Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Benjamin Barker's testimony confirmed that of his brother
and Joseph Jackson:

"I Benjamin Barker of lawful age do testify and say that I am
personally acquainted with Jonathan Barker and knowing to
his serving as a private Soldier in the Revolution was against
the common enemy in the continental establishment in the
eight months servis and knew him to Serve the full term in
Capt John Davis' Company and Col James Fry's Reg in
Massachusetts lineI being in the same company with him at
the time and know that the said J Barker entered said service
in April AD 1775 and I also know that the said J Barker
entered into the nine months service in June AD 1778 in Capt
Samuel Carrs' Company and Col James Wesson's Regt and
General Learned's Brigade in said line and served as a private
soldier the full term of nine months as last mentioned I being
in the same company with him at the same time and knowing
to his being honourably discharged the said last term was on
the Continental establishment as afore said.
Benja. Barker

On the 22nd day of May AD 1818
The aforesaid deponent was examined and cautioned and
agreable to law to the truth of the above Deposition
by him
subscribed taken at the request of Jonathan Barker
and by virtue
of a Dedimus potestatem to me directed from
the Hon Albion K
Parris Judge of the United States for the
District of Main to be
used in said court now holden at
Parris within said District I
have reason to believe the
above statement being aquainted
with the deponent.
James Eames Justice of the Peace"

So, having obtained Benjamin Barker's testimony on his
brotherJonathan's behalf, James Eames returned to the
court and Judge Parris ruled on Jonathan Barker's petition:


BE IT REMEMBERED, That on the twenty fourth
day of
April in the year of our Lord, one thousand
eight hundred
and eighteen, personally came
Jonathan Barker the applicant named in the papers
hereunto annexed, and after being duly
and examined, made oath that the several
statements by him made in the annexed application,
in my presence, are. wholly true.

And the said applicant offered in evidence the affidavit of
Joseph Jackson, made and signed in my presence; and the
depositionof Benjamin Barker, taken before James Eames,
a respectable magistrate appointed by Dedemus for this
purpose, both fellow soldiers with said applicant in the
revolutionary war, all which are here unto annexed.

And it appearing to me in the examination here
had, that
the several persons above named are
credible witnesses, I
do hereby admit the annexed
declarations as evidence,
and certify the same as
being satisfactory proof to me that
the said Jonathan
Barker the applicant, served as a private soldier in the
revolutionary war, against the common enemy,

for the term of nine months in continuation on the
establishments. And I do further certify,
that from the
declaration of the applicant made
before me, under oath as
aforesaid, it does appear
that in consequence of his reduced
in life, he is in need of assistance from his
for support; all of which I do hereby certify and

transmit to the Secretary of the Department of War,
agreeably to the provisions of an Act of Congress,
March 18,1818, entitled "An Act to provide
for certain
persons engaged in the land and naval
service of
the United States in the revolutionary

IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have hereto set my
and caused my Official Seal to be affixxed the
day and year
first mentioned.

Albion K. Parris

Judge of the United States in and for the District of Maine."

The next image appears to be something written on half of a
foldedpiece of paper. It reads:

"Jonathan Barker
Weston's Regt.
Masts. Line-
June 1778 for 9 months.

24th April 1818-

Below that in a different hand and written lighter is the word:


So Jonathan Barker's pension application had been filed and
been approved in a little over a month after the passage of
the Act of Congress establishing the Pensions.

But the story was not over yet.


Many of us have discovered relatives as a result of posting our
genealogy online. A local man, Walter Ely of Scituate, Ma.
recently made contact with his late father's 91 year old

The story is here.


Ok, I've heard of skeletons in the closet but on the family
(sort of) tree?

This is just plain spooky!

Monday, April 28, 2008


I've mentioned the irony that before I began my genealogy
researching I didn't know that some of my ancestors lived in
nearby towns before they moved north to Oxford County,
Maine. I even attended college in one town, Bridgewater,
unaware that several ancestors were buried in a cemetery
not far away.

Bridgewater, Massachusetts was originally part of town of
Duxbury and at that time was known by the Indian name of
Nunkatateset. It broke off as Bridgewater in 1656. As is the
case with many of the original Massachusetts towns, over
the years various areas have broken away as new towns,
such as East Bridgewater, West Bridgewater, Abington,
Pembroke, Hanson, and Brockton(which was originally known
as North Bridgewater.) The main industry of the town
historically is brick making and it remains so today,
although the presence of Bridgewater State College,
Bridgewater Correctional Facility, and the Bridgewater
State Mental Hospital contribute greatly to the town

Of these the College is the most important. Founded by
Horace Mann in 1840 as the Bridgewater Normal School, it
was the first college established for the express purpose of
training teachers. Among its alumni are the founder of
Antioch College in Ohio and Edwin P. Seaver, ancestor of
Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings.

