Saturday, July 27, 2013


My 4x great grandfather  died 19Jun 1847. His son and executor  George V
Ellingwood submitted his first accounting of expenses over a year later in
October. Compared to some of the other estate lists I've seen so far in my
family it's pretty short and sweet. I'm attributing the delay to perhaps the
weather or the possibility it was a circuit court and George had to wait until
the location was a closer trip:

1st Executor Account

The first account of George V Ellingwood, Executor of the last will and testament
of John Ellingwood late of Bethel in the county of Oxford deceased. He charges
himself with the amount of personal estate of the deceased, according to the
inventory, (exclusive of notes and accounts.)                                                         $162.68

He prays for the allowance of of the following charges
For cash paid for expenses of the funeral                                                                 4.25
For cash paid Doctor Robert G Wiley for medical aid in last sickness                    3.75
For cash paid the appraisors as per receipt                                                              3.25
For cash paid  printers bills, advertising notices                                                      2.00
For cash paid Asa Cummings as per receipt                                                              1.00
For cash paid William Frye as per receipt                                                               00.97
For cash paid for a copy of will and postage on papers                                          00.75
For cash paid printers bill for advertising notices                                                    1.00
George V Ellingwood
At a Court of Probate, holden at Paris within and
for the County of Oxford on the
seventeenth day of October in
the year of our Lord eighteen hundred and
forty eight
THE said George V Ellingwood personally appeared before
me, and made oath to the truth of the above account ;-  notice having been given
pursuant to order of Court
; - I do thereupon DECREE, that the same be allowed
and recorded.

Job Prince JUDGE


Thursday, July 25, 2013


One of the benefits of finding these documents is the information in them
leads you into reexamining what you already know about a family, and look at
events in a different light.

Back when I was doing my series about my 2x great grandfather Asa Ellingwood's
Civil War pension file, I remember thinking how sad that when his mother died
when Asa was four years old, it was his mother's Barrows relatives that took him
in instead of the Ellingwood side. After looking at his grandfather John Ellingwood
Sr.'s will, I realized that might not have been possible. Daniel Ellingwood was living
in upstate New York on the 1850 Censu and may have already left Maine before 1847.
Jacob Ellingwood had died in 1826 and left a widow and three children. Sarah
Ellingwood and her husband Samuel Libby already had a large family (and their son
Varanes Libby would become a figure in early Mormon history in Massachusetts.) 
Ebenezer had barely been married a year, and George had two small children already.
Finally, John Ellingwood Sr was already 67 years old and probably not able to care
for Asa and his five siblings. So Asa ended up with his Barrows relatives instead.

One of the three witnesses, Simeon Twitchell, was one of John Sr.'s brothers-in-law.
He was married to Zerviah Abbott's sister Hannah.  Jacob Ellingwood's widow was
Adeline Twitchell, who was either  Simeon's  younger sister or his niece. There have
been several other marital links between the Twitchelld and Ellingwoods over the

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


After the photo of the file cover, the first image of the Probate Court
file for John Ellingwood is of an undated will. Judging by the difference
between the handwriting in the body of the document and that of John's
signature, the document was written by someone else. I will post my
transcription first and have some thoughts about the document in my
next post.

In the Name of God, Amen.
I, John Ellingwood of Bethel in the County of Oxford and State of Maine,
do make, ordain and declare this instrument to be my last will and testament,
revoking all others.

In primus. All my debts, of which there are but few, and none of magnitude, are to
be punctually and speedily paid; and the legacies herein after bequeathed, are to
be discharged as soon as circumstances will permit and in the manner hereafter

Item. To my dearly beloved wife, Zerviah Ellingwood, I give and bequeath the use
and benefit, of, all the household furniture of which I may be lawfully possessed
at the time of my decease, -of one cow and three sheep- and of my pew in the
Congregational meetinghouse in the West Parish of Bethel.

Item. Upon the death of my wife, it is my will and desire, that my son, George V.
Ellingwood, should have all the personal estate above bequeathed to my wife,
and I do hereby give and bequeath the same to all.

Item. To my said son, George V. Ellingwood, I do further give, bequeath and devise,
all real estate of which I may be secured or possessed at the time of my decease,
wherever situated, and all the personal property to me belonging, other than that
above mentioned to my wife, wherever to be found-not meaning to destroy, or
invalidate any life lease, to me & my wife, of any real estate, from our son Daniel
G. Ellingwood, heretofore given.

Item. I hereby declare that I consider that I have heretofore given to my children
Sarah S. Libby, Daniel G. Ellingwood and Ebenezer Ellingwood, who are at this time
all living, and to  my deceased children Jacob Ellingwood and John Ellingwood Jr.,
all that I am able to give them or their children.

Item. It is my will & desire and I do hereby appoint my son, George V, Ellingwood,
the sole Executor of this my last will and testament.
John Ellingwood.

Signed, sealed and declared, by the abovenamed John Ellingwood, to be his last
will and testament, in presence of us, who, in the presence of the testator and of each
other, have hereunto susbscribed our names as witnesses,
Simeon Twitchell
Franklin Cross

To be continued.

Sunday, July 21, 2013


Before I begin my posts concerning Probate File of my ancestor John Ellingwood,
I thought I'd give some history of him and his family.

When his father Joseph Ellingwood Sr had died in 1790, my 4x great grabdfather
John Ellingwood Sr. was  himself a married man with his first child on the way.
He'd married Zerviah Abbott in Andover, Ma. on 29 Dec.1789 at Andover Ma,
but lived in Hillsborough County NH. until sometime between the birth of his
second daughter there in 1792 and the birth of his first son at Bethel, Oxford,
Me.  in 1794. His wife Zerviah had three sisters and a brother who also lived in
Bethel; whether the Ellingwoods moved there because of her relatives or if the
others followed the Ellingwoods there is not known. At the time of their arrival.
the area was part of Canada and was known as Sudbury, with the name change to
Bethel coming after it became American territory.

In his History of Bethel:formerly Sudbury, Canada, Oxford County, Maine, 1768-1890;with a brief sketch of Hanover and family statistics
, William Lapham gives the following information on John's family:

John Ellingwood, born in Amherst, Mass., Sept. 19. 1765, married Zerviah Abbot who
was born in Andover, Mass., March 19, 1768. He came quite early to Bethel and was a shoemaker. Children:

i Sarah Stevens, b. Hancock, Sept. 22, 1790, m. Samuel Libby, r. Newry.
ii Anna, b. March 12, 1792.
iii Jacob, b. Feb. 23, 1794, m. Adeline Twitchell.
iv Joseph, t- twin, b. July 3, 1797, d. same day.
v Benjamin,  t- twin, b. July 3, 1797, d. same day.
vi John, b. June 12, 1798, m. Rachel Barrows of Paris, d. 1835.
vii Daniel Gould, b. Aug. 23, 1800, m. Catherine Brown.
viii Ebenezer, b. Oct- 20, 1804, m. Sarah Chickering.
ix George V., b. Dec. 10, 1806, m. Esther Swan.

There is one error in the entry: John was born in Amherst, New Hampshire, not
Amherst, Ma.

Lapham also mentions that one of the mountains within the borders of Bethel was
renamed Ellingwood's Mountain from its former Indian name.

I've written before about John's son Daniel Gould Ellingwood and his part in the
pursuit of accused murderer David Robbins through the woods of New Hampshire
and Maine.

And with that background, I'll start my transcription of John's Probate File next.

Thursday, July 18, 2013


I've seen these stories posted to my Facebook newsfeed just in the past
few days:

A horrendous explosion in a Canadian town takes 50 lives, destroys a good part of
the town and a collection of materials about the town's history.

