I received a box of pictures of and documents from my aunt on Thursday. It was like winning the lotto, but 1000% better. My grandmother had given to me all of her family pictures and documents before she died, so I didn’t think there was much else left to find. WRONG! My aunt sent me photos of my grandfather, Harold T. Uphouse, as a child that I’d never seen. There were photos of my grandmother, Goldie (Simpson) Uphouse Edwards as a toddler. Pictures of Harold’s mother, Julia (Veland) Uphouse as a child and young woman. And pictures of Julia’s parents, grandparents, and one of her great grandparent. There were letters written in Norwegian that I need to have translated. I am beyond thrilled.
Category Archives: My Family Lines
I’m a homebody who prefers the company of my dogs and computer to travel. However, there is one thing that is sure to motivate me to hop on a plane, and that’s GENEALOGY! A week ago Thursday I flew to Maine to do some research on my Day family, and then met up with my husband in Boston the following Saturday. I had two goals for this trip:
1) Find any additional documents that may list relationships for Cynthia Day’s parents, siblings, aunts and uncles; and
2) Find the original church records that were used as the source of information for Aaron Day’s baptism, which was listed in the Vital Records of Ipswich, Massachusetts to the end of the Year 1849.
While I did find some early deeds, maps and other cool stuff, I bombed on goal #1. (I think I’ve pretty much gleaned all relevant records pertinent to Cynthia Day’s family and it’s time to start my proof argument for her parentage.)
All was not lost, however. I struck pay dirt big time on goal #2! Buried for several hours in the Ipswich, Massachusetts Archives, I was able to view the microfilmed church records for the First Church and the South Church. While not an original, these transcribed, hand-copied records are nearer to the original than the published vital records, which I highly suspected to be in error.
Below is the entry for Aaron Day’s baptism in the published Ipswich Vital Records. As you can see, it states he was the son of John and Eunice Day.
This seemed highly unlikely. John Day and Eunice Burnum published marriage intentions on 5 May, 1722, more than 60 years before Aaron’s birth. The only John Day with a wife of childbearing age in Ipswich in 1793 when Aaron was baptized was married to his cousin, Sarah (Day) Day. Numerous other documents pointed to Sarah (Day) Day as Aaron’s mother, not Eunice. The transcribed, microfilmed church record is consistent with this – no mother was listed:
Where did the published Vital Records obtain the name of Eunice as Aaron’s mother? We will probably never know, but it seems likely that a tired transcriber simply added the mother’s name, having completed data entry for other children of the earlier couple. Unfortunately, as can be expected, multiple family trees published online and on paper erroneously list Aaron’s mother as the mysterious Eunice, wife of John Day. This exercise, however, underscores the importance of using original records, whenever possible.
After visiting the archives, my husband joined me in the hunt for Aaron’s maternal grandparents – Aaron Day and Sarah (Goodhue) Day. It was an overcast, rainy day, and the pictures turned out lovely. Cemeteries – some of my favorite places. Even more special when they contain an ancestor. 🙂
New genealogists often overlook the unmarried folks in their family trees. After all, there are no offspring to track or trace. However, these unmarried aunts and uncles, cousins and kinfolk, can have stories just as interesting as those of our ancestors, and just as deserving of being told and preserved for generations to come. Just as important – often these unmarried relatives hold pieces to our genealogical puzzles, or have interesting information that make our own ancestors come alive.
Cordelia J. Stanwood is my third cousin, four times removed. (It is her great grandfather’s headstone I’m posed next to in the post, Twenty Tips for Living with the Obsessed Genealogist.) I never met Cordelia – she was born in Ellsworth, Maine on 1 August 1865, and died in 1958, several years before my own birth. However I would have enjoyed meeting her. One of the first female ornithologists in the U.S., she was also an author, a photographer, and….drum roll please…a genealogist. Continue reading
This past Saturday I was inducted into the Cooch’s Bridge Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. It was overwhelmingly wonderful and quite surreal, and the culmination of nearly thirty years of research into my Bursley family. It would never have been possible without the collaboration with my third and fourth cousins, and underscores the importance of finding others who are researching your lines.
The success with my D.A.R. application (and recent approval of my Mayflower Society application as well) has inspired me to dig back into the family of my 3rd great grandmother, Cynthia (Day) Bursley. I’ve posted a bit about my dilemma previously, having miniscule info to go on to determine Cynthia’s parents, and even worse, a very common surname that also turns up zillions of hits in search engines. However, by golly, I am feeling pretty darn confident in the following indirect evidence, which supports that Cynthia’s parents were Aaron Day and his wife, Martha:
- DNA evidence. A FamilyTree DNA Family Finder autosomal test matched me to a descendant of
Joseph Warren Day, the youngest son of Aaron Day and his wife Martha. (We share 63.8 cM’s.) An Ancestry.com autosomal test provided two additional genetic matches – both to two separate descendant’s of Aaron’s oldest son, Nathaniel. Our shared, documented family trees demonstrate we are 4th cousins once removed, consistent with the relationship Ancestry predicted by the portion of shared DNA.
- Naming conventions. Cynthia (Day) Bursley named her youngest children Aaron Day Bursley and Martha Eliza Bursley. Cynthia’s presumed brother, Nathaniel, also named one of his daughters Cynthia. This latter Cynthia, daughter of Nathaniel, married Benjamin Lovejoy on 9 Oct 1864 in Medford, Piscataquis County, Maine.
