Friday, May 27, 2016


((I first posted this back in 2013. Sadly another name has been added to the wall since then, 
Abington's first native son killed in Afghanistan))

Heather Wilkinson Rojo of Nutfield Genealogy is once again asking
bloggers to transcribe their local veteran monuments and list the names
on their blog. It's called the Military Honor Roll Project and I wanted to
take part this year.  I headed over to the memorial here in Abington
which is located right next to the building shared by the American Legion
and VFW Posts. It's a beautiful spot and there's quite a few names on it for
such a small town. They start with World War 1 and run up to the present
It was a bright sunny day and I thought perfect for taking the pictures I needed
to work with for the transcription, but it turned out to be it was less than ideal.
The nearby trees were casting shadows over most of the monument and the wind
moving the leaves would cause the shadows to shift around.



             KILLED IN ACTION

World War I
Edgar D. Bascomb
Chester W. Belcher
Walter W. Coleman
Charles Cook
Lloyd Crossman
Lewis V. Dorsey
Robert B. English
George H. Gillespie
Henry C. Hurst
John J. Mahoney
Joseph D. Martin
Charles E. Murphy
Charles S. Myers
Myron Stewart
Harold L. Taylor
Shirley S. Thayer
George L.  Whore

World War II
Charles H. Bellows Jr.
Wendell E Chamberlin
Lloyd R. Clapp
John Colburn
George W. Coleman
Edmund G. Crossley
Elton E. Eckstrom
George S. Forsyth
Roy E. Hjelm
Wellington Jamieson
John R. Keeley
Clifford Kimber
Richard L. McCue
Harold R. McGeoch
John F. Monahan
John Rice
Frank D. Warner Jr.


Dennis K. Holly
Peter D. Christianson DFC
Richard F. Gliniewicz
Glenn R. Gordon
Ralph G. Hamlin
Ernest H Laidler
Richard A. Fitts

Daniel Vasellian

I encourage my fellow genealogy bloggers to take part in Heather's
Military Honor Roll Project. You can read more about it here.


My 9x great grandfather Richard Dana died intestate but his surviving children reached an amiable agreement among themselves as to how the estate should be divided. While it's quite legible the document presents me with a challenge of a different sort.
Here's the backside of the agreement:

Middlesex County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1648-1871.Online database. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2014. (From records supplied by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Archives.)Case 5859-3

 As you can see, it appears that someone taped two pages into one long piece. But since tape of this sort didn't exist in the 17th century, it's more likely it was one long piece to begin with and at some point had to be repaired with tape to hold it together. There's also some water damage.

Middlesex County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1648-1871.Online database. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2014. (From records supplied by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Archives.)Case 5859-4

This is a problem (albeit a minor one) for three reasons. The first is in the middle where the two pages aren't quite lined up properly so some letters in words along that vertical crease are harder to make out.

Secondly, most of the words in the horizontal crease are obscured by the tape and a few have been damaged by the water.

Thirdly, the document is so large whoever scanned it couldn't get it all in one image so the top part of the second image is the bottom part of the first. It took me a few minutes to realize that when I first read the agreement.
Middlesex County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1648-1871.Online database. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2014. (From records supplied by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Archives.)Case 5859-5

So I haven't finished transcribing this yet.

But at least there isn't any superscript!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016


Transcribing records is one of those things that can be easy if the handwriting is neat and easy to read, or difficult if the handwriting messy and hard to read.

And then, just for fun, some colonial sadists threw in superscript, those little abbreviations that sort of float just between two lines of text.Here's some examples taken from my ancestor John Wetherbee's will:

This first is a symbol called a thorn which was derived from a letter in the Old and then Middle English alphabets. It's used an abbreviation for several words that begin with th:the, that. this. thou, and which word it stands for depends on the other words it's used with in a sentence. For example, in the example below, I decided it meant that as in "the meadow that belongs to my home lott" . I've usually seen it written as "yt" but for some reason whoever wrote the will used "ty" instead.

The next one is not an abbreviation but the familiar "ye". What is not familiar is that again the writer puts it down as "ey":

Lastly here's part of a sentence with two superscript abbreviations. I must admit the beginning seems like gobbledygook. Ironically the only word I could make out was the abbreviated "wth" for "with". The second part of the example uses "wch" for "which" in the phrase "the wch ten pounds".

Luckily the handwriting itself was mostly legible, otherwise I'd have really been frustrated!


