Saturday, November 10, 2018


On Veterans Day I like to pay tribute to the members of
our family who have served our country from its birth. I don't
have all the details of the service records, and I'm sure I will
discover more relatives to add later, but this is what I have so far.

American Revolution: 
Jonathan Barker Jr. My 4x great grandfather
Was a Minuteman from Methuen Ma with rank of Sergeant.
He responded to Lexington and Concord with his sons
Served in Captain Samuel Johnson's Company in
Colonel Titcomb's Regiment for 2 months in 1777 in Rhode
Island and then with Nathaniel Gage's Company in Colonel
Jacob Gerrish's guards from Dec 1777 tol April 1778 guarding
the captured troops of General Burgoyne.

Jonathan Barker 3rd  My 5x great grandfather

Enlisted on 19 Apr 1775 in Continental Army, Capt. John
Davis' Company, Col. James Frye's Regiment, in the
Massachusetts line for 8 months in Cambridge, Ma. At the
conclusion of the term, he reenlisted for another 3 months in
Capt John Allen's Company, Colonel John Waldron's Regiment,
General Sullivan's Brigade in the New Hampshire Brigade at
Charlestown, Ma. He then enlisted a third time in June 1778
at Methuen, Ma., joining Captain Samuel Carr's Company, Col.
James Weston's Regiment, in General Lerned's Brigade at
White Plains, N.Y. and serving for another 9 months.

John Ames       My 5x great grandfather

Was a Minuteman under Capt. Asa Parker on April 18th,
1775. He then enlisted in the Continental Army under Captain
Oliver Parker, Col. William Prescott's Regiment and
in the Brigade that was commanded in turn by Generals
Putnam, Lee, and Washington and served for 8 1/2 months.
For a more detailed account of his service see my posts
about his Revolutionary War Pension File starting here.

Asa Barrows    My 4x great grandfather

A member of the militia from Middleborough , Ma. (south of
Boston) in the Company of Captain Joshua Benson, in Colonel
Cotton's Regiment, and General William Heath's Brigade for
8 months during the siege of Boston. In December 1776 he
joined a militia Company commanded by Captain Joshua
Perkins and marched to Barrington, R.I. and was stationed
there for 6 weeks. In July 1780 he again enlisted, this time
in a militia company commanded by Captain Perez Churchill
that marched to Tiverton, R.I. I posted about his
Revolutionary War Pension File starting here.

Moses Coburn  My 4x great grandfather

Moses Coburn got into the War late and by reason of being
"hired by a certain class of men in the then town of Dunstable
to go into the Continental Army in the summer of 1781."
When he reached Phillipsburgh in New York he was placed in
Captain Benjamin Pike's Company, in the Regiment of the
Massachusetts line commanded by Lt. Colonel Calvin Smith in
which he served for nearly two years until it was broken up.
He then transferred to the Company of Judah Alden in the
Regiment commanded by Colonel Sprouts until his discharge
in 1783.

Samuel Haskell   My 5x great grandfather

Samuel served in Captain Joseph Elliott's Company in Colonel
William Turner's Regiment and then under Captain Hezekiah
Whitney in Colonel Josiah Whitney's Regiment.

Amos Hastings   My 5x great grandfather

Amos was responded to the Lexington Alarm as part of
Captain Richard Ayer's Company and Colonel William
Johnson's Regiment. He later served in Captain Timothy
Eaton's Company in Colonel Edward Wigglesworth's Regiment
and was at the taking of the British General Burgoyne at

Elisha Houghton   5x great grandfather

Enlisted at Harvard Ma as a Private in May of 1777 in the
Massachusetts militia and was at the Battles of Bunker Hill
and Stillwater. He then enlisted for three years in the infantry
company commanded by Captain Joshua Brown in Colonel
Timothy Bigelow's 15th Regiment of the Massachusetts line.
and took part in the Battles of Monmouth and Newport and
was at Valley Forge. He twice was promoted to Sergeant and
twice was busted back down to the ranks.

Amos Upton    My 5x great grandfather

Responded to the Lexington Alarm and marched there from
his home in Reading. He later joined the militia company
commanded by Captain Asa Prince as an orderly sergeant
and then enlisted for eight months in the Continental Army
under Colonel Mansfield for 8 months. He was at the Battle
of Bunker Hill. He was discharged in October of 1775.

John Griffith  My 5x great grandfather

Enlisted in 1781 as a Matross (he swabbed out the barrel of
the cannons after they fired, or so I've been told) in Captain
William Treadwell's Company in Colonel John Crane's
Artillery Regiment.

Reuben Packard   My 5x great grandfather

A Sergeant in Captain Josiah Hayden's Company in Colonel
Bailey's militia. They marched to Lexington at news of the
Alarm. He also responded several more times as a Minuteman
for a total of nearly 8 months duty.

Jonathan Abbot    My 5x great grandfather

Served as a Sergeant in the Militia under Captain Henry
Abbott and responded to the Lexington Alarm

Samuel Stowe  My 5x great grandfather

Minuteman from Sherborn, Ma. Served in Capt. Benjamin Bullard's
Company in Col. Asa Whitcomb's 5th Massachusetts Bay
Provincial Regiment

Besides those direct ancestors, these other relatives fought
in the Revolution:

Moses Barrows, brother to Asa Barrows.

Samuel, Jesse, and Benjamin Barker, sons of Jonathan
Barker, Jr. and brothers to Jonathan Barker 3rd.

James Swan, brother in law to Jonathan Barker.

War of 1812
John Griffith My 5x great grandfather

served in Capt Elias Morse's Company, Col. Holland's Regiment
as part of a artillery company defending Portland, Maine.

Amos Hastings My 5x great grandfather
helped organize the militia in Bethel, Maine and rose
to the rank of Brigadier General  of the 2nd Brigade, 13th Division of
the Massachusetts State Militia.

Nathaniel Barker  My 3x great grandfather
was a private in  the company commanded by Captain William Wheeler
in the Regiment  of Militia commanded by Col. Ryerson, which was
stationed at Portland, Maine.

Civil War
Asa Freeman Ellingwood  My 2x great grandfather

enlisted in Company I, 5th Maine Infantry, on June 24, 1861.
He was at the First Battle of Bull Run after which he received
a medical discharge in Dec 1861. He reenlisted inCo "A" 9th
Veteran R Corps in September 1864 and served until the end
of the war when he was honorably discharged.

Asa & Florilla Ellingwood

Other relatives who served in the Civil War:

2x great granduncles:

 Leonidas West
Enlisted in Company G 12 Maine Infantry Regiment on March 1,
1865. Mustered out on  18Apr 1866

Asa Atwood West
Enlisted in Company F of the Maine Coast Guard.

Oscar Phipps Ellingwood
Enlisted in Company E, New Hampshire 14th Infantry Regiment
23Sept 1862, mustered out 9Sep 1863. Transferred to Company
E,  U.S,.Veterans Reserve Corps 21st Infantry Regiment 9Sep 1863,
mustered out 11Jul 1865.


Charles O. Ellingwood
Enlisted 21 Dec 1863 in Company E, 9th New Hampshire Infantry.
Died 13Mar 1864 at Camp Burnside,Kentucky. (18 yrs old)

Henry O. Ellingwood Enlisted 25Oct 1862  Company K,  New
Hampshire 16th Infantry Regiment, died  1Mar 1863 in Carollton, La.

