Friday, October 11, 2019


With the recent discussion among my genealogy friends about the competitive nature of some FindAgrave volunteers and how it sometimes hurts the relatives of the recently deceased, I thought I'd share some thoughts of how and why of my own experience at FindAGrave.

I joined FindAGrave over eight years as something to do that got me out of my apartment. At first i was just fulfilling photo requests but then I started taking photos of the older headstones in the cemeteries those were requests were in. I began  doing that more often when I realized there were quite a few names from my own family tree on those old markers.

After a nearby town's cemetery was vandalized I started taking photos of the older markers at Mt. Vernon here in Abington, feeling that they were more likely to be permanently lost than the larger, modern headstones. I filed them on my computer in folders orgamized by the date they were taken. Then I've gone through the folders, checked the names on the headstones,against the FindAGrave site for Mt. Vernon and created a memorial if one had not already been done. If there is a memorial with no photo, I add the one I have to it.

Now, these are the rules I personally follow for my FindAGrave contributions:

1.I do not take photos of headstones who have died in the last 50 years except for photo requests.

2. If I am contacted with an edit for a memorial, I verify it wherever possible and then make that edit.

3 If a relative asks me to transfer ownership of their loved one's memorial, I do it as soon as I see the request.

4. If I have inadvertently created a duplicate memorial, I delete it.

5. I do not create memorials for graves I have not actually seen. No use of obituaries. No assumption that just because a person lived in a specific town, than he has to have been buried in that town's cemetery. Now that FindAGrave is used as a hint on Ancestry, that assumption of where a person is buried will lead to the spread of bad information,

6. I don't look at contributing to FindAGrave as a competitive sport. I don't worry about how many memorials or photos I've added. I do take a look at the end of the year at those stats and how many volunteer photos I've taken, but that's it.

I'll repeat, FindAGrave is NOT a competitive sport. It's a way to help others, whether mourners or family researchers, and to perhaps help  preserve local history.

That's how and why i "do" FindAGrave. How about you?

Wednesday, October 09, 2019


((First posted in October 2014))

My distant cousin Jonathan Moulton's first wife was Ann Smith who he married
in 1749 and with whom he had a family of eleven children. She died of smallpox
in 1775. He married  Sarah Emery in 1776, and their marriage resulted in four
more children. She is the "new wife" in a poem written by my 4th cousin 6x
removed John Greenleaf Whittier.   It's probable that Whittier may have met
one or more of Moulton's adult children, but as the foreword to the poem
indicates, he certainly was familiar with the legends that had sprung up
about Jonathan Moulton


[the following Ballad is founded upon one of the marvellous legends connected
with the famous Gen. M., of Hampton, N. H., who was regarded by his neighbors
as a Yankee Faust, in league with the adversary. I give the story, as I heard it when
a child, from a venerable family visitant.]

Dark the halls, and cold the feast—
Gone the bridemaids, gone the priest!
All is over — all is done,
Twain of yesterday are one!
Blooming girl and manhood grey,
Autumn in the arms of May!

Hushed within and hushed without,
Dancing feet and wrestlers' shout;
Dies the bonfire on the hill;
All is dark and all is still,
Save the starlight, save the breeze
Moaning through the grave-yard trees;
And the great sea-waves below,
Like the night's pulse, beating slow.

From the brief dream of a bride
She hath wakened, at his side.
With half uttered shriek and start —
Feels she not his beating heart?
And the pressure of his arm,
And his breathing near and warm?

Lightly from the bridal bed
Springs that fair dishevelled head,
And a feeling, new, intense,
Half of shame, half innocence,
Maiden fear and wonder speaks
Through her lips and changing cheeks.

From the oaken mantel glowing
Faintest light the lamp is throwing
On the mirror's antique mould,
High-backed chair, and wainscot old,
And, through faded curtains stealing,
His dark sleeping face revealing.

Listless lies the strong man there,
Silver-streaked his careless hair;
Lips of love have left no trace
On that hard and haughty face;
And that forehead's knitted thought
Love's soft hand hath not unwrought.

