Friday, February 29, 2008


It’s been a long day, so not much to report on except for this
which tickled my funnybone:

While I was looking over an Albany, Maine census from 1850
I noticed that the occupation for two citizens was listed as
“Old Age”.

Hey, it’s a dirty job. Somebody has to do it!

Thursday, February 28, 2008


The topic for the next CoG(this will be the 43rd) is this:

Select one piece of hardware (besides your computer), one
piece of
software (besides your internet browser), and one
web site/blog
(besides your own) that are indispensable to

Well, I ask you: is that fodder for a genealogy triad or what?

Three tools for tracing my family: good hardware, good
software, and a good website for research.

good hardware: My sister Cheryl and my brother in law
Peter gave me a HP OfficeJet 5610 All in One Printer/
Scanner/Copier/Fax Machine for Christmas two years ago
and it’s made everything so much easier.

I’ve never owned a scanner before this one and I’ve been
able to start preserving the old family photos(although I am
still woefully behind in that.) It also helped me in doing the
transcriptions of Aunt Dot’s handwritten memoirs. I scanned
the pages, then used what I’ve come to call the “Seaver
Method” (a post by Randy over at Genea-Musings showed
me how to do this) which is a split screen: the image on the
top of the screen and MS Word on the bottom. I read the
pages from the image and typed it into Word. I recently have
found a short memoir by my granduncle Clarence about
his experiences at Aziscohos Dam and plan to use the same
process to post them here.

good software: No contest in this one. It’s Personal Ancestry
File 5. My friend Diana was the person who told me there was
this genealogy software program that I could download for
free from the LDS. I did so and entered all the research Aunt
Dot had sent us years before and I’m still using it today as
my primary genealogy database. While I still don’t have all
the ins and outs of how to format some of the reports, for the
most part it’s easy to use and has the extra benefit of the
ability to click a name and run a search on the FamilySearch
Internet site for it. I’m building family trees on some of the
newer online genealogy sites now but the PAF is my old

and a good website for research: Given my software answer
it’s an easy guess that my website would be the FamilySearch
site and it is! Again, it’s a free website with loads of information,
although not all of it is accurate so further research is wise. I
found my grandfather Floyd E.(arl) West listed five times on
the Pedigree Resource Files as Floyd J. West, for example. I
think of FamilySearch as providing me with hints and clues
that I need to verify. Even so I often recommend PAF and
FamilySearch to customers at the bookstore whenever our
conversation turns to genealogy. They are an easy and
inexpensive way for someone to try out tracing their family

And that’s my genealogy triad!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


As Roseanee Roseannadanna used to say, “If it’s not one
thing it’s another.”

A week or so ago I received an email from a genealogical
research website telling me that the writer had enjoyed my
blog and felt it could be of value to other researchers, so
they’d added it to their links list. They asked that in return I
add the html code for a link to their website.

I’ll be honest. I forgot. I was involved with getting the
Genealogists' Parade together and with other writing.

The website sent me a reminder. I saved the email with the
intention of adding the site when I had time but again I forgot.
I was caught up in research and in writing and so haven’t
updated my blog template for several weeks.

Then tonight I opened a third email which once again pointed
out that linking our sites would be mutually beneficial and
again included the html code.

There was also a concluding paragraph in which the writer
sadly advised me that unless they heard back from me soon
they would need to remove my link from their genealogy

Ok, so I was inconsiderate I guess. But I’ve always followed
a policy here of only listing links to sites I enjoy or have found
useful to my research, nor do I expect those whose sites I
list here to list mine on their blogs simply I've linked to

So I went to the website and looked around. Then I thought
about it, and I guess something about that last paragraph in
this latest letter got my Irish up.

So I emailed them back and asked to have my blog removed
from their list.

Hey, I’m old and occasionally cranky.

Sunday, February 24, 2008


Perhaps it was Terry Thornton’s recent geneablog poetry
that caused it but the topic of the next CoG put me
in mind of an ancient Irish form of poem or proverb called the
triad. Triads were as the name suggests, a list of three things
that somehow were connected. Historians theorize they were
used by the Irish as teaching tools to pass on knowledge or to
serve as memory keys to specific lessons or discussions on
various topics.

