All posts by Tom Dreyer

Tom Dreyer

About Tom Dreyer

Tom has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Boston University. He has been a genealogical researcher for the past thirty years. His areas of interest are New England, Nebraska, Missouri and Germany

The Wyoming Valley massacre

Wyoming Forts rev
From George Peck’s Wyoming: Its History, Stirring Incidents, and Romantic Adventures (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1858).

Many years ago, during a visit with my wife to her maternal grandparents, her grandfather asked if we could deliver some books which he had sold to a bookshop in Boston. He had worked on his family’s genealogy since he was a young man, beginning about 1900, and he was culling books from his library.

When we returned home I browsed through the books. One had several accounts of attacks on settlers by Indians but, not really understanding the relevance to his research, I put the book down and later in the week delivered the books as promised. Continue reading The Wyoming Valley massacre

Maine’s lost colony

St George's Fort Popham
Courtesy of Other variations of this map exist, and may be found online.

Recently a patron asked me why he was unable to find information on his ancestors who arrived before the Mayflower. I explained that Plymouth Colony was the first permanently settled colony in New England. What I told him was technically true, but I later discovered that an earlier colony had been established in Maine. During the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, England, France, and Spain all had their eyes on the New World, hoping to take advantage its great wealth of resources. Continue reading Maine’s lost colony

Family puzzles

Martin and Elizabeth Schwindt
My mother’s maternal grandparents Martin and Elizabeth (Heft) Schwindt and their family, including my grandmother Elizabeth standing second from right, in Nebraska ca. 1910.

When I was young, my mother mentioned that in her youth her parents would sometimes playfully argue whether Norka was better than Balzer. When asked what that meant she explained to me that these were the names of villages in Russia. That confused me because I knew that she was of German descent. She explained that her German ancestors moved to Russia but eventually life became hard for them there, and after several generations they emigrated to the United States. Continue reading Family puzzles