"Yet," she sighs, "he loves me well,
More than these calm lips will tell.
Stooping to my lowly state,
He hath made me rich and great,
And I bless him, though he be
Hard and stern to all save me!"

While she speaketh, falls the light
O'er her fingers small and white;
Gold and gem, and costly ring
Back the timid lustre fling —
Love's selectest gifts, and rare,
His proud hand had fastened there.

Gratefully she marks the glow
From those tapering lines of snow;
Fondly o'er the sleeper bending
His black hair with golden blending,
In her soft and light caress,
Cheek and lip together press.

Ha !— that start of horror !— Why
That wild stare and wilder cry,
Full of terror, full of pain?
Is there madness in her brain?
Hark! that gasping, hoarse and low:
"Spare me — spare me — let me go!"

God have mercy !— Icy cold
Spectral hands her own enfold,
Drawing silently from them
Love's fair gifts of gold and gem,
"Waken! save me!" still as death
At her side he slumbereth.

Ring and bracelet all are gone,
And that ice-cold hand withdrawn;
But she hears a murmur low,
Full of sweetness, full of woe,
Half a sigh and half a moan:
"Fear not! give the dead her own!"

Ah ! — the dead wife's voice she knows !
That cold hand whose pressure froze,
Once in warmest life had borne
Gem and band her own hath worn.
"Wake thee! wake thee!" Lo, his eyes
Open with a dull surprise.

In his arms the strong man folds her,
Closer to his breast he holds her;
Trembling limbs his own are meeting,
And he feels her heart's quick beating:
"Nay, my dearest, why this fear?"
"Hush!" she saith, "the dead is here!"

"Nay, a dream — an idle dream."
But before the lamp's pale gleam
 Tremblingly her hand she raises,—
There no more the diamond blazes,
Clasp of pearl, or ring of gold, —
"Ah!" she sighs, "her hand was cold!"

Broken words of cheer he saith,
But his dark lip quivereth,
And as o'er the past he thinketh,
From his young wife's arms he shrinketh;
Can those soft arms round him lie,
Underneath his dead wife's eye?

She her fair young head can rest
Soothed and child-like on his breast,
And in trustful innocence
Draw new strength and courage thence;
He, the proud man, feels within
But the cowardice of sin!

She can murmur in her thought
Simple prayers her mother taught,
And His blessed angels call,
Whose great love is over all;
He, alone, in prayerless pride,
Meets the dark Past at her side!

One, who living shrank with dread,
From his look, or word, or tread,
Unto whom her early grave
Was as freedom to the slave,
Moves him at this midnight hour,
With the dead's unconscious power!

Ah, the dead, the unforgot!
From their solemn homes of thought,
Where the cypress shadows blend
Darkly over foe and friend,
Or in love or sad rebuke,
Back upon the living look.

And the tenderest ones and weakest,
Who their wrongs have borne the meekest,
Lifting from those dark, still places,
Sweet and sad-remembered faces,
O'er the guilty hearts behind
An unwitting triumph find.


John Greenleaf Whittier Poems Benjamin B. Mussey , Pub. Boston, Ma. 1850

Saturday, October 05, 2019


((First posted in October2014))

Last year for Halloween I blogged about various New England legends and
folklore, some of which posts I may repost this year. But tonight I was looking
for a new spooky legend and found a poem about a distant cousin written by
another equally distant cousin.

I am a descendant of 10x great grandfather John Moulton and his wife Anne.
One of their other descendants  is my second cousin 9x removed Jonathan
Moulton.  William Richard Cutter says this about him:

(IV) General Jonathan Moulton, son of Jacob Moulton, was born in Hampton, New
Hampshire, June 30, 1726, and died there in 1788, aged sixty-two years. He owned
a large amount of land and was a wealthy man. It was largely through his efforts
that two or three towns in the state were settled, as is told in the "Farmer and
Moore's Gazetteer" of 1823. On November 17, 1763, Moulton borough was granted
to him and sixty-one others by the Masonian proprietors. He had a distinguished
reputation for service in the Indian wars along the northern borders of the new town
before it was settled, in 1763. and many stories are told of his adventures at that time. 

