Monday, March 31, 2014


On 19 April 1681 Thomas Robbins filed this document which he'd drawn up
the previous day. In it, he  transfers all his possessions to his nephew by
marriage, William Pinson and William's wife Rebecca, who was Thomas'
niece. In what was a common practice in colonial New England, the
transaction is based on the condition that the Pinsons take care of Thomas
Robbins and his wife for the rest of the older couple's lives:

"19: Aprill:81
To all people to whome this present writing shall come: I Thomas Robbins of ye towne
of Salem in New England, send greeting: Know yee that I ye sd Thomas Robbins, as well for and in consideration of ye natural affection of ye naturall afection wch I have & doe beare unto my Kinsman William Pinson & his wife Rebecka (who is my sister's daughter) as alsoe for divers other good considerations & re moving thereunto, more especially for that ye sd William Pinson hath engaged himselfe, heires, executors, & adminsistrators, as by a bond under his hand bearing date ye date of these presents,more fully will appeere, well & sufficiently to provide for me & my wife Mary, both in sickness & in health, during my naturall life, for ye considerations aforesd. I say I the said Thomas Robbins, have given, granted & by these presents doe give give, grant, & confirm unto ye sd William Pinson & his wife Rebecka all & singular my goods, chattells, lands, housing, cattell, money, plate, dues debts, rings, household stuff, brass, pewter, & all other my substance whatsoever, moveable & imoveable. quick & dead, of what kind & nature soever, condition or qualitty soever ye same may be, either in my owne custody or possession, or in the custody & possession of any other p'son whatsoever: all which aforesaid I say. I, Thomas Robbins doe by these presents give, grant & confirme unto ye sd William Pinson & his wife Rebecka,excepting what I have already given & disposed by my will bearing date the date of these presents. To have & to hold all & singular ye said goods, chattells, debts, & all others ye aforesd premises unto ye only use & behoofe of him ye said William Pinson & his wife Rebecka, their heirs, executors, administrators & assignes forever freely & quietly, without any matter of challeng, claime or demand of me Thomas Robbins, or any other prson or prsons wtsoever by my cause, meanes or procurement & I Thomas Robbins, all or singular, ye aforesd goods, chattells & procurements to ye said William Pinson & his wife Rebecka, theire heirs, executors, administrators or assignes, against all people, will warrant & defend by these presents, & further Know yee yt I ye sd Thomas Robbins, have put ye sd William Pinson & his wife Recka in peaceable & quiet possession of all & singular ye aforesd premises by delivering unto them at the ensealing hereof one coyned peece of silver comonly caled a shilling & in witness of the truth hereof I Thomas Robbins have hereunto sett my hand & seale this eighteenth day of Aprill in ye yeare of our Lord one thousand six hundred eighty one provided & it is to be understood that the true meaning of the above written is to invest William Pinson & his heires in the present continued possession of ye premisses conditionally, that he doe & performe as my executor what is contained in my will, alreddy made, signed & acknowledged before signing, sealing,and delivery of this above written instrument which will beare date the date of these presents."

The document is signed with Thomas Robbins' mark.

It's pretty straight forward: William and Rebecca Pinson received all of Thomas
Robbins' worldly goods in exchange for  taking care of Thomas Robbins in his
old age.

And yet, five years later, Thomas Robbins would be in the Salem Court, charging
William with violating the terms of their agreement.

To be continued.

Saturday, March 29, 2014


Today I attended the 2014  New England Family History Conference at the LDS
Franklin Chapel in Franklin, Ma.

My first class was at 9:50 a.m., so I left my apartment around 8am and  after a
short stop for a coffee and croissandwich at Dunkin' Donuts was on my way. I had
already programmed the directions into my GPS, primarily because while I know how
to get to the town of Franklin, I tend to drive past the turnoff or miss the side streets
sometimes and end up in a neighboring state.Thanks to the light Saturday morning traffic
and the GPS I arrived at the Chapel, picked up my name tag and syllabus and waited for
the classes to start.

My first class was 10 Brick Wall Tips for Beginners with Marian Pierre-Louis of Fieldstone Commons, who is one of my fellow New England geneabloggers. While I'm not really a beginner anymore,  I don't know everything and always looking to learn something new that might help with my John Cutter West brickwall. Marian's a great speaker and I want to try her tip about Mapquest.

I thought I'd signed up for a class at 10:50 but I hadn't, so I stayed in the same room for
the next class schedule there which was given by Mike Maglio on Autosomal DNA: Your
Genetic Tapestry.
I have a Bachelor of Arts in History; science makes my head hurt. But
Mike presented the subject so I could understand it and had some tips on what do do with
DNA test results. Like Marian, he is a very good speaker and the session passed quickly.

There was a lunch break of 50 minutes so I went out to the table where the brown bag lunches were to be given out and presented my lunch ticket to a nice young lady after
I told her "I am a Ham". I decided I'd go sit in the classroom where my next class was
scheduled and ate my ham sandwich and potato chips while looking through the
conference syllabus. Gradually more people came in, one of whom was a nice lady who
asked me if I knew about birds and then showed me some pictures on her camera. We
decided  the bird was either a larger hawk or young  osprey.

