Sunday, June 30, 2013


I thought I'd give a little information on some of the heirs listed in the settlement
of Joseph Ellingwood/Ellenwood's estate.

Joseph Ellingwood had been married twice. He married Abigail Lamson sometime
before the birth of their first child; she died sometime after the birth of the second.

Joseph  b.11Sep  1746 , d.30Aug 1750, Amherst, Hillsborough,NH
Benjamin Tuck  b.20 Nov 1748

Abigail died sometime between 1748 and 1753. During that period, Joseph married
Sarah Herrick and they had eleven children, all but one born in Amherst, NH:

Joseph, b.31 Oct 1753
Sarah, b.15 Jul 1755 
Abigail, b.7 Sep 1757, d.5 Oct 1760
James, b.10 Oct 1758, d.7 Oct 1760
Martha, b.31 Jul 1761
Abigail, b.21 Aug 1763, d.21 Jul 1765
John,  b.19 Sep 1765
Return, b.15 Oct 1767
Jacob, b.14 Nov 1769
Daniel, b.6 Apr 1772
Ebenezer, b. 31 Dec 1774  at Lyndeborough, NH

In the settlement mention is made that Benjamin Tuck Ellenwood hadn't appeared
to claim his inheritance. That was because he had left New England years before
and moved to Ohio. Likewise, sister Martha had married Sherebiah Fletcher the
year before Joseph's death and was living in Vermont. 

Joseph Jr. had bought out the shares of his sister Return and brother John. John was
my 4x great grandfather and at the time of Joseph Sr.'s death was living in Hancock,
New Hampshire with his new wife Zerviah Abbott.

I haven't as yet found a record of the date of Ebenezer's death. 

This document may clear up one question about the family but also (in my opinion)is
the cause of an error concerning the family. The first concerns Ebenezer. I use two
Ellingwood family histories in my research, and they disagree over who Ebenezer's
parents were. In Florence O'Connor's The Ancestors and Descendants of Asa Freeman 
Ellingwood and Florilla (Dunham) Ellingwood Ebenezer is listed as one of  the children
of Joseph Sr. and Sarah. But in The Ellinwood (Ellenwood/Ellingwood) Family 1635-1963,
Leonard Ellinwood thought Ebenezer might be a child of Joseph Jr . "If, like his father,
he married a wife named Sarah."
(p79). This settlement mentioning Ebenezer as a deceased
child  seems to support Florence O'Connor's findings. 

As for  the error that's the subject of a post concerning the identity of Sarah Herrick and
Daniel Herrick which I'll be posting later.

Saturday, June 29, 2013


My ancestor Joseph Ellingwood's estate was finally settled a little over a year after his
death. By this time there was a new new Registrar and the handwriting changed. It's
a very florid artistic hand. I wish I could reproduce the over-sized brackets here but I
can't. I'll have some information on the heirs in my next post.

Comm appointed to view the real estate of Joseph Ellingwood
Committee appointed to view the real estate of Joseph Ellingwood late of Lyndboro.
dec. made the following report. Having viewed the real estate of  Joseph Ellingwood
late of Lyndeborough decd and according to the appointment  find the same indivisble,
and have appraised it accordingly to the best of our judgement impartiually to be
worth sixty six pounds.
True entry of record from original.
Att: William Gordon Regr
Joseph Herrick
Wm Reynolds
Nath. Burnam
Samuel Houton
Justice Spaulding certified the above committee was sworn before him.
Att Wm. Gordon  Regr

Decree for settlement  Jos. Ellenwood estate]
The hon. Samuel Dana esq. Judge of the Probate of Wills withing and for the
County of Hillsborough

Wherein the real estate of Joseph Ellingwood late of Lyndeborough decd., except
the widows third, has been viewed by a commttee for that purpose appointed in
order for a settlement acording to law;

And the said committee have reported the land incapable of a division, and have
appraised the same at the sum of sixt six pounds, and the eldest son of said
decd. not appearing to have the same settled upon him, and Joseph Ellingwood
of said Lyndeborough the second son of said deceased agreeing to take the same
at the appraisement _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

The said Judge doth further order and decree that the said real estate, the widows
dower excepted, be and the same is hereby assigned unto, and vested in him
the said Joseph to hold to him,  his heirs and assign forever. It is further ordered
that the said Joseph pay his brother  Benjn Tuck eight pounds, five shiilings and
nice pence being his share of said sum of sixty six pounds after deducting the sum
of Twenty four pounds, ten shillings and two pence three farthings due to the
Adminsistrator upon the settlement of their acct.; also to Danl Herrick Junr son of
Sarah Ellingwood four pounds, two shillings and ten pence  three farthings. Also
to his brother Jacob and Danl. each, said sum of four pounds, two shillings and
ten pence three farthings, and to heirs of his late brother Ebenr. said  last sum
mentioned from this. Jospeh having purchased the shares of brother, John, and
Return, no order is made respecting them.~

And in case any debts unpaid shall hereafter appears against said estate, the said
Joseph is hereby ordered to discharge the same, together with all the necessary
charges. Given under my hand & seal of the said Judge, this fifteenth day of June,
anno Domini 1790.
Samuel Dana J. Prob.
Inventory of record from original
Att: Wm Gordon Regr.

To be continued.


