Wednesday, October 18, 2017


Essex County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1638-1881.Online database. Case66 Page 1

I found the probate file for my 8x great grandfather John Abbott over at
As you can see from the image, it's  about a page and a half of small cramped handwriting.
Luckily for me, I also found Charlotte Helen Abbott's four paged typewritten transcription, which was over on the Andover Memorial Hall Library's  website in the Abbott Genealogies collection.
I double-checked  her work and was surprised to see she had changed the spelling on some words and in some cases changed an entire word. Still, it helped me do my own transcription.

I'm posting it here in two parts. Part 1 is from about half of this first page of the will:

Essex County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1638-1881.Online database. Case66 Page5

In the name of God Amen. This sixteenth day of May in ye year of our Lord 1716
I John Abbott of Andover in County of Essex in New England being weake
in body but of perfect mind and memory blessed be God for itt therefore calling
to mind the mortality of my body and knowing that it is appointed for me once to dye
doe make and ordaine this my last will and Testament (That is to say) principally and
first of all I give and recommend  my soul into ye hands of God yt gave itt hoping through ye
death passion and meritts of my Saviour Jesus Christ to have full and free pardon
and forgiveness of all my sins and to inherit eternal life and my body I committ to ye
earth to be decently buryed att ye discretion  of my executor hereafter named noth-
ing doubting but at ye general resurrection I shall receive ye same againe by ye mighty
power of God and as touching worldly estate whear with it hath pleased  the
 Lord to bless me in this life, I give devise and dispose of the same in ye following man
or  and for me that is to say: First- I will yt all those debts and dues yt I owe in wright
or concciance to any manner of person or persons whasoever shall be well and truly
payed in a convenient time after my decease by my executors  hereafter

I give to my well beloved wife Sarah Abbot ten pounds in money and all my household  move
ables during her naturall life and when  ye Lord shall see good to remove her by death y
then my moveables to be divided between my daughters Sarah Chandler and Priscillah
Abbott   By moveables I mean my bedding linen, woolens, pewter, brass, iron,tin and all
wooden ware excepting baoles but it must be unders tood that what my daughter
Sarah Chandler hath received be accounted for when the divishon is made.

Item  I give to  my beloved son John Abbott one part of my whomestead  bounded  on ye north
by a stake st at ye highway side and so running to ye end of ye orchard to a white oke
tree marked as ye fence now stands then to a white oake tree marked standing near the fence
to south east att the westerly end of my whomestead with all my housing orchard and fences
and all upon it also my loome with all my weaver takoling and half my meadow att
Beaver Dam lying between Billerica and Oborn also a parcell of land laid out to me on the left
hand of the way goe ing  to William Lovejoy Junor containing a bout 4 acres and
a half be it more or less Bouned  as on Record: also I give him six common wrights and a half according to my state ment was in ye first divishon or the  same proportion
by any way of statement for paying what I shall order him to pay.

Item- I give to my beloved son Joseph Abbott the other part of my whomstead bound
att the stake above named then running to a whit oke att the end of the orchard as the
fence now stands then to a whit oke stand ing near the fence souest marked : all
this esterly  end  with  the  barn  orchard  and  fence and all upon itt also a pece of  land on the
west side of the way near his barn as it is now fenced: also a pece of mowing  ground
ly ing upon Roger brook and joyning to good man Ballards land as it is now fenced
and  half  my bevor dam meadow as it is butted and bounded also a pece of land lying
near the parsonage laid  out to mee for three acres be it more or less and bounded as
on record. Also I  give him five acers and a half of my com mon wright: as my
statement was in the first division of the same proportion by any other way of
statement be pay ing what I shall order him to pay

To be continued

Sunday, October 15, 2017


My 8x great grandfather John Abbott was the eldest child of my ancestors George Abbott and Hannah Chandler. I'm also descended from his younger siblings Benjamin and Sarah.The Abbotts were a prominent family in early Andover Massachusetts and John was no exception. Here's what William Richard Cutter has to say about him:

