Tuesday, December 31, 2019


While 2019 was not as bad a year as 2018 for meeting my genealogy goals, it wasn't entirely successful. I didn't make any of the road trips I'd wanted to take, and there's a few projects I wanted to work on that I never got around to doing. On the other hand, I made some discoveries about my Mom's German ancestors and about my Dad's Cape Cod families, so 2019 was not a total failure.

Here are my 2019 geneaplans, with the results in red: 
1.Continue adding more of my ancestors siblings and their lines to my database.
This is one of the things I manage to get accomplished every year.

2. Get off my butt and actually visit the places my ancstors lived and are buried here in Massachusetts. I didn't do any road trips in 2017. Getting out of my apartment oncethe weather turns warm is better for my health, too.
Failed again, even though the car was running most of the yer.

3.This year I'm  going to set a more practical goal for my blogging: to reach at least 200 posts in this blog and to post anything, anything at all, in my Graveyard Rabbits  blog.
Semi successful. I did post a few times on Graveyard Rabbits. And although I didn't make 200 posts on this blog I did pass last year's total so I'm satisfied.

4. Take and post more photos for Find A Grave. Another way toi get me off my butt and out of the apartment.
Although it wasn't a lot I did manage to find a few requests.

5. Continue to stay organized:  Keep putting images  I download into  the folder they belong in immediately,
Another good year organizational wise.

6. Transcribe more of the wills and probate files I've downloaded already.
I did some but I am waaaay behind on this.

7. Find and download the wills and probate files of female ancestors.
Only did a few but it's a start.

8.  Keep working  on  the timeline for my ancestors who were involved in the Colonial New England Indian wars, including those who were captured.
I made some progress on this lately, and have posted the story of my Tarbell relatives who were captives. I will be posting about the Longley's next.

9. Go back and finish the series about the "Hot Mess" probate file of ancestor Nathaniel Stowe which I forgot to finish in May 2015. (Probably because it's such a "hot mess").
Big fail again . Didn't even look at the file for a second year..

10. Write more  about my ancestor Gov. John Endecott. I keep pushing it aside, I think, because he did somethings that were nasty.
 Nope. Not yet.

11.Keep having fun with genealogy!
I always do!

And  as I say every year, I hope to do better this coming year.

Monday, December 30, 2019


The story of the capture of the Tarbell children and their susequent fate was written about in books and magazine articles right up into the early 20th century.  Samuel Abbott Green wrote quite a bit about them in his book Groton in the Indian Wars, starting with this:

In a list of prisoners held by the French and Indians in Canada, March 5, 1710-11, are the names of "Zech: Tarbal, John Tarbal, Sarah Tarbal, Matt. Farnsworth [and] Lydia Longley" (Archives, LXXI. 765), all of Groton, though no date of capture is given. Lydia Longley was taken by the Indians on July 27, 1694, and the particulars of her case have already been told. The Tarbell children were carried off on June 20, 1707; but it is unknown when Matthias Farnsworth was captured, and this entry appears to be the only record of the fact. Sarah, John, and Zechariah were children of Thomas and Elizabeth (Wood) Tarbell, who, with a large family, lived on Farmers' Row, near where James Lawrence's house now stands. Sarah was a girl nearly fourteen years of age, John a lad of twelve years, and Zechariah only seven, at the time when they were taken. They were near kindred of the Longley family, who had been massacred thirteen years before. The father was unquestionably the Corporal Tarbell who commanded, in the autumn of 1711, one of the eighteen garrisons in the town.

The story of their capture and captivity is a singular one, and sounds like a romance. They were picking cherries early one evening, — so tradition relates, — and were taken before they had time to get down from the tree. It should be borne in mind that the date of capture, according to the new style of reckoning, was July I, when cherries would be ripe enough to tempt the appetite of climbing youngsters. These children were carried to Canada, where, it would seem, they were treated kindly, as no inducement afterward was strong enough to make them return permanently to their old home. The girl, Sarah, was sold to the French, and placed in a convent at Lachine, near Montreal; but what became of her subsequently I am unable to say.

Thomas Tarbell, the father of these children, made his will September 26, 1715, which was admitted to probate six weeks later, and is now on file at the Middlesex Probate Office in East Cambridge. After making certain bequests to different members of his family, he says: —

all the rest & residue of my Reall Estate I give to be Equally divided between my three children, John, Zachary, & Sarah Tarbell, upon their return from Captivity, or In Proportion unto any of them that shall return, & the rest, or the parts belonging to them that do not return, shall be Equally divided among the rest of my children.


 Groton During the Indian Wars  : J. Wilson and Sons, Cambridge , Ma. 1883

Even after eleven years since their capture, my 8x great grandfather held out hope for their eventual return

His sons would come back to Groton after his death, but not as he had hoped they would.

To be continued.