The next document in the Probate court file for the estate of my ancestor Joseph
Ellingwood/Ellenwood  is short but sweet (at least for his widow Sarah):

"April 7th 1789 Sarah Ellinwood widow of Joseph Ellinwood late of Lyndboro
Deceased referred a Petition to the Judge for Allowance for upholding life and
was allowed nine pounds for that purpose- -
Exam'd per Saml Dana Regr"

This has me wondering. Was the nine pounds a one time payment, or was it a monthly
amount? The estate wasn't settled until a year later in August 1790. I know things were
inexpensive compared to the economy of today and of course people grew their own
food or had farm animals to supply meat. Still, it seems like a long time to stretch nine

Also, this file shows how the spelling of family names  can change in one file. In the
Estate Inventory, Joseph was referred to as Ellenwood, but in the next two documents,
including this one, as Ellinwood. In the next two documents that I'll post here, he's
called Joseph Ellingwood. I've gotten used to looking for all the variations of the name
doing my research on the family but I use Ellingwood in my tree and files.  

Thursday, June 27, 2013


((If you are an subscriber you have received an email today 
announcing several changes to how our searches will function. Among them is
the end of Old Search. I tried New Search a few years back and disliked it. It
was frustrating to use and seemed to me to violate the "Keep It Simple" ideal
that makes it easier for me to deal with the internet. At any rate, Ancestry claims
only 2% of researchers use Old Search, yet it seems that many of my genealogy
friends are among that minority. So I'm speaking out on my displeasure with this
change in hopes others will add their voices.

I know change is inevitable, but as people often say, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it".

Here's my post from May 27th 2011 on the subject:))

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!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Now that Joseph Ellenwood/Ellingood's possessions had been inventoried, there
were two other matters that needed to be addressed. The first was Sarah Ellinwood's
 which would be taken out from the real estate Joseph had owned.

The second was a guardian needed to be appointed for the two youngest Ellinwood
children, sons Jacob and Daniel. Jacob was 17 and Daniel 14 years old at their father's
death. I'm not sure why Amos Whittemore was made their guardian. There were
several adult male men in the county related to the boys either by blood  or by
marriage. I can find no such connection with Whittemore. The best I can surmise
is that perhaps it was thought that their best interests would be served if their
guardian was not someone who could use the position for personal gain.

Here's my transcription of the second document in Joseph Ellenwood's Probate

At a Probate Court the 18th of April A.D 1786
A warrant issued Messrs. Nehemiah Rand, Joseph Herrick, Amos Whittemore,
Nathaniel Burnham & John Runnels all of Lyndeboro to set off to Sarah Ellinwood
her dower in her late husband Joseph Ellinwood's estate who on their oath before
the Judge made the following return

August 15th 1786.
State of New Hampshire, Hillsborough }
We the subscribers appointed by the Judge of Probate for said County to set
off to Sarah Ellinwood widow, one third of the real estate of her late husband
Joseph Ellinwood late of Lyndborough deceased report as follows- The one third
set to the widow bound as follows all the land lying on the south of the road that
leads thru said land the dwelling house and the east end of the barn with the
priviledge of the floor way and three acres of wood land on the north side of the
road beginning at the northwest corner then running forty rods on Joseph Ellinwood's
land then 12 rods east then 40 rods to the north line then 12 rods to the first mentioned
corner with the priviledge of a road to said land.
The two thirds to have the priviledge of thirty feet square of land at the west end
of the barn with the priviledge of a road to said barn.
Nehemiah Rand
Amos Whittemore
Exam'd per Saml Dana Regr

Augt 15 1786 Amos Whittemore allowed to be guardian to Jacob Ellinwood and
Danl Ellinwood minors upward of fourteen years of age who with Joseph Ellinwood
gave bond in the sum of L200 for his faithful performance of that (?)
Attest Saml Dana Regr

To be continued.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


A few observations on this part of the Probate Court records of my ancestor Joseph
Ellingwood/Ellenwood's estate:

-I've already mentioned that this is the first mention I've come across of his
occupation of bricklayer. But looking at the inventory of the estate that listing of the
4500 (" four thousand & half")shingles got me wondering what a bricklayer would be
doing with that many shingles. Could Joseph perhaps have been building brick buildings
and the shingles were for the roofing?

- One of the fun things about reading these old documents is running across the
unfamiliar names of items listed in the inventories. In some cases trying to find
out what they were  is made complicated by what I fondly think of as the "creative
spelling" of our ancestors. Take for example this line:

"To Butte and wedges 5/ to a frow 2/6"

It took me a little while to track down what this meant. "Butte" could be the handle
or "butt" used with the wedges. The frow (now more commonly spelled as froe) is
an ax-like tool that someone working with wood would use to split a log or length
of wood along the grain. According to the Wikipedia article I found here, it would
be of use in making shingles.

-Finally, the mention  of a Joseph Herrick as a co-administrator may have shed some
light on a question inviolving the identity of Sarah Herrick. I'll be devoting a post to
that after I finish with transcribing the other four pages of the file.

Monday, June 24, 2013


This has been a great year again for me research wise. FamilySearch has
released a bunch of record images from New England states and I've
found a lot of documents involving my relatives. I'm learning things I might
never have found about my ancestors.

One of my recent finds has been the estate records for my 5x great grandfather
Joseph Ellenwood/Ellingwood.  I don't have an exact date of death for Joseph but
the will and inventory were filed with the Hillsborough, NH Probate Court in
April of 1786 by his widow Sarah and his son Joseph. One of the things I learned
from it was that Joseph Sr. was a bricklayer, something that was not in either of
the Ellingwood genealogy books in my possession. Also, I was surprised to learn
the estate was valued under the British currency of pounds, shillings and pence.
Our young country hadn't adopted the dollar yet in 1786

I was puzzled by part of the document: the items on the inventory list followed by
a number and slash mark in the lines:  

I'd never seen anything like that before, so I asked my friends on Facebook if
anyone knew what it meant, and Karen Packard Rhodes posted an excellent explanation:

It is a unit price -- in shillings. The / means shillings. There were 20 shillings to
a pound. So take the item "To a yoke of oxen 175/ to a house 175/" 175+175=
350. Divide 350 (shillings) by 20 (# of shillings in a pound) and it comes out to 
17.5. The .5 is half a pound, which is 10 shillings. Thus you get the 17 10 0 figure 
on the right. So it is a unit price. For more information on old British money, see .

