Friday, May 27, 2011


It had been a really nice day, blessed with nice weather and a pleasant walk
in the woods. After I spent a few hours watching tv I settled in for sometime
working on a collateral line of my family, the Barrows. I was adding the
siblings of my 6x greatgrandfather Moses Barrows to my tree
with information from the book The Ancestors & Descendants of Asa
Freeman Ellingwood and Florilla (Dunham) Ellingwood
and then searching
Ancestry for records. I'd entered Samuel Barrows, then clicked on "search
rewcords"....and my pleasant day came to a screeching halt.

I was on the "new search" screen.

I don't like the "new search" screen. Not at all.

I looked in vain for the "use old search" link which I'd clicked on back when
"new search" was first introduced and continued using the "old search" right
up to this evening. Could Ancestry have decided to move everyone onto the
"new search" much in the same way Facebook handles such matters?

Speaking of which, I had Facebook up in another tab on Firefox. I made the
comment that "I hate  Ancestry "new search". Just saying" and several people
commented back that they agreed with me. A discussion started and Tina
Sansone helped me figure out how to get back to "old search". Phew! Thanks,

What surprised me was that at this late hour of the day(it was actually early in
the morning, after 1am)six of my fellow genealogists immediately agreed that
they didn't like "new search"either. I thought it was just me, grumpy old fart
that I am, who found it cumbersome and tedious to navigate but apparently that
is not the case.(and I haven't heard yet from my fellow East Coasters who were
still slumbering peacefully in bed at the time).

Now I know Ancestry and Family Search (who also is moving to a new "improved"
search engine) feel the need to  refine their sites, but  somebody has to say it:
not all change is good.  All the filters and search fields just clutter up things, make
it more confusing and more frustrating for users like myself.  The beauty of the
"old search" is its simplicity.  The most relevant items are right there at the top.
I still dig through the succeeding pages but I like having some of the answers
right there at the start of the search.

If this makes me a genealogical old fuddyduddy , well then, so be it, I'll just
happily fud and dud along in "old search" while you younger more hip folks
use "new search" and more power to you!

Just stay off my lawn, you dang kids!

Monday, May 23, 2011


Well, I decided it was time to change the background to something a
little more in step with the season. So I've switched to a picture I took
a few weeks ago when my sister Cheryl and I took a long walk out at
World's End in Hingham.

It was one of the nicer Spring days so far and we had a good time!


When I was a kid my family often visited the cottage owned by
my Mom's Aunt and Uncle Peggy and Leo McCue out at Hough's
Neck in Quincy. In later years the cottage was sold and the
scene shifted to cousin Bobby McCue's place in Marshfield. By
that time I was in my 20's and didn't go along very often. (I was
worried I'd be mistaken for a beached whale). But my younger
brother did and I think either he or my sister Cheryl took pictures
one day in August of 1976:

Mom & Dad

I'm not sure what Dad is pointing at here.

Dad about to try water skiing

Mom & Cousins
As you can tell from the pictures, my folks enjoyed the beach, and really enjoyed
the time spent with the cousins!

((Written for the 106th Carnival of Genealogy))

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Now that I've become a "gentleman of leisure" (more on that later) I find myself
with time to do some of the things I've put off over the years. Writing a book,
for one.  But I also have a list of genealogy "to dos" which include the following:

1. The BIG one: breaking down the John Cutter West brickwall.

2. Following up on finding out more about maternal grandfather Edward F.White
Sr and possibly contacting my newly discovered uncles.

3. Adding collateral branches to my family tree

4. Trimming duplicate entries from my family tree

5. Locating and correctly citing more sources

6. Photographing all the gravestones at Mt Vernon Cemetery, then posting
them to find a grave.

7. Locating and photographing the gravestones of ancestors buried in various
communities of Massachusetts.

I'm sure there's more I can add to the list, but that should keep me out of trouble
for a bit!

Thursday, May 05, 2011


One of the little mysteries of the precedings on 3Apr 1884 is that there
is no indication as to what order the various witnesses testified nor is
there any notation of time of day. If Asa wife, my 2x great grandmother
Florilla Dunham Ellingwood gave her statement late in  the day after all
the others it might possibly explain the somewhat (I think) prosecutorial
tone of the questioning. Despite that Florilla's responses steadily agree
with those Asa gave in his statement.

Again, the punctuation and grammar are as they appear on the original document:

On this 3rd day of April, 1884, at Upton, County of Oxford, State of Maine,
before me, F. E. Lawton, a Special Examiner of the Pension Office, personally
Florilla. Ellingwood, who, being by me first duly sworn to answer
truly all  interrogatories propounded to her during this Special Examination
of aforesaid pension claim, deposes and says: her age is 50 years. P.O. address
is Upton Hill, Maine, occupation housekeeper

Q: When did you marry the claimant Asa F. Ellingwood
A: In the year 1850

Q: Have you always lived with each other since you were first married
A: Yes sir,

Q: Do you distinctly remember when he enlisted in May 1861
A: Yes sir

Q: Did he have a rupture either over the right or left side when he enlisted
A: No sir I know he never had any ruptures when he enlisted in 1861

Q: What was the trouble with him when he enlisted in May 1861
A: I never knew that he had any.

Q: Did he never complain prior to his enlistment of pain in his hips
and on his back,
A: No Sir 

Q: When did you next see him after he enlisted in May 1851
A: I saw him in June 1861.when he came home on a furlough

Q: What disease or disability did he have when he came home in June 1861
A: He had none.

Q: When did you next see him after June 1861
A: I saw him in Dec 1861 when he was discharged and came home.

Q: What was the trouble with him in Dec 1861 when you say he came home
A: He had two ruptures when he came home one on each side.

