Baptism record for 2x great-grandfather Thomas Ryan

Last week, Findmypast had free access to their Irish records databases (this weekend, Ancestry.com does also). There I managed to find the baptism record for my great-great grandfather Thomas Ryan!

At first, I only knew that he was from Ireland (looking for a Thomas Ryan in Ireland.... yeah, good luck with that). But awhile back, I had stumbled upon an obituary that mentioned that he was from County Cork. So now at least I could narrow him down to a county. I also had a birthdate (from his death record) and his parents' names, from his marriage record.

So when I searched birth and baptism records for Ireland on Findmypast, I hit a record for a Thomas Ryan who was born on 25 July 1831 to David Ryan and Johanna Lynch, which matched the information I had.

The record states that he was baptized in Fermoy, so now I know the specific township he was from. 

Thomas Ryan's baptism record from Fermoy, Cork, Ireland

Thomas Ryan's baptism record from Fermoy, Cork, Ireland

Talk about the luck of the Irish!

I found a death index for a David Ryan who died in 1874 at the age of 70 in Fermoy. Although this was likely to be Thomas's father, I can't be certain without more details. 

Thomas immigrated to the U.S. and settled in Boston, where he married my great-great grandmother Johanna Fitzgerald in 1860. I can't be sure when exactly he immigrated, or whether his parents or other family came with him or not. 

FTM is sticking around after all

It seems that I was freaking out precipitously in my last blog post regarding Ancestry.com's dumping of Family Tree Maker. I found out from fellow geneablogger Elizabeth Handler that the application will continue to be available through MacKiev

All I can say is, thank goodness, because I love FTM and was decidedly not looking forward to having to transfer all of my information and research to a new application and figure out how to use said application. 

I figured that if Ancestry.com got enough people howling at them and threatening to cancel their subscriptions, they might rethink this decision. This was a good move, and I'm relieved. Thanks to Elizabeth for posting about this!

Buh-bye, Ancestry.com

Ever since Ancestry.com announced last month that they would be retiring their Family Tree Maker software next year, I've been wondering what software to use instead. I've had my issues with Ancestry over the past couple of years, but it can't be denied that FTM is simply the best and most professional family tree program out there. I also loved the TreeSync feature (when it worked). 

If Ancestry thinks that taking away members' ability to host their trees and research on their own computers is going to get more subscribers, which quite frankly appears to be their sole focus, then I think they're in for a disappointment. No serious genealogist would entrust their data and research to just a website. Other companies are wasting no time extending offers and taking their current paying customers. 

Case in point: this morning I got a call from a MyHeritage support rep, inviting me to upgrade my account-- funny, because I had literally just been thinking of doing that. I took the rep up on the offer, and will be canceling my membership with Ancestry.

If they want to know why, I'll just tell them that it was a business decision. 


This and that

Sorry for not having posted here in so long; it's been a very busy couple of months, and I frankly have had neither the time nor the motivation to write. Life has been hectic, and genealogy research slow going. 

Today I was home sick with a bad cold, and was streaming videos from YouTube to my tv. I ended up watching a show I'd never seen before, Long Lost Family or something. It's British, and it's about people who try to find family members, almost always parents and children. It's a nice, heartwarming program.

One thing I couldn't help wondering at, though, were those featured who were looking for parents who had abandoned them. Maybe I don't understand, because I was fortunate enough to have a loving, stable two-parent home, but why would you want to reach out to someone who has treated you badly?

My mother's father Henry was abusive to my grandmother, and she divorced him in 1948. My mother had little contact with her father after the divorce; the last time she ever saw him was the day during her freshman year that he showed up at her school, waiting for her out front when the last bell rang. He mentioned that he was moving across the country, and asked Mom if they could go for a drive and talk before he left. Mom's intuition warned her not to go with him, and she told him no. He drove off in a fury. 

In the mid-seventies, soon after I was born, Mom apparently began feeling sentimental, and decided to try to contact her father. She was thinking what a shame it was that he didn't even know he had five grandchildren.

This was before the interwebs, you see, so Mom dialed "0" hoping to get a phone number for Henry. Mom, always a talker, ended up telling the kindly Irish operator that she was searching for her estranged father. He told her, in his lovely lilting accent, "Sometimes, lass, it's better t'let sleepin' dogs lie."

Mom said that she realized that he was probably right-- why should she contact him, really? So she ended her search.

The show made me wonder how things might have been different if she hadn't. I tend to be extremely cynical about people and human nature, and think that my mother was wise to listen to the operator and leave her father out of her life. On the other hand, what if my mother and her father had reconnected, and he had changed for the better? What if Mom could have had a good relationship with him? Henry didn't die until 1987, so I might have known him. 

My mother never had anything good to say about Henry, but strangely, she always kept a photo of him in her bedroom, among a collection of other family photos in silver frames. In the photo, he's posed beside my six-year-old mom, who's dressed in a cowgirl outfit. That's the only photo I have ever seen of him. This photo, along with some others, disappeared in a move about ten years ago.  I know this isn't genealogy, just some ramblings about family and relationships. 

In the meantime, I've updated the blog's look a bit. Added a sidebar, as I wanted it to be more searchable, and tweaked the fonts and the colors. Hope you like.

I promise to resume blogging more regularly. 

Mayflower lines: FULLER

Generation 1: Samuel Fuller was born on 20 January 1581 in Redenhall, Norfolk, England, to butcher Robert Fuller and Sarah Dunthorne. Samuel was a "doctor" (in those days, you needed no medical degree-- pretty much anyone could hang a single out and call himself a doctor). In 1613, he was married to Agnes Carpenter in  Leiden, Holland, where he had fled with other Pilgrims wanting to escape the reach of King James. Agnes died two years years later, apparently in childbirth. He then married Bridget Lee, also in Leiden, in 1617. Fuller was involved in the decision to make the voyage to the New World. He was a respected deacon in the church, and died in August of 1633. 

