Saturday, July 31, 2010


Besides his warnings about records access and threats to record
preservation, Curt B, Witcher spoke about how the electronic
age has changed genealogy records on a personal level, citing the
decline of old fashioned letter writing as an example. He also
pointed out emails are part of a family's living history that should
be preserved. He made the following suggestions:

"To counteract the trend, Witcher encouraged people to write. "Write as 
you never have written before." This writing can be about memories, 
describing a family photograph or center on themes such as a family's rituals.

After something is written, Witcher said to share it with others. Otherwise, 
he said "many of those precious pieces of living history go into landfills."

Witcher said to publish — locally to family or even on a website such as Just be careful with personal information of living individuals. 
The object is to create a record that will be there for descendants."

Now we geneabloggers have been doing this for sometime now.

But Mr Witcher's remarks have been food for thought for me as to
what else I can do. I can post more about my personal memories.
and about when and where a photograph was taken. I can keep a
paper copy of my posts (well maybe not the silly ones) along with
the copies on cds, For all we know, some new technology could
come along to replace computers, so a paper record of my posts
might actually outlast the cds .

I'm considering putting my posts into book form, using a program
such as Blurb. And I'd like to bwecome proficient enough to
perhaps write an article on my West ancestors good enough for
publication for the NEGHS magazines or for inclusion in their

As I said in the first post about Mr Witcher's speech as reported
by Michael De Groote, it's generated a lot of discussion.Whether
you agree or not about an approaching genealogical Dark Ages,
it certainly has made me for one think seriously about the state
of genealogical and historical preservation today, and about
what I could and should be doing about it.

Friday, July 30, 2010


So what can we do to help preserve genealogical and hustorical
records and information and hopefully drive back the "genealogical
dark ages: that Curt B. Witcher warns us about?

I think we need to start with educating ourselves. How much do
we know about where records are kept in our cities, towns,
counties and states? Do we know how well preserved they are and 
if they are well protected against possible water damage? Have they
already been digitized. If not, are there any plans to do so? What
sort of funding is allocated for their upkeep and is it sufficient to the
task? Is that funding in jeopardy and is it a ballot question in an
upcoming election? Who are the people responsible for their
upkeep and what is their outlook on the importance of record

We also need to keep informed about threats to records,
cemeteries and historical sites, not just in our own area but in
others as well, and when we hear about those threats, we need
to speak out! An example of this is how fellow geneablogger
George Geder alerted the geneablogging community to how a
Florida town planned to build an industrial park at the site of
an African-American cemetery. Another example is how
genealogists have organized over the Michigan State Library
issue. On a local level, join in the debate when an issue comes
up on the ballot concerning funding or preservation of historical
sites and libraries. Don't be complacent and think that the funding
will pass because people must realize how important it is to save
the site or fund the libraries. People are more concerned about 
keeping their taxes from rising than funding repairs for the old
courthouse with the leaky roof over the records room. Write
letters to the editor and attend meetings to tell people why they
should spend their tax dollars on that courthouse!

We can't assume that everything is going to be digitized in time.
We can't hope that a band of LDS angels will swoop down on
our towns and preserve every last record forever online. And
by the way, computer files can be lost and destroyed as well.
so we still need to see that the original records are preserved
even after they are digitized.

Mr Witcher also addressed how the electronic age has affected
history on a personal level, and I'll address that in the final part
of this discussion.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


There's been a bit of discussion today on my wall on Facebook
fueled by this link to an article in the Mormon Times entitled "The
coming genealogical dark ages" by Michael de Groote, which is
about a speech given by Curt B.Witcher yesterday at Brigham
Young University's Conference on Family History and 
Genealogy. Mr. Witcher was spoke about how many records,
archives and tombstones are in danger of disappearing:   

"Libraries are limiting hours and public access to materials. Courthouses 
are engaging in "radical sampling," where they take a few samples of 
large collections of old records and destroy the rest. "This is going on 
now,"  Witcher said.

