Monthly Archives: December 2015

Maps of Maritime Canada

Yarmouth County map
A.F. Church, Yarmouth County Map: detail of Lake George in Nova Scotia

Tracing the origins of Canadian ancestors can be difficult, and the lack of early vital records can prove frustrating. Often, we have to turn to other sources to help piece together family histories. One of the “other sources” that I love to use are maps. Maps not only provide us with the locations of our ancestors’ homes or farms, they can also provide us with significant clues. Here are just a few sources that I have come across that I hope will aid you in your Canadian research.

Nova Scotia

Crown Land Grant Maps
The Crown Land Information Management Centre at the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources maintains Index Sheet Maps of Nova Scotia Crown Land Grant maps. If you know the general vicinity of where your ancestor settled, then the Index Sheet Maps will prove useful. Continue reading Maps of Maritime Canada

Founders of Maryland

LeadAdThis past summer, the release of images and data discovered in the burials beneath the Jamestowne Colony’s first parish chancel attracted nationwide interest. These were remarkable for their antiquity, the prominent positions the interred colonists had occupied, and the unique reliquary buried with Captain Gabriel Archer.

A generation after Jamestowne was first settled, a major settlement was made at the northern periphery of the Virginia settlement, along the Chesapeake Bay and inland to the west. In 1990, the lead coffins of St. Mary’s City’s founders, a Calvert husband and wife, were discovered beneath the Jesuit chapel there. Continue reading Founders of Maryland

This “piecemeal world”

Hedwiga Gray diary1
Hedwiga Regina Shober Gray diary, entries for 5-7 February 1864. R. Stanton Avery Special Collections

Mark Twain is credited with the line “Humor is tragedy plus time,” and it is certain that with time comes perspective (and perhaps comedy). Of course, context is something that can be lost with time’s passage, as three entries in Regina Shober Gray’s diary suggest. In each case, her subjects are Philadelphia ladies, now (between 1874 and 1881) well-established: Mrs. Gray’s memory stretches back, though, to an earlier day, where their social status was more equivocal.

Boston, Saturday, 21 February 1874: [Rear Admiral Charles Steedman’s[1] daughter] Lou Steedman’s engagement to Dr. Lawrence Mason[2] is announced. I hope there goes more love to this affair then seems to have been vouchsafed to Rollins Morse, poor man, when Lou’s sister May consented to marry him.[3] Continue reading This “piecemeal world”

Update for Ancestors of American Presidents

Editor’s Note: NEHGS Senior Research Scholar Emeritus Gary Boyd Roberts makes his Vita Brevis début with a series of articles updating entries to his Ancestors of American Presidents, 2009 Edition, and its 2012 reprint.

Ancestors of Am Pres-14829The subject matter of Ancestors of American Presidents (first published in 1989) is intrinsically interesting, of course, but I have also found it to be a useful delineator of major patterns in American genealogical evolution. As I noted in the introduction to the 2009 edition of this book, within it “lie not only clues perhaps to new lines in your own ancestry, but also … various, and collectively millions, of kinships to presidents. Discovering and enjoying these kinships…, you will, I hope, have further thoughts about your own genealogical connection, or ‘fit,’ into the country at large.”

The following entries show recent published research on the ancestors of American presidents and their spouses: Continue reading Update for Ancestors of American Presidents