Tuesday, October 13, 2015


My 9x great grandfather Arthur Warren is my subject for Week 37 of the 2015 52 Ancestors in
52 Weeks Challenge. Arthur interests me because he lived in Weymouth, the next town north from
where I live here in Abington, Ma. Unfortunately I haven't found much about him online. Here's what
William Richard Cutter has to say about him:

"Arthur Warren, the immigrant ancestor, emigrated to America before 1638 and located at Weymouth, Massachusetts. The earliest mention of his name in the Weymouth records is in 1638, and he is next mentioned in 1645 as one of the petitioners to the general court for a grant of the Narragansett lands. His name is fourth on the list of landowners, February, 1651-2, and it is evident that he owned considerable real estate. He was one of the substantial citizens of Weymouth, but he was not named among those who were admitted as freemen, and the records do not show any activity in public affairs. From this it is inferred that he was not in harmony with the religion of the Puritans. He died before 1663, in which year land was granted to “Widow Warren”. He married, about 1638, Mary. Children, born at Weymouth:1 Arthur, November 17, 1639; Abigail. October 27, 1640; Jacob, mentioned below; Joseph, living in 1671; Fearnot, June, 1655."

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 his daughter Abigail who married John Wright. Apparently some of his sons
had settled in Chelmsford and that may be how Abigail and John met. Cutter's speculation that
Arthur Warren wasn't on the best of terms with the Puritan government is interesting. Neither was
John Wright at one point, so perhaps that was a common cause that brought the two families

In my next 52 Ancestors post, I will discuss my recent confusion over the identity of Deborah Stevens.


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.) Volume: Middlesex Cases 24000-25999, Page(s): 25695:2

I found my ancestor John Wright's Probate file over at the
website. Although it was filed in1714, John had written his will thirteen years earlier on
24May 1701. He was around 70 years old at that time and must have decided it was time to
get his affairs in order. He made Josiah, his youngest living son, the executor of the estate
and had this to say about the three older surviving sons:

"I have given unto my sons John Wright Junr, Joseph Wright &
Ebenezer Wright all three of them liveing in Chelmsford in
the above county, inheritances of lands, and deeds of gift
thereof, undr my hand and Seale, as also som personall estate Each
and Every of them I have given them, and left them in the pos
-session thereof ye  which my will is they shall Each and Every of
them Enjoye for Evere. the which shall be their Respective
portions of my Estate, in full, only as a further token of my
love I do give to Each and Every of them five shilings apiece,..."

One of the little things I noticed was how he says "Each & Every" where today we say "Each and
every one". I am descended from son Joseph.

John also made provisions for his wife Abigail (Warren) Wright and their youngest daughter Lydia,
who he gave extra to because he felt she would be the one most likely caring for her mother in
Abigail's old age.

Here's the image for the estate inventory, submitted in June 1714.

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.) Volume: Middlesex Cases 24000-25999, Page(s): 25695:5

So my 8x great grandfather John Wright left an estate of 240 pounds and lived to a ripe old age for colonial times.

I'll discuss Abigail Warren's parents next.

Friday, October 09, 2015


More Findmypast Friday additions of large record collections! Here's this week's

"Cancel your weekend plans - this week’s Findmypast Friday update is our biggest yet!
Millions of Electoral Registers from the England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland have been released online for the first time in association with the British Library. 

They’re annual registers - so they fill the gaps between the censuses – covering a 100 year period which includes critical events in the history of British democracy: from the vote being extended to working class men to women’s suffrage. Explore this extensive new collection to discover where your family lived, when they could vote and details of the property your family owned in the 19th & 20th centuries.

England and Wales Electoral Registers 1832-1932
Explore the largest single collection released on Findmypast to date with over 5.4 million images and approximately 220 million names. Search the registers to discover more about your family before they arrived in America. These annual registers also include details of property ownership, filling gaps between the censuses and revealing the history of your family home.
Follow your family through a century of democracy »

Ireland, electoral registers 1885-1886
Discover what your Irish ancestors were up to at the time of the Gaelic revival. Search by name to pinpoint the exact location of your Irish family during this exciting period of Irish history, or by address to learn who was living in your family home.
Where was your Irish family in 1885? »

Scotland, Linlithgowshire (West Lothian), electoral registers 1864-1931
Did you have Scottish family living in West Lothian? Explore over 23,000 records spanning 67 years to find out where they lived, what they did and whether they owned property in the area.
Did your family own property in Scotland? »

Britain, Absent Voters Lists 1918-1921
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These are truly fascinating records – I’ve already found out a great deal about the history of my family home, and how my ancestors’ place in society changed throughout the century. I hope you do too! Visit our dedicated Electoral Registers landing page to find out more about what this enormous collection can reveal.