Sunday, December 29, 2019


My 10x great grandfather was another immigrant ancestor and prominent citizen of Groton, Ma.  From Ellery Bicknell Crane's Historic Homes and Institutions and Genealogical and Personal Memoirs of Worcester County, Massachusetts Volume 1:

(II) William Longley, son of John Longley (1), was born in Frisbie, Lincoln county, England, in 1614. He came to Lynn as early as 1638, and was admitted a freeman March 4, 1639. He resided in Lynn twenty-two years, and was a prominent citizen and office holder there. He removed to Groton about 1659. His name appears first on the Groton records in 1663, and in 1665 he was elected selectman. William Longley had to go to the courts to correct the title to his lands at Lynn which he drew in 1638, and on which he had lived over twenty years. It seems that through a clerical error William's name was entered as Richard Longley on the proprietors' book, and the court records give ample proof that no Richard Longley existed, so the title was cured and doubtless William was able to deed his land to the purchaser when he went to Groton to live. He had to leave Groton, of course, in 1675, on account of King Philip's war, and he went to Charlestown to live during the hostilities. He served at one time as clerk of writs, indicating that he was well educated. He died November 29, 1680. His will, made November 3, 1680, was recorded April 10, 1681; bequeathing to wife Joanna, sons John and William, daughters, Mary Lemmond, Hannah Tarbell, Lydia Nutting, and Sarah Rand, and their children specified.

He married, in England, Joanna Goffe, sister of Thomas Goffe, who was deputy governor of the Massachusetts Bay Company that received a grant from the Crown, March 19, 1628. Goffe was a member of both Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay companies; was a merchant of London; lost money on the business of chartering ships for the colonists of Governor Winthrop and others. His widow married (second), Benjamin Crispe, and she died in 1698. The children of William and Joanna (Goffe) Longley were: 1. John. 2. Mary, married, 1666, Samuel M. Lemont. 3. Sarah, born October 15, 1660; married June 17, 1679, Thomas Rand, father of Robert Rand, to whom a grant of a thousand acres of land was given by the general court in what is now New Hampshire, on account of the losses suffered by Governor Goffe, his great-uncle. 4. Lydia, married James Blood

Historic Homes and Institutions and Genealogical and Personal Memoirs of Worcester County, Massachusetts Voume 1  The Lewis Publishing Compny, New York, N.Y. 1907

I've found the probate file and will of William at I am descended from his daughter Hannah who married Thomas Tarbell Jr.

Thankfully, he wasn't alive when catastrophe befell his son William Jr.'s family.

Thursday, December 26, 2019


I've mentioned before how the Indian wars in colonial Massachusetts had an effec on my family history. I recently found this in Samuel Abbott Green's book Groton During the Indian Wars. I've added how I am related to the people mentioned in it. Keep in mind this all happened in slightly over thirty years.:

A remarkable fatality seems to have followed Mrs. Shattuck's kindred. Her husband and eldest son were killed by the Indians, as has just been mentioned. Her father, James Blood, was likewise killed, September 13, 1692. So also were her uncle, William Longley, his wife and five children, July 27, 1694; and three others of their children were carried away into captivity at the same time. A relative, James Parker, Jr., and his wife were killed in this assault, and their children taken prisoners. Her step-father, Enoch Lawrence, received a wound in an engagement with the Indians, probably in the same attack of July 27, 1694, which almost wholly prevented him from earning a livelihood for himself and family. The three Tarbell children, who were carried off to Canada by the Indians, June 20, 1707, were cousins of Mrs. Shattuck. John Ames, who was shot by the savages at the gate of his own garrison, July 9, 1724, was the father of Jacob, who married her niece, Ruth Shattuck. And lastly, her son-in-law, Isaac Lakin, the husband of her daughter Elizabeth, was wounded in Lovewell's Fight at Pequawket, May 8, 1725. These calamities covered a period of only one generation, extending from the year 1692 to 1725.-p107

 Groton During the Indian Wars  : J. Wilson and Sons, Cambridge , Ma. 1883

Elizabeth (Blood)Shattuck is a distant cousin.
Her uncle William Longley, is my 9x great granduncle.
James Parker Jr is my 8x great granduncle.
John Ames is my 8x great grandfather
Issac Lakin is another of my distant cousins.

And the three Tarbell children were my 7x great grandaunt and two 7x great granduncles.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019


I was researching the tragedy of Thomas Tarbell  III's family when I came across this account of an incident that took place before King Philip's War. It involves the murder of a colonist by an Indian and includes testimony from Thomas Tarbell Jr. as to what he heard about it.

It's from Samuel Abbott Green's book Groton During the Indian Wars. He starts with a brief summary of the events:

The earliest documents at the State House, relating to Groton and the savages, give an account of a drunken brawl which ended in murder. The affair took place in the Merrimack Valley, and several men of this town were summoned to appear as witnesses at the investigation before the General Court in Boston. In the spring of 1668 Captain Richard Waldron built a trucking or trading house at Penacook, now Concord, New Hampshire, where a few weeks later one Thomas Dickinson was murdered by an Indian while under the influence of liquor. The homicide created great excitement, and it has been supposed to have delayed the permanent settlement of the place for many years. A warrant was issued directing the constable of Groton to summon John Page, Thomas Tarbell, Jr., Joseph Blood, and Robert Parish, all of this town, before the General Court in order to give their testimony, which they did under oath. It appeared by the evidence that there had been a drunken row, and that Dickinson was killed by an Indian, who acknowledged the crime and expressed great sorrow for it, but pleaded drunkenness in extenuation of the deed. The culprit was tried at once by a council of the Indians, who sentenced him to be shot, which was done the next day. It is interesting now to note the high temperance stand taken, more than two hundred years ago, by the Chief Tohaunto, which places him abreast of the most earnest opposers of the rum traffic at the present time. p-9

Groton During the Indian Wars  : J. Wilson and Sons, Cambridge , Ma. 1883

A few pages later he quotes the testimony of three men, including my ancestor Thomas Tarbell, Jr., who were given two different versions of the death, one from a colonist and the other from the Indians.

