Author Archives: Lauren Mahieu

Seek and ye shall find….the missing children of Benjamin and Cynthia (Day) Bursley

My great, great grandmother, Lavina (Bursley) Stanwood, was the sixth child born to Benajamin and Cynthia (Day) Bursley.  Pictured with her above are her living siblings, beginning with John Morris Bursley (left), Susan (Bursley) Schelefoo Smallen, Lavina (Bursley) Stanwood, and Martha (Bursley) Orrock.  Another brother, Aaron Day Bursley, lived to adulthood, but photos of him have not yet been identified.

Grandma Lavina’s three oldest siblings, Julia, Arlette and Benjamin Jr., have always been a bit of a mystery.  Their births were recorded in the Lagrange, Penobscot County, Maine town records.

BURSLEY_Julia_b1835_birth_001

Julia A. Bursley Born Nov 18th 1835

BURSLEY_Benjamin_b1839_birth_001

Benjamin Bursley Jr Born Sep 16th 1839

BURSLEY_Arlette

Arlette Bursley, born Oct 5th 1837

However, none of the older children were listed on the 1850 census:

1850 census

Benj Bursly with Cynthia, John W., Susan H. and Lorina (sic)

Those of us researching the Bursley family have always wondered what happened to Julia, Arlette and little Ben Jr., but for years we were left to ponder.  That is, until GenealogyBank added issues of the Gospel Banner to their database.

BURSLEY_Benjamin_b1810_death_announcement_children

The Gospel Banner reprinted the above from the Bangor Democrat, and  recorded the deaths of young Arlette, Julia and Benjamin Jr., who died with ten days of eachother.

Died in this city, August 22d, Arlette Bursley aged 11 years 10 months; August 29th, Julia Augusta Bursley aged 13 years 9 months; and August 31st, Benjamin Bursley aged 10 years, children of Benjamin and Cynthia S. Bursley.  Thus within a very brief time these parents have been called to part with their three elder children, cut down by the same disease, the scarlet-fever, and are bowed down in affliction and sorrow.  The eldest, a daughter, was a most excellent girl, kind and faithful to her trusts and duties wherever she was placed.  Deeply will their parents and especially her mother mourn her loss, and many hearts will sympathize with her in her grief.  God sustain them in this hour! – Bangor Democrat.

Scarlett fever occurs as the result of an infection with a group A Streptococcus bacteria, and it is most often spread by those who cough and sneeze. Children, aged 5 to 15 years, are the  most often afflicted; however, only a small number of those with group A Strep infections go on to develop Scarlett fever.  The first signs and symptoms of an infection include a sore throat, fever, headache, swollen lymph nodes and red or scarlet-colored rash.

Unfortunately, there were no antibiotics when Julia, Arlette and little Ben were diagnosed with “the scarlett-fever.”  Those life-saving medicines were not be discovered for another century.  Had they had the advantage of penicillin, photos of Julia, Arlette and Ben could have been added with their siblings above.


Nathaniel Lord, the 3rd great grandson of Robert Day

On 27 November 1742, twenty-eight year old Elizabeth Day (daughter of Thomas Day and the great grand daughter of Robert Day of Ipswich) published intentions of marriage to Nathaniel Lord.  The two continued to reside in Ipswich, where they died and were laid to eternal rest in the Old Burying Ground.

Joint gravestone for Nathaniel and Elizabeth (Day) Lord

Nathaniel died 16 January 1800; however, he was likely in ill health for some time, as his will, dated 8 August 1796, was written nearly four years previous to his passing.  Included in the will was provision for the education of his grandson and namesake, Nathaniel Lord.  He wrote:

I bequeath to my Grand son Nathaniel Lord son of my son Isaac Lord a sum of money which [shall] be sufficient to pay the expenses & complete his Education at Harvard College to be paid by my said Executors at such Times as the Expenses and cost of his Education shall become due.

The younger Nathaniel, born 25 September 1780, was 16 at the time his grandfather was putting his affairs in order, and was likely already enrolled at Harvard; he graduated in 1798, and began a brief career in teaching before his appointment as the Register of Probate.

