Sunday, January 28, 2007


A story that illustrates one of the tragedies of time: cemetaries
that have been lost over time due to abandonment or that have
been reclaimed by nature.

I have Kimballs in my West ancestry but I could find no link
with this branch.

Friday, January 26, 2007


The rest of the trips usually depended on how much time we had
left. Longer vacations usually included a drive up to the Aziscohos
Dam where dad’s Uncle Clarence had been caretaker since 1924
and did the job for over a half century, or a stop at Tom’s Diner in
Wilson’s Mills. If it was winter we got to see the deer come down
out of the woods to eat grain put out to keep them from starving
in a bad year. One usual stop was a trip to the ice cream stand in
Berlin with all the cousins.

If we chanced to be there on Sunday we’d drive into Berlin to the
nearest Catholic church and attend Mass. This was a matter of
some importance to my mother. Dad converted to Catholicism
so they could marry and it might not have been a decision his
parents were comfortable with. The clearest memory I have of
those masses is of the day we realized the priest was speaking
French now instead of Latin or English.

On the way back home we might stop at one of the attractions
along the way: Six Gun City, Santa’s Village, Clark’s Trading
Post or The Old Man of the Mountains. Sometimes we’d bring
back more than souvenirs. Over the years there were several
kittens, at least one puppy, and one parakeet that made the trip
down south to Massachusetts with us. Twice we brought back
the flu.

We’ll skip the details on that.

I haven’t been back up to Maine or New Hampshire for twenty
years now although my sister has made the trip with her family
several times. I’m not a great long distance driver. But lately
I’ve been thinking about those vacations and the land where
my father’s family took root a lot lately.

Maybe I’ll take a trip up there again. If I ever get a reliable
car to do it in.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


Most of the time we spent up home was with the family of Dad’s
sister Flossie. Her and Uncle Herbie’s house served as the start
point for trips further upcountry to see the relatives in Errol or
visit Grandpa and Grandma West who lived apart.

Grandpa West was still logging when I was old enough to be aware
of things. I can recall a mustached man with a fedora perched on
his head, a pair of green workpants and suspenders over the green
workshirt. Most of all I recall fingers missing from each hand and
the small tin can into which he spat tobacco juice. I don’t recall
many conversations with him but looking back I can chalk that up
to two main reasons, one being the mix of awe and fright I had of
the stranger I saw once or twice a year who was missing fingers
and had brown spit. The other was that like my father Grandpa
West was not what you’d call a big talker, at least not that I ever
recall on our visits. But when I was younger I was too busy being
a kid exploring or playing while the adults were talking.

The last time I recall seeing my grandfather was on a trip my dad
and I made uphome by ourselves when I was a teenager. We drove
up in an old 1954 Chevy to Upton, Me. where Grandpa West was
living at the time. He'd been running a trap line and caught a fisher
which was frozen solid. It made a big thump when he dropped it on
the floor. I suspect that was for my benefit as was most likely what
I think was a jar of pickled deer tongues he set out on the table for
dinner with deer steaks, potatoes and sour dough biscuits.
I was a city boy, after all, and I think he got a grin out of my looks
at what was in that jar!

Friends became suspicious when they noticed he hadn’t come in
to the post office to pick up his mail. They went to his home to
check up on him and found him dead of a heart attack.

I have even fewer recollections of Grandma West. While we did
talk some when we visited it was the usual sort a grandchild
might have about school and how I was doing. The visits were
either not very long or took place back at Aunt Flossie’s in Milan
where I’d be busy playing with my cousin Bobby. And as I grew
older I didn't often accompany the rest of the family on the

I regret I never sat down to talk to them when I had the chance.
When you are young you think everyone lives forever and you
don’t have the time to spend listening to older folks reminiscing.
Now that I am closer in age to what they were back then, I wish
that I had.

We’ll stop here for how.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Readers of this blog might notice that at times it will ramble a bithere and there around my family history and memories. I suspect Imost lilkely will disappoint more serious genealogists but I want to set some of this stuff down in writing somewhere and this is as good a place as any.

So. Let's start with this: Going Up Home.

My dad met my mom here in Massachusetts after returning from World War II. He was working with a landscape crew climbing trees, trimming dead branches or cutting them down completely, a job that he was imminently qualified for as the son of a lumberman. A friend of Dad's was dating my mom's cousin and set my parents up on a blind date and the rest as they say, is history.

