Tuesday, December 18, 2018


My 5x great grandfather John Dunham is also my 2nd cousin 7x removed. This is because his mother, Mary Smith, was the granddaughter of our common ancestor Ralph Ellingwood Jr. John married Mary Thomas, the daughter of John Thomas and Abigail Dunham on 17Oct 1755 in Marshfield, Ma. She was John's third cousin.

John was made the administator of the estate when his father Ebenezer died but his siblings were not happy with his performance:

Plymouth  Co.- To Mr. John Donham of carver in ye County aforesaid administrator on the
 estate of Ebenezer Donham late of Plymouth in said county yeo-
-man deceased

Whereas complaints on this day made to me on behalf of the Heirs
of the aforesaid Ebenezer deceased, that you unreqasonably neglect to
settle your final acount of administration to the great damage of
the heirs aforesaid___-you are therefore hereby cited to appear
before me at a Court of Probabte to be holden at the Probate
office in Plymouth aforesaid on Saturday next (at ten of the clock
in ye forenoon) being ye 31st day of this present month then & there
to make answer to said Complaints- Given under my hand at Plymouth
aforesaid March 27th 1772.
Joshua Thomas Judge Prob.

To the Sheriff of the County of Plymouth or to either of his deputies
or to either of the Constables of the Town of Carver aforesaid who is
directed to serve the citation & make Return thereof. 

Plymouth County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1686-1881 Case6836 Image 16

The probate file doesn't say how the matter was settled but in June three men were appointed to divide up Ebenezer Dunham's real  estate among his heirs.

One of the things I did learn though was that while John was a farmer, two of his brothers were cod fishermen in Plymouth.

The children of John and Mary (Thomas) Dunham were:
Moses, born Jan. 23, 1757
Mary, born Dec. 15, 1758
Salome, born April 12, 1762
John, born Nov. 16, 1764
Thomas, born Oct. 2, 1766
Elizabeth, born Dec. 25, 1768
Abigail, born April 20, 1771
Caleb, born March 9, 1773
James, born May 25, 1775
Job, born April 20, 1777
Calvin, born April 11, 1781

Five of the children,  including my 4x great grandfather James Dunham, moved to Maine

John died on 30 Apr 1814 in Carver, Ma. and is buried there in Wenham Cemetery


I don’t recall many holiday parties from my earlier childhood. In our family folks were too busy working or shopping at Christmas time. And when we lived in Dorchester the apartments weren’t
really big enough to hold large parties in, although there might have been one or two. If so, they would have followed the rules of other adult parties my folks had: after saying hello to the adults,
my sister and I would be sent off to our beds to eventually fall asleep while listening to the adults
in the other room laughing at Rusty Warren records. We wondered what "roll me over in the clover" meant.

As an adult, most of my Christmas party experience has been at work, including one at a now
defunct toy chain warehouse(more on that job later) when I was in my early twenties. It snowed
when I left for home. My car at the time was an Olds 98 and being in a hurry to get home, I didn’t completely clean the rear windshield. I backed up, turning the car around….

…and smashed my rear windshield by backing the car up under a tractor trailer box front end as
if it were a big rig hooking up.

The good news was, my Dad worked in the auto glass repair business.

The bad news was I had to call him and tell him what I’d done.

It was an …umm…interesting conversation.

((First published in December, 2007))

2013 Update: I think this is my favorite out of all the things I've posted every year about past Christmases. I remember the windshield incident with a smile now but at the time I was a nervous wreck waiting for Dad's reaction, especially since I'd had a few highballs at the Christmas party which probably had a lot to do with my backing into the trailer. I also had to drive the car home 
with no rear windshield in a snowstorm and I was worried I'd get pulled over by the police. When 
I got home we covered the broken window with something, probably a cut open garbage bag and masking tape, and a few days later Dad found a replacement at Goldy's, a local junkyard. 

Most of all, I remember Dad getting out of his car when he drove up to the  Child World warehouse, taking a puff on his cigarette, and  giving me The Look before asking me "How the hell did you manage to do that?"