For example:

“The rocks to which lawful behavior is tied: A monastery,
a chieftain, the family.”

There in one line are listed the three anchors of civilization

Here’s another. I can imagine some druid or monk working
with a student trying to learn how to deliver a speech and
then listing how he needs to improve:

“Three hateful things in speech-stiffness, obscurity, a bad

There were triads that instructed how to dress and behave:

“Three excellences of dress-elegance, comfort, lastingness.”

“Three Steadinesses of good womanhood-keeping a steady
tongue, a steady chastity and a steady housewifery.”

Triads had pieces of advice and wisdom for everyone,
including the nobility:

“Three things best for a chief-justice, peace and an army.”

“Three worst things for a chief-sloth, treachery, evil

Many of these triads have been translated into a poetic form.
Alfred Perceval Graves translated several of the ones I’ve
cited thusly:

Three powers advantaging a Chieftain most
Are Peace and Justice and an armed host.
Three worse of snares upon a Chieftain’s way:
Sloth, treachery and evil counsel they!”

“Three excellencies of our dress are these:
Elegance, durability and ease.”

Triads were not exclusive to the Irish. They were common
among the other Celts of Britain and Wales and I first
discovered them because of my interest in the legends of
King Arthur, since many of the British triads deal with him
and his followers. The authenticity of some of those is in
question since they make mention of “Lancelot of the Lake”
(although in a Welsh version of the name) and Lancelot
was a later edition from the medieval romances.

But I can see how useful triads must have been for teaching.
They were short, pithy, and easy to recall. And they could
easily be adapted for modern life:

“Three things needed to start the day: clean clothes, clean
teeth and a hot shower.”

"Three things to be bought when I go to the grocery: ground
beef and onions and breath mints for after!”

And I have put the CoG topic into a triad, but you’ll have to
wait until I post my response to see it.

How about you, readers? Can you put something in your life into
a triad?

I found the triads I used in this article here at this website:

Alfred Perceval Graves' verse translations can be found in
Robert Blaisdell's "Irish Verse:An Anthology" at
Google Book.

Saturday, February 23, 2008


So you think that when you gain access to more records all
your family mysteries will be solved.


Not only am I still hunting the Elusive John C., I’ve now found
a few more little mysteries to make me scratch my head.

We’ll get to the "Case of the Meandering McFarlands" in a
future post, but at the moment I want to talk about the case
of “Why Was Westley Where?"

Westley(Wesley) Coburn is my 3x great grandfather on
my father’s side of the family. Recently while on Ancestry
I found the 1850 Federal Census Record of “Wesley Coburn”
at the town of Mason, Oxford County, Me. It’s dated on 28th
Aug 1850 and the census taker was named either John
Wilson or Neilson. “Wesley” is listed as being 48 years old,
his occupation as “Miller” and the owner of 500 acres. His
family consisted of:

Lucy 41 F
Louisa 22 F
Melvin 19 M (occupation: Farmer)
Leander 17 M
Moses 15 M
Elizabeth 8 F

(Wesley B. Coburn Household, 1850 U.S. Census
Mason, Oxford, Maine;
Page: 238; Roll: M432_262; Image: 461.)

So I’d found Westley, his wife Lucy(Stow) Coburn and his
children, among whom is his daughter Elizabeth who is my

But wait. There’s more!

I also found this from the 1850 Census for the Town of
Albany, Oxford County, Me., recorded by a H(?) Hutchins Jr.
two days earlier on 26th Aug :

Westley Coburn 48 M Wheelwright 600 acres
Lucy 42 F
Louisa 21 F
Melvin 19 M Farmer
Leander 16 M Farmer
Moses 15 M
Elizabeth 8 F

(Westley Coburn Household, 1850 U.S. Census
Albany, Oxford, Maine;
Page: 28; Roll: M432_262; Image: 59.)

So here’s Westley/Wesley in two different places. It’s
obviously the same person because the families match up,
but he has two different occupations, and the acreage owned
differs as well.

What’s going on?