- Duplicate, original family photos. A photograph of a woman labeled Cynthia Lovejoy was listed on the “Scott Kentish and Border” Ancestry.com tree posted by user “devorguilla.” My heart just about stopped beating when I discovered this photo, as I immediately recognized it – I have
my own copy of it in the photo album originally owned by my great, great grandmother, Lavina (Bursley) Stanwood, daughter of Cynthia (Day) Bursley. While the photo identification appears to be incorrect (Cynthia Lovejoy lived in Maine where she died in 1867, age 29, and the photo was taken in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1871 or later), it establishes an undeniable connection between my Cynthia (Day) Bursley and the Day family of Plymouth, Hennepin County, Minnesota, where Nathaniel Day, father of Cynthia (Day) Lovejoy, and presumed brother of Cynthia (Day) Bursley, resided. Continue reading
I spent my Valentine’s Day happily buried in pension and land records at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. On my agenda was the review and photographing of the pension and land records of the family of my 3rd great grandmother, Cynthia (Day) Bursley. Most interesting was the file for Amos Day, a Union solider who died in a Georgia Confederate prison on 14 October 1864. His mother, Eunice (Boobar) Day, had filed for a mother’s pension, and as proof of Amos’ support, she included in her pension request several letters which showed Amos’ financial contributions toward the family. The first of these letters is dated 13 October 1856, while Amos is traveling west from Maine to Minnesota aboard the War Eagle. Continue reading
It all started with a tale told by my late Cousin Pat, a book about the history of Minneapolis, and a peculiar warning in Grammer’s autograph book.
“Grammer,” as my grandmother was called, was the epitome of what a grandmother should be – doting, kind, and indulgent. Okay, my mom probably didn’t appreciate the fact she spoiled me with candy and cookies, and showed me my Christmas gifts early, but I adored my grandmother. As I grew older, Grammer would share with me stories from her childhood. Later, as I became a genealogy addict, she was always interested in learning about my latest findings. After returning from a research trip in Grammer’s hometown of Minneapolis, I loaned her a book I’d purchased called “Downtown.” Little did I know I wouldn’t receive it back until Grammer had passed – but she would never tell me why or what happened to it!
Right after my grandmother’s death, I became reacquainted Grammer’s niece (my mother’s cousin), Pat (Anhorn) Blair. Cousin Pat told me of my grandmother’s wild teenage years, and I learned a side of Grammer that I’d never known before. The most interesting detail, however, was regarding Cedric Adams, an overwhelmingly popular radio announcer in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area in the 1930s and 1940s. Continue reading
In 2010 I took my first autosomal DNA test through FTDNA. I quickly discovered the frustration of autosomal DNA testing.
1) Autosomal DNA provides no hints as to what part of your family tree your match comes from. Given that we each have 64 fourth great grandparents, 128 fifth great grandparents and so on, it can be quite challenging to determine which person is our common ancestor when a DNA match occurs.
2) Not everyone who does DNA testing is interested in sharing. That was quite a surprise! I had always assumed that people who are willing to expend the funds for DNA testing would be similarly interested in collaboration. WRONG!
3) Not everyone who does DNA testing posts their family tree for self-exploration by those with whom they have genetic matches. Continue reading
With stories of pilgrims and Revolutionary War ancestors, tales of Indian uprisings and cousins scalped, its no wonder I became a genealogy addict at a very young age. My mother must have been quite astounded that her seven-year-old daughter repeatedly asked about her heritage. Mom’s usual response was, “You’re English, Irish, Scotch, Welch, German and Norwegian.” She didn’t have much else to offer me, but my grandmother sure did. While we didn’t know WHICH ancestor came on the Mayflower, or who was in the Revolutionary War, we did know it was her mother’s Bursley side that was impacted by the 1862 Sioux Uprising in Minnesota. And, years later, I now know it was also the Bursley lines that had the Mayflower ancestry as well as service in the American War of Independence. So today, Veteran’s Day, I offer this tribute to Benjamin Bursley, my grandmother’s great-grandfather, Civil War veteran and descendent of some of America’s earliest settlers – the Pilgrims. Continue reading
As Veteran’s Day is approaching, I thought it appropriate to share the Annual Return of the Company of Foot, commanded by Daniel Beale, in the War of 1812. Included is my ancestor, Lemuel Bursley, whose father Benjamin Bursley served in the American Revolution. The original document is held by the Farmington (Maine) Historical Society.
I love maps. They often hold the keys to learning more about our ancestors. They place these people in context with those with whom they lived. They show a community, give us an idea of of who their friends, family and associates were. They simply make it all “click” for me, connecting the dots in a way nothing else does. Finding those maps, however, can be exceptionally challenging.
Consequently, I’ve spent the better part of the last nine years looking for maps of early Penobscot county, Maine. Specifically, I wanted to see where the families lived who resided in the towns of Chester and West Indian Township (now known as Woodville, and formerly Township No. 2 Indian Purchase). Imagine my delight a few weeks ago when I finally found the online images for the 1859 map above, clearly indicating my great-great-great-great grandfather, Benjamin Stanwood, lived in North Woodville, just south of the Pattagumpus stream. Continue reading