((First published in December, 2007))

Monday, December 17, 2018


My 6x great grandfather Ebenezer Dunham was born in Plymouth, Ma. on 24 Feb 1692.  On 12 Dec 1719 he married Abigail Smith in the nearby town of Middleborough Ma. He was a farmer, and had enough property to be divided between his children when he died intestate in on 21 Jan 1771.

His children were:

Abigail, b. 23 Nov 1720
Samuel, b. 9 Sep 1722
Ebenezer b. 21 Sep 1724
John,   b. 12 Jul 1726
Moses, b. Jul 1728
Mary, b. Jun 1730
Barnabas, b. Dec 1732
William, b. Jun 1734

Most of the children were still alive when Ebenezer died and are named in the settlement of his estate. His son John, my 5x great grandfather, was administrator of the estate and seems to have had problems with his siblings. I'll discuss that in my post about him.

Thursday, December 13, 2018


Back around Thanksgiving fellow genealogist Dave Robison shared on Facebook a link to a feature from  called Relative Finder. I filed the bookmark on my browser but didn't get around to checking it out until the past weekend

You'll need a free FamilySearch account and then upload your own family tree to the FamilySearch site. Then when you log into the Relative Finder page it will take your tree's information and compare it with information from others to determine how you may be related to famous people. These are divided up into Groups as seen in this list:

I spent some time exploring some of Categories. In Authors and Poets I saw some I already knew are distant cousins, such as John Greenleaf Whittier and Laura Ingalls Wilder. But I was surprised when I looked at the "Famous Americans" to see the name Massasoit Osamequin  at the top of the list. Massasoit was the Native American who helped the Plymouth colonists when they first arrived. According to the website, Massasoit was my 12th great uncle. I clicked on his name to see exactly how we were supposedly related:

The chart shows Massasoit as being the uncle of a Native American woman named Oguina Quadequina, the wife of my 10x great grandfather Gabriel Whelden/Weldon.

This differs from my information, which is that Gabriel's wife was name Margaret whose maiden name was unknown. I checked out the tree of the person who has Gabriel's wife as Oguina and I didn't find any source or citation, so for the moment I am sticking with what I have in my own database.

While this is interesting and fun to look at,  I will need to check all of these out one by one and look for documents and records that will substantiate the relationships. I'll put off starting that until 2019.

Sunday, December 02, 2018


Originally posted in 2007 as part of Thomas MacEntees's Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories.

You know that part of the movie A Christmas Story where
the family goes out to buy the tree and the parents have a little
argument over it? Well, I laugh every time I see it because
like so much in that film it echoes my childhood.

Every Christmas when I was younger either we’d go shopping
for a tree or Dad would buy one on his way home from work.
Now as regular readers of this blog know by now, my Dad was
from Maine. But even more than that, he had experience in trees.
He’d helped his father cutting down trees, and he’d worked for a
landscaper in the Boston area when he’d first come home from
the war. Mom would remind Dad of his experience every year
when the tree was fixed into the tree stand, the rope cut from
the branches and the inevitable big empty space was discovered.
Usually the problem was solved by rotating the tree so the empty
spot was in the back facing the wall. The lights were strung(and
here we differed from the film. We never blew out the fuses.),
then the garlands, the ornaments, and the icicles. Finally the
angel went up on top of the tree and we were all set. With
judicious watering the tree would last us until around “Little
Christmas” at which time it would be undecorated and deposited
curbside to await the dump truck.

Of course our tree paled in comparison to the giant my Mom’s
Uncle Tommy and Aunt Francis had in their home down in
Milton. It was so big they cut the top off and the branches didn’t
taper at the top. They were all the same size: large. I could
never believe they'd gotten that big a tree into the house in the
first place!

Then the first artificial Christmas trees hit the market and Mom
began vowing she was going to get one as she vacuumed up pine
needles from the rug. Eventually we did but that provided us
with new challenges, such as assembling the tree.