The next class was a video from Rootstech, Denise Levenick's How to Scan an Elephant:
Digitizing Your Family History from Artifact to Zombie
. She mentioned Midge Frazel
during her talk. Again, a good presentation, and at one point in the video when Denise
asked her Rootstech audience if they had tried to do something with digitizing, several
people in the classroom in Franklin raised their hand. I thought that was a testimony to
good a speaker she was, that people would respond to a video as if they were at the
actual event.

My final class of the day was another with Mike Maglio, Secrets of a 21st Century
, which covered blogging and using social networking to promote your blog.
Again, a very enjoyable session.

While I didn't see many people I recognized, I did get a chance to speak briefly with
Marian and Mike after their sessions, and I had the pleasure of meeting fellow
genealogist Sharon Gillis before I left. I decided to skip the Refreshment hour and
drove home, which took a little longer because it was now raining and there was much more traffic than earlier in the day. But I had the classic rock station on and sang along
to Bob Dylan and other rock artists of my younger days.

All in all, a good day!

Friday, March 28, 2014


Fellow geneablogger Amy Johnson Crow of No Story Too Small has issued the 52
Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge. Basically, we have to post something every week
on a different ancestor, whether a story, picture, or research problem. I'm not done
with my Week 11 ancestor William Pinson yet and I'll return to him next but to keep
from falling behind too far I'm writing my Week 12 post now. It's about my 8x great
grandfather Henry Brown (sometimes spelled Browne) of Salisbury, Ma.

The Browns are another early line I haven't done much research on as yet. Henry
is actually Henry, Jr., having coming to the Massachusetts Bay Colony with his
father Henry Brown, Sr. where they were among the original settlers of Salisbury.
From what I've found so far online in The Essex Antiquarian, Henry Brown Jr.
worked as a farmer, ropemaker, and shoemaker, as well as being a deacon of the
Church. He married a woman named Abigail (LNU) and they had seven children,
one of whom was my ancestor Philip Brown. While I was doing the research
for this I found two land  transactions between Henry and Philip that I found
in Essex Institute Historical Collections, Volume 58 (Google eBook) Essex
Institute Press, (Salem, Ma. 1922)

 The first:
"Henry Brown of Salisbury, for twenty pounds sterling, conveys to my sone Phillip Brown of same town, taylor, about ten acres of upland in Salisbury, being a division out of ye five hundred acres (given by ye town of Salisbury to ye Inhabitants thereof) belonging to Joseph Moys and purchased of sd. Moys by me ye sd. Brown, bounded with ye land of Jno. Easman and land now of Benjamin Collins, formerly of Richd Wells, late deceased, and with ye country highway leading to Amsbery, excepting three acres of it formerly already given by me unto sd. Phillip Brown. March 7, 1677-8. Wit: Tho: Bradbury and Henry True. Ack. by Henry Brown, April 11, 1678, before Sam" Dalton, commissioner." -p239-240

So from that I learned that my 7x great grandfather Philip Brown was a tailor. 

The second transaction I got a kick out of because of a term used in the wording of
the document:

"Henry Brown of Salisbury, for love and natural affection and other considerations, conveys to his well beloved sone Phillip Brown, a planting lott between ye land of Sam" Buswell and John Stevens, sen., which was Jn° Clough's, and also a higledee pigledee lot of marsh which he bought of William Worcester, as it is bounded and expressed in his bill of sale, and also three acres of upland which is part of ye ten acre lott which he bought of Joseph Moys, on ye playne leading towards ye mill, only ye sd. Phillip Brown is to mayntaine his part of fence proportionably to ye three acres. Dated day of June, 1669. Wit: Ephraim Winsly and Joseph Easman. Ack. by Henry Brown and Abigail, his wife, before Sam" Dalton, commissioner."

Now according to Merriam-Webster, the definition of "higgledy piggledy" is "in a confused, disordered, or random manner", so I'm guessing the lot had irregular 
boundaries that weren't in a straight line, or that the terrain was a mixture of woods
and swamp.

There's still more to find out about Henry and son Philip, but I'm off to an interesting 

Thursday, March 27, 2014


This is was inspired by something writer CJ Cherryh posted on her Facebook page.

Earlier cultures had a belief in an afterlife much like the lives they led here on Earth, and
many of them had food, clothing,and other favorite items buried with them so they could
have them with them in the life to come. It was a custom in many parts of the world, in
places like China, Egypt, and  Britain. So CJ asked what we today would take along with
us into the afterlife if we could?

This was my answer:
"Pictures of my family. My books. My cds. A laptop computer with my genealogy database. A printed out copy of my family pedigree chart so I can show my ancestors exactly how we are related. Blue jeans, Red sox baseball cap, and my New England Patriots hoodie. And an endless supply of pizza. I think I'm good with that."

Later in the day, I realized all that pizza might cause problesm, so I added:

"About my earlier answer:I realize that "an endless supply of pizza" is problematical: Filling my tomb with boxes of pizza would probably not do the trick. So after some thought, I'd have to amend that to empty pizza boxes, each one for a different type of topping combinations. The actual pizzas would be delivered ethereally in the afterlife by Mystic Pizza."