Bridgewater also is known for a number of strange and eerie
events which has resulted in the area known as the
Bridgewater Triangle. I've written a bit about that last

Bridgewater also boasts a few distinguished sons in sports:
Hall of FameDetroit Tiger catcher Mickey Cochrane and former
NFL linebackerJim Cheyunski.

My ties to the town and the other Bridgewaters, East and
West, are through my Edson, Keith, Packard, Howard and
Forbes lines.

Deacon Samuel Edson settled in Bridgewater circa 1646-1648
and built the first mill there. Earlier genealogies say he was
married to Susannah Orcutt but more recent researchers
dispute this and some say she was a Susannah Bickley. Both
are buried in the Old Graveyard in West Bridgewater.

Their daughter Susannah married the Rev. James Keith, the
minister of the church where Samuel Edson was deacon. His
parsonage was built in 1662 and is still standing, possibly the
oldest one in the United States. While researching this article
I found information that according to Wampanoag Indian
oral tradition, Rev. Keith pleaded for the lives of the son and
wife of the slain Indian leader King Philip when they were
captured. The Keiths are interred in the Old Graveyard as

Their son Joseph married Elizabeth Forbes, daughter of
Edward Forbes and Elizabeth Howard.

Their daughter Jemima Keith married Deacon James
Packard. And their great granddaughter Cynthia Packard
married James Dunham in Hebron Maine(which is where I
connect with Chris Dunham!).

Finally, Cynthia and James' granddaughter married Philip
J. West.

I went to Bridgewater State College, and have driven through
East and West Bridgewater many times past places where
those ancestors lived and died. Now I'm planning to take my
camera and visit the cemeteries and the Keith Parsonage. I'll
be going to the other local towns that I have connections with
as well.

Who knows, maybe I'll find where my West ancestors lie
buried as well!

Sunday, April 27, 2008


I was struck with a sudden realization today and had one of
those "DUH, why didn't I think of that sooner?" moments.

I know for many of us the term "bibliography" brings back
painful memories of slaving over term papers and reports
and keeping 3x5 index card lists of the books we'd used in
ourresearch to be organized into our bibliographies.

But fellow geneabloggers, I'm here to tell you: bibliographies
are our friends!

Try this. Go to your bookcase and take out any book you
might have on some period of history.(And I'm pretty sure
most of us have at least one book dealing with some part
of our ancestral history, if not many.) Then do something you
probably rarely have done (I know I haven't): turn to the
rear of the book and look for a bibliography. Besides the other
books the author has used in his or her research, there also
often is a list of magazine articles, or even better, first hand
accounts such as letters, diaries or journals. You might find
something that pertains to an event your ancestors were part
of such as a battle in the Revolution or a description of the
conditions and everyday life in the town they lived in.

Where did the author find these sources? Might that
historical society or museum or library that you didn't know
about before have more material that might help in your
research? Make a list of the titles and sources that interest
you and then try searching online. Who knows what
helpful information you might discover?

And if you don't have any pertinent books at home, then
borrow them from the local library or buy one at the local
bookstore. A good history book can help you to better
understand the challenges your relatives faced in their lives.

Yes, computers are great. But here somebody has already
gone and made lists of things for their books that can help
your genealogy research. Take advantage of it! I plan to do

Saturday, April 26, 2008


I'm having one of those spells where I'm coming up dry on
Carnival topic posts. I haven't been able think of anything on
the Gaelic language edition of the Carnival of Irish Heritage
and Culture and I can't decide on an ancestral hometown to
spotlight for the next CoG. What's a grumpy old geneablogger
to do?

On another note, I set aside a book at work about the Battle
of Saratoga, since some of my Revolutionary War ancestors
had some sort of connection with it. I'll pick it up later today

And then there's pictures to scan and records to organize and
properly cite...

Ah well... booksellers work from sun to sun but a genealogist's
work is never done!

Friday, April 25, 2008


As I've said previously, the Barker family history is an
interesting one, but at the moment I will concern myself with
the three Barker brothers who filed for their pensions. For a
short overview of the rest of it, I recommend Mitch Barker's
page here on his Newry, Maine Website.

In the following transcriptions, preprinted sections of
forms are boldfaced and handwritten portions are

The first page of Jonathan Barker's file lists him as having
served in units from Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
His file number is S.37571.