Here's the first part of my transcription.  I'll discuss my thoughts on it in my next
post. My apologies for not being able to get the value column to stay in a straight

Hillsborough SS. At a Court of Probate held at Amherst for said County on the
Eighteenth day of April Anno Domini 1786.-
Administration of the Estate of Joseph Ellenwood late of Lyndeborough in said
County Bricklayer dec. was granted to Sarah Ellenwood his widow and Joseph
Ellenwood his Son with Joseph Herrick of Lyndeborough aforesaid husbandman
jointly and severally gave Bond in the Sum of Five hundred Pounds for their
faithful performance of that trust pursuant to Law.`~~~~~
                  Attest  Saml Dana Regr

At the same time a warrant issued to Messrs. Nehemiah Rand and Amos
Whittemore both of Lyndeborough in said Countyto take an Inventory of the
Estate of the aforesaid Joseph Ellenwood who on the 15th day of August 1786
made thee following return on Oath.
                                                                       Before Jon. Blanchard Judge of Probate
                                                                         Attest Saml Dana Regr
"State of New Hampshire Hillsboro."
An Inventory of the Estate of Joseph Ellenwood late of Lyndeboro. dec. shewn
to us the Subscribers by Sarah and Joseph Ellenwood Admins. on said Estate.
- Viz~~~~
The real Estate appraised at                                                                       £150~0~0
To a Yoke of Oxen 175/ To a Horse 175/                                                 £ 17~10~0 
To two cows 130/ To a Cow 63/                                                                     9~13~
To Seven young Cattle                                                                                     6~13~
To 2 Swine                                                                                                        2~0~
To wearing apparel                                                                                           1~10~
To a feather bed and pillows                                                                            1~4~
To Sheets and Pillow Cap                                                                                   ~9~
To Coverlets and Blankets                                                                                1~0~0
To a Bedstead and Cord 3/ a Chest 25/                                                            1~0~
To 2 Table Cloths 6 towels                                                                                  ~7~6
To a Loom and the harness                                                                                1~10~0
To 3 spinning wheels 16/ to a Cart 40/                                                             2~16~
To Bricklayers Tools 2/ Carpenters 10/                                                           1~6~
To one ax 3/ Cowbell 3/6, Stonehammer 3/6                                                  0~10~
To Butte and wedges 5/ to a frow 2/6                                                               0~7~6
To 27 ft of old iron4/10, 3 sickles 2/6                                                             0~7~4
To 35 ft of old chains 17/6  a plow 5/                                                               1~2~6
To 4 hows 5/ to a barrow 9/                                                                                0~14~0
To a grindstone 1/ to a sled 3/                                                                            0~3~0
To scythes and tackling 10/ to hayfork 1/6                                                       0~11~6
To four thousand & half of shingles                                                         1~7~0
To baskets 5/6 yoke irons 2/ irons 1/6                                                                0~7~0
To 3 pewter platters and six plates                                                                     0~16~0
To old pewter 3/coffee pot & tin ware 1/9                                                 0~4~9
To iron ware 20/ glass ware 3/                                                                            1~11~0
To old cans 7/6  wooden ware 6/                                                                        0~16~6
To earthenware 4/ to tables 3/                                                                             0~7~0
To old chest 4/  to chairs 8/                                                                                 0~12~0
To a gun 15/ to a fire shovel tongs 2/6                                                               0~17~6
To barrels 3/6  to a sive 1/                                                                                   0~4~6
To a teapot and cups 1/ to knives & forks                                                0~2~6
To old books 4/ boxiron heaters                                                                         0~5~0
To a sadelle & bridle                                                                                   0~12~0
To carts                                                                                                                    0~2~6
To a note of Benjamin Ellenwood dated Jan 30 1777                                      2~2~7
To a note of Thomas Ellsworth Dated Nov 10 1785                                        0~6~4
                                                                                                                         £   62.4.6
Exam'd for Saml Dana Regr
Nehemiah Rand
James Whittemore  

To be continued

Friday, June 21, 2013


((The Bruins are in the Stanley Cup Finals again. The Red Sox are in first
place. The Celtics may trade their coach Doc Rivers. And the lead story
on the news is a murder involving a Patriots player. Yes, I live in New 
England where sports is practically a religion. So I thought I'd repost this 
from last year.

Do you have any  family memories involving sports?)) 

Well, the Super Bowl is over now and the Patriots’ season has come to a
sad end. But I’m a New England sports fan. We’re used to disappointment.  

I know there are some folks who have no interest in sports and spent the day
trying to avoid all the hoopla. But for many people the Super Bowl is a family
occasion when friends and  relatives party and watch the game together. More
importantly, it’s an occasion when memories and family stories are made. There
are families who’ve followed the Red Sox for over a century and others who’ve
followed the Bruins for nearly as long  And of course there are the Celtics and
Patriots fans.

But it doesn’t just have to be following a sports team, it can also be about playing
sports. My Aunt Dot wrote about how my Dad would include her when playing
baseball as kids in Maine:

“Bud never left me out when his friends came to play ball. I could
neither catch a ball nor throw it where I wanted it to go. As for
batting, I always swung at the ball but never hit it. Never-the-
less I was never left out of his games and his friends knew better
than to make anything other than encouraging comments.“

I can remember Dad playing softball at a family picnic and breaking a finger
trying to catch a ball barehanded. Unfortunately it was his ring finger and Mom
wasn’t happy that they had to cut the wedding band off so they could put a splint
on it. And I’ve written here before about Dad taking me to see Ted Williams and
the Red Sox play at Fenway Park, and how he was the assistant coach of my little
league baseball team.