So, what would you take, if you could "take it with you?"

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


I'm a bit behind this week on my blog posts, among which is my response to the
latest Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge from Randy Seaver over at Genea-Musings:

1)  Go into your Genealogy Management Program (GMP; either software on your computer, or an online family tree) and figure out how to Count how many surnames you have in your family tree database.

2)  Tell us which GMP you're using and how you did this task.

3)  Tell us how many surnames are in your database and, if possible, which Surname has the most entries.  If this excites you, tell us which surnames are in the top 5!  Or 10!!  Or 20!!!

4)  Write about it in your own blog post, in a comment to this blog post, in a status or comment on Facebook, or in Google Plus Stream post.

Like Randy I used the Surname Statistics List report on RootsMagic 6. You'll notice that the
three names out of the first four are all variations of the Ellingwood name:

Ellingwood                     964  from 1658 to 2012
Ellinwood                       613  from 1692 to 2012
Dunham                          371   from 1588 to 2009
Ellenwood                      257  from  1748 to 2013
Abbott                             174  from 1587  to 2005 

The three variants of Ellingwood reflect my adding the information from two out of print
Ellingwood genealogy books to my family tree. I recently started concentrating on my
Dunham line which increased that name.

I have a total of 3081 surnames on a database of 30572 people. All these figures are from
the RootsMagic6 databas on my computer. They are probably higher on my
tree, but I won't know until a do my semi-annual download from Ancestry to the RootsMagic database. 

Incidentally, my West surname only has 143 entries. Darn that John Cutter West brick wall! 

Friday, March 21, 2014


Continuing the case of my ancestor William Pinson vs Walter  Munjoy from the
case files of the Essex County court, it appears that William felt Munjoy had
not given him his fair share of the catch. Among other items of interest to me
(other than how many ways everyone's name, including the ship could be misspelled)

-How did William Pinson injure his hand? Was it a "Deadliest Catch" type
accident or did he pull something in the hand hauling in the heavy nets?

-This is the earliest mention of Thomas Robbins and William Pinson knowing
each other.

-What was "Reffuse fish?"

"Nathaniell Sharpe, aged thirty-five years, and Charles
Knight, aged about thirty-five years, deposed that they and
Gilburd Peeters, Jno. Tapley and William Pinson shipped
in Mr. Jno. Curwen's ketch called the Lewse in Jan., 1676,
and agreed with Wallter Monjoy to make and weigh the
fish as their shoreman. Sometime in February they went
out to sea to make the first fare and before they came home
William Pinson was taken lame in one of his hands, being
unable to go out for the second fare. Pinson then hired
Pascoe Foot to take his place and he was accepted by the
whole company and did his work well. For the third fare,
Pinson shipped William Nouell, who also was acceptable to
the company. Each man's share for the three fares was to
the value of twenty-five pounds, as Walter Munjoy informed
them. Deponents had been engaged in this employment for
seven or eight years. Sworn in court.

Thomas Robens, aged about sixty-two years, and Jno.
Whefen, aged about fifty-two years, deposed that Peeters
bought Pinson's share in the voyage for 171i. 10s. after Pinson's
hand was disabled and gave him a bill, but afterward Peeters
told him that he might have the fish and the bill was declared
null and void. Sworn in court.

Walt. Mungoy, aged about forty-six years, testified that
being shoreman to Gilbertt Peters and company in 1677, he
paid for him in fish to Wm. Pincent or order and to Cap. Jno.
Corwine for his account 15li. 10s. 6d. Sworn, Sept. 20, 1678,
before William Browne, t commissioner. Owned in court.

Thomas Jeggells, sr., aged about fifty-seven years, deposed
that for thirty years past he had been engaged in fishing in
Salem, and as a shoreman. Sworn in court.

John Taply, aged about forty years, testified concerning
the sale of the fish to Gilbord Peters. Sworn, Aug. 7, 1678,
before William Browne, t commissioner. Owned in court."


After I read all this I went searching online for what "reffuse fish" might be
and discovered something I had never known about the early New England
fishing industry. One of the main reasons the colonies began to thrive was
the codfish, so much so that a carving of a codfish has hung from the ceiling
of the Massachusetts State House for three centuries. The top grade cod
was salted and shipped off to be sold in England and Europe. The lesser
grade (and I have no idea how such things are determined. I assume they were
smaller in size) cod and other fish were likewise salted but were shipped off
to the Caribbean to feed the slaves working on the British owned plantations.
It's one of those "inconvenient truths" of New England history.

In the first two court cases I've discussed here, William Pinson was or claimed to
be the injured party. In the third case, he's the one facing charges for his actions.

To be continued.

Thursday, March 20, 2014


Since my Dad's family has been here in New England for nearly four centuries
now, you'd think more of our ancestors would have made their living from the
sea, but most of them were farmers or timber-men. The few who were sailors
or fishermen lived in the 17th century, and among them was William Pinson,
my 8x great grandfather. The second case I found in the Essex County Court
case files gave me a little insight into his life.

