Wednesday, December 11, 2019


I am descended from both of the Lakin brothers. William is my 10x great grandfather through the Ames family. John is my 9x great grandfather twice over; once through his daughter Mary marrying into the Willard family, and the other through daughter Abigail marrying into the Parker family.
Again, from William Manning's article entitled "The Lakin Family of Groton" in The New England Historical and Genealogical Register:

4. John' Lakin (William2 William1) deposed in 1694, aged 67. He early settled in Groton, where he was sergeant and ensign in the military company. It seems to be an established fact that his wife was Mary Bacon, a daughter of Michael of Woburn.t She was living 22 Oct. 1701, when she acknowledged deed vol. 13, p. 58. Sergt. Lakin died 21 Mar. 1697. He had conveyed various lands by deed to his children—in 1697 (deed vol. 18, p. 579) to Joseph, his "eldest" son, and about the same time to his sons Josiah and Benjamin, and daughters Lydia Lakin, then single, and Abigail, wife of Samuel Parker. After his death the widow also conveyed various lots, one being to her daughter Lydia Shepley, then married, and another to daughter Sarah Willard, wife of Benjamin. This series of deeds is highly important, adding to the incomplete probate files.

1. John,* d. before Mar. 1696-7, leaving a widow Sarah, but clearly no children. He is only known by casual mention in deed vol. 13, p. 58, which shows that his father had established him on certain land designed to be his own property ultimately, but never formally conveyed to him. On his death, the deed explains, it was intended that his widow should enjoy said land until she remarried, but she is not later found.

ii. Mary, m. Hknry Willard, 18 July 1674, and d. after a few years. Her surname does not appear in the marriage record, but in 1744 her children sued their uncle Joseph Lakln to recover their rights in certain land,* and her marriage and paternity are made sure by the testimony of various witnesses. Deed vol. 47, p. 141, is also proof.

iii. Sarah, b. 4 Feb. 1661; m. Benjamin Willard.

iv. William, b. 12 May 1664; d. 10 Dec. 1672, "aged about nine years."

v. Abigail, b. 13 Mar. 1666-7; m. Samuel Parker.

8. vl. Joseph, b. 14 Apr. 1670.

9. vii. Benjamin, b. 6 Nov. 1672. 

10. viii. Josiah, b. 14 Sept. 1675.

ix. Lydia, m. (1) John Shbpley; m. (2) 22 Mar. 1736-7, Jonathan Boyden, former husband of her cousin Elizabeth (No. 3, x).

pp 319-320

The New England Historical and Genealogical Register Vols. 37-52 (1883-98) Published by the Society Boston, Ma. 1909

Sunday, December 08, 2019


((First published in December, 2007))

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.

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))

Friday, December 06, 2019


I haven't found much about my Lakin family ancestors, mostly brief entries in books about the history of Groton, Ma., where they lived.There were no probate records for the two generations I descend from on the website, either. It's possible they are there under an alternate spelling of Lakin so I'll keep looking. Meanwhile, this was what I found on Google Books in a compilation of issues of The New England Historical and Genealogical Register. It's from an article by William Manning entitled "The Lakin Family of Groton":

1. William* Lakin, the first of his family in this country, probably came as early as I644, perhaps from Reading, England, that being the home of his son. In Massachusetts he first settled at Reading, but removed to Groton, with which town he was chiefly associated. Little has been learned of him, and the name of his wife and full family do not appear. He died in Groton 10 Dec. 1672, at the reputed age of ninety or ninety-one.
2. i. William."


The New England Historical and Genealogical Register Vols. 37-52 (1883-98) Published by the Society Boston, Ma. 1909

William Lakin Sr. was my 11th great grandfather; his son William Jr. , my 10th. After William Jr.'s death in England, William Sr emigrated to Massachusetts with his daughter in law and two grandsons, William 3rd and John. I am descended from both and will discuss John next.

Monday, December 02, 2019


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.

2019 Update: 
I'll probably put the teeny tree up this coming weekend.

Sunday, December 01, 2019


My 7x great grandfather Joseph Willard was born around 1686 in Lancaster, Ma. and married  Elizabeth Tarbell around 1711.  He and several of his brothers were among the first settlers of a section of Lancaster that eventually became the town of Harvard, Ma.  He held several town offices and had a farm as well He and Elizabeth had seven children, all but one born in Lancaster and three of whom married members of the Haskell family:

William was born in 1713
Tarbell was born in 1719
Sybil was born on 19Feb, 1723
Lemuel was born on 28iJul, 1725
Joseph was born on 17May , 1728,
Amee was born on 25Dec, 1730
Charles was born on30 Dec 1734

Joseph died on 30Jul 1761 at Harvard. I have found no probate record for him as of yet.

