogy files.

Next I went to the Kindle App store and downloaded the Onedrive app. Once I did that,
I was able to link the Camera Roll and got the extra  15 GB. Now came the work. I have
over 110 surname folders and 2.66GB of images and documents in my genealogy files on
my laptop. Being paranoid, I didn't want to Move all those files to the cloud, just Copy them
there. I went to the Onedrive folder,  then to Documents and created a Genealogy folder.
Then over the course of this last week I gradually copied everything from the laptop to
the OneDrive cloud.



When I first started and checked the OneDrive app on my Kindle, the screen looked like this:



Pretty looking but I wondered if all those thumbnails might be a drain on my Kindle's battery,
so I changed to the more practical List format:




One suggestion: whether you Move or Copy folders to OneDrive, do it one folder at a time.
It's much faster.

And since my first post about the Kindle, I've learned how to take Screen Shots  with my
Kindle Fire HD6: you press the Sound Volume Bar and the Power button at the same time.
I don't know if this works for earlier Kindle models, but at least there won't be any more camera
reflections on images from my Kindle's screen.

 DISCLAIMER: I neither work for nor receive any compensation from Amazon or Microsoft.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

THE FIFTH (AND FINAL) AMERICAN CIVIL WAR BLOGPOST CHALLENGE

It's time for this year's edition of the American Civil War Genealogy Blogpost
Challenge. This year I've picked a submission deadline of May 13thto honor
May 13th, 1865, the date of the Battle of Palmito Ranch, Texas. Palmito Ranch
was the last battle of the Civil War.


This is how you can participate:

Did you have ancestors in America during the Civil War? If so, where were they
and what were their circumstances? How did the Civil War affect them and
their family? Did the men enlist and did they perish in battle or die of illness?
On which side did they fight, or did you have relatives fighting on BOTH sides?
How did the women left at home cope, or did any of them find ways to help
the war effort? Were your ancestors living as slaves on Southern plantations
and if so when were they freed?  Or were they freemen of color who enlisted
to fight? 


When the war ended, what did your ancestors do? Were they still living where
they had lived when the war began, or did they move elsewhere to find a new
home?  

Have you visited a Civil War battlefield or monument to those who fought?
It could be connected to your family history, or just one that you've visited
at some point.

If your ancestors had not emigrated to America as yet, what was their life
like around the time of the Civil War?

The 150 year celebration of the Civil War is a great source for those of us
blogging about our family history. So, let's do a little research over the coming
weeks between now and May 13th. Find out the answers to the questions
I asked and write about them. Or if you think of another topic to do with your
family history and the Civil War, write about that. Send me the link when you
publish it on your blog and I'll post all the links here on May 31st.

This will be the final Civil War Challenge from me, (unless I'm still around in 2035
for the 175th Anniversary), so if you couldn't take part in the earlier editions, this is
your last chance to do so.

Monday, March 23, 2015

WINTER 2015 PT2: THE END (I HOPE!)

It's 31F degrees as I type this on March 23rd. Three days into spring and it still
feels like Winter. It's not surprising, I suppose, given that there is still so much
snow on the ground.

We broke several regional records this Winter here in New England: Boston had
a record amount of 94.4 inches of snow fall in 30 days, 24 Jan to 22 Feb. The old total
snow amount record of 107.6 inches was broken and we've had 110.3 so far. February
was the coldest and snowiest month recorded since they started keeping records back
in the late 1800's. As a result, many unusual things happened this Winter:


The icing over of many of the bays and harbors along the New England coastline led to:

-Coast Guard Icebreakers having to work further south than normal in New England. Yje
ferry from Hingham to Boston was suspended for several days due to ice, as were the
ferries from Woods Hole and Hyannis to Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard.

- A Coast Guard cutter spotting a coyote running across the ice over Hingham Harbor.

- A herd of deer falling through the ice at Wareham Harbor. Most of them could not be saved.

- Ocean water so cold it formed "slurpee waves".

- Small icebergs washing ashore on Cape Cod.

And the deep snow caused:
-The suspension of mass transit and commuter rail service in the Greater Boston area.

-The endless search by the highway departments of cities and towns for somewhere
 to put the snow lining the streets and covering sidewalks.