I don't quite understand some of what's going on in the court battle. I need to
do some research on the fishing industry in Puritan times. Also, this is a long
case so I'm posting it in two parts instead of summarizing it. I hope that by
doing so, some other genealogist will find the name of an ancestor among
those who testified:

November 25 1679
William Pinson v. Walter Munjoy. Verdict for defendant.*

*Writ: William Pinson v. Walter Munjoy; for withholding
an account of his part or share in a fishing voyage made in
1677, Gilbert Peeters being master, and defendant being a
shoreman and as shoreman weighed and delivered the fish;
dated 18 : 9 : 1679; signed by Hilliard Veren,t for the court
and town of Salem; and served by Peter Cheever,t constable
of Salem. Bond of Waltar (his mark) Mongy, with Edmond
Bridges t and Peter Miller t as sureties.

William Pinson's bill of cost. 1li. 2s.

William Penson's t receipt to Walter Mountjoy, dated
Salem, 12 mo. 1677, for five quintals and a half of refuse cod
fish at 10s. per quintal, on account of Gilbert Peters.

"Walter Munjoy Delever to Robt Kitchen fower quintal
of Reffuse fish, hake & pollock, for your freind William Pen-
son. t  Novemb : 9 : 1677." Receipt, dated Nov. 9, 1677,
signed by Ro: Kitchen. t

Nathaniell Sharpe oif Salem, mariner, aged about thirty-
three years, deposed that he heard William Pinsent sell to
Gilbert Peeters, master of the ketch Leusy, that part of the
fishing voyage which belonged to him, either by his own labor
or by hired men, for 171i. 10s. in fish at price current. Sworn,
11:6: 1678, before Wm. Hathorne,t assistant. Owned in

Richard Flandor, aged forty years, deposed that he had
been employed on fishing accounts in Salem for many years
and had been a shoreman. It has been a general custom for
the shoreman to take charge of what fish was committed to
him by the ketch's company to which he belongs, also to
weigh out and deliver to every man or his order his proper
part. Sworn in court.

Jno. Lee, aged about thirty-four years, deposed that speak-
ing with Gillbert Peeters concerning Wallter Munjoy's with-
holding fish from Pinson, Peeters said that Monjoy, as shore-
man, had done Peeters great wrong, and if he told what he
knew that Pinson would sue Monjoy. Sworn in court.


A quintal is a unit of measurement that, according to the dictionary, equals about
100 kilograms or 220 pounds. So the "five quintals and a half" of cod would be
around 1200 pounds. Considering that the fishing ships back then were a lot
smaller than the modern versions, that's a lot of fish. I wonder how long they had
to stay out at sea to catch that amount?

To be continued.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


There's less than a month left now to the deadline for the Second Geneabloggers
Just Make Up Some Lyrics Challenge. Exercise your funnybones and creativity
and have some fun with genealogy!

Here are the rules:

1. Set the names of your ancestors to the music of any song. It can be
any number of names, any song. Just remember to mention what song
you are using so we can all "sing along" as we read!

2. Publish your efforts on your blog and send me the link. If you don't have
a blog( and you really should, you know, they're easy and fun to do) then send
me your song in a comment to this blog.

2. Dead line is April 15th. I'll publish the final list of links here on  April

I have two great entries so far, and I hope to see more!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


Here's my effort for the "Just Make Up The Lyrics Challenge" It's set to the
music of the song "End of the Line" by the Traveling Wilburys:

Well, I'm up all night, working on my Family tree
I'm up all night Look! It's a quarter to three!
I'm up all night, working on those stubborn brick walls
I'm up all night, it's worth it if one them falls.

I've been pretty lucky researching I must confess (on my paternal line)
Found  a lot of records with a bit of sucess(on my paternal line)
But there's one brick wall that's harder than  all of the rest (on my paternal line)
John Cutter West.

Well , I'm up all night, working on the family names,
I'm up all night,  Barker and Abbott and Ames.
I'm up all night, checking out another lead,
Up all night,  hoping it's the one that I need.

I've been working for so long on the elusive John C.(on my paternal line)
There's been others searching for him as long as me(on my paternal line)
If I could find his parents then he'll no longer be(on my paternal line)
A big mystery.

I'm up all night, googling here and there
I'm up all night, I know that it's somewhere
I'm up all night, and some day I'm gonna find a clue
I'm up all night, and then I'm gonna break through!

Sunday, March 16, 2014


My week without ended at 12am this morning.

I will admit it was difficult at first, a bit like suddenly going on a diet. A
few times I found myself hitting the tab on my browser that opened to my
Ancestry account page, but I closed it right away. Meanwhile, I kept myself
busy by:

-Adding memorials and pages to Find A Grave

-Finishing the naming and filing downloaded document images to surname folders.
 I'd started this earlier but as I was organizing I was downloading more documents
from Ancestry and FamilySearch. Since this week I wasn't adding more, I was able
to clear up what I already had. I now have 92 surname files.

-Researching and writing two blogposts using information I found on free sites
such as Googlebooks, FamilySearch and others.