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Have a great weekend,


You can read fuller descriptions of these collections here.

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Thursday, October 08, 2015


Continuing on with my Wright family line for the 2015 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, the
subject for week 36 is John Wright Jr., my 8x great grandfather. He has a bit more information
available that what I had found for his father. From William Richard Cutter:

(II) John Wright, son of John Wright. was born in 1630. He lived in Chelmsford for a time, but returned to Woburn. His will was dated May 24, 1701, proved 1704 . He married, May 10, 1661. Abigail Warren, died April 6. 1726, aged eighty-four, daughter of Arthur Warren. of Weymouth. Children: 1. John, born 1662. 2. Joseph, October 14, 1663. . Ebenezer, 1665. 4. Josiah, mentioned below. 5. Ruth, married Jonathan Butterfield: died January 11, 1754, aged eighty. 6. Priscilla. born 1671, married, March 7. 1707, Samuel Damon, of Charlestown. 7. Deborah, married, February 17, 1701-02, Nathaniel Patten, of Cambridge; died March 9, 1716, aged thirtyeight. 8. Lydia, married, November 11, 1724, Giles Roberts. 
Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of Boston and Eastern Massachusetts, Volume 1  Lewis historical Publishing Company, 1908 - Boston (Mass.)

Two things of interest in that biography: first, the marriage of John's daughter Ruth to Jonathan Butterfield, who is my 8x great granduncle ; second, John Wright's marriage to
Abigail Warren. I'll get into the significance of that in a moment.

I also found more about John Wright in  an article SOME DESCENDANTS OF JOHN WRIGHT OF     WOBURN, MASS. BY FRANK VERNON WRIGHT published in Putnam's Monthly Historical Magazine, Volume 3:
2. John (2) Wright, son of John and Priscilla, moved to Chelmsford and there married Abigail, daughter of Arthur Warren of Weymouth, May 10, 1661. He afterwards returned to Woburn. With his brother Joseph and several other members of the church at Woburn, in Dec., 1671, he was presented by the Grand Jury to the Court sitting at Charlestown for withdrawing from the communion of the church and for favoring in other ways the sentiments and practices of the Baptists. He was a selectman (1670–1680–81?) 1690. Tithingman for Boggy Meadow End in 1692. In 1687 he was in Chelmsford and sold four acres of land in Woburn, which he had bought of his brother-in-law Joshua Sawyer, to James Fowle. His will was dated May 24, 1701, and probated Nov. 11, 1714. Wife and son Josiah executors. Abigail, his widow, died 6 Apr., 1726, aged eighty-four years.

Putnam's Monthly Historical Magazine, Volume 3,  Eben Putnam, Publisher and Editor, Salem, Ma. 1895 

So John and his brother Joseph were involved in a dispute and may have been Baptists? I'll
have to see what else I can find out about that. 

I mentioned that there was some significance to me about John's wife, Abigail Warren. Her
father Arthur Warren was one of the first settlers of Weymouth, Ma., which is the town
just to the north of Abington, Ma. where I live today. The border between the Massachusetts
Bay Colony and Plimouth Colony in colonial times ran through about what is now the border
between Abington and Weymouth. Weymouth is one of only two towns I've lived where my
colonial ancestors had lived as well(the other is Marshfield).

I have the images of John Wright's probate file and I'll discuss those in a later post.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015


The matrilineal lines in my Coburn family tree are a bit frustrating. The maiden names of  Edward Colborne's and his son Joseph Coburn's wives are unknown or in dispute. All that is known for
sure is that their wives' first names were both Hannah. It isn't until we get to the third generation,
Moses Coburn, that we have a wife with a surname: Deborah Wright. So I'm starting off exploring her Wright family line.

