Monday, April 27, 2015

Thomas Goodwin Wells - Prosperous? - 52 Ancestors #17

For this week's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks writing challenge from blogger Amy Crow Johnson of No Story Too Small, the theme is Prosper. The ancestor I selected was prosperous, yet suffered a terrible tragedy before he turned 50.

My 3rd great-grandfather, Thomas Goodwin Wells, was born on November 23, 1804, in Hopkinton, New Hampshire, to Thomas G. Wells and Lucinda (Lyman) Wells.

A couple of years ago, I learned that he was married before he married my 3rd great-grandmother, Elizabeth and this first wife died young. See Who Was Mary Eliza Wells? for the details. In 1838, he married Elizabeth Sewall Willis. He had five children with her.

In the 1850 U.S. Census, he is enumerated in Walpole, New Hampshire, as a farmer. His household includes his wife, Elizabeth; his three oldest children: Eliza, Henry, and Louisa; his father-in-law, Benjamin Willis; and two servants.

1850 U.S. Census, Walpole, Cheshire County, New Hampshire, record for Thomas G. Wells

However, someone recently found my FindAGrave memorial for Thomas Wells and contacted me to share information he found about fellow travelers of his second great grandfather. It turns out that Thomas was NOT in New Hampshire in 1850, but in California!

Thomas Goodwin Wells was one of 210 passengers and crew members who boarded the sailing ship "Sweden" in Boston Harbor, on March 1, 1849. Their destination was San Francisco, via Cape Horn, South America. The ship arrived August 3rd. This link shows "T. G. Wells," a 44 year old "exchange broker," from Walpole, Massachusetts [sic: should read New Hampshire], listed in a logbook kept by fellow passenger Benjamin Bailey. A photo of each page of the entire logbook can be read by entering page number "1" in the box, once at the above link.

A transcription of the same logbook (which can be easier to read than the handwritten pages) can be read page by page here.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Happy 4th Blogiversary to From Maine to Kentucky

This is blog post number 290 over the past four years. Although I slowed down during 2014, I expect to increase the number of posts in 2015 because of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge, in which I am writing about various direct-line ancestors once a week. I also hope to get a few Surname Saturday posts in, among other interesting posts.

My most recent posts of interest came from the fact that I attended the 2015 New England Regional Genealogy Conference (NERGC), which I enjoyed and blogged about in three posts: NERGC Day 1, NERGC, Day 2, and NERGC Day 3. I hope I was able to give a flavor for what the conference was like. I hope to attend in 2017.

In reviewing my statistics for the past several months, I noticed that I am receiving more traffic to my blog. I believe that it's in part due to my being more consistent in sharing my posts via Facebook (with family and those Facebook friends I know are interested), Google+, and Twitter (not particularly active, but generates a little bit of traffic, especially if I write an engaging tweet). Hopefully this means I am reaching more readers (and potential cousins) because people are adding me to their blog readers and coming back for more.

I also recently received the best compliment: My mother told me that since I have been writing my blog that my writing has improved. Thank you Mother!

Family members are always welcome to request a blog post about a particular line or ancestor and I will see what I can find out and share!

Thank you for reading my blog. I hope you continue to read and enjoy!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Abigail Blodgett Greeley Lived To 94 - 52 Ancestors #16

For this week's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks writing challenge from blogger Amy Crow Johnson of No Story Too Small, the theme is Live Long.

I figured out how to look at the age at death for my direct ancestors by creating a custom report in Family Tree Maker. No centenarians in my direct ancestry, but there are several who lived into their 90s.

The one direct ancestor who lived the longest (for whom I have relatively good records) is my 5th great-grandmother, Abigail Blodgett, who was born in Dunstable, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, as the middle of seven children of Joseph and Dorothy (Perham) Blodgett, who were originally from Chelmsford, Massachusetts, a town just to the southeast of Dunstable.

Dunstable Vital Records show Abigail's birth date as February 18, 1723/24.

Saturday, April 18, 2015


View of Providence from Prospect Park
I wrote about my first day at NERGC here and my second day here.

I chose to take a break from attending sessions (and the weather was beautiful), so my third day started with a walk up College Hill which was near my hotel and the Convention Center. At right is a photo I took from Prospect Park towards downtown Providence.

Following are descriptions of the sessions I attended on this third and last day of NERGC 2015.


Navigating A Billion+ Hidden Records on FamilySearch with Robert Raymond was my first session of the day.

Using an example from his own family research, he showed how to use what he referred to as "hidden collections" on to find the will of his ancestor who lived and died in the 19th century. He used many screen shots from FamilySearch to show how to navigate this free website. He covered indexes, original records versus transcriptions, and what to look for once a researcher is exploring a particular collection. (i.e. be sure to click on "learn more" when looking at the information page for a collection.)

Also using his example, he reminded us that when we find a will, we need to follow the GPS (Genealogical Proof Standard) to ensure that we have found the right person. (Same name doesn't always equal same person!) Because using the index within these "hidden" collections is so important, Robert spent quite a bit of time sharing examples of the variety of indexes that can be found in these online collections, as well as how to navigate through the images rather than clicking "next" and viewing every image.

This was a very useful session for any user of the website.

Friday, April 17, 2015


I wrote about my first day at NERGC here.