Albany and Mason, Me. were small towns that bordered each
other. Albany had a population of around 600 in 1870
according to Wikipedia and it seems that neither Albany nor
Mason ever really grew. In fact the towns are now
unincorporated and are part of the unorganized territory of
South Oxford, Maine along with two other former towns.
The total population of South Oxford was 515 citizens on the
2000 census.

My best guess is that Westley owned land that stretched
from one town into the other, with a mill in Mason and a
wheelwright shop in Albany. So both census takers counted
him and his family.

I’m not sure if this was legal or not. Perhaps one of the more
experienced geneabloggers reading this might shed some
light on it? 1850 United States Federal Census
[database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations
Network, Inc., 2005.

Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census.
Seventh Census of the United States, 1850. Washington, D.C.:
National Archives and Records Administration, 1850.
M432, 1,009 rolls.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


As is my habit on days off, I’ve been surfing the genealogy
blogs and Google news for something to read while drinking
my morning coffee.

Among the blogs today is Terry Thornton’s post about grits
and hommeny over at his Hill Country of Monroe County,
Mississippi. I’ll have to write sometime about the rather
unique use of corn meal the cooks at a former place of
employment had for it.

Jasia writes about getting the results of her DNA test back
but leaves us with a cliffhanger over what exactly those
results are!

Here’s an interesting story that ties genealogy and a
special license plate together.

And finally my brother Phil has confirmed that indeed that
Dad’s story of Blackfeet has been passed on to the next


So I took a month’s membership to recently
and started researching some of my lines when I found
something that sort of discombobulated me, and at my age I
can’t afford to lose my combobulate.

I won’t say which line it was but I was checking the “Stories
and Articles” category and well, one of my posts here on a
particular family member showed up on another private
Ancestry tree.

It’s not that it’s posted on Ancestry. This has nothing to do
with the controversy of last year. And one of the main
purposes of my blog is to get my family’s history out there
and accessible. It’s just that I never expected to have
something I wrote quoted as part of someone’s

Nor am I objecting that the person did it as long as it’s not
cited as a source in and of itself. (I do give the sources for the
anecdote within the article itself.) What does give me pause is
that it reminds me that I need to be as accurate as I can when
writing about my family history and genealogy because it will
be read by others and if I mess up, there might well be a ripple
effect as the error appears elsewhere.

So, folks, whoever you may be, please read the warning under
my blog’s title and verify what I’ve written for yourselves. I
try to cite my sources when I post and if you find I’ve made an
error in one of my posts I’d like to hear from you!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


We all know the story of Abe Lincoln growing up in the log
cabin in Kentucky. But what many Americans don’t know is
thatLincoln’s ancestors lived in Hingham, Massachusetts, a
small coastal town that is only one town away from me here
in Abington.

You can read about Hingham’s 20th annual Lincoln Days
celebration here. And make sure to look at the two

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


The 42 Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy is up over at
Jasia’s Creative Gene blog and it’s the first annual Igene
awards in which Jasia asked genealogy bloggers to nominate
what they felt were the best articles they’d written in 2007 in
five different categories. 23 of us responded and if you are
new to the geneablogging community or are just trying to
catch up on what’s been done out there, this is a great way
to sample some fine reading!

And of course with each new CoG comes the Call for
Submissions for the next edition:

The topic for the next edition of the Carnival of Genealogy
will be: Technology. What technology do you most rely on
for your genealogy and family history research? Select
one piece of hardware (besides your computer), one piece
software (besides your internet browser), and one web
site/blog (besides your own) that are indispensable to
you. Resist the urge to dilute the impact of your 3 choices
mentioning several others you use and appreciate as
This is an exercise in appraising the technology you
use/recommend the most.

The deadline for submissions is March 1st.

Sunday, February 17, 2008


My grandmother Agnes(Aggie)McFarland was one of a large
Irish Catholic family, but was one of the younger children. So
by the time I was born and was old enough to interact with
adults, most of her older siblings were deceased. I only have
memories of three: her older brothers Frank and Tommy,
and her younger sister Margaret ( Peggy). I’ve already
written a bit about Frank, and a future post will be about
my Aunt Peggy, but today I’m posting my memories of
Uncle Tommy.