Nathaniel Lord, the son of Isaac and Hannah (Day) Lord, was the third great grandson of Robert Day, who emigrated to Massachusetts Bay in 1635.

From the History of Essex County, Massachusetts we learn:

Too much praise can scarcely be awarded to Nathaniel Lord for the fidelity, thoroughness and courtesy with which he performed the duties of register during his incumbency of thirty-six years.  Very many now living have cause to remember his kindness of heart, his timely counsel and his honorable deportment, both in business and social life, and the admirable method and system of the office under its present management is largely due to the high standard which he set up, while it was occupied by him.

Nathaniel Lord is buried with his grandfather in the Old Burying Ground, where his gravestone reads:

NATHANIEL
son of ISAAC and SUSANNA
LORD
Born 1780 September 25,
A graduate of Harvard College 1798.
Died 1852 October 16
For more than thirty [illegible] years
Register of Probate for the
County of Essex
Always faithful and conscientious
in the discharge of all his duties
as a Christian and a Patriot.
A kind and devoted father, this stone
is raised by the gratitude
and [illegible] of his children

While Nathaniel was beloved by his family and was respected for his work as Register of Probate, his success also served another purpose; it provided the means for the portrait shown above, likely one of the earliest portraits to found of a descendant of our progenitor, Robert Day.


Harriet Luzetta Day Arithmetic Book

Harriet Luzetta Day was the sister of my third great grandmother, Cynthia Sears Day.  She was born about 1812 in Industry, Somerset County, Maine, and became a teacher, probably giving up her occupation when she married Rowland Freeman in 1834.  Shown below is an arithmetic book owned by Harriet L. Day which I recently purchased off of eBay – another stroke of genealogical serendipity!

Cover of the Arithmetic Book owned by Harriet L. Day, born 1812 in Industry, Maine

Cover of the Arithmetic Book owned by Harriet L. Day, born 1812 in Industry, Maine.

We know that Harriet was raised by her aunt and uncle, Nathaniel Day and Sarah Day, who were both unmarried and lived at home their parents.  Therefore, she would have known both her grandparents, but especially grandmother Sarah (Day) Day, who lived until 1845.  (Harriet would have been about 33 when her grandmother passed away.)

Inside the cover of Harriet's arithmetic book is written Brownville, Milo, Kilmarnock, [-?-], and Kirkland

Inside the cover of Harriet’s arithmetic book is written Brownville, Milo, Kilmarnock, [-?-], and Kirkland

Harriet clearly loved her grandfather, and we know she painted a memorial for him when she was about sixteen years of age.  The arithmetic book gives us another glimpse into Harriet’s life – she dated it 1825, when she was about thirteen years old.

In the upper right corner Harriet wrote her name and the year, 1825.

In the upper right corner Harriet wrote her name, town (“Hallowell x Road”) and the year, 1825.

 

Exercises fill the arithmetic book.

Exercises fill the arithmetic book.

It appears this family treasure was likely passed down to Harriet’s grandson, Rowland Pease.  Rowland married Mary Martha Wilson, who was the daughter Harriet L. Maynard.  Included in the book is the teacher’s certificate for Miss Harriet L. Maynard, and three Rewards of Merit for Harriet Maynard, Henry Maynard and Cyrus Maynard.

Miss Harriet L. Maynard teacher's certificate.

Miss Harriet L. Maynard teacher’s certificate.

Rewards of Merit for Harriet L. Maynard and her brothers, Henry and Cyrus.

Rewards of Merit for Harriet L. Maynard and her brothers, Henry and Cyrus.


Veteran’s Day Patriot Pedigree

My parents met in the Army.  Not only was my mother in the military, but each generation of her family has been involved in major conflicts going back to the Revolutionary War.  I am proud of my military ancestors who served for our freedom.

Patriot Ancestors


Custom smartphone cases carry your ancestors!