Her immigrant ancestor was John Wright, of whom William Richard Cutter has this to say:

John Wright, immigrant ancestor, born in England in 1601, settled in Woburn, Massachusetts, among the first settlers. He was prominent in church and town affairs. He married Priscilla . who died April 10, 1687. He died June 21, 1688. Children: 1. John, born 1630, mentioned below. 2. Joseph, 1639. 3. Ruth. April 23, 1646, married Jonathan Knight; died April 13, 1714. 4. Deborah. born January 21, 1648-49. 5. Sarah, February 16, 1652-53, married Joshua Sawyer.
Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of Boston and Eastern Massachusetts, Volume 1  Lewis historical Publishing Company, 1908 - Boston (Mass.)

Some sources identify John Wright's wife as Priscilla Byfield but there even seems to be
a question about that. Identity problems seem to run in the Coburn line, including one 
involving Deborah (Wright) Coburn which has me rethinking her parentage, but that's for a later post.

Next I'll discuss their son John Wright, Jr and his wife Abigail Warren.

Saturday, October 03, 2015


As I said in a previous post, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem about the Battle of Lovewell's Pond was not the first written about it.  I found this one in Walter C Bronson's anthology American Poems (1625-1892). In his notes, Bronson dates it from about 1725, which was a year after the fight.

Several of my colonial ancestors served under Captain Lovewell's command but I haven't discovered if any of them were present on this third expedition. The Wyman credited with killing Chief Paugus may have been a descendant of my ancestor John Wyman.

Some might find it hard to accept the idea that our colonial ancestors took Indians scalps as willingly as the Indians took theirs, but it was a harsh fact of life at the time.                          



Of worthy Captain Lovewell I purpose now to sing,
How valiantly he served his country and his King:
He and his valiant soldiers did range the woods full wide,
And hardships they endured to quell the Indian's pride.

T'was nigh unto Pigwacket, on the eighth day of May,
They spied a rebel Indian soon after break of day;
He on a bank was walking, upon a neck of land
Which leads into a pond, as we 're made to understand.

Our men resolv'd to have him, and travell'd two miles round
Until they met the Indian, who boldly stood his ground.
Then speaks up Captain Lovewell: "Take you good heed," says he;
'This rogue is to decoy us, I very plainly see.

"The Indians lie in ambush, in some place nigh at hand,
In order to surround us upon this neck of land;
Therefore we 'll march in order, and each man leave his pack,
That we may briskly fight them when they make their attack."

They came unto this Indian, who did them thus defy:
As soon as they came nigh him, two guns he did let fly,
Which wounded Captain Lovewell and likewise one man more;
But when this rogue was running, they laid him in his gore.

Then, having scalp'd the Indian, they went back to the spot
Where they had laid their packs down, but there they found them not,
For the Indians, having spy'd them when they them down did lay,
Did seize them for their plunder and carry them away.

These rebels lay in ambush this very place hard by,
So that an English soldier did one of them espy
And cried out, "Here's an Indian!" With that they started out
As fiercely as old lions, and hideously did shout.

With that our valiant English all gave a loud huzza,
To shew the rebel Indians they fear'd them not a straw.
So now the fight began; and as fiercely as could be
The Indians ran up to them, but soon were forced to flee.

 Then spake up Captain Lovewell when first the fight began,
"Fight on, my valiant heroes! you see they fall like rain!"
For, as we are inform'd, the Indians were so thick
A man could scarcely fire a gun and not some of them hit.

Then did the rebels try their best our soldiers to surround,
But they could not accomplish it, because there was a pond
To which our men retreated and covered all the rear:
The rogues were forc'd to flee them, altho' they skulked for fear.

Two logs there were behind them that close together lay:
Without being discovered they could not get away;
Therefore our valiant English they travell'd in a row,
And at a handsome distance, as they were wont to go.

T'was ten o'clock in the morning when first the fight begun,
And fiercely did continue until the setting sun,
Excepting that the Indians, some hours before't was night,
Drew off into the bushes and ceas'd a while to fight.

But soon again returned in fierce and furious mood,
Shouting as in the morning, but yet not half so loud;
For, as we are informed, so thick and fast they fell
Scarce twenty of their number at night did get home well;

And that our valiant English till midnight there did stay,
To see whether the rebels would have another fray;
But, they no more returning, they made off towards their home,
And brought away their wounded as far as they could come.