Generation 2: Samuel Fuller II was born about 1625 in Plymouth, Massachusetts to Samuel Fuller I and Bridget Lee. He married Elizabeth (Nichols or Bowen?) about 1665. Samuel died on 17 August 1695 in Plymouth.

Generation 3: Elizabeth Fuller was born in Plymouth to Samuel Fuller II and his wife Elizabeth in 1666. She married Samuel Eaton on 24 May 1694, and died in Plymouth in 1723. 


Ancestry line:

Samuel FULLER I (1580/1-1633) m. Bridget LEE
Samuel FULLER II (1625-1695) m. Elizabeth (NICHOLS or BOWEN)
Elizabeth FULLER (1666-1723) m. Samuel EATON
Barnabas EATON (1703-1790) m. Mehitable ALDEN
Hannah EATON (1730-1809) m. John CLEMENTS  
John CLEMENTS (1750-unknown) m. Sarah PERRY
Hannah CLEMENTS (1771-1835) m. Jonathan BAKER
John BAKER (1792-1861) m. Mehitable HILTON
George Albert BAKER (1842-1914) m. Hannah Melissa SPECHT
Jessie May BAKER (1873-1927) m. Thomas Parker SIMMONDS
Estelle MAY SIMMONDS (1893-1930) m. Horace William HOWES
Henry Richard HOWES (1913-1987) m. Dorothy Elizabeth PALMER
S. HOWES (1937-1999) m. my father
Me

Mayflower lines: EATON

Generation 1: Francis Eaton was born in Bristol, England on 11 September 1596. He was a carpenter who made the voyage on the Mayflower with his first wife Sarah Unknown and their infant son Samuel. Sarah died the first winter, and Francis married, second, a woman named Dorothy, believed to be a maidservant of John Carver, but she died also, very soon after their marriage. He married, third, Christian PENN. Francis died on 18 November 1633 in Plymouth, Massachusetts. 

Generation 2: Samuel Eaton 1 was born to Francis and Sarah Eaton soon before the Mayflower set sail; he was described by Governor William Bradford as having been "a suckling child." Samuel would marry Martha Billington, daughter of Francis Billington and Christian Penn, and granddaughter of notorious Mayflower passenger John Billington.

Generation 3: Samuel Eaton II was born to Samuel Eaton I and Martha Billington about 1633, in Plymouth, Massachusetts. He married Elizabeth Fuller, daughter of Samuel and Elizabeth Fuller; her grandparents Samuel and Bridget (Lee) Fuller had come over on the Mayflower. Samuel Eaton II died in Plymouth on 8 March 1724. 

Generation 4: Barnabas Eaton was born to Samuel Eaton II and Elizabeth Fuller on 12 April 1703 in Plymouth, Massachusetts. He married Mehitable Alden, daughter of Joseph Alden and Hannah Dunham and great-granddaughter of that most famous Pilgrim couple, John and Priscilla (Mullins) Alden. Barnabas died in Plymouth on in November of 1790. 

Generation 5: Hannah Eaton was born on 29 October 1730 in Plymouth, Massachusetts to Barnabas Eaton and Mehitable Alden. She married John Clements, and at some point they removed to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada. Hannah died there on 19 October 1809. 


Ancestry line: 

Francis EATON (1596-1633) m. Sarah Unknown
Samuel EATON I (1620-1684) m. Martha BILLINGTON
Samuel EATON II (1663-1724) m. Elizabeth FULLER
Barnabas EATON (1703-1790) m. Mehitable ALDEN
Hannah EATON (1730-1809) m. John CLEMENTS  
John CLEMENTS (1750-unk) m. Sarah PERRY
Hannah CLEMENTS (1771-1835) m. Jonathan BAKER  
John BAKER (1792-1861) m. Mehitable HILTON
George Albert BAKER (1842-1914) m. Hannah Melissa SPECHT
Jessie May BAKER (1873-1927) m. Thomas Parker SIMMONDS
Estelle May SIMMONDS (1893-1930) m. Horace William HOWES
Henry Richard HOWES (1913-1987) m. Dorothy Elizabeth PALMER
S. HOWES (1937-1999) m. my father
Me

Mayflower lines: BREWSTER

Generation 1: William Brewster was born in Scrooby, Nottinghamshire, England about 1566 to William Brewster and Mary Smythe. He attended Cambridge, was a teacher and printer, and was the only university-educated member of Plymouth Colony. He married Mary Unknown, and was among those Pilgrims who went to Leiden, Holland. While there, he taught English and printed naughty, anti-English Establishment pamphlets. He came to Massachusetts on the Mayflower, and served as an adviser to the governor. He died on 10 April 1644. 

Generation 2: Patience Brewster was born about 1599 in Nottinghamshire, England to William and Mary Brewster. On 5 August 1624, she married Thomas Prence, who would serve as governor of Plymouth Colony. Patience died of "pestilent fever" on 12 December 1634. 

Ancestry line:

William BREWSTER (1566-1644) m. Mary UNKNOWN
Patience BREWSTER (1599-1634) m. Thomas PRENCE
Rebecca PRENCE (1627-1651) m. Edmund FREEMAN
Rebecca FREEMAN (1651-1738) m. Ezra PERRY
Samuel PERRY (b. 1688) m. Sarah LEONARD
Moses PERRY (1714-1801) m. Eleanor ELLIS
Sarah PERRY (b. 1750) m. John CLEMENTS
Hannah CLEMENTS (1771-1835) m. Jonathan BAKER
John BAKER (1792-1861) m. Mehitable HILTON
George Albert BAKER (1842) m. Hannah Melissa SPECHT
Jessie May BAKER (1873-1927) m. Thomas Parker SIMMONDS
Estelle May SIMMONDS (1893-1930) m. Horace William HOWES
Henry Richard HOWES (1913-1987) m. Dorothy Elizabeth PALMER
S. HOWES (1937-1999) m. my father
Me

Mayflower lines: BILLINGTON

Generation 1: John Billington was born in Lincolnshire, England about 1580, and he married Eleanor Unknown. They had only two surviving children, John Jr. and Francis. 