Franklin Dunham
Died in the War. Haven't found any details as yet.

Spanish-American War
Hollis J Ellingwood My cousin
Enlisted 2May 1898 in Company A 1st Regiment Maine Infantry
Discharged 28Oct 1898

World War 1

 Floyd E West Sr. My grandfather

Floyd E West Sr.

Enlisted 29Apr 1918. Served in Company K,303rd Infantry. He was a
corpsman at Camp Devens, Ma during the Spanish Influenza outbreak
and was honorably discharged 12 Mar 1919

World War II

Floyd E West Jr  My Dad

Enlisted 19 Mar 1943 at 18 years old. After washing out of the Air Corps
Bomber School, he served in the US Army Infantry in the Pacific Theater  and
was honorably discharged on 11 Mar 1946 at age 22

Edward F White, Jr. My Uncle

Enlisted in the U.S.Navy on 27Oct 1942 at 17years old. He was honorably
discharged 18Apr 1946, a week before his 21st birthday.

Charles Barger My Uncle
I don't know the specifics of his service yet.
Operation Iraqi Freedom
 Paul Skarinka My Nephew

Paul And Jen


If you have been thinking about taking part in this year's Poetry Challenge you have only 5 days
left (counting today) to submit your entry!

 Here are the rules for the Challenge:

 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 15th
and I'll publish all links to the entries on Thanksgiving Day, November 22nd!

5. 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.

Friday, November 09, 2018


Alright, I'm finally trying to move on after being tangled up in the Samuel Dunham conundrum.Here's a brief biography of Samuel, who is my 7x great grandfather:

(III) Samuel Dunham, son of John, born Feb. 25, 1651, at Plymouth, married (first) in 1680 Mary Harlow and (second) Jan. 15, 1693, Mrs. Sarah Watson. In 1699 he and his son Samuel enlisted under Capt. James Warren. His will was probated in 1718 at Plymouth. His children were: Samuel, born in 1681; William, born in 1684; Mary, born in 1687; Ebenezer, born in 1692; and Nathaniel, born in 1698.-p1648

Representative Men and Old Families of Southeastern Massachusetts: Containing Historical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens and Genealogical Records of Many of the Old Families  Vol3.. J.H. Beers & Company, 1912 - Barnstable County (Mass.)

Mary Harlow, Samuel's wife, was the daughter of  Willism Harlow and Mary Faunce.

I've found Samuel's Probate file over on American Ancestors. He died intestate and the estate was administered by his son Samuel Jr.

I am descended from Samuel's son Ebenezer Dunham.

Thursday, November 08, 2018


Ten years ago I discovered the World War 1 Draft cards for some of my male family
members over at I posted what information I learned from them here
on March 2, 2007 . So I thought I'd repost the information  at this time in observance
of the 100th anniversary of the end of World War 1.

The first five are my Mom's maternal  uncles, the McFarland brothers: Tommy, Frank,
Bobby, John and Mike. I don't remember ever meeting the last two brothers but we visited
Uncle Tommy and Uncle Frank many times when I was a kid. Uncle Tommy shared my
love of books and had a set of the Encylopedia Brittanica. Uncle Frank taught me how
to make tomato and mayonnaise sandwiches.  

Here's what I learned about them from the cards.

Tom lists his occupation as a toolmaker at A. A. Crafts at 125 Summer Boston.
For dependents he lists his father and mother who would have been in their late sixties.
His physical description is Medium height, Slender build, with Brown (or Blonde?) hair
and Brown eyes. At the time he filled out the card he was living at 950 Parker St. in Boston.

((By the 1950's he had white hair and he smoked a pipe. For some reason I remember
him wearing a shirt and tie most of the time. He was working in the jewelry business by
the time I came along and he and his wife lived in a nice little white house in Milton He
died in 1977 at the age of 84 .))

Frank was living with his family at 50 Cotton St. in Medford. He lists his occupation
as "bottling" at the Moxie Plant at 69 Haverhill St. in Boston. His eyes were Gray,
his hair Dark Brown; his height and build were given as Medium.
((I remember Frank with grey hair, wire-rimmed glasses and a cane. He stayed with us
at few times at the Capen St.apartment in Dorchester which was where he taught me 
howto make those tomato sandwiches. He lived with his son John in Andover, Ma. and
died in 1986 at age 82.)) 

Robert was living with his family at 121 or 126 Paul Gore St. His occupation was
shoemaker at the Thomas J. Plant(?) Shoe Co. at what looks like the "corner of
Centre and Bickford Streets" in Boston. His height and build are Slender, his eyes
Light Brown and his hair Black.

Mike was living at 946 Parker St in Boston with his wife Mary and he was a shoe
worker at George A. Keith Company at 288 A So. Boston. His height was given
as Tall, his build Medium, his hair Dark and Brown for the eye color. He was the oldest
child in the family and the only one born in Ireland.

John was working as a chauffeur for someone at 409 Columbia Rd in Boston but lived
with his wife and children at 112 Heath St in the Roxbury neighborhood of the city. He's
described as of medium height and weight and having  brown hair and grey eyes.

Then there are the cards for both my grandfathers.

Floyd Earl West gives his occupation as farming in Upton, Me. His height is listed as
Short, his build Medium, his eyes Blue and his hair “D. Brown” He claimed an exemption
from the draft due to an injury to his right arm and shoulder; on the disability line he
adds “right arm weak”. But whatever the injury was it healed because Grandpa West
did get drafted a year later and was inducted(?) on 29 Apr 1918. He reached the rank
of Pvt 1st class in November of 1918 and served as part of Company K, 303 Infantry.
He never made it oversea, though  because he ended at  Camp Devens, Ma. during the
outbreak of the Spanish Influenza where he helped with the patients.. He was honorably
discharged on 12 Mar 1919 after contracting pneumonia.

Finally, my mother’s father, Edward F. White lists his occupation as “helper” on the
“N.Y., N.H., & H. R..R. & Co.” by which I take it to mean the New York,
New Haven, and Hartford Railroad. The business address is given as Union Station
in Harftord. He gives his home address as 41 Philbrick St in Roslindale Ma. and lists
as closest relative his mother “Lena White”. His height is Tall, build Medium. His eyes
were Blue and his hair Dark Brown. This card was a real find for me because it filled
the blanks about that part of the family. Mom never talked about her father and I
never met him.

Grandpa West is the only one out of this group that I've found to have actually
served in the military during World War I. But the McFarland brothers were all in their late
twenties or older and Grandpa White might have been exempted due to his occupation.

All the images in this post are from the "United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918," database with images, at FamilySearch

Tuesday, October 30, 2018


((First posted on October, 2011))

When we were small our Mom occasionally would recite this poem and would tickle us when she reached the "Gobble-uns 'll git you ef you don't watch out!" part. Then when I was in the third grade at the Frank V.Thompson school in Dorchester I read the poem in our English text book. Years later I used to post it every Halloween on an email list for a fantasy role playing group. So it's a sort of Halloween tradition for me.

Anyway, it's the best Halloween poem I know. Enjoy.

And `ware th' Gobble-uns!