Congress passed an Act on 18 March, 1818 establishing the
Pension Fund for Revolutionary War veterans. A little over a
month later, Jonathan Barker appeared in Judge Albion
Parris' court to file a petition for his:

"I, Jonathan Barker, a resident citizen of the United States of America,
an inhabitant of Newry in the County of Oxford and the State of
Massachusetts, do testify and say, that on the nineteenth day of April
A.D. 1775, I joined the army of said United States on the continental
establishment at Cambridge in said state for the term of eight months
as a private soldier in Capt. John Davis’ company, Col James Frye’s
regiment, who was soon after our Brigadier General in the Massachu-
-setts line, which term of eight months I served at Cambridge aforesaid
and at the expiration thereof I again enlisted into said army for three
months as a private soldier in Capt. John Allen’s company, Col John
Waldron’s regiment, and Gen Sullivan’s brigade in the New Hampshire
line, which term of three months I served at Charlestown in Massachu-
-setts and was then verbally discharged. In June A.D. 1778, I again
enlisted into the same army on the continental establishment, at
Methuen, Mass. and I joined the army at White Plains, N. York, as a
private soldier for the term of nine months in Capt. Samuel Carr’s
company, Col. James Weston’s regiment and Gen Lerned’s brigade
in the Massachusetts line, which term of nine months I fully served,
principally in the state of N. York and at the end thereof I received,
at Stony Point, an honorable discharge, which has since been
burned with my house. I further testify that I am sixty four years of
age,worship a few days, that by reason of my reduced circumstances
in life I stand in need of assistance from my country for support and
that I am not borne on any pension list of the United States.
Jona. Barker"

On the other side of the sheet of paper is the testimony of
a Joseph Jackson:

"I, Joseph Jackson of Newry aforesaid, do testify and say, that I was
in the continental service in the revolutionary war with the above
named Jonathan Barker during his periods of service of eight months
and of nine months above mentioned and to my certain knowledge
saidBarker served these several periods as he has above stated.
Joseph Jackson "

Apparently Judge Parris felt further evidence as to Jonathan's
service was necessary, and he appointed someone to go about
finding it:

"Maine District , ss.
To James Eames of Newry in the District of Maine, esq.
Whereas, at a special District Court of said United States
for the
Maine District holden at Paris in said District, on the
twenty fourth day of April in the year of our Lord one
thousand eight hundred and
eighteen Jonathan Barker of
Newry in said District presented an application to the Judge
of said Court, setting forth that he served as a
private soldier
in the war of the revolution, on the continental
against the common enemy, and requesting
that an enquiry may be
instituted into the circumstances of
his case, and that such further
proceedings may be made
touching the premises as are prescribed by
An Act of
Congress passed March 18th,1818,entitled "An Act to
for certain persons engaged in the land and naval service

of the United States in the revolutionary war," in order that
he may
be places on the Pension List of said United States:-
and whereas in
the course of the examination here had, it
appears that the testimony
of sundry persons, who served
with the applicant in the revolutionary
army, at present
residing in or near to the
towns of Newry or Bethel in the
Districts aforesaid, is necessary and material in support
of said

THEREFORE, to the end that the testimony aforesaid may
be had, and
by virtue of the power vested in this Court by the
laws of the United
States, you or either of you are hereby
appointed or authorized, at
the proper expense of the
applicant, to take depositions of such
persons as he may
cause to come before you, touching the application
aforesaid, and in particular as to the time when the
applicant entered
the service, the time and manner of his
leaving it, the company,
regiment and line to which he
belonged, and whether the service was
performed on the
continental establishment or the militia of either of

the States; and such depositions, when taken, and your
certificate of
the administration of the usual oath and of
the credibility of the
deponents, together with this Dedimus
Potestam, you will certify and
return to the Judge of said
Court without unnecessary delay.

GIVEN under my hand and seal at Paris in said District, the
day and yea r first mentioned.

Albion K. Parris
Judge of the United States in and for the District of Maine."

James Eames found a witness to testify who knew Jonathan
Barker very well.

He found Benjamin Barker.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


Well, the road to Hingham is paved with good intentions, so
to speak, so although I'd intended to return to the FHC last
Thursday, I wasn't able to steer Ping over that way until
today, two weeks later.

I seached the microfilm drawer for "States" but although
there were 2 rolls of the 1900 Census for Plymouth there,
there was no vital records or church records for the early
19th century that might have information on the elusive
John Cutter West. So I ordered in the church records for
the Second Church of Plymouth. The lady at the desk took
a quick look on her computer for John Cutter West and
gave a soft "oh my!" when I explained that there was no
record yet found of John Cutter's birth or parents. One thing
I will remember for future ordering is to bring smaller bills
than a $20 bill to pay for the ordered film.