Wee whose names are herevnto subscribed doe testifye that in or aboute y* Month of June last past goeing to Pennycooke to enquire after Cattle yt were lost, rideing to ye ffort at the sayd Pennicooke, 'meeteing wth some of the Indians belonging thereto told us, yt an Englishman was Killed by an Indian, and that all our Englishman; Laws they had Killed the Indian, wee farther enquireing of them how and whether the Indians were drunck when the Englishman was Killed, and they answered all Indians were then drunck or else they had noe Kild Englishman; And farther wee Evidence Tohaunto a Sagamore being afrayd that wee had brought Liquors to sell desired us if wee had any, that wee would power it vppon the ground for it would make ye Indians all one Divill, And farther wee meeteing wth Thomas Payne, who told us he was Capt. Waldern's servt, asking him whether the Indians were druncke when the Englishman was Killed, and he answered not drunck; and after farther discourse wth ye sd Payne he sayd that ye pson that was Killed was Peter Coffins man and farther sayd that if the Killing of the Man did not prevent it his the sayd Paynes Master Capt Walderne and Peter Coffin did intend to send Carpenters to build there and also to have ground broake vpp to be improved, and wee farther affirme that wee saw a Rundlett which would hold at least six Gallons in the Trucking House near the sayd ffort; after wch wee meeteing wth the Indians then there, and telling them yt Thomas Payne told us that they were not drunck when The Englishman was Killed the Indians then sayd yt Payne much Lyed, for wee had Divers Quarts of Liquors the same day that the sayd Englishman was Killed upon and one of the Indians Comaunded his Squagh to wash a Bladder, wherein the Indian sayd there was a Quart of Liquors and wee doe adiudge it to be as much; or using words to the same effect
October 27th 1668  

John Page
Robb Parris
Thomas Tarball
Joseph Bloud
Sworne in Court, 27, October 1668
Edw: Rawson Secrety
[Massachusetts Archives, XXX. 161.]


And there were darker days ahead for the settlers along the Massachusetts frontier.

Monday, December 23, 2019


 ((originally posted in 2007))

Christmas Album to play on the stereo. There was also a Nat
King Cole album and a Mitch Miller “Sing Along With Mitch”
Christmas edition. But for me, even rock and roll dinosaur
that I am, it’s the Andy Williams album that “feels” like
Christmas to me. I need to hear that "It's the Most
Wonderful Time of the Year."

As I’ve gotten older and my musical tastes expanded, I find
myself listening to New Age and Celtic Christmas music. And
Josh Groban just put out a holiday album that we’ve played at
the bookstore since Thanksgiving and it’s easy on the ears.

As for caroling, well, there are some things that one should
never do in public and in my case, singing is one of them!

2010 Update: I splurged this year for the "Now That;s What
I Call Christmas Essentials Collection." It has the Andy Williams
song and Nat King Cole's version of "Christmas Song" on it,
and I plan to play it Thursday afternoon on my day off!

2011 Update Now that Borders has gone out of business and
I avoid the radio stations doing the "All Christmas, All the Time"
since mid-November, I haven't burned out on Christmas music
as early as previous years. But unfortunately, I am now tired of
"It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year". Staples use of it
in the back to school ads was funny. But this year, the song has
been overused by retail stores and car dealerships so much
that it's like beating a dead reindeer! Bah, humbug!

2012 Update: My favorite piece of Christmas music this year
is this performance by Jimmy Fallon, The Roots, and Mariah
Carey. It makes me smile.

2013 Update: One of the things I've noticed since I no longer
work at Borders is I don't find Christmas music as grating as
I did for all those years when I heard it all day long at work. I
have some Celtic Christmas music collections Cds I will start
playing soon here at home, I think. There's also a local PBS
radio show "Celtic Sojourn" that puts on an annual live stage
and this year there is a tv special of it I want to see

2014 Update:
WGBH is showing a taping of "A Christmas Celtic Sojourn"
from a few years ago this year on tv. If you can find it, I think
you'll enjoy it:

2015 Update

 I've been listening to Christmas music on Pandora this year while working on my genealogy research. I haven't any new favorite this year so far, but if I find one I'll blog about it here.

2016 Update

This year my favorite piece of Christmas music is Loreena McKennit's :In Praise of Christmas"

2017 Update:
Things have come full circle. I have a Kindle Fire tablet and I'm listening to the
Andy Williams and Nat King Cole Christmas albums. I even found some Sing Aong
with Mitch Christmas songs!