Little Orphant Annie

by James Whitcomb Riley.

LITTLE Orphant Annie ’s come to our house to stay,   
An’ wash the cups and saucers up, an’ brush the crumbs away,   
An’ shoo the chickens off the porch, an’ dust the hearth, an’ sweep,   
An’ make the fire, an’ bake the bread, an’ earn her board-an’-keep;   
An’ all us other children, when the supper things is done,         
We set around the kitchen fire an’ has the mostest fun   
A-list’nin’ to the witch-tales ’at Annie tells about,   
An’ the Gobble-uns ’at gits you   
        Ef you   

Onc’t they was a little boy would n’t say his pray’rs—   
An’ when he went to bed at night, away up stairs,   
His mammy heerd him holler, an’ his daddy heerd him bawl,           
An’ when they turn’t the kivvers down, he was n’t there at all!   
An’ they seeked him in the rafter-room, an’ cubby-hole, an’ press,   
An’ seeked him up the chimbly-flue, an’ ever’wheres, I guess;   
But all they ever found was thist his pants an’ roundabout!   
An’ the Gobble-uns ’ll git you           
        Ef you   

An’ one time a little girl ’ud allus laugh an’ grin,         
An’ make fun of ever’ one, an’ all her blood-an’-kin;   
An’ onc’t when they was “company,” an’ ole folks was there,   
She mocked ’em an’ shocked ’em, an’ said she did n’t care!   
An’ thist as she kicked her heels, an’ turn’t to run an’ hide,   
They was two great big Black Things a-standin’ by her side,          
An’ they snatched her through the ceilin’ ’fore she knowed what she ’s about!   
An’ the Gobble-uns ’ll git you   
        Ef you   

An’ little Orphant Annie says, when the blaze is blue,   
An’ the lampwick sputters, an’ the wind goes woo-oo!   
An’ you hear the crickets quit, an’ the moon is gray,   
An’ the lightnin’-bugs in dew is allsquenched away,—        
You better mind yer parents, and yer teachers fond and dear,   
An’ churish them ’at loves you, an’ dry the orphant’s tear,   
An’ he’p the pore an’ needy ones ’at clusters all about,   
Er the Gobble-uns ’ll git you   
        Ef you           

Saturday, October 27, 2018


Just a reminder: there's only three weeks left to submit entries in this year's Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge . Thanksgivng Day falls on November 22nd this year so the deadline for submissions will be a week before, on Thursday, November 15th.

Here are the rules for the Challenge:

 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 15th
and I'll publish all links to the entries on Thanksgiving Day, November 22nd!

5. 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.

This is the tenth year of the Challenge and I'm looking forward to seeing what poems people find! 

Friday, October 26, 2018


I found a second poem for this year's Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge. It's about the arrival of the Pilgrims, some of whom were my ancestors, in the New World  What's unusual about it is it was written by Robert Southey who was a British Poet Laureate. I found it here on the website:

First Landing of the Pilgrims
Robert Southey (1774–1843)


DAYS pass, winds veer, and favoring skies   
Change like the face of fortune; storms arise;   
    Safely, but not within her port desired,   
              The good ship lies.   
          Where the long sandy Cape           
          Bends and embraces round,   
  As with a lover’s arm, the sheltered sea,   
            A haven she hath found   
From adverse gales and boisterous billows free.   

            Now strike your sails,           
  Ye toilworn mariners, and take your rest   
        Long as the fierce northwest   
          In that wild fit prevails,   
Tossing the waves uptorn with frantic sway.   
          Keep ye within the bay,           
            Contented to delay   
Your course till the elemental madness cease,   
And heaven and ocean are again at peace.   

            How gladly there,   
      Sick of the uncomfortable ocean,           
The impatient passengers approach the shore;   
  Escaping from the sense of endless motion,   
To feel firm earth beneath their feet once more,   
          To breathe again the air   
    With taint of bilge and cordage undefiled,           
  And drink of living springs, if there they may,   
And with fresh fruits and wholesome food repair   
      Their spirits, weary of the watery way.   

              And oh! how beautiful   
            The things of earth appear
            To eyes that far and near   
          For many a week have seen   
        Only the circle of the restless sea!   
            With what a fresh delight   
      They gaze again on fields and forests green,
              Hovel, or whatsoe’er   
    May bear the trace of man’s industrious hand;   
            How grateful to their sight   
            The shore of shelving sand,   
      As the light boat moves joyfully to land!           

  Woods they beheld, and huts, and piles of wood,   
            And many a trace of toil,   
  But not green fields or pastures. ’T was a land   
              Of pines and sand;   
    Dark pines, that from the loose and sparkling soil           
      Rose in their strength aspiring: far and wide   
      They sent their searching roots on every side,   
      And thus, by depth and long extension, found   
Firm hold and grasp within that treacherous ground:   
  So had they risen and flourished; till the earth,           
      Unstable as its neighboring ocean there,   
    Like an unnatural mother, heaped around   
  Their trunks its wavy furrows white and high;   
    And stifled thus the living things it bore.   
            Half buried thus they stand,           
            Their summits sere and dry,   
    Marking, like monuments, the funeral mound;   
    As when the masts of some tall vessel show   
Where, on the fatal shoals, the wreck lies whelmed below.
*        *        *        *        *
Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes, ed. by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Boston: James R. Osgood & Co., 1876–79

Saturday, October 20, 2018


One of the most frustrating and sometimes painful things that happens for family historians is finding out that someone you believed to be your ancestor isn' t.The most common reason for this is that there is more than one person in a family or community that have the same name, and for one reason or another you have the wrong one.

And this is what happened to me in the case of John Dunham Jr. and consequently his son Samuel Dunham.

Oops.Let me explain.

I had John Dunham Jr in my tree as my 8th great grandfather and his son Samuel Dunham as my 7th great grandfather. But when I finally got around to transcribing John's will the other day, there was no mention of Samuel anywhere in it. So I started checking the other information I had on the family and discovered that John Dunham Jr's son Samuel died in a house fire in August 1687/88, five years before John's will was written, and had never married. So he wasn't my ancestor.

Eventually I figured it out. The Samuel Dunham I am descended from was John Dunham Jr's nephew, who was married to Mary Harlow. And his father Samuel Dunham Sr was John's btother.

So how did this happen? Well, the Ellingwood and Dunhams were the first of my ancestors I added to my family tree, using my cousin Florence O'Connor's book. And she used the book by Isaac Watson  for her Dunham information. All of her Ellingwood research has checked out but I hadn't worked extensively on the Dunhams until now. And as I've mentioned in a previous post, Isaac Watson's  book has since been proven to have some erroneous information. But fifty or so years ago the book information was widely accepted.

I made a classic newbie error when I didn't double check the information  when I entered it on my family tree.

Luckily for me, I don't have to remove a whole branch from that tree, just one generation from my line of descent. I've already done that on Ancestry and RootsMagic. And I will have to redo Week 37 of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks with the correct ancestor this time.

Live and Learn!


((Oddly enough, both my parents occasionally would quote a line or two from Riley's
two most famous poems. This is the one Dad would quote; I'll post the other later this month
I first posted this on 13Oct 2012)) 

We had the first frost of the fall season last night in parts of New England and it put me in mind 
how Dad would  sometimes recite "When the frost is on the pumpkin...". That's the only part of
the poem he'd say. I think he must have had to recite it in school when he was a kid and that's all
he remembered.