John and his family seem to have been troublemakers. During the voyage across the Atlantic, 14-year-old Francis almost blew up the ship when he fired a musket among barrels of gunpowder. Once in Massachusetts, John Sr. was charged with contempt of "the Captain's lawful command with opprobrious speeches", but upon "humbling himself and craving pardon", he avoided the punishment of having his neck and heels tied together. 

Not long after, John Jr. was kidnapped by Indians while wandering in the woods, forcing the colonists to send out a search party and negotiate the boy's release. John Jr. died in 1627, unmarried and without issue.

In 1624, John Sr. was implicated in a failed rebellion against the authority of the Plymouth church, but claimed ignorance and was never punished. In a 1625 letter to Robert Cushman, Governor Bradford referred to Billington as a "knave."

Things only got worse when, in 1630, John Sr. shot and killed his neighbor John Newcomen, with whom he had been feuding over land hunting rights. It was decided that Billington should pay the ultimate price, and he was hanged for murder in September of 1630. 

Six years later, John's widow Eleanor was charged with slander against a Mr. John Doane and sentenced to be put in the stocks and whipped. 

Generation 2: Francis Billington, son of John and Eleanor Billington, was born in Lincolnshire, England, about 1607. He married Christian Penn, widow of Francis Eaton, in July of 1634, and the removed to Middleborough. Francis died on 3 December 1684. 

Billington Sea, "discovered" by 14-year-old Francis Billington upon arriving in the New World. It's not actually a sea, but a large lake.

Billington Sea, "discovered" by 14-year-old Francis Billington upon arriving in the New World. It's not actually a sea, but a large lake.


Generation 3a:

Martha Billington was born in 1638 in Plymouth to Francis Billington and Christian Penn, and she married Samuel Eaton, who was actually her stepbrother (the son of her mother's first husband Francis Eaton by his first wife Sarah Unknown). 

John BILLINGTON (1580-1630) m. Eleanor UNKNOWN
Francis BILLINGTON (1607-1684) m. Christian PENN
Martha BILLINGTON (1638-1704) m. Samuel EATON I
Samuel EATON II (1663-1724) m. Elizabeth FULLER
Barnabas EATON (1703-1790) m. Mehitable ALDEN
Hannah EATON (1730-1809) m. John CLEMENTS  
John CLEMENTS (1750-unknown) m. Sarah PERRY
Hannah CLEMENTS (1771-1835) m. Jonathan BAKER
John BAKER (1792-1861) m. Mehitable HILTON
George Albert BAKER (1842-1914) m. Hannah Melissa SPECHT
Jessie May BAKER (1873-1927) m. Thomas Parker SIMMONDS
Estelle MAY SIMMONDS (1893-1930) m. Horace William HOWES
Henry Richard HOWES (1913-1987) m. Dorothy Elizabeth PALMER
S. HOWES (1937-1999) m. my father
Me

I'm also descended from a second child of Hannah Eaton and John Clements, John Clements' sister Mehitable:

Mehitable CLEMENTS (1754-1834) m. John TRASK
Hannah TRASK (1774-1829) m. Jacob Lufkin HILTON
Mehitable HILTON (1796-1865) m. John BAKER
George Albert BAKER (1842-1914) m. Hannah Melissa SPECHT
Jessie May BAKER (1873-1927) m. Thomas Parker SIMMONDS
Estelle MAY SIMMONDS (1893-1930) m. Horace William HOWES
Henry Richard HOWES (1913-1987) m. Dorothy Elizabeth PALMER
S. HOWES (1937-1999) m. my father
Me 

Generation 3b:

Mary Billington, daughter of Francis Billington and Christian Penn, was born about 1640 in Plymouth. On 20 January 1663, she married Samuel Sabin in Rehoboth, Massachusetts. She died on 28 June 1717 in Rehoboth.

John BILLINGTON (1580-1630) m. Eleanor UNKNOWN
Francis BILLINGTON (1607-1684) m. Christian PENN
Mary BILLINGTON (1640-1717) m. Samuel SABIN
Israel SABIN (1673-1718) m. Mary ORMSBY
 Jeremiah SABIN (1703-unk) m. Mary ABBOTT
 Jeremiah SABIN (1732-1815) m. Susannah LEVALLEY
Sarah SABIN (1747-unk) m. Borden THURBER                 
Samuel THURBER (1774-1847) m. Mary "Polly" LEWIS
Margaret Sophia THURBER (1808-1846) m. Anthony C.  SPECHT
Hannah Melissa SPECHT (1843-1924) m. George Albert BAKER
Jessie May BAKER (1873-1927) m. Thomas Parker SIMMONDS
Estelle MAY SIMMONDS (1893-1930) m. Horace William HOWES
Henry Richard HOWES (1913-1987) m. Dorothy Elizabeth PALMER
S. HOWES (1937-1999) m. my father
 Me 


Mayflower lines: ALLERTON

Generation 1: Isaac Allerton was born in London about 1586, son of Edward Allerton and Rose Davis. He was among those Puritans who fled to Holland prior to coming to the New World, and there in Leiden, he married Mary Norris. Soon after arriving in Plymouth, his wife Mary gave birth to a baby while still on board the ship; neither she nor the child made it off. Isaac would remarry Fear Brewster, daughter of fellow Mayflower passenger William Brewster, and become vice-governor of Plymouth Colony. Isaac was renowned for his incompetence and mismanagement, was banished, and died in New Haven, Connecticut on 12 February 1659. 