Every year though we loaded up the car and headed north or UpHome as Dad called it. Dad did all the driving while Mom did all the warning about his driving and my sister and I would watch the scenery whizz by until we dozed off. If we were lucky we got a chance to get out of the car and stretch our legs if Dad decided to stop someplace along the way for food. The big ritual on the trip was the handing out chewing gum just before we hit Franconia Notch and crossed the White Mountains so that chewing the gum would "pop" our ears.

The ultimate destination was Milan, New Hampshire where Dad's sister lived with her husband and family. Sometimes we stayed at their house, other times at a motel in Gorham or Berlin. Then after dinner we'd watch the tv shows from Quebec in French before bed and the next day head off to visit Dad's parents.Which is a good a place to stop for now.To be continued…


Every once and awhile I come across something or another on the internet that sets my mind to wondering about the posssible ties to my family. For example:

My great grandfather P.J. was married twice. When my greatgrandmother Clara died in 1899, he was left with my 6 year old grandfather and 4 year old granduncle to raise. But in 1905 he married Alphonsene Turgeon and were married for 36 years until her death in 1941.

While searching for any hits on the words Pingree and West,I found a website for Pineglade Lumber. It was founded in 1912 by a John C. West and Joseph Turgeon and was based out of the same area as my family.

So. Was John C. West PJ's brother? And what if any is the connection between Joseph and Alphonsene Turgeon?


1. John Cutter WEST (b.8 Oct 1802-Plymouth,Ma.;d.24 Jul 1862-Upton,Me.) sp: Arvilla S. AMES (b.25 Jan 1810-Livermore,Me.;m.23 Sep 1827;d.25 Apr 1907-Hermon Me)
2. Ann Matilda WEST (b.4 Jun 1828-Letter "b" Township,Upton,Oxford,Me;d.23 Mar 1913)
2. Asa Atwood WEST (b.11 Mar 1830-Canton,Oxford,Maine;d.Jan 1909)

2. Jonathan Phelps WEST (b.16 Jan 1834-Letter B Plantation (now Upton),Me.;d.8 Jul 1917- Upton,Me.) sp: Louisa Almata RICHARDSON (b.1837-Wilton,Me.;m.31 Jan 1865;d.4 Oct
3. John Cuvier WEST (b.10 Dec 1867-Letter "b" Township,Upton,Me;d.5 Mar 1927-
3. Philip Jonathan WEST (b.23 Sep 1868-Upton,Me.;d.5 Nov 1954-Wilsons Mills,Me.)

sp: Clara Ford ELLINGWOOD (b.6 Mar 1865-Dummer,N.H.;d.10 Apr 1901-
4. Floyd Earl WEST Sr. (b.14 Apr 1893;d.28 Jan 1970-Dumaway Me.) sp: Cora
Bertha BARKER (b.27 Oct 1899-Bethel,Me.;m.24 Mar 1919;d.Jun 1987)
5. Stanley Rayfield WEST (b.23 Feb 1920-Bethel,Oxford,Me.;d.26 Feb 1920-
5. Hazel Linnie WEST (b.2 Jun 1921-Bethel,Oxford,Me.;d.4 Aug 1973)
5. Floyd Earl WEST Jr. (b.17 Jul 1924-Bethel,Oxford,Me.;d.22 Nov1985-
So.Weymouth,Plymouth,Ma.) sp: Anne M. WHITE(b.7 Jul 1927;m.29 Jun 1947)
5. Dorothy Leona WEST
5. Florence Irma WEST
4. Clarence Philip WEST (b.17 Mar 1895-So.Paris,Oxford,Me.;d.5 Jun 1983)
3. Mark WEST (b.Abt 1878-Upton,Oxford,Me;d.1878)
3. Paul Leroy WEST (b.20 Jul 1880 Or 1876-Upton,Oxford,Me;d.26 Aug 1954-