Reading it just now I had to grin at the line about the turkey since I've now had experiences with
a loud, "struttin" turkey here in my own backyard!

 "When the Frost is on the Punkin"
                          James Whitcomb Riley

When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock,   
And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin' turkey-cock,   
And the clackin' of the guineys, and the cluckin' of the hens,   
And the rooster's hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence;   
O, it's then the time a feller is a-feelin' at his best,         
With the risin' sun to greet him from a night of peaceful rest,   
As he leaves the house, bareheaded, and goes out to feed the stock,   
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.   
They's something kindo' harty-like about the atmusfere   
When the heat of summer's over and the coolin' fall is here—   
Of course we miss the flowers, and the blossoms on the trees,   
And the mumble of the hummin'-birds and buzzin' of the bees;   
But the air's so appetizin'; and the landscape through the haze   
Of a crisp and sunny morning of the airly autumn days   
Is a pictur' that no painter has the colorin' to mock—   
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.   
The husky, rusty russel of the tossels of the corn,   
And the raspin' of the tangled leaves as golden as the morn;   
The stubble in the furries—kindo' lonesome-like, but still   
A-preachin' sermuns to us of the barns they growed to fill;   
The strawstack in the medder, and the reaper in the shed;   
The hosses in theyr stalls below—the clover overhead!—   
O, it sets my hart a-clickin' like the tickin' of a clock,   
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.   
Then your apples all is gethered, and the ones a feller keeps   
Is poured around the cellar-floor in red and yaller heaps;   
And your cider-makin's over, and your wimmern-folks is through   
With theyr mince and apple-butter, and theyr souse and sausage too!...   
I don't know how to tell it—but ef such a thing could be   
As the angels wantin' boardin', and they'd call around on me—   
I'd want to 'commodate 'em—all the whole-indurin' flock—   
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.

Monday, October 08, 2018


My 9x great grandfather John Dunham Sr. has been the subject of much discussion by genealogists over the years. There is the question of John Singletary/ John Dunham which I won't go into here. And then there is the confusion caused by Isaac Watson's book which had many errors that were accepted by the genealogical community of the 19th century as fact.

I debated dicussing those errors here but then decided if I did so they might end up on someone's online family tree and spread further. Instead here is a link to the book, Dunham genealogy: English and American branches of the Dunham family. This is an edition published in 1907. What alarms me is that there are editions published as recently as 2017.

Luckily, more thorough research from reputable genealogists has produced these facts:
John Dunham  Sr was born in England around 1588/9. He married Susannah Keno around 1615 and they were part of the English Separatist community in Leiden Holland where they had three children together before Susannah's death. John's second wife was Abigail Barlow (or Ballou) who he married on 22Oct 1629 in Leiden. Their first three (possibly four) children were born in Leiden before the family arrived at Plymouth Plantation in 1632.  John's occupation is listed in the Plymouth records as weaver but he managed to acquire quite a bit of property and he was a prominent member of the community. He also was active in the town government  where he served on committees and worked as a town officer several times, He and his sons also occasionally were involved in some scurrilous incidents over the years. He died in Plymouth on 2Mar 1688/9.

John Dunham Sr.'s children with Susannah Keno, all born in Leiden, were:

John Jr., b. about 1616; died 6Apr 1692
Humility, b. around 1618
Thoma, b. around 1619; died around 1677

His children with Abigail Barlow/Ballou:
Samuel, b. in Leiden about 1623; died in Plymouth 20Jan 1711
Jonathan, b. in Leiden about 1625
Abigail, b. in Leiden around 1627
Joseph, b. 1631 (probably in Leiden)
Hannah, b. in Plymouth 1634; died in Plymouth 1Apr 1708
Persis, b. in Plymouth 1635
Benajah, b. in Plymouth 1637
Daniel, b. in  Plymouth 1639

I am descended from sons John Jr. and Joseph.

Thursday, October 04, 2018


There's been a change of plans in the next series of posts in the 52 Ancestors in 52Weeks series. Due to a question in establishing which John Ellis was the father of my 7x great grandmother Elizabeth (Ellis) Briggs I am going to postpone those posts for now. Instead I will be turning to the family tree of my 2x great grandmother Florilla (Dunham) Ellingwood, who is a descendant of immigrant ancestor John Dunham of Plymouth. Here's the relationship chart:

I'll also be posting about the other families in her line.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018


Last week updated their Ethnicity Estimates on the results of the DNA tests people had taken. It was quite a topic of conversation on Facebook as the Estimate changed quite a bit for some people. It sure did for mine!

This is my original Ethnicity Estimate chart a year ago:

And this is the updated chart from last week:

Several changes happened. Ireland became Ireland & Scotland and went up 1% to 52%.

The 25% Scandinavia disappeared entirely

And so did the 24% Other Regions, which included:

In short, all the exotic stuff. Sigh.

But it did add somethings that had been missing from the original Estimate

Two of my Mom's maternal great grandparents were immigrants from Germany; the rest of her family was Irish.

And Dad's ancestors were mainly English with a few Welshmen and Scots so they are now better represented.

The general reaction among my genealogy friends is that the new Estimate better reflects what they know about their families,and I think it does the same for mine, too!

Tuesday, September 11, 2018


I had started worrying I wouldn't find a poem for this year's Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge when I found this poem in an anthology edited by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.There are three
reasons why this is perfect for my entry:

One, it's written by my distant cousin, John Greenleaf Whittier.

Two, it's about Norridgewock, Maine where three generations  of my Laughton family ancestors (all three of them named John Laughton) lived in the 18th century.

And three, it's about Fall.  

Here it is:

by John Greenleaf Whittier

T' is morning over Norridgewock, —
  On tree and wigwam, wave and rock.
Bathed in the autumnal sunshine, stirred
At intervals by breeze and bird,
And wearing all the hues which glow
In heaven's own pure and perfect bow,
   That glorious picture of the air,
Which summer's light-robed angel forms
On the dark ground of fading storms,
  With pencil dipped in sunbeams there,—
And, stretching out, on either hand,
O'er all that wide and unshorn land,
Till, weary of its gorgeousncss,
The aching and the dazzled eye
Rests, gladdened, on the calm blue sky, —
   Slumbers the mighty wilderness!
The oak, upon the windy hill,
   Its dark green burthen upward heaves;
The hemlock broods above its rill.
Its cone-like foliage darker still,
   Against the birch's graceful stem,
And the rough walnut-bough receives
The suu upon its crowded leaves,
   Each colored like a topaz gem;
   And the tall maple wears with them
 The coronal, which autumn gives,
  The brief, bright sign of ruin near,
  The hectic of a dying year!

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed., Poems of Places: America Vol.II   Houghton, Mifflin And Company, Boston, Ma. 1851

Monday, September 10, 2018


It's time to start thinking about a post for the Tenth Annual Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge!
Hard to believe I've been doing this for ten years now.

As in the past, I'll be posting the links to the submissions on Thanksgiving Day,which this year falls on Thursday, November 22nd. Deadline for submissions will be a week before, on Thursday, November 15th. That gives everyone  two months to find (or write) and share their poem or song. If you find one long before that deadline (as I have) you can post it on your blog now, but don't forget to send me the link to it before November 15th!

