Thursday, September 30, 2010


And the seasons, they go go round and round.
The painted ponies go up and down.
We're captured on the carousel of time.
We can't return, we can only look
behind from where we came,
And go round and round in the circle game.

-Joni Mitchell

"Circle Game" by Joni Mitchell, specifically the version sung by Tom
Rush has been a favorite of mine since the first time I heard it(never
mind how many years ago that is now). I found myself thinking of it this
afternoon when I was doing some research and made an interesting
discovery. I was adding some Dunham collateral lines to my tree and looking for sources on FamilySearch Record 
Search, working my way through the descendants of Moses Dunham,
brother to my 4x great grandfather James Thomas Dunham. Moses'
daughter Abigail married Calvin Dunham Gurney in Hartford, Oxford,
Me. on 3Jul 1828. They had five children, four boys and one girl, one
of whom was James Gurney. Over on Record Search, I found this
image of James Gurney's death certificate from the Massachusetts 
Deaths 1841-1915 file:

According to this, James Gurney died in Whitman, Plymouth, Ma and is
buried in Rockland, Plymouth, Ma, and both of those towns border the
town of Abington, which just happens to be where I live. I did a litle
more digging and found the Federal Census images on Ancestry for
James. As early1860 he and his wife lived in East Abington, which was
the region that broke off to form Rockland. Whitman was originally
South Abington until it too seceded from Abington.

Now I know that my Dunham ancestors originally came from Plymouth
County Massachusetts and the Gurneys might have as well. Or perhaps
James' move back here was purely coincidence, caused by James
looking for and finding work in the local shoe factories. But finding this
reminded me once more of how my father who was born and raised in
Maine ended up back down here in Plymouth County where our ancestor
John Cutter West was born.Again I am wondering if we are in fact
related to one of the other West families here in Abington with whom I've
yet to discover any connection.

And once again I've found an example of how my family history is a
circle game.


Nolichucky Roots said...

Love it! It always delights me when I find a "circle" connection.

Heather Rojo said...

Are your Dunham roots the same as President Obama's Dunham roots?

Bill West said...

Not that I've been able to determine, Heather.