So it wasn't an overly successful trip. The rest of the early
afternoon was spent at the laundromat. If I couldn't clean
up a genealogy mystery, at least I could clean my jeans!

Sunday, April 20, 2008


One of the warnings I've seen given several times to
beginning genealogists is this: if you have heard stories
about how your ancestor and his siblings were the first
settlers and founders of some town, it's probably not
entirely true.

What then am I to make of the Barker brothers? There is
the "Petition for Grant of Land Later Newry" that can be
viewed over at Chris Dunham's Oxford County Genealogy
Notebook. Jonathan Barker Sr and five of his sons are among
the signers. And numerous editions of Oxford County
histories and Maine Registers credit Benjamin, Jesse, and
Jonathan Barker 3rd as being first settlers of the future
Newry in 1781 along with Ithiliel Smith.

Apparently in some cases there are exceptions to the rule
about legendary stories!

But I'm not surprised. The Barker brothers and their
ancestors are an interesting bunch and in the next few
weeks I will be posting transcriptions of the Revolutionary
War Pension Files of Jonathan, Benjamin, and Jesse Barker
and discussing some of the family history they reveal. I'd like
to acknowledge the help given and research of my Barker
family cousins Mitch Barker, Nancy Downey, and Howard

I hope those who read their stories will enjoy them as much
as I've enjoyed researching them!

Saturday, April 19, 2008


Most of what I know about my Revolutionary War ancestors
comes from their Pension Application Files images. While this
is fortunate for me, it was not a happy circumstance for them.
Those who applied were elderly and poor and in some cases
were the widows of deceased veterans. They needed help
and a grateful country provided it to the men who'd helped
bring it into existence.

It's ironic, to say the least, that 233 years later some men and
women who have served their country in the present action
in the Middle East have in some cases been treated with less
care than they deserve. Stories of VA hospitals in disrepair,
of soldiers having difficulties in receiving treatment or
disability checks have called attention to that fact. If these
Americans have done their duty in their country's armed
forces at the behest of our government, shouldn't our
government do its duty by them?

We can show our respect for our Revolutionary War era
ancestors best by ensuring that those who follow in their
footsteps today are given the respect and care they deserve.


Thomas McEntee over at Destination:Austin Family asked
his fellow geneabloggers to join him in posting about our
Revolutionary War ancestors as a way to observe the 233
anniversary of the Battles of Concord and Lexington. These
are my direct ancestors who took part along with a few of
their siblings. Most of the information I have comes from
the Revolutionary War Pension Files images on
and my Barker cousins Howard Kappelin and Nancy Downey
helped sort out the Jonathan Barkers.

I'll have some more thoughts on these folks in the next post.
For now here's just the list:

Jonathan Barker Jr.
Was a Minuteman from Methuen Ma with rank of Sergeant.
He responded to Lexington and Concord with his sons
Served in Captain Samuel Johnson's Company in
Colonel Titcomb's Regiment for 2 months in 1777 in Rhode
Island and then with Nathaniel Gage's Company in Colonel
Jacob Gerrish's guards from Dec 1777 tol April 1778 guarding
the captured troops of General Burgoyne.

Jonathan Barker 3rd
Enlisted on 19 Apr 1775 in Continental Army, Capt. John
Davis' Company, Col. James Frye's Regiment, in the
Massachusetts line for 8 months in Cambridge, Ma. At the
conclusion of the term, he reenlisted for another 3 months in
Capt John Allen's Company, Colonel John Waldron's Regiment,
General Sullivan's Brigade in the New Hampshire Brigade at
Charlestown, Ma. He then enlisted a third time in June 1778
at Methuen, Ma., joining Captain Samuel Carr's Company, Col.
James Weston's Regiment, in General Lerned's Brigade at
White Plains, N.Y. and serving for another 9 months.

John Ames
Was a Minuteman under Capt. Asa Parker on April 18th,
1775. He then enlisted in the Continental Army under Captain
Oliver Parker, Col. William Prescott's Regiment and
in the Brigade that was commanded in turn by Generals
Putnam, Lee, and Washington and served for 8 1/2 months.
For a more detailed account of his service see my posts
about his Revolutionary War Pension File starting here.

Asa Barrows
A member of the militia from Middleborough , Ma. (south of
Boston) in the Company of Captain Joshua Benson, in Colonel
Cotton's Regiment, and General William Heath's Brigade for
8 months during the siege of Boston. In December 1776 he
joined a militia Company commanded by Captain Joshua
Perkins and marched to Barrington, R.I. and was stationed
there for 6 weeks. In July 1780 he again enlisted, this time
in a militia company commanded by Captain Perez Churchill
that marched to Tiverton, R.I. I posted about his
Revolutionary War Pension File starting here.