Generation 2: Remember Allerton was born in Leiden, Holland, in 1615, to Isaac Allerton and Mary Norris. She married Moses Maverick on 6 May 1635, and died in Marblehead, Massachusetts on 12 November 1652.  

Isaac Allterton's signature

Isaac Allterton's signature


Ancestry line:

Isaac ALLERTON (1586-1659) m. Mary NORRIS
Remember ALLERTON (1615-1652) m. Moses MAVERICK
Abigail MAVERICK (1644-1646) m. Samuel WARD
Martha WARD (1672-1723) m. John TUTTLE
Martha TUTTLE (1690-1763) m. Mark Haskell
Elizabeth HASKELL (1710-1781) m. Jeremiah FITTS I
Jeremiah FITTS II (1749-1804) m. Ruth Souther
William FITTS (1797-1845) m. Priscilla DAVIS
Sophia Haskell FITTS (1823-1880) m. Isaiah F. PURINTON
Mary "Mae" Olivia PURINTON (1852-1898) m. George Bailey PALMER
Frank Bailey PALMER (1888-1958) m. Bessie Maud WINSLOW
Dorothy Elizabeth PALMER (1918-1984) m. Henry Richard HOWES
S. HOWEs (1937-1999) m. my father
Me

Mayflower lines: ALDEN and MULLINS

I have quite a few Mayflower surnames in my family tree-- as I mentioned in my previous post, this isn't unusual, considering that these families commonly intermarried. 

Generation 1: John Alden was born about 1598 in Hampshire, England. In 1620 he was a lowly cooper abroad the Mayflower who would become one of the most prominent and well-known of the Pilgrims. After arriving in Plymouth, he married another Mayflower passenger, Priscilla Mullins, in 1622. She had come over with her parents William and Alice and brother Joseph, but had lost them all during that first harsh winter. 

John and Priscilla are the inspiration for the common depiction of the "Pilgrim couple"; in an age where marriage was viewed much more pragmatically, theirs appears to have been a true love match. They had many children, and today have the most numerous descendants of any other Mayflower passengers. They were my 11th great-grandparents. 

John died on 12 September 1687 in Duxbury, and Priscilla followed on 5 February 1688.

Generation 2: Joseph Alden I was born to John Alden and Priscilla Mullins on 22 May 1624 in Plymouth, Massachusetts. He married Mary Simmons about 1657, and removed to Bridgewater. There he died on 8 February 1697/8. 

Generation 3: Joseph Alden II was born to Joseph Alden I and Mary Simmons in 1667 in Plymouth, Massachusetts. In 1690 he married Hannah Dunham, daughter of Daniel and Hannah Dunham. He died on 22 December 1747 in Bridgewater, Massachusetts. 

Generation 4: Mehitable Alden was born on 18 October 1707 in Bridgewater, Massachusetts to Joseph Alden II and Hannah Dunham. She married Barnabas Eaton (another Mayflower descendant), and died in November of 1790.


Ancestral line:

John ALDEN  (1599-1687) m. Priscilla MULLINS
Joseph ALDEN I (1624-1697) m. Mary SIMMONS
Joseph ALDEN II (1667-1747) m. Hannah DUNHAM
Mehitable ALDEN (1707-1739) m. Barnabas EATON
Hannah EATON (1730-1809) m. John CLEMENTS  
John CLEMENTS (1750-unk) m. Sarah PERRY
Hannah CLEMENTS (1771-1835) m. Jonathan BAKER  
John BAKER (1792-1861) m. Mehitable HILTON
George Albert BAKER (1842-1914) m. Hannah Melissa SPECHT
Jessie May BAKER (1873-1927) m. Thomas Parker SIMMONDS
Estelle May SIMMONDS (1893-1930) m. Horace William HOWES
Henry Richard HOWES (1913-1987) m. Dorothy Elizabeth PALMER
S. HOWES (1937-1999) m. my father
Me 

Are you descended from Mayflower passengers?

About 10% of Americans are descended from someone who was brought to the shores of Massachusetts in the winter of 1620 on the Mayflower

When you consider that there were originally only 102 passengers, and that about half of them would die that first winter, that's pretty astounding.

MayflowerHistory.com is a fantastic resource for Mayflower history and genealogy, and, among many other things,  it has a transcribed passenger list, with individual passengers' names hyperlinked so that you can learn more about them. There is also pdf link to an image of the original list made by the hand of Governor William Bradford in 1651. 

Courtesy of the State Library of Massachusetts

Courtesy of the State Library of Massachusetts

Some of the more common/prolific Mayflower passenger surnames are Alden, Billington, Bradford, Brewster, Chilton, Eaton, Fuller, Hopkins, Howland, Standish, and Winslow. If you have these names in your family tree (or any others on the passenger list), you might want to dig back further on those lines.And since the Mayflower passengers married into each other's families, chances are that, if you have one Mayflower ancestor, you probably have others. 

Daniel Mace, Union Civil War veteran

My 2nd great-grandmother Elizabeth Mace Bean Winslow (1846-1907) had two older brothers who both served the Union during the American Civil War: Thomas and Daniel. Thomas, whom I've written about before, perished.

But Daniel survived, and today it's his story I want to tell. 

35-star Union Civil War flag

35-star Union Civil War flag

Daniel Mace Webster was born on 14 February 1845 in New Hampshire (probably Plaistow), the second surviving child of John Mace and Sophronia Bly. Around 1848, John Mace disappeared, and in the 1850 census, Sophronia and her children were living with her aunt and uncle (she is listed as a "pauper"). On 30 April 1859, she married Joseph Fellows. 

So the Mace children grew up poor and fatherless; eldest son Thomas actually joined the Navy 1857, at the tender age of 14! In the 1860 census, Thomas is a farmhand working for (living with?) a neighbor, and Daniel is a shoemaker's apprentice in Massachusetts. 

I get the definite impression that, given the above information, things were not great at home. 

