Thursday, April 28, 2016

Treasure Chest Thursday ~ Greeley Family Bible

My second cousin Suzanne shared some images from an old family bible. No Births, Marriages, and Deaths, but what is here is a treasure!

First a photo of the outside of the bible, obviously very old!

Then an image of the title page, showing that it was new in 1883.

The next page tells me that it was a gift to "Ethel May Greeley from Auntie Ruth" on Dec. 28, 1884. This must have been for her ninth birthday. "Auntie Ruth" was Ethel's mother's sister, Ruth Lyman Wells (1862-1943).

The bible was later given to "Ruth Lyman Copeland from Mother" Nov 1919, when this Ruth was about twelve. I am guessing that Ruth Copeland was named after her great aunt Ruth Wells and that is why she got this bible.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Happy 5th Blogiversary to From Maine to Kentucky

This is blog post number 353 over the past five years. In 2015, I successfully blogged at least once a week because of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge, in which I wrote about various direct-line ancestors once a week.

I have two major goals this year:

One is to continue to learn about genetic genealogy and get a variety of cousins to test. (This week, there are sales at both AncestryDNA and FamilyTreeDNA. Click here for details.)  I got to hear Cece Moore, Your Genetic Genealogist, speak at the Massachusetts Genealogical Council Seminar last weekend. I am hoping to learn about mapping my chromosomes. From the ISOGG Wiki:
Chromosome mapping is a technique used in autosomal DNA testing which allows the testee to determine which segments of DNA came from which ancestor. In order to map DNA segments on specific chromosomes it is necessary to test a number of close family relatives. Ideally one should test both parents, one of their children, and a number of first to third cousins on both the maternal and paternal sides of the family. 
Many of my popular blog posts have had to do with DNA testing (which I have tagged with DNA). Everyone is trying to understand it and I hope I provide understandable explanations (as well as direct readers to the more experienced genetic genealogy bloggers out there).

Recently shared: my grandmother
My other goal is to share more Surname Saturday posts. I like to share these for my family so they can see the variety of surnames and locales that are in our ancestry. (Remember: sixteen 2x great-grandparents, thirty-two 3x great-grandparents, sixty-four 4x great-grandparents, and so on; there are a lot of surnames in our tree!) Of course, these are also good cousin bait.

And I do have many more photographs I know I should share in Wordless Wednesday posts. I will do my best to find the time to post at least a couple of these every month.

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

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Surname Saturday ~ Willet of Connecticut

Image of New London County from CTGenWeb
The first Willet that I know of is John Willet, found in a Groton, Connecticut marriage record and referenced in a 1985 Willet / Willett Genealogy that I found at This book gives me some information, but it would be helpful to find additional primary source info about this ancestor.

Albert James Willett, The Willett families of North America: being a comprehensive guide encompassing Willett, Willet, Willette, Willit, Willot, Willets, Willetts, Willits and other variations and early spellings of the Willett surname (Easley, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, Inc. (1985), digital images, 2015), Internet Archive,, page 59. John Willett of Stonington, Connecticut.

This author acknowledges that family tradition says that John descends from a John Willett of Wales and others claim that he is descended from Captain Thomas Willett of Plymouth and Swansea, but there is no proof to support either of these claims.

Some of thie information in the 1985 genealogy seems to come from an earlier 1906 genealogy, written by Jacob Edgar Bookstäver, which can be found at

John's wife was Mary Clark and the Barbour Collection of Vital Records has a marriage record for them in Groton, New London, Connecticut, on November 19, 1719, as well as record of the births of their eldest three children:

Connecticut Vital Records to 1870 (The Barbour Collection), From original typescripts, Lucius Barnes Barbour Collection, 1928, (Online Database:, NEHGS), Groton Vital Records. p. 164 (Willis - Woodbridge)

Altogether, they had six children born between 1721 and 1735: Mary, John (who died young), John, Hannah, Mercy, and Abigail.

John Willet is believe to have died about 1750, and I have not found a record of his wife's death.

I descend from their son John, their eldest surviving son.

Generation 2: John Willet (or Willett) was born on May 1, 1727, in Groton, Connecticut (Barbour Collection). He married Elizabeth Leffingwell in 1748 and had eight children with her between 1749 and 1771: Eunice, Judith, Philura, Elizabeth, John, Mary, Jedidiah, and Hannah.

John owned a major shipyard in Norwich, Connecticut, up the Thames River from New London. (See the map at the top, where I underlined the towns where I find the Willet family.) He is considered a Revolutionary War Patriot as a prominent shipbuilder in Norwich, Connecticut and I wrote about him at John Willett, Patriot.

I descend from their youngest son Jedidiah.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Wordless Wednesday ~ Helen Lysle Hunter Circa 1909

My grandmother, Helen Lysle Hunter, as a toddler. She was born in February 1907, so I'm guessing this is 1909.

I got this photo along with many others, a few of which I shared on National Sibling Day.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

My Grandmother and Her Sisters ~ National Sibling Day

I was going to find a photo of me and my brothers for National Sibling Day, but two days ago, I got an envelope full of old photos. (Thank you to my aunt who gave them to my mother!)

In this envelope were photos from the early 1900s to the late 1980s, with several photos that I had not seen before.

My maternal grandmother, Helen Hunter, was the youngest of five girls born within 7 1/2 years to Percy and Marguerite Hunter.

Here are a series of photographs of the sisters (and sometimes their mother) from 1907-1930:

1907: Caroline, Marion holding Helen, Marguerite, Margaret, Mary

Although I have all these dates from other sources, it was nice to see Percy and Marguerite's wedding date and all the daughters' birth dates in Percy's handwriting on the back of this photo: