March 29, 2014

SARGENT of Amesbury, Massachusetts

Someone very recently emailed me and asked about the SARGENT surname which she had noticed in one of my blog entries, so I thought this would be a good surname to do this Saturday...

My original SARGENT immigrant ancestor was William SARGENT,. According to The Great Migration Begins, his origins are unknown. He was born by 1611, and immigrated to Massachusetts about 1632. He was admitted as a freeman on 22 May 1639, and by occupation he was a mariner. He was literate, as he could sign his name, and may have served as a grand juror.

William first married Elizabeth PERKINS, daughter of John PERKINS and Judith GATER. Elizabeth was the sister of convicted Salem "witch" Mary Perkins Bradbury, who was also a direct ancestor to me.

I'm descended from William through three of his children: Thomas, William, and Sarah.

Ancestry line #1:

William SARGENT (d. 1675) m. Elizabeth PERKINS
Thomas SARGENT (1643-1706) m. Rachel BARNES
Jacob SARGENT (1678-1754) m. Gertrude DAVIS
Sarah SARGENT (b. 1701) m. Isaac TEWKSBURY
Elizabeth TEWKSBURY (b. 1721) m. Joseph BARNARD
Dorothy BARNARD (1762-1827) m. Thomas COLBY
Dorothy COLBY (1791-1847) m. John PURINTON
Isaiah F. PURINTON (1818-1890) m. Sophia Haskell 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

Ancestry line #2:

William SARGENT (d. 1675) m. Elizabeth PERKINS
William SARGENT II (1645-1712) m. Mary COLBY
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. Elizabeth A. MACE
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

Ancestry line #3

William SARGENT (d. 1675) m. Elizabeth PERKINS
Sarah SARGENT (1652-1701) m. Orlando BAGLEY
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 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

March 22, 2014

PALMER of Hampton, New Hampshire

My earliest PALMER ancestor was William PALMER, who settled in Hampton, New Hampshire. According to the Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire, William was a freeman who was in Hampton by 1638, when he was licensed by the General Court to begin a plantation. He was a grand juror in 1640.

William left a wife in Ormesby, England-- his first wife was Mary Stamforth, and he had five known children with her. The parish church at Ormesby St. Margaret's cited him in September 1636 for not attending services and excommunicated him.

He married a second wife, Ann UNKNOWN, at some point before leaving with her for the New World on the "Amite" in 1635. His youngest son with Ann was Joseph, my 7th great-grandfather. After William's death in 1646, Ann remarried Francis Plummer on 21 March 1649 in Newbury, and died there on 18 October 1665.

William's will reads as follows:
The day of death being uncertain and the time when uncertain both Religious and human policy call all men before death to dispose of their estate and I being in perfect understanding do thus dispose of my outward estate.
First I will and bequeath to my wife all that her former husband gave her by his will as it is found at my decease. Secondly I give and bequeath to Ann my wife for the term of her life my house and half my twenty acres of land at my house by equal division and five acres of salt marsh and five acres of fresh marsh and to have twenty bushels of Indian corn and my warming pan and the best cushshing and two sows and have half (the use of) my barn during her life and one cow which she will Secondly I bequeath to my son Joseph my house and land at Newbury Thirdly I will and bequeath to my son Christopher all my housing and land in Hampton not already bequeathed and after my wives disease a full enjoyment of all my housing and land in Hampton to him and his heirs for ever and I will that if I and my wife die before my son Joseph be fourteen years of age that son Christopher shall pay to Joseph till he come to the age aforesaid forty shillings by the year also my will is that my daughter Martha shall have ten pounds by the year for two years after my decease to be paid out of my estate further my will is that my daughter Mary shall have twenty pounds paid to her when she shall be at the age of twenty one years to be paid to her out of my estate. Also I will and bequeath to my daughter Mary half my pewter and my featherbed upon the chamber as it is and also her mothers best gowns and my will is that my wife shall keep in repair the Housing she have for her life and I make my son Christopher executor of this my last will.
This eighteen of ye seventh month of 1644
Witness to this my last will
Timothy Dalton Senior
William Palmer
his mark

Ancestry line:

William PALMER (1585-1646) m. Ann UNKNOWN
Joseph PALMER (1644-1715) m. Sarah JACKMAN
Richard PALMER (b. 1675) m. Martha DOWNER 
Samuel PALMER (b. 1713) m. Anne EVANS
Joshua PALMER I (1761-1851) m. Sarah SWETT
Joshua PALMER II (1815-1864) m. Arvilla 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

March 15, 2014

Ryan of Boston, Massachusetts

In honor of upcoming St. Patrick's Day, I thought I'd focus on what is, frankly, the least explored branch of my family tree: that of my Irish-descended paternal grandmother.

Irish ancestry is difficult; good luck looking for ancestors with surnames like RYAN and FITZGERALD when you don't even know where in Ireland they originated. I figure that my irish immigrant ancestors were poor potato farmers who worked land owned by others, and were driven out of Ireland by starvation during the Great Potato Famine of the 1840s and 1850s.

I have personally found that, in genealogy, the trail often stops at the Atlantic. Even most of the lines of my English ancestors who came over during the Great Migration of the mid 1600's cannot usually be traced back any further than the original immigrants. With my Irish and Jewish lines (my father's side), I really can't go back any farther than the generations that immigrated.

My grandmother's ancestors arrived in the 1850s, so I can thankfully at least go back to 3rd greats on her side.

The first RYAN ancestor immigrant was 2nd great-grandfather Thomas Lynch RYAN (1831-1916), who immigrated about 1857 and settled in Dorchester, a suburb of Boston, Massachusetts. According to his death record, his parents were David RYAN and Johanna LYNCH.

Thomas and his wife Johanna (nee FITZGERALD) had several children:

One, my great-great uncle James Francis Ryan, would join the fire department and rise to the rank of district chief. His younger brother, my great-grandfather David, would spend 10 years as a police officer before participating in the Boston police strike of 1919 and subsequently losing his job.

David's daughter, my grandmother Clare, was always rather broad-minded for a woman of her generation, and, in a time when mixed marriages-- either between races or between religions-- was a rare thing, married my Ukrainian Jewish grandfather.
The Ryans have a large monument at Mt. Calvary Cemetery in Roslindale, MA. Photo courtesy of my cousin Barbara.

My grandmother, Clare RYAN, c. 1933

When updated DNA results last year to make them more specific, I was rather surprised to find that the amount of my Irish DNA is estimated at 39%. This is quite a bit higher than the roughly 25% I was expecting, and constitutes the largest percentage of my DNA. Then I recalled that my mother had some Irish ancestry too-- her 2nd great grandparents Richard HOWES and Catherine ROSS came from Ireland, according to census records, and there are names like TOWLE (originally TOOLE) and BAILEY on her side of the tree as well.

Happy St. Patrick's Day.


Ancestry line:

David RYAN m. Johanna LYNCH
Thomas Lynch RYAN (1831-1916) m. Johanna FITZGERALD
David Thomas RYAN (1875-1939) m. Mary Elizabeth FITZGERALD
Clare Regina RYAN (1911-2001) m. Boruch K
My father (b. 1933) m. S. HOWES

March 12, 2014

Then and now: Fields Corner

Google Earth can be a great resource for genealogy, especially in conjunction with historical maps. I enjoy using the program to compare views of a place in the past to modern-day.

I found online a 1948 photo of Fields Corner, a section of the Boston, Massachusetts suburb of Dorchester where my father grew up. Then I used Google Earth to take, as closely as possible, a shot of the same place at the same angle to compare (fyi, I actually took this "new" picture a couple of years ago).

Amazing not how much has changed, but how little!