Mom was the most rabid fan in our family. She was the one who stayed up with me
to watch Fisk hit that dramatic World Series home run  against Cincinnati. She loved
watching Larry Bird and the Celtics and would often yell at the referees in the tv when
she felt they’d missed an obvious foul.

My sister got so tired of us watching the Bruins in the playoffs she told us she hoped
the Canadians won. That was the year a young goaltender named Ken Dryden  shut
down the Big Bad Bruins and Mom would never forget that Cheryl had cursed the
team that year.

My brother Phil could sing the Canadian national  anthem before the American
because of the Bruins games. His favorite player was Phil Esposito, naturally!

I was a camp counselor on Cape Cod during the Red Sox 1967 “Impossible Dream”
run to the World Series, and was listening to the deciding last game of the season
when they won the pennant as I was helping Dad paint the house. I was working
at Morey Pearl’s Bar in Quincy with my future brother in law Peter when Bobby Orr
scored that winning goal against the St Louis Blues in the Stanley Cup Finals.

So while we all know about the ”thrill of victory and the agony of defeat” don’t forget
that sports can give you memories you will treasure for years to come.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


This is one of those ancestral stories that trouble me because of the vague wording in
the document.

My 10x great grandfather Edward Bompasse/Bompas/Bumpas was married to a Hannah
Annable, but I don't know exactly how old she was in 1662 when the incident took place.
What I do know is that Edward married her in 1628 so I think she would have been in her
fifties or sixties by 1662. It's more likely the Hannah Bompas in the story was their
daughter who was born in 1646 and would have been fifteen or sixteen when Thomas
Bird and she became involved.

What troubles me is that it's not clear if Hannah was a willing partner of Thomas Bird
or if he had forced himself upon her. If he had, then the punishment she received from
the Court is unjust. Yes, I know judging events in earlier cultures by our modern values
is problematic but judge for yourself. Here's the entry in Volume 4 of The Plymouth
Court Records:

10Jun 1662
Att this Court, Thomas Bird, for comitting of seurall adulterouse practices and
attempts, soo farr as strength of nature would pmitt, with Hannah Bumpas, as
hee himselfe did ackowlidge, was sentanced by the Court to bee whipt two
seuerall times, viz, the first time att the psent Court, and the second time betwixt
this and the fifteenth day of July next.

And the said Hanah Bumpas, for yeilding to him, and not makeing such resistance
against him as shee ought,is sentanced to bee publickly whipt,which accordingly
was pformed.

Mr Timothy Hatherly was requested and authorised by the Court to see justice
done on the body of Thomas Bird by publicke whiping in Scittuate, according to
the abouesaid sentance.

Was this a case of "blaming the victim"?

I hope not, but I have a feeling it was.

Monday, June 17, 2013


I admit it.

I'm a citation slacker
I have my copy of Elizabeth Shown Mills' Evidence! nearby and occasionally I
use it, but for the most part I am a slacker and let my genealogy programs
RootsMagic6 and Ancestry do the work for me. When I'm researching online
I enter the information into Ancestry and then two or three times a year I
download the tree into the RM6 on my hard drive.

Here on my blog I cite information I've found in books using what I suppose
could best be described as a mish-mash of what I remember from use of Kate
Turabian's Manual for Writers of Research Papers that I used in college. I'm
sure purists throw up their hands in horror when confronted with it but I get
the important information in and acknowledge the source where I found it.

I do admit I have a problem, though. Back when I first started and was adding
information I found at FamilySearch into the tree, I had a
conundrum. I'd create  a citation source file on site and in the
Detail box I'd enter the film # and other information for the record. So, for
example, for the marriage of my great grandparents Philip J West and Clara
(Ellingwood) Tidswell(mispelled as Tigswell on the record) I entered

Indexing Project (Batch) Number:     M73156-1
System Origin:     New Hampshire-VR
GS Film number:     1001321
Reference ID:     2:1V4P54S

It wasn't until much later I noticed this at the bottom of the FamilySearch screen:
Citing this Record
"New Hampshire, Marriages, 1720-1920," index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 17 Jun 2013), Philip J. West and Clara J. Tigwell, 25 May 1894.

I'm not exactly sure which is right. I'm sure the second is more correct. But isn't the information I entered just as helpful?

Sigh. This is why I' think of myself as a citation slacker. I give myself a headache just thinking
about this stuff.


Mayflower Joseph Rogers is my ancestor, and one of his children was
likewise named Joseph. But I don't think that they are the Joseph Rogers
who is the subject of this story. Joseph was a man in his late fifties by 1663,
and his son Joseph Jr. had died before then. Most likely this Joseph was a
nephew. However he is related to me, he was in a lot of trouble with the
authorities of Plymouth Colony, as these entries in Volume 4 of the Plymouth
Court Records
shows :   

1June 1663
The Court being enformed that Josepth Rogers, of Namassakeesett, hath
frequently and from time kept companie with Mercye, the wife of William
Tubbs, in a way and after such a manor as hat giuen cause att least to suspect
that there hath bine laciuiouse actes comitted by them, the Court sees cause
and have required the said Josepth Rogers to remove his dwelling from
Namassakeesett aforesaid by the twentieth day of this instant June, and haue
alsoe delcared vnto him that if att any time hee shall bee taken att the house
of the said Tubbs, or in the companie of the said Mercye Tubbs alone in any
place, that then hee shall forth with bee taken and severly whipt ; and the
said William Tubbs was by the Court strictly charged not to tollarate him to
come to his house or where hee hath to doe att any time, as hee will answare
the same att his pill.