Moses Coburn
Moses Coburn got into the War late and by reason of being
"hired by a certain class of men in the then town of Dunstable
to go into the Continental Army in the summer of 1781."
When he reached Phillipsburgh in New York he was placed in
Captain Benjamin Pike's Company, in the Regiment of the
Massachusetts line commanded by Lt. Colonel Calvin Smith in
which he served for nearly two years until it was broken up.
He then transferred to the Company of Judah Alden in the
Regiment commanded by Colonel Sprouts until his discharge
in 1783.

Samuel Haskell
Samuel served in Captain Joseph Elliott's Company in Colonel
William Turner's Regiment and then under Captain Hezekiah
Whitney in Colonel Josiah Whitney's Regiment.

Amos Hastings
Amos was responded to the Lexington Alarm as part of
Captain Richard Ayer's Company and Colonel William
Johnson's Regiment. He later served in Captain Timothy
Eaton's Company in Colonel Edward Wigglesworth's Regiment
and was at the taking of the British General Burgoyne at

Elisha Houghton
Enlisted at Harvard Ma as a Private in May of 1777in the
Massachusetts militia and was at the Battles of Bunker Hill
and Stillwater. He then enlisted for three years in the infantry
company commanded by Captain Joshua Brown in Colonel
Timothy Bigelow's 15th Regiment of the Massachusetts line.
and took part in the Battles of Monmouth and Newport and
was at Valley Forge. He twice was promoted to Sergeant and
twice was busted back down to the ranks.

Amos Upton
Responded to the Lexington Alarm and marched there from
his home in Reading. He later joined the militia company
commanded by Captain Asa Prince as an orderly sergeant
and then enlisted for eight months in the Continental Army
under Colonel Mansfield for 8 months. He was at the Battle
of Bunker Hill. He was discharged in October of 1775.

John Griffith
Enlisted in 1781 as a Matross (he swabbed out the barrel of
the cannons after they fired, or so I've been told) in Captain
William Treadwell's Company in Colonel John Crane's
Artillery Regiment.

Reuben Packard
A Sergeant in Captain Josiah Hayden's Company in Colonel
Bailey's militia. They marched to Lexington at news of the
Alarm. He also responded several more times as a Minuteman
for a total of nearly8 months duty.

Jonathan Abbot
Served as a Sergeant in the Militia under Captain Henry
Abbott and responded to the Lexington Alarm

Besides those direct ancestors, these other relatives fought
in the Revolution:

Moses Barrows, brother to Asa Barrows.

Samuel, Jesse, and Benjamin Barker, sons of Jonathan
Barker, Jr. and brothers to Jonathan Barker 3rd.

James Swan, brother in law to Jonathan Barker.

There may be more but that’s all I’ve found so far and I
don't know about John Cutter West's father or grandfathers
as yet.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Well, the 46th Carnival of Genealogy is up over at Creative
and Jasia's done it again, gathering together some
great posts about the personal or physical traits we might
(or might not in my case!) have inherited from our ancestors.
Once again a mix of the usual geneablogging suspects and
some first timers that will keep me busy reading. And I need
to add some more new links from the last two CoG's to my
link list!

As with every new CoG, there's a call for submissions to the
next one:

"The topic for the next edition of the Carnival of Genealogy
is: A Place Called Home. It's time for a geography lesson.
out a city/town/village where one of your ancestors
lived and tell us all about it. When was it founded?
What is it
known for? Has is prospered or declined over
the years? Have
you ever visited it or lived there? To a
certain extent, we are
all influenced by the environment
we live in. How was your
ancestor influenced by the area
where they lived? Take us
on a trip to the place your
ancestor called home. The deadline
for submissions
is May 1, 2008.

Submit your blog article to the next edition of the
of Genealogy using our carnival submission form."

Hmm. I'll have to give some thought to that one My
ancestors lived in a lot of different places here in New


Lisa has challenged her fellow geneabloggers
to post a poem in observance of National
Poet in Your Pocket Day.

I took a course in English Romantic Poetry in
college and this one by William Wordsworth was
my favorite. I used to be able to recite it
or most of it.

The world is too much with us; late and soon
by William Wordsworth:

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
The Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not.--Great God! I'd rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.


Sunday, April 13, 2008


Yesterday was my sister's Cheryl's birthday and also my Aunt
Emily's. I've already wished Cheryl her Happy Birthday, but I'm
doing it again here so I can post this picture. Obviously, it's from
only a few years ago!


In trying to write a post for the next Carnival of Genealogy
blog, my problem isn't how many family traits I've inherited
but how many I didn't. This is a tough one to write and it will
probably not be a long one!