Now that the week is up I have until March 24th before my membership
ends. I'll double check to make sure I've downloaded all the records I used using  "Old
Search". Afterwards I'll continue adding to my tree there using the records that I find
elsewhere. Occasionally I might rejoin for a month to check out the  "shaking leaves."

It will take a little more work, but it will be easier on my budget, and easier than trying
to deal with the new search engine.


Fellow geneablogger Amy Johnson Crow of No Story Too Small has issued the 52
Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge. Basically, we have to post something every week
on a different ancestor, whether a story, picture, or research problem. For Week
11 my subject is William Pinson, my 8x great grandfather. All I knew about William
was what I found in researching  his granddaughter Sarah Bickford: his wife Rebecca
had been the niece and sole heir of Thomas Robbins, and that her mother had been
Thomas Robbins' sister and was also named Rebecca. I also knew he'd died in 1695.

I started looking for more information by using Google Search, and found some very
interesting information. . First, in the Salem marriage records at the  Early Massachusetts
Vital Record site, I found an entry for  "Pinsent (Pinson), William, and Rebecka Greene,
27: 12m, 167(5. TC)CTR".
  TC stands for "Town Copy" and CTR for "Court Records".  

Then I found more in the Essex County Quarterly Court Records, a place where I've
found many interesting  stories over the years. There were several incidents where
William Pinson appeared in the court. This is the earliest I've found so far:

"Summons, dated 2:9: 1678, to Benjamin Keaser, Moses Vowden and
John Mansfeild, as witnesses in the action between William Pinson and Elizer
Keaser, signed by Hilliard Veren.t

Benjamin Keyser, aged about twenty years, deposed that when Wm. Pin-
son came into his father's house, his brother Eleazer Keysor shut the door
and quarrelled with him and would not let him out. Sworn, 2:9: 1678, before
Edm. Batter,t commissioner.

William Pinson's bill of cost, 10s.

Due to Mrs. Mold from William Pencens,t for three sear cloaths and a
pott of ointment, 8s., for use on a hurt received by Eliezar Kezar.

John Mansfield, aged twenty years, and Moses Vouden, aged about thir-
ty years, deposed that they heard a great noise in Mr. Keysor's house and
going in heard Keysor say to Wm. Pinson that if he did not pay him two
shillings he would have his skin, etc. Sworn, 4:9: 1678, before Edm. Bat-
ter t commissioner.

William Pinson, aged thirty years, deposed that Keysor struck him a
violent blow on the breast and madly tearing him by the coat said "I will have
your heart Blood you Dogg," etc. Sworn, 2:9: 1678, before Edm. Batter,t

The  boldfaced t next to names denotes a signature. And 'sear cloths" were old
fashioned "plasters" or bandages used on injuries. Also, notice all the variations
on the spelling of "Pinson."

So now I know that William Pinson's wife was Rebecca Greene, and that they were
married in Salem on 27Feb.1674/1675. Also, if he was 30 years old at the time of
this case, that would put his birth year around 1648.

But there are still two more court cases to discuss.

To be continued.

Saturday, March 15, 2014


Fellow geneablogger Amy Johnson Crow of No Story Too Small has issued the 52
Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge. Basically, we have to post something every week
on a different ancestor, whether a story, picture, or research problem. This week my
subject is 6x great grandmother Sarah Bickford.

I first ran across Sarah in the Upton Chronicles,  in this opening paragraph of my ancestor
Amos Upton:
"Amos Upton 3, (Samuel2, John 1), widely known among his cotemporaries and still spoken of as Deacon Amos Upton, was brother of the preceding, and son of Samuel2 and Abigail (Frost) Upton; born in Darn ers; and baptized there, Oct. 20, 1717; married Dec. 5. 1739, Sarah Bickford, daughter of John Bickford of Salem town. She was admitted into full communion of the church in Danvers, March 28, 1756." p64
John Adams Vinton, The Upton Memorial: A Genealogical Record of the Descendants of John Upton, of North Reading, Mass. ... Together with Short Genealogies of the Putnam, Stone and Bruce Families (Google eBook)  Printed for Private Use, Bath, Me. 1874

Other than that, I had nothing further on Sarah Bickford. I decided she'd be my subject
for this week and set about trying to find out more. I Google searched her father John Bickford and found this Beckford-Bickford Genealogy:

John Beckford,2 probably born in Marblehead about 1674. He was at first called a fisherman, then a brickmaker, shoreman and yeoman respectively. He married Miss Rebecca Pinson of Salem Feb. 8, 1698-9 ; and lived in Salem until about 1735, when he removed to Reading, where he was living as late as I757.