The aforesaid Josepth Rogers, for his contentious departing from the Court held
at Plymouth the last March without licence, being bound to appeer and attend
the said Court to answare for matter of fact, is fined fiue pounds to the collonies
vse. p42

This astonished me. There doesn't seem to be any solid evidence that Joseph and
Mercy had been misbehaving, or at least if there was, it wasn't recorded in the
Court proceedings. And yet the Court had come down hard on them. Joseph was
ordered to leave his home within twenty days, pay a fine of five pounds, and to stay
away from Mercy under pain of a severe whipping!

But the Pilgrim Fathers weren't done yet:

5October 1663
Marcye Tubbs acknowlidgeth to owe unto our sou lord the Kinge the sume of 20:00:00
William Tubbs the sume of 10:00:00
The condition, that if the said Marcye Tubbs bee of good behauior towards our sou
lord the Kinge and all his leich people, and appeer att the Court to bee holden att
Plymouth the first Tuesday in March next, and not depart the said Court without
lycence ; that then , &c.

Josepth Rogers acknowlidgeth to owe vnto our sou lord the Kinge the sume of 20:00:00
William Randall the sume of 10:00:00
The condition, that if the said Josepth Rogers bee of good behauior towards our sou
lord the Kinge, and appeer att the Court to bee holden att Plymouth the first Tuesday
in March next, and not depart the Court without lycence  ; that then, &c.

The abouesaid Marcye Tubbs and Josepth Rogers, for theire absean and lacious behauior
each with other, wenre centanced by the Court to find sureties for their good behauior
as abouseaid, and fined each fifty shillings for the vse of the collonie pp46-47   

So Joseph was fined 25 pounds 50 shillings total. He seems to have taken the hint and
stayed away from Mercy. Actually, Mercy had taken matters into her own hands. Not only
was she staying away from Joseph, she was staying clear of her husband as well.

She ran away to Rhode Island colony.

By the following spring William Tubbs had had enough and hired a  lawyer to isssue
a divorce for him. The only problem was it wasn't a legal divorce since they'd cut out
the part about appearing in a Court to have a divorce granted:

8June 1664
William Paybody, for makeing a writing  for the seperating of William Tubbs from
Marcye, his wife, in reference vnto theire marriage bond, is fined by the Court the
sume of  fiue pounds ; and Leiftenant Nash and John Sprague, for subscribing as
witnesses to the said writing, are fined each three pounds.

Att this Court a protest was openly published, att the request of William Tubbs,
against Mercye, his wife, as disowneing all debts that shee shall make vnto any
from this time forward, as not intended to pay any of them to any pson whatsoeuer.

Four years later, after Mercy Tubbs had ignored  Plymouth Colony's written requests
for her return to Plymouth, the Court granted William Tubbs his divrce.

I don't know if Joseph Rogers ever saw her again.

Saturday, June 15, 2013


In honor of Father's Day I'm posting pictures of some of the fathers on my family tree. From the

My Dad, Floyd E West, Jr.

Great grandfather Philip J. West, Cousin Stanley & Grandfather Floyd E West, Sr.

2x Great Grandfather Jonathan P West & family
3x Great grandfather John Cutter West
Some of the maternal grandfather's from Dad's family:

2x great grandfather Asa F Ellingwood & wife Florilla Dunham.

2x Great grandfather Amos Hastings Barker & wife Betsy Jane Moore.
3x Great grandfather Philip Richardson

And the only picture I have from Mom's side of the family:
Great grandfather John McFarland & wife Annie Kelley.

Happy Fathers' Day!

Friday, June 14, 2013


These last cases dealing members of the Dunham family involve a son and
grandson of my ancestor John Dunham Sr. of Plymouth Colony.  The first two
are about my 8x great grandfather Joseph Dunham, who seems to have been
somewhat of a rake by the standards of our Pilgrim fathers. But remember,
they considered things like kissing your own wife in public "lascivious behavior".
One thing that does have me wondering over the first case is just what did some
one say about Mary Cobb of Taunton. I'm also struck by the fact that Taunton once
more figures into bad behavior by a Dunham son. Did they think that Taunton was
far enough away from home to kick up their heels there a bit?

5Mar 1660-1
Josepth Dunham. for diuers laciuiouse carriages, was sentanced by the Court to
sitt in the stockes, with a paper on his hatt on which his fact was written in
capitall letters, and likewise to find surties for his good behauior.
Joseph Dunham oweth vnto our sou lord the Kinge the sume of 20:00:00 shillings
John Dunham. Senir, the sume of                                                     10:00:00
Nathaniell Morton the sume of                                                        10:00:00

The condition, that if the said Josepth Dunham shalbee of good behauior towards
our sou lord the Kinge and all his leich people. and appeer att the Generall Court
to bee holden att Plymouth the first Tuesday in June next, and not depart the said Court without lycence ; that then, &c.

It was ordered by the Court, that Mary, the wife of Edward Cobb, of Taunton, should
bee sumoned to appeer att the Court to bee holden att Plymouth the first Tuesday in
May next, to answare for her miscarriages, as appeers by a deposition giuen in to the
grand enquest against Josepth Dunham.
Vol3 p210

Seventeen years later the by now forty something year old Joseph still had a bit of
a wild streak but the Court was a bit more lenient on this occasion:

5Mar 1677-8
Joseph Dunham, for laciuouse carriages vsed toward Elizabeth Ringe. fined
twenty shillings, to the vse of the collonie.
Vol5 p253

John's son Samuel seems to have stuck to the path of righteousness but his
son Samuel Jr. carried on the family tradition of brief brushes with the law.
In 1674 he and his cousin John Rickard mistreated an Indian. Samuel Jr. was about
twelve years old at the time of the incident :

7Jul 1674
John Rickard, the son of John Rickard, and Samuell Dunham, the son of Samuell
Dunham, for abuseing an Indian, and therin breaking the Kings peace, was fined,
each of them, three shillings and four pence
.Vol5 p152

Considering the relations between the colonists and Indians were beginning to
deteriorate, this was not exactly the brightest thing for the young men to do.