Physically I get my height from my Mom's side of the family.
My Uncle Ed and his sons as well as my brother and myself
are all over 6ft tall (I'm the shortest at 6'1") and I think my
blue eyes are from that side as well. The weight could be
from either side. Although Mom and Uncle Ed were thin,
my Grand Uncle Frank (who taught me how to make
tomato and mayonnaise sandwiches) was a good sized
man and on my Dad's side I could get it from the Barker

I think I've already established the fact that I have no
artistic or musical talent, and I sure can't dance as well as
either of my parents did. Nor do I have my Dad's ability with
tools. I once got a blood blister from a vise handle in shop
class in school!

Athletically, I enjoyed playing baseball and football when I
was a kid but I was about average, which does seem to be
the family tradition.

I do like to write, but judging from the dearth of material left
by those thatcame before me, I don't come from a long line of
writers and diarists.

The one habit that I do share with my parents is reading. My
mom had me bring home books for her when I went to the
library, usually historical novels by Taylor Caldwell, Frank
G. Slaughter and others, and she liked to read mystery and
romance novels as well. Dad was a Louis L'Amour western
fan and would borrow my sf and fantasy paperbacks out of
my bookcase. If I couldn't find one I knew to check the
headboard of my folk's bed to see if Dad was reading it.

And I do share an interest in genealogy with my Aunt
Dorothy and cousin Diana out in Ohio!

Of course, since I still know very little about my Grandfather
White's family I don't know if there's any traits I might have
or haven't inherited from that side.

I suppose the main trait I have in common with my ancestors
is being an average everyday human being who gets up
every morning and goes about the business of living his or
her life!

Thursday, April 10, 2008


So today was my first trip to a Family History Center.

Last night I did some research on the Family Search website
and found some microfilm records and cd rom file numbers
which I wrote down in a small notebook. I then printed up
some of my pedigree chart in a five generation /page landscape
format to go along with the older six generation/page version.
I only printed out fifteen pages of each because the full report
is over three hundred pages.

When I went to add them to the three-ringed binder I use for
my family group sheets I found there wasn’t enough space, so
I slid them into the pocket inside the front cover of the
notebook. Note to self: buy a few more binders. Or at least
start using the one of the very large ones.

Next, I checked my flashdrive, backed up any new files from
my desktop to it and deleted some older ones that were
replaced by updated versions.

Finally, I Googlemapped the Family History Center address
at 379 Gardner St. in Hingham from my home here in
Abington. When I saw the suggested route and the map, I
shook my head. I’d expected the FHC to be in the older part
of Hingham closer to the coast but instead found it was much
closer. The map suggested a route that would take me north
on Route 18 and then by a series of turns to Derby St in
Hingham where the far end of Gardner St joins it, a trip of
7.9 miles and about(it said) sixteen minutes. Except that
anyone who lives in this area knows how congested Route 18
is at certain times of day and also knows how many traffic
lights that route entails. I looked at the map and figured out
a much quicker, shorter route using the back roads I know
which would take me to Gardner St on its southern end
where it joins Pond St

Of course, that all depended on whether Ping would behave.
Ping is the name I’ve finally given to my 1992 Ford Taurus
that I just spent $1800 dollars repairing and comes from its
new annoying habit.

You know how your car chimes if the door is open or you
leave the keys in the ignition or your seatbelt is unbuckled?
Recently, the car has given that sound when I first start it up
and then continues non-stop until I reach my destination
and turn the car off. Talk about a ringing in my ears! It also
stalled out once on the way to work after I got it back which
was more what I was worried about for this trip.

This morning I got up later than I planned because my post
nasal drip acted up and it took awhile to fall asleep. Eventually
I gathered all my things(flashdrive, notebook, binder, three
pens) together and got in the car. It was (and still is) a
beautiful day outside and it is definitely a day to drive with
your car window down. Ping behaved herself and there was
no bell so I was relieved that as I drove I wouldn’t have kids
run out to the curbside thinking my car was the approaching
ice cream vendor. I turned on the radio and three commercials
and two Neil Diamond songs later(“Cherry, Cherry” and
“Sweet Caroline”) I pulled into the driveway of the FHC. It’s
in the rear of a LDS church in a quiet residential area that I
had driven by in the past over the years without paying
attention to the sign!

I found the entrance, went inside, and a very nice woman
volunteer was there along with another woman viewing
records at one of the microfilm machines. There were about
six of these spaced around the walls of the room and at least
two computers, one of which was being used by the volunteer.
I explained I was new and asked if I could see what films
and fiches they had there, as Miriam had suggested in
her comment to my earlier post. We checked some of the
film numbers I’d written down but didn’t have any luck,
and apparently the Plymouth records were in use already,
so I took a reel for the vital records of Livermore, Me. instead.
John Cutter West’s wife Arvilla Ames had been born there;
perhaps they filed marriage intentions there as well as in
nearby Sumner where they married in 1827?