As we all grew older the prospect of trying to get the tree
together became less enchanting and so it too was replaced, this
time by a small ceramic musical tree that was lit from within by
a light bulb. I used that tree myself for several years after Mom
died although I felt no great urge to wind it up for the music. It
lasted until a few years back when I dropped it and the base

Its replacement is a small artificial tree that I bought at work with
my employee discount along with a garland. Last year some
friends sent me some snowmen ornaments for it. I haven’t put it
up yet but think I will this weekend. It fits on top of the tv.

And at some point over the holidays I’ll see that scene from A
Christmas Story again and grin.

2009 update: I bought a small string of battery powered lights
to add to my tree last week!

2010 update: I lost my Christmas stuff in my move last April so
I'll be picking it up another one at work soon.

2011 update
I bought another teeny Christmas tree with lights and ornaments
at Borders. Since the company closed, it will remind me of my
store when I set it out each year.

2012 update
I haven't put up my teeny Christmas tree yet but plan to do it this weekend.

2013 Update
I'll be putting the tree out tomorrow. I may have to buy a new string of
lights this year since some of the teeny weeny bulbs may have died last year.

2014 Update
I haven't put the teeny Christmas tree up yet again. I think I will do
it tomorrow, though.

2015 Update
The teeny Christmas tree will go up this weekend as soon as I decide 
where it will go this year.   


2018 Update:
I still have the teeny Christmas tree which I haven't put up yet.. I may spring for maybe a few of those electric candles for my apartment window, though.

Monday, November 26, 2018


My recent research at the website resulted in the discovery of a whole new set of ancestors in my family tree. Most of them lived in Barnstable County on Cape Cod in the towns of Eastham, Chatham, and Yarmouth. At the moment, the list of families is as follows:

















I already knew about other ancestral families from Barnstable County such as the Rogers, Ellis and Freeman families.

Many of the new families were prominent members of their communities and I've found probate files and other records that should keep me blogging for some time to come!

Friday, November 23, 2018


Now that the John Cutter West brickwall has come down, I have new branches of the family to explore. Recently I took advantage of the week of free access to all the databases at the website to fill in some gaps. Many of my early West ancestors came from Barmstable County, Massachusetts and so far I hadn't found many documents online for them, but there were databases on AmericanAncestors that I was able to see during that free access week.

So I sarted in on investigating the family of my 5x great grandmother Sarah (Hamilton) West, tracing it back with vital records, probate files and town and family histories. Much to my surprise and delight, I found another connection to Mayflower passenger Stephen Hopkins. I had previously discovered one with his daughter Constance (Hopkins) Snow; this new one was was with his sone Gyles/Giles Hopkins. Here's a relationship from Gyles/Giles to my Dad:

As I said, there are vital records and probate files for many of the people in this line, and I'll be discussing them  here as I go along. But I found other family lines that I will list in the next posts. 


Whenever I am talking or writing about my Mayflower descent, for some
ironic reason I always forget about Remember Allerton. The reason for the
irony is that both my Dad's parents were Allerton descendants: Pop from
Remember Allerton and Grandma Bertha from Mary Allerton.:

Allerton #1 through Ellingwood Line

Isaac Allerton & Mary Norris
Remember Allerton & Moses Maverick
Abigail Maverick & Samuel Ward
Martha Ward & John Tuthill(Tuttle)
Martha Tuthill(Tuttle) & Mark Haskell
Martha Haskell & John Safford
Ruth Safford & Samuel Haskell
Martha Haskell & Moses Houghton
Sally Houghton & James Thomas Dunham
Florilla Dunham & Asa Freeman Ellingwood
Clara Ellingwood & Phillip Jonathan West
Floyd Earl West Sr  & Cora B Barker
Floyd Earl West Jr &  Anne Marie White

Allerton #2 through Barker Line

Isaac Allerton & Mary Norris
Mary Allerton & Thomas Cushman
Sarah Cushman & Adam Hawkes
John Hawkes & Mary(Margery)Whitford
Eva Hawkes & John Bancroft         Eunice Hawkes & Jacob Walton
John Bancroft & Mary Walton
Sally(Sarah)Bancroft & Francis Upton
Hannah Upton & Cyrus Moore
Betsey Jane Moore & Amos Hastings Barker
Charlotte Lovenia Barker & Frank W Barker
Cora B, Barker & Floyd Earl Wesrt Sr
Floyd Earl West Jr and Anne Marie White.

