Monday, November 30, 2009


I inadvertently left out the name of Heather Rojo's blog, Nutfield
, in the Poetry Challenge post. I've since corrected
that oversight, and my apologies to Heather for not catching that

Lucie LeBlanc Consentino of Acadian Ancestral Home blog
has honored me with a Kreativ Blog Award, my third this year.
I'm honored, Lucie, and I hope you won't mind if I consolidate this
one with the two earlier ones as far as the seven personal facts and
seven blog picks go. And if you haven't read Lucie's blog as of yet,
follow the link and enjoy!

Now that the Poetry Challenge is over amd Black Friday weekend
as well, I'll try to get back into posting here more freqently.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Earlier this year I made a discovery that made me think about
the connection between poetry and history. For centuries poems
have been written about historical events and figures, and about
places our ancestors may have lived or visited. It occurred to me
that poetry was a great resource to help us understand even more
the times they in which they lived.

Last month I issued my "Great American Local Poem Genealogy
Challenge" to my fellow geneabloggers:

1. Find a poem by a local poet, famous or obscure, from the region one
of your ancestors lived in. It can be about an historical event, a legend,
a person, or even about some place (like a river)or a local animal.

2. Post the poem to your blog (remembering to cite the source where
you found it.)

3. Did it inspire you to research the subject of the poem and how it
relates to your ancestor?

4. Submit your post's link here to me by November 22nd and I'll publish
all the entries on Thanksgiving Day!

The responses I got deal with poems ranging from Europe to
California and written from the 17th century up to the present.
I think you'll enjoy reading what these geneabloggers found!

Leading off, Dorene Paul of
Graveyard Rabbit of Sandusky Bay
presents The Poem "Erie" by Rev. L..B. Gurley. Dorene tells us
some things about Rev. Gurley's life and of how the poem reminds
her of time she has spent herself by Lake Erie

John Newmark of
Transylvanian Dutch contributes three poems
that remind him of his European ancestors:

Poetry: The Forest--Emilius Buczi is a Hungarian poem about
a forest, the description of which could be the same as one
close to a village where John's Hungarian ancestors lived.

Poetry: TS Eliot- The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock represents
John's relatives who lived in St.Louis and London, since Elliot came
from the first and spent much of his life in the second city.

Poetry: Julian Ursin Niemcewicz- America and General Washington
commemorates John's Polish ancestry with a work by an 18th century
expatriate describing his visit with George Washington!

Heather Rojo who writes Nutfield Genealogy chose The Ballad of
Cassandra Southwick
as her poem. It's based on an actual event
and was written by the great New England poet, John Greenleaf

Vickie Everhart from
BeNotForgot' sends us a great discussion of
Longfellow and Cleeves and Peaks Island. It was orginally written
for the August 2009 Carnival of Postcards and it includes a beautiful

From Tina Sansone over at
Gtownma's Genealogy we have Southern
by Southern poet Patricia Neeley-Dorsey. Both Tina and the poet
were born in Mississippi and there's some great imagery of the
Southern lifestyle.

Next, Leah introduces us to Joaquin Miller's "California Christmas"
in her post White Storm of Roses at
The Internet Genealogist. Very
lyrical and very appropriate as we enter the holiday season.

Over at her blog
Herstoryan entertains us with a poem about a
most unusual battle in which an ancestor took part. Read all about it
in Poem: Col.Elderkin and the Battle of the Frogs.

T.K. of
Before My Time shares her analysis of a poem written
in the year 1640 concerning the founding of the town of
Woburn, Ma. The post is entitled
A Rude Copy of Verses on
the History of Woburne Towne and it's a fascinating look at the
meaning behind the words!

From the 17th and 18th centuries we return to more recent times.
Elizabeth Swanay O'Neal's uncle John Swanay was a poet and she
presents an excerpt from his semi-autobiographical work Bascomb
Falls:A Family Portrait at Little Bytes of Life.

footnoteMaven's family has strong connections with New York City
and so her poem is Mannahatta By Walt Whitman. She also provides
us with a link to a site with an audio reading of the poem. Thanks, fM!

Next, from Jasia of Carnival of Genealogy fame, comes "St. Joseph's"
by Doug Tanoury. It's accompanied by a slide show of the church
that inspired the poem, and you can find it at Ode to a Detroit Landmark
at Jasia's Creative Gene blog.