That's the last record I found of a Dunham man skirting the law in early Plymouth.
There were a few civil suits that I'll discuss later.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


John Dunham had eight sons, most of whom survived to adulthood. Besides
John Jr. four others had occasion to appear in the Plymouth Court and while
some were for rowdy acts, for the most part they seem to have outgrown
their bad behavior as they reached adulthood.

Take Thomas, second oldest of the Dunham boys, who was born around 1626
in Plymouth. His first brush with the law came at age 18. This is one of those
Court Records that gives you a little tidbit of information and leaves you
wondering what the story is behind it: 

5Jun 1644
Samuell Jenney, for strikeing of Thom Dunhame, is fynd 3 shillings 4 pence

Thomas Dunhame, for challenging Samuell Jenney to fight wth him, and
came to his bed side to do it, &c, is fyned ten shillings. Vol2 p73

What had Samuel Jenney said that so enraged young Thomas enough to have
him burst into Jenney's bedroom and challenge him to a fight? Did Samuell
Jenney hit Thomas in the bedroom, or had he hit him elsewhere and so had
provoked Thomas into his challenge?

We'll probably never know.

The next case had to do with a bit of romance. From what I've been able to
find, Thomas was in love with Martha Knott and supposedly had proposed
marriage. Unfortunately for them, Martha's father George opposed the marriage
(even though he named Thomas in his will in case they did marry) and may have
been the person to bring the matter to Court:

4Oct 1648
The Court haue ordered , concerning Thomas Dunham, that hee abstaine from
coming att or sending vnto Martha Knote, of Sandwidge, from this psent day
vntell the first Tuesday of Tusday of Desember next, vntell the Court can do
better deserne the treuth of his pretended contracte with the sd Martha Knot,
vnles the Gouerner, vppon clearing of thinges, shall giue him leaue.
Vol2 p136

Older genealogies give the young couple a happy ending and say they were
married. Newer research says that was not the case and that Martha married
another man. I need to look more into this.

The youngest of John Duham Sr.'s sons was Benajah and in 1655 the fifteen
year old apparently was feeling his oats while in Taunton, Ma. a smaller town
to the west of Plymouth:

5March 1655
"Att this Court, complaint was made against Benajah Dunham for foolish and
provoking carriages, in drawing his knife vpon sundry psons at Taunton, which
might have proued of ill consequence ; but being examined by the Court, and
decrying the mayne pte of the accusation, it rested for further proofe." 
Vol3 p97

It appears the Court let young Benajah off a warning,

This seems to be Benajah's only Court appearance. He may have been the
Benajah Dunham who moved to the Piscataway New Jersey settlement.

We'll finish with the Dunham sons in the next post.

Monday, June 10, 2013


I wasn't sure if this was John Dunham Jr or his son John. At the time  of the incident
in 1665 John Dunham Sr. was still alive, so it's possible it is the grandson who
might have been called "John Dunham the younger" to distinguish him from the
other two.But I think the names of the three men who helped pay the 40
helped me decide it.  Benajah Pratt was married to Persis Dunham, a sister of
John Jr.  Jonathan Dunham was John Jr.'s younger brother. Here's the story from
Volume 4 of  the Plymouth Court Records:

1Aug 1665

In reference vnto John Dunham the younger, for his abusive carriage
towards his wife in contnuall tiranising ouer her, and in pticulare for his late
abusiue and vnciuill carryage in endeauoring to beate her in a deboist manor,
and for affrighting of her by drawing a sword and pretending therwith to offer
violence to his life, hee, the said Dunham, is sentanced by the Court to bee
seuerly whipt ; but through the importunitie of his wife, the execution of
the said centence was respeted for psent vntill the Court shall take furthr
notice of his furute walking, and then to doe therein as occation shall re-
quire ; and for the preuension of future euill in the like kind, the Court sees
cause to require securite for his good behauior vintill the next Generall Court,
and so fron Court to Court vntill the Court shall see cause otherwise to order.

John Dunham the younger acknowlidgeth to owe vnto our sou lord the Kinge the
sum of 20:00:00
George Bonum the sume of 6:13:04
Benajah Pratt the sume of    6:13:04
Jonathan Dunham the sume of 6:13:04
The condition, that if the said John Dunham bee of good behauior towards our sou
lord the Kinge and all his leich people, and in particulare towards his wife in reforming
his former abusiue carryage towards her both in word and deed, and appear att the
Generall Court of his matie to bee holden att Plymouth the first Tuesday in October
next, and not depart the said Court without lycence; that then, &c."   Vol4 p103-104

I had to look up the word "deboist". It seems to have been a synonym for the word debauched

The maiden name of John Jr.'s wife is unknown to me. She's listed only as Dorothy
on the family tree. Frankly, I'm disappointed that she intervened to have the whipping
sentence suspended. I think John Dunham Jr. needed a good whipping for that behavior,
or at least a couple of slaps up the side of the head. 

Saturday, June 08, 2013


Nothing deep in this post but it sort of ties in with two other posts this week.

