Early New England Families Study Project update

Alicia Crane WilliamsFive new sketches have been posted in the Early New England Families Study Project database:

Nathaniel Bacon (c. 1621–c. 1673) married Hannah Mayo, dau. of Rev. John Mayo; settled in Barnstable, tanner, 8 children.

Joshua Holgrave (c. 1615–c. 1643), son of John and Elizabeth (––) Holgrave (covered in the Great Migration series, or GM), married Jane Conant (see below), to New England about age 18 with parents and younger siblings; settled in Salem, 2 children. Continue reading Early New England Families Study Project update

Marking the 4th of July

A year’s worth of holidays by Eugene Robert Richee. Click on the images to expand them.

In my last post on photographs, I wrote about three unknown subjects who sat for some of the leading Hollywood photographers of the day, and readers weighed in with suggestions about who these men might be as well as where to look for answers as to their identity. In today’s post, I wanted to try something a little different, especially as I could use a photo I’ve been longing to show off: these two photos, again taken by well-known photographers of the early sound era, show three film stars doing a bit of modeling for their studios. Continue reading Marking the 4th of July

Researching famous people

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The first page of George Herman Ruth’s 1920 passport application.

Census records, passport applications, draft cards: many people are familiar with these resources because of their ability to tell us more about our own family history. However, they are often underutilized as a tool for understanding the lives of famous individuals. One notable celebrity of the early twentieth century who left quite a trail of records was George Herman “Babe” Ruth, perhaps the most well-known American baseball player of all time. Because of this, we are able to construct a biographical narrative of his experiences using records available to the public which were recorded during his lifetime. In this entry, we will discuss some of these records and precisely what they tell us about the life of Babe Ruth. Continue reading Researching famous people

Introducing The Great Migration Directory

Great Migration DirectoryThe Great Migration Directory attempts to include all those who immigrated to New England during the Great Migration, and only those immigrants. After much examination of the historical record, and particularly of the activities of the passenger vessels each spring, I determined that the Great Migration ended during 1640,1 and so this volume is designed to include every head of household or unattached individual who arrived between 1620 and 1640.

This basic conclusion must be tempered by two other considerations, which have always guided the Great Migration Study Project. Continue reading Introducing The Great Migration Directory

Collecting published accounts: Part Four

Alicia Crane WilliamsContinuing the series on “Collecting published accounts” that began here and continued here and here:

The next large group of records that I want to check is the published Massachusetts Bay Colony records (MBCR). I have downloaded the entire set on my computer and am creating my own hard copy as I work on each sketch. This takes paper and ink, but it eliminates having to find a place to keep the huge large-volume set in the house or to repeatedly pull up the digital version if I already have a page printed. I am collecting similar copies of other published sources (or at least of their indexes) that have a high density of the names I need. Continue reading Collecting published accounts: Part Four

A question of identity

With A. J. Jacobs at the Global Family Reunion in early June.

Over the years I have had the chance to discuss the subject of ethnicity (and identity) with avid genealogists and those who are not all that interested in the field of genealogy. Many people will quickly share with you what their ethnicity is, with answers varying from “American” to a varied mix of ethnic origins. This answer, as you can imagine, can vary greatly with the knowledge each person has as to what was passed down to them by their parents about their own heritage. What I have noticed in these discussions is the depth in which these generational levels of ethnic origin will differ. Continue reading A question of identity

Massachusetts court cases setting precedents on marriage law

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Marriage intention for Ishmael Coffee and Hannah Gay

As the Supreme Court announces its decision in Obergefell v. Hodges relating to recognition of same-sex marriage nationally, I am reminded of how nineteenth-century judicial cases became relevant to the marriage equality cases of the last twelve years. While dozens of cases and laws relating to same-sex marriage have been discussed since 2003, the primary catalyst was the landmark Massachusetts case of Goodridge v. Dept. of Public Health, which found that same-sex couples had the right to marry in the Bay State. Marriages began on 17 May 2004, but our then-Governor Mitt Romney seized upon a 1913 state law (the Uniform Marriage Evasion Act), which stated: Continue reading Massachusetts court cases setting precedents on marriage law

An experiment in time and place

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Nos. 1 and 2, with their three children in Goshen, New York, ca. 1857.

A number of years ago I read a passage in a book on the British aristocracy that has stayed with me, a passage having little to do with peers and their families and quite a lot to do with how we all can look at our ancestors. The author, the late Richard “Dickie” Buckle, proposed the temporal impossibility that all of his great-great-grandparents might have met in a room in London about the year 1800, and with this rough structure he mused about who they were – and whether they might have known one another.

For my purposes, the year 1875 works best, although my sixteen great-great-grandparents were not all alive at that date. Continue reading An experiment in time and place

The fiddling champ of Vermont and New Hampshire

Mortimer Brooks with violin
Mortimer Wilson Brooks

The recent Weekly Genealogist survey about musicians in the family sparked interest from readers, which leads me to share my great-great-grandfather’s story. Two of my mother’s most treasured family possessions are the violin of her great-grandfather Mortimer W. Brooks (1847–1931) and the loving cup he won in 1926. Undoubtedly they are more treasured because she actually knew him and had the opportunity to hear him play. Mortimer Brooks died when my mother was about 4½ years old. As she describes it, he would first pull the piano stool to the middle of the room, face the piano, and then ask her what she wanted him to play. She always asked for Pop goes the Weasel and he was happy to oblige. Continue reading The fiddling champ of Vermont and New Hampshire

Dump draft

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Click on the image to read it.

Continuing the series on “Collecting published accounts” that began here and continued here:

As I collect enough sources, I will begin a “Dump Draft.” (The accompanying illustration shows a partially completed first Dump Draft for Richard Newton.) The goal of the Dump Draft is to get the information on paper in the Early New England Families Study Project format. This allows me to see exactly what I have and what I need. I add and highlight all kinds of notes and questions to myself. Continue reading Dump draft