Doubtless his service against the Ossipee Indians was the principal reason of placing 
him at the head of the grantees. Through his efforts the grant for New Hampton was 
obtained from Governor Wentworth. It is said he obtained it by presenting the governor 
with an ox weighing one thousand four hundred pounds, which he drove to Portsmouth 
and for which he refused money, saying he preferred the charter to the land which he 
named New Hampton. The town of Centre Harbor was formed from a part of his grant 
called Moultonborough Addition. He was known as a fearless commander, and although
his reticence and dignified bearing aroused the displeasure of some, he must have been 
thoroughly trustworthy and competent to be intrusted with such important commissions 
as were placed in his hands. He served many years in the legislature. He was a shrewd 
business man, ahead of his time in many ways. The poet Whittier has made him the hero 
of his poem, "The New Wife and the Old." S. A. Drake, in his "New England Legends and
 Folk Lore," has written an amusing story founded on the legend of Jonathan Moulton 
and the Devil...

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 4 (Google eBook) Lewis historical publishing Company, 1915

Cutter then includes Drake's story about the Devil which is long so I won't include
it here, but there is this added by Drake at the end of it:

Another legend runs to the effect that upon the death of his wife—as evil report would have it— under very suspicious circumstances, the General paid court to a young woman who had been companion of his deceased spouse. They were married. In the middle of the night the young bride awoke with a start. She felt an invisible hand trying to take off from her finger the wedding-ring that had once belonged to the dead and buried Mrs. Moulton. Shrieking with fright, she jumped out of bed, thus awakening her husband, who tried in vain to calm her fears. Candles were lighted and search was made for the ring: but as it could never be found again, the ghostly visitor was supposed to have carried it away with her. This story is the same that is told by Whittier in the New Wife and the Old.- p2305

So of course when I read that John Greenleaf Whittier has written a poem about the
story of the two wives, I had to look for a copy of it. I found one, and I'll share it
with you in the next blogpost.

Monday, September 30, 2019


8x great grandfather William Haskell Jr. diversified and did quite well at it. He had two mills along with his farm and quite a bunch of acres of land, most of it salt marsh. He also owned four beehives which are mentioned in the estate inventory.

Here's a short sketch from William Richard Cutter:

II) William (2) Haskell, eldest child of William (1) and Mary Haskell, was born August 26, 1644, in Gloucester, and operated grist and saw mills in that part of the town now Rockport. He died June 5, 1708, and his estate was inventoried at six hundred sixty-six pounds, most of it going to his eldest son William. He married, July 3, 1667, Mary, daughter of William and Mary Brown, known as Mary Walker, from her stepfather, Henry Walker. She was born 1649, and died November 12, 1715. Children: Mary, born April 29, 1668; William, November 6, 1670; Joseph, April 20, 1673 ; Abigail, March 2,1675 ; Henry, April 2, 1678: Andrew, July 27, 1680; Lydia, September 4, 1681 ; Sarah, February 26, 1684, died 1691 ; Elizabeth, April 5, 1686; Hannah, October 30, 1688; Jacob, mentioned below; Sarah, September 11, 1692.p442

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,  N.Y., N.Y.1915

William died at Gloucester, Ma. sometime before 12Aug 1708 when his will was filed. I've found his Probate file at and it's on my long list of things to be transcribed.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019


I have two lines of descent from 9x great grandparents William Haskell and Mary Tybott, One is through their eldest son William Jr. and the other through youngest son Mark. The two lines eventually were joined in the marriage of Samuel Haskell and Ruth Safford, Mark's great granddaughter.

