Author Archives: Lauren Mahieu

“In Search of Our Ancestors” – two thumbs up!

InSearchI’ve often wondered what really drives me in my passionate search for my ancestors?  Certainly the enjoyment of solving endless puzzles and the adrenaline-rushes with the thrill of the find make genealogy exceedingly fun.  But is there another reason so many of us are obsessed – and may I add, COMPELLED – to learn our ancestors’ stories???

Megan Smolenyak’s book, In Search of Our Ancestors, features stories of genealogy sleuths whose experiences of serendipity have led them to incredible finds.  I can certainly relate and have story after story of things that certainly shouldn’t have been.  Like the time my husband and I decided to get off the highway at a small town in Minnesota.  He was hungry and didn’t want to wait until we reached our destination to eat, so while he went into McDonalds, I visited a neighboring, old cemetery – and found the gravestone of a family member I had no idea was buried there!

One has to wonder if it is simply serendipity or random coincidences that result in such finds, or if there is another reason that we are so often successful in unlikely discoveries such as this?  Like a little help from beyond?  :-)  I thoroughly enjoyed this book, which was both heartwarming and inspiring, and think you will too!

Spinsters and single-women in the 1700s and beyond


Sarah.  Abigail.  “Aunt Nabby.”  Lucy.  Mary.  Hannah.  Elizabeth.  These are the names of just a few of the Day family women residing as “single women” in Ipswich, Massachusetts in the 18th and early 19th centuries.  They clearly did not espouse the joys of marriage as depicted in the c. 1790 picture above.  What on earth would cause so many women of the Day family to remain single in an era where women could not easily support themselves, and opportunities for the unmarried female were scarce?

The obvious explanations could certainly justify a spinster or two in the family tree, but TEN? Continue reading

Jeremiah Day’s “Highboy Chest of Drawers”

Helen (Freeman) Grant wrote to her cousin, Elsie (Day) Hansen about Jeremiah Day's Highboy Chest of Drawers

Helen (Freeman) Grant wrote to her cousin, Elsie (Day) Hansen about Jeremiah Day’s Highboy Chest of Drawers

Jeremiah Day.  Yeoman.  And, apparently, cabinetmaker.

Featured on the Yale University web site is a photo of a Highboy Chest of Drawers which was attributed to Jeremiah and which stayed in the Day family for at least two hundred years. (Since the image is copyrighted, you will have to visit the Yale web site for the picture.

Yale University sent the documentation for the Highboy to Winterthur Library in Wilmington, Delaware, where it has been safely preserved.  Included was a letter penned by Helen F. (Freeman) Grant, from which we learn the provenance of the Highboy.  Continue reading

Bradstreets and Days: From Massachusetts to Minnesota, descendants wed

Descendants of Ipswich settlers Humphrey Bradstreet and Robert Day met in Minnesota and married in 1781

Descendants of Ipswich settlers Humphrey Bradstreet and Robert Day met in Minnesota and married in 1781

Lavina S. Bursley’s fifth great grandfather, Robert Day, was made a freeman in Ipswich in 1641.  In Robert’s will, he wrote:

“I give to my son John Day after my decease…ye parcell of land lying near the common fence gate w[hi]ch was part of Mr. Bradstreets his lot…”

Continue reading

Books and more books: using Trello to track them

trello book board

Trello can be used track stuff, like your genealogy (or other) books

Have you ever found yourself at a genealogy conference wondering if you already own a book?  Ever gone a step further and purchased a title you already have on your shelf?  Argh – I have!  And I’ve been looking for a free method to manage my bookshelves so I don’t ever do it again.  Trello seems to meet this need.  (You can click here to view my actual Trello board see what’s in my personal genealogical library – at least what’s been loaded so far.  Note: this board was set to “public,” but in most instances you will set your boards to private unless you wish to share with others.)

It didn’t take long to upload these books.  My workflow: Continue reading

Untangling the John Days of Ipswich, Massachusetts

John Day, my 5th great grandfather, was baptized in Ipswich, Essex County, Massachusetts on 24 February 1750/1.  In earlier documents John was referred to as John Day Jr., so obviously other men of the same name lived in Ipswich.  To ensure my research centered on the correct John Day, I decided to do a bit more digging into taxes, deeds and other records.

The John Days of Ipswich, from the Vital records of Ipswich, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849:

No. Name Birth/Baptism Parents Marriage Death
1 John Unknown Robert Sarah Pengry Bef. 25 May 1690
2 John 17 Feb. 1665/6 John Sarah Wells 28 Feb. 1722
3 John bp. 27 Sep. 1696 John & Sarah Eunice Burnham Bef. 5 Dec 1780
4 John bp. 29 Mar. 1724 John & Eunice 26 Apr. 1723
5 John bp. 17 Sep. 1727 John & Eunice 13 Apr. 1724
6 John bp. 24 Feb. 1730 John & Eunice 31 Mar. 1730
7 John bp. 24 Feb. 1750/1 Jeremiah Sarah Day 12 Oct. 1820
8 John bp. 1 Oct. 1769 Thomas Salome Chapman 16 June 1842
9 John bp. 17 Nov. 1776 John Jr. & Sarah Elizabeth Skillings 7 Mar. 1833
10 John bp. 12 Apr. 1789 Abner Jr. & Elizabeth Hephzibah Smith Unknown

As noted in the chart above, 10 individuals named John Day are recorded in the Ipswich vital records, with three dying in infancy. My ancestor, John Day #7, was born in 1750/1, and was the son of Jeremiah and Mary (Caldwell) Day. The only other adult male of the same name during my ancestor’s life was John Day #3, the husband of Eunice Burnham. John Day #7 is often referred to in town records and deeds as John Day Jr, distinguishing him from the elder John Day #3. The two men, both descended from sons of Robert Day and his wife Hannah, appear in red below. Continue reading

Jeremiah Day of Ipswich – Cabinetmaker??


Jeremiah Day of Ipswich purportedly made the listed chest of drawers

Having been on hot on the trails of my Day ancestors, I’ve found deeds and other documents stating that Jeremiah Day, son of Sgt. Thomas and Elizabeth (Jewett) Day, was a yeoman.  Imagine my surprise to find this posting on the Yale University Website, attributing Jeremiah Day with the production of this beautiful high chest of drawers?  The site states there are multiple affidavits to certify the piece’s construction in the mid-18th Century, as well as family letters describing the piece’s creator.  (Click here to go to the Yale page, and scroll to the bottom to view the envelope.  The addressee, Elsie (Day) Clark.)

In addition to this gem, the Winterthur Museum and Library in Delaware has a photograph of another piece of furniture attributed to Jeremiah.  Posted on the ArchiveGrid, details available here. Continue reading


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