The volunteer showed me how to load the microfilm on the
machine and I spent the next hour or so looking at the
images but didn’t find a mention of the marriage. By the time
I was done it was 12:30 and the room was closing at 1pm,
so there was little point in loading up a new film. I rewound
the microfilm, turned off the machine and returned the film
to its drawer in the cabinet. I thanked the volunteer for her
help and told her I’d be back next week at an earlier time
and then left. On the way home I picked up a burger, and
one Elvis Presley and one Doors song later(“Suspicious Minds”
, “Light My Fire”) I was home.

So, while I hadn’t learned anything new about John Cutter
West(and I hadn’t expected to right away anyway!) I did
acquaint myself with how to get to the FHC, what resources
and equipment they had available and with their changed
hours.(The Family Search site said it closed at 2pm but they
now close an hour earlier at 1pm.) When I go back next week
I’ll explore a bit further and perhaps order a roll of microfilm
from the Family History Library. All in all, a good few hours
out of the apartment and I look forward to more visits to
the FHC.

And that concludes Bill and Ping’s Excellent Adventure!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


Janice’s recent post at Cow Hampshire about the Viking Rock
at Hampton, New Hampshire put me in mind of several other
sites surrounded by mystery here in New England: Mystery
Hill in Salem, N.H., (the “American Stonehenge”); Newport
Tower in Newport, R.I., and Dighton Rock here in

The Dighton Rock controversy’s history resembles that of the
Viking Rock. Speculation on the origin and meaning of the
characters carved into the rock include Ancient Phoenicians,
Vikings, Portuguese explorers and Native Americans and was
a popular topic in Europe during the 1800’s. Scholars made
their fame and fortunes advancing one theory after another.

It would be easy to write it off as a 19th century hoax until
one learns the fact that no less an historical personage than
Cotton Mather made a drawing of the carvings in 1712 and
had described them in a book 22 years earlier in 1690. With
the exception of a few scribblings left by curiosity seekers
over the years, the markings remain just as Mather copied
them. You can see a picture of them taken in 1853 here on

Better still, you can read all about it here on the Archives
webpage of American Heritage Magazine. I’ve bookmarked
that site, let me tell you!

Monday, April 07, 2008


Yikes! I make it a habit to check my Family Tree Legends
birthday and anniversaries list to see which relative’s
birthdays are coming each month. This is a good way to keep
track of the ancestors, but since I deliberately left living
relatives off that program, it’s not a very good method of
remembering the birthdays of my present day relatives.

And so, I managed to make a blog entry noting Asa Freeman
Ellingwood’s 180th birthday but missed congratulating my
Aunt Dorothy on her birthday which she shares with Asa.(Of
course, she’s considerably younger than Asa!) Without her
earlier research and help I’d never have gotten into genealogy
and obviously I wouldn’t be writing this blog, so I owe her a
great deal of thanks for inspiring me and for the hours of
enjoyment I’ve had climbing up our family tree.

Happy Birthday, Aunt Dot, and many more to come!

Sunday, April 06, 2008


Friday, April 4th, was the 180th birthday of my great great
grandfather Asa Freeman(or Freeland) Ellingwood. He’s one
of the ancestors whose census images I’ve been downloading
recently and I was struck by a thought as I was looking them

I think I discovered the point when the world changed during
Asa’s lifetime. Or at least I narrowed it down to one decade,
sometime between 1850 and 1860.

On the 1850 census for the town of Milan, Coos County, New
Hampshire he’s listed as “Asa Ellenwood”, 21 years old, with
his 17 year old bride of less than a year, Florilla (Dunham).
His occupation is listed as “wheelwright”. Now being a
wheelwright was, as were most occupations in that earlier
age, not just a job but a craft. It required skill in carpentry
and knowledge of timber as a wheelwright had to pick the
wood used for the rim, spokes, and hub of the wheel and
then fashion and assemble the parts into the finished
product. A more full description of the process can be found
at the Wheelwright’s Craft page of the Witheridge Historical
Archive website.

Asa’s cousin Hiram G. Ellenwood was a hotel keeper in Milan
and it may have seemed like a possible steady source of
business for the young married couple. There would be
stagecoaches, carriages, and freight wagons that might have
need of repairs to wheels or perhaps a complete replacement
from a skilled craftsman. The future must have seemed
clear cut and secure for Asa.