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 15th
and I'll publish all links to the entries on Thanksgiving Day, November 22nd!

5. 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.

There you have it. You have two months to find your poem and post it to your
blogs. I will be waiting to see what you come up with this year!

Friday, August 31, 2018


Elizabeth (Briggs)Benson was my 6x great grandmother and through her I am connected to three families of early settlers of Plymouth and Cape Cod.

Her grandfather was immigrant ancesor John Briggs and her father was Samuel Briggs.

Through her mother Elizabeth Ellis she was descended from immigrant ancestors John Ellis and Edmond Freeman.

I haven't much information on them. Most of what I know about the Ellis family comes from a copy of an article from The Mayflower Descendant written by Robert Griffith. ( the copy was sent to me by I believe Martin Slovik; I've lost the email it was attached to several hard drives ago.)

I've found the most out about Edmond Freeman, including a reference to s land purchase with a most unusual clause.

I'll blog about what I've learned about these lines but I'm afraid the posts will be brief in a few cases.

Monday, August 27, 2018


I found the probate file for my my 5x great grandfather Caleb Benson over on the website in the Plymouth County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1686-1881. There's fifteen images in it, including those of the two page will. Here's my transcription:

Plymouth County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1686-1881tion Case 1873Page 3

In the name of God Amen .....
I Caleb Benson of Middleborough in the County of
Plymouth and Common Wealth of Massachusetts in America
being weak of body but of sound mind and memory blessed be
God therefor and knowing it is appointed unto all men once to die
Do make and ordain this my last will and Testament .....

In the first place I commit my spirit into the hand
of the Lord god of truth, believing and hoping he hath
redeemed me; and that at my death my soulshall im-
mediatly pass into glory: and my body to the dust, to be buried
in a decent Christian manner hoping and believing that tho'
after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh I shall
see god; and that I shall with them that rise firsst have a
resurrection to life my vile being changed and fashion-
ed like to the gloriousbody of Christ--

And as touching the portion of worldy estate which God
in his providence has been pleased to bless me with, I dispose
of in the following manner....

imprimus, I give and bequeath unto my beloved wife the one
third of my whole Estate both real and personal to be
improvedby her during her Natural life, and over and above
the one third two milch Cows, ten Sheep, and all my house-
hould furniture forever. ...

Item I give and bequeath unto my two daughters, Ruth Landers ,
and Hannah Tinkham three pounds Each, to be paid out of
my personal Estate, besides what I gave them at the time of their
begining to keep house.-

Item I give and bequeath unto my other three daughters viz.-
Priscilla Combs, Deborah Canady, and Content Barrows
all the rst of my personal Estate consisting of money at
Interest, Live stock on my farm etc.excepting whay is dis-
posed of above, to be equally divided between them as soon
as it can be collected by my Executor and paid to them.

Plymouth County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1686-1881 case 1833 page4

Item I give and bequeath unto my two grand-children
Priscilla Washburn and ManasehWashburn six
shillings a peice to be paid by my beloved wife. ...

Item I give and bequeath unto my only son Caleb
Benson all the rest of my Interest consisting of
Lands and meadow Lying in Middleborough, Plymton
and Wareham being all real Estate. ...

Finely my will is that my well beloved wife and my son
Caleb Benson be the joint Executors of this my
Last Will and Testament, .....

and furhermore I do hereby revoke and
renounce all & Every other and former
Testaments by me any way made; and ratify and
Confirm this to be my Last Will and Testament.

Caleb Benson

Signed Sealed pronounced and
Declared this 27th day of November 1782
in Presence of

Asa Hunt
Elisha Benson
Stephen Washburn

The estate was valued at over 670 pounds, most of that in real estate.

Sunday, August 26, 2018


My 5x great grandfather  Caleb Benson was born in Rochester, Ma. on 29 Jan 1704, the tenth child of John Benson the 3rd and Elizabeth Briggs. He was only 7 years old when his father died, so he probably grew up in the custody of a legal guardian. Caleb married Deborah Barrows on 11 Jan 1732 in Rochester and they had a family of six daughters and one son:

Ruth Benson b.25 Mar 1733 Plymouth
Hannah Benson b 20 May 1736 Middleborough
Mary Benson b 20 Feb 1738 Middleborugh
Deborah Benson b 1749 Middleborough
Priscilla B 1751 Plymouth
Caleb b 22 Nov 1755 Middleborough
Content  b 1761 Plymouth, Ma

I know he was a farmer and judging from the value of his estate a successful one. But he was also a Deacon of a Baptist church in Middleboro, Ma. and at some point was involved in some controversy within the congregation. I've found a reference to a letter that he and six others sent to church authorities but haven't found a copy of it as yet, so I don't jnow what it was about.

I've found some land transactionslisted on FamilySearch that I haven't explored yet, as well as a copy of his will and estate inventory, which I will discuss in the next post.

Friday, August 24, 2018


The scandal over Abigail Muxom's alleged affair with Joseph Benson now became even wider as Parson Everett invited outsiders to help judge her:

From the neighboring towns six ministers were then summoned to the inquest. They came and made a holiday; the six ministers on horseback, and the village idlers, to whom the spicy story was familiar, crowding around them and believing that justice must reign though the heavens fell.

Again there was a meeting of the church; Abigail Muxom stood in the sovereign presence of the six ministers, while the floor and galleries of the meeting-house were crowded by curious spectators attracted by what was to them "the greatest show on earth." The evidences were read aloud from the records: the accused woman again denied their truth; the six ministers were requested "to give their opinion what particular immodest conduct our sister is guilty of, and how this church ought to proceed with her." They, "having conversed with the Brethren of the church and heard what said Abigail had to say in her own defence," consulted together, and declared that her "immodest conduct in former years with one Doct. Joseph Benson was forbidden by the 7th commandment," and that it was her duty "to make a penitent and public confession of her sin ;" and "if she refuse or neglect to do it," the church "to proceed after other suitable forbearance to excommunication." The church then "Voted that Abigail Muxom is guilty of immodest conduct according to the opinion of the Revd Pastors," and it appointed three stern-visaged men to converse with her in the hope of obtaining a confession of the alleged sin. Their mission, as they reported, "appeared to have no good effect." Then, after another delay indicating a reluctance to pass such a terrible judgment upon "this unhappy sister," the church came together and the men "Voted that Abigail Muxom be rejected and excommunicated from the communion of this church, as being visibly a hardened and impenitent sinner out of the visible Kingdom of Christ, one who ought to be viewed and treated by all good people as a heathen and a publican in imminent danger of eternal perdition. Praying that this separation of hers from christian fellowship may not be eternal, but a means of her true and unfeigned repentance that her soul may be saved in the day of the Lord.-

Colonial Times on Buzzard's Bay   Houghton, Mifflin, Cambridge, Ma 1888

Notice that in all this there is no mention of what Doctor Joseph Benson had to say for himself. Perhaps he had died earlier, or maybe, like other members of the family, he had moved north to Maine or New Hampshire.

I don't know if Abigail Muxom ever reconciled with her church.