Thomas almost immediately answered President Lincoln's call when war broke out in 1861, and was killed at Williamsburg on 5 May 1862. On 22 August of that year, just a few months after his brother's death, Daniel enlisted in the 50th Massachusetts infantry; I find this so brave and touching.

He enlisted again in February of 1864, this time in the 59th Massachusetts infantry, company E. During the siege of Petersburg, on 7 June 1864, Daniel was wounded in the left leg and captured- and he would spend the next six horrible months at Camp Sumter in Andersonville, Georgia. He survived, and was exchanged on 25 November.

On 18 March 1865, Daniel married Mirinda Wilkinson. It would be interesting to know if they had been engaged during the war, or if they met at some point after his release from the prison camp and just had a whirlwind courtship. Daniel was discharged from the Army for disability two months after the wedding. 

Daniel and Mirinda had a son, William, born in 1867, but the marriage was apparently a troubled one; Mirinda divorced Daniel in 1880, and the records give her charge against him as "habitual drunkenness." 

All I can say here is, if I had spend almost a half a year at Andersonville (the conditions of which were comparable to those of Nazi death camps), then I'd probably drink too. There was no counseling, no VA, no psychological support for soldiers at all at that time. 

Tintype of Daniel Mace c. late 1860s, originally mislabeled as his son Willie. Courtesy of Dan's 3rd great-grandson Jon.

Tintype of Daniel Mace c. late 1860s, originally mislabeled as his son Willie. Courtesy of Dan's 3rd great-grandson Jon.

In the 1900 census, Daniel is living with his now-widowed mother Sophronia, his sister Elizabeth, Elizabeth's husband James, and their daughter Bessie (my great-grandmother). In the censuses of 1910 and 1920, he's living alone and is a laborer. 

Daniel was apparently very close to his half-sister Laura Fellows Noyes, Sophronia's daughter by Joseph Fellows. She, too, was a divorcee, as well as a medical doctor. "Uncle Dan" would help her with her three girls-- two of whom would also become doctors. 

When Daniel died on 1 June 1924, Laura Noyes was his attending physician. Interestingly, he left only 1 dollar each to his son and to sisters Lizzie and Sarah Ellen. The rest of his estate went to Laura and her heirs. Granted, his "estate" probably wasn't very much, but my understanding is that you leave $1 to someone as basically a way of saying, "No, I didn't overlook you-- I really meant to give you the shaft."

In Daniel's will, he also requests that his grave be given a "suitable monument" reading "Daniel W. Mace, Company E, 59th Regiment Mass. Volunteers, War of 1861-1865", along with his age and date of death. 

Thank you, Uncle Dan, for your service. 

The real Dracula

I was in the sixth grade when I discovered a copy of Bram Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula in my Language Arts classroom's library, and devoured it during silent reading time. 

Then I discovered that Stoker's main character wasn't entirely fictional; Dracula actually existed. He wasn't a count or a vampire, however, but a 15th century Romanian prince who became renowned for his cruelty towards enemies and criminals. 

Ambras Castle portrait of Vlad Dracula, c. 1560, said to be a copy of one taken from life

Ambras Castle portrait of Vlad Dracula, c. 1560, said to be a copy of one taken from life

Vlad Dracula was born in December of 1431, the son of Prince Vlad Dracul; the name Dracul means "dragon", as Vlad's father was a member of the Order of the Dragon. Ironically, it can also mean "devil"-- the addition of the "a" means "son of"-- and so the name Dracula can be interpreted to mean "son of the devil." I'm sure that, to those on the wrong side of him, that moniker was quite appropriate. 

At the time, Romania (the southern part of which was then called Wallachia) was ruled by the Ottoman Sultan, and the princes of Balkan lands were basically puppets who were allowed to remain on their thrones only so long as they paid tribute. The Sultan demanded not only money, but also boys to be trained as soldiers for his army. Princes and nobles were also sometimes made to give up their children as "good faith" hostages to ensure their parents' compliance. So long as the princes and nobles did not do anything stupid, like try to fight, their children were well treated and given a quality education. 

When Vlad was only 13, he and his younger brother Radu became such hostages and were sent to live in Turkey. Four years later, Vlad was a commander in the Turkish army, now well versed in their religion, language, and military tactics. This knowledge would serve him well in the future. 

Whatever he had endured as a prisoner of the Turks had made him diamond-hard, and after he took the Wallachian throne at age 17, he set out to avenge his father, who had been killed. He blamed the nobles of his land, whom he believed were in cahoots with their hated Ottoman masters, and he exacted brutal payback.

Dracula became known as Vlad Tepes, which means "Impaler", due to his favorite method of executing criminals, deadbeats, and anyone who was, in his eyes, unworthy of living in his realm: shish-kabobing them on wooden stakes and leaving them for display. The impalement was done in such a way that the unfortunate victims didn't die too quickly. 

It didn't take much, either, to find yourself on the wrong end of a sharp stake: steal some bread, fail to mend your husband's clothes, and that was it. Not surprisingly, this resulted in a virtually crime-free land where even very expensive items could be safely left out in public squares. 

Unlike his father, Dracula refused to pay tribute, which incurred the wrath of Sultan Mehmed. Mehmed sent an army to Wallachia's capital of Tirgoviste,  but 60 miles outside the city his forces were met with a gruesome sight: thousands of bodies in varying stages of decomposition impaled on stakes, positioned in a line across a hill. The message was clear: "Come any further, and this will be you." The army retreated.

Vlad the Impaler was finally killed in battle in 1476, at the age of 45; one of his favorite tactics during combat was to disguise himself as a Turk, and he was probably mistaken for one by one of his own men. 