Ten years later on the 1860 Census that future had changed.
Asa and Florilla were now living in the town of Paris in Oxford
County, Maine with the first five of what would eventually be
their eleven children.And Asa’s occupation had changed. He
was no longer a wheelwright.

He was now a mechanic, one of six listed on the two pages
of the census that contain Asa’s family. A bit further up the
first page is a hint as to how the world had changed. A farmer
named William Moony had seven men staying on his farm,
and the occupation for all of them is given as “Railroader”.
The railroads had begun to expand their rail lines in Northern
New England during the 1840’s and by 1850 the Grand Truck
Railroad had a station in Paris.

With the arrival and expansion of the railroads, there was less
need for wheelwrights. While horse drawn wagons, carriages,
and coaches would continue to be used for another fifty years,
the commercial uses would lessen as people traveled more by
train and businesses shipped their supplies and merchandise
over the faster rail line.

There were less jobs for a wheelwright. A time honored craft
was no longer in as great demand, and a man with a young
family to support had to earn a living.

So Asa became a mechanic, perhaps for the railroad or maybe
at one of the mills or factories in Paris.

Asa’s world would shortly change again with the outbreak of
the Civil War. He enlisted in June 1861 but was discharged in
December with a disability. By the 1870 census he was a
farmer back in Milan, New Hampshire.

Of course, our world nowadays seems to change everyday,
with jobs and professions dying out even as new ones are
being createdfrom the latest scientific and technological
advances; it’s become the norm to us. I can think of a dozen
or more ways my own life has changed over the years
because of them.

I wonder if Asa and my other ancestors who lived through
the Industrial Revolution ever looked back and marveled at
how their lives had changed so quickly?

Probably not. They most likely were too busy trying to
survive to have time to be philosophical about it!

It is one of those little coincidences that about the time I
was mulling over what I wanted to say in this post I received
a commenton a previous entry from another descendant of
Asa Freeman Ellingwood!

Saturday, April 05, 2008


Jasia backed up a car trailer and loaded up the Carnival of
Genealogy 45th edition
with 43 blog arcticles on family from
36 authors (some folks had multiple posts). It’s a mix of
veteran CoG’ers and some new faces and I’m looking forward
to reading it all.

The submissions for the 46th edition are due by April 15th
and the topic is “What traits run in your family? Which of
them did you inherit?”. So put your thinking caps on and
submit your own answers here.

Meanwhile, I’ll be taxing my brain for my own family’s
traits, other than a tendency to have persnickety cars.

Thursday, April 03, 2008


Alright, now that the car is repaired I can wander a bit away
from my computer keyboard in search of records. One of the
places I plan to visit in the next few weeks in the Family
History Center in the nearby town of Hingham.

Since I’ve never been to a FHC before, I thought I’d ask
some of the more experienced genealogists and geneabloggers
out there for any tips or words of advice that might be helpful.
For example, am I allowed to download anything to my

My next available window of opportunity for a visit is
next Thursday, so I’d like to be well prepared before I go!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


My cousin Diana, one of Aunt Dorothy’s daughters, reads this
blog and will occasionally send along a comment on what I’ve
written which are always fun for me because I learn something

In my post about family cars I mentioned how my Dad said
he’d learned to driveon the back roads up in Maine but I
wasn’t sure if it was with a Model A or Model T Ford.
Diana sent me this:

Was just reading your most recent blog....and thought you
might find this tidbit interesting. When I was about 10 (so
we're talking 45 years ago!) My parents went to Maine and
towed Pop's old Model A Roadster all the way to Ohio. A
guy that lived in Freeport had bought it to restore and paid
my parents' gas expenses to go up to New England and
it back here ....thus rescuing it from rusting away in
the field
where it had been located for years! This is
probably the
same Model A that Uncle Bud learned to drive

A few years ago, the man from Freeport got desperate for
money and sold the body off the car to someone else....the
other guy had a coupe and wanted a Roadster so he bought
only the body. Then, the man from Freeport died. Well, to
make a long story short, my husband and I ended up with
the chassis and engine to Pop's car and Gary is currently
building a Speedster out of it. He took pictures of early
speedsters and picked all the points that he liked best and
is building this car completely from scratch! It won't be
Pop's Roadster but at least we'll have Pop's "car" running
again, hopefully later this year!

When I emailed Diana back to ask if I could post her
comments here, she included another great bit of
information in her reply:

"By the way..........when Gary restored our Model A Town
Sedan, Mom bought us a Flying Quail radiator cap
(traditional dressy cap) in honor of Pop. So I've always
called the Quail, Floyd!!!


So that Model A from Maine lives on in Ohio!