(II) Deacon John, eldest child of George and Hannah (Chandler) Abbot, was born in Andover, Massachusetts, March 2, 1648, and died there March 19, 1721. He lived with his father in the garrison house, and is said to have been a man of judgment and executive ability. He was employed much of the time in business for the town, and served as selectman and representative to the general court. When the church was organized in the south parish of Andover. in 1711, he was chosen deacon, and Mr. Phillips mentions that "he used the office well." Both he and his wife were much respected for uprightness and piety. Deacon Abbot married, November 17, 1673, Sarah, daughter of Richard Barker, one of the first settlers in Andover. She was born in 1647 and died February 10, 1729. They had nine children, all born in Andover: 1. John, November 2, 1674, died January 1, 1754. 2. Joseph, December 29, 1676, died January 9, 1757. 3. Stephen, March 16. 1678, died May 27, 1766. 4. Sarah, December 7, 1680, died March 6, 1754; married, 1707, Zebadiah Chandler. 5. Ephraim, August 16, 1682. 6. Joshua, June 16, 1685, died February 11, 1769. 7. Mary, January 2, 1687, died December 2, 1688. 8. Ebenezer, September 27, 1689, died January 14, 1761. 9. Priscilla, July 7, 1691, died May 24, 1791-p521

Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of the State of Massachusetts, Volume 1  Lewis historical Publishing Company, N.Y., N.Y.  1910

I've found his will and a transcription, which I'll discuss in the next post.

Saturday, October 14, 2017


Over 2.8 million new British records were added to existing records sets ion this week's Findymypast Friday:

London, Docklands and East End Marriages, 1558-1859

New records: 10,512
Total records: 102,762
Covering: St John Wapping, St Leonard Bromley, St Mary Bow & St Mary Whitechapel
Discover: Marriage date, marriage location, couple’s names, home parish, marital status & groom's occupation

London, Docklands and East End Baptisms

New records: 40,394
Total records: 783,077
Covering: St John Bethnal Green, St John Wapping, St Leonard Bromley, St Luke Limehouse & St Mary Whitechapel
Discover: Birth date, baptism date, address, parents’ names & church address

Greater London Burial Index

New records: 35,438
Total records: 1,670,403
Covering: St James Clerkenwell
Discover: Maiden names, birth year, death year, burial date, occupation, denomination, address, the names of other family members and additional notes

Kent, Canterbury Archdeaconry Baptisms

New records: 13,870
Total records: 937,319
Covering: The parishes of Chilham, Stalisfield & Staple
Discover: Birth year, baptism date, location, parents’ names, residence and parents’ profession

Kent, Canterbury Archdeaconry Banns

New records: 2,416
Total records: 219,155
Covering: The parishes of Chilham, Stalisfield & Staple
Discover: Banns date, location, marriage & the couple’s home parishes

Kent, Canterbury Archdeaconry Marriages

New records: 6,201
Total records: 496,386
Covering: The parishes of Chilham, Stalisfield & Staple
Discover: The couple’s birth years, marriage date, marriage location, residence, occupation, fathers’ names and fathers’ occupations

Kent, Canterbury Archdeaconry Burials

New records: 9,799
Total records: 700,205
Covering: The parishes of Chilham, Stalisfield & Staple
Discover: Birth year, death year, burial date & burial place

British Newspapers Update

New articles: 2,658,299
New titles: 16
Covering: South West England, South East England, Cheshire, Leicestershire, Yorkshire, Denbighshire, Paisley & Renfrewshire
Discover: Family notices, news articles, photographs, advertisements and more

PERiodical Source Index image Update

New articles: 10,902
New images: 30,004
Covering: Pennsylvania, Wyoming, Wisconsin, Toronto and Yorkshire
Discover: Articles, photos, and other material you won’t find using traditional search methods

Friday, October 13, 2017


((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 ofNew 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.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017


I'm about to move on to the ancestry of my 5x great grandmother Mehitable (Abbott) Abbott. She and her husband Jonathan Abbott were third cousins as descendants of George Abbott, as well as fourth cousins through ancestor Ralph Farnham Sr.

Here's Mehitable's relationship to George Abbott:

Her ancestors in this line include another Abbott line, along with Stevens, Parkers, and Barkers.

Through her mother Hannah Phelps, there are connections to other prominent early settlers of Andover, Ma: Ingalls, Poor, Dane, and Chandler.

Monday, October 09, 2017


The Findmypast Friday releases for October 6th contain over 600, 000 new records from England and Canada:


Warwickshire Bastardy Indexes 

OVER 5,000 RECORDS  Explore bastardy applications, registers, returns and appeals spanning the years 1844 to 1914. Each record provides the name of the mother, and most records include the name of the putative father. The putative father is the individual who is alleged to be the father of the child. The records do not contain the name of the child.