And that's where the story ends.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018


One would think that after thirty years the scandalous behavior of Joseph Benson and Abigail Muxom would have faded from memory and been replaced by something else for the townspeople of Wareham to gossip about. But apparently Abigail flaunted her husband with it. And then a new minister came to town and really stirred things up. Again, this is from William Root Bliss' Colonial Times on Buzzard's Bay:  

The first action of Parson Everitt was to propose a season of fasting and self-examination. The members of the church, declaring themselves to be "sensible of our coldness and lukewarmness in religion," voted to renew "our covenant with God and with one another," and they appointed a committee "to converse with brethren and sisters who are or may be guilty of public offence according to the rule given Mat. 18." These cleansing explorers brought to light an old scandal which had been forgotten. Thirty years had elapsed since Abigail Muxom was disciplined. Now an old woman, she was again called up to listen to the reading of the complaint recorded against her in 1753, the evidences written in 1750, and to the statements of new witnesses as to her conduct "upwards of twenty years ago :" —

"John Benson of Middleborough testifieth that upwards of 20 years ago he was at the house of Edmund Muxom the husband of said Abigail, sometime in the afternoon before sunset, he saw said Abigail on bed with Joseph Benson, in the easterly part of the house. He also saith that at another time he was at work near Edmund Muxom's house and heard him repeatedly bid his son Lem. go and fetch the horse and on refusal corrected him. Abigail came to the door and said — What do you whip that child for? it is none of yours, upon which John Benson said I always thought so, at which she went into the house and said no more. April 11th, 1783."

"Hannah Besse testifieth that sometime about 20 years ago or upward she went to Edmund Muxom's house late in the evening and there saw Abigail his wife on bed by the fire with Joseph Benson. April 11th, 1783."

The accused woman, having listened to these statements, positively declared, in presence of the assembled church, that "the evidences of John Benson and Harriet Besse are false." There was no friend or attorney to represent her before this self-righteous tribunal; and, without cross-examining the unsworn witnesses, the church voted (men only were allowed to vote) that she "is guilty of the charge." Then there was a pause in the proceedings, and the people went home as if to think over the matter. After some weeks had elapsed, she was again summoned before the church, and was "admonished by the pastor" of the perilous position in which she stood. Some of the sinful brethren who had voted her to be guilty," labored" with her; and sympathizing women conversed with her. But she refused to confess that she was guilty of the alleged sin, and resolutely maintained that the witnesses were liars.

Colonial Times on Buzzard's Bay   Houghton, Mifflin, Cambridge, Ma 1888

Luckily for Abigail Muxom things had progressed a bit in Massachusetts from the century before. But things were about to get worse.

To be continued.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018


While researching my Benson line, I came acrossa bit of scandal involving some Benson cousins and a case of hanky -panky. It took place in Wareham, Massachusetts and the couple involved was Joseph Benson abd Mrs. Abigail Muxom.  This account is from William Root Bliss' book Colonial Times on Buzzard's Bay:   

A troublesome case of discipline was that of Abigail Muxom, who in 1750 became the subject of a town scandal which was probably relished by the gossips as thoroughly as similar scandals are relished now. Three years later the church took notice of it on the complaint of four members, the gist of which was that "this our sister has been guilty of immodest conduct." It met to consider the evidences on which the complaint rested. These were three old and unsworn statements, running as follows :—

"Elisha Benson Saith That he was at Edmund Muxoms house some time since & saw sd Muxoms wife very familiar with Joseph Benson by talking of balderdash stuff & kissing & hugging one another in the absence of her husband. At another time I saw them coming out of the house together & discovered none but they two. Middleborough, Octr. 1750."

"Caleb Cushman & his wife do Testify & say That we some time since have seen Joseph Benson & Abigail Muxom at our house & their behaviour was uncommon for married people; she fawning about him & sometimes in his lap or upon his knee & he haleing of her, running his face up to hers, & as we suppose kissing of her or aiming to do so & talking & joacking like young people.—Plymton, Octr. 1750."

"Jedidah Swift wife to Ebenr Swift Junr Saith that she was at the house of Edmund Muxom four times the summer past & his wife Abigail Muxotn did several times call her child to her & ask the child who its father was, & the child would answer Doctor Jo's at which she would laugh & make sport of. — Wareham, Decern'. 3. I7SO-"

The records, written by Parson Thacher, state that the complaint and "the above evidences were read to the church in the presence of this our sister. She denyed the two first evidences as having no truth in them, but the last she owned to be true." She was then, by a vote, "suspended from the communion table till she give a christian satisfaction ;" and soon the matter was forgotten.

Colonial Times on Buzzard's Bay   Houghton, Mifflin, Cambridge, Ma 1888

But it didn't stay forgotten. The matter would resurface to cause controversy twenty years later.
To be continued.


My 6x great grandfather John Benson 3rd seems to have lived a quiet life in Rochester, Ma. Here's what William Winfield Scott says about him in his History of Pasaic and Its Environs:

III) John (3) Benson, son of John (2) Benson, was known as “John, junior.” He lived at Rochester, Massachusetts. In 1708 and again in 1709 his father conveyed to him certain lands in Middleboro, Massachusetts. Some time before 1688 he married Elizabeth Briggs, daughter of Samuel Briggs. They were both living in 1725. Among his sons was William, of whom further.-p150

History of Passaic and Its Environs Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1922 - Clifton (N.J.)William was the ancestor of the New Jersey Bensons.

William Richard Cutter has a bit more information:

III) John (3), son of John (2) Benson, was born about 1660. He settled in Rochester,Massachusetts, and married Elizabeth . Children, born in Rochester: 1. Mary, March 10, 1689. 2. Sarah, July 15, 1690. 3. Ebenezer, March 16, 1693. 4. John, July 10, 1696, settled perhaps at Newport, Rhode Island. 5. Joseph, March 16, 1697. 6. Benjamin, twin, March 16, 1697; married, March 17, 1714-15, Elizabeth Bryant, of Plympton. 7. Bennet,September IO, 1698. 8. Martha, March 5, 1703- 9- Joshua, January 29, 1705. 10. Caleb, twin with Joshua. 11. Samuel, March 22, 1707-p1864

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 4 Lewis historical publishing Company,  New York   1914

Interesting that there were two sets of twin sons among John's children. Caleb Benson is my 5x great grandfather. I need to see if I can find any of the land sale records in Middleborough mentioned in Scott's book.

Thursday, August 16, 2018


 My 7x great grandfather John Benson Jr.'s wife isn't mentioned in the following selections.Some sources give her name as Elizabeth Marsh but no record of the marriage has been found,

First, from William Richard Cutter's book:

(II) John (2), son of John (1) Benson, was born in England, about 1630. He settled at Hingham and Hull, Massachusetts. Children: 1. John, mentioned below. 2. Joseph, married _____ Prince; (second) Mary Curtis, of Scituate; (third) Alice Picketts, daughter of Nathan, of Scituate; John Benson, of Bridgewater, was doubtless his son.-p1864

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 4 Lewis historical publishing Company,  New York   1914

William Winfield Scott has a bit more on John Jr. and his mother in his History of Pasaic and Its Environs:

(II) John (2) Benson, eldest son of John (1) and Mary Benson, was brought to this country with his parents, as evidence by t'he ship’s list. He became one of the executors of his mother’s estate and filed an inventory at her death in 1681 showing that among her “movables” she possessed one half dozen napkins with broad work; one half dozen napkins with narrow work; a silk grasse bed; seven pewter plates; four pewter porringers; five spoons; a gun and a sword to the value of £64. John (2) Benson resided first at Hull and later at Rochester, on the western shore of Buzzard’s Bay, and according to the town records, in which he is frequently mentioned, he took a prominent part in the affairs of the town. He died March 10, 1711, leaving no will, probably having divided his estate before ‘his death.--p.150

History of Passaic and Its Environs Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1922 - Clifton (N.J.)

