Monthly Archives: November 2016

Former ancestors

Click on images to enlarge them.

My recent post about twins in the family – correcting my ancestor Sarah (Johnson) Eaton’s ancestry – reminded me of various corrections to my family papers over the years. As I had indicated there, when I started my genealogical research, I was given an enormous head start on my native Connecticut ancestry. Two friends of my great-grandparents had prepared family charts tracing nearly all of my grandfather’s ancestors back to the immigrants in the 1600s. While this was a terrific help, over the years I have found sometimes that this material wasn’t always right. Many times the ancestors on the charts were listed in published genealogies, but my attempts to confirm the line have led me to revisit these ancestors, sometimes turning them into “former ancestors.” Continue reading Former ancestors

Portrait from life

My great-grandparents, John and Catherine (Cassidy) Hampe.

In a previous post – To catch a thief – I discussed the use of local clubs and societies in discovering information about ancestors. However, a recent acquisition led me to expand my search into religious records beyond the standard baptism, marriage, and burial records.

A few months ago, my mother received several photographs and documents that had been in my grandparents’ possession before they died. One afternoon, while going through everything, I came across a certificate for a John A. Hampe written in German. As I have several ancestors named John Hampe, and do not read German, I had no idea what this document could be. Continue reading Portrait from life

‘Hard to go’

Life marched on for lawman Kenny McLean and his wife Alice as their daughter Thelma was growing up.

Thelma McLean, ca. 1905

The heat of summer was making for a lot of shady dealings in Telluride, Colorado. In June 1905, Kenny went to a nearby town to collect a miner who had left “without going through the formality of liquidating” bills he owed; the man was jailed for eighty days for refusing to pay. There was also a story about a self-described “big, wealthy sheep man” who was writing bad checks to unsuspecting townspeople. Marshal McLean threw the man in jail “just as though he were a common sheep herder instead of a sheep owner.”

There was one wholesome event that July in which Kenny took part, however: a baseball game between employees of the Smuggler-Union and the Liberty Bell mines. Continue reading ‘Hard to go’

Ancient burying grounds

Find a Grave image for Ebenezer Paddock (see Note 5 below).

Because of the dedication of our many volunteers, we at the New England Historic Genealogy Society have the opportunity to continually expand the range of databases we provide to family researchers. Recently we have made a lot of progress indexing cemetery transcriptions from NEHGS manuscripts, creating a database complete with accompanying images. You may wonder why we are bothering to index these old manuscripts when there are so many other sources of cemetery information widely available on the Internet today. Continue reading Ancient burying grounds

More twins in the family

twins-1Earlier this year I wrote about my ancestor Tryphena Kendall and her twin sister Tryphosa. Tryphena and Tryphosa Kendall were the granddaughters of Sarah Johnson, who married Nathaniel Eaton at Ashford, Connecticut, on 13 November 1755. As I looked at the documentation I had on this family, something wasn’t quite right.

The family charts that I had on this part of my family were prepared by friends of my great-grandparents nearly 100 hundred years ago, and while I have verified much of this information over the years and corrected some data, I had never verified anything beyond Sarah (Johnson) Eaton. Continue reading More twins in the family

The Depression of 1641

Alicia Crane WilliamsSixteen forty-one was the first year after the end of the Great Migration. Between 1620 and 1640, an estimated 80,000 people left England because of the religious and political chaos there. About 20,000 each went to one of four places: New England, Ireland, the West Indies, and the Netherlands.

The political situation in Old England came to a critical point in 1640 when King Charles I, who had disbanded the Puritan-led Parliament in 1629, now needed the body to authorize money for his continuing religion-based wars in Scotland, Ireland, and on the Continent. Continue reading The Depression of 1641

‘The crooked paths straight’

Courtesy of

It might seem odd, but the 1860 election – pitting Congressman Abraham Lincoln and Senator Hannibal Hamlin against Senator John Cabell Breckenridge and Senator Joseph Lane – did not particularly transfix the nation – at least if one goes by Regina Shober Gray’s[1] diary.

There was plenty of pageantry on offer: Continue reading ‘The crooked paths straight’

Boston Transcript column now online

boston-evening-transcript-detail-4mar1931The genealogy column in the Boston Evening Transcript newspaper has been one of the more heavily used resources at the NEHGS Library for the past century or more. The paper was published, under a few different titles, from 1830 to 1941. From 1906 through 1941, it featured a genealogy column in which readers would submit and respond to queries. During most of its run, the column appeared twice a week. According to an editors’ note which appeared in many issues, the newspaper was almost overwhelmed with submissions and had a backlog waiting to be published. The editors also claimed that they had “correspondents in every corner of the country.” By the time it ceased publication, the column had covered an estimated two million names. Continue reading Boston Transcript column now online

‘A good work for the society’

[Author’s note: This series, on Mrs. Gray’s reading habits, began here.]

PP231.236 Regina Shober Gray. Not dated.
Regina Shober Gray by [Edward L.] Allen, ca. 1860. Courtesy of the Maryland Historical Society, Item PP231.236
Late in January 1863, Major General George B. McClellan made a visit to Boston following an invitation from a group of civic leaders, one that included Regina Shober Gray’s[1] brother-in-law William Gray (1810–1892).

61 Bowdoin Street, Boston, Thursday, 29 January 1863: Mc.Clellan and his wife[2] arrived yesterday p.m. Wm. Gray took Fanny [Gray][3] up to Worcester with the delegation… Of course they had a delightful chance to make acquaintance. Fanny is charmed with Mrs. Mc C. – she & her father rode up to the Tremont House [Hotel] with them, and Mrs. McC. gave Fanny the bouquet which was presented to her at Worcester.

Tomorrow the great dinner & reception at W.G.’s comes off. It will be a regular jam I am afraid. The party at Lizzie Abbott’s last night went off very pleasantly. It was very pretty to look at, and Rebecca [Wainwright][4] and I, who felt quite elderly among the rest, quite enjoyed the looking. Continue reading ‘A good work for the society’

A New Hampshire ghost town

Old Hill Village Meeting House, courtesy

Recently, while researching a case, I stumbled across Hill, a small town in Merrimack County, New Hampshire. Hill was originally formed as New Chester in 1754, and was incorporated in 1778. The town was renamed Hill in honor of New Hampshire Governor Isaac Hill in 1837. Hill was part of Grafton County until 1868, when it became part of Merrimack County. Continue reading A New Hampshire ghost town