2019 Update:
I have an Amazon Echo Dot no and I've been listening to a  A Celtic Christmas music playlist put together by Brian O'Donovan of WGBH Radio's A Celtic Sojourn program. You can find it here:

Brian O'Donovan's Christmas Playlist

Sunday, December 22, 2019


9ear Genea-Santa,
It's been another good year research wise, but I do have a few wishes for 2020.-

I've gone further back on my Mom's German ancestors but I could use some help finding some documents, and oh, yes, help in translating them.

I still haven't had much contact with DNA matches on Ancestry. I think if you could sort of nudge them into being more willing to share information that would be a big help!

Speaking of DNA sites, could you give me a hand in figuring out my new  MyHeritage DNA results?

I have a few wishes on behalf of the whole genealogy community,too. Could you bounce a lump of coal off the head of whoever is behind the proposed crazy hike in fees for Immigration records? Maybe that will knock some sense into them.

And please let those companies helping solve cold case crimes using DNA test results have continued success in bringing closure to the families who need answers.

That's all for this year, Santa. Thanks and safe travels Christmas Eve!

Saturday, December 21, 2019


Blog caroling is a tradition started by geneablogger footnoteMaven
In past years the Christmas carols I've chosed to share here  have some times reflected my interest in medieval history or my English and Irish  roots. This year, in view of having pushed my German roots back a few more generations, I thought I'd pick one with German origins..

There are many versions of "O Christmas Tree" which is based on the German "O Tannebaum", a folk song that originally was not about a Christmas tree. I chose this one:

O Christmas tree,
O Christmas tree
Your leaves are so unchanging
O Christmas tree,
O Christmas tree
Your leaves are so unchanging

Not only green when
Summer’s here
But also when it’s cold and drear
O Christmas tree,
O Christmas tree
Your leaves are so unchanging

O Christmas tree,
O Christmas tree
Much pleasure you do give me
O Christmas tree,
O Christmas tree
Much pleasure you do give me

How often has the Christmas tree
Given me the greatest glee
O Christmas tree,
O Christmas tree
Much pleasure you do give me

From top to bottom
You’re so bright
There’s only splendor for the sight
O Christmas tree,
O Christmas tree
Your lights are shining brightly

O Christmas tree,
O Christmas tree
Your lights are shining brightly

Friday, December 20, 2019


My 8x great grandfather Thomas Tarbell III's  family was deeply effected by the Indian raids on Groton during the period known as King William's War. I will discuss those events in subsequent posts but first the basic background on Thomas and his family.

Once more, rom the article in The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, "Thomas Tarbell And Some Of His Descendants" by Charles Henry Wight:

4. Thomas' Tarbell (Thomas? Thomas1) married at Grotou, Dec. 1,1686, Elizabeth, daughter of Samuel and Alice (Rushton) Woods, who was born Sept. 17, 1665. They lived at Groton, where he was town clerk, 1704-1705. Thomas was chosen Deacon of the church at Groton, Apr. 22, 1715, and died at Lexington, where his sister Anna was living, Oct. 8 of the same year, being buried in that town. His will, dated Sept. 26 before his death, names his wife and all of his children, provision being made for his three children, John, Zachary and Sarah, in the event of their return from captivity. Elizabeth, his widow, died before Mar. 11, 1717— 18, as shown by papers relating to the estate.
Children, born at Groton:
7. i. Thomas,4 b. Sept. 15, 1687.
8. il. William, b. June 10, 1689.
ill. Elizabeth, b. Aug. 19, 1691; d. Dec. 23, 1763; m. Joseph Willard of Lancaster,
lv. Sarah, b. Sept. 29,1693; taken captive by the Indians, June 20,1707; d. unmarried in Canada.*
v. John, b. July 6, 1695; taken captive by the Indians, June 20, 1707; m. in Canada and had Indian descendants.*
9. vi. Samukl, b. Oct. 14, 1697.
vil. Zachahiah, b. Jan. 25, 1699-1700; taken captive by the Indians, June 20, 1707; m. in Canada and had Indian descendants. *
viii. Anna, b. May 28, 1702; d. Nov. 27,1753; m. Mar. 8, 1721-2, Eleazer Green, Jr.
Ix. James, b. Feb. 13, 1704-5; was alive at his father's decease, but had d. prior to May 16, 1729, when his brother, Eleazer Tarbell, sold with other property his interest in James's estate.
10. x. Eleazer, b. Apr. 28, 1707.


 The New England Historical and Genealogical Register Vols. 37-52 (1883-98) Published by the Society Boston, Ma. 1909

I am descended from Elizabeth Tarbell who married Joseph Willard.


I don’t get a lot of Christmas cards, mostly because I don’t send
out a lot myself. I get some from the family and a few from friends
but since I’m not much of a social animal there’s no more than perhaps
a half dozen each year sitting atop my tv.

In years past the amount of cardage fluctuated. When I
was a kid there were a lot of cards, usually taped to the
door frames or sitting atop the end tables in the living room.