Children, born in Salem :—

4—I. George,3 b. July 5, 1700. See below (4).
5—II. John,3 b. Sept. 15, 1702. See below (5).
6—III. Rebecca,3 b. Feb. 26, 1705; m. John Archer of Salem Feb. 6, 1722.
7—IV. William,3 b. March 4, 1706. See below
8—V. Bethiah,3 b. Feb. 2, 1708; m. Samuel Ruck, jr., of Salem Nov. 13, 1729.
9—VI. Benjamin,3 b. Aug. 30, 1711. See below (9)
10—VII. Ebenezer,3 b. May 18, 1715; living in 1717.
11—VIII. Priscilla,3 b. Aug. 8, 1717; m. David Phippen of Salem May 24, 1738.
12—IX. Mary,3 b. Nov. 22, 1719; m. Warwick Palfray, jr., of Salem May 3, 1738.
13—X. Sarah,3 b. Dec. 18, 1721.

 p60  The Essex Antiquarian, Volume 8 (Google eBook) (Salem Ma., 1904)

 I also found this in an article by Sidney Perley in The Essex Antiquarian, Part of Salem
in 1700 No.7.:

"John and Rebecca Bickford Lot. This was the lot of Lawrence Southwick in 1656; and he sold it to Thomas Robbins before i68r. Both parties died ; and, no deed " appearing of record," Mr. Southwick's executors gave a deed of it, including the "pond or salt marsh," to William Pinson, whose wife Rebecca was Mr. Robbins' niece and heir, in 1694. Mr. Pinson took possession of a strip of the common land between the pond and the old road as shown on the map..." p147  The Essex Antiquarian, Volume 5 (Google eBook) (Salem Ma, 1901)

William Pinson died in 1695 and left 2/3 of his estate to Rebecca, his only child. When her mother (also named Rebecca) remarried she "released to her daughter Rebecca and her husband John Bickford of Marblehead, "all that ye pasture or parcel of mowing land 'consisting of upland marsh and thatch banks and pond," containing three acres, Jan. 11 1698.* The Bickfords owned the premises until they removed to Reading about 1750. The pond was filled about a hundred years ago.
•Essex Registry of Deeds, book 164, leaf 247. •fEssex Registry of Deeds, book 288, leaf 274.

Now I know that Sarah's mother was Rebecca Pinson, and her grandfather was
William Pinson. I still need to see what else I can find to confirm all this, but still
a good start!

Sunday, March 09, 2014


So I started my Week Without today.  This will mean I won't be
working on my family tree until next Sunday because my "primary" tree is on
Ancestry. I periodically create and download a gedcom to my RootsMagic database
here on my computer's hard drive. Luckily I have downloaded documents that
need to be sorted into the correct folders. I also still have a LOT of photos I took
at Mt. Vernon Cemetery here in Abington and I need to create memorials for
them to go with on Find A Grave.

When I do get back to researching I'll be using the sites I  used before
For colonial Massachusetts Vital Records, there's the Early Vital Records of Massachusetts and  the state run  Vital Record to 1850 website. For the other
locations there is FamilySearch, and Linkpendium.

If you've never tried using Linkpendium, it's a compendium with over 10 million
links to genealogy websites. Some of the links are to paid sites, like Ancestry, which
are marked by a $ next the site name, but there are many others that are free.

And of course there are things to be blogged about!

Tonight, I think I'll be working on my Find a Grave photos.

Saturday, March 08, 2014


First I need  to clear something up.  The "A Week Without Challenge"
blogpost is not a call for a week long boycott of Ancestry. It's exactly what the title
says, a challenge to go a week without using it.  If you decide to take part, you can
do it at any time convenient to you. I'll be doing it next week starting Sunday.

Nor am I removing my family tree from Ancestry. There's information on it that I share with cousins and removing the tree won't accomplish that. So when my subscription
runs out on March 24th I'll still be adding information but I will not be researching
for it on

Now for the addendum. In my discussions on Facebook about all this I got a great
suggestion from Janice Webster Brown of the Cow Hampshire blog. If you take part
in the challenge, write a post for your blog about the research sites you used as an alternative to and tell us what you thought about them.  You'd be
helping other genealogists discover sites they might not know are out there. Again,
no particular time to do the challenge, and no deadline on posting your article.
If you can't do a whole week of going without, try one day, or two.

I'll be interested to see what people come up with on this.

Thursday, March 06, 2014


As I said in the update to my last post, I've unsubscribed from because
of my frustration over the end of Old Search. I've gone without Ancestry before so it's nothing new for me. I'll still maintain and add to my tree there, but I'll do my searching
for records at other sites. There's a lot more available online than there used to be, as Michael John Neill has said..

Here's an idea Michael gave me: the week without challenge. Can you
go for a week without it? I know, it's addicting, but there are plenty of things you can
do without Ancestry.

-You can work on organizing all the things you already have in the genealogy program
  on your hard drive. If you don't have a program on your computer, maybe now's the
  time to try out one of the free versions that are available, like the free edition of the
  RootsMagic program. You don't have to start from scratch either. You can have
 Ancestry create a gedcom and then download and import it in to the free program.

-Write up or transcribe some of the documents you already have found, and analyze
 those wills and probate files to see what they may tell you about your ancestor.

-You can get rid of the duplicate names and dead branches on your family tree.

-You can search the document images on FamilySearch or look for information on your
family in Google Ebooks.