Farmington,Oxford,Me.) 2. Vienna Ames WEST (b.14 Apr 1836-Letter "b"
Township,Upton,Oxford,Me;d.14 Oct 1913)
2. Hiram Ferdinand WEST (b.18 Nov 1838-Letter "b" Township,Upton,Oxford,Me;d.Feb 1914)
2. Clarinda Britton WEST (b.29 Apr 1841-Letter "b" Township,Upton,Oxford,Me;d.8 Nov 1900)
2. Arvilla Electa WEST (b.29 Jun 1844-Letter "b" Township,Upton,Oxford,Me;d.6 Feb 1862)
2. Leonidas WEST (b.21 Jul 1847-Letter "b" Township,Upton,Oxford,Me;d.28 May 1932-Brewster,Okanogan,Wa.)
2. Ruth Ellen WEST (b.6 Mar 1851-Letter "b" Township,Upton, Me;d.26 Jan 1862-Upton,Oxford,Me)
2. David Pingree WEST (b.6 Oct 1853-Letter "b" Township,Upton,Me;d.17 Jan 1862)


Alright, I'm faced with some roadblocks on both my maternal and paternal lines. My mother was a White and her father walked out on the small family during the Great Depression. My mother and uncle never talked about their father around me and when they did it was very little and usually preceded by a few choice terms I won't repeat here. Both my parents and my uncle are deceased now so that avenue of questioning is closed to me.

And on her mother's side we can only go back one more generation to the McFarlands who came over from Ireland.

My father was a West and while my Aunt Dorothy (and others) have traced the line back to John Cutter West on the 1837 Maine Census, none of us who've climbed that family tree have been able to find his parents or a record of his supposed birth in Plymouth, Ma. in 1802. It's through his marriage to Arvilla Ames that I can trace my descent from many early Ma. colonists. And his grandson, Philip Jonathan(my great grandfather) married Clara Ford Ellingwood who is another link to the early settlers.

Besides my aunt's earlier research I have a copy of a book on the history of Wilson's Mills, Maine and a book on the Dunham and Ellingwood families (more on these later.) I have a copy of the marriage certificate and divorce decree of my mother's parents. I also have a copy of the 1880 census with my mother's grandparents the McFarlands and their children alive at that time listed on it.

I've two letters from relatives on each side of the family with information on births, deaths, and marriages.

So while I have some brickwalls I also have more information than many others have when they started up.

When I began my genealogy work I used an older computer
jokingly known as George but recently he has been replaced
by Elaine, a Christmas gift from some of the best friends I could
have ever have. And my sister and her family gave me a nifty
printer/scanner/fax machine which I've named Newman. These
make things much easier and I can't thank them all enough for it.

I also have a secondhand laptop I call Kramer which is the backup

And there it is. What I have information wise and what tools I have to work with while climbing my family tree. .


Well, this is a bit more serious minded a blog then I've done before.It will deal with my thoughts on researching my family lines, the Wests and Whites, and the times in which they lived. I hope also to comment on books that might be of use.

A bit of information at the start. I'm a late middle aged guy with a computer and time on my hands at night,and I've a limited income. I suppose I'm closer now to upper lowerclass than lower middleclass these days. I work in a book store and my salary is less than some teens working close shifts at McDonald's make per hour. On the other hand I like working the bookbiz, having worked in it now for close to 17 years. And working in a bookstore gives me access to a lot of books that provide at least background information on history and culture.

I have a B.A. in History and my interest in the field has never lagged,although until recently most of my reading has been mostly on ancient and medieval times.But over the past few years I've become more and more interested in early American history for reasons you'll see shortly.Some years back one of my father's sisters sent us pedigree charts that she'd made based on her own research into the family line. This was before the age of computers, mind you. We'd also bought a copy of Frances O'Connor'sbook on the Dunham and Ellingwood lines who we are related to through the marriage of Clara Ford Ellingwood to my great-grandfather. These were pored over when we first got them but eventually given over to me as the historian of our family and packed away in a desk drawer. Time, as they say,passed. My parents passed away, my younger brother and sister married and now have families of their own.

A few years back prompted by a conversation with an online friend who was talking about her own climb up her family tree, I dug out those pedigree charts and set about climbing up my own.Given my income I downloaded the Personal Ancestry File program from the Family Search site run by the Church of Latter Day Saints and filled in as much information as I could from what I already had and then went hunting on their site and elswhere for more. I found a lot, but so far I have not been able to verify anything beyond what my aunt had already sent us.

So to those looking at these pages, do NOT accept the information here as the last word on your search. Verify! I hope to be able to do it myself when time, money, and a car in need of repair allow.

And I think that's enough to begin with for now.