When we moved to Abington they were displayed across the
mantel piece or taped around the edges of the mirror above it.
The years when my folks were actively involved in the VFW
brought the highest number of season’s greetings. Mom would
spend a few hours herself signing and addressing cards to be
sent out. But as she and her generation of family and friends
grew older the flood of Christmas cards dwindled. Several years
Mom even had some unused cards left over when she finished.

I tend not to like sending “mushy” cards so I usually try to find
something funny. Although this year I may be giving people a
look at a certain dancing elf via e-mail!

2010 Update: I'm going to see what sort of selection we have at
the store tomorrow and hopefully find something funny, although
last year I sent out cards that were more "New England-y"

2011 Update Since Borders has closed I'm going to have to take
a long walk over to Target soon to get some boxed cards!

2012 Update I'm waiting for my box card order from B&N
to arrive.

2013 Update I haven't bought any Christmas cards yet. I'm also
trying to figure out what to do with the leftover cards from the
last few years.

2014 Update:
I'll probably buy my cards this weekend. I don't really start thinking
about Christmas cards until right about now, although I've already
received one this holiday season. 

The past few years I've taken to displaying the incoming cards on my
bookcase, as in this photo from a  few years ago:

2015 Update
I still have several boxes of leftover Christmas cards from previous years, so this year
I'm going to send those instead of buying a new box.

2016 Update: 
I was a bad boy again this year and never sent out any cards.And I feel a bit guilty as
I received a bit more than usual:

 2019 Update: I received a few cards so far this year,, and I actually sent out mine earlier than in pat years so hopefully they have arrived at their destinations  before the holidays.

((Originally posted in 2007)) 

Tuesday, December 17, 2019


 I've finally transcribed the obituary of my 2x great grandfather Asa F. Ellingwood. It is as it was published, mistakes in punctuation as is, including a typo involving the date of  Asa's reenlistment;

North Paris, March 20 - The funeral service of Asa Freeman Ellingwood was held at the Methodist chapel, Monday, March 14, at 2 P.M. Rev. H.H. Hathaway, pastor of the church Federation, officiating. The interment was in the West Paris cemetery, the pallbearers being four of his grandsons, Albert Gibbs, Herbert Gibbs, Morris Ellingwood and Erwin Ellingwood. There were many beautiful floral tributes from relatives and friends

Mr. Ellingwood passed away Saturday morning, March 12, after a short illness of intense suffering. Mr.Ellingwood was born in Milan, N. H., April 4 1830. His father, John L. Ellingwood, and mother , who was Rachel Barrows of Bethel, went to Milan about 1822 and settled on Milan Hill, and were among those who first penetrated this wilderness to make permanent homes for themselves.

They had six children, Hester Ann, Isaac H., John W., Asa Freeman, Oscar and Jacob.  Their son Isaac H. was the first white child born on Barrows moutain, now called Milan Hill.

On the history of  that town it speaks of John L.Ellingwood as a farmer, a good Christian and deacon of the Methodist church. Mr. Ellingwood was the last of John L. Ellingwood's children living. His father and mother died when he was a small child and he came to Woodstock to live with his aunt, Mrs. Crosby Curtis. He lived with her and his brother, Isaac H. in Dummer, N.H. until a young man. Aug.29, 1850 he married Florilla Dunham of North Paris and they went to Snows Falls to live and he worked in the chair factory until he enlisted May 4, 1861, in the U.S. service, from Paris, as private in Co. I. 5th Regt. Me. Vol. Inft.

At the battle of Bull Run, Va., July 21, 1861, he sustained an injury from which he always suffered and was honorably discharged Dec. 25, 1861 at Camp Franklin, Va., by reason of disability. Returning home he moved his family to Dummer, N.H. and partially regaining his health
he re-enlisted Sept. 3, 1964, in Co.A, 9th Regt.  of Veteran Reservve Corps. While in this regiment he was taken sick and sent to Phinney hospital at Washington, D.C. where he remained two months when he returned to his regiment and was honorably discharged Nov. 16, 1865 at Washington D.C. 

Eleven children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Ellingwood.  Fred W. of Buckfield, who died in 1919, Octavius D. of West Paris, Samuel B. of West Paris, Polly A. who married John Brown and died in 1897, Flora L. who married George Morton and lives in Andover, George, who died when nine months old; Nina K. of North Paris, widow of Geo. A. Gibbs; Clara J. married Philip West and died 1901, Harris I. of North Paris, Joseph H. of Hebron and Frank J. of Portland who died in 1896.

Mr. and Mrs. Ellingwood lived in several different places after he was discharged from the army, coming to North Paris 36 years ago, where he has remained most of the time.

He was interested in farming as long as his health permitted. Four years ago they went to live with their daughter Mrs. George Gibbs. Mrs. Ellingwood died suddenly Feb 21, 1918. Since then Mrs. Gibbs has tenderly cared for her aged father, and did all she could to make his last years pleasant. Mr. Ellingwood was a member of North Paris Methodist church.

