All posts by Andrew Krea

About Andrew Krea

Andrew Krea holds a B.A. in English Literature from Brandeis University, in Waltham, Massachusetts, and a Master’s Degree in Library Science from Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts. He has previously interned at the Massachusetts Historical Society. His areas of interest and expertise include New England research, specifically genealogies dating back to the inception of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and researching and writing historical narratives of family genealogies.

The real Molly Pitcher

Molly Pitcher
Molly Pitcher at the Battle of Monmouth, June 1778. Copy of engraving by J. C. Armytage after Alonzo Chappel. Courtesy of NARA

I recently stumbled upon a reference to Molly Pitcher, a woman from Pennsylvania who fought with her husband during the Revolutionary War for a New Jersey militia unit, and whom New Jersey has adopted as their own heroine of the war, lifting her to almost cult status. Who was this legendary woman? Was she a real woman who fought in the war?

In Emily J. Teipe’s 1999 article “Will the Real Molly Pitcher Please Stand Up?” in Prologue Magazine, she cites Robert Leckie’s text,[1] which states that Molly Pitcher was actually Mary Ludwig Hayes, a daughter of German immigrants, who fought alongside her husband, John Hayes, in Captain Francis Proctor’s company in the Pennsylvania Artillery.[2] Continue reading The real Molly Pitcher

A voice from the Revolutionary War

Andrew Krea hut
One of the huts built for Continental soldiers later in 1780. Courtesy of Revolutionary War New Jersey, the Online Field Guide to New Jersey’s Revolutionary War Historic Sites, http://www.revolutionarywarnewjersey.com/new_jersey_revolutionary_war_sites/towns/morristown_nj_revolutionary_war_sites.htm.

While recently researching an American Revolutionary War soldier who was a lieutenant in the Eastern Battalion of the Morris County, New Jersey militia, I encountered a fascinating historical text from 1975 entitled New Jersey in the American Revolution, 1763–1783, A Documentary History. This text was produced by the New Jersey Historical Commission and edited by Larry R. Gerlach.

There are countless texts and online resources available which accurately state the causes and consequences of the Revolutionary War, but I have encountered few sources which display first-hand accounts of men (and women!) in such a detailed and biographical sense as this text. Continue reading A voice from the Revolutionary War

Young New Hampshire Mariners

“Powder monkeys” (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division).
“Powder monkeys” (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division).

Do you have an ancestor from New Hampshire who was working at sea at the young age of 10 or 12? Have you seen a U.S. Federal Census record that states that your ancestor was a “mariner” at age 13? Did you think it was a mistake or an oversight? In fact, many boys as young as 10 were working on ships in New Hampshire in the late 1700s and early 1800s. Continue reading Young New Hampshire Mariners

Concerning Bass

Samuel Bass 1Do you have a common last name whose origin you have always wondered about, such as Lewis, Adams, or Bass? Did you ever wonder if you were related to a famous person with the same surname? A helpful research tip to figure this out is to search for information regarding the first ancestor that you can find in America, and then attempt to find common ancestral lines. Continue reading Concerning Bass

Natural disasters and genealogy

Galveston 1
Galveston, Texas, following the hurricane of 8 September 1900. Texas State Library

While natural disasters are terrible, and frightening to contemplate, it is important when researching genealogy to be mindful of the sometimes terrifying events through which our ancestors lived. Sometimes it took a terrible event to make a community push their record-keeping to a higher level and record the people who lost their lives or property. The top 10 United States natural disasters are recorded, and they range from 8,000 people dead in the 8 September 1900 hurricane that swept through Galveston, Texas, to 695 dead in the 18 March 1925 tri-state tornado that ripped through Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana. The GenDisasters website breaks down disasters state by state, along with Canada. Continue reading Natural disasters and genealogy

Gravestones and name changes

Andrew Krea 1Anyone who has researched genealogy knows that names can be spelled many different ways across a variety of records. I once found twelve different spellings of one family’s surname during a research project here at NEHGS. Recently, in my own personal family research, I’ve realized that another problem can occur when names are shortened across the generations. Continue reading Gravestones and name changes

Excerpts from Martha Anne Kuhn’s diary, 1836

Martha Anne Kuhn 5
The “quarter card” for Mr. Alcott’s school, summer 1836

Martha Anne (Kuhn) Clarke kept a diary in 1836, while a student at the Temple School in Boston. The series of excerpts began here and continued here. In this installment she writes of her journey through western Massachusetts and into New York. Continue reading Excerpts from Martha Anne Kuhn’s diary, 1836