What do you think? Can you go a week without


Well, they've been threatening us with it for years now and they've finally gone
and done it at They've replaced the "Old Search" with "New Search".
Now I have to decide if I am going to keep my subscription to

Let me say this upfront. I've  tried "New Search" before several times when it was
presented as an alternative to "Old Search". I  can best describe my opinion of the
experience by channeling my inner Gollum to say "We hates it." I hate the way it
looks, the slidebars, the filters. I hate the whole damn thing. I don't know how
else to explain it. It just doesn't flow for me, if that makes any sense, which I'm
sure it probably won't to some of my genealogy friends. I'm sorry, that's just the
way I feel about it. 

You've heard of K.I.S.S.,( Keep It Simple, Stupid);

I think New Search uses a principle I'll call C.H.O.P. : Confuse the Hell Out of People.
I don't know how newbies to genealogy are going to react to New Search. I think I'd
have given up after a few days if I'd had to deal with it in my early research days.

So now I have to decide whether to keep my subscription. I might unsubscribe, and
add to it from what I find on FamilySearch.

The only thing I can say with certainty is I think has made a big mistake.

UPDATE: Upon further reflection, I've cancelled my subscription to

Wednesday, March 05, 2014


Fellow geneablogger Amy Johnson Crow of No Story Too Small has issued the 52
Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge. Basically, we have to post something every week
on a different ancestor, whether a story, picture, or research problem. This week my
subject is 7x great grandfather Luke Perkins.

I do daily posts on Facebook about births, deaths, and marriages  of ancestors on
that date. Whenever I do that I double check to see if the event is sourced in my
database and if it isn't, to confirm my information. Today I was trying to confirm
an unsourced marriage  date for John Perkins and Ablgail Williams without any
success. What was puzzling me was that I had John Perkins and Abigail in my
database but no children. Why were they even there in the first place?

 I posted about my frustration on Facebook. And that led to a discussion
with fellow geneablogger  Midge Frazel about our Perkins lines, and it turns out
we are cousins. I mentioned that the furthest back I had gotten so far on my
Perkins line was Luke Perkins and his wife Martha Conant, and Midge kindly has
shared some information that pushed that further back another two generations
to Abraham Perkins and his wife Mary. Googling Luke Perkin's name today I found this:

(III) Luke (2), son of Luke (1) Perkins, was born March 18, 1667. He lived in Marblehead, Beverly, Wenham, Ipswich, 1704, and Plympton, and recorded on the 
town records of all these places are his marriage and the births of his children. On November 24, 1704, he and his wife, of Ipswich, sold John Filmore a house and barn
with about two acres of land on the road from Wenham to Beverly near Wenham Pond 
in Beverly. About November, 1714, he moved to Plympton. His uncle, David Perkins,
of Bridgewater, for love and good-will, gave him all his land in Abington. Luke 
Perkins was a blacksmith by trade. He died in Plympton, December 27, 1748, aged eighty-two years. He married, May 31, 1688, Martha, daughter of Lot and Elizabeth (Walton) Conant; Elizabeth Walton was daughter of Rev. William Walton, of 
Marblehead. The marriage was recorded in Salem and Topsfield. Martha (Conant) Perkins, was born at Beverly, August 15, 1664, and she owned the covenant for 
herself and children, July 30, 1691. She died January 2, 1754, aged eighty-nine years. Children: John, born at Marblehead, April 5, 1689; Martha, September 19, 1691, 
died young; Hannah, March 12, 1693; Luke, mentioned below; Mark, baptized in 
Beverly, April 30, 1699; Josiah, born November 9, 1701, in Beverly; Martha, August 
14, 1707, in Beverly.
- William Richard Cutter, New England Families, Genealogical and Memorial: A Record
of the Achievements of Her People in the Making of Commonwealths and the Founding
of a Nation, Volume 2 (Google eBook) 
(Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1914 ) p824.

A few things: I've been to the Hillcrest Cemetery in Plympton and I may have a shot of Luke Perkin's headstone. I'll check later. Also, I've seen several headstones over at the
Mt. Vernon Cemetery here in Abington and wondered if they were related to me. Seeing the mention of David Perkins owning land here it's quite possible they are. I'll have to
get a closer look at them once there's less snow on the ground. And Luke is yet another
of my ancestors who worked as a blacksmith!

I'll be posting more on the Perkins family after I've done a bit more research.

Monday, March 03, 2014


The prompt for the latest Saturday Night Genealogy Fun assignment from Randy Seaver's Gene-Musing's blog is this:
1)  How many persons named John Smith do you have in your genealogy management program or online family tree?  How many persons named John Smith are ancestors?

2)  Pick out one of those persons named John Smith and do some online research for
them in Ancestry, FamilySearch, or another set of record collections.  Your goal is to
add something to your database.

3)  Tell us about it in your own blog post, in a comment to this blog post, or in a post
on Facebook or Google+.

 Well, as Ace Ventura would say, alrighty then:

I only have four John Smiths on my family tree, and as luck would have it, one of
them is my 7x great grandfather John Smith. There doesn't seem to be any birth
record for him but when he died in Middleboro,Ma. on 16May 1727 his age was
given as 69 years old, so that would put his birth year 1658.  Now the interesting
thing about John is who he married, and who his daughter Abigail Smith married. 
I'll get to Abigail later in this post. As to who John's wife was, he married Mary Ellenwood on 23May 1684 in Beverly, Ma. She was the daughter of my immigrant ancestors Ralph Ellenwood/Ellingwood and Eleanor Lynn. In researching this article
I learned John was a "coaster", someone who transported goods in small boats
along the Massachusetts coast between the port cities. Since he ended up in
Middleboro south of Boston, I believe he may have done his business between Beverly and Plymouth which is close by to Middleboro.