My Warren ancestry comes through my Ames line

Warren #1 Through Ames Line

Richard Warren  &  Elizabeth (?)
Mary Warren & Robert Bartlett
Mary Bartlett & Jonathan Mowrey(Morey)
Hannah Mowrey(Morey) & John Bumpas
Mary Bumpas & Seth Ellis
Mary Ellis & Ephraim Griffith
John Griffith & Mary Boyden
Polly Griffith & Jonathan Phelps Ames
Arvilla S. Ames & John Cutter West
John Cutter West & Louisa Richardson
Phillip Jonathan West & Clara Ellingwood
Floyd Earl West Sr & Cora B Barker
Floyd Earl West Jr and Anne Marie White.

Warren #2 Through Dunham Line:

Richard Warren & Elizabeth (LNU)
Ann Warren & Thomas Little
Hannah Little & Stephen Tilden
Mary Tilden & James Thomas
John Thomas & Abigail Dunham
Mary Thomas & John Dunham
James Dunham  & Cynthia Packard
James Thomas Dunham & Sally Houghton
Florilla Dunham & Asa Ellingwood
Clara Ellingwood & Philip J West
Floyd E West Sr & Cora Bertha Barker


(( I first posted two articles about my Mayflower family descents back in
 November 2011 and decided to repost them every year as a Thanksgiving 

Back when I first started researching the family genealogy online I was
thrilled to discover we were descended from several Mayflower passengers.
At one point I even carried around a small folded up piece of paper
in my wallet with the lines of descent to show when discussing genealogy
with some customer at the bookstore. But I lost that some time ago, so I
thought I'd post them here for other family members.

The first three lines come down through my Ellingwood ancestry from
Stephen Hopkins, Thomas Rogers, and James Chilton.

Hopkins Line
Stephen Hopkins and Mary____
Constance Hopkins & Nicholas Snow
Elizabeth Snow & Thomas Rogers
Eleazer Rogers & Ruhamah Willis
Experience Rogers & Stephen Totman
Deborah Totman & Moses Barrows Jr.
Asa Barrows & Content Benson
Rachel Barrows & John Ellingwood Jr
Asa F. Ellingwood & Florilla Dunham
Clara Ellingwood & Philip West
Floyd West Sr & Clara Barker
Floyd West Jr & Anne M White

Rogers Line
Thomas Rogers & Alice Cosford
Joseph Rogers & Hannah___
Thomas Rogers & Elizabeth Snow
Eleazer Rogers & Ruhamah Willis
Experience Rogers & Stephen Totman
Deborah Totman & Moses Barrows Jr.
Asa Barrows & Content Benson
Rachel Barrows & John Ellingwood Jr
Asa F. Ellingwood & Florilla Dunham
Clara Ellingwood & Philip West
Floyd West Sr & Clara Barker
Floyd West Jr & Anne M White

Chilton Line
James Chilton & ?
Isabella Chilton & Roger Chandler
Sarah Chandler & Moses Simmons
Moses Simmons Jr & Patience Barstow
Patience Simmons & George Barrows
Moses Barrows & Mary Carver
Deborah Totman & Moses Barrows Jr.
Asa Barrows & Content Benson
Rachel Barrows & John Ellingwood Jr
Asa F. Ellingwood & Florilla Dunham
Clara Ellingwood & Philip West
Floyd West Sr & Clara Barker
Floyd West Jr & Anne M White

Thursday, November 22, 2018


Happy Thanksgiving!

Welcome to the 10th Annual Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge. This year we have posts from familiar faces and some newcomers. The contributions include two original poems, a song, and a humorous poem  All the blogposts are enjoyable and great reads.
Here are this year's Challenge entries

Ann Marie Bryan's 8x great grandmother was Anne Bradstreet, one of the earliest American  poets.Ann Marie tells us about her ancestress and shares a poem written in 1659 "In Reference To Her Children, 23June 1659"  at her blog, Tales of a  Family.