Thomas Luke McFarland was born on 14 Jun 1893 in Boston,
Suffolk County, Massachusetts to John and Annie McFarland.
He was their seventh child, one of the nine who would survive
to adulthood. He appears on the 1910 Federal Census as a 17
year old office boy for a “diamond office”, probably the Arthur
A. Crafts Company at 125 Summer St. where he worked for
most of his life. By the time he registered for the World War
1 draft in 1917 he had worked his way up to tool maker. He
had a slim build and was of medium height with brown eyes.

Sometime in the early 1920’s he married Frances. (I don’t
know Aunt Frances’ last name as yet. I’m in the process of
tracking down the marriage’s date) and by 1930 they had
moved out of Boston south to the town of Milton. By now
Tom was a diamond cutter at A. A. Crafts Co. which
specialized in industrial diamonds and so he and Aunt
Frances were able to buy a house at 58 Sunnyside Road.
Frances was like most women of her times a homemaker, and
at some point her sister Katie came to live with them in the
small white house with the fenced in yard.

My earliest memories of Uncle Tommy, Aunt Frances and
Aunt Katie involve food, books, and their dog. Frances and
Katie would take my sister and I out to the kitchen where the
table folded up into the wall and serve us homemade ice
cream, chocolate cake or apple pie with a glass of milk. Tom
and Frances didn’t have any children and they always spoke
to us in a way that made me feel a bit more grownup, and
boy, could Frances and Katie cook! That chocolate
cake still ranks up there as the best I’ve ever tasted.

I envied Uncle Tommy’s living room: it had a glass door
bookcase. I can’t recall if it went the length of the room’s wall
but I do know it held a set of encyclopedias. What really
sticks in my mind is that on several occasions there were
copies of Analog Science Fiction Magazine and since I’ve been
a lifelong sf and fantasy reader, I wish I had talked with him
about his interest in it. When did he start reading it?
Who were his favorite authors?

Lastly, there was Tommy and Frances’ dog, Chips. (There
may have been a Mr. in front of the Chips.) He was a little
Boston Terrier and had the buggy eyes common to the
breed. He also liked to carry around in his mouth one half of
a pink rubber ball which sometimes would be held so it
covered his nose and made Chips look very funny.

I don’t recall ever seeing Tommy drive a car or if they even
had one. There mighty have been a garage next to the house
but I seldom spent time outside when we visited them. I’d
usually grab something to read and go sit in the other room
while the adults talked. There were family picnics, like in
the picture above, where my parents would pick Tommy and
Frances up in our car and they’d ride along with us

Time passed in that sneaky way it has of doing. One of the
first times I noticed was when at age 13 or so I realized that
I was now taller than Frances and Katie. The younger
McFarland and McCue adult relatives visited Uncle Tommy
for his expertise when they purchased their wedding rings.
I never had cause for that service, so as I grew to adulthood
the visits to Tommy and Frances grew fewer and fewer.

Uncle Tommy passed away in 1977 and Frances followed
ten years later. The picture of them with this article is pretty
much as I recall seeing them: Tommy in a white or light blue
shirt smoking his pipe and Frances every inch a lady.

I never heard either of them say a cross word, either to each
other or to anyone else.


Lori Thornton at Smoky Mountain Family Historian tagged
me with this meme:

What issues/topic interests you most--non-fiction, i.e,
cooking, knitting, stitching, thereare infinite topics that has
nothing to do with novels?

Well, history and genealogy, as well as mythology and folktales.

Would you like to review books concerning those?

Sure. In my earlier days I used to write book reviews for a few
sf fanzines.

Would you like to be paid or do it as interest or hobby?
Tell reasons for what ever you choose.

Money is always a good thing but I didn’t get paid for the
reviews I’ve done in the past so it’s not a problem.

Would you recommend those to your friends and how?

I’m a bookseller by trade. I recommend favorites and hand
sell to customers all day. I also refer some of my customers to
my blog if they have an interest in New England genealogy.

If you have already done something like this, link it to your

There was my Haunted Books Store series at Halloween and
one I did on When In Boston by Jim Vrabel. They aren’t very
long, though.