Witcher gave several specific examples of the problem. The Ohio State 
Library gave away all its genealogical materials to a local library. The 
Library of Michigan was getting rid of genealogical items that are not
directly related to Michigan. The Boston Public Library is contemplating 
making its vast collections of newspapers inaccessible to the general
public. Seventy-nine percent of reporting U.S. Federal agencies believed
their records were at high or great risk of being lost.

This seemed a bit exaggerated to some, but not to myself and other
Facebook friends from the genealogical community. Besides the
examples given by Mr. Witcher, we only have to look at the recent
headlines about the neglect at the cemetery in Chicago and at
Arlington National Cemetery. And many of us have had instances
in our own research where the loss of the 1890 Federal Census or
World War 2 service records to fire have left holes that cannot be

The point can be made that digitalization of the records will prevent
such loss, but not every vital record is being scanned all over the 
country. In the present political and economic climate getting the
necessary funding to perform such a task is difficult when cities
and towns are already cutting back on their police, fire, and school
departments. Boston, a city once renowned for its library system,
is talking of closing some of the neighborhood branch libraries and
limiting the hours of those that remain open. The newspaper archive
at the Main Branch library may be moved to a less accessible
location to make room for a map collection. And in some places,
old records are stored in older buildings where they are imperiled
by leaky roofs, broken water-mains or electrical fires. I've seen
several news stories this past year of instances where this happened.

Sadly, many cities and towns are more concerned with saving money
than in saving their history.

The question is, what can we do as genealogists and historians to
help preserve the records and historical landmarks that are so
important to us?

To be continued....

Monday, July 26, 2010


This is the second in a series of posts from the Revolutionary War
Pension Request file. Amazingly enough there already were
preprinted government forms and this was one of them. The
preprinted parts are in regular print while the filled in words
are italicized. 

"District of Massachusetts,ss1

On this day Sixth day of July 1820:Personally appeared in open
Court before the circuit Court of Common Pleas, begun and holden
in Lenox ,within and for County of Berkshire ,in the Western Circuit,
on the 4th Monday of June 1820, the same Court, being a Court
of record for said Circuit; preceeding according to the course of the
common Law, with a jurisdiction, unlimited in point of amount,
kereping a record of its proceedings, and having the power of fine
and imprisonment,

Elisha Houghton aged 71 years, resident in Adams in the County
of Berkshire aforesaid, who being first duly sworn, according to
law,doth on his oath declare, that he served in the revolutionary
war as follows; that he enlisted in the company commanded by
Captain Brown in the regiment commanded by Colonel Bigelow
in the line of the State of Massachusetts on the Continental
establishment. That his original declaration is dated May 6th 
1818 and that his pension certificate is numbered 4,189.

And I do solemnly swear, that I was a resident Citizen of the
United States, on the 18th day of March, 1818, and I have not
since that time, by gift, sale or in any manner disposed of my
property, or any part thereof with intent, thereby to diminish it,
as to bring myself within the provisions of an Act of Congress
entitled "An Act to provide for certain persons, engaged in
the land and naval services of the United States, in the
Revolutionary war," passed on the 18th day of March, 1818,
and that I have not, nor has any person in trust for me any
property or securities, contracts, or debts, due to me, nor
have I any income, other than what is contained in the schedule,
hereto  annexed, and by me subscribed-schedule of property,
necessary clothing and bedding excepted-to wit:

1 Tub and firkin --------.33
1 Iron pot--------------- -.75
1 Salt mortar-------------.12
1 Tea kettle--------------.75
1 Sugar box of Plates---.19
1 Tin tumbler ------------.6
1 Old Pail------------------.13

That I am by occupation a Labourer that I am not able to labor,
that the number of my family residing with me is none.
(signed) Elisha Houghton                                              

Sworn to, and declared on the Five day of July 1820, before the
said Court                         
Parker L Hall (illegible) pro tem

I Parker L Hall Clerk of the Circuit Court of Common Pleas
within  and for the County of Berkshire do hereby certify, that the
foregoing oath and the schedule thereto annexed, are truly copied
from the record of said Court; and I do further certify,that it is the
opinion of the said Court, that the total amount in value of the
property exhibited in the aforesaid schedule is two dollars and  
thirty three cents.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and affixed 
the seal of said Court on this ninth day of August 1820.