I'm descended from his daughter Sybil who married Samuel Haskell, Sr. 

Thursday, November 28, 2019


Welcome to this year's Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge!  The submissions this year are excellent and range from in location from the Carpathian Mountains to the Great Plains, and in time from the 18th to the 21st  centuries.

You have some great reading ahead of you.

Dorene Paul starts us off with Verse in Honor of Sandusky Pioneers, an anonymous poem that was found in an old scrapbook. Dorene's ancestors were among the early settlers of the area of Ohio  she lives in.  The poem is posted at her blog, Graveyard Rabbit of Sandusky,Ohio. 

Tragic shipwrecks were a favorite subject of narrative poems for New England poets. Lori Thornton, The Smoky Mountain Family Historian chose The Wreck of Rivermouth by John Greenleaf Whittier for her submission to the Challenge because it mentions one of her ancestors and it takes place in Hampton, N.H. where he lived. The post's title is Hampton, New Hampshire, in Poem

One of the things I like about reading blogs is that they help me learn new things. For example, in distant cousin Janice Brown's post at Cow Hampshire, 2019: The 11th Annual Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge, I learned about a part of New Hampshire I'd never heard of before. Her submission is  Moses Gage Shirley's Poem Moonlight on the Uncanoonucs. 

Next, Linda Stufflebean has been researching her European ancestry lately which centers around the Carpathian Mountain area. Her ancestors were Rusyn (which is not Russian) and one of the figures of Russyn culture was a priest, Alexander Duchnovic, who wrote a hymn, I Was Rusyn. You can read it in The 11th Annual Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge with Bill West at Empty Branches on the Family Tree.

Poet Allen Rizzi's  poem Ponok√°√≥mitaa was first written  in the Native American language Siksika and then translated into English. It was inspired by Allen's grandfather who spent time with the Blackfeet Indians. There is also a link that will let you listen to the is a beautiful piece.

Of course Thanksgiving has a special significance to those of us who have ancestors who were Mayflower passengers. June Stearns Butka  of Dame Gussie's Genealogy reflects on the emotions those  immigrants may have felt in her poem Mayflower Remembered.

Challenge newcomer Lacie P of Sharing Their Stories has ancestors that settle along the Susquehanna River on both the New York and Pennsylvania sides. You'll find the 
poem Susquehanna in the post 11th Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge 

The owner of the Tangled Roots blog has been researching the Kentucky ancestry of her adopted child so her contribution in Kentucky Poetry is two poems by Kentucky writers; Tell Me a Story by Robert Penn Warren, and Paddle Your Own Canoe by Sarah Bolton.
Blogger Kin Connect of Princes, Paupers, Pilgrims & Pioneers is proud of their Scots ancestry, so for their post Genealogy Poetry Challenge: Scotland  they chose My Heart’s in the Highlands by the immortal Robert Burns, There's also a bunch of beautiful photos included!

Year end newsletters are a tradition is some families, a way to let relatives know what has been going on during the year. Barbara Poole's Mom sent them out in poetic form for twenty years, and recently discovered four written back in the mid-1980's. You can see the images and read the poems in her post 11th Annual Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge! at the Life From The Roots blog.

Heather Wilkinson Rojo has submitted poems written by her British born grandmother Bertha Louise (Robert) Wilkinson for previous Challenges and I've enjoyed them all. They display a certain down 
to earth outlook on life. This year's entry at Nutfield Genealogy is "The School of Life" For Bill West's Annual Genealogy Poetry Challenge.

 Finally, for my poem, I chose Mending Wall by Robert Frost. There are so many stone walls here in New England they've become emblematic of the region, My Dad's family has lived here for nearly 400 years now, so whenever I see a stone wall in this part of Plymouth County, I wonder if one of my ancestors or relatives had built it!

And that does it for this year's Challenge! Thank you to the participants for such great blogposts and poems.

Please take the time to read this years entries, and when you do, please leave a comment to let each blogger know how much you enjoyed their posts!



ARRRRGGGGGH. I deleted the Poetry Challenge draft. I will have to rebuild the post from scratch as it can't be recovered. So the new version won't be posted until tomorrow or Saturday.
My apologies to the participants. I hit the wrong button. I plead old age.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019


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 Barnstable 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 started 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 son 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.