As I mentioned in an earlier post about online genealogy, FamilySearch recently
added the collection of images from the Massachusetts, Land Records, 1620-1986.
There are 5,766,135 images. Now, if you are someone with Massachusetts and
New England ancestry, this is genealogical manna from heaven. On my Dad's side
of my family, I have lines going back to the Mayflower and The Great Migration, so
I have quite a few names to search for on those records. I've barely scratched the
surface  and I've already discovered some of those ancestors bought and sold a lot
of land.

This is going to take a while to go through all of them. A long while. I'm adrift in
a sea of information.

Not that I'm complaining, mind you. I'm already learning things, such as a hitherto
unknown occupation for one ancestor and that same land record may help establish
the timeline for that person's move from Massachusetts to New Hampshire.

I can now  couple the Massachusetts Land Records with court records, pension files
and probate files to give a really good picture in some cases of a person's entire life.

I'm hoping that the Land Records will help me break down my John Cutter West

The only problem I have is trying to choose which ancestors to work on first. All
things considered, it's a pretty nice problem to have, though.

Thursday, June 06, 2013


There's a scene in Monty Python & The Holy Grail where the Dead Collector
is going through a village hit by the plague with a cart. One of the villagers
 tries to put a dead man into the cart, but there's one problem: the dead man
isn't dead. "I'm not dead!" he insists.

I thought about that scene yesterday after reading an article on The Verge
website. It's entitled "Who am I? Data and DNA answer one of life’s big questions"
It's an interesting article, especially the parts with Thomas MacEntee. But I'm not
in agreement with the writer of the article. Near the beginning she makes the
following statement:

"Genealogy’s next phase, which is quickly approaching, is actually its end game.
The massive accumulation, digitization, and accessibility of data combined with
recent advances in DNA testing mean the questions we have about our families —
who they were, how they got here, and how they’re related to us — will soon be
instantly solvable. Realistically, the pursuit of family history as it exists now probably
won’t be around in 20 years: most of the mysteries are disappearing, and fast."

Now as I mentioned a few posts back, I'm an online genealogist. I do most of my
research online. But I don't think that every single record from every courthouse
and archive in the world is going to be online in 20 years. I think it might happen in
50 years, but even then, I don't think that will sound the death knell for genealogy
as we know it. Nor do I think DNA testing is going to tell me how many of my
ancestors were blacksmiths. Heck, I've had a y-DNA test done and the only answers
were vague generalities that told me very little. It was like using a genealogical
"Eight Ball".

Let's say for the sake of argument they do get every document, every diary, every family
genealogy or local history scanned and online. It's not going to be the end of genealogy
It's just going to mean more things for us to hunt for, find, look at and analyze. It's not
just finding all that information that's important, it's understanding what you are looking
at and what it means for your family's history. Nor is having everything online going to
knock down all our brick walls. There will always be something left to find.     

I wish I could write a longer more philosophical piece about this, but I'm not that smart, and
the hour is late and my brain is turning to Swiss Cheese. There's the effect all this is going
to have on local genealogy societies and perhaps on professional genealogists. But  I think
you can get my gist from what I have been able to say in these ramblings.

Suffice it to say, to paraphrase Monty Python, genealogy's not dead yet, and not likely to
be for a very long time.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013


Whenever  I find some record or document online, I do a bit more searching
on Google to see what else I might find about it or the events around it. My
search for more details about John Dunham and Samuel Eddy's dog led me to
Sam Behling's website and this poem. It's by Eddy descendent William
Holden Eddy and originally appeared in the Eddy Family Association Bulletin
in 1934.(Issue #1 Vol XIII, April 1934). I'm reprinting it here with the permission
of the Eddy Family of America. My thanks to Lin Eddy-Hough , the Chair of the
Publications Committee for the Association.

As I mentioned in the previous post, my ancestor John Dunham Jr. and Samuel
Eddy had their differences mediated by neighbors and they seem to have gotten
on better with each other afterward, to the point that they shared the upkeep of
a cow.

Also, Zachariah, Caleb, and Obadiah were Samuel Eddy's sons. 

          An Elegy on the Death of Samuel Eddy's Dog

    To day no lofty strain I sing, of Pilgrims' joy or suffering,
    No tales heroic do I bring to set your minds agog;
    An incident of daily life of bitterness, alas, and strife,
    When rumors sorrowful were rife of Samuel Eddy's dog.

    The breed he sprang from who can name? Mastiff or bull we cannot claim.
    Or trained to seek the fleeting game, in forest or in bog;
    Lurcher or hound, or terrier keen, Spaniel or Porter, greyhound lean,
    Naught do we know of this, I ween, of Samuel Eddy's dog.

    What that dog did we do not know, almost three centuries ago,
    Little indeed the records show, in Plymouth's catalogue.
    But this we read, one summer day stretched cold in death the poor beast lay,
    Poisoned by some fell foe, they say, was Samuel Eddy's dog.

    Of this in truth we may be clear, that all the settlers, far and near
    Spoke words of comfort and of cheer, in friendly dialogue;
    And soothed, as best they could, the woe that had o'ercome its master so,
    And checked the tears that would o'erflow, for Samuel Eddy's dog.

    Think of the grief of Zachariah, of Caleb, sad as Jeremiah,
    And doubtless year-old Obadiah, though somewhat in a fog,
    Upraised his voice in wailing strong, and added to the weeping throng
    Another lamentation strong for Samuel Eddy's dog.

    What was John Dunham's dreadful fate? What punishment did him await?
    Who made the household desolate? What was the epilogue?
    This only, that he sureties gave, than henceforth he would well behave
    For ever after poison crave for Samuel Eddy's dog.

    But later these two men agreed in partnership a cow to feed,
    To satisfy their households' need with milk instead of grog;
    Thus out of evil, good somehow will often come; and so that cow
    Repentance shows and sorrow now, for Samuel Eddy's dog.