Parker L Hall   }Clerk of the Court for the County of Berkshire."                        

Saturday, July 24, 2010


Last week I mentioned  my current project of entering information
on my Ellingwood line onto my family tree. I use my
late cousin Florence O'Connor's book"The Ancestors and 
Descendants of Asa Freeman Ellingwood and Florilla(Dunham)
Ellingwood" as my guide and then find the sources and add the
citation to my tree. It's become almost an obsession now to get all
the names of the deceased Ellingwoods posted. The trouble is,
there's so darn MANY of them.

To give you an idea, my great grandmother Clara Ellingwood was
one of Asa and Florilla's eleven children, who went on to have a
total of fifty five children by my count so far. And then those
children went out and in turn produced more Ellingwoods. So
I've been doing a lot of adding of names.( My admiration for
Florence O'Connor has increased when I think of how she did all
this research without the use of computers.)

In fact, the women who married my male West ancestors all came
from large families. Arvilla Ames was one of thirteen children.
Louisa Richardson was one of nine. It seems a good many of my
ancestors took the Biblical instruction to "be fruitful and multiply"
quite seriously, and I couldn't be happier about it. There's enough
people and material in my genealogy to keep me busy for years
in both blogging and researching.

Which leads to my title. There are geeks and now "gleeks". And  
so since I am a geneablogger, I guess I'm also  a "geneek"!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


I'm trying to take my after dinner walks at least four times a week,
on my two days off and the days when I get out of work at 6pm.
That way I can cook and eat dinner and be out walking by around
8pm. The other three days I get out at 7pm, and whether I walk
depends on how long it takes to make dinner.

Tonight I started around 8pm. The weather was perfect, very
comfortable and surprisingly the mosquitoes haven't made an
appearance as yet. There were even fewer cars than usual tonight
and I made pretty good time, except for my stop to take some
pictures of the baby bunny who let me get within 4 feet of him.
I made it down to the turn and back in about a half hour but I'm
more interested in building up endurance than setting a land
speed record here.

I don't take a radio or music player with me. It's nice just to
walk and hear nothing but birds, crickets, and the train whistle
off in the distance. Over than the rabbits and the occasional
passing car there was no one else around which was nice, too.
When I got back here I sat outside on the patio for a bit. One
the neighbors upstairs across the way was sitting outside
smoking and the only other thing moving was the very large
rabbit I named Thumper grazing on the other side of the
meadow. I sat out there for a good half hour and relaxed.

Once, long long ago, when I was a kid, I'd sit out on the
porch on a summer afternoon or early evening and read
while I waited for the ice cream man to come around. Or
I'd lay on my bed in my room with the windows open and
read there while listening to the Red Sox game. Kids back
then didn't have all the electronic distractions they have now
and I think we had more "quiet time" as well.

Anyway, I'm enjoying these quiet afternoons reading on my
patio and the after dinner walks. And tomorrow night I'm
going to see if there's enough light out there to read in the
evening as well.

Monday, July 19, 2010


 I mentioned in an earlier post that I would be exploring the
Revolutionary War service of my ancestor Elisha Houghton.
I'm starting off with his testimony from his Pension Request 
file as given to Justice Samuel Putnam :

"Commonwealth of Massachusetts
(“District of” crossed out) Berkshires  of Commonwealth of 