He leaves six children, 42 grandchildren, 85 great grandchildren and 1 great, great grandchild. Those from away to attend the funeral were Mr. and Mrs. O.D. Ellingwood, and Mr. and Mrs. Samuel B. Ellingwood of West. Paris, Mrs. Lizzie Marshall, Albert Gibbs and Mr.and Mrs. Walter Balantine of Bethel, Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Gibbs of South Paris, Walter Ellingwood of Minot, Clyde Ellingwood of Mechanic Falls and Erwin Ellingwood of Hebron.

Monday, December 16, 2019


Last week the MyHeritage website had a free  offer involving DNA test results. You could upload your results from another DNA site to MyHeritage to see what their analysis might discover. So I took advantage of it. I had already downloaded my Ancestry test raw data some time ago, and it only took about a half hour to upload it now to MyHeritage. They said it would take about 5 days before the results would be available.

It only took 4.

When I went to the website to view the results, I had a surprise. My MyHeritage Ethnicity Estimate differed a bit from that of Ancestry.

Here's my latest Ancestry estimate from a few weeks ago:

And here's the MyHeritage estimate:

The big difference is the increase in the Iberian percentage, the downsizing of the English and Celtic ethnicities, and the disappearance of Germanic Europe. My Mom's paternal ancestors were German. But these are, after all, estimates, and things may change with the next estimate from MyHeritage.

As for the MyHeritage DNA page, it is not as user friendly as Ancestry's and I find the colors used for headings and categories too light and difficult to read. However, I like how the names of shared names on family trres are right there under the names of the shared matches.

I'll have more to say about all this after I've explored the results and website further.


This was originally posted back on 25Jul 2007. I thought I'd repost
 it again because of the Christmas memories:

This the first in a series of posts which are my transcriptions
of 13 handwritten pages. They were written by my Aunt Dot
(Dorothy West Bargar) and given to me yesterday when we attended
my nephew Paul's wedding.

Some explanations of the names mentioned: Phillip was
Phillip Jonathan West, Dot's grandfather and my great
grandfather. Bud is my Dad, Hazel was her older sister
and Flossie(Florence) the youngest.

"Dingle" is a new term to me and sounds like a shed.

"Our family lived on Back Street in Upton from about 1830 to
1927. I have a picture of Bud and Hazel, taken Aug., 1926 that
was given me by Pop’s cousin Louie West (his dad was great
uncle Paul -Philip’s brother). This was the first I heard that I
ever lived in Upton. My birthday was in April of that year.

From conversations, I think I remember we probably moved
to Magalloway for a short time, then to Wilsons Mills. Phillip
stayed in Magalloway.

The first place I remember living was in a little square cabin on
the shore of Azichoos lake back a trail from the dam house.
There was a wagon trail past an old stone quarry and a foot
path along the lake shore. The quarry was home of the bear
that we always looked out for. The cabin was partitioned off in
one corner-a room big enough for a white iron double bed and a
built in double bed with a bunk (half size) up under the eaves.
There was a path between the beds wide enough for a dresser.
The remainder of the cabin was one L shaped room (except the
L was upside down & backwards) (end p.1)

The back door opened to a covered walk that led to a dingle

where we kept outdoor tools and dry wood for the fire. The
space from the door to the dingle was about the width of a
standard sidewalk. I have always remembered the dingle
because that is where the bag of toys that Santa brought was
kept. I only remember one Christmas that we received presents
and must have been when I was three because Flossie was not
yet in the family.

Don’t remember what Hazel & Mother got. Pop got a necktie,
Bud got pocket knife. (he would have been 5 years old) and I got
a pull toy -it was a green platform with red wheels & a red pull
string and had a white celluloid lamb on the platform. We also
got a tiddle wink game, which at my age was a great failure at,
but liked it anyway. That was probably 1929.

In years later we always decorated the house and had fun
making our decorations from newspapers and magazines. For
many years we had carefully saved the few fold out paper
Christmas bells and a few pieces of red & green rope that had
come with the family before any time that I recall."(end p 2)

Sunday, December 15, 2019


My ancestors who settled Groton, Ma. didn't have an easy time of it. They were right on the edge of colonial civilization in Massachusetts and the early history of the town is one of violence because of the Indian wars that raged about it. The Tarbell family was among those who suffered losses from the wars, starting with Thomas Tarbell Jr. who was forced to evacuate when the original settlemnt was destroyed,

Again,  from the article in The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, "Thomas Tarbell And Some Of His Descendants" by Charles Henry Wight:

2. Thomas2 Tarbell (Thomas1) was, with his father, an original proprietor of Groton. He married there, June 30, 1666, Hannah or Anna, daughter of William and Joanna Longley of Groton. After the destruction of that town during King Philip's war, he and his family removed to Charlestown, where they lived in the family of Samuel Leman, whose wife was a sister of Hannah. Oct. 28, 1677, Anna, wife of Thomas Tarbell, Jr., was admitted to the church in Charlestown. Thomas died there of the small pox, Apr. 27, 1678, and administration upon his estate was granted to his widow, Dec. 18, 1678. She did not long survive him, but died at Groton, Dec. 29, 1680, a month after the death of her father, William Longley. Her mother, Joanna Longley, and brother, William Longley, were appointed administrators of her estate, Apr. 5, 1681, but no settlement of either estate has been found. Children, recorded at Groton: 