 Actually, Rochester is one town inland from the shoreline. I haven't been able so far to find the details of John Jr.'s involvement in the town government or affairs.

I am descended from John Jr.'s son John. 


My 4x great grandparents Asa Barrows and Content Benson were first cousins 1x removed. Content's mother was Patience Barrows.   She was also related ti the Briggs, Ellis, and Freeman families through her father Caleb Benson.

John Benson Sr. was my 8x great grandfather. William Richard Cutter has a short entry about him in Volume 4 of his New England Families, Genealogical and Memorial: 

(I) John Benson, immigrant ancestor of the American family of Benson, was born in England, doubtless at Coversham, Oxfordshire, whence he came in 1638, in the ship "Confidence," to Boston. He gave his age at that time as thirty, indicating he was born in 1608. He settled in Hingham, Massachusetts, where he had his first grant of land in 1638,He married Mary . Children: John,mentioned below; Mary, came with her parents.-p1864

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 4  Lewis historical publishing Company, New York   1914

But at some point one of his descendants moved to New Jersey because I found this short piece in William Winfield Scott's History of Passaic and Its Environs:

 (I) John (Binson) Benson was one of more than 20,000 Puritans, most of whom came from the eastern counties of England to New England between 1630 and 1640, their principal reason for leaving their native country being to escape the religious persecution then being carried on by King Charles I through the Earl of Strafford and Archbishop Laud of Canterbury.

John Benson settled with his little family in Hingham, Massachusetts, receiving a grant of land from the proprietors in the autumn of 1638. He continued to live there until 1657, when he sold his lands and moved his family to Hull, Massachusetts. In 1662 he was chosen one of the selectmen to manage the town's affairs. On April 16, 1678, "being weake and decaying in bodily strength," he made his will, and died soon thereafter. According to the ship's list, he was now about 70 years old. He signed his will with his mark, an old English "I" instead of a cross, evidence that before he fell ill and lost his strength he had been able to sign his name. The signature was witnessed by his pastor, Zachariah Whitman, who appeared in court March 26, 1679, and swore to the signatur

History of Passaic and Its Environs Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1922 - Clifton (N.J.)

I'm descended from John Benson Jr.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018


Before I go on one of cemetery tours I usually check Find A Grave to see if
there are any relatives listed as being buried in towns I planned to visit. I
don't care if someone has already taken pictures; I want to take my own,
and if there isn't a picture, then I plan to post the one I've taken.(although
I'm woefully behind that at the moment).  I usually just look at the list of
interments, print out the list of photo requests, and then  write the names of
relatives to look for at the bottom of the list. But I'd left the list at home when I'd
set out for Middleboro.

When I got back here to my apartment and sure enough, I'd written Caleb
Benson on the South Middleboro Cemetery.  I hadn't spotted it on my own so
now I cheated and looked at the Find A Grave photo. No wonder I hadn't
spotted it: it wasn't a headstone, but one of those small ground level markers.
The next day I went back, found the stone and took my own picture.

That night when I shared the picture with Ellingwood cousin Mary Ennis, she
commented on the title "Rev."  Neither one of us had known he was a clergyman,
nor was there any indication of it in cousin Florence O' Connor's book on the
Ellingwoods. A Google search turned up a reference in Michael J. Maddigan's
South Middleborough: A History to a dispute in the Third Baptist Church between
Deacon Caleb Benson and a new minister. I also discovered other facts about Caleb
One was that he had a twin brother named Joshua.

The second and more fascinating was that several of Caleb's children were Loyalists
and were among the New Englanders who fled to Canada during the American
Revolution. Meanwhile, his daughter Content Benson was married to my 4x great
grandfather Asa Barrows who was a Minuteman and supporter of the Revolution.
As to Caleb's own sentiments, I have no clue as yet.Since he stayed in Massachusetts
I would think he was not a Loyalist but I could be wrong.

It's another thing to add to my list Family history questions to be answered!

Monday, August 13, 2018


 The 10August Findmypast Friday record releases are:


 Irish Officers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919

Search over 1,000 records to learn more about the Irish officers who died in the First World War. Discover where and when an officer died, as well as the cause of death. You may also uncover details of an officer's family and pre-war life.

Originally published in 1916 as Our Heroes, this book covered the period August 1914 to July 1916. It contained photographs, with biographical notes, of officers of Irish regiments and Irish officers of British regiments who had fallen in action, or who had been mentioned for Distinguished Conduct. Also included in this volume is a brief history of the chief events of the Great War (to July 1916) in which Irish regiments were engaged

Search these records

Honourable Women of the Great War, 1914-1918

Discover your female ancestor who served during the First World War. Learn about the wartime activities your ancestor was involved in as well as her pre-war life. You may also find a photograph of your ancestor.

Each search result includes both a transcript and an image of the original document. 

Search these records

British Subjects Who Died In The Service Of The Indian Empire

Uncover the stories of British subjects who died in the service of the Indian Empire.

This collection contains over 1,100 records and each result includes both a transcript and an image of the original document. Records will reveal a combination of the individual's name, birth and death years, rank, regiment, and service history. 

Search these records

Airmen Died in The Great War, 1914-1919

Discover your relative in this index of airmen who died during the First World War. Discover your relative's name, birth and death years, cause of death, rank, and more.

These records come from the Naval & Military Press. The service branches designated in this collection are as follows: Australian Flying Corps, Miscellaneous Airmen Casualties, Pre-War Casualties, Royal Air Force, Royal Flying Corps, Royal Naval Air Service, United States Air Service Casualties Attached to the Royal Fighting Corps/Royal Air Force, US Navy Casualties, and Women's Royal Air Force. 

Search these records

Britain, Campaign, Gallantry & Long Service Medals & Awards

Over 58,000 additional records have been added to the collection. The new additions cover recipients of the Military Cross, Distinguished Flying Medal, Distinguished Conduct Medal, Distinguished Service Order and Commando Gallantry awards.

Search these records 


British Newspapers

This week we've added 144,026 pages to our archive of British newspapers, tipping the total to over twenty-seven million pages. Additional years have been added to five of our existing titles, including:
  •     Liverpool Echo - 1989-1990
  •     The Newcastle Journal - 1992
  •     The Music Hall and Theatre Review - 1908-1909, 1912
  •     The Scottish Referee - 1893, 1895-1896, 1899
  •     The Wicklow People - 1914, 1917-1929, 1931-1976, 1986-2001


((I'm about to start on some posts about my Benson ancestors, so I am preceding those with these
two posts from 2011 about my search for the grave of my 5x great grandfather Caleb Benson.))