Massachusetts .
On this sixth day of May 1818 Before me the subscriber one of 

the Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court of said Commonwealth  
personally appears Elisha Houghton aged sixty eight years
resident in the town of Adams in said district who being by me
first duly sworn according to law doth on his oath make the 
following declaration in order to obtain the provisions made 
by the late act of  congress entitled `an act to provide for 
certain persons engaged in the land and naval services of the 
United States in the revolutionary war ‘ that the said Houghton
enlisted as a private in May 1778 in the town of Harvard in the
state of Massachusetts in the company commanded by Captain
Joshua Brown of the fifteenth Regiment of commanded by Col. 
Timothy Bigelow.That he continued in the service of the United 
States  until May 1781 when he was discharged from service 
at West Point in the State of Newyork. That he was in the 
Battles of  Bunker Hill Stillwater Monmouth and Newport and 
that he is in reduced circumstances and stands in need of the 
assistance of his country for support and that he has no other 
evidence now in his possession of his said services and
relinquishes all claim to any other Pension but what he now 

asks for.

Sworn to and declared before me this day and year aforesaid                                                        S. Putnam Just
May 6 1818                                                 S.J. Court of Massts

I Samuel Putnam one of the Justices of the aforesaid Court do 

certify that it does appear to my satisfaction that the said Elisha 
Houghton did serve in the Revolutionary war as stated in the
preceding declaration against the Common enemy and I now 
transmit it the preceding and testimony taken here before me to 
the Secretary of the Department of War. Given under my hand 
at said Court.

S. Putnam Justice S.J. Court of Massachusetts"

Bunker Hill is squeezed into the document and appears to have been
added later. Elisha's signature is written above the words " the year

We'll start exploring the facts of the statement next.

I posted this today to take part in "Amanuensis Monday" which is a
blog meme started by John Newmark at his TransylvanianDutch blog.
John's definition of an amanuensis" is "a person employed to write
what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another."
In which case, Samuel Putnam was Elisha Houghton's amanuensis and
I in turn am his!

Saturday, July 17, 2010


There's a website that's become popular on the Internet of late and
Randy Seaver has made use of it for this week's Saturday Night 
Genealogy Fun entitled "I Write Like...". This is how it goes:

1) Find something that you have written that you are really proud of -
the best of your work. Do an Edit > Copy of it.

2) Go to the website and Paste your text into the
waiting box.

3) Tell us which famous author you write like. Write it up in your own

blog post, in a comment to this blog, or post it on Facebook. Insert
the "badge of honor" in your blog if you can.

Okay, I decided to try three examples of my writing:

First I used a paragraph from "When the World Changed" :

I write like
Margaret Mitchell
I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Well, fiddle de dee!

Next I tried a paragraph from "Aggie", a post about my grandmother:

I write like
James Joyce
I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

And last, I tried a piece of one of my fantasy stories, "The Altars 
of Deshkar":

I write like
James Joyce
I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

So I write like Margaret Mitchell or James Joyce?  So why aren't
I rich and famous?

Thursday, July 15, 2010


One of my ongoing genealogy projects is entering the information on
my Ellingwood ancestors and relatives onto my tree
from Florence Evelyn O'Connor's book "The Ancestors and 
Descendants of Asa Freeman Ellingwood and Florilla(Dunham)
Ellingwood".  I've started with the descendants first because there
are so many of them and there are sources and images of records
that aren't available for earlier generations. Some of the people
mentioned in the book have passed away since it was published and
so I've been able to update the book's information with the records
on Ancestry. In a few cases I've been able to fill in some missing

One such gap is concerns Fred Ellingwood, the son of Walter Fred
and Jane S(Brown)Ellingwood. He would have been the nephew of
my great grandmother Clara Ellingwood. In her book, Florence
doesn't have much information on him:
"...born in Upton, Me.about 1884; married Helen Wood and lived 
in Lynn,Mass. where he worked for General Electric Co.; he died in
Lynn, Mass." (p.59).

Florence got a lot of her information from Ellingwood family members
but this entry is so small that my guess is that Fred didn't make it
back up to Maine often, if at all, and he fell out of touch with the
rest of the Ellingwoods. So I entered this into my Ancestry tree
and then searched for records.