-The sighting of someone wearing an Abominable Snowman costume wandering the
streets of Boston 

- The snow was so high people were jumping out of apartment windows and off
roofs into snow drifts. Many of them were dressed in bathing suits. I can only ascribe
this as perhaps the effects of cabin fever.

- There were quite a few memes going around on Facebook about the weather. My favorites
were the mock Ken Burns style documentary, complete with "Civil War" type narration
and music, and another that paired snow photos with quotes from Samuel Beckett's
plays,


It's definitely been a Winter to remember. And even though it is Spring, the snow season
is not over yet. We could still add more snow to that total.

After all, we had a blizzard on April Fool's Day in 1997!

52 ANCESTORS IN 52 WEEKS 2015 WEEK 11: FRANCIS UPTON OF ALBANY MAINE PT2

My 4x great grandfather Francis Upton continued the family tradition of having a
large family; he and Sarah (Bancroft)Upton had twelve children. John Adams Vinton
gives a list of them in The Upton Memorial, but when I double checked the information
against several Maine record collections at FamilySearch, I found some discrepancies
in the dates. So I've put my corrections in red ink below:   
 
The children of Francis and Sarah Upton, were—

Sally6, born March 29. 1801; married Jan. 1, 1827, Sumner Frost; died May, 1845. Their children were—Lydia (Frost), Maria (Frost), Fanny (Frost).

Francis6, born July 15, 1802; married__ ,1826, Sarah Gardner, of Boston, He lived in Bridgewater, Mass., and died there in 1856.  ((Died 15Jan 1859 at North Bridgewater , Ma.))

Edith6, born___ ; lived about one year.

Micah6, born May 27, 1807; married May___, 1834, Ruth Abbott; died___ . ((Married 9Apr 1838;

died 6Nov 1840))

Eben6, born June 1, 1809 ; married Nov. 30, 1837, Lydia Bancroft, of Norway. Lives in Albany, Me.
((died 6Dec 1887))


Mary6, born Oct. 5, 1811; died April 29, 1839.

Hannah6, born March 28, 1814; married, 1st, Cyrus Moore: 2d, Peter Emery. Children—Solon (Moore), Betsey Jane (Moore), Cyrus Newton (Moore), Harriet (Moore), Noah Roscoe (Emery). Francis Henry (Emery).

Lucy6, born July 7, 1816; married Jan. 8, 1839, James Knight : died__ , 1856. Children—Ellen
(Knight), Amelia (Knight), Celia Ann (Knight). Isaac (Knight), Harriet Matilda (Knight), Charles
(Knight). ((Lucy was married Jan 8 1840))
Sophronia6, born Aug. IS. 1818; married Feb. —, 1845, James Farmer. They lived in Aroostook County, Me. She died in 1808. Children—James Francis (Fanner), Charles Henry (Farmer), John Augustas (Farmer), Ann (Farmer), Catharine Winfred (Farmer), .Sophronia (Farmer), Andrew (Farmer).

Harriet6, born Nov. 28, 1821; married April —, 1845, Abram Greer.. Children—James Lewis (Green), Annette Augusta (Green), Emma Isadore (Green)—deceased, John Arthur (Green), Charles Sumner (Green), Carrie Emma (Green) —deceased. ((Harriet died 1871 at Otisfield, Me.))

Andrew6, born Dec. 28. 1824: married Sept. —. 1858, Mary Holmes.

John6, born July 11, 1828; married June 14, 1855. He served in the 10th Reg't, Me., Vols., in the war of the great rebellion. He was killed while shackling cars on the Grand Trunk R. R., in Bethel, Me., July 31, 1866. ((born 11Jul 1824))

pp199-200

Francis and Sarah's daughter Hannah is my 3x great grandmother through Betsey Jane Moore who
married Amos Hastings Barker.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

KING PHILIP'S WAR:AN INTERVIEW WITH MICHAEL TOUGIAS





The 13th New England Regional Genealogical Conference is only a few more weeks away,
 (April 15-18 2015 at Providence, R.I.) and it's loaded with knowledgeable speakers giving
presentations on a variety of interesting subjects. One of those speakers will be historian Michael
Tougias, the author and co-author of bestselling books on stories of survival such as Ten Hours 
Until Dawn and The Finest Hours. He also co-authored King Philip's War: The History and 
Legacy of America's Forgotten Conflict with Eric B Schultz, and his presentation at NERGC
will be "King Philip’s Indian War in New England" .