Now I need to tag ten more folks:












Alright, like a squirrel burying acorns I've been
leaving limericks all over the place at other
geneabloggers' sites and then forgetting where
I'd left them. So these are the ones I could find
after a quick check of my bookmarks:

A Berkshire greenman named Tim,
Will often just on a whim
Post old family photos
And then ask us just who knows
Funny captions to put upon them.

I finally managed to capture
A phrase that would rhyme with CowHampshire.
How could I know Tim Abbott
Would already grab it?
And now I can’t use it for damn sure!

Aw heck. I recycled it. Tim will approve!

If at blogging you want to succeed
Then it’s AnceStories you need
Miriam never stints
With great writing hints
For a blog that is pleasing to read!

Jasia hosts the COG
A blog where you’ll always see
A selection inviting
Of genealogy writing.
A Creative Gene-ius is she!

Oh how I wish I could be
As clever as Tom MacEntee
But I just couldn’t do
A decent haiku!
This was all I could do, as you see.

If it’s source accuracy that you’re cravin’
Check them out with our friend footnoteMaven.
She’ll quickly commence
And consult EVIDENCE!
To help get your citations behavin’!

This one was for Randy:

An ace genealogy mister
Who lives out in old Chula Vista
Climbs family trees
With greatest of ease
Without even raising a blister!

There once was man name of Terry
A talented lad was he, very!
With the knowledge he’d bring
He could blog anything,
And that made our man Terry merry!

A gal from the `poke name of Liz,
Said "Look here,the truth of it is
I'm just not a poet,
My writing will show it!"
Then she wrote one and she proved that she is!

Come along with me now and we’ll go
To the Virtual Dime Museum Show
If it’s rare or unique
Knowledge that you seek
Lidian is the one in the know!

And these are the ones written about yours truly:

Tim Abbott:

Three cheers for Bill West in New England!
And his penchant for distant kin minglin!
(Though this meter his tongue sets a tinglin')
A droll wit, ever wry,
Geneaologist spry,
So with poetic praise him I'm singlin'!

Terry Thornton:

Hello Cutter.
Hello Mutter.
Bill finds nutter ---
Flutaphone fugues
Fishing for togues
To fry in butter.

It was west to New England
Not east badland nor south gangland
Where Bill struggled with longhand
To write his fanfare fugue,
Flutaphone Common-man Togue,
Not trout but togue a la Copland.


Not last, Bill West with Flutaphone,
For research he can hold his own.
Tho music talent is overblown.
He claims a poet he is not,
Blaming Thornton on the spot,
Who needs to learn of sticks and stone.

Thomas MacEntee:


There once was a man from New England
an invite he wanted to extend
flutaphones he did dream
parade floats was the scheme
a great meme, fans did love without end


A book-sellng guy
"Young man go West" he knew
great blogging ensues

For those I haven't with
a limerick, my apologies. I think my brain has
overdosed on bad rhyming!

Friday, February 15, 2008


I was going to play a number on my flutaphone, but let’s just
get to the awards instead!

BEST COMEDY: would have to be the ongoing and seemingly
never ending quest for 49 GENEALOGICAL USES FOR A
FLUTAPHONE, the most recently updated list being this one.
Of course, I couldn’t have done it without contributions from
some other writers: Janice, Terry, Apple, and Schelly

BEST SCREEN PLAY: I’m torn, so I’m cheating. For best
screenplay, I think ORPHA would make a great movie. I’d
choose Daniel Day Lewis for Jonathan Phelps West, Scarlet
Johansen for the doomed Orpha, and Hillary Swank for
Louisa Almata Richardson.

AMES MURDER posts. Emil Hirsch and Glenn Close would
play the roles of Jonathan Eames and his mother Elizabeth
Eames. Paul Giammati who is playing John Adams in the
upcoming HBO special would reprise that role with perhaps
Viggo Mortenson as the prosecutor and Sam Waterson
for the strangely silent Jonathan Eames, Sr. (we’d have to
write him some dialogue since there’s no testimony on record
from him).

BEST PICTURE: The winnerof this is the picture of my
grandmother Agnes McFarland that accompanies the post
AGGIE. It’s the oldest photograph in the family album and
shows her as a young beautiful girl. I only knew her for a
short while before she died and by then she’d had a difficult
life but in this picture she’s happy and looks ready for a bright
future. Everyone should have that feeling in their lives and I'd
like to think Aggie did.