The first thing I found were the WWI and WWII Draft Registration
Cards for one Fred Roland Ellingwood, born 18Apr 1884. But
there is a discrepancy between the two as to Fred's place of birth.
On the WWI form, he said his birthplace was Upton, Oxford, Me.
where he  registered. But in 1942 when he registered in Lynn,
Essex, Ma. at the age of 58, he says he was born in Cambridge, Nh.
That puzzled me until I remembered his mother Jane had been born
in Cambridge as well. Perhaps he was born in his grandparent's home?
I still haven't found a birth record to settle on which birthplace was
correct although Fred gives it as NH on the Federal Census as well.

Next I found a record of his marriage to Helen Wood in the Maine
Marriages 1892-1996 Collection. They were married on 22Aug

The Federal Census for 1920 finds a Fred R. Ellenwood and his
wife Mary at 34 Neptune St in Lynn, Essex, Ma. Here another
discrepancy appears. They are living with a Michael O'Connor and
his wife Mary, and Helen is listed as Michael's daughter. So was
Fred's wife Helen Wood or Helen O'Connor?  There was also a
Kathleen W. Ellenwood, age 6, listed as Fred and Helen's daughter.
Since they were married only two years before, I speculated that
Helen was married once already, and that Kathleen was her
daughter by her first marriage.

That theory was confirmed with the 1930 Census. Fred and Helen
were living at 21 Childs St. in Lynn and Kathleen, now 16, is
listed as Kathleen Wood, stepdaughter.  By then there were also
three other children, all girls, Ruth, Jane, and Claire. Fred's job
description is given as "packer, shipping room,  elec. appl. factory".
They would still be at that address when WWII broke out.

That's all I've been able to find so far about Fred and his family.
I'm hoping that someone who is related to  Fred's daughters will find
this post and fill in the rest of the blanks!

Fred R. Ellingwood, b. 18Apr 1884, Cambridge Coos, Nh(?) d.
unknown m. Helen O'Connor on 22Aug 1918 in Maine.

Three Children:
Ruth b @1920
Jane b @1923
Claire b @ 1924

One stepdaughter:
Kathleen Wood b @ 1914

Monday, July 12, 2010


There's a meme going around the blogging universe that Thomas
MacEntee introduced into the geneablogging community which
asks the musical question, "What do you use in doing what you  
do?" The what in this case is the technology and tools we use
in our genealogical research.

Here, for what it's worth, is my list:

* Hardware: Toshiba Satellite L455 -S5975 laptop. 223GB of which
   I've only used 40 so far, Intel Celron 900, 2gb DDR2 RAM, 250GB
   HDD. (I have no idea what anything other that the 223GB means) .
   I also have a separate floppy disk drive.

* External storage: umm..2 flashdrives at 2GB each which I'm
   going    to replace with larger ones soon, plus numerous CDs,
   DVDs and yes, floppy disks!

* Online storage: None yet

* Backup: See External Storage.

* Firewall: Norton Internet Security

* Virus protection: See firewall

* Spyware: see firewall

* File cleaner: none

* Printer
: HP Officejet 5610 All in One (Printer, Copier, Scanner,

* Phone: cell, one landline.

* Mobile media: None

* Music player
: cassette player. One cd player, one
  stereo set (cd, cassette, and radio) and one portable radio/dual
  cassette player

* Car audio: Am/Fm/Casette player. Standard GM issue.

* eBook Reader: None as yet.

* Browser: Firefox

* Blog: Blogger with a backup "mirror site" on Wordpress

* RSS: Google Reader and Feedburner

* FTP:  The racer's edge..oh wait, that's STP. None.

* Text editor: Notepad or Wordpad. I use both.

* Graphics: none.

* Screen capture: Snipping Tool. Still learning how to use it.

* Social media: Facebook, Maine Genealogy Network  
* Social bookmarking: Nope.

