Monday, December 11, 2017


Continuing with the ancestors of my 6x great grandmother Hannah (Phelps) Abbott, this post is about my 10x great grandfather Robert Adams. And again, I found  information about him in another of William Richard Cutter's books:

(I) Robert Adams, immigrant ancestor of this branch of the family in America, was born in England in 1602. He came first to Ipswich in 1635, with his wife and two children. He was a tailor by trade and resided in Salem in 1638-39. He removed to Newbury in 1640, where he acquired a large farm and valuable property. He is believed by some to have come from Devonshire, England, and by others from Holderness, county York, England. There is a tradition, also, that he was of Scotch origin. The large, hand-made shears which he brought from England, and which he used in his trade, are now owned by Stephen P. Hale, of Newbury, a descendant. His will was dated March 7, 1680-81, proved November 27, 1682. He died October 12, 1682, aged eighty-one. He married (first) Eleanor Wilmot, who died June 12, 1677. He married (second) February 6. 1678. Sarah (Glover) Short, widow of Henry Short. She died in Newbury, October 24, 1697. Children: John, born in England : Joanna, England, about 1633-34; Sergeant Abraham, 1639: Elizabeth, Newbury, about 164142; Mary, about 1644-45; Isaac, 1647-48; Jacob, April 23, 1649, died August 12, 1649; Hannah, June 25, 1650; Jacob, mentioned below.-p1321

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 3, Lewis publishing company N.Y., N.Y. 1913

Robert's daughter Elizabeth married Edward Phelps and Robert left her a cow in his will. I've found that Probate File and hope to transcribe it soon.

Saturday, December 09, 2017


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As you can see, I had a very formal relationship with Santa.No laps for me. A simple solemn
pose would do, thank you, for the photo-op.

Formal attire was also worn when visiting Santa’s Village up in New Hampshire. A sports
jacket was de rigeur for the feeding of reindeer but one was allowed to be more casual
when posing with the sled and full team. The girls are my cousin Terry and my sister Cheryl.

Actually, I think we might have been there on a Sunday. We’d have attended Mass in Berlin,
NH and probably continued on home to Boston with a stop to visit the Village along the way.

But by the time those pictures were taken, I’d fallen from grace.

I no longer believed in Santa Claus.

I’m not sure how I figured it out but I do know I must have been around six or seven years
old because we were still living in Malden in the two family house that my folks and my
aunt and uncle co-owned. I know this because when I found out there was no Santa Claus,
I shared my knowledge and I heard about it for years afterward.

Yes, I told my cousins who lived downstairs. I think that was theyear I got a lump of coal in
my stocking (but there were still presents under the tree).

I may have told my sister the awful truth later or she found out some other way. I do know
I didn’t tell my kid brother. After all, I was an adult of 17 by then and I had a greater appreciation
for what Santa meant to little kids!

But there it is.

I squealed on Santa.

Originally published in Dec. 2007.


William Richard Cutter describes my 7x great grandfather Samuel Phelps Jr and his family:

(IV) Samuel Phelps, son of Samuel Phelps (3), was born in Andover, November 22, 1684, died there April, 1745. He married Hannah Dane, who died May 26, 1746, sister of John Dane. She was admitted to the church in 1714. His will was dated April 5, 1745, and proved May 6, 1745. He bequeathed to Samuel who had agreed to care for his parents (Samuel (3) and wife), to Thomas, Joseph, Hannah, Abbott and Mary Stevens, his five children. The estate was inventoried at three hundred and ninety-seven pounds, eleven shillings and one penny. Children, born at Andover: 1. Samuel, February 5, 1713, mentioned below. 2. Hannah, married, February 14. 1734, Ephraim Abbott. 3. Mary, born February 14, 1716, married ------- Stevens. 4. Francis, born January 11, 1719-20, married Phebe Holt. 5. Joseph, born March 27, 172324, probably settled in Wilton, New Hampshire.-p888

Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of Boston and Eastern Massachusetts, Volume 2  Lewis historical Publishing Company, 1908, Boston, Ma.

Charlotte Helen Abbott writes that Mary Phelps'  husband  was John Stevens Jr. A check with the Andover, Ma. marriage records confirms his identity. Samuel III married Pricilla Holt.

I've found Samuel Phelps Jr.'s  probate record and will be posting a transcription here when it's done.

Friday, December 08, 2017


Continuing with the ancestors of Hannah (Phelps) Abbott, here's what William Richard Cutter wrote about my 8x great grandfather Samuel Phelps:

(III) Samuel Phelps, son of Edward Phelps (2), was born at Newbury, 1651. He r SR. emoved with his father to Andover, Massachusetts, and married, March 21, 1679. Sarah Chandler, daughter of Thomas and Hannah ( Brewer) Chandler. She was born at Andover, December 20, 1661, died April 5, 1757. She was admitted to the church at South Andover, January 25, 1713. He was a clothier by trade; was one of the twenty men chosen to fight the Indians in 1695 under Captain Gardner. He and his wife Sarah, his brother Edward and wife, Ruth, deeded lands to Thomas Abbott in 1697. He took the oath of allegiance in 1678, and was admitted to the South Church, May 10, 1713. He died January 26, 1746, aged ninety-five years. Children: i. Sarah, born October 16, 1682. 2. Samuel, born November 22, 1684, mentioned below. 3. John, born April 28, 1686, married Sarah Andrews. 4. Joseph, born February 8, 1689, married Elizabeth Abbott. 5. Hannah, born May 18, 1691, died March 24, 1695. 6. Henry, born September 24, 1693, married Abigail Lovejoy. daughter of Deacon William and Mary Lovejoy: second, . Susanna Kittridge, widow of Francis Kittridge, of Tewksbury; his two children died young and his will is particularly interesting as it mentions all his near relatives. (He bequeathed to the poor of the south parish: to his sister Deborah, wife of Stephen Blanchard; to his brother John Phelps's heirs; to heirs of his brother Thomas Phelps; to sister Ann, wife of John Stevens; to his kinswoman, Hannah Chandler, daughter of his brother Samuel Phelps: to kinswoman wife of Thomas Austin, and daughter of his sister, Elizabeth Lovejoy: to kinswoman Sarah Lovejoy, sister of his first wife; to kinsman John Phelps and daughter Abigail: to the wife of Abraham Morss: to the wife of Hezekiah Lovejoy: to kinsman Benjamin Stevens, of Metlmen: kinsman Samuel Fields, of Boston, and gave his freedom to his negro slave Pompey). 7. Thomas, born November 5, 1605, married Mary Blanchard; second, Prudence____ . 8. Elizabeth, born September 6, 1698, married Jonathan Lovejoy. 9. Anna, born February 22, 1701, married John Stevens. 10. Deborah, born 1703-04, married Stephen Blanchard.-p888

Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of Boston and Eastern Massachusetts, Volume 2  Lewis historical Publishing Company, 1908, Boston, Ma.

Again, there are marriages by Samuel's children with the members of the Abbott, Chandler, Stevens and Lovejoy families.

I'm descended from Samuel Phelps Jr.

Thursday, December 07, 2017


The subject for this entry in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks is my 9x great grandfather
Edward Phelps. Once again, here's William Richard Cutter:

(II) Edward Phelps, son of Henry Phelps (1), was born in England and came over with his father and brothers, perhaps in the same ship. He settled in Newbury, Massachusetts, near the town of Salem. One account has it that he came from Bolton. England. He took the oath of allegiance and fidelity to the Crown in 1678. Eleanor Tresler, mentioned above, calls him her brother. He married Elizabeth Adams, widow of Robert Adams, of Newbury. His estate was administered by his sons Samuel and Edward, appointed March 31. 1690. He died suddenly October 3, 1689, and his estate was partitioned January 17, 1689-90. Children, born in Newbury: 1. Elizabeth, born 1646, married Joseph Ballard. 2. Samuel, born 1651, mentioned below. 3. John, born December 15.1657. unmarried;killed by the Indians at the survey of Scarborough, Maine, June 29, 1677. 4. Eleanor, born 1660, married William Chandler. 5. Edward, born 1663, married Ruth Andrews. pp887-888

Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of Boston and Eastern Massachusetts, Volume 2  Lewis historical Publishing Company, 1908, Boston, Ma.

I found Edward's probate file and will be transcribing it soon. 

Looking at the people Edward's children married there are  memebers of the Ballard, Chandler, and Andrews familes who are prominent in the founding of Andover, Ma. His son Samuel (my 8x great grandfather) also married a Chandler.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017


It's time now to turn to the ancestors of my 6x great grandmother Hannah (Phelps) Abbott.

This Phelps line is  one of two in my Dad's ancestry, the other being through Arvilla Ames, my
3x great grandmother.  Both are descended from my 10xggf and immigrant ancestor Henry Phelps. There seems to have been some confusion about the identity of his wife Eleanor, as detailed
by what William Richard Cutter wrote: MA.

(I) Henry Phelps, of Salem, immigrant ancestor, according to the Phelps Genealogy, came from London, England, on the ship "Hercules" in the spring of 1634. He settled in Salem, Massachusetts. The records tell us very little further and there is some reason for thinking that Henry (1) and Henry (2) were the same. He is said to have been a Quaker. His first wife was a daughter of Thomas Tresler. He married next in 1652 Hannah Bassett. Children: 1. Henry, came over in 1634, arriving in Boston April 16, 1634. (The will of Eleanor Tresler, widow of Thomas, dated February 15, 1654, proved April, 1665, mentions grandchild John Phelps, son of Henry Phelps, indicating that Phelps had but one surviving son by his Tresler wife. The estate of Obadiah Antrim was divided among his heirs—John Phelps, son of Henry, Hannah Burnap, wife of Isaac; children: i. Christopher, married Elizabeth Sharp; ii. Samuel, married Elizabeth . a widow; iii. Thomas, born probably in Salem; iv. John, born about 1664. married Abigail Upton, widow ). 2..Nicholas (perhaps the same as Nicholas Phillips or Phelps, of Dedham and Boston), was a Quaker in Salem; married Hannah Bassett, who was also a Quaker and was whipped for her religious views; Nicholas was sent to the house of correction and finally banished from Salem: is said to have returned to England. 3. Edward, mentioned below. p887

Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of Boston and Eastern Massachusetts, Volume 2  Lewis historical Publishing Company, 1908, Boston, Ma.

Henry's son Edward Phelps is my 9x great grandfather.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017


My family was fortunate in that we never lived in the sort of place
where Christmas outdoor decorations becomes a blood sport.
Yes, people strung lights in their shrubbery or along their house
gutters but there was never anyone determined to turn their
front yard into the North Pole’s Southern Branch Office.

Now for light shows back then you went to someplace religious,
like Our Lady of La Sallette Shrine in North Attleboro or the local
cemetery with it’s entrance lit up, or even just cruised a stretch
of highway to look at the neighborhood lights that might be seen
from a distance as you drove by.

We didn’t really have outside lights ourselves until we left Boston
for Abington. Up until then the only lights other than on our
Christmas tree were the electric candles we put on windowsills.
But at the house Dad did the obligatory shrubbery and gutter
displays as well as one other spot: the apple tree in the front yard.