The organizers of the Conference asked New England genealogy bloggers to help get
out the word by conducting email interviews with the speakers.  I have Colonial
ancestors who fought in King Philip's War so I was familiar with Mr. Tougias' book and he
graciously answered some questions for me:

1. How did you first become interested in the King Phillip's War?

I grew up in Longmeadow Mass and remember seeing various roadside signs about this war and wondered what it was all about.  When I learned it had a higher per capita casualty rate than the civil war, I became very interested.  Then when I learned that the Natives were winning in the first few months I was hooked!

2. Why do you think that one of the bloodiest wars in American history is among the
    least known?

I think the text books used in the schools skipped right over this period because it didn't fit with the "all-american" view of the first Thanksgiving, etc. So they conveniently jumped from the Pilgrims land here and the next thing you know we are in the American Revolution, skipping over a hundred years history!


3. What was the biggest effect on the English settlements in New England from the war?

It all depended on where you lived.  If you were in CT, the colony escaped with just one attack (Simsbury), while MA and RI were devastated, and took years to recover.

4.You've also written a novel about the war, Until I Have No Country. How did that come
about?


My historical novel Until I Have No Country, was something I wanted to write since I was a boy.  I had dreams about this period and felt that if I could time travel I'd love to go back and see New England before the colonist's had expanded to every region.  I also felt readers would connect with a book told with balance.  That's why part of it is told from the perspective of a Native American, Tamoset, and part from Colonial farmer John Homer.  I'm an avid reader of historical fiction, and the best books have a realistic love story, and so Until I Have No Country also has a love story: between Tamoset and another Native American.  Even in war, there is love and day to day living.

My thanks to Michael Tougias for taking part in this interview. If you had ancestors in Colonial New England at the time of King Philip's War, Mr. Tougias' talk will give you some new insights into their lives, as will his books. 

You can see the information here on how to register for the NERGC, and see the Conference program
here.


Thursday, March 19, 2015

52 ANCESTORS IN 52 WEEKS 2015 WEEK 11: FRANCIS UPTON OF ALBANY MAINE PT1





I'm continuing with exploring my Upton family line for the 2015 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge. My 5x great grandfather Amos Upton, the son of "Deacon" Amos Upton  married his second cousin Edith Upton in North Reading, Massachusetts on 13Feb 1766. He was a Revolutionary War veteran, and one of the first settlers of Oxford County, Maine. Since I've already blogged about him two years ago, I'll move on to his son, Francis.


Here's what John Adams Vinton has to say about Francis Upton in his The Upton Memorial:

Francis Upton5, (Amos4, Amos3, Samuel2, John1,) eldest son of Amos Upton 4 and Edith Upton4, born in North Reading, February 24,1772; married, __ 1800. Sarah Bancroft, of Norway, Me. She was born at Lynnfield, Mass., July 11,1783, daughter of John Bancroft6, who with his family removed thence to Norway, about 1800. John Bancroft's father, grandfather and great-grandfather all bore the name of John, and descended from Thomas Bancroft, who died at Lynn End, now Lynnfield, in 1691. 

Mr. Upton went with his father from North Reading to Norway, in the then District of Maine, in September, 1790, and worked with him at making a farm in what had been, in all time previous, a wilderness, till the time of his marriage, he then being twenty-eight years of age. For his services his father gave him the grist mill which he had built, and the small farm which was attached to the mill property. He carried on the mill but a few years, and then exchanged with his brother Amos, for a farm a mile or two westerly, on the same road. Subsequently he sold that place and removed to the town of Gray; he lived there four or five years and then returned to Norway, and " carried on" a farm for one year.

The next year, I822, he bought land, all covered with wood, in the adjoining town of Albany, and, with the aid of his sons, he made a very productive farm. While at work on this Albany farm, he received a severe injury by the falling upon him of a limb from a tree which he was cutting down. The injury effected his head to such an extent, that he became insane, and remained so until his death, which took place in February, 1835, at the age of sixty-four years. pp198-200


I tried to find a record of the marriage of Francis Upton and Sarah Bancroft but had no luck
so far. I did find a record of his death on FamilySearch though, and the date is different from that
given in the book.





But John Adams Vinton was probably getting his information from family members nearly
forty years after Francis died, and he didn't have access to records over the internet as we
do today.

Which is why you should always double check the information in old family genealogies.  


To be continued.