Archivists work with the few fragile remnants of the disastrous 1973 St. Louis,
Missouri National Personnel Records Center fire.

Teenagers vandalize local cemeteries across the country, destroying headstones
that date make centuries.

A library in Watertown, Ma. faces protests over the decision to remove local
histories from its History Room collection to make room for the archives from the
now closed Watertown Arsenal.

The loos of life is of course the most tragic aspect of those stories, but collectively
they also are proof of how easily things that are of importance to genealogists and
historians can disappear.Nothing is immune. All sorts of things both natural or
man-made can wipe out centuries of history or commit it to new locations that are
hard to find. In the most extreme example, if climate change theorists are right,
archives, libraries, museums and cemeteries near our coastlines eventually will
wind up under 25 feet of water. Even a 5 foot rise might mean taking a boat to the
NEHGS instead of the subway in a flooded Back Bay section of Boston.

Which is why I think blogging also serves yet another function, that of preservation.
Every time we post a document's image, or a photograph of an ancestor's grave, or
quote some paragraph from a book in our blog, we're helping to preserve that information.
Now I know it's not on as grand a scale as what FamilySearch, Ancestry, and other sites
are doing, but it's still something. I'm certainly not wishing calamities befall any of
those institutions but as we all know, a little backup can't hurt!

This is also why I believe in sharing what I've found, whether here on one of my blogs
or on one of my private trees.Besides, I don't want to take what I've learned with me
like some hoarded treasure when I shuffle off this mortal coil. (( I don't think I want a
pharaoh-style tomb with all my binders, cds, thumb-drives and my laptop buried with
me.  Although if it came into fashion we'd really have genealogists digging up the past
in cemeteries.))

So the next time you debate whether or not to post something in your blog or to have
a private or public family tree on line, remember you aren't just sharing, you're preserving.

And also, remember to cite the sources!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


On yesterday morning's Mondays With Myrt G+ Hangout webcast, one of the
topics of conversation was backing up our genealogy research in "The Cloud".
In the accompanying chat on Google+ I volunteered the following:

I use Ancestry and then download to RM6.and being paranoid, I have
trees in progress at Geni and WikiTree, and a tree on RootsWeb. 

Now I know many genealogists use things like Dropbox to back up their
research but I'm more comfortable doing it with the sites I use. But then there's
the question of document images from sources like FamilySearch or the National
Archive. I back those up on an external drive, but I didn't have backups in "The
Cloud" for them.

Or did I?

The other night when I was writing my blogpost about the different Ellingwood
family documents  I've found, I suddenly realized I have been backing them up,
right here on this blog. Whenever I post a transcription of a document image, I
include the image as well, and the blogpost itself included my thoughts and
conclusions I've drawn from it. So while I'm putting the document and information
out there as "cousin bait", I'm also using the blog as a backup.

And being paranoid, I then back up my Blogger blog to my WordPress mirror
site blog!    


Before I plunge into my next series of posts, which will deal with the Will and
Estate of my 4x great grandfather John Ellingwood, I stopped the other night
to review what documents I have on my Ellingwood ancestors. I've been pretty
lucky; I have something for nearly all my direct Ellingwood line except for
John Ellingwood Jr.(my 3x great grandfather)

They come from a variety of sources:
The Will of 8x great grandfather Ralph Ellingwood Sr. from a transcription in
Florence O' Connor's book.

The Will of  7x great grandfather Ralph Ellingwood Jr. from images found
online and for which I neglected to record the source.

Two Real Estate records for 6x great grandfather Ebenezer Ellingwood found on Familysearch

The Probate Court File for 5x great grandfather Joseph Ellingwood, also found on FamilySearch

The Probate Court file for 4x great grandfather John Ellingwood Sr., again from FamilySearch

The Civil War Pension file of 2x great grandfather Asa F Ellingwood from the National Archives

The Divorce Court affidavit of great grandmother Clara Ellingwood , thanks to Chris Dunham.