* Social profile: Nope

* URL shortener:

* Office suite: Microsoft Works. It was free. it came with the computer.
   And it was free

* E-mail: Gmail and Yahoo

* Calendar: The one on my cell phone.

* Accounting: Nope.

* PDF generator: Nothing yet, but I'm looking into it.

* Genealogy database: PAF, RM4, and Rootsweb.
   Call me Mr.Insecurity.

* Genealogy tools: My wit, charm, and devilish good looks.
   Ok, make that wit and charm...

* Other tech stuff: None at the moment!

Saturday, July 10, 2010


I won't be able to attend this year but I had a great time last
year meeting and talking with my Ellingwood cousins. I hope
to make it back again next year:

"Mark your calendars!!!!!! 
August 14, 2010. At Jerry Ellingwood's home 12 Harrison Rd.,
Norway, ME 04268. Begin gathering after 10am. Bring basic 
(sandwich, meat to cook) for yourself. One item for the "share" 
table. Can be salad, dessert, chips, favorite family yummy. Drinks
are provided, condiments, grill. Games for the young at heart, prizes
for the oldest, youngest, and who traveled the furthest. Party boat 
for casual cruise around the lake. Swimming from the boat or at
the nearby public beach. There is an ever-growing amount of
information and pictures to browse. We encourage you to bring 
your annual updated information to add to the items on display.
Mostly we want to see you and meet you if you are a first-timer!"

The first reunion was held back in 1921, and has continued since then,
except for three years back in WW2!    


Lori Thornton sent this along from Pat Oxley. I realize Knoxville,
Tennessee is not in New England, but helping kids learn about
their family history is a subject that we all should support!

"For Immediate Release
July 7, 2010
KNOXVILLE–If your kids are looking for something fun and unique
to do this summer, an upcoming free genealogy camp may be just the
answer. The FamilySearch Kids Camp will be held on Saturday, August
21, 9 a.m. to noon, at the Knoxville Convention Center in conjunction
with the Federation of Genealogical Societies’ national conference.
This free event requires advanced registration.

The FamilySearch Kids Camp helps young people develop an
appreciation for their family history and better understand why it is
important to know about one’s ancestors. The Camp is geared to
youth 10 to 14 years of age.

The event will involve a variety of activities, including several designed
to help Boy Scouts earn their Genealogy Merit Badge. Kids will learn
how to  interview relatives and document families in their family tree.
There will be interactive workshops on the importance of gathering
records and keeping journals. and participants will use computers to
find information about their ancestors.

“We are excited to offer this fun, educational opportunity to youth in
the Knoxville area,” Federation of Genealogical Societies President,
Pat Oxley, said.  “Kids are naturally inquisitive and love the personal
discoveries that can come from the camp’s activities. It is a fabulous
opportunity for the youth of that area.”

Lisa Oakley, the Curator of Education for the East Tennessee
Historical Society, says the Kids Camp is a unique event.

“The East Tennessee Historical Society recognizes the importance
of children connecting with their past, and I can't think of a better
way to do that than for kids to learn how to collect and understand
their family history, which becomes critical to remembering your
roots in the future,” Oakley said.

 “Everyone has ancestors and it is incredibly rewarding to learn about
them,” said Cherie Bush of FamilySearch, who is organizing the
Genealogy Kids Camp. “Knowing more about where you come from
can help both kids and adults better understand themselves.”

Oakley plans to bring her own daughter to the Kids Camp.

“I am excited for her to learn the steps for collecting her family history
in an age appropriate and productive way,” Oakley said. “After all,
when mom or dad tries to tell them how do something, it is always
looked at as being not quite correct. To have FamilySearch provide
this workshop, I know she will hang on every word. I will look
forward to working together on our family tree!”