    So let us pardon grant to him, and trust he's with the cherubim,
    That man who gave the poison grim, and broke the Decalogue.
    And let us all assembled here in heartfelt sorry drop a tear
    Upon the long forgotten bier of Samuel Eddy's dog.


My colonial immigrant ancestor John Dunham was a deacon of the church at
Plymouth  Colony. While the Deacon was a respectable citizen, his sons did their
share of hell-raising before settling down.

The oldest son, John Jr. first appeared in the Plymouth Court Records on criminal
charges in 1646 when he was twenty six years old, for something I personally find

4Aug 1646
In the case betwixte Samuell Eddy and John Dunham, Jun, abiyt ye said
John Dunhams giving poyson to the said  Samuell Eddy's dogg, the Court,
having taken the same into serious consdieracon. vpon hearing what could be
said on both sides. the Courte doth order yt ye said John Dunhame sall finde
sureties for his good behavior vnto ye next Court
. Vol2p107

By that next Court session, things seemed to have calmed down considerably
between John Jr and Samuel Eddy and they'd found two neighbors to mediate
between them: 

27Oct 1646
In a case of difference twixte John Dunham, Jun, and Sam Edie, the Court orders,
& the said John Dunham agreed therevnto, that Mr Wm Paddie and John Cooke,
Jun, shall heare, end, & determine all former civill differences twixte them to
this psent day.
Vol2 110

Eventually, Deacon John Dunham passed away. John Jr became a father of a son also
named John. He was now John Senior. There are two appearances that caught my
attention. In the first, he was the victim:

Att this Court, John Dunham, Senir, came into the Court and complained against
John Dotey, that hee mett him in the high way, and did crewelly beate him, and
affeirmeth that hee goeth in danger of his life because of the said Dotey, and hath
taken an oath before the said Court for the truth of the pmises, and prayeth a
warrant of the peace against him.
John Dotey acknowlidgeth to owe vnto our sov lord the Kinge the sume of 20:00:00
John Soule the sume of                                                                                  10:00:00
Samuell Smith the sume of                                                                            10:00:00

The condition that if the said John Dotey shall and doe keep the peace towards our
sov lord the Kinge and all his leich people, and in speciall in reference vnto the
said John Dunham,and appear at the Court of his matie to be holden at Plymouth
the last Tuesday in October next, and not depart the said Court without lycence;
that then, &..."
- Volume 5 p25

The condition of John Dotey's  release seems to be some sort of ritual phrasing that
peters off into that "&", prpbably the equivalent of "yada yada" for that period. Also
40 pounds seems to have been the standard fine in cases like this.  The reason I think
this is becuase the exact same phrase and fine are used a year later when John was
the perpetrator. It should be noted that "carriages" does not refer to baby carriages,
but to how a person behaved or "carried" themselves.

7June 1670
John Dunham, Senr, being bound ouer to this Court to answare for his abusive
speeches and carriages towards Sarah, the wife of Benjamine Eaton,  and being
conuict thereof, was contanced to be bound to his good behauior.
John Dunham acknowlidgeth to owe vnto our sov Lord the Kinge the sume of 40.

The condition, that if the said John Dunham be of good behauior towards our
sou lord the Kinge and all his leich people, and is speciall towards Sarah. the wife
of Benjamine Eaton, and appear att the Court of his matie to be holden at Plymouth
aforesaid the last Tuesday in October next, and not depart the said Court without
lycence; that then , & e
.V ol5 p 40

As bad as my 8x great grandfather John Dunham Jr.'s behavior might have been at times,
his brothers were as bad, if not worse. I'll didscuss them next.

Sunday, June 02, 2013


Back when I first started researching my family history, I was what was labeled a
"bedroom" or "pajama" genealogist. The image conjured up by that is of someone
sitting at a computer in the corner of their bedroom, dressed in their pajamas as
they surfed the internet looking for family records and documents. And that's pretty
much what I did.

Well, except for the pajamas. I was fully clothed.

Back then, I was working as the manager of a video store and working weird hours.
Many days I didn't get home until well after midnight, and my one day a week off
was for buying groceries and doing laundry. There was no time to visit archives or
court houses, and even if there were, I barely knew where to begin. Some earlier
visits to those places to find information on John Cutter West had not gone beyond
looking for his birth record because I didn't know what else I should look for. After
my friend Diana told me I could download a free PAF genealogy program I did so and
began filling in information my Aunt Dorothy had sent, and then more from Florence
O'Connor's book about my Ellingwood and Dunham ancestors. Then I started Googling
names, and searching Rootsweb and

I started finding things: Google Books editions of the Essex County Court Files, Pension
Files on Footnotes for ancestors I didn't know had serve4 in the American Revolution.
I found birth, death, and marriage records on FamilySearch and Federal Census Records
on When I started this blog, it brought me into contact with distant
cousins who shared pictures and documents with me. I found newspaper stories about
 fatal accidents and a journal entry from a scientist about a conversation with my 2x
great grandfather and the details about what he told the scientist.

All of this I found online.

And it keeps going on and on. FamilySearch is putting more documents online every day,
They've posted Probate Files for Maine and New Hampshire and recently added the
Massachusetts, Land Records, 1620-1986 collection. I've found more things I might never
would have found as quickly and easily as I have found them online. I'm grateful to them,, Fold3, and all the other websites that have made my search much easier.

I know there are still plenty of things out there that aren't online and that I would have
to go see where them where they are kept. Maybe after I finally get a replacement for the
Late Great Ping The Wonder Car I'll have the chance to do that. There is still some who
are a bit dismissive of those who research mostly online.

But for the moment, I will proudly say I am an online genealogist.

Only now I do it in the parlor, with a laptop, and still fully clothed.