Of all our valiant English there were but thirty-four,
And of the rebel Indians there were about fourscore:
And sixteen of our English did safely home return;
The rest were kill'd and wounded, for which we all must mourn.

Our worthy Captain Lovewell among them there did die;
They killed Lieut. Robbins, and wounded good young Frye,
Who was our English Chaplain: he many Indians slew,
And some of them he scalp'd when bullets round him flew.

Young Fullam, too, I'll mention, because he fought so well—
Endeavouring to save a man, a sacrifice he fell.
But yet our valiant Englishmen in fight were ne'er dismay'd,
But still they kept their motion, and Wyman's captain made,

Who shot the old chief Paugus, which did the foe defeat;
Then set his men in order, and brought off the retreat;
And, braving many dangers and hardships in the way,
They safe arriv'd at Dunstable the thirteenth day of May.


American Poems ( 1625-1892) University of Chicago Press, Chicago Illinois  1912

Friday, October 02, 2015


This week's Findmypast Friday new collections include more records from New York and
school registers from England:

This week's Findmypast Friday marks the arrival of over 67,000 New York birth, marriage and burial records dating all the way back to 1639! We’ve also released school registers from three of Britain’s top historic schools (where many of the history’s most famous Brits were educated). Explore our new collections to reveal your family’s colonial origins or discover the achievements of any ancestors who attended British public schools.
I hope you find these records of interest. If you have any questions or feedback, do feel free to get in touch!

New York baptisms 1660-1862
Discover your New York ancestors and explore over 200 years of baptism records from Long Island, Staten Island and the city of Kingston to discover if you had family in the region when it was still a Dutch colony.
Add New York ancestors to your family tree »

New York marriages 1639-1900
Reveal undiscovered branches of your family tree with over 50,000 New York marriage records. Find out when, where and to whom your forefathers were married in records that date back to colonial times.
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New York deaths & burials 1758-1862
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Berkshire, Eton College Register 1441-1698
Uncover the great deeds of old Etonians including Britain’s first prime minister and Elizabeth I’s saucy godson by exploring historic registers from one of Britain’s leading public schools.
Explore one of the most impressive school registers in history »

London, Dulwich College Register 1619-1926
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Was your relative in class with Ernest Shackleton? »

Sussex, Lancing College Register 1901-1954
Search the register of Lancing College in Sussex to discover what pupils went on to achieve later in life. Many of those listed fought in either the First or Second World Wars including WW1 fighter ace Captain John Letts MC.
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Why not explore our fascinating new collections this weekend to see if you have any undiscovered public school connections? Remember if you have any queries, comments or issues with Findmypast, get in touch here. We'd love to hear what you discover!
Have a great weekend,


You can read fuller descriptions of each record collection here.

 Full disclosure: I am a member of the Findmypast Ambassador Program which includes a
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Wednesday, September 30, 2015


I've previously written about my colonial Massachusetts relatives who
were among the "snow-shoe soldiers" that fought the French-allied
Indians during "Dummer's War" (known as Queen Anne's War in Europe).
They were commanded by Captain John Lovewell, who led three expeditions
against the Indians, and died in battle at Pequawket, now known as Fryeburg,
Maine on 9Nov 1725. The fight took place near a pond now known
as Lovewell or Lovell's Pond.

As it happens, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's first published work is a short
poem about the battle. It appeared in the Portland Gazette newspaper on 17Nov
1820. He was 13 years old at that time: 

The Battle of Lovell’s Pond

COLD, cold is the north wind and rude is the blast   
That sweeps like a hurricane loudly and fast,   
As it moans through the tall waving pines lone and drear,   
Sighs a requiem sad o’er the warrior’s bier.   

The war-whoop is still, and the savage’s yell          
Has sunk into silence along the wild dell;   
The din of the battle, the tumult, is o’er,   
And the war-clarion’s voice is now heard no more.   

The warriors that fought for their country, and bled,   
Have sunk to their rest; the damp earth is their bed;           
No stone tells the place where their ashes repose,   
Nor points out the spot from the graves of their foes.   

They died in their glory, surrounded by fame,   
And Victory’s loud trump their death did proclaim;   
They are dead; but they live in each Patriot’s breast,           
And their names are engraven on honor’s bright crest.

You can read  more about the poem at:

As it happens, Henry's was not the first poem about the battle. An older one had been
popular in New England for quite some time. I'll discuss that next.