Dad had experience both with wiring and tree climbing so putting
a string of lights up in a small apple tree was a piece of cake. It
was the taking down part that didn’t seem to work at least for
the tree. One year, long after the other outside lights were down
and packed away, the lights still were hanging in the apple tree.
I’m not sure exactly when he took them down but I do know it
was well after Spring had sprung. I think they were even plugged
in one or two nights. I don’t know the reasons why they were
still there: my Dad’s sense of humor, perhaps? Or maybe an
instance where Dad’s Maine stubbornness and the Irish
stubbornness of my Mom brought about some impasse on the issue?

On my way home the other night from work I noticed at least
three of those large hot air snow globe scenes on front lawns.

Those families must have big electricity bills!

2010 Update: As I discovered in 2008, the apple tree  in
the front yard of the house is long gone. But a news report
the other night made me think of Dad. The holiday
lighting ceremony at Braintree has been postponed a week
because squirrels had eaten through the wires.

The lights had been left up all year since last Christmas!

2011 Update: The big snowstorms last winter had one
interesting effect. Some of the homes with heavily
decorated outside yards remained that way until
the snow melted. One home in particular had an inflatable
Santa and other decorations buried under snow drifts
and you could  just see the tops of them as you drove by
the house. I think they were there until mid-March!

2013 Update: It's a bit early yet apparently for the lights
to go up for Christmas around here. I don't work anymore
and haven't driven around much after dark so I haven't
seen any houses lit up yet. I did, however, spot two of
those big inflatable figures on someone's front lawn yesterday

2014 Update
 I'm not sure there be many houses lit up this year, or that they
will be many elaborate displays. The electric companies in the
New England area have raised their rates over 30% and that
may be too much for many people to afford to put up Christmas

2015 Update
There's only a few homes along the main streets in the area that have put up
their outside lights so far this year. But there are some in specific neighborhoods
and I've noticed word gets out via Facebook on where the best displays are to take
your kids to see them.

2016 Update:
Since my retirement I don't drive much after dark any more, so I haven't seen
any houses decorated so far. But there's a contest for best decorations going on,
and a Christmas Tree lighting going on at Island Grove as well,

(originally published in Dec. 2007)

Sunday, December 03, 2017


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My 8x great grandfather Ephraim Stevens is the subject of Week 43.  This is Charlotte Helen
Abbott's  entry for him in her Early Records of the Stevens Family of Andover,

Ephraim(2) b. about 1648; he was a Scout; was in the Narragansett War; in 1679
received a grant of land to repay his loss in the Indian Raid; was Sgt.; Selectman;
Assessor; Clerk of Market 169(?) to 1696; Surveyor 1693; m. Oct 11, 1680; Sarah(2)
Abbott, dau. of George Abbott and w. Hannah Chandler; Sarah was b. Nov.14, 1659;
d. June 28, 1711; he d. June 26,1718; no sons lived. pp2-3

Ephraim and Sarah (Abbott) Stevens had eight children, one boy and seven girls, but only
six of the girls survived to adulthood and are named in Ephraim's will:

Sarah Stevens b. 28Oct 1681; d.25 Dec 1750
Elizabeth Stevens b. 7Aug 1683; d. 8Jan 1761
Hannah Stevens b.18Nov  1685; m. Robert Swan
Mehitabel Stevens  b.29Sep 1691; d. 1700
Mary Stevens b. 21 Feb 1694
Ephraim Stevens b. 13Jul 1698
Mehitabel Stevens b. 31 Aug  1700

I'm descended from Sarah Stevens who married Stephen Abbott. They were first cousins.

I have a copy of the will and will be transcribing it soon.

Friday, December 01, 2017


 Originally posted in 2007 as part of Thomas MacEntees's Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories.

You know that part of the movie A Christmas Story where
the family goes out to buy the tree and the parents have a little
argument over it? Well, I laugh every time I see it because
like so much in that film it echoes my childhood.

Every Christmas when I was younger either we’d go shopping
for a tree or Dad would buy one on his way home from work.
Now as regular readers of this blog know by now, my Dad was
from Maine. But even more than that, he had experience in trees.
He’d helped his father cutting down trees, and he’d worked for a
landscaper in the Boston area when he’d first come home from
the war. Mom would remind Dad of his experience every year
when the tree was fixed into the tree stand, the rope cut from
the branches and the inevitable big empty space was discovered.
Usually the problem was solved by rotating the tree so the empty
spot was in the back facing the wall. The lights were strung(and
here we differed from the film. We never blew out the fuses.),
then the garlands, the ornaments, and the icicles. Finally the
angel went up on top of the tree and we were all set. With
judicious watering the tree would last us until around “Little
Christmas” at which time it would be undecorated and deposited
curbside to await the dump truck.

Of course our tree paled in comparison to the giant my Mom’s
Uncle Tommy and Aunt Francis had in their home down in
Milton. It was so big they cut the top off and the branches didn’t
taper at the top. They were all the same size: large. I could
never believe they'd gotten that big a tree into the house in the
first place!

Then the first artificial Christmas trees hit the market and Mom
began vowing she was going to get one as she vacuumed up pine
needles from the rug. Eventually we did but that provided us
with new challenges, such as assembling the tree.

As we all grew older the prospect of trying to get the tree
together became less enchanting and so it too was replaced, this
time by a small ceramic musical tree that was lit from within by
a light bulb. I used that tree myself for several years after Mom
died although I felt no great urge to wind it up for the music. It
lasted until a few years back when I dropped it and the base

Its replacement is a small artificial tree that I bought at work with
my employee discount along with a garland. Last year some
friends sent me some snowmen ornaments for it. I haven’t put it
up yet but think I will this weekend. It fits on top of the tv.

And at some point over the holidays I’ll see that scene from A
Christmas Story again and grin.

2009 update: I bought a small string of battery powered lights
to add to my tree last week!