Berkshire Baptisms Index

New records: 79,693
Total records: 219,541
Covering: 80 Berkshire parishes, 1538 to 1917
Discover: Baptism date, location, parents’ names and additional notes

Berkshire Marriages Index

New records: 67,109
Total records: 315,528
Covering: 156 parishes across the county, 1538 to 1933
Discover: Spouse's name, date, location, residence, occupation, father’s name and occupation

Berkshire Burial Index

New records: 82,981
Total records: 830,723
Covering: 190 burial grounds across the county, 1536 to 1966
Discover: Death year, burial date, location, age and additional notes

Ontario Birth Index

New records: 334,374
Total records: 2,076,046
Covering: Civil registration records from 1860 to 1920
Discover: Birth date, registration year, location, parents’ names and images containing additional notes

Thames & Medway Baptisms

New records: 22,105
Total records: 357,642
Covering: Thames-side and Medway parishes, 1721 to 1984
Discover: Baptism place, baptism date & parents’ names

Thames & Medway Marriages

New records: 8,604
Total records: 145,656
Covering: Thames and Medway area, including parishes in Essex, Kent, Middlesex and Surrey
Discover: Marriage date, marriage place & spouse’s name

Thames & Medway Burials

New records: 8,914
Total records: 195,289
Covering: Thames-side and Medway parishes and prisoners who died on-board the Woolwich prison ships
Discover: Burial date, age at death, burial place

Saturday, October 07, 2017


((This was my very first post here back in February, 2007.I'm reposting it toay in honor of her birthday,7Oct 1898)

I’m a child of mixed heritage. On one side I’m
descended from a long line of Yankee settlers.
On the other, I’m descended from Irish Catholic
immigrants who came to Boston in the late
19th century.

Meet my maternal grandmother, Agnes McFarland.
In the family she’s known as Aggie. To us grandchildren
she was "Nanny". I believe the picture is for her Confirmation.

She was born in 1898, eighth child and third daughter
out of the ten children that would survive infancy. She
grew up in a Irish Catholic family, her father a laborer
on the Boston Elevated Railway.

She had rheumatic fever as a child in a time when it
was a deadly disease and although she'd survived it left
Aggie with a weak heart. In 1924 she married Edward F.
White Sr. They had two children before a third died, then
Edward walked out in the middle of the Great Depression
leaving Aggie to raise the children on her own.

Aggie divorced him in 1935.

It was hard for her; in those times the label "divorced"
was somewhat shameful for an Irish Catholic woman.

Work was hard to come by for a woman with children
so she scrimped and saved. Some nights dinner was
bread soaked in milk. My Mom and uncle were sent to
a nearby dental school to have their teeth worked on by
students. When Mom came down with what was known
as St. Vitus’ Dance in those days, Aggie somehow came
up with the money for the doctors and to buy liver to
serve at dinner to get Mom’s iron content up. I suspect
Aggie’s parents must have helped her out here and there
financially. My Mom once claimed that the legendary
Boston Mayor James Michael Curley helped out with
some problem as well.

But Aggie was no cream puff, either. One story my
Mom told was of the time she and Uncle Ed skipped
school to hang out at the cottage out on Houghs’ Neck
with their cousins. The place was owned by Aggie’s
younger sister Peggy and her husband Leo McCue and
was quite a distance away from the Jamaica Plain
neighborhood of Boston Aggie and her children lived

Yet suddenly my grandmother was walking down the
beach towards them. She’d taken the trolley and two
different buses to get there. She stayed long enough
to let Mom and Ed get their things and then took
them home by the same route she’d used to get there.

Somehow she did it. She raised her children to adulthood
even though it meant sometimes ducking her rebellious
son's head in the sink when he used swears or nursing her
daughter through a case of scarlet fever. She survived
watching her son join the Navy at 18 to fight in WW2.
All this while living life as a divorced Catholic woman
whose husband had left her for another woman.

She never remarried.

I knew her as Nanny, my grandmother, and she lived
with us when I was a kid. My Dad and Uncle Ed had
bought a two family home after the war in Malden on
a GI loan and so Aggie saw all five of her grandchildren
everyday. But she spent most of the time with my sister
and I because my parents both worked fulltime.

I have memories of her.

She was a quiet woman, black haired with grey streaks
and usually wore those one piece housedresses. She’d eat
peas by rolling them down the blade of her knife into her
mouth and looking back I think she did it to amuse me
and tease my mom. She never yelled but I remember
her breaking up a knockdown fight between two Italian
ladies who lived in the houses to either side of ours and
doing it with a slightly louder than usual voice and a
disgusted tone at their behavior in front of children.

