The Chosen Genealogist

FiveGenerations_DescendentsofLavina

A very young me with my maternal ancestors

This Facebook post so eloquently describes the passion…the mission…to know our ancestors!

We are the chosen in each family

There is one who seems called to find the ancestors.

To put flesh on their bones and make them seem alive again.

To tell the family story and to feel that somehow they know and approve.

Doing genealogy is not a cold gathering of facts but instead breathing life into all who have gone before.

We are the story tellers of the tribe.

~Author unknown

Do you have a favorite poem or quote that explains your passion for genealogy?


17th Century Ipswich: Drama in the Day Family

Thomas Day married Ann Woodward

Thomas Day married Ann Woodward

Thomas Day, the son of Robert Day (immigrant ancestor who settled in Ipswich, Massachusetts) married Ann Woodward. Ann’s family seemed to constantly find themselves in the midst of drama and conflict. Perhaps the most interesting drama involved Ann’s sister, Sarah, who was the topic of discussion in court. Sarah Woodward was apparently unhappy in her marriage to William Rowe, and didn’t hide from others her ongoing attraction to former suitor, John Leigh. William Rowe, Sarah’s husband, finally said enough is enough, and on 28 March 1673, William brought suit against John Leigh “for insinuating dalliance and too much familiarity with his wife, drawing away her affections from her husband, to the great detriment both in his estate and the comfort of his life.” Thomas Day himself was witness to the ordeal, and on 19 June 1673 “Mary Sparke deposed that being at William Rowe’s house, together with Thomas Day and his wife one Sabbath day at night, arose a discourse between us about fishing….” A few days later, Ann (Woodward) Day’s aunt, Grace (Beamsley) Graves and husband Samuel Graves testified as follows:

…we speaking with Thomas Day our Cousin that married her sister about Sarah, He told us that when she was first married Sarah Carried well to her husband till John Lee frequented the House & her Company when her husband was abroad a fishing, & speaking of her husband Wm Roe he spoke of him in a deriding way of the disparagement of his person; & she answered, well why is he not as other men, If you had bene a sea man as long as hee you wold have had wrinkls in your forehead as well as hee excusing John Lee’s disparageing words…”

Not only did Leigh visit Sarah (Woodward) Rowe at her home, but Sarah was found at Leigh’s residence:

Samuel Hunt deposed that after Sarah Row was married he saw her in John Leigh’s house, where he asked her for some oil. Leigh replied that the town had given liberty to a company of ugly fishermen to come into town, but they were not any better for their coming but a hundred pounds worse. Leigh was very angry and walking to and fro, the woman sitting in a chair before the fire, weeping, etc.

Unfortunately, the court records do not mention Ann (Woodward) Day’s thoughts on her sister’s actions, and we only hear from her husband Thomas. However, Ann’s mother’s wisdom and somber advice to her daughter Sarah was revealed by Mary Fullar:

I hard Sarahs owne mother say to her Sarah have a care what you do: be sure you can loue him: if you can loue him tacke him: and do not say that I prswaded you: its you that must liue wth him and not I: therefor be sure you loue him and her mothr was very seariouse wth her.

Source:  Library of Congress

Source: Library of Congress

 

How refreshing to see such words of encouragement from our ancestress, who is ensuring her daughter is marrying for the right reasons. One must ponder why Sarah proceeded with the marriage when she clearly still had feelings for John Leigh. If only she had heeded her mother’s advice, much misery would have been avoided. Without it, however, we would not have been given Samuel and Grace (Beamsley) Grave’s deposition in which they state “Thomas Day our Cousin that married her sister,” a clue that there is likely a relationship between the Grave(s) family that had hailed from Stanstead Abbotts, Hertfordshire, the same place where Thomas’s father Robert had lived.


eBay, an overlooked resource for finding rare books and other stuff

Recently I was chatting with some members of my genealogical society, and I was surprised that not everyone thought of using eBay to locate items of genealogical value.  Not only do I sometimes find books there, but my mom once purchased early 19th century letters written by our Stanwood relatives of yesteryear.

This morning, however, I awoke to an email alerting me to a new item added for a saved or “followed” search.  This is handy when the item you are looking for isn’t on eBay, but you want to receive notification if someone posts it online for sale or for bidding.  Such is the case with this rare book I wanted – The History and Genealogy of Chester, Maine (which I snagged after receiving this email notification this morning!)

Email notification

Email notification

I also used saved searches for geographic areas.  For example, I’m interested in just about anything pertaining to Ipswich, Massachusetts, where John Day resided.  So I do not have to search manually when sellers add items, I have set this as a followed search.  To do this, simply click the “Follow this search” link that is show to the right of your search criteria:

Click the Follow Search to receive notifications when new items that match search criteria are added

Click the Follow Search to receive notifications when new items that match search criteria are added

So what items have YOU found on eBay lately?


Alson L. Day’s Civil War Letters Home

The American Civil War, or War of the Rebellion, was a long, bloody war.  Certainly many deaths were the result of combat, but just as significant is the numbers of soldiers who died due to disease.  Such was the case for Alson L. Day, who was drafted into the 16th Maine on 30 September 1864.  It appears that he did not actually begin his service until the beginning of the following year.  What follows are letters written by Alson to his family:

24 February 1865 - Page 2

24 February 1865 – Page 1

24 February 1865 - Page 2

24 February 1865 – Page 2

24 February 1865

Camp of 16th Maine

Dear Father

Having a few leisure moments I will [write] a few lines to let you know where I am[.]  I left Camp Distribution the 18th and arived at the Regiment the 21st, I was paid three months pay yesterday.  I shall send home about twenty dollars.  If you have a chance I wish yo would exchange my bounty money for green backs.  I should lik[e] to know what Osgood has done about paying that note.  Uncle George [Grover] went to the Hospital before they started on this last move[.]  I don’t know what Hospital he is in[.]  you can send me a pair of stockins by mail by puting on about six cents postage you can roll them up in a news paper or do them up snug and put a wraper around them.  I don’t think of any thing more now to write so I will bid you

Good By

Alson L. Day

Please write as soon as you get this.