Dracula's legend spawned this 16th century depiction of Vlad dining among some of his victims

Dracula's legend spawned this 16th century depiction of Vlad dining among some of his victims

Vlad Dracula was by no means a nice guy, and today he would be charged with countless war crimes-- but he was a man of his time. Despite his brutality, Dracula was a brilliant and innovative military leader who rewarded soldiers displaying bravery. He was a pioneer in the use of germ warfare, sending soldiers who had the plague into the Turks' camps to spread the disease among them. He also used "scorched earth", destroying crops and poisoning wells so that pursuing Ottoman armies would have nothing to eat or drink. 

He single-handedly kept his country free from the Ottomans; it was only after his death that they actually invaded the Balkans. He is still considered a national hero-- perhaps the national hero-- of Romania today. 

Bram Stoker, who never actually visited Romania, was inspired by the tales of corpses that rose from their graves and sustained themselves by drinking the blood of the living (a belief that came from not fully understanding the decomposition process). How much he actually intended to model his undead villain after the real-life prince, however, we don't know. 

To this day, we can't seem to get enough of vampires. I frankly find the real Vlad Dracula much more interesting than the fictional vampire, and can't understand why there has been only one half decent English-language movie made about him.

A happy and safe Halloween to all. 

A snapshot of life in Krasnostav

My grandfather Baruch (later Bernard) Krantzberg came from Krasnostav, a small shtetl in what is now Ukraine, west of Kiev. The other day I got an email from Mike Levin, a gentleman I know from the interwebs whose grandparents also came from Krasnostav. 

Mike published an article on JewishGen that was written by a cousin of his mother's, who lived in and remembered the town, and he linked me to it

This article proved to be a very interesting account of the town's history and lives of its inhabitants, especially regarding its Jewish population.

The article mentions that from the Bolshevik Revolution to the early 1920's, this was an unstable and frankly dangerous place to live, where Jews and their businesses were targeted. My grandfather's family ran a dry goods store, and one day it was raided by Cossacks. Great-aunt Gissie paid them off to leave; it was right about then that the family chose to get out. 

My grandfather's family, circa 1915, in or near Krasnostav. Clockwise from left: my great-aunt Gissie, great-uncle Joel, great-aunt Ita, grandfather Baruch, and great-grandmother Nechama (seated). 

My grandfather's family, circa 1915, in or near Krasnostav. Clockwise from left: my great-aunt Gissie, great-uncle Joel, great-aunt Ita, grandfather Baruch, and great-grandmother Nechama (seated). 

The article also mentions by name my grandfather's older brother Moshe, who would immigrate to Ottawa, Canada, and teach at the Talmud Torah Hebrew School there. What I hadn't known is that he was a teacher back in the old country as well-- according to the article, he founded his own reformed "heider", or Hebrew school, where he taught Hebrew in Hebrew. For some reason, this was considered controversial, and it was shut down. 

My great-uncle Moshe Krantzberg, rebel Hebrew school teacher, circa 1920's Canada

My great-uncle Moshe Krantzberg, rebel Hebrew school teacher, circa 1920's Canada

I want to thank Mike for sharing this glimpse into my grandfather's hometown and family.

COLBY of Salisbury and Amesbury, Massachusetts

The Colby family actually have Danish origins (any English name with the "by" suffix is Norse, meaning "farmstead"). 

Generation 1: Anthony Colby was from Horbling, Lincolnshire, born about 1605. His wife Susannah was possibly the daughter of Jarret HADDON, another founder of what would become the town of Amesbury.

Anthony arrived with the Winthrop Fleet sometime in 1630, first arriving in Boston, then in Ipswich by 1637, and finally ending up in Salisbury by 1639. He had married Susannah soon after arriving, about 1631 or 1632. He was apparently not a man to sit quietly by or suffer fools, because in 1640 he was fined one shilling for being "disorderly" in a town meeting.

I'm descended from Anthony and Susannah through four of their children, in five known ways total; they were my 9th (twice), 10th, and 11th great-grandparents.

The Macy-Colby House in Amesbury, originally owned by Thomas Macy, sold to Anthony Colby in 1654.

The Macy-Colby House in Amesbury, originally owned by Thomas Macy, sold to Anthony Colby in 1654.

 

Generation 2a: Sarah Colby was born in Boston, Massachusetts about 1635 to Anthony and Susannah Colby. On 6 March 1654, she married Orlando Bagley in Salisbury, Massachusetts. She died on 18 May 1663 in Boston. 

Generation 2b: Rebecca Colby was bon to Anthony and Susannah Colby on 11 March 1643 in Salisbury, Massachusetts. She married John Williams II, son of John I and Jane Williams,  on 9 September 1661 in Haverhill, Massachusetts. Rebecca died on 10 June 1672 in Haverhill. 

Generation 2c: Mary Colby was born to Anthony and Susannah Colby on 19 July 1647 in Salisbury, Massachusetts. On 23 September 1668, in Amesbury, Massachusetts, she married William Sargent II, son of William Sargent I and Elizabeth Perkins. She died in Amesbury on 27 September 1716.

Generation 2d: Thomas Colby was born in Salisbury on 8 March 1650 to Anthony and Susannah Colby. He married Hannah Rowell, daughter of Valentine Rowell and Joanna Pinder, on 16 September 1674 in Amesbury, Massachusetts. His death date is unknown. 

Generation 3a: Hannah Colby was born in 1677 in Amesbury, Massachusetts to Thomas Colby and Hannah Rowell. She married John Tewksbury, son of Henry Tewksbury and Martha Copp. She died unknown.

Generation 3b: Jacob Colby was born to Thomas Colby and Hannah Rowell on 13 April 1688. He married Elizabeth Elliot, daughter of John Elliot and Naomi Tewksbury, on 11 November 1724, and passed away after 1755. 

Generation 4: Valentine Colby was born to Jacob Colby and Elizabeth Elliot in Amesbury, Massachusetts on 29 May 1728. On 20 August 1747, in Amesbury, he married Hannah Kimball, daughter of Jonathan Kimball and Lydia Weed. Valentine served as a "minuteman" during the outbreak of the Revolution. He died in Amesbury in 1812.