There are also various Census records and BMD records found on and
on FamilySearch, as well as records for some of my Ellingwood ancestors' siblings.
And of course there are the two Ellingwood Family Genealogy books to serve as guides in my research. I expect to find further documents for the Ellingwoods in the FamilySearch Massachusetts, Land Records, 1620-1986 Collection.

I'm also finding records for the related Dunham and Barrows families in the two Massachusetts, Plymouth County, Probate Estate Files Collections.

Now I'm hoping to see an Essex County Probate Estate Files Collection soon.

But for the moment, I've got plenty to transcribe and analyze!

Sunday, July 14, 2013


I wanted to do last night's "Saturday Night Genealogy Fun" exercise from Randy
Seaver's Genea-Musings but I was tired, so I put it off until today. Here's the rules
for this one:

Your mission this week, should you decide to accept it, is to:

1)  What day of the week was your Father born? Tell us how you found out.

2) What has happened in recorded history on your Father's birth date (day and month)? Tell us how you found out, and list five events.

3)  What famous people have been born on your Father's birth date?  Tell us how you found out, and list five of them.

4)  Put your responses in your own blog post, in a comment on this blog post, or in a status or comment on Facebook

So here we go:

My Dad was born on July 17,1924, in Bethel, Oxford, Maine
1. The day of the week was Thursday, according to the What Day Of The Week

All of the rest of my information, (with a few comments) comes from the "On This Day List"  report in RootsMagic 6:

2.Famous Events:
     1203 The Fall of Constantinope to the 4th Crusade. (The Crusaders were a tad way
               off from the Holy Land.)  

     1762 Catherine II becomes Tsarina of Russia. (She was known as Catherine the Great, 
                 (mostly because her predecessor was known as "Peter the Meh.")

     1918 The massacre of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and his children is carried out by   Bolshviks during the Russian Revolution.

    1936 The Spanish Civil War begins.

    1955  The opening of Disneyland

3  Famous people born on the same date:
    1744 Elbridge Gerry, 5th Vice President of the USA and the Father of gerrymandering.

    1889 Erle Stanley Gardner, author of the "Perry Mason" mysteries.

    1899 James Cagney, movie star.

    1912 Art Linkletter, tv and radio host of "Kids Say The Darndest Things" & "House      Party"

    1952 David Hasslehoff, actor, star of "Knight Rider" and Cumberland Farms iced       coffee commercials.

  4) I posted here, and also posted the links on G+ and Facebook!  

 I think Dad would have gotten a kick out of sharing a birthday with the last three

Thanks, Randy for the fun!

Saturday, July 13, 2013


So, I was messing around, genealogically speaking late the other night looking
for documents on some of my Plymouth County Massachusetts ancestors and I
had some success.

I found Probate Court files for three of my Dunham ancestors on FamilySearch
and I'll be posting the transcriptions here soon.

On I found Tax Rolls for several Barrows ancestors and for
my 6x great grandfather Ephraim Griffeth/Griffith. I'll probably be posting those
there as well.

But the most fascinating thing I found was also for Ephraim Griffeth on
in a Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988 for Carver, Massachusetts.
The event type was "Animal Ownership" and right away my curiosity was piqued.

It turned out it was a listing of residents and how they had marked their sheep as
being theirs by specific cuts to the ears and tails of the sheep. Here's the full image:

The entry for Ephraim Griffeth's marks are about a third of the way down
on the right hand page:

There's one word I can't quite make out so here's my transcription of the
entry that I have now:

"Ephraim griffeth, Sheep mark is a square crop off the right ear & a (I can't
decipher this word) in the same & a Swallows Tale in the left."