4. i. Thomas3,  b. July 6, 1667.

ii. Anna, b. June 10, 1670; d. Dec. 19, 1732; m. Nov. 9, 1687, John Lawrence of Lexington. She is named in the will of. her grandmother, Joanna Crisp formerly Longley, who d. 1698.

ill. William, b. Oct. 1, 1672; d. June, 1693, a "soldier at the Eastward" (Danvers Church records).

iv. Mary, b. Apr. 2, 1675. Perhaps the Mary Tarbell who m. in Salem, Dec. 7, 1705, James Smith, and who is mentioned in the will of John* Tarbell, but no relationship is expressed.


The New England Historical and Genealogical Register Vols. 37-52 (1883-98) Published by the Society Boston, Ma. 1909

I am descended from the eldest son, Thomas Tarbell III

Thursday, December 12, 2019


My 7x great grandfather Joseph Willard's wife was Elizabeth Tarbell whose  ancestor Thomas Tarbell Se. was another of the first settlers of Groton, Ma. I found this article in The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, "Thomas Tarbell And Some Of His Descendants" by Charles Henry Wioht:

1. Thomas1 Tarbell, the ancestor of all the early Tarbell families of New England, settled in Watertown as early as 1647, at which time he is mentioned on the town records as owning land. Mar. 30, 1663, he and wife, Mary, sold his house and land there, and removed to Groton, where she died Apr. 29, 1674, aged 54 years. The family retired from Groton to Charlestown at the destruction of the former town during King Philip's war, and there he married second, Aug. 15, 1676, Susanna, widow of John Lawrence, and died of the small pox, June 11, 1678. Administration upon his estate was granted to his son, John, Aug. 17. 1678. The settlement of his estate, as contained in two papers in the Middlesex Co. Court Files, bearing dates of May 31, 1680, and Mar. 18, 1680-1, shows the following
 2. i. Thomas.' 

ii. Mary, d. Apr. 26, 1676; m. July 3, 1665, Jonathan Sawtell of  Groton. 

iii. Sarah, aged 33 in Oct., 1681; m. before May 31, 1680, Cornelius Church of Groton and Charlestown. The Groton records state that he m. June 4, 1670, Mary , which may be an error for Sarah. She d. a widow, at Salem, 1715. In her will, dated July 1, 1698, proved July 18, 1715, she bequeathed two-thirds of her lands at Groton to James Bennett, "my sisters Son", and the other one-third to Samuel Cutler, Jr., of Salem, "who married my Sisters daughter ". The latter was Sarah Sawtell.

iv. Abigail, was living 1719; m. in Watertown, "left of September", 1672, Joshua Whitney of Watertown and Groton.

3 v. John.

vi. Elizabeth, b. Jan. 5, 1656-7; d. July 25, 1684; m. Feb. 4, 1680-1, James Bennett of Charlestown.

vii. William, b. Feb. 26, 1658-9; was living Apr. 5, 1681, but probably d. soon after, as no further trace of him has been found.

viii. Martha, was unmarried Mar. 2, 1682-3, when she disposed of a part of her share in her father's estate. She was undoubtedly the Martha Tarbell who m. in Salem, May 18, 1685, Thomas Mitchell.


 The New England Historical and Genealogical Register Vols. 37-52 (1883-98) Published by the Society Boston, Ma. 1909

Wednesday, December 11, 2019


I am descended from both of the Lakin brothers. William is my 10x great grandfather through the Ames family. John is my 9x great grandfather twice over; once through his daughter Mary marrying into the Willard family, and the other through daughter Abigail marrying into the Parker family.
Again, from William Manning's article entitled "The Lakin Family of Groton" in The New England Historical and Genealogical Register:

4. John' Lakin (William2 William1) deposed in 1694, aged 67. He early settled in Groton, where he was sergeant and ensign in the military company. It seems to be an established fact that his wife was Mary Bacon, a daughter of Michael of Woburn.t She was living 22 Oct. 1701, when she acknowledged deed vol. 13, p. 58. Sergt. Lakin died 21 Mar. 1697. He had conveyed various lands by deed to his children—in 1697 (deed vol. 18, p. 579) to Joseph, his "eldest" son, and about the same time to his sons Josiah and Benjamin, and daughters Lydia Lakin, then single, and Abigail, wife of Samuel Parker. After his death the widow also conveyed various lots, one being to her daughter Lydia Shepley, then married, and another to daughter Sarah Willard, wife of Benjamin. This series of deeds is highly important, adding to the incomplete probate files.