My second day started with Creating Maine Towns: The Process and the Records with Carol Prescott McCoy.

Carol loves Maine and it showed during her presentation about Maine town records and all of the interesting things that can be found in them, including historical events (earthquakes), first settlers (and their families), and town laws (where not to cut wood), among many other things.

Take-aways include:
Many towns were created from other towns so be aware of these divisions and the many name changes that happened.
Between 1689-1713, there were only three permanent settlements that were continually inhabited: York, Kittery and Wells. 1713 was when there was more of an effort to increase settlement in Maine.
Carol covered the variety of typical town officers, which included tithingmen, hog reeves, and fence viewers. There were also Highway Surveyors, who had to make sure the town's roads were passable (think spring mud season).

She also explained where a researcher has to go to find these records (i.e. specific Maine towns). After listening to Carol, I want to go visit Litchfield, Buckfield, Norridgewock, Calais and Lee, Maine (among others) to explore their town records and see what goodies I can find on my Maine ancestors!


Thursday, April 16, 2015


I am attending my first New England Regional Genealogical Conference. (And my second major conference - I attended the IAJGS Conference when it was in Boston in 2013. I blogged about that conference here and here.)

I arrived in Providence this morning and during today I attended several sessions, as well as met up with many, many other genealogists. A summary of my genealogy day follows:

My day started with a welcome to the attendees (there are over 950 registered to attend during the three days of the conference, although not all are here yet) and then a presentation by John McNiff, who, in the character of Reverend William Blackstone (1595-1675), described what life was like for early immigrants to New England. His description of life on board an early 16th century ship for two months on the way from "Old England" to "New England" was quite descriptive (wearing the same clothes, no opportunity for bathing, being constantly wet, rotting food…). He then went on to describe his early life in New England: in Boston, Plymouth, and Rhode Island, as its first settler, dealing with the natives as well as the "wilderness" of the area.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

How Do You Spell That? - Judith Farrar / Farrow - 52 Ancestors #15

For this week's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks writing challenge from blogger Amy Crow Johnson of No Story Too Small, the theme is How Do You Spell That?

Before there was consistent spelling of names, you can't be sure how an ancestor's name might be spelled in official records because whoever is writing down the name is spelling it the way he or she is hearing it. Because of this (and the changing of accents?), a surname can change from generation to generation (and even for the same person during his or her lifetime).

My 4th great-grandmother, Judith Farrar, was born in 1773 as the oldest of ten children of David Farrow (Farrar) and Judith Stodder (Stoddard). Judith was probably born in Massachusetts, though I have not found her birth record (only in secondary sources). These names certainly make you wonder how the family pronounced the names.

David Farrow Jr. of Hingham + Judith Stodder of Sci[tuate] Jan. 28, 1773 Massachusetts Town and Vital Records, for Hingham

Massachusetts Town and Vital marriage records (in both Hingham and Scituate) show David Farrow of Hingham marrying Judith Stodder of Scituate. However, I always look for Farrar and Farrow to search for Judith, her siblings and her father's line and I look for Stodder and Stoddard to search for Judith's mother's line.

A story found in A History of Buckfield, Oxford County, Maine, from the earliest explorations to the close of the year 1900, published in 1915 by The Journal Printshop of Lewiston, Maine, (found at Google Books), tells of the Farrar family arriving in Buckfield (in about 1789) and Judith meeting her husband, Thomas Lowell (who shot a bear). I blogged about this story at Local History of Buckfield, Maine.

Very soon after this meeting, Judith married Thomas in New Gloucester, Cumberland, Maine, on July 4, 1790. They settled in Buckfield, Oxford, Maine, where they had eight children. Sadly, her husband, Thomas, died in 1810 in Buckfield.

Soon after her husband's death, Judith moved with her children to Litchfield, Maine, about 30 miles east of Buckfield. The 1850 and 1860 U.S. Censuses show Judith Lowell living in Augusta, Maine, with her youngest daughter's family (Judith and William Sibley). She died there on October 31, 1861 and is buried in Wall Cemetery in Augusta, where her gravestone notes that she was the wife of Thomas Lowell. (See her FindAGrave memorial.) However, I have still not found where Thomas is buried.

I descend from the parents of Judith Farrar (Farrow) as follows:

David Farrow (Farrar)  =  Judith Stodder (Stoddard)
Judith Farrar (Farrow)
Reuben Lowell
Sarah Lowell
Lowell Copeland
Lowell Townsend Copeland
My mother

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

George Lysle - Favorite Photo - 52 Ancestors #14

For this week's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks writing challenge from blogger Amy Crow Johnson of No Story Too Small, the theme is "Favorite Photo."

I have shared many favorite photos in this blog. See all posts with the Wordless Wednesday label HERE.

I included the following picture in a post from 2011 about my third great grandfather, George Lysle.

The reason I like this picture is that it is probably the oldest photo I have that shows one of my ancestors "at work" rather than sitting for a portrait. I am guessing that the trolley cars are carrying coal.

It is believed that the man in the top hat is George Lysle, who was born in Pennsylvania in 1799 or 1800. He was in Allegheny County by the 1840 U.S. Census and became extremely successful in the coal industry in Allegheny County and beyond, as his coal barges traveled the Allegheny River, the Monongahela River, and the Ohio River, all major trading routes from Pittsburgh.