((The Source Information from Ancestry is Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.
Original data: Town and City Clerks of Massachusetts. Massachusetts Vital and Town Records. Provo, UT: Holbrook Research Institute (Jay and Delene Holbrook). ))

So, now I know at least one of my Plymouth County ancestors living in Carver kept
sheep. And after  my last few posts about Ancestry, I thought I'd post a nicer one.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


And so at last we come to the last document in the Probate File
of Joseph Ellingwood Sr., a listing of debts owed by the estate. I
see some familiar family names in this list. Joseph's youngest
sister Eunice had married a Uriah Cram, so it's possible Benjamin
Cram is related by marriage. Also, the Cram's were the owners of a
brickyard so it is likely Joseph purchased his bricks from them  

Samuel Punchard Jr. is another possible relation: Joseph Ellingwood
Jr. was married to a Mary Punchard.

Finally, Levi Spaulding while not related to the Ellingwoods may be
related to me. My 5x great grandfather Lot Spaulding lived in the
same area as Joseph Sr and was a contemporary so there may be a link
to this Levi Spaulding.

Again, all monetary values are in English pounds, shillings and pence.
I apologize again for the wandering column of figures.

Admn. Acct.  Joseph Ellingwood's Estate
The following Adm. Acct. of the estate of Joseph Ellingwood
late of Lyndeboro, deceased, exhibited 15th June 1790 by
Sarah & Joseph Ellingwood Admt& Admt. These accountants
charged themselves with the amount of the personal estate as
pr. inventory.                                                                            62..4..6                                   

Ballance due to Adms. for paying debts yet due from              24.90.2 3/4
said estate                                                                                86.14.8 3/4

The two thirds of the real estate appraised at                          66...0..0
Remains to be divided among the heirs                                   41...9..9 1/2

The accountants pray allowance of the following articles
of discharge, (to wit.) The funeral charges of the Dec'd              4..0...0
To Dr. John Hale                                                                         9..8..  2
     Dr.Benjn Jones                                                                       7..3..  1
     Joseph Herrick                                                                       0..14..10
     Levi Spaulding esq                                                                 4..10..11 3/far
     John Raynolds                                                                        8..9..  4
     Revd. Sewall Goodridge                                                        1..4..  0
     Capt. Sam Houston                                                                 3..6.. 9
     Levi Spaulding esquire                                                           0..15.10
     Stephan Burnam                                                                      0..12.0
     Robt Day                                                                                 0..8..0
     James Burnam                                                                         0..10.0
     John Grant                                                                               1..1..1
     Joshua Stiles 3/ and Arael Stiles 3/                                        0..6..0
     Benjamin Cram                                                                       0.10.0
     Samuel Punchard jr.                                                                0...3.4
     Benjn Epes                                                                              1.16.9
     paid in the probate office                                                        1...3.0
     Amos Whitmore                                                                      0.12.0
     John Ordway                                                                           1...6.0
     Amos Green                                                                            0.12.0
     Daniel Gould                                                                          0.18.4 

To Moses Nichols esq.                                                                7.17.7
     Benjn Epes                                                                             0.18.3
     Levi Spaulding esq.                                                               0..2.10
     Nathl Bachelor                                                                      0..6.0
     William Taylor                                                                       0.9.3
To the admin.expence of Money, Time &in carrying on
the pr.acct.herewith exhibited                                     4.17.0

To allow'd Widow for upholding life                                         9.0.0

To debts still due from said estate for which
the adm. is accountable includng Interest on
Notes to this time amounting in the whole to                           24.9.0

drawing, examg.allowg. & recording this acct                  0.8.0

attending to exhibit this acct                                                      0.5.0

decree for settlement and bond                                                   0.8.0

(?) on note to Susannah Dodge Adm.                                          2.3.6
Of inventory of record from original                                      86.14.8 3/4

 Att Wm. Gordon Regr.

Hillsborough SS June 15th 1790 The above named Joseph
Ellingwood made oath to this acct. and produced
proper vouchers; it is therefore considered that the same
be and thereby is allowed by the Court

Att: Wm Gordon Regr

True Entry of Record  Att: Wm Gordon  Regr

And that concludes the transcription for the Probate File of
Joseph Ellingwood, Sr., my 5x great grandfather.  