1. John,* d. before Mar. 1696-7, leaving a widow Sarah, but clearly no children. He is only known by casual mention in deed vol. 13, p. 58, which shows that his father had established him on certain land designed to be his own property ultimately, but never formally conveyed to him. On his death, the deed explains, it was intended that his widow should enjoy said land until she remarried, but she is not later found.

ii. Mary, m. Hknry Willard, 18 July 1674, and d. after a few years. Her surname does not appear in the marriage record, but in 1744 her children sued their uncle Joseph Lakln to recover their rights in certain land,* and her marriage and paternity are made sure by the testimony of various witnesses. Deed vol. 47, p. 141, is also proof.

iii. Sarah, b. 4 Feb. 1661; m. Benjamin Willard.

iv. William, b. 12 May 1664; d. 10 Dec. 1672, "aged about nine years."

v. Abigail, b. 13 Mar. 1666-7; m. Samuel Parker.

8. vl. Joseph, b. 14 Apr. 1670.

9. vii. Benjamin, b. 6 Nov. 1672. 

10. viii. Josiah, b. 14 Sept. 1675.

ix. Lydia, m. (1) John Shbpley; m. (2) 22 Mar. 1736-7, Jonathan Boyden, former husband of her cousin Elizabeth (No. 3, x).

pp 319-320

The New England Historical and Genealogical Register Vols. 37-52 (1883-98) Published by the Society Boston, Ma. 1909

Sunday, December 08, 2019


((First published in December, 2007))

I don’t recall many holiday parties from my earlier childhood. In our family folks were too busy working or shopping at Christmas time. And when we lived in Dorchester the apartments weren’t
really big enough to hold large parties in, although there might have been one or two. If so, they would have followed the rules of other adult parties my folks had: after saying hello to the adults,
my sister and I would be sent off to our beds to eventually fall asleep while listening to the adults
in the other room laughing at Rusty Warren records. We wondered what "roll me over in the clover" meant.

As an adult, most of my Christmas party experience has been at work, including one at a now
defunct toy chain warehouse(more on that job later) when I was in my early twenties. It snowed
when I left for home. My car at the time was an Olds 98 and being in a hurry to get home, I didn’t completely clean the rear windshield. I backed up, turning the car around….

…and smashed my rear windshield by backing the car up under a tractor trailer box front end as
if it were a big rig hooking up.

The good news was, my Dad worked in the auto glass repair business.

The bad news was I had to call him and tell him what I’d done.

It was an …umm…interesting conversation.

2013 Update: I think this is my favorite out of all the things I've posted every year about past Christmases. I remember the windshield incident with a smile now but at the time I was a nervous wreck waiting for Dad's reaction, especially since I'd had a few highballs at the Christmas party which probably had a lot to do with my backing into the trailer. I also had to drive the car home 
with no rear windshield in a snowstorm and I was worried I'd get pulled over by the police. When 
I got home we covered the broken window with something, probably a cut open garbage bag and masking tape, and a few days later Dad found a replacement at Goldy's, a local junkyard. 

Most of all, I remember Dad getting out of his car when he drove up to the  Child World warehouse, taking a puff on his cigarette, and  giving me The Look before asking me "How the hell did you manage to do that?"

((First published in December, 2007))

Friday, December 06, 2019


I haven't found much about my Lakin family ancestors, mostly brief entries in books about the history of Groton, Ma., where they lived.There were no probate records for the two generations I descend from on the website, either. It's possible they are there under an alternate spelling of Lakin so I'll keep looking. Meanwhile, this was what I found on Google Books in a compilation of issues of The New England Historical and Genealogical Register. It's from an article by William Manning entitled "The Lakin Family of Groton":

1. William* Lakin, the first of his family in this country, probably came as early as I644, perhaps from Reading, England, that being the home of his son. In Massachusetts he first settled at Reading, but removed to Groton, with which town he was chiefly associated. Little has been learned of him, and the name of his wife and full family do not appear. He died in Groton 10 Dec. 1672, at the reputed age of ninety or ninety-one.
2. i. William."


The New England Historical and Genealogical Register Vols. 37-52 (1883-98) Published by the Society Boston, Ma. 1909

William Lakin Sr. was my 11th great grandfather; his son William Jr. , my 10th. After William Jr.'s death in England, William Sr emigrated to Massachusetts with his daughter in law and two grandsons, William 3rd and John. I am descended from both and will discuss John next.

Monday, December 02, 2019


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.   


2018 Update:
I still have the teeny Christmas tree which I haven't put up yet.. I may spring for maybe a few of those electric candles for my apartment window, though.

2019 Update: 
I'll probably put the teeny tree up this coming weekend.

Sunday, December 01, 2019


My 7x great grandfather Joseph Willard was born around 1686 in Lancaster, Ma. and married  Elizabeth Tarbell around 1711.  He and several of his brothers were among the first settlers of a section of Lancaster that eventually became the town of Harvard, Ma.  He held several town offices and had a farm as well He and Elizabeth had seven children, all but one born in Lancaster and three of whom married members of the Haskell family:

William was born in 1713
Tarbell was born in 1719
Sybil was born on 19Feb, 1723
Lemuel was born on 28iJul, 1725
Joseph was born on 17May , 1728,
Amee was born on 25Dec, 1730
Charles was born on30 Dec 1734

Joseph died on 30Jul 1761 at Harvard. I have found no probate record for him as of yet.

I'm descended from his daughter Sybil who married Samuel Haskell, Sr.