BEST BIOGRAPHY is actually an autobiography: AUNT
, written by my Aunt Dorothy. I learned
things I never knew about my Dad’s childhood as well as
Dot’s. Also it was the beginning of many new discoveries in
my family history.

That concludes the First Annual West in New England IGene
Blog Awards. Thank you for coming, and drive safely!

This was written for the 42nd Carnival of Genealogy for which
Jasia asked us to choose winners for the awards in the above

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Terry, it’s becoming quite plain
The sestain causes pain to my brain,
So I think I’ll just stick,
With the old limerick,
In the main I will gain far less strain.

Monday, February 11, 2008


Some interesting genealogy related articles:

This author talks about organizing his genealogy research:

Jim Breidner talks about reaction to his “Big Bang” column
and quotes, among others, Thomas MacEntee’s blog post at
Destination: Austin Family:

Lastly, this story about a Massachusetts elementary school class
project exploring genealogy made me grin, especially the part
about what material one student used to make a small-scale river:

Sunday, February 10, 2008


A geneablogger named West
Was put to the ultimate test
Late at night he would mutter
“Where ARE you, John Cutter?
`Til I find you I simply can’t rest!”

Blame it on Terry Thornton. This is for his Poetry Challenge!

Saturday, February 09, 2008


Sometimes in the course of pursuing genealogy something
reminds me of the passage of time.

I recently ran across one instance while looking at the 1920
U.S. Census for part of my McFarland family lines. While the
parents, my granduncle and his wife, were correctly listed as
Michael and Mary McFarland, their children were listed as

This straightaway led to a “huh”? on my part.

So I looked at the actual images. Michael and Mary McFarland
are the last two entries on their sheet. Their children are at
the top of the next page. Both pages were enumerated by the
same person and as I looked at it, I at first could see no reason
why their name had been listed as McParland in the Index.

And then I saw it. It was all Palmer’s fault, the Palmer
Method, that is.

Most students nowadays are taught the Modern Cursive or
the Zaner-Bloser styles of cursive writing, but most of their
19th and 20th century ancestors wrote in the Palmer
handwriting method. The census enumerator wrote
McFarland in the Palmer style.

The picture above is of a capital letter F written yes, badly;
my writing stinks. The top character is Modern Cursive and
the bottom is an example of the Palmer capital F. The
enumerator had made the F a bit too large and the top
crossbar is nearly obscured by the heavily printed top line of
the census form. The middle crossbar has a bit of a small loop
and the effect makes the F look like a P if one doesn’t look
at it carefully. I suspect that happened when the page was
transcribed for the Index.

So once again an example why it is important to check the
variations of spelling when researching a name.

Oh, and it was the description I found online of Palmer as
antiquated that made me aware of how old I am.

I was taught the Palmer method when I went to school.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


Welcome to the Genalogist’s Parade, brought to you by
Acme Lawn Food, because Lawns Have Roots, Too!

Leading off our Parade is the Family band unit entered by
Janet the Researcher. What a talented family it is, too,
led by her BandMaster grandfather William! Janet's Family
is awarded the King Family Award for Most Musical Family
in the parade.

And here comes our first float, entered by Lori Thornton,
the Smoky Mountain Family Historian displaying her
heritage from the Perkins Family of Ipswich, Ma. Centerpiece
of her float is a model of the Great Migration vessel the
Lyon, a true case of floating one’s boat. Lori’s entry holds
the "We're Number 1!" award as the first float entered in
the parade.

Now rounding the corner to pass before the review stand on
the hill before the Dyer Memorial Library is Schelly Talalay’s
Family Float.
Winner of the coveted Golden Flutaphone
Award for the Best Use of Decorative Flutaphones, Schelly’s
entry celebrates her family’s achievements in the latex foam
rubber industry and in cancer research and is easily one of
the most colorful floats in our parade.

Wait! Wow! Look at that! It’s Elizabeth’s Mother Ship float
complete with mysterious passengers and a shamrock to
symbolize the mystery surrounding some of Elizabeth’s
ancestors. Elizabeth wins the FinalFrontier award for best
use of an intergalactic spaceship!