I remember her being upset when the goldfish got sucked
down the drain of the kitchen sink when she pulled the
sink plug by accident after cleaning the goldfish bowl. And
I recall how she kept me from looking out the window after
a worker fell off the roof when it was being reshingled.
(He survived by the way; he broke his back and narrowly
missed landing atop the picket fence that ran between our
house and our next door neighbor’s.)

As time went by her rheumatic heart got worse and she
needed an oxygen tank in her bedroom for when breathing
was hard.

Aggie died at age 58 on February 12th, 1957.

She lived a tough life but she always carried herself like
a lady.


Sarah (Sterling) Farnham's father, my 9x great grandfather William Sterling is an interesting fellow. He has one of the longest entries of any of my ancestors in any of  William Richard Cutter's genealogy books. He earned a living in several professions, was married four times and had eighteen children with three of his wives. Here's what Cutter had to say about him:

(I) William Sterling, the immigrant ancestor, was born not far from London, England, in 1637, and died in Sterling City, Lyme, Connecticut, January 22, 1719. The first mention of him in New England is found in the Essex records at Salem, Massachusetts, 1660 61, where the names of five of his children are given as born "at Rowley Village at Mirimack." This village is now Bradford, on the opposite side of the Merrimac river from Haverhill, where William Sterling lived for many years. He was taxed in Rowley between 1660 and 1664; in 1662 bought land in Haverhill, and settled on a ridge east of that town on the Merrimac. A ferry across the Merrimac established in 1647, was operated from this land, and is still used, one of the oldest in the country. In the spring of 1669 he sold his Rowley property, with the provision that "the Road to ve Ferry be open for ever." Before 1683 the town conveyed to him a lot of about twelve acres, upon which he built a house, afterwards used for an inn. He is called "mariner" in the early records, and was also a shipbuilder and a miller. In 1684 the town granted him ten acres of land at the Fishing River, that he might set up a corn mill. This was in part payment for William's house and land, which the town had bought for the use of its minister. In 1692 he was elected one of six tythingmen, and reelected in 1694-95-96. He was also constable of Haverhill. Sometime in the autumn of 1697 or the spring of the following year, he removed to Lyme, Connecticut, and first bought land there November 29. 1701. He made other purchases of land at later dates. From early records it appears that he was a shipbuilder in Lyme. He spent the last years of his life at Sterling City, a hamlet within the bounds of Lyme, founded by his son Daniel. August 7, 1718, he deeded to the latter all his property.

He married (first), about 1659, Elizabeth___  , who died in Haverhill, February 6,1675; (second), in Haverhill, December 19, 1676, Mary (Blaisdell) Stowers, born there, March 5, 1641-42, died there May 29, 1681, daughter of Ralph and Elizabeth Blaisdell, and widow of Joseph Stowers. Her father was a tailor of Salisbury, received land there 1640, died before 1650; was in York, Maine, 163740. He married (third), in Haverhill, April 24, 1683, Ann Nichols Neale, widow of John Neale, whom she married in 1672. He married (fourth), in Lyme, Mary Sayer (or Sawyer), daughter of Hugh and Jane (Latham) Hubbard, and widow of Ichabod Sayer, of New London, whom she married in 1697; she was born November 17, 1674, survived her husband, and was living in 1714. Her father, Hugh Hubbard, was said to be from Derbyshire, England, and married in 1673. Children of first wife: William, born about 1660-61; Elizabeth, August 6, 1662; Richard, August 5, 1663; Mary, September 14, 1664: John, May 7, 1666; Hannah, February 14, 1667; Sarah, May 4, 1669; Abigail, May 27, 1670; Nathaniel, June 25, 1671; Daniel, October 2, 1672, died May 27, 1673; Daniel, September 19, 1673; James, February 6, 1675. Children of second wife, born at Haverhill: Jonah or Josiah, October 21, 1677; Jacob, August 29, 1678; Ruth, December 17, 1679; twins, May 21, 1681, died May 29, 1681. Child of third wife, born in Haverhill: Ann, March 14, 1684 -pp533-534.

New England Families, Genealogical and Memorial: A Record of the Achievements of Her People in the Making of Commonwealths and the Founding of a Nation, Volume 2,    Lewis historical publishing Company,  New York, New York.  1913

There are some who say his first wife was Elizabeth Sawtelle but thst han't been established as certain yet.