The FamilySearch Kids Camp event is free, but participants need to
register in advance. To register, please e-mail
with names and contact information.  For more information, please
visit "


It's Saturday night and time for a Saurday Night Genealogy Fun
Challenge from Randy Seaver over at Genea-Musings! This week
Randy asks us to wax ...on our genealogy:

"Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to:

1) Write a Genealogy Clerihew (and what is a "clerihew" you 
ask? See Jim Smith's post today for more details and his  
clerihew (briefly, a clerihew is a four-line irregular poem or 
verse that follows an AABB rhyme scheme. It is named for 
the birthday of Edmund Clerihew Bentley the inventor, aka 
writer, aka poet."). If you're feeling especially creative, write
two or more!
2) Show us your genealogy clerihew in a blog post of your own, 
in a comment on this blog post, or in a Facebook comment or 
update. C'mon, dazzle your readers and friends with your poetry
and creativeness."

Those of you who've read this blog for some time now know how
much , for better or verse, I love poetry. So:

My luck indeed is very good
In researching my Ellingwoods
And when I totally have done `em
The next line that I'll do is Dunham!

I swear that I will do my best
in working on John Cutter West
He's certainly a tough brickwall
But someday he is going to fall!

I thought I might have one or two
Ideas to write a clerihew
But as you readers now can see,
I ended up instead with three!

Thursday, July 08, 2010


I'm trying to correct errors from my early days of genealogy research
starting with citing sources on my Ancestry tree. Now I have the
usual sources cited, but I'm adding a citation to my
Ellingwood line and I'm not entirely happy how it's coming out.

Much of my Ellingwood research comes from Florence Evelyn
O'Connor's book The Ancestors and Descendants of Asa Freeman
Ellingwood and Florilla (Dunham)Ellingwood.which was selfpublished
in West Paris, Me. The edition I have is from 1979. I'd hoped the
citation would come out looking like the examples in Evidence
Explained but they didn't. (I mean, I want them to pass footnote
Maven's high standards!)

And there's the problem of a repository. The book is out of print,
very hard to find, and I obtained this copy from one of my Ellingwood
cousins who had Florence's permission to print out a three ring binder
edition which Ellingwood family members can purchase. How do I
cite that? I don't want to post my cousin's personal information
(address, phone number) and endanger her privacy.

Do any of my readers have suggestions about this?

Tuesday, July 06, 2010


Back in November of last year I wrote my first two posts here about
my 5x greatgrandfather Elisha Houghton, including one which told how
he lost his rifle in the aftermath of Bunker Hill. Looking over his service
record and the muster rolls for his regiment, it struck me he was a
colorful fellow and I decided to do a series transcribing his Pension
Request file. But the busy Christmas season at work and then my
illness at the start of the year postponed that.

Then last week I was thinking about what I might want to post about
here for the 4th of July and research once more piqued my interest in
Elisha.First there were the battles he took part in, and secondly there
was the fact he'd twice been a sergeant, and twice he'd been broken
back down to the ranks. Third, his pension request file is relatively
small compared to some of the others I have (My 4x great granduncle
Benjamin Barker's file, for example, has 86 images if I include the
service records and muster rolls.) and I thought I could write about it
in only a few blog entries.

As Robert Burns said, the best laid plans of mice and men so often go

So I began by looking over the service records, and then the muster rolls,
and this is the information they gave me in chronological order of Elisha
Houghton's military career with the Massachusetts 15th Regiment of the
Continental Army in a company commanded by Captain Joshua Brown:

1May 1777  enlists for 3 years
1Nov 1777 appointed Sgt
10Dec 1777  Sick at Albany.
Jan 1778 reduced to ranks as Pvt.
21Feb 1778 On command at Albany  Jan 1778
5Mar 1778 Sick in Albany Feb1778 Valley Forge
Apr 1778 Sick in camp March 1778 Valley Forge
2May 1778 On Guard Apr 1778 Valley Forge
2Jun 1778 Sgt May 1778 Valley Forge
25Sep 1779 reduced to ranks as Pvt.
1May 1780 discharged at"Camp near Robinson's Farm(?)"

(This doesn't include his previous service with the militia at Boston.)