Sunday, July 07, 2013


It's been a week since I posted my thoughts on the end of Old Search at
I wasn't the only one to post my dismay on this development, and there was quite a lively
in the online genealogical community, by people far more coherent about the advantages
and disadvantages of both search engines. It was quite interesting except for what I felt
was an unfortunate tendency by some to label those of us who prefer Old Search as
whiners and complainers who have to be dragged kicking and screaming into the next stage
of genealogy technology. That really bothered me since many of those who dislike New
Search have been pursuing genealogy far longer than I are people I respect.

I, of course, am a fuddyduddy.

Heather Wilkinson Rojo has a roundup of blogposts about this on her Nutfield
Genealogy in her Flash Blog Mob post.

I posted the following on the Message Board discussion of the topic
"I tried New Search and I didn't like the results I got and I didn't enjoy the New Search 
experience.It's not as easy to use for me as Old Search. When I no longer have the 
choice to use my preference of Old Search and if I am still as frustrated by New Search 
as I have been before, I will unsubscribe from Ancestry and remove my two trees from 
the site. I'll hate doing it but if I'm paying money for something I don't enjoy, there's no 
point to continuing at Ancestry."

And that's my last word on the subject.


Thursday, July 04, 2013


Have you ever had a feeling when you're doing family research that something
is off, that some piece of information or conclusion is just too pat? I've had that
feeling for sometime now about the marriage of Joseph Ellingwood & Sarah
Herrick, and it concerns an assumption made based on the estate settlement.

In her book The Ancestors and Descendants of Asa Freeman  Ellingwood and
Florilla (Dunham) Ellingwood Florence O'Connor has a transcription of the
settlement with the comment that Sarah Herrick Ellingwood must have been a
widow since the settlement mentions "Daniel Herrick, Jr.son of Sarah Ellinwood." 
But if that was so, who was this Joseph Herrick helping administrate the estate?

When I bought Leonard Ellinwood's The Ellinwood Family I hoped there would
be more information about Sarah but he made no mention of her, or Daniel
Herrick Jr. He merely used a blank line for Sarah's family name.

By that time, I'd already found records on the Early Vital Records of Massachusetts
website of a brother and sister, Sarah and Joseph Herrick, children of a Joseph Herrick
and Mary Woodbury of first Beverly and then Gloucester, Ma.  :

Sarah Herrick, b. 21feb 1723/24 at Beverly, Ma.
Joseph Herrick, b. Aug 1729 at Gloucester, Ma.

So it seemed likely to me that the Joseph Herrick helping Sarah Ellingwood with
her late husband's estate was her brother.

But there's that matter of  "Daniel Herrick Jr., son of Sarah Ellingwood." Alright,
perhaps Sarah had married one of her Herrick cousins. I started searching  for a
marriage record for Sarah and a Daniel Herrick. I've found nothing so far in
Massachusetts or New Hampshire for them. Then I found this at FamilySearch:

According to this, a Daniel Herrick and Sarah Ellingwood were married  in
Lyndeborough on 18Mar 1779.   

Now, I can find only two Sarah Ellingwoods in Lyndesborough: one the widow
Sarah Ellingwood, and the other her daughter, and while cousins often married
in colonial America, I am pretty sure half brothers and sisters didn't. So who was the
"Danlel Herrick Jr, son of Sarah Ellingwood" mentioned in the settlement?
I believe he wasn't the son of the widow Sarah, but actually her grandson, and the
first grandson of Joseph Ellingwood Sr.

I still need to find more records to further prove my theory. I can't find a birth record
for Daniel Herrick Jr, and there are some family trees on Ancestry claiming the younger'
Sarah died in 1755 but they don't cite any source for that death,.

I still, however, believe Sarah (Herrick) Ellingwood was a Herrick by birth, and not by