Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Mary Freeland Hunter - 52 Ancestors #52

To complete the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks writing challenge from blogger Amy Crow Johnson of No Story Too Small,  I will share what I know about my second great grandmother, Mary Freeland.

Mary Freeland was born in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania, on February 11, 1850, according to family papers. Both the 1850 U.S. Census and the 1900 U.S. Census indicate a birth month of February 1850.

Mary Freeland Hunter
Mary was the oldest of five children of James Freeland, a plumber, and Nancy Rainey. As far as I can tell, she was the only one to marry and have children.

Before marrying, Mary worked as a dress maker (according to the 1870 U.S. Census).

At the age of 21, Mary married James Hunter on April 13, 1871. They went on to have ten children, listed here. One of her sons predeceased her, dying at the age of nine in 1889, and another lived to be 102 years old, dying in 1984!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

My Grandfather, Toby Copeland - 52 Ancestors #51

For this week's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks writing challenge from blogger Amy Crow Johnson of No Story Too Small, I thought I'd write about my grandfather.

My maternal grandfather died the summer I was nine. Because he lived in Pittsburgh and I lived outside of Boston, I didn't know him well, but from everything I've heard about him, he was well liked.

Lowell Townsend Copeland was born on December 21, 1900, in Winnetka, Illinois, to Lowell Copeland and Ethel May Greeley. He is named as Townsend in the 1910 and 1920 U.S. Censuses, which I shared at Grandfather Copeland's Family 1900-1920.

The summer he was 16, he traveled out west and I shared photographs of his trip in a series of blog posts which start here.

1925 Northwestern University
Later, he acquired the nickname Toby which stuck and is what he was known as for much of his life. He attended a couple of boarding schools in New England: Kent School (Kent, CT) and Phillips Exeter, from which he graduated in 1920. He is not listed as a senior (but as a member of the "Upper Middle Class") in the 1919 Yearbook at; Ancestry's Yearbook collection doesn't include 1920.

He graduated from Northwestern University in 1925. His yearbook indicates that he participated in Track, Homecoming parade Manager, Dad's Day, and the Junior Prom Committee. This Yearbook is in's Yearbook collection.


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Tombstone Tuesday ~ The Gravestone Girls

One thing I didn't mention about NERGC last April was that there was a wonderful Exhibit Hall with many exhibitor booths for genealogy societies (wow, there were a lot of them) and all kinds of vendors where genealogists could be parted from their money very easily!

I have heard Brenda, one of The Gravestone Girls, speak a couple of times and was thrilled to see her again at the conference with her treasures: beautiful decorative artwork using images created from actual 17th and 18th century New England gravestones. Each piece of artwork includes a note indicating where the image is from: what cemetery, and if known, what person the stone is for.

After thinking about it on Thursday, I went back to her booth on Friday to take a look at the many refrigerator magnets she was selling.

The first one I picked up and turned over to read about the gravestone artwork was an ancestor: "Mrs. Prissilla Appelton" who is buried in the Old North Burying Ground in Ipswich, Essex County, Massachusetts. She is my 9th great-grandmother on my maternal line!

GravestoneGirls magnet on my refrigerator!

Once I got home, I looked for her memorial at FindAGrave here. However, when I looked at the photograph of the gravestone and compared it with the magnet image, I could see they weren't the same and I wondered if this magnet was really from Prissilla's gravestone. I emailed Brenda with my question and she assured me that she would get back to me.

At the Annual Meeting of MSOG (Massachusetts Society of Genealogists) in early November, I saw Brenda again. She remembered me and was excited to tell me that she was at the Old Burying Ground in Ipswich the day before to solve this mystery. It turns out that this magnet was created from Prissilla's footstone, which was positioned several feet away from the headstone.

She created a mold from the headstone and look what I got in the mail this past week:

And if you ever get a chance to hear Brenda speak, take advantage and attend - she is a wealth of information and you will learn a great deal about gravestones, cemeteries and their history.


I descend from Prissilla (Glover) Appleton as follows:

Prissilla (Glover) Appleton
Sarah (Appleton) Rogers
Priscilla (Rogers) Leonard
Priscilla (Leonard) McKinstry
Mary (McKinstry) Willis
Benjamin Willis, Jr.
Elizabeth (Willis) Wells
Eliza May (Wells) Greeley
Ethel May (Greeley) Copeland
Lowell Townsend Copeland
My mother

Monday, December 14, 2015

Naughty Charles C. Adsit - 52 Ancestors #50

For this week's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks writing challenge from blogger Amy Crow Johnson of No Story Too Small, the theme is Naughty: we all have an ancestor who probably received coal in his stocking.

The following isn't really that "naughty," but was rather negative news to be published in newspapers across the country.

First a summary: my great-grandfather, Charles Chapin Adsit, lived in Chicago, Illinois.  I have written about him a few times:
He was born on July 14, 1853, to James Monroe Adsit and Susan Arville Chapin. His father, James, is considered the first banker in Chicago. Both Charles and his brother, James, Jr. followed in their father's footsteps and became active in Chicago's financial industry.

He married, first, Hattie L. Webster, on November 22, 1881, in Evanston, Illinois. She died less than a year later, in childbirth, and is buried with their unnamed child in Chicago's beautiful Graceland Cemetery.