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The Penobscot, Maine Malings

Can you help William Maling with his family history? Please email him at drumsir at aol dot com if you would like to collaborate!  (Note:  William’s great grandmother, Joanna Augusta (White) Maling, is the sister of my 3rd great grandmother, Caroline (White) Stanwood).

EUGENE’S ANCESTORS
By William Maling

I traced our branch of the Maling family back to Nova Scotia (NS), Canada in the 1800s. I was unable to find out how and when the earliest ancestors (William and Ellen) got there or when they were born, married or died; in spite of my hiring a genealogy consultant in Halifax, NS for that specific task. No immigration records were kept until 1880 in Nova Scotia, and passenger manifests on incoming ships were far from being specific as to names or ages. Here is a summary chart, Descendants of William and Ellen Maling.

Maling descendants

Descendants of William Maling and Ellen his wife

Although I have much more information on these Maling descendants in pedigree chart form, I do not include in this history the many lines of all the “cousins.” I have an unpublished Descendants of William H. Maling genealogy on, who I call, our Penobscot County Maine Malings done in classic written form by Nathan P. Maling. Continue reading


A tribute to Jonathan Day of Starks, Maine

Jonathan Day, son of John and Elizabeth (Skillings) Day

Jonathan Day.  Photo courtesy of Margaret Bienart.

Jonathan Day was born 3 September 1820 to John and Elizabeth (Skillings) Day.  He was beloved by his family.  Lucy Hutchins, the granddaughter of Jonathan Day, wrote:

It was 23rd of February in the year 1851. Young Jonathan day tiptoed carefully into the newly finished room parentheses built in the southern end of the addition to the little old house.

There his Aunt Sarah Nichols with his baby daughter into his arms. Smiling into the tiny face he laid her down tenderly beside her mother, sweet Lucy Sherburne Day. Telling of it long afterward he said, “I did just as Aunt Polly (with whom he lived) told me to do.”   She had said that to do that instead of handing the child back to the nurse meant that he owned her as his. And how happy he was to greet his firstborn!

In his old age he wrote as an acrostic on her name:

Feb. 23, 1908

Ere the short day was gone
My little girl was born.
My sakes! How proud we felt
And full of sweet content

Long years have passed since then.

Days weeks and months have flown,
And does this woman live?

Yes with her husband lives.

How great our mercies are
Under our Makers care.
Then let us pass our days
Considering wisdom’s ways
Homeward our steps we’ll bend
In heaven our troubles and.
Nearer to Him we’ll be,
So near to Thee.

Jonathan and Lucy had been married nearly a year. She had come in the winter of 1849-50 to visit her mother, who years after her first husband’s death, had married, second “Uncle Ira Young” and was living in the Starks neighborhood.

That was a winter of much sickness. Aunt Polly’s husband sickened and died. She herself was ill and Jonathan needed help. Lucy Sherburne came the stranger but the acquaintance quickly ripened from mutual respect and when she left it was with the promise of returning as a bride. She went down to Mount Vernon her former home and returned in late March with her sister and a “pung” load of her possessions. The going was “breaking up” that is, the hardpacked snow in the road was softening making traveling hazardous and the young women had a hard time near the end of the journey.

The sister Sarah after they were safely arrived got to laughing hysterically over their mishaps and “couldn’t stop” for a long time.

They went to their mothers and their on the 27th of March 1850 Grandpa Jonathan went to claim his bride. He had lived with Aunt Polly and her husband Uncle Wm. Sutherland since 1825, they having no children of their own took him when he was a child of five.

So now the whole care of the farm came to him and he built an addition to the old house. In the southern part of this he finished off the best room where the baby was born. Here was grandmother Lucy’s bureau, her Boston rocker and stand, etc.  The bed was cleverly contrived so it could be lifted up and fastened to the wall by hooks when not in use.

There was a passageway from the old house extending the length of the addition. A door from it opened into the best room- beyond that led to the woodshed part

On the very day that little Emma was two years old another great event came to the family. A little boy was born and a happy mother gave him the name of her own father, Samuel Sherburne. He was called Sherburne, mostly abbreviated to Sherb. In later years he signed himself S. S. Day except in family letters when it was “Sherb” or perhaps “Uncle Sam”.

Continue reading


The new and improved Legacy Family Tree Webinars

New and improved Legacy Family Tree Webinar page

New and improved Legacy Family Tree Webinar page

Legacy Family Tree recently announced major changes to their web page, and the ability to listen to webinars on smartphones and mobile devices.  Whoo hoo!  With a 2 1/2 hour round trip commute daily, I immediately thought of the possibility of playing broadcasts while driving.  This morning I gave it a test run, listening to Warren Bittner’s excellent session titled, “Complex Evidence – What is It? How Does it Work? And Why Does it Matter?”

I was worried that my iPhone would lose connection and that the webinar would be challenging to listen to.  While there were occasional pauses while listening from my phone, they were exceptionally brief and were barely noticeable.  I’m thrilled that this ability is now offered, as I do most of my podcast and gene-learning in the car these days.  It’s now worth having an annual subscription, as previously I found I just didn’t have the time to listen when at home.  (Subscriptions are a great deal at only $49.95 per year, allowing complete access to the entire webinar archive, and yup, I’ve already resubscribed!)

Just as cool, their new website got a huge face-lift and is really user friendly.  It’s easy to find what you want to listen to.  I’m looking forward to a lot more learning!