Q: Was there any other disease or disability at the time you say he came home
in Dec 1861
A: He was troubled with his back and kidneys. I know of nothing else.

Q: Has your husband been sick each and every year since Dec 1861 with
back and kidney trouble
A:: Yes sir

Q: How much of the time each and every every year has he been incapacitated
for the performance of manual labor by reason of his kidney or back trouble
and the aforesaid ruptures.
A: I should say he has been laid up one quarter of the time so he could not
work each year since he came home in 1861.

Q: What was the age of your oldest child when your husband returned from
the service in 1861
A: The child was 9 years of age and his name Walter F. Ellingwood and he
lives in Cambridge N.H.

Q: How did your husband tell you he incurred the alleged ruptures.
A: He said the Col was on his horse and ran over him which ruptured him.

Q: How did he tell you he contracted kidney disease or back disease
A: He said he got overheated on a march and laid out without blankets
and got cold which settled in his back and kidneys.

Q: What were the size of the ruptures when he came home in Dec 1861
A: They were the size of a walnut I should say..

Q:You say he had his ruptures when he came home in Dec 1861
A: Yes Sir.

Q: Are you positive that you have stated these questions correctly when I have
asked you
A: Yes Sir.

Then the signature of Florilla Ellingwood as deponent.

Sworn to and subscribed before me this 3rd day of Apr 1884 and I 
certify that the contents were fully made known to deponent before signing.
F. E. Lawton Special Examiner.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011


Talk about synchronicity...

As regular readers of this blog know, I'm in the midst of transcribing the
Civil War Disability Pension file of my 2x great grandfather Asa Freeman
Ellingwood. Now, last Friday night I checked into cousin Chris Dunham's
Maine Genealogy Network website and saw his post that FamilySearch
had posted Maine court record images. I followed the link over to the
site and didn't see any listing for Oxford County yet, but there was a link
just labeled Maine,

I clicked on it. The link on the next screen said "Military Records-Civil  War".
One more click and I was on a page listing the various Union Army units
from the state of Maine, and on it I found the following:

The second page of the Descriptive Roll of Co, I of the 5th  Infantry. Asa Ellingwood's
name and description is on line 46. He is listed as a mechanic from Paris Me. and
described as being 31 years of age and being 5' 8" in height with light complexion:

Next I found the Enlistment Rolls for the 5th Infantry for Bethel Maine and found Asa's
signature twice: once in the right hand panel on line 34 dated May 2, 1861, then on line
34 in the second column on the right hand side of the screen:

The third image was the also from the Enlistment Rolls and might be the reverse
side of the second half of the previous image. In a group of men on the right hand
side from Oxford County taking the "oath of fidelity to the United States"  on May
3rd 1861 is the name of Asa Ellingwood.

So, exactly 150 years ago to the day I am writing this, my 2x great grandfather
enlisted in the Union Army, then took the oath of fidelity the next day, and by May
28th he was part of Co I of the 5th Maine Infantry. And by some synchronicity, I
happened to see Chris Dunham's post on the Maine Genealogy Network that
lead me to these documents just in time to celebrate that anniversary.

Thanks, Chris!


Sunday, May 01, 2011


Although I've been pretty active in the geneablogging community I have yet to
attend a meeting og a genealogy society or been to a genealogy conference.
Work and finances haven't permitted me that luxury yet, and even when my
job comes to an end in a few weeks end, the prospect of me being able to
get to, say,  the Southern California Jamboree are exactly the same as for me
going to Mars: slim to none.

But while I haven't physically met any of my geneablogging colleagues, I have
met them "virtually". This began with me sitting in on Miriam Robbins Midkiff's
Scanfest chat room over at her Ancestories blog. While the stated purpose is
for us to get together and scan our troves of family photographs, the chat can
cover just about any aspect of genealogical research. Scanfest is held in the
afternoon of the last Sunday of the month.

Next came Thomas MacEntee's GeneaBloggers Radio over at BlogTalk
Radio.This is an actual radio show broadcast on the internet which began as
weekly Friday broadcasts following the genealogy television show "Who Do
You Think You Are?" which included guests whose own research areas had
something to do with the areas the tv show covered that week. But it has since
evolved in a weekly themed show, with programs on subjects like Irish, Latino,
and African American genealogy, Civil War research, or Mayfl er ancestry.
As Thomas does his excellent job interviewing the guests, the chatroom buzzes
with conversations and comments. It's fast-moving and fun stream of conversation.

My third and most recently added method of meeting other geneabloggers online
is the Genealogy in Second Life group. Second Life is an online virtual reality
world with various communities: there are buildings to enter and meet in and you
have an avatar. The Just Genealogy meetings are held in a Family History Center
and range from  the Monday "Meet and Greet" to a discussion of the upcoming
release of the 1940 Federal Census. This past week there was a "scavenger hunt"
on the American Heritage website hosted by Clarisse Beaumont (aka DearMyrtle)
that was fun and educational. Another presentation earlier this year by Alice Kane
on Boston repositories was extremely useful to me.

Here are some screen shots:
Upstairs at the FHC building. Each one of those laptops link to a specific sites, like the NARA Military Records.

The exterior of the FHC. Meetings are sometimes held on the front terrace..

The fire pit is another chat site. The screen is a whiteboard to display graphics.
There is a Genealogists on Second Life Group page on Facebook which has the list
of discussions for the upcoming week. If you decide to check it out, take a little time
to learn how to maneuver your avatar around so you won't be as much of a klutz at it
as I am!

So while my face to face encounters with other genealogists haven't happened quite
yet, thanks to computer technology I have had the pleasure of "meeting" many and
I've learned about new and useful genealogy tools to boot!