I'd always wondered how he'd met Mary if he was in Middleboro and she lived in Beverly. But the following information I found in an old edition of National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Volumes 6-11 shows they were both living in Beverly at the time
they were married:

We find John Smith joining in an agreement of division of the Ellenwood land under date of April 17, 1695, in right of Mary, his wife—how long he had been married does not appear. (Salem Deeds, Vol. II, p. 192).

Nov. 19, 1702, John Smith of Beverly, with consent of his wife, Mary, sells his house and lot in Beverly to Robert Hale for £100. His brother, Benjamin Ellenwood, is mentioned as an abutting property owner. (Salem Deeds, Vol. 15, p. 261). 

About—1702, John Smith removed from Beverly to Middleboro, in Plymouth County, Mass. We find of record at Plymouth, the following deed: John Doggett and Samuel Doget, both of Marshfield, sell to John Smith, late of Beverly, in the County of Essex, Marriner, for £55, lot No. 26, in the 26 Men's purchase on Whetstone Brook, containing 100 acres. The deed is dated Feb. 11, 1702-3. (Plymouth Deeds, Vol. 6, page 127).
Oct. 6, 1712, John Smith sold onehalf of this lot to his son Jonathan.

According to the stone in the Old Cemetery, in Middleboro, John Smith died May 16, 1727, in his 69th year. He was born, therefore, about 1658. His widow Mary was appointed administrator July 3, 1727 (Plymouth Probate Records, Vol. 5, p. 266). Since he died intestate, the estate was divided among the heirs by agreement (Plymouth Wills, Vol. 12, p. 222.)

-COREY (CORY), CLEAVES AND SMITH FAMILY LINES. By Prof. Arthur Adams, Trinity College, Hartford, Conn. Vol. VII APRIL, 1918 No. 1

I found the images of the probate record and agreement online at FamilySearch. It's going to take me awhile to transcribe them since the handwriting is difficult to read and the last page has some really small and messy added writing at the bottom of the page. So that is the material I've added to my database as a result of the assignment.

The Smith family estate agreement is on the left hand page.

Now, as to the marriage of Abigail Smith, John and Mary's daughter: on 12Dec 1719 she
married my 6x great grandfather Ebenezer Donham/Dunham in Middleboro, Ma. And
131 years later their descendant Florilla Dunham married my 2x great grandfather Asa
Freeman Ellingwood. I don't think they would have known about that family connection.

Sunday, March 02, 2014


The most interesting part of Edmond Greenleaf's will is that codicil:
"The following paper is also recorded in the "Probate Records," appended to the
will, as, probably, assigning the reason why the name of his second wife, who
appears to have outlived him, was not mentioned:—

"When I married my wife, I kept her grandchild, as I best remember, three years to
schooling, diet and apparel; and William Hill, her son, had a bond of six pounds a year, whereof I received no more than a barrel of pork of £3-0-0 of that £6-0-0 a year he was
to pay me, and sent to her son Ignatius Hill, to the Barbadoes, in mackerel, cider, and
bread and pease, as much as come to twenty pounds, and never received one penny of
it. His aunt gave to the three brothers £50 apiece. I know not whether they received it
or no; but I have not received any part of it.

"Witness my hand. (Signed) Edmund Greenleaf."

"Besides, when I married my wife, she brought me a silver bowl, a silver porringer,
and a silver spoon. She lent or gave them to her son, James Hill, without my consent."

So apparently Edmund felt his stepsons and step grandson were slackers who hadn't
paid the debts they owed him, and that his second wife Sara was what we would
call today an enabler. The silver set incident seems to have particularly angered
Edmund since he makes special mention of it, since it was part of the dowry she
brought him when they married.  It seems rather harsh by my modern view (although
not in the same class as my other ancestor William Hedge's dismissal of his wife
Blanche in his will).

I hope the second Sarah's three sons provided for their mother afterwards.

I learned two new things about Edmund Greenleaf working on this series. The first
was that he'd had a second wife. The second thing is a result of two readers generously sharing their research with me. One person is someone who I'll call D.P. since I
don't have permission as yet to use her name here; the other is fellow New England geneablogger Sara Campbell What I learned from what they both sent me is that
Edmund's first wife Sarah was not Sarah Dole, but rather Sarah Moore.

When I first started researching my family tree everything I could find on Edmund  Greenleaf said it was Sarah Dole, but most of that research was from the 19th and early 20th centuries.  Research in England in the late 20th century discovered documents that showed that my ancestress was actually Sarah Moore. This proves that while the old genealogy books on Google are great sources they are not always accurate and the information in them should be confirmed.

Thanks to D.P. and Sara Campbell for the information, and I am adjusting my database
and family tree to reflect it.