The iPhone 7 was just released.  My iPhone 6 Plus is just fine though, although it just had it’s second birthday.  My case, however, is quite cracked and desperately in need of replacement.  My creative son suggested I buy a custom case, and thought I’d enjoy one with a genealogy theme.  So, off to Zazzle I went, and uploaded my image, one that I had previously created showing photos of me, my mother, my grandmother, back to my 2nd great grandmother, Lavina (Bursley) Stanwood.

My custom iPhone case shows my female ancestors

My custom iPhone case shows my female ancestors.

Zazzle is offering 15% off, which was just enough to cover the shipping.  There are other companies that do custom cases, of course, but Zazzle seemed to have the best reviews and the cases were reported to be of better construction.  Can’t wait to get mine and share my genealogy with me where ever I go!


I toppled my self-created brick wall!

Cynthia (Day) Bursley death certificate

Cynthia (Day) Bursley death certificate

Death certificates are great sources of info – but the one above was frustrating to me.  I wanted to see the original death register from which the data had been taken.  However, I was told that privacy laws prohibited me from viewing the nearly 150-year-old book containing the death of Cynthia (Day) Bursley, my 3rd great grandmother.  After contemplating this dilemma, last week I found my nicest, kindest voice and called the County Recorder.  I followed my call up with a sweet-as-pie email thanking the Recorder for her time and asking for additional clarification as the state statutes showed that death records in Minnesota are actually public.  My persistence paid off.  Today I received the following:

Copy of the death register showing Cynthia (Day) Bursley's parents: Aaron and Martha Day!

Copy of the death register showing Cynthia (Day) Bursley’s parents: Aaron and Martha Day!

Talk about Christmas in July!  Since the certificate above completed by the Clerk of Court did not list Cynthia’s parents, I assumed the register also did not have this info.  I was wrong!  After 2 1/2 years of working on a proof argument for Cynthia’s parentage, I finally have the smoking gun:  a piece of paper clearly stating Cynthia Bursley was the daughter of Aaron Day and his wife, Martha.  That brick wall wasn’t so thick after all!

Yup, it’s Christmas in July.  🙂


U.S history – OUR history

A Patriot and a Red Coat in Concord, Massachusetts

A Patriot and a Red Coat in Concord, Massachusetts

My husband and I spent an awesome week in Boston, and enjoyed visits to Lexington and Concord, Cambridge, and my favorite town, Quincy. The latter included a tour of the homes where John Adams and his son, John Quincy Adams, were born, and concluded with a visit to “Piece field,” the enormous home where John and Abigail Adams made their abode after returning from Europe.

Reflecting on our nation’s history and the roles my own ancestors played in it, I’ve come to realize that U.S. history is now MY history. It is personal.

My ancestors were here during those early colonial years, and took an active role in events that shaped our nation. Not only did those events involve the men, but the women and children were dramatically affected as well; when their husbands went off to war, the women were left to carry on with her usual chores as well as maintaining the farm and managing affairs at home.

When I think about the sacrifices my forebears made for our country, I have to wonder – am I made of the same hardy stuff? Could I have endured the eight months my 5th great grandmother Sarah Day spent at home without word about her husband’s safety and well-being while he and the militia marched from Ipswich, Massachusetts to New York in 1776? Or when he was called to duty again in 1779 with his unit reinforcing the army under General Washington?

Yes, our ancestors, both male and female, have made many sacrifices to give us the freedoms and privileges we have in America today. For this I’m grateful and proud. I’m also cognizant that we have reached a crucial juncture in the 2016 election with two political candidates who have quite opposing values and world-views (not to mention political strategies). The outcome of November’s election will have a profound impact on U.S. history that has yet to be written. I’m sure I’m not alone with the sense of unease that often overpowers me when watching the evening news these days, listening to world events and thinking about the role our next President will play in them.    Our ancestors faced similar dilemmas in choosing the nation’s earliest Presidents; and like them, we must prepare for the upcoming election. We must cast our vote for the candidate we think will continue to move our nation forward to ensure our grandchildren and great grandchildren will be proud to be called Americans.