My friend and co-worker Laura Vona is transcribing letters and journals
of her late grandfather Roy M Pearson Jr and has written a poem about
the night after his death:

"He was killed in a car accident near his New London, NH home before
I had much opportunity to get to know him as an adult. The night after
the accident, I stayed up late in his study, examining his books and helping
myself to the second half of a bottle of wine that he had every expectation
of coming home to finish."

Read the poem (and others) at her website here. She's a talented writer
and I'm going to keep working on Laura to start a genealogy blog!

Finally, the poem that started me thinking about poetry and genealogy
was written by the Honorable Mr. Lilley Eaton in 1844 to mark the
Bicentennial of the three towns that made up "Old Reading" in
Massachusetts. It contained quite a bit about my ancestor Jeremiah
Swain and it was the start of quite a few discoveries for me. You can read

And that concludes "The Great American Local Poem Genealogy
Challenge". I hope you've enjoyed it and that it makes you look for
poems with connections to your own family history.

Thank you to all my contributors. I'll be doing another one of
these so keep looking for more poems!

Sunday, November 22, 2009


The deadline for entries in The Great American Local Poet Genealogy
Challenge is tonight, (Sunday) midnight PST. It's the challenge's "last
stanza", so don't delay!

Saturday, November 21, 2009


I mentioned my ancestor Elisha Houghton the other day and
that he was a veteran of the Revolutionary War. I found this
story about him in History of the Town of Harvard, Massachusetts
1732-1893 by Henry Steadman Nourse (p323):

"Coliney of the Massachusetts Bay.

To the Honnorabel General Coart seting at Watertown the Petion
of Elisha Houghton a Solder under Comand of Captan Hastings in Cona
Whitcomb's Rigement in the year 1775 and I was in the fight on bunkers
Hill So Called in Charlston on the 17 of June in the year 1775 as above
sd and on my Return I and others Lited on one Jacob Davis who was
wounded who requested our help and in tacking Care of the sd Davis
Caused me your Petinor to take Mistick Road to convey the sd Davis to
where he thought he could be tacken Care of and in so Doing 1 came
acros by Winter hill to go to head Quater at Cambridge and in Coming
by the Gard of Connal Starks which was set on sd hill they took away
my Gun which I and others that Knew sd Gun Judged to be worth teen
Dolers. I Endevuered to Recover my Gun again but was Denied the
Same which may be made Evident to this Coart by Reading the Paper
acompining this Petition. 1 also Sertify this Coart that I have Never
Reseved my Gun since Nor any Consideration for the same. I therefore
your Poor Petitioner Humbly Pray that this Coart would be Pleased to
take my Case into your Consideration and alow me Pay for my Gun
and your Petitioner as in Duty bound Shall Ever Pray. Bolton Jan. the —
1776 Elisha Houghton

This may Certify that Elisha Houghton of Col Whitcomb's Regiment
in Capt. Hasting's Company was in the Action on Bunker's hill and
helping bringing the wounded men off to Cambridge went mistick Road over
Winter hill and the Guard that was set on winter hill took away the Guns,
and this sd Houghton's Gun was among the Rest, the next Day with [a]
number of others sd Houghton went in order to Get his Gun with an officer
with him, but could not find it and have Never heard of it since—as I know of.

Josiah Whitney, Lt. Col. of sd Rgmt.
Dorchester Camp Febury 29th. 1776"

I don't know if Elisha ever got recompensed for his lost gun, but I suspect he
waa the one of the earliest victims of "requisitioning" in the American
military tradition.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

ELISHA HOUGHTON: 20 JUL 1746-18 NOV 1826

Yesterday, November 18th, was the 183 anniversary of my
5x great grandfather Elisha Houghton's death. He was born on
20 Jul 1746 in Lancaster, Worcester, Ma. and died on
18 Nov 1826(in perhaps Vt.)

Elisha is one of my Revolutionary War ancestors. He
enlisted at Harvard Ma as a Private in May of 1777 in 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. I have a copy of
his pension request file and hope to eventually transcribe
and post it here.

On 30 Nov 1768 he married Meriah Peirce in Harvard, Worcester
Ma and they had four children. One of their grandaughters ,
Sally Houghton, married James Thomas Dunham, Jr., and that's how
I came to be related to Chris Dunham!


The 84th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy is out and up over at
Jasia's Creative Gene blog. The topic this time was "what the CoG
means to me and there's quite a selection of entries that I am going
to enjoy reading!

There's also the call for submissions to the next edition which will be
the 85th CoG!