First page of Valentine Colby's will. Image courtesy of FamilySearch.org.

First page of Valentine Colby's will. Image courtesy of FamilySearch.org.

Generation 5: Thomas Colby  II was born in Amesbury, Massachusetts on 11 September 1761 to Valentine Colby and Hannah Kimball. On 31 March 1789, he married Dorothy Barnard, whose parents were Joseph Barnard and Elizabeth Tewksbury, in Amesbury. Thomas died on 4 August 1833.

Generation 6: Dorothy Colby was born on 8 December 1791 in Amesbury, Massachusetts to Thomas Colby II and Dorothy Barnard. She married John Purinton on 11 June 1811 in Amesbury. She died in South Hampton, New Hampshire on 13 September 1847.


Ancestry line #1:

Anthony COLBY (1605-1661) m. Susannah UNKNOWN
Sarah COLBY (1635-1663) m. Orlando BAGLEY I
Orlando BAGLEY II (1658-1728) m. Sarah SARGENT
Sarah BAGLEY (b. 1683) m. Henry LANCASTER
Hannah LANCASTER (b. 1709) m. John JEWELL
Hannah JEWELL (b. 1739) m. Enoch DAVIS
John DAVIS (1761-1831) m. Priscilla BARTLETT
Priscilla DAVIS (1798-1828) m. William FITTS
Sophia Haskell FITTS (1823-1880) m. Isaiah F. PURINTON
Mary Olivia PURINTON (1851-1898) m. George Bailey PALMER
Frank Bailey PALMER (1888-1958) m. Bessie Maud WINSLOW
Dorothy Elizabeth PALMER (1918-1984) m. Henry Richard HOWES
S. HOWES (1937-1999) m. my father
Me 


Ancestry line #2

Anthony COLBY (1605-1661) m. Susannah UNKNOWN
Rebecca COLBY (1643-1672) m. John WILLIAMS
Sarah WILLIAMS (b. 1662) m. Joseph BOND
Rebecca BOND (1685-1775) m. Benjamin HARDY
Philip HARDY (b. 1719) m. Hannah TENNEY
Zilpha HARDY (b. 1756) m. Amos BAILEY
Jonathan BAILEY (b. 1788) m. Sarah CLARK
Arvilla BAILEY (b. 1816) m. Joshua BAILEY
George Bailey PALMER  (1850-1926) m. Mary Olivia PURINTON
Frank Bailey PALMER (1888-1958) m. Bessie Maud WINSLOW
Dorothy Elizabeth PALMER (1918-1984) m. Henry Richard HOWES
S. HOWES (1937-1999) m. my father
Me 


Ancestry line #3

Anthony COLBY (1605-1661) m. Susannah UNKNOWN
Rebecca COLBY (1643-1672) m. John WILLIAMS
Mary WILLIAMS (1663-1695) m. Thomas SILVER
Sarah SILVER (1682-1770) m. James PHILBRICK
Rachel PHILBRICK (1704-1767) m. Ephraim BROWN
Enoch BROWN (1728-1768) m. Elizabeth CLOUGH
Rachel BROWN (b. 1765) m. Robert GIBSON
Elizabeth GIBSON (b. 1784) m. Asa BLY
Sophronia C. BLY (1818-1905) m. John MACE
Elizabeth A. MACE (1846-1907) m. James W. WINSLOW
Bessie Maud WINSLOW (1886-1970) m. Frank Bailey PALMER
Dorothy Elizabeth PALMER (1918-1984) m. Henry Richard HOWES
S. HOWES (1937-1999) m. my father
Me 


Ancestry line #4

Anthony COLBY (1605-1661) m. Susannah UNKNOWN
Mary COLBY (1647-1716) m. William SARGENT
Jacob SARGENT (1687-1749) m. Judith HARVEY
Winthrop SARGENT (1711-1787) m. Phebe HEALEY
Mary SARGENT (b. 1745) m. Jeremy TOWLE
Judith TOWLE (1783-aft 1864) m. Samuel SEVERANCE
Mary "Polly" SEVERANCE (1805-1889) m. William WINSLOW
James W. WINSLOW (1838-1906) m. Bessie Maud WINSLOW
Dorothy Elizabeth PALMER (1918-1984) m. Henry Richard HOWES
S. HOWES (1937-1999) m. my father
Me 


Ancestry line #5

Anthony COLBY (1605-1661) m. Susannah UNKNOWN
Thomas COLBY I (b. 1650) m. Hannah ROWELL
Hannah COLBY (1677-1730) m. John TEWKSBURY
Isaac TEWKSBURY (1698-1765) m. Sarah SARGENT
Elizabeth TEWKSBURY (b. 1721) m. Joseph BARNARD
Dorothy BARNARD (176201827) m. Thomas COLBY II
Dorothy COLBY (1791-1847) m. John PURINTON
Isaiah F. PURINTON (1818-1890) m. Sophia Haskel FITTS
Mary Olivia PURINTON (1851-1898) m. George Bailey PALMER
Frank Bailey PALMER (1888-1958) m. Bessie Maud WINSLOW
Dorothy Elizabeth PALMER (1918-1984) m. Henry Richard HOWES
S. HOWES (1937-1999) m. my father
Me 

Marriage record for Dorothy Palmer and George Everett Maynard

Before leaving for my mini-vacation two weeks ago, I managed to find the marriage record for my grandmother Dorothy Elizabeth Palmer Howes to her second husband, George Everett Maynard (he went by his middle name). 

Dorothy divorced my grandfather Henry Richard Howes on 3 February 1948, and she married Everett on 2 July 1948, in Nottingham, New Hampshire..