Looking at this raised a question I hadn't considered before. I knew
what"on guard" meant  and of course "sick", but what did "on
command"mean?Not finding much information on my own I asked my
friends on Facebook if anyone knew what the term meant. I received
answers and suggestions from genealogist and non-genealogist friends
alike, and I finally decided that the best explanation was that Elisha
was either on a special detail or detached duty from his company
during those periods he was "on command".

There is of course more to explore about Elisha Houghton then I
originally thought, and that's what I'll be doing in honor of him and my
other Revolutionary War ancestors during this month of July.

Sunday, July 04, 2010


Well, Jasia has done it again over at her Creative Muse blog. She's
just published the 95th edition of the Carnival of Genealogy, with
contributions from twenty-six geneabloggers, This was the annual
swimsuit edition with pictures and stories of summers past and lots
of good writing.

The topic for the next edition of the Carnival of Genealogy will be:

"Scrapbooking Your Family History! Here's a real challenge for you... 
Who's up to the task? Create a scrapbook page on any theme that 
suits one or more of your vintage photos. If you don't feel very artistic, 
lay a few photos down on a piece of colored paper, add a few captions, 
take a snapshot of it, and voila! You have yourself a digital scrapbook 
page! If you enjoy creating traditional scrapbook pages, take a picture 
of one you've done, and that works too. If you're up for creating
something more artsy, buy a kit or make your own. Go for it! If you've
never done scrapbooking before, this is the opportunity you've been 
waiting for! If you're an experienced scrapbooker, dig in and enjoy the 
creative process! The deadline for submissions is August 1st. 
Thirty submissions will be accepted. "

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

Sounds interesting! I'll be looking forward to seeing what folks
come up with for this!


 I first published this list a few years back, but in honor of the 4th
of July I'm publishing it again. We know about Washington and
Knox and Lafayette, but we should never forget that it was the 
unknown citizens who served under them who fought and bled
to win us all our freedom.

The italicized names are those whose Pension Files I've found.
I've already shared some of their stories here and plan to do so
with the rest, starting with Elisha Houghton next,

Jonathan Barker Jr.
Was a Minuteman from Methuen Ma with the rank of Sergeant. He
was at Lexington and Concord with his sons Jonathan (see below)
and Samuel. 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' Company in Colonel Jacob Gerrish's
guards from Dec 1777 until 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 19th, 1775. He
subsequently 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.

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.

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  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 Ticonderoga.

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 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
He was at the Battle of Bunker Hill and 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 nearly
8 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 3rd.

Thursday, July 01, 2010


I took a walk further down Lincoln Blvd today to take care of some
business at the Town Hall and then decided to walk next door to the
Town Library and get something I haven't had in forty years or so:
a library card.

This is the third location for the Abington Town Library since I first
moved into town back in the 1960's and it was built in 1997. It is a
beautiful building with a soaring beamed ceiling, plenty of light and
the shelved areas running off to either side. You can see pictures
here at the library website .

After I filled out my application and obtained my card I took a walk
around the stacks. The fiction stacks are on the left of the mainroom
but I visited the nonfiction stacks to my right first to see if the
19th century local history books I recalled from years ago were still
there, and they are. They include some books on Maine and New
Hampshire, and Massachusetts colonial history as well, all of which
could be very useful to me in my genealogy research. There were
some old genealogies in the low reference shelves running down the
center of the main room that bear exploring also.

I finished up with a quick look at the fiction area. Alas, the sf and
fantasy selection was sparse! I'll have to will what's left of my own
hardcovers to them but that's many years in the future.

I saw a lot of books that I itched to take out today but most of
them are fairly old and I was on foot today. The library does sell
a book bag and I'll purchase one next trip there which probably
will be next Thursday. I'm torn between walking there which is
good for my health or driving which would mean I could bring
my laptop and do some reading and research right there.

A tough decision but either way, I can't lose!

I've had a bit more to say about this over on my book blog,
"East of The Sun, West of The Moon"