Call for Submissions! The topic for the next edition of the COG is:
“Orphans and Orphans.” The first type of orphan refers to those ancestors
or relatives who lost their parents when they were young. The second type
of orphan would be those siblings or cousins of our ancestors whom we think
of as “reverse orphans.” They are the relatives who, for whatever reason –
death at a young age, never having married or had children, or having
children who did not survive to provide descendants – have no direct
descendants of their own, so it falls to us, their collateral relatives, to learn
and write their story. Greta will be the host this time around (thank you
Greta!). The deadline for submissions is December 1st.

Submit your blog article to the next edition of the Carnival of Genealogy
using our carnival submission form. Please use a descriptive phrase in the
title of any articles you plan to submit and/or write a brief description/
introduction to your articles in the "comment" box of the blog carnival
submission form. This will give readers an idea of what you've written
about and hopefully interest them in clicking on your link. Past posts
and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

If you haven't taken part in the Carnival of Genealogy yet, give it a try!
It's a great way to introduce yourself to the geneablogger community!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Regina over at Kinfolk News has presented me with a Kreativ Blogger Award! Thanks for the honor, Regina!

The rules say I have to list seven things about myself and then choose seven other award winners. So here it goes:

I hate snow. A horrible thing for a native New Englander to say, I know.

I miss having a dog or cat but since I rent it’s cheaper not to have pets and less messy. And it wouldn’t be fair to a pet to leave them locked up here alone while I’m at work.

I enjoy the younger kids I meet at the bookstore. I’m talking the toddlers who are just starting to explore their world. I also get a kick out of calling the kids “sir” or “ma’am” just to see the expressions on their faces when they are addressed as an adult.

I don’t read as much as I used to read. I blame the internet.

I drink tea more than coffee now. Go figure.

I have only driven in Boston twice in my life. God had men invent subway systems for a reason and who am I not to make use of them ?

And now to pass on the award:

Heather Wilkinson Rojo at Nutfield Genealogy

Polly Fitzgerald Kimmit at Pollyblog

Barbara Poole at Life From The Roots

Amy Coffin at We Tree

Carol at Reflections From The Fence

Herstoryan at Herstoryan

T.K. Sand at Before My Time

Thanks again, Regina!

UPDATE-Katie O. over at You Are Where You Came From has honored me
as well withthe Kreativ Blogger Award! Thank you, Katie!

Monday, November 16, 2009


I just wanted to remind everyone that there's only a week left to get
your posts written for The Great American Local Poet Genealogy
Challenge. In case you missed them, these are the rules

1. Find a poem by a local poet, famous or obscure, from the region one of
your ancestors lived in. It can be about an historical event, a legend, a
person, or even about some place (like a river)or a local animal.

2. Post the poem to your blog (remembering to cite the source where you
found it.)

3. Did it inspire you to research the subject of the poem and how it relates to

4.Submit your post's link here to me by November 22nd and I'll publish all
the entries on Thanksgiving Day!

Several of you have already sent submissions but more would be welcome.
So pick a poem and let us know about it for better or verse!

Sunday, November 15, 2009


I started West in New England on 1/23/2007 after having discovered the
geneablogs of Chris Dunham, Tim Abbot, J.J. Bell and Randy Seavers. But it
was a link on Randy’s Genea-musings blog to Jasia’s Carnival of Genealogy
that led me to what turned out to be the biggest step in becoming a better
blog writer.

My first COG contribution was “AGGIE” in the 03/17/07 20th edition of the
Carnival. I’d written it back in February but it wasn’t until it appeared as part
of the Carnival that I had comments on it. (That’s been the best thing about
the COG for me, the feedback. Statscounters can tell you if anyone’s looked
at your site but comments tell you if they actually read what you wrote.)
I was hooked. I’ve tried to contribute to as many editions as I can ever since,
only missing three for the rest of 2007 ( #30,#32 and #35) and one in 2008
(#60). Because of computer problems I’ve already missed three this year
(#72, #74 and #77) but I’m hoping not to miss any more! Along the way I ’ve
had the honor of hosting two editions, #50 on Family Pets and #69 What If?:
Rewriting History. That gave me a greater appreciation for the amount of
wor k that Jasia has put into the CoG!

My Top Five Favorite Posts for the CoG(in chronological order):
ORPHA in CoG #33

The other great thing about the CoG has been all the connections that have
been made among geneabloggers that began through it. Most of the blogs in
the links column on the right side of this page are I first encountered through
the Carnival of Genealogy and I’m sure many other of my fellow geneabloggers
can make similar statements. This why in my opinion the importance of the
CoG cannot be overstated, because I firmly believe that the greater Geneablogger
Community as it is today would not exist if not for the connections that Jasia
and the CoG had already fostered.