From one grand mode of transportation to another as
Elizabeth is followed by Colleen’s Oration’s of OMcHodoy
float. Collen wins our Casey Jones Award for the first entry
using a Train Car.

Our transportation theme continues with Tex’s float from
All My Ancestors, which features a tractor, a wheat field, and
music! Tex receives the Wheaties Award for Best Use of A
Cereal Grain Ingredient.

The next unit is Apple’s depiction of her family’s ties to the
Erie Canal, featuring a flutaphone and chorus rendition of a
great American folksong. Apple is awarded the Borax Award
for Best Use of a Mule Team in a Parade.

Jessica from Jessica’s GeneJournal has chosen to celebrate
her family’s connection to the state of Michigan and wins the
Wolverine State Award for Best Use of Michigan History.

The sweet strains of “Amazing Grace” played on flutaphone
precede the passing of Becky’s Kinnexion’s display of her
Phend and Wiseman heritage and has been presented the
Swiss Miss Award for Alpine ancestry.

A chorus of beeping car horns and flashing lights heralds the
approach of Lisa’s classic automobile unit from 100 Years in
America honoring her Toth and Ujlaki families and winning
our Motor City Award for celebrating our nation’s love of cars

They are followed by another convertible bearing our Grand
Marshal, footnoteMaven!

Lidian of the Virtual Dime Museum ‘s float is a colorful
invocation of a day in a city park and easily wins the Mitch
Miller Memorial Award for Multilingual Three Part
Harmony Perfomances.

And their music is followed by Jasia's PolAm Parade
Float, a proud presentation of Polish American
Heritage and the winner of the Janice Brown Award for
Best Genealogical Themed Dancing!

Now come the two largest floats in the parade. First is Terry
Thornton’s Hill Country of Monroe County Mississippi which
depicts….well…pretty much all of Monroe County. It’s one
fine float and winner of the King Cake Award for the Largest
Float in the Parade.

Next is Randy Seaver’s Genea-Musings entry with scenes
from four different time periods that his ancestors lived
through. Randy receives the Orville Redenbacher Award for
Most Original Harvesting Of Corn (with a flutaphone).

And finally, last but not least, is my own West family float,
which wins the award for Last Float in the Parade.

I hope you enjoyed the parade, and I thank one and all for
their particpation!

Monday, February 04, 2008


The 41st Carnival of Genealogy is out over at Jasia’s Creative
. This one is on the topic of which four ancestors would
you like to have dinner with and asks questions about what
you’d eat, what you’d discuss, and other details of what would
be a momentous occasion for anyone tracing their family
history. The number of contributors is large and the quality
of their posts is as ever high!

Then Jasia issued a call for the 42 CoG:

“The topic for the next edition of the Carnival of Genealogy
will be: The Best of The Best! It's Academy awards time...
time for the Academy of Genealogy and Family History aka
AGFH (an esteemed organization that all genea-historian
bloggers who participate in this next edition of the COG will
become founding members of) to honor their best blog posts
of 2007* in the following 5 categories:

Best Picture - Best old family photo that appeared on
your blog in 2007. Tell us which you liked best and why.

Best Screen Play - Which family story that you shared in
would make the best movie? Who would you cast as
family members?

Best Documentary - Which was the best informational
you wrote about a place, thing, or event involving
family's history in 2007?

Best Biography - Which was the best biographical article
wrote in 2007?

Best Comedy - Which was the best funny story, poem, joke,
photo, or video that you shared on your blog in 2007?

*We're going to define "2007" to include any posts written
2007 as well as those written Jan. 1-Feb. 15, 2008 as
well (so
that new bloggers can participate).”

So bring out your best and share them with us!

Even better news: footnoteMaven, who suggested the dinner
with ancestors topic for this latest CoG, has been absent from
the genealogy blogging scene for the past few weeks is
recovering, and was able to write a new post on her blog.

Welcome back, ftm! Keep getting better!

Sunday, February 03, 2008


Hmm. I almost forgot to enter a float myself!