Saturday, May 21, 2016


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Friday, May 20, 2016


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Thursday, May 19, 2016


My 5x great grandfather Samuel Stow's wife was Abigail Dana, a member of  a distinguished Middlesex County, Ma. family. Her immigrant ancestor was Richard Dana, my 9x great grandfather. William Richard Cutter wrote this short biography:

(I) Richard Dana, the immigrant ancestor, is thought to be the ancestor of all the Dana families in this country. He came to Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1640, from England, according to tradition, which also says his father was a native of France who went to England because of religious persecutions. In some records the date of Richard Dana's birth is given as 1620. In 1652, in the division of Shawsheen, he received twenty acres, and in November, 1661, he was constable. In 1665 he was surveyor of highways, and the same years he was allotted ten acres. In April, 1668, he was tythingman; he also was selectman and grand juror. In December, 1683, he had fifteen acres for services to the town. Most of his land was south of the Charles river, if not all of it, in the part now called Brighton. On April 20, 1656, he deeded fifty-eight acres of land to Edward Jackson. He died April 2, 1690, of injuries received from falling from a scaffold in his barn, and an inquest was called by Lieutenant Governor Thomas Dantorth. The inventory of his estate was dated August 2, 1690, and the estate settled April 16, 1691. He married, probably in 1648, Anne Bullard, of Cambridge, and she died July 15, 1711. He and his wife were members in full communion of the church. Children, born in Cambridge: John, December 15, 1649, died August 12, 1650; Hannah, May 8, 1651; Samuel, August 13, 1653, died 1653; Jacob, mentioned below; Joseph, March 21, 1656; Abiah, March 21, 1656, died October 10, 1668; Benjamin, February 20, 1660; Elizabeth, February 20, 1662; Daniel, March 20, 1663; Deliverance, May 8, 1667; Sarah, January 1, 1669, died January 11, 1669.-p1143

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 3  Lewis historical publishing Company,  N.Y., N.Y., 1914

Richard Dana died intestate but I found his probate file online and I'll discuss that next.

To be continued...

Tuesday, May 17, 2016


Before moving onto the ancestors of my 5x great grandmother Abigail (Dana) Stow, here's a
look at how my family connects back to immigrant ancestor Richard Dana through my grandmother
Cora Berthella Barker. While my line is by way of Richard Dana's son Jacob, another son, Daniel
Dana, is the ancestor of author Richard Henry Dana of Two Years Before The Mast fame.

Monday, May 16, 2016


My 7x great grandfather John Wetherbee/Witherby had made out his will in October 1707 but didn't die immediately afterwards. However, he did add a codicil two years later in 1709. The main matter that was chaged was the disposition of the land he'd bought fro the widow Ruth Wheeler. Whereas that property had originally been willed to his sons Jonathan and Ephraim, in the codicil Ephraim is instead given a different piece of property that had been purchased from a J.R. Holm sometime after the original will had been written. Both the will and codicil were filed at Middlesex County Court in Cambridge, Ma. on 2April 1711, so John Wetherbee may have died in March of that same year.

Here's an abstraction of the codicil. Again, some of it was difficult to decipher:

This may signify to whom it may concern That whereas I ye within mentioned Jno Witherby in
within mentioned will did order that my sons Jonathan & Ephraim should have all ye upland
& two thirds of ye meadow belonging to ye lands I bought of Ruth Wheeler together wth part of ye
meadow belonging to my home lott as wthin. I do alter my sd will in manner following.
In pri. I do appoint & order tht my wife wthin mentioned & my son David shall have ye wholl of
my house lott in manner as they were to have all ye upland by part of ye meadow, now they
to have all ye meadow belonging and shall not have any of ye meadow that I bought of
sd Ruth Wheeler. And to my son Jonathan I give all whole lands both upland
& meadow tht I bought of sd Ruth Wheeler, and to pay ten pounds to his sister Anne my
at full age or sooner if she shall happen to marry, as is mentioned in his deed of it
pr wifes bearing even date wth these presents the wch ten pounds shall be in part of the fifteen
pounds ye sd Anne was to have been payd for by my Executor as wthin. and I do further will
& bequeath unto my youngest son (viz) Ephraim the whole of the land & accomadations
that I bought ye last year of J.R. Holm, wthin sd town of Stowe bound and he to have no fur
ther in ye land yt I bought of sd Ruth Wheeler or my home lott or meadows belonging
only my sd wife & David my son shall have ye use of ye lands I have given unto Ephraim
my sd son until he shall attain ye age of twenty on years, and further if my personall
estate afer my sd wife had her third shall ammount to more than to pay my sd daugh
ters their legacyes, then ye over plus to be equally divided amongst my children after my
sd wife her decease, all to be done & performed according to ye directions above written not
wthstanding what is contained wthin this my sd will. In witness whereof I do affix my hand
and seal this forth day of April Anno Domini seventeen hundred and nine.
signed sealed published
and declared
in the presence of us

Thomas Baroman
Thomas Browne Senr
Elizabeth Browne her mark