William is among the small number of my ancestors who made their living on the sea, although he also had a farm. Here's an excerpt from the book History of the Town of Gloucester, Cape Ann by John James Babson:

WILLIAM HASKELL was born about 1620, and was connected with the family of Roger Haskell of Salem. He first appears in Gloucester in 1643; and, in 1645, mention is made of his land at Planter's Neck. He probably resided here a few years following the last date; but the hiatus in the recorded births of his children affords ground for conjecture that he was not a permanent resident from that time. If he left town for a season, he had returned in 1656, and settled on the westerly side of Annisquam river, where he had several pieces of land; among which was a lot of ten acres, with a house and barn, bought of Richard Window, situated on the west side of Walker's Creek. His sons took up land on each side of this creek, which is still occupied by descendants. The public offices to which he was elected afford sufficient proof that he was a prominent and useful citizen. He was a selectman several years, and representative six times in the course of twenty years. In 1681, he was appointed, by the General Court, lieutenant to the trainband, of which he was afterwards captain. He was also one of the first two, of whom we have any knowledge, that were deacons of the First Church. He married Mary, daughter of Walter Tybbot, Nov. 16, 1643. She died Aug. 16, 1693; and he four days after (on the 20th), leaving an estate of £548. 12s. His children, whose births are recorded, were — William, born in 1644; Joseph, 1646; Mark, 1658; Sarah, 1660; and Elenor, 1663. Besides these, he had sons Benjamin and John, and daughters Ruth and Mary.-p99

History of the Town of Gloucester, Cape Ann: Including the Town of Rockport,  Procter Brothers, - Gloucester, Ma 1860

Saturday, September 21, 2019


It's that time of year again! Time to start thinking about a post for the Eleventh Annual Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge!

As in the past, I'll be posting the links to the submissions on Thanksgiving Day,which this year falls on Thursday, November 28th. So the deadline for submissions will be a week before, on Thursday, November 21st. That gives everyone  two months to find (or write) and share their poem or song. If you find one long before that deadline (as I have) you can post it on your blog now, but don't forget to send me the link to it before November21st

These are the Challenge rules:

1. Find a poem by a  poet, famous or obscure, about the region
one of your ancestors lived in. It can be about an historical event, a
legend, a person, or even about some place (like a river)or a local
animal. It can even be a poem you or one of your ancestors have written.
0r, if you prefer, post the lyrics of a song or a link to a video of someone
performing the song.

2. Post the poem or song to your blog (remembering to cite the source
where you found it.).  If you wish to enter an older post, you may as long
as it has not appeared here in an earlier Poetry Challenge.

 3.Tell us how the subject of the poem or song relates to your ancestor's
home or life, or the area of the country where they lived.

4.Submit your post's link here to me  in a comment or send me an emaill  

by midnight Thursday, November 21st and I'll publish all links to the entries 
on Thanksgiving Day, November 28th

5. If  you submit a humorous poem or song that will be entered under the
"Willy Puckerbrush" division. Willy was the late geneablogger Terry
Thornton's alias for some humorous posts and comments.

There you have it. You have two months to find your poem and post it to your
blogs. I will be waiting to see what you come up with this year!

Friday, September 20, 2019


I now knew that my 3x great grandfather Christian Luick's  parents were Christian Luick and Justina Beringer and that his wife's name was Christiane Ruppmilk. Searching the records at the FamilySearch website yielded more information:

- I found the birth record for my 3x ggf Christian and found that Justina's middle name was Dorothea.

-Using that I found Justina's birth and baptism records in the Germany Births and Baptisms, 1558-1898. Both took place at Evangelisch, Neckarwestheim, Neckarkreis, Wuerttemberg and her parents name were Jacob Friederich Beringer and Maria Elisabeth Franck.  She was born on 4 Nov 1797 and baptized on 5 Nov 1797.

-I found the marriage of Christian to Christiane Ruppmilk in the Germany Marriages, 1558-1929 collection. It took place on 12 Jan 1845 at Evangelisch, Neckarwestheim, Neckarkreis, Wuerttemberg and it says she was born on 25 Jul 1819. Her full name was Christiane Catharine Ruppmich and her parents were Johannes Ruppmich and Christina Barbara Krehwisch.

Now, I had mixed luck extending the lines back further. I haven't had been able to go further back on the Luicks and Offingers yet. The Beringers and Ruppmilk/Ruppmilch lines and associated families seem to go back as far as the 17th century and in one case to the 16th century but I am proceeding cautiously,  trying to analyze  the records I've found. This is all new to me, a foreign country with records I can't easily access. So this will be a slow process.

Still, I now know more about my German ancestry than I ever did before.