Image courtesy of FamilySearch.org

Image courtesy of FamilySearch.org

Image courtesy of FamilySearch.org

Image courtesy of FamilySearch.org

Mom was 11 years old when her mom remarried, and her relationship with her stepfather Everett was fairly good. He was extremely strict; if Mom didn't make honor roll, she was grounded for the entirety of the next marking period. Knowing Mom, she probably didn't make things easy for Everett, either... she could be stubborn and was quite rebellious as a kid, by her own admission.

What surprised me about the marriage record was that this was Everett's first marriage. Just as I was surprised that my grandfather Henry's second wife Evelyn had been previously married, I was surprised that Everett was not. 

Dorothy and Everett remained married until the late fifties or early sixties. 

I've since found a couple of other records that recently became available on FamilySearch, so please stay tuned!

The Road Backward interview featured on Geneabloggers

Back in August, I was approached by Wendy Mathias of Geneabloggers, asking if she could interview me and feature my blog on Geneabloggers. I was delighted of course, and agreed. She emailed me the questions, and I sent back my answers.

Last week I went on vacation, and during that time, Wendy Mathias of Geneabloggers published the interview, which you can read here

This has been busy week, but I did want to get around to thanking Wendy for featuring me and my blog!

 

Marriage record for Henry Richard Howes and Evelyn Giard Rogers

It's funny how, every time I think I've exhausted the internet for genealogical information, something else pops up. Over the past couple of weeks, I've found a few interesting things on FamilySearch and MyHeritage, and one of those things was the marriage record of my maternal grandfather to his second wife.

My grandfather Henry Richard Howes first married my grandmother Dorothy Elizabeth Palmer on 26 Jun 1936 in Medford, Massachusetts. My mother would be born the following April.

Henry and Dorothy divorced on 3 February 1948. Dorothy remarried George Everett Maynard by 1952, and Henry remarried Evelyn Giard. Mom lived with her mother and stepfather Everett; she didn't have much contact with her father Henry, and thus didn't really know Evelyn or her half-brother, the son that Henry and Evelyn had together.

I knew that Henry must have married Evelyn between Henry's divorce from Dorothy in 1948 and the birth of his son with Evelyn in 1950. On FamilySearch, there is a database called New Hampshire Marriage Certificates 1948-1959, in which, after poring through the un-indexed collection, found the marriage record of Henry Howes to Evelyn:

Image courtesy of FamilySearch

Image courtesy of FamilySearch

So Henry and Evelyn married on 27 May 1949 in Plaistow, New Hampshire. She was also previously married, which surprised me for some reason; I had always thought, for some reason, that this was her first marriage. Her first husband was Ernest Rogers, and she was divorced. 

Henry and Evelyn remained married until Henry's death on 24 June 1987 in Norway, Maine. Evelyn died on 9 December 1994 in South Paris, Maine. They are buried together at Hillside Cemetery in East Stoneham, Maine. 

Still slogging though the database to see if I can find the marriage record of my grandmother Dorothy to her second husband George Everett Maynard... stay tuned.

TOWLE of Hampton, Hawke, and Kingston, New Hampshire

Generation 1: My first Towle ancestor in America was Philip Towle. He was born in England, probably in Crediton, Devon County. He immigrated to New England, settling in Hampton, New Hampshire sometime before 1657. In that year, on 19 September, he married Isabella Austin, daughter of Francis Austin and Isabella Bland. He died on 19 December 1696 in Hampton. 

Generation 2: Caleb Towle I was born to Philip Towle and Isabella Austin on 14 May 1678. On 19 April 1678 in Hampton, New Hampshire, he married Zipporah Brackett, daughter of Anthony Brackett and Susannah Drake. He owned a sawmill, and passed in Hampton on 5 August 1765. 

Generation 3: Caleb Towle II was born to Caleb Towle I and Zipporah Brackett in Hampton, New Hampshire on  9 May 1701. He married Rebecca Prescott, daughter of James Prescott and Mariah Marston, on 1 January 1728. He died in Hawke (aka Danville), New Hampshire on 3 February 1795. 

Caleb Towle's will, 1795, page 1. Courtesy of FamilySearch.org

Caleb Towle's will, 1795, page 1. Courtesy of FamilySearch.org

Caleb Towle's will, 1795, page 2-- one of the witnesses was Josiah Bartlett, signer of the Declaration of Independence and governor of New Hampshire. Courtesy of FamilySearch.org

Caleb Towle's will, 1795, page 2-- one of the witnesses was Josiah Bartlett, signer of the Declaration of Independence and governor of New Hampshire. Courtesy of FamilySearch.org

 

Generation 4: Jeremy Towle was born to Caleb Towle II and Rebecca Prescott on 19 June 1745 in Kingston, New Hampshire. He married Mary Sargent, daughter of Winthrop Sargent and Phebe Healey, on 19 September 1765 in Hawke, New Hampshire. He died before 25 April 1825 in Hawke.

Generation 5: Judith Towle was born in Hawke, New Hampshire on 6 July 1783, to Jeremy Towle and Mary Sargent. On 6 January 1802, Judith married Samuel Severance II, son of Samuel Severance I and Hannah Winslow. She died after 16 November 1864. 

 

Ancestry line:

Philip TOWLE (d. 1696) m. Isabella AUSTIN
Caleb TOWLE I (1678-1765) m. Zipporah BRACKETT
Caleb TOWLE II (1701-1795) m. Rebecca PRESCOTT
Jeremy TOWLE (1745-1825) m. Mary SARGENT
Judith TOWLE (1783-aft 1864) m. Samuel SEVERANCE
Mary "Polly" SEVERANCE (1805-1889) m. William WINSLOW
James W. WINSLOW (1838-1906) m. Elizabeth A. MACE
Bessie Maud WINSLOW (1889-1970) m. Frank Bailey PALMER
Dorothy Elizabeth PALMER (1918-1984) m. Henry Richard HOWES
S. HOWES (1937-1999) m. my father
Me