2010 update: I lost my Christmas stuff in my move last April so
I'll be picking it up another one at work soon.

2011 update
I bought another teeny Christmas tree with lights and ornaments
at Borders. Since the company closed, it will remind me of my
store when I set it out each year.

2012 update
I haven't put up my teeny Christmas tree yet but plan to do it this weekend.

2013 Update
I'll be putting the tree out tomorrow. I may have to buy a new string of
lights this year since some of the teeny weeny bulbs may have died last year.

2014 Update
I haven't put the teeny Christmas tree up yet again. I think I will do
it tomorrow, though.

2015 Update
The teeny Christmas tree will go up this weekend as soon as I decide 
where it will go this year.   


Wednesday, November 29, 2017


The subject for Week 42 of 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks is John Stevens of Andover, Ma.,
my 9x great grandfather. From Charlotte Helen Abbott's Early Records of the Stevens
Family of Andover,

JOHN (1) STEVENS, born 1605, came to Newbury in 1638, on the ship CONFIDENCE,
from Southampton. He is recorded as a husbandman from Cavesham, Oxford Co.,
England. With him were his wife Elizabeth, born 1613, his mother, Alice and his
brother , William, then 21 years of age. John came to Andover in 1645...

...John (1) Stevens and wife, Elizabeth, had:-
John (2) b. June 20, 1639, in Newbury; was a Lieut .; m. Hannah Barnard
June 13, 1662; she was dau. of Robert Barnard and w. Joan Harvey; she d.
March 13, 1675; he m. 2nd., Esther Barker, August 10 1676; she was daughter
of Richard and Joan Barker; she died "suddenly" June 25, 1713; John was a
Selectman and Surveyor; died March 4 (or 5) 1689 at Casco Bay on service in
the Indian War.

Timothy (2), b.  Sept. 23, 1641 in Newbury; settled in Roxbury; m. Sarah Davis
of Roxbury, March 12, 1665; she was dau. of Tobias Davis, b.1647; she d.April
6, 1695; Timothy was a Deacon; also Ensign. He helped capture Castle and Fort
Hill when Andros was driven away, in 1689; he d. Jan.31, 1708.

Nathan (2), b. 1643; some claim that he was born in Andover and was  the first
white child born on the plantation; he was a Cornet; also  Surveyor; also Tythingman;
 he never married; died Feb. 19, 1718 at 75; said to be buried near his father, under
a freestone slab  or table,-a sort of monument. (This is incorrect; he has a stone standing

Elizabeth (2), b. about 1645; m. Joshua Woodman 1665; he was a carpenter; he was
buried in Byfield; has a monument.

Ephraim(2) b. about 1648; he was a Scout; was in the Narragansett War; in 1679
received a grant of land to repay his loss in the Indian Raid; was Sgt.; Selectman;
Assessor; Clerk of Market 169(?) to 1696; Surveyor 1693; m. Oct 11, 1680; Sarah(2)
Abbott, dau. of George Abbott and w. Hannah Chandler; Sarah was b. Nov.14, 1659;
d. June 28, 1711; he d. June 26,1718; no sons lived.

Mary(2), b. about 1649; m. Capt. John Barker, July 6, 1670; John was son of Richard
and Joan Barker, b. 1643; Mary d. 1703; two of the sons were named in Stevens' wills.

Joseph(2),  b. May 15, 1654;  m. May 28, 1679 Mary Ingalls, daughter of Henry Ingalls and
wife, Mary Osgood, b. Jan.28, 1659; she d. Sept.21, 1699;he m. 2nd, Elizabeth Brown of
Salem, 1700; she was probably a widow; she d. 1745; Joesph was a Surveyor 1694-6;
ws on the Grand Jury at Ipswich, 1696; was a Deacon; d. Feb (?) 1743.

Benjamin(2), b.June 24, 1656; was Justice of the Peace, 1686; Field Driver 1694; Capt.;
Representative, 1712-3; 1721; 28;30; was in Indian War, 1725;while away with his company,
the Indians looted his home; he m. Oct.18, 1715, Susanne, widow of John Chickering of Charlestown; she was the daughter of Zachary Symmes of Bradford and was 38 at marriage
to Benj.; died July 20 1753; Benj. died Jan.8, 1730; buried in old cemetery in No. Andover.    

I visited the Old North Burial Ground in North Andover, Ma in May of 2014. This is a photo

of what probably is a replacement for the original headstone of John Stevens:

Sunday, November 26, 2017


Nearly 2.8 million new records from England and Texas are in the Findmypast Fridays release
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Saturday, November 25, 2017


 I received the following announcement from Findmypast this past Wednesday:

                         Findmypast Announces Plans to Publish Cincinnati &
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                          released in partnership with FamilySearch international. 

Leading family history website, Findmypast, has today announced plans to publish over 4.9 Sacramental Registers in partnership with the Archdioceses of Cincinnati and FamilySearch International.

Digitization will soon be underway and over 800,000 fully indexed images of original Cincinnati Catholic baptism, marriage and burial registers containing over 3 million names and spanning the years 1800 to 1953 will be made available online for the first time, only at Findmypast, in 2018.

An additional 1.9 million Chicago Sacramental Registers will also be added to the site later in the year. Published in association with FamilySearch International, these records will cover 125 years of city’s history (1864 to 1989) and will add yet another important region to Findmypast’s growing collection of United States Catholic records.

Today’s announcement marks the latest in a series of updates to Findmypast’s exclusive Catholic Heritage Archive; a ground-breaking initiative that aims to digitize the historic records of the Catholic Church in the United States, Britain and Ireland for the very first time. The digitization of collections such as these is a monumental undertaking and, when complete, this exclusive collection will contain over 100 million records spanning 300 years of Catholic history

The Catholic Church holds some of the oldest and best preserved genealogical records in existence. However, as many of these documents memorialise important religious sacraments, their privacy has long been protected and access to original copies has, until recently, been hard to come by.