Of course mine would be entitled “West in New England”
and the sides of the float would be painted to make it look like
one of the log jams I’d see on the Androscoggin River when
we visited up home. My grandfather Floyd E. West Sr. and
his father Philip Jonathan West worked around the lumber
business in their lives.

There’d be a large map of Massachusetts and Northern New
England (so far there is no evidence of any connection to
Connecticut or Rhode Island.) with three ships touching the
shore: The Mayflower at Plymouth, another 17th century
sailing ship to the north of Boston to represent my Essex
County ancestors of the Great Migration, and a 19th century
steamer between at Boston to represent my Irish McFarlands
and Whites and German Offlinchers.

My West ancestors would stand in a line down the center of
the float with the Elusive John Cutter West shrouded in a
cloud of steam(no smoking!!) since nothing is known of the
family before him, and off to either side would stand members
of the other branches of the family: Abbott, Ames, Barker,
Benson, Barrows, Coburn, Dunham, Edson, Ellingwood,
Griffith, Haskell, Hastings, Houghton, Laughton, Packard,
Richardson, Upton, and the others.

When the line reached my father, he would be joined by my
mother. Behind her would stand the assembled McFarlands
Whites and Offlinchers.

And at the front of the float would be my sister and my
brother in law’s family as well as my brother’s.

There’d be small model buildings as well to represent what
sort of work they’d done in life: a sawmill, a smithy, and a
farmhouse for my New England lines and a small elevated
railway train model to since John McFarland helped in
the construction.

And from a speaker in the back, there will issue the strains
of “Hot Cross Buns.”

As played on a flutaphone.


61%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?


Just a quick reminder that the float entries for the
Genealogists' Parade should be entered by
midnight tonight, Feb.3.

Who am I kidding? It's Superbowl Sunday. If you
get an entry in after midnight I'll take it.

But please, if you have already posted about it, send me
the link. I've gotten the ones from the blogs I subscribe to
but I've had some new folks enter a float as well and I wouldn't
want to leave anyone out by mistake!

Friday, February 01, 2008


Yesterday, January 31st, was the wedding anniversary date
for two couples among my ancestors.

The first couple are Nathaniel Barker and Huldah Hastings.
They were the children of Revolutionary War veterans
Jonathan Barker and Amos Hastings and are my 3x great
grandparents. They were married 189 years ago on 31 Jan

The second couple are Jonathan Phelps West and Louisa
Almata Richardson, my 2x great grandparents who were
married on 31 Jan 1865. I’ve written a bit about them before
on my post on Jonathan’s first wife Orpha and the diphtheria
outbreak of 1861-2. I have some pictures of them but they
are in a book and I’m not sure if posting them here would be
a copyright violation so I prefer to err on the side of caution
and not post them. I think I admire them most out of my
West ancestors since they kept the family going after a
horrendous event when many other families ended.


The Third Carnival of Irish Genealogy is out and I spent some
time reading it at Lisa’s Small-Leaved Shamrock as I had my
toast and coffee It’s the first time I’ve contributed to it
and I hope I’ll have more for it in the future especially if I
make some progress in tracing my Irish roots.

It’s also been a good morning of reading great posts from my
fellow genealogy bloggers on the “dinner with four ancestors”
topic for Jasia’s next CoG and on floats for the forthcoming
Genealogists’ Parade. You all not only are fun to read but you
also display a lot of creativity! I’m especially impressed by all
the mentions of flutaphones. It seems we all got in touch with
our inner flutaphonist.

Or is that flautaphonist?

Two corrections on the 49 Genealogy Uses for a Flutaphone list:

Schelly’s float has broccoli sprouts, not cauliflower heads,
sitting in flutaphone holders. Sorry, Schelly!

And I forgot that #29 was using a flutaphone as the parade
baton. So that is now #34:

#33 Genealogy CD holder. Crazy glue a flutaphone firmly to
the top of your computer desk (vertically so the mouth piece
is at the top). The open center of your genealogy CDs should
fit over the mouthpiece with some room to spare). -Janice

#34 - Baton- What could be more appropriate to use when
you're leading the Genealogist’s Parade?

I’ve gotten great entries into the Parade, but if you haven’t
sent yours in yet, you still have until midnight Feb 3rd to
submit one!