It took Charles a few years before he was ready to marry again: he married Mary Bowman Ashby (known as "Bowmie") on October 30, 1890, in Louisville, Kentucky. See a lovely description of their wedding here.

Charles and Bowmie had two children, Charles Chapin Adsit, Jr. (b. 1892) and Elizabeth Adsit, my grandmother (b. 1897), known as Libby, who had quite a society wedding in 1919.

After Libby had been married for just a few months, it appears that her father had a bit of financial trouble.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Family Tree Maker Software is Being Retired

As many of my readers probably know,, the owner of Family Tree Maker software, announced two days ago that they would stop selling the software as of December 31, 2015, and would continue to support the software "at least through January 1, 2017."

I have been using Family Tree Maker for Mac since it became available in 2010. I stayed with a Windows computer that long (everyone else in my family had migrated to Macintosh computers by this time) because of Family Tree Maker. (I didn't want to deal with getting a Mac and have to use an extra software product to run the Windows program on a Mac.)

I was thrilled when Family Tree Maker for Mac became available and I even helped beta test the first version in August-September 2010. I upgraded to Family Tree Maker for Mac version 2 when it became available in late 2011, and FTMM3 when it became available in December 2013 (after helping to beta test that one, too).

I have been using Family Tree Maker since sometime in the early 1990s. Wikipedia has a table that shows the history of versions of Family Tree Maker, and I believe that I originally had a copy from Banner Blue, so that was a looong time ago!

After the initial shock of learning this news (and reading the hundreds, now thousands of comments on Ancestry's initial blog post), I read other bloggers input about this. A few calm and reasoned discussions can be found at the following blogs:

Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter:Ancestry to Retire Family Tree Maker Software by Dick Eastman

The Legal Genealogist: Check out the Alternatives by Judy Russell

Genea-Musings: Announces Retirement of Family Tree Maker Software by Randy Seaver

I also took the time to "hang out" with Dear Myrtle's Wacky Wednesday where the discussion topic was Life beyond Family Tree Maker.

For even more links to geneablogger reactions, see Heather Rojo's Nutfield Genealogy~Part 2 Without Family Tree Maker.

My thinking right now:
The software will be supported for at least another year and will continue to work beyond that date, though ultimately the Mac operating system will update to a point where FTMM3 won't work. I have time to thoroughly explore other software options and transfer my data via GEDCOM (a genealogy file format for transferring a genealogy database).

I know that many genealogists are fans of cloud-based family trees, but for various reasons, not the least of which you never know if a website is going to close, I prefer to keep my tree on my computer.

Most users seem to use the Windows version of the software; I use the Mac version and I am exploring what software I might use. Reviews of tons of genealogy software programs can be found at GenSoftReviews. As of now, I've found some basic information on the following programs that will work on the Mac without using additional emulator software to allow Windows programs to run:

RootsMagic is originally a Windows program, but has been adapted to run on a Mac. RootsMagic is currently on sale for $20 which includes “Getting the Most out of RootsMagic.” I have heard lots of great things about RootsMagic, but I'd love to hear more from Mac users.

Reunion is a Mac-only program that has been a favorite of Mac users for years. Its cost is $99 and I'm curious to explore why it's so much more expensive than the others.

Heredis is a program which is well known in Europe. It has a Windows version and a Mac version, which can be purchased from the Mac App store with an offer of 50% off till Sunday Jan 3 2016. The price is $24.99, so the regular price must be around $50.

MacFamilyTree is another Mac-only program which can be purchased via the Mac App store at a sales price of $24.99.

iFamily is a Mac-only program. However, the website notes that the purchase price for "iFamily for Leopard" is $29.95. Note that Leopard was the Mac Operating System from 2007-2009. That's not very encouraging.

All of these programs offer demo versions which I plan to try in the next few weeks or months. Right now, I'm thinking about RootsMagic or Reunion and wondering what makes the cost of Reunion worth it. If anyone wants to share their opinion in the comments, please do.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Thankful Chapin Chapin Torrey (1774-1854) - 52 Ancestors #49

Last week's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks writing challenge from blogger Amy Crow Johnson of No Story Too Small had the theme of "Thankful." I wrote about my Mayflower ancestors. However, I noticed that several other bloggers wrote about ancestors with the given name Thankful, which I thought was a great idea because I have a few in my tree.

The closest Thankful in my family tree is Thankful Chapin, born the fifth of ten children of Simeon Chapin and Lucy Doolittle. She was possibly named for her paternal grandmother, Thankful (Dickinson) Chapin, who died in 1773.

Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988 (
Springfield Births, Marriages and Deaths. Record of Birth for Thankfull Chapin.

This record from Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988, at appears to be a scan of an old book that has been taped in the middle, covering the last letter of Thankful's father's name. The transcription is:
Thankfull Chapin Daughter of Simeon [indexed as Semea and Simer in the two entries]
Chapin + Lucy Chapin of Springfield
was born July 12th anno Dom. 1774.
She married her third cousin once removed, Bezaleel Chapin, who was also born in Springfield. (I have multiple Chapins in my ancestry: see Surname Saturday ~ Chapin of Springfield.)