In collaboration with various Archdioceses, Findmypast is helping to digitize these important records and make them widely accessible for the first time in one unified online collection. Beautifully scanned color Images of original documents will be available to view and fully searchable transcripts will also be included, providing family historians with easy access to these once closely guarded records.

The Roman Catholic Church is the largest Christian denomination in the world and it has always been a significant component (up to 25%) of the American population. These records will allow researchers from around the globe to uncover the history of millions of Irish, Italian, German, Polish and many other nationalities as they made a new home in the USA.

Additional Cincinnati and Chicago records as well as additional updates from variety of British, Irish, US and Canadian Dioceses will be added to the Catholic Heritage Archive throughout 2018.

Thursday, November 23, 2017


Happy Thanksgiving and welcome to the 9th Annual Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge post
roundup! This year's edition has all sorts of genealogy related poetry: lyrics from hymns and songs,
poetry written by ancestors, poetry about ancestors, and poetry written by descendants about
their ancestors. Please read these fifteen contributions, and remember to leave comments to let the bloggers know how much you enjoyed their posts.

A year ago Michael Davies blogged about a Welsh inscription on the bottom of his great grandparents' headstone. The English translation was "Ever to the Sound of the Golden Harp." and
it is part of a hymn. Michael shares the hymn in both Welsh and English in his post The Reference to "Y Delyn Aur" by Price and Annie Davies   at his Tall Tales of a Family blog.

Michael also has contributed a second post, November 11th - The Lost Of The War, which is a poem 
he wrote when he was 14 or 15 years old, It was inspired by a school trip to visit
World War One battlefields in Belgium and France

June Butka of Dame Gussie's Genealogy Rants found a poem entitled "Picture in Verse" about her 8x
great grandfather and writes that "I believe the sentiment expressed in this poem could be applied to immigrants to our nation today. Life is uncertain, filled with the unknown. It’s how we deal with Life that determines who we are." You can read it in Immigrants remembered.

After the Revolution Linda Stufflebean's Loyalist ancestor moved to New Brunswick near the Miramichi River. Her post The Ninth Annual Great Genealogy Challenge included maps and photos of the area plus a great poem by childrens' author Robert Munsch, Check it out at Linda's  Empty
Branches on the Family Tree.

There are several levels to Nancy Messier's "Matilda Toots" for the 2017 Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge at My Ancestors and Me. On one level it's a memory of a family tradition and the place 
a 19th century song has in it. It also is a history of the song that includes a link to a performance plus the actual lyrics. Finally, the lyrics themselves are a glimpse into how are 19th century ancestors 
spent a day ice-skating.  

Elizabeth O'Neal's submission at My Descendant's Ancestors reflects her Tennessee heritage. It's 
the official state poem "Oh Tennessee, My Tennessee", written by William Lawrence while he was
a POW during the Viet Nam war.  Elizabeth thinks it has great imagery and I agree with her.

The naming of towns or changing those names was often a contentious issue for our ancestors. Dorene Paul's  "Sandusky" by Judge Elisha W. Howland has a poem about one such controversy and the history behind it at her Graveyard Rabbits of Sandusky Bay blog.

Like Van Landry I have some Entanglements in my family tree although a bit further back than his.
He explains all about it and includes a great poem he wrote about it {"Me, Myself and I") at his blog
Family History.. Van wins the "Willy Puckerbrush" which I give out in memory of Terry Thornton for "Most Humorous Post

Randy Seaver joins the challenge this year with "The Wreck of the Hesperus" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.  I'm a big Longfellow fan so I enjoyed learning about Randy's family connections to the setting of the poem. It's all on his Genea-Musings blog.

Over at his TransylvanianDutch blog, John Newmark has posted a poem that was written ninety years ago about immigrants to America that he feels has just as much relevance todsy as it had when it was written.Poem: A Cry of the Foreign Born - by St. Louis poet, Leah Rachel Yoffie (1883-1956)

Reader Duane Hermann doesn't have a blog but he wanted to take part in the Challenge. So he sent me two poems in a comment. They are poems he wrote after visiting his ancestral homeland of Bavaria and they've been published in his poetry collection Prairies of Possibilities. I've posted them
here on West in New England in Two Poems From Duane Hermann

John Tews's great grandmother wrote many poems during her short life and he is fortunate enough to
have some of the original handwritten works. He shares her story and photos of one such poem at his
post at Filiopietism PrismA Poem by Florence Leonette [Flagg] Cooke for the Ninth Annual Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge of Bill West (October 4, 2017)

Barbara Poole recently found a poem about her ancestor Dr. Mannaseh Cutler, David McCullough 
helped a wee bit in why she found it, and  you can read all about that at Barbara's blog Life from The Roots in her post "On Learning To See," and I have David McCullough to Thank for the Poetry Challenge Idea.

One of the little known facts about William Bradford, the Pilgrim governor of  Plymouth Plantation,
is that he wrote poetry. Heather Wilkinson Rojo  of Nutfield Genealogy (who recently toured many Mayflower related places in England) shares one of Bradford's poems  in her post A Poem by a Pilgrim.

Finally, a few months ago my connection to a pear tree that was planted by an ancestor four hundred years ago, that had a poem written about it in the 19th century, and that is still living today. You can
read the whole story here in my post The Governor's Tree

That concludes this year's Challenge. Thank you  to all the participants for such great posts!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017


((I first posted these Thanksgiving memories in 2011))

Thanksgiving is approaching and it brings back memories of Thanksgivings
when we were kids.

If we were hosting the family that year, Dad would be up early in the
morning cooking the bird. I don't know how many companies do it
today but back then many employers gave their workers a frozen
turkey for Thanksgiving so when that happened my parents would
decide if it was big enough for the whole family and guests. If not,
it would stay in the freezer and they'd buy a bigger turkey. The smaller
one would be used for a Sunday dinner for the family a few weeks later.

When the rest of us got up my sister and I would watch the Thanksgving
Day parades on TV while Mom and Dad started on the rest of the food.
The most critical part of the preparations was the stuffing which had to
turn out moist at the meal. I don't know exactly how this was done
nearly every year except that for most of my childhood my folks used
Bell Stuffing in the bird. (When we were older, there was often "backup"
Stove Top Stuffing for when the "made in the bird" stuffing ran out).
But no matter whether we were hosting Thanksgiving or if  it was at our
Uncle Ed and Aunt Mimi's house, there were certain traditions. One was
the kids' table, usually in the kitchen or at the doorway between the dining
room and the living room. In the early years, four of us were seated there:
myself, my sister Cheryl, and our cousins Winnie and Richie.For us, the
most important part of the meal was who was going to get the drumsticks.
After all, there were only two drumsticks and there were four of us! Our
parents at first solved the problem by using a rotating system that was based
on age: Winnie and I were the older and would get the drumsticks at that
Thanksgiving, and Cheryl and Richie would get them at Christmas, since
the families served turkey for the holiday dinner then, This worked for a few
years until my Aunt and Uncle had two more boys, Little Eddie and Vincent,
but by that time somebody had figured out they could buy extra drumsticks
at the supermarket and chaos was averted.

Eventually, one by one, we all outgrew the kids' table and the need to be
the one who ate the drumstick. I found out that I liked the slices of dark
meat better and that cranberry sauce was my favorite part of the main
meal. I also learned that if we were eating at my Aunt and Uncle's house
I should leave room for the second course of all the Italian food, especially
the lasagna. If the meal were at our house, there was a later leftover
sandwich with turkey and stuffing and maybe a little more cranberry sauce
on it.

One not so pleasant Thanksgiving memory was the turkey I forgot. I was
working somewhere at the time, (I forget now if it was at Child World or
Big L Drug Discount Stores) and I got a frozen holiday turkey from the
company which I loaded into the back floor of my car before I drove home.

I forgot it was in the car...

For two days....

Luckily, it wasn't a very warm November.

But it did look sort of green when I finally remembered it was there and
took it inside.

Sunday, November 19, 2017


I received a comment to my last call for the Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge last week from poet Duane Hermann. He sent me "Two poems about my ancestral village in Bavaria, published in 2005 in Prairies of Possibilities, a collection of poems of mine".

I enjoyed reading them very much.


My grandfather
never missed
the hills of Franken,
He never walked the streets
of Reckendorf,
his family “hometown,”
He would have been amazed
to see the things
his father took for granted.
He did not learn,
“Gross Gott,”
as the proper greeting,
Nor did he plow
the family fields
of Bayern.
He lived
a continent away
and never knew his family.
A grandson went,
a century after,
to find the home and people;
His heart leapt
and wept for joy
in reunion.
Deutscher und Amerikaner:
alles ein Famalia –
It’s been so long…


The little shrine by the way
with a history no one knows –
“It’s been there forever,”
like the mountains.
The land is dotted
with these little shrines,
Markers of devotion
and symbols of their faith.
They add a richness to the land,
a reminder to us now:
This land you see
is more than dirt and trees,
It embraces the souls
past more than we will know;
people lived and died and prayed
as some day you will too:
Continue on your day –
beyond this mortal life.


There are over 400 thousand new records, mostly from the British military, in the Findmypast
Friday releases for 17November:


British Army, First World War Soldiers' Medical Records

OVER 212,000 RECORDS  Search for your military ancestor in The National Archives’ collection of medical records from the First World War. Discover when and where your ancestor was wounded and the nature of their injuries as well as how long they were held at the medical facility for treatment.

British Armed Forces, First World War Soldiers' Medical Records Browse

OVER 8,000 RECORDS Browse the National Archives’ series MH106, War Office: First World War Representative Medical Records of Servicemen.

British Armed Forces, First World War Widows' Pension Forms

OVER 8,000 RECORDS Search through The National Archives’ collection of pension forms from the First World War to learn more about those they left behind. Discover the cause and date of their death, the names of their spouse and children, and uncover details of their service history.

British Army, Royal Welch Fusiliers 1807-1948

OVER 2,000 RECORDS Did your ancestor serve with the Royal Welch Fusiliers? Explore this collection of enlistment, transfer, and discharge registers as well as casualty reports from 1830 to 1946 to uncover a detailed history of their military service.

Hampshire, Portsmouth Military Tribunals 1916-1919

OVER  14,000 RECORDS Did your Portsmouth ancestor seek exemption from military service by applying to a tribunal and claiming illness, potential business damage, conscientious objection, or family hardship? Uncover details such as addresses, occupations and employers’ details, and decisions or recommendations of the tribunals.

Military Historical Society Bulletins

OVER  6,000 RECORDS Search through the pages of The Bulletin of The Military Historical Society for the history of the armed forces, weapons, uniforms, and more. These bulletins are an excellent resource for military historians. Issues from 1950 through to 2017 are available.

Middlesex, Harrow School Photographs of Pupils & Masters 1869-1925

OVER 3,000 RECORDS Did your ancestor attend Harrow School between 1869 and 1925? Discover beautifully captured school portraits of Old Harrovians. Each result will provide a portrait or group photograph along with a transcript of details related to the student.

British Army, First World War Casualty Lists

OVER 2,000 RECORDS Was your ancestor taken prisoner, killed or wounded in the Great War? Search the War Office Weekly Casualty List to discover where and when they became a casualty as well as their rank, regiment and service number.

British Army, First World War Casualty Lists Image Browse

OVER 2,000 RECORDS Browse through 59 issues of the War Office Weekly Casualty List, a weekly publication that listed the names of those who were reported as missing, taken prisoner of war, wounded, or killed in action.


British Army Service Records

New records: 47,000
Total records: 8,069,166
Covering: Officers and other ranks between 1760 and 1939
Discover: All sorts of Army forms including attestation papers, medical forms, discharge documents, pension claims, and proceedings of regimental boards

Prisoners of War 1715-1945

New records: 47,000
Total records: 2,706,684
Covering: Non-British soldiers, civilians, diplomats, missionaries and merchant seamen
Discover: Where they were captured, when they were captured and details of their internment

Prisoners of War 1715-1945 Browse

New records: 7,499
Total records: 1,221 volumes
Covering: These records from The National Archives include papers from the Foreign Office, War Office, State papers, Colonial Office, Admiralty and Air Force
Discover: Where your ancestors were captured, when they were captured and details of their internment

Saturday, November 18, 2017


(( I first posted two articles about my Mayflower family descents back in
 November 2011 and decided to repost them every year as a Thanksgiving 

Back when I first started researching the family genealogy online I was
thrilled to discover we were descended from several Mayflower passengers.
At one point I even carried around a small folded up piece of paper
in my wallet with the lines of descent to show when discussing genealogy
with some customer at the bookstore. But I lost that some time ago, so I
thought I'd post them here for other family members.

The first three lines come down through my Ellingwood ancestry from
Stephen Hopkins, Thomas Rogers, and James Chilton.

Hopkins Line
Stephen Hopkins and Mary____
Constance Hopkins & Nicholas Snow
Elizabeth Snow & Thomas Rogers
Eleazer Rogers & Ruhamah Willis
Experience Rogers & Stephen Totman
Deborah Totman & Moses Barrows Jr.
Asa Barrows & Content Benson
Rachel Barrows & John Ellingwood Jr
Asa F. Ellingwood & Florilla Dunham
Clara Ellingwood & Philip West
Floyd West Sr & Clara Barker
Floyd West Jr & Anne M White

Rogers Line
Thomas Rogers & Alice Cosford
Joseph Rogers & Hannah___
Thomas Rogers & Elizabeth Snow
Eleazer Rogers & Ruhamah Willis
Experience Rogers & Stephen Totman
Deborah Totman & Moses Barrows Jr.
Asa Barrows & Content Benson
Rachel Barrows & John Ellingwood Jr
Asa F. Ellingwood & Florilla Dunham
Clara Ellingwood & Philip West
Floyd West Sr & Clara Barker
Floyd West Jr & Anne M White

Chilton Line
James Chilton & ?
Isabella Chilton & Roger Chandler
Sarah Chandler & Moses Simmons
Moses Simmons Jr & Patience Barstow
Patience Simmons & George Barrows
Moses Barrows & Mary Carver
Deborah Totman & Moses Barrows Jr.
Asa Barrows & Content Benson
Rachel Barrows & John Ellingwood Jr
Asa F. Ellingwood & Florilla Dunham
Clara Ellingwood & Philip West
Floyd West Sr & Clara Barker
Floyd West Jr & Anne M White

Friday, November 17, 2017


Whenever I am talking or writing about my Mayflower descent, for some
ironic reason I always forget about Remember Allerton. The reason for the
irony is that both my Dad's parents were Allerton descendants: Pop from
Remember Allerton and Grandma Bertha from Mary Allerton.:

Allerton #1 through Ellingwood Line

Isaac Allerton & Mary Norris
Remember Allerton & Moses Maverick
Abigail Maverick & Samuel Ward
Martha Ward & John Tuthill(Tuttle)
Martha Tuthill(Tuttle) & Mark Haskell
Martha Haskell & John Safford
Ruth Safford & Samuel Haskell
Martha Haskell & Moses Houghton
Sally Houghton & James Thomas Dunham
Florilla Dunham & Asa Freeman Ellingwood
Clara Ellingwood & Phillip Jonathan West
Floyd Earl West Sr  & Cora B Barker
Floyd Earl West Jr &  Anne Marie White

Allerton #2 through Barker Line

Isaac Allerton & Mary Norris
Mary Allerton & Thomas Cushman
Sarah Cushman & Adam Hawkes
John Hawkes & Mary(Margery)Whitford
Eva Hawkes & John Bancroft         Eunice Hawkes & Jacob Walton
John Bancroft & Mary Walton
Sally(Sarah)Bancroft & Francis Upton
Hannah Upton & Cyrus Moore
Betsey Jane Moore & Amos Hastings Barker
Charlotte Lovenia Barker & Frank W Barker
Cora B, Barker & Floyd Earl Wesrt Sr
Floyd Earl West Jr and Anne Marie White.

My Warren ancestry comes through my Ames line

Warren #1 Through Ames Line

Richard Warren  &  Elizabeth (?)
Mary Warren & Robert Bartlett
Mary Bartlett & Jonathan Mowrey(Morey)
Hannah Mowrey(Morey) & John Bumpas
Mary Bumpas & Seth Ellis
Mary Ellis & Ephraim Griffith
John Griffith & Mary Boyden
Polly Griffith & Jonathan Phelps Ames
Arvilla S. Ames & John Cutter West
John Cutter West & Louisa Richardson
Phillip Jonathan West & Clara Ellingwood
Floyd Earl West Sr & Cora B Barker
Floyd Earl West Jr and Anne Marie White.

Warren #2 Through Dunham Line:

Richard Warren & Elizabeth (LNU)
Ann Warren & Thomas Little
Hannah Little & Stephen Tilden
Mary Tilden & James Thomas
John Thomas & Abigail Dunham
Mary Thomas & John Dunham
James Dunham  & Cynthia Packard
James Thomas Dunham & Sally Houghton
Florilla Dunham & Asa Ellingwood
Clara Ellingwood & Philip J West
Floyd E West Sr & Cora Bertha Barker

Thursday, November 16, 2017


 I received the following press release from Findmypast in my email this morning:

                 Findmypast Announces Plans to Publish Trinity Mirror Archive

●       Over 12 million pages from the archives of Trinity Mirror to be digitised and published
 online for the first time.

●       Two-year programme of intensive digitisation will nearly double the newspaper holdings of Findmypast and the British Newspaper Archive 

London, 16th November 2017

Leading British family history company Findmypast has announced a ground-breaking two-year programme of intensive digitisation from the archives of Trinity Mirror, the largest private newspaper collection in the UK.

The project will result in the online publication of over 12 million pages, made available online for the very first time at Findmypast, as well as on Findmypast’s sister site, the British Newspaper Archive. This will give family and local historians around the world the opportunity to search and explore a wide variety of historical UK publications that were previously inaccessible to the public.

The project will add significantly to Findmypast’s 20th century holdings and extend its geographic reach with over 150 local titles from across the UK. When complete, the Trinity Mirror titles will nearly double the total newspaper holdings of Findmypast and the British Newspaper Archive, providing even more opportunities for researchers to explore history as it happened.

Digitisation is now underway at the British Newspaper Archive’s studio in Boston Spa, with up to 100,000 pages being scanned each week. New material from Trinity titles is now available to search, including a variety of local publications covering Birmingham and the Midlands as well as additional issues of The Daily Herald.

The programme builds on an existing partnership that has already resulted in the digitization and online publication of upwards of 160 Trinity Mirror titles, including significant coverage of both World Wars. Published online for the very first time, these war-time publications also included the Archive’s first national titles, The Daily Mirror and The Daily Herald.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017


Only one day left to send your submissions in for the Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge
The deadline is midnight tomorrow night, Thursday, November 16th. Don't forget to send
me the link to your post!

These are the Challenge rules:

1. Find a poem by a  poet, famous or obscure, about the region
one of your ancestors lived in. It can be about an historical event, a
legend, a person, or even about some place (like a river)or a local
animal. It can even be a poem you or one of your ancestors have written.
0r, if you prefer, post the lyrics of a song or a link to a video of someone
performing the song.

2. Post the poem or song to your blog (remembering to cite the source
where you found it.). If you wish to enter an older post, you may as long
as it has not appeared here in an earlier Poetry Challenge.

 3.Tell us how the subject of the poem or song relates to your ancestor's
home or life, or the area of the country where they lived.

4.Submit your post's link here to me by midnight Thursday, November 16th
and I'll publish all links to the entries on Thanksgiving Day, November 23rd!

If  you submit a humorous poem or song that will be entered under the
"Willy Puckerbrush" division. Willy was the late geneablogger Terry
Thornton's alias for some humorous posts and comments.

Saturday, November 11, 2017


 There are over 2 million British military records in this week's Findmypast Fridays releases.


Commonwealth War Graves Commission Debt Of Honour

OVER 1.7 MILLION RECORDS  Discover where your military ancestors were laid to rest with an index of Commonwealth War Graves Commission records covering both world wars. Transcripts will reveal when your ancestor died, their rank, regiment service number and age at death

British Armed Forces, Roman Catholic Registers

OVER 17,000 RECORDS  Search through thousands of Roman Catholic sacramental registers from the British armed forces. The registers comprise records for the British Army, Royal Air Force, and Royal Navy stationed at home and abroad between 1836 and 1975.

British Armed Forces, Roman Catholic Registers Browse

122 VOLUMES Browse through original registers of Catholic baptisms, confirmations, marriages and burials covering all three service branches of the British Armed Forces.

British Army, Army Lists 1839-1946

OVER 245,475 IMAGES  Uncover valuable details about your military ancestor in British Army lists from 1839 to 1946. Discover their birth date, rank, unit and service details, such as where and when they served, whether they were injured or a recipient of a medal, and what type of commission they held.

British Army, Army Lists 1839-1946 Image Browse

215 VOLUMES Searching by year and title, browse through British Army lists from 1839 to 1946 to discover where your ancestor was stationed.

British Army, East Surrey Regiment 1899-1919

OVER 28,000 RECORDS Did your ancestor serve with the East Surrey Regiment during the Boer War or the First World War? Explore this index to discover your ancestor’s rank, regiment, and battalion, as well as whether he was wounded or received a medal.

British Army, Railwaymen Died in The Great War

OVER 21,000 RECORDS  Explore this index of records found on the National Railway Museum website to uncover details of your ancestor’s pre-war career, military service and death. A number of records may also include a link to a photo of your ancestor.

British Army, Irish Regimental Enlistment Registers 1877-1924

OVER  11,000 RECORDS Discover your military ancestor in enlistment books pertaining to Irish regiments in the British Army that were disbanded in 1922 upon the creation of the Irish Free State.


British Army, Northumberland Fusiliers 1881-1920

New records: 4,340
Total records: 98,418
Covering: Men who served with the ‘Fighting Fifth’ during the Boer War or the First World War
Discover: Service number, enlistment date, enlistment place, rank, battalion and service history

British Army Service Records

New records: 5,480
Total records: 9,716 volumes
Covering: Scots Guards 1799-1939
Discover: Attestation papers, medical forms, discharge documents, pension claims, and proceedings of regimental boards