Thank you, Jasia!

I’ve taken part in 55 Carnival of Genealogy editions. This is my number 56, and
I hope there will be many, many more CoG’s for me to take part in!

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Some of you might have noticed I'd been absent from the internet for the
past week. This was because Elaine the Computer seems to have finally
gone belly up last early Wednesday morning. Her predecessor, a laptop
named Kramer (aka Sparky due an incident involving his power cord),
balked at going online so it's taken me awhile to get back here.

So what did I do to keep myself occupied while offline? Well I read some
books(non-genealogy related) and watched some tv. But I did get a lot
done on that database of ancestral death dates, and on the timeline of
my family's involvement in the New England Indian Wars.

And I worked on putting hole reinforcements on the family group sheets
in three 3-ring loose leaf notebooks. All three books now suffer from
unsightly "reinforcements bulge" but those sheets won't rip and fall out!

It'll take me a day to get back into my blogging routine and recall what it
was I wanted to blog about next before Elaine crashed, but at least I'm
back online!

Thursday, November 05, 2009


The anniversaries of two of my direct ancestors fall on November 5th:

Amos Hastings Barker (my great great grandfather) died on 5Nov 1907.
He was 79 years old.

Philip Jonathan West
(my great grandfather) died on 5Nov 1954.
He was 86 years old.

I've posted pictures of both men in previous posts and you can see them by
clicking on their names in the labels below this post.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009


One morning in March,1668, Thomas Chandler went to court once more about
Job Tyler. It was probably late in the month given the date of Job Tyler’s reply.
But this time Chandler was not there to press his case against his foe.

This time, apparently tired of Tyler’s verbal attacks, Thomas Chandler had
come to throw in the towel. I’ve boldfaced the last two words:

“Thomas Chandler of Andover came into court and offered Job Tyler 20li to settle
and also to remit his son's bond of 100li. Otherwise that the court might allow him
what they thought meet provided he might be quiet

Job might have been warned off his previous scurrilous attacks on Chandler
but the incident involving the cattle seems to have inspired him to new
heights of rhetoric:

“Job Tiler's complaint to the grand jury, dated Mar. 31, 1668, that John Stevens and
Thomas Chandeler, both of Andover, about Aug. 20, 1667, by violence and force "
and in a Ryotous mannor and against the peace of our Souerigne Lord the Kinge, his
Crowne & Dignity and the peace & Lawes of this Country," took away from Richard
Post of Oborne, the marshal general's deputy, in the common highway leading from
Andover to Oborne about six miles from Andover, two oxen and two cows which Post
was to deliver to Tiler, upon execution against said Chandler. Tiler prayed that
"such practises and violence offered to yt supreme Authority may not goe unpunished
for if this be suffered farr well Lawes Libertys and the rights of the People but you
are the persons yt god giues power to prevent these abuses, you beinge now thee eyes
and eares of this County & called Together to present offences and breach of Lawes."

-(Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts
Vol 4 Mar 1668 p14-15)

((Note Oborne seems to have been a transcription error for the town of Woburn ))
Given some of Tyler’s own actions in the whole affair, it seems a bit hypocritical to
me, but he seems to have been satisfied with this last outburst since so far I’ve found
no further court records of cases between him and my ancestor Thomas Chandler.
Perhaps he and his son Moses were too busy pursuing their feud with John Godfrey.
I had a thought the other day about all the court cases I’ve found about my ancestors:
if there’s such a thing as reincarnation, I wouldn’t be surprised if many Puritans came
back as crows and starlings so they could sit on a telephone wire and argue raucously at
each other much as they did in their human lives!

Monday, November 02, 2009


Alright. John from TransylvanianDutch has submitted a guess on the
Welsh phrase in "Easy For You To Say" and you can check it out in
the comments on that post.

The actual meaning is "Excuse me, do you know where the books on
family trees are?" (from the books "Beginner's Welsh") I'd have let it
go longer but if my computer goes completely I didn't want to leave you
folks waiting for an answer!

Sunday, November 01, 2009


So, you're a genealogist abroad. What language is this and what are
you asking?

"Esgusodwch fi,ydych chi'n gwybodble mae llyfrau ar achau'r tealu?"

UPDATE: Jessica and then Karen Packard Rhodes correctly identified
the language as Welsh. So now, what are you asking someone to help
you find?