After my success finding relatives in the cemeteries along Rte 58 in
Carer and Plympton, Ma., I decided next to search in the nearby towns
of Middleboro and Rochester. I was especially hoping to find the grave
of my 5x great parents Caleb Benson and Deborah (Barrows) Benson.
The day I set out to search, though, I left my list of cemeteries in the towns
at home. When I realized it, I decided it was a nice day for a ride and I'd
just wing it.  I took the roundabout route, driving down Rte 58 and then
across to drive up Rte 105 in Middleboro and watching for cemeteries
along the way until I spotted the South Middleboro Cemetery  by the
South Middleboro United Methodist Church.

My third cousin 4x removed.

I'm not sure how I'm related to these folks yet.

Benson Burial Plot

The gate to the plot.
The moment I got out of the car and walked through the entrance
into the cemetery I spotted a number of Benson headstones. Since
the Benson branch of my family tree has a lot of blanks I didn't recognize
most of the family members buried there so I made sure I took pictures
of every Benson grave. 

Grave of Consider Benton, brother of my ancestor Caleb Benton

The church was founded in 1748, which was the same period that my
ancestor Caleb Benson had lived. Yet I hadn't found his headstone there.
So where was Caleb Benson's grave?

Sunday, August 12, 2018


For many years when I worked in the bookstore one of the books I sold every Thanksgiving was Sarah Morton's Day, a picture book about a young girl living at Plimoth Plantation. So it came as a pleasant surprise when I found out Sarah Morton was my ancestress.

Her father was my 9x great grandfather George Morton. He was a merchant who  arrived in Plymouth from Leiden, Holland in 1623 on the ship Anne, but because he died only a year later he didn't have much of a chance to leave his mark. With him came his wife Julianna Carpenter (whom he had married in Leiden on 22July 1612) and their five children.

Julianna (Carpenter)Morton was related to many of the most prominent Pilgrims, one of whom was  Governor William Bradford.  He took in young Nathaniel Morton as secretary to himself and the colonial government and Nathaniel eventually wrote a history of early Plymouth. In it, he wrote this about his father George Morton:

The latter of the two forenamed, namely, Mr. George Morton, was a pious, gracious servant of God, and very faithful in whatsoever public employment he was betrusted withal, and an unfeigned well willer, and, according to his sphere and condition, a suitable promoter of the common good and growth of the plantation of New Plimouth ; laboring to still the discontents that sometimes would arise amongst some spirits, by occasion of the difficulties of these new beginnings ; but it pleased God to put a period to his days soon after his arrival in New England, not surviving a full year after his coming ashore. With much comfort and peace he fell asleep in the Lord, in the month of June, anno 1624. -p.65

New-England's Memorial   Congregational Board of Publication, Boston, Ma.,  1855

Monday, August 06, 2018


These are the new record releases for the 3August Findmypast Friday:

1939 register update

Over 37,000 additional 'open' records have been added to the 1939 Register. Since the Register was launched, Findmypast has matched more than four million 'closed records' to multiple data sources to correctly confirm the date and location of death for individuals recorded.

The 1939 Register now contains more than 33.9 million searchable records. Each record includes the names of inhabitants at each address, their date of birth, marital status and occupation. A wealth of contextual information, including period photographs never before seen online, infographics, region-specific newspaper articles and historical and contemporary maps, are personally tailored to each record, offering a rich and unique user experience unrivalled by any other family history research tool to date.

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Cumberland Registers & Records

Explore registers and records from the English county of Cumberland. This collection currently comprises one title: Monumental Inscriptions in the Graveyards of Brigham & Bridekirk, 1666-1876.
Published in 1878, the title consists of 111 pages. The preface notes that 'the whole of these inscriptions were copied with great care, and the same care has been extended to the printing of them; it is therefore hoped that no errors of an important character will appear in any portion of the work'. Brigham is a village dating back to Neolithic times, and Bridekirk is a parish and township.

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Derbyshire Registers & Records

Explore registers and records from the English county of Derbyshire. This collection currently comprises one title: The Brave Men of Eyam, 1665-1666.

The Brave Men of Eyam, 1665-1666 – Or A Tale of the Great Plague Year, by Edward N Hoare, rector of Acrise, consists of 265 pages. Eyam is a civil parish and village in the Derbyshire Dales district. The village is particularly known for the 1665 outbreak of bubonic plague and the villagers' response to it: isolating themselves to prevent further spreading of the plague. The preface of this title attempts to explain the extent to which this work is factual and fictional. It is stated that the statistics regarding deaths, dates, and some leading incidents are historical, and 'the object of the book is to tell, in a popular form, the tale of a "mighty woe"'.

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Devon Registers & Records

Explore registers and records from the English county of Devon. This collection currently comprises one title: Parish Registers of Hemyock, 1635-1837.

Parish Registers of Hemyock, 1635-1837 was published in 1923. Included in this title are 282 pages of baptisms, marriages, and burials, as well as bishop's transcripts from 1602, 1606, 1609-11, 1617, 1625, 1626, 1633, and 1636. Additionally, a list of the parish's rectors and chaplain priests is included. Hemyock is a civil parish and village. The production of wool was the village's main source of wealth from the 1500s to the 1800s. It is said that the Cadbury family originated in Hemyock.

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Cheshire Registers & Records

Explore registers and records from the English county of Cheshire. This collection currently comprises five titles, including parish registers and histories and funeral certificates.

Currently, there are five titles within this collection:

  •     Cheshire Funeral Certificates, 1600-1678 – This title was published in 1882 and is the sixth volume published by The Record Society. This volume was edited by John Paul Rylands, fellow of the Society of Antiquaries.
  •     Gawsworth Church and Parish – This title was published in 1924 and written by Reverend H E Polehampton, rector of the parish. The preface was written by the Lord Bishop of Chester, Henry Luke. The book includes chapters on the church's exterior and interior, churchwardens and parish clerks, and church life. Gawsworth is a village and civil parish.
  •     History of the Parish of Eastham, 1871-1920 – This title was written for the Parish Magazine, 1874-76, by Isabel Tobin. Included are notices of the church restoration by Reverend H J Storrs. This edition was published in 1920, with the permission of the author.
  •     Notes on the Parish of Burton in Wirral – This title was published in 1908 and authored by F C Beazley. Illustrated by Graham Johnston, the book includes seven plates and numerous coats of arms. The village of Burton is located on the Wirral Peninsula.
  •     Parish Registers of Holy Trinity, Chester, 1532-1837 – This volume was transcribed, indexed, and edited by L M Farrall. Biographical and genealogical notes are included in the indexes on this title.
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British & Irish Newspaper Update

This week we have added 143,678 pages to The Archive. We have added one new title, the Oxfordshire Weekly News, and we have continued to augment our Irish collection, with updates to three of our Irish titles. We have also added more pages to the Liverpool Echo, with titles now spanning the years 1879 to 1988 for this particular newspaper.

The coverage years added to the collection this week include;

  •     Oxfordshire Weekly News - 1869-1895, 1898-1926
  •     Irish Independent - 1995-1997, 2000
  •     Belfast Telegraph - 1995-1997, 2000
  •     Liverpool Echo - 1987-1988
  •     Evening Herald (Dublin) – 2002 

Explore British & Irish Newspapers