My Daddy, about 1980
When my Daddy died on June 23, 2010, I wrote a tribute to him which you can find here. He was not my biological father, but very few people knew that – he loved me as though I was his own, and I adored him. He was a kind, quiet person – but hysterically funny with a wicked sense of humor when you got him talking. He loved to fish and he LOVED his tools. (Don’t all carpenters?) When Daddy got sick and moved in with us, he brought all of his many tools, guns, fishing poles, and other treasures with him. My husband has spent the last three weekends cleaning and organizing these tools, and boy did Daddy have a LOT of them! He would be so happy to see how Ed has them all sorted and hanging on the peg board, ready for our household projects!
While the tools didn’t surprise me, the photos below which Ed found mingling among some of Dad’s other papers did! Continue reading
PDFs are great for compiling documents
I love PDFs. They are great for compiling photos of documents. Take, for example, the photographs of the pension file for Thomas H. Stanwood who served in the Civil War. The original documents were photographed by my cousin who lives in Washington, D.C., and was kind enough to visit the National Archives and take the digital images for me.
After reading (and re-reading) the documents, I like to draft a summary of my findings and copy the images into a Word document. Continue reading
Susan (Stanwood) Clark and daughter Beatrice, 1906 – Floodwood, Minnesota
My great grandmother, Susan (Stanwood) Clark is shown above, holding my grandmother’s sister, Beatrice. My grandmother, Goldie (Simpson) Edwards, and Auntie Bea were the only surviving children born to Grandma Susie, who was herself one of eight children, seven of which lived to adulthood. Her father, Albert Stanwood, however, was one of only four children. Albert’s father, David, was from a family of six, born to Benjamin and Betsy (Wasgatt) Stanwood. Surprisingly, I’ve stumbled on a fair number of 19th century families in my genealogy (primarily in the Wasgatt lines) where only one or two children were born to the couple, while they were married many years. While not uncommon during current times, it certainly was not the norm in days past. It made me stop and ponder the reasons for these smaller family sizes. Infertility? Possibly. Choice? Maybe. But how? The Comstock law of 1873 declared birth control both obscene as well as illegal. So, what methods of birth control did our ancestors have available to them?
According to the CDC’s MMR publication Achievements in Public Health, 1900-1999: Family Planning, discussing birth control, counseling women about family planning or distributing contraception was illegal under state and federal laws. Continue reading
Salisbury Cove Cemetery, Bar Harbor, Maine
My mother took this photo on a trip to Maine in 2004. I love this beautiful, peaceful cemetery, but I love the photo even more since Mom was the eye behind the lens. Mom died just two years later, making each photo all the more special.
Ancestry.com – making my research easier
The year was 1994, and I remember the day like it was yesterday. That sound…that beautiful sound of a dial-up modem, connecting to the internet. My husband was by my side, showing me what the “world wide web” was like. I was mesmerized and astounded. I don’t recall what I said, but I’m sure “WOW!” was in there somewhere. Not that there was a ton of genealogy sites online in 1994, but my immediate thought was how this “www” thing was going to revolutionize genealogy.
Well, here we are, more than a decade (almost two!) later. My dial-up modem has been replaced with wireless internet service and WiFi in my home. The internet has grown, and we have a lot of free genealogical stuff available to us online. Continue reading
I’ve gotten used to the snickers of my coworkers, who are amused by my use of technology. Hey, my goal is to be efficient, and technology is the best way to get there. One of the things I learned long ago is whenever possible, only touch a paper once. Then either file it, toss it, distribute it….don’t save it for later. Well, often that’s not possible. Especially in genealogical research, we need to spend time truly analyzing and “digesting” or mentally “processing” a document. I find when I’m in the middle of a research project, I don’t have time to finish all that I want to accomplish. I may have worked on a family line all weekend long, but alas, Monday morning comes and off to work I go. I don’t want to forget where I’m at in the project, so I’ll “ToodleDo” it – that is, add it to my online, cloud-based task management system, so I can pick back up where I left off on the upcoming weekend. Other times I find I get bored working on one family line, and just need a break. However, again, I don’t want to forget about ideas I had for research, or overlook data entry of documents gleaned at repository.
Last Spring I was working furiously on my Bursley family, preparing for our New England trip. Well, I was also researching several other lines while at the same repositories, and consequently, brought back a considerable amount of data that needs to be reviewed, analyzed, and where appropriate, entered in my database. The items above are some of the “to do” items for my Bradstreet and Bursley families.
ToodleDo also allows you to include notes for each item. Continue reading
Hannah (Thomas) Wasgatt’s signature is found in her husband Thomas’ probate record
Last Friday was a genealogist’s dream – I received five deeds and three probate files in the mail. Of particular interest was the probate record for my 5th Great Grandfather, Thomas Wasgatt, who died 19 May 1820. Shown above is the signature of his wife, Hannah (Thomas) Wasgatt, who acknowledged in writing her “allowance” from her husband’s estate. While most of Hannah’s female peers were giving their “mark” when a signature was necessary, she was able to write her name.
Hannah wasn’t the only smarty pants in the family. Nope, her husband Thomas clearly was a learned man. I was so tickled to find that the very first item listed in the inventory of his possessions was a desk. Continue reading
A few weeks ago I wrote about my love affair with Evernote, a free application that I use both at work and at home. Evernote and Roots Magic, my primary genealogical software, provide my main source of organizing my genealogical research and documents. I love both.
Evernote even searches text from images!
As much as I love Evernote, yesterday I began to question my organizational system. Continue reading
Hannah (Higgins) Higgins, niece of my 4th Great Grandmother, Betsy (Wasgatt) Stanwood. Photo courtesy of Holly Green.
My favorite ancestor is Betsy (Wasgatt) Stanwood. She was one tough lady. She was five months pregnant when she married my 4th great grandfather, Benjamin Stanwood, in 1808. Not exactly politically correct in the early 19th century. When Benjamin died, she managed the family farm, and was listed as head of house on nearly all subsequent censuses. When her grown children and spouses moved to Minnesota, she went along for the ride, but came back to her home – Eden (now Bar Harbor), Maine. She apparently made this trip alone, although she was nearly 80 years old at the time. I love Bar Harbor – I understand why she came home.
I’ve dabbled in my Wasgatt genealogy throughout the years, but was again inspired to pick it back up when I saw the Wasgatt family Bible in Bar Harbor last summer. Armed with this info, and starting from scratch, I’ve been going through generation after generation, adding appropriate sources that I either lacked in my beginning days, or were dropped when moving from one genealogy program to the next.
One really cool thing about retracing your steps after so many years is that there are a lot more resources available online to assist. Continue reading