Last year Linda Shufflebean participated in the Challenge for the first time, This year she's back with a post explaining her love of family history and American History in particula and how poems about history are a part of elementary education. So her poem is one familiar to many school children, "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere" by Longfellow (as as you know, I am a big fan of Longfellow!)  Read Linda's post  "Tenth Annual Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge" on Empty Branches on the Family Tree.

Nancy Messier's ancestor's were from the coal mining town of  Byker - Hill in Northumberland, England. While researching her family she found a reference to a song "Byker Hill" and not only found the lyrics to the song but also a video of it being performed. You can see and hear it at "Byker-Hill for Tenth Annual Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge" over at My Ancestors and Me.

Dorene has been a contributor every year to the Challenge. This year's contribution at her Graveyard Rabbit of Sandusky Ohio is "Poem About Ohio by Nellie Grant". The poem is entitled "Imperium in Imperio" and celebrates the state of Ohio.

Another new contributor this year is Elizabeth Gautreau who has ancestry from Nova Scotia.She found a poem with some great imagery written by Marshall Schacht called "Two Winds On Nova Scotia". The post is "10th Annual Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge" and her blog is called This Is Us.

Like many of us, my friend Michael Davies has vivid memories of our grandparents. Michael put his memories into a poem, "Remembering Nanna and Grandad".Then he explains the significance of the images in each line. It's a great read over at Tall Tales of a Family.

Speaking of memories about family life,  the entry from cousin Janice Brown of the Cow Hampshire blog is ""The Old Hearth Stone" by Matthew Harvey" is about the members of the family that gathered each night around the fireplace. You can picture the scene in your imagination as you read the poem in Janice's post  2018: The 10th Annual Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge.

At her Bridging the Past blog, Lori Lyn Price shares her poem Virden, New Mexico which she wrote when she was in the eighth grade. Like other poems in this year's challenge it is rich with memories and imagery that paints a picture of a family and a community. She has also added some great photos.

Barbara Poole is another longtime contributor to the Challenge  Like Anne Marie Bryant she is the 8x great grandaughter of colonial poetess Anne Bradstreet and for this year's post at  Life From The Roots  Barbara writes about a book she owns of Bradstreet's poetry. She includes three poems that range from an epitaph for a family member to a love poem about her husband to a poem of giving thanks for her daughter's recovery from illness. You can see them at 10th Annual Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge!

Heather Wilkinson Rojo has written many times on her blog Nutfield Genealogy about the Scots Irish settlers of Londonderry, NH. For this year's Challenge she's found a poem about a settler who was captured by the indians but managed to escape.The details are in the poem Jamie Cochran: The Indian Captive, A Poem by Robert Dinsmoor  "The Rustic Bard".

I don't often get to award the Willie Puckerbrush Award for a humorous poem (which is named for an alias the late Terry Thornton used) but this year a newcomer to the Challenge Diane Anderson wins it for a poem written by a small town minister who liked to make "punning remarks". Alfred J. Cotton was his name and his "remarks" about the marriages of  "JOHN C. MOORE AND RUTH DOWDEN, LEVIN S. MOORE AND  MARY ANN DOWDEN." made me grin. read them yourself at My Entry in the Tenth Annual Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge at Diane's blog  This Hoosier's Heritage.

I have two entries this tear. The first poem is about a town in Maine where several generations of my
Laughton familylived in the 19th century, and it was written by another of my cousins. The post is called "At Norridgewock" by John Greenleaf Whittier.

My second post is a poem that's perfect for Thanksgiving Day. The English poet Robert Southey imagined how the Pilgrims might have reacted when they saw their new home for the first's at my post "First Landing of the Pilgrims " by Robert Southey.

That concludes this year's Great  Genealogy Poetry Challenge. Please visit the blogs of this year's contributors, read the poems and remember to leave a comment to let them know how much you enjoyed their posts. 

And thanks to all the bloggers for their great posts!