Saturday, October 26, 2013

Ancestry DNA Update

Ancestry recently updated the DNA profiles of their customers. I've seen a number of postings on Facebook and on blogs about how things changed. I checked mine yesterday. Originally, my estimate was very generic and boring, but not unexpected. My own research reveals that virtually all of my ancestors came from England with a sprinkling from Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and a lone French Huguenot. 

I was hoping to at least reveal a little bit of biodiversity from the Viking, Germanic, or Norman invasions. When the update was released, Ireland was separated from Great Britain and more detail was added. This did, indeed, reveal some Scandinavian, Western European, and Irish ancestry. What was completely unexpected was the 5% from the Iberian Peninsula. The site says that Iberian DNA is common among those with British ancestry. Here are my updated results. 

I am just beginning to understand some of the uses of DNA in genealogy. I do know that the more information that is put into the system, the more refined the results will be. I like the fact that will continue to refine my results without charging more money for each update. I was a bit disappointed that the original results were not more specific but this is more interesting and reflects what I know about my origins. I look forward to learning more and more about DNA and how to interpret and use DNA results in genealogy. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Surname Saturday - Gibbs

George Albert Gibbs was born October 20, 1862 on Prince Edward Island in Canada. According to the 1900 census, he came to the United States in 1884. He is my most recent immigrant ancestor. The next year, he married Nina K. Ellingwood and they had a family. He died on November 26, 1919 in West Paris, Maine. His death record lists his parents as John and Annie and says John was a farmer. The cause of death is listed as crerbral (sic) hemorrhage - and the duration is 5 years! I wish my grandmother was still alive because I know she knew more about his family. I remember her visiting relatives on Prince Edward Island and showing me pictures of their farms. I wasn't old enough to realize that I should pay attention to their names and the place names and now it's too late to ask. 

My Great-Grandmother:
Annie Florilla Gibbs was born in 1892. She was one of three great-grandparents I got to know and the only one on my father's side. On July 21, 1909, Annie married Ray Everett Cotton. He was born in 1888 and died in 1962. She died in 1987. 

Her siblings were:
James Williamson Gibbs 1887-1952
Albert Harris Gibbs 1889-1936
Herbert Freeman Gibbs 1895-1960
Ada Polly Gibbs 1897-1986

Related posts

Monday, October 14, 2013

Matrilineal Monday - A Colonial Dress Code

A few times I have come across court records stating a female ancestor was hauled into court for wearing silk or lace so I knew there was some law in Massachusetts that restricted what certain women were allowed to wear. I have listed my connections below. I found that a sumptuary law was passed in Massachusetts in 1651. According to, such laws can be found as far back in history as ancient Greece and Rome. In fact, I had heard of them, i.e. the restriction of purple cloth to royalty, but I didn't know what they were called or that these laws extended to other time periods. The purpose of the laws throughout history seems to be linked to the fear that excessive spending was morally wrong and flaunting one's wealth could be morally corrupting. It may have also been used to force the average person to buy locally and thereby enrich the local economy. 

The full text of the Massachusetts law can be found here. The gist of it is that the Puritan leaders were upset by the "intolerable excess...especially among people of mean condition." They decided to make issue a reminder to be "sober and moderate" and express their "utter detestation and dislike that men and women of mean condition should take upon them the garb gentlemen by wearing gold or silver lace, or buttons, or points at their knees, or to walk in great boots; or women of the same rank to wear silk or tiffany hoods, or scarves which, though allowable to persons of greater estates or more liberal education, we cannot but judge it intolerable..." 

The standard of wealth sufficient to be allowed to wear such finery?  An estate valued at or above £200.  Today, that would be about $304 using a direct exchange rate but Economic Heritage has a series of interesting calculators. Perhaps the simplest is the real value of commodities which gives a modern equivalent of £23,200 or $35374. 

Who got to be the fashion police? The selectmen of the town were "required" to "take notice of the apparel of the inhabitants.." and "whosoever they shall judge to exceed their ranks and abilities in costliness or fashion of their apparel in any respect, expecially in the wearing of ribbons or great boots (leather being so scarce a commodity in this country) lace, points, etc..." 

And the icing on the cake? 
"...this law shall not extend to the restraint of any magistrate or public officer of this jurisdiction, their wives and children, who are left to their discretion in wearing of apparel, or any settled militia officer or soldier in the time of military service, or any other whose education and employment have been above the ordinary degree, or whose estate have been considerable, though now decayed." 

So when you go to get dressed today, remember...

From Ancestral Lines From Maine to Virginia, by Carl Boyer, page 132:
"Nicholas Noyes' wife, Hugh March's wife, and William Chandler's wife were each presented for wearing a silk hood and scarf; but were discharged on proof that their husbands were worth two hundred pounds each. John Hutchins' wife was also discharged upon testifying that she was brought up above the ordinary rank."

Nicholas Noyes' wife, Mary Cutting, is my 11th great-grandmother.
Hugh March's wife, Judith is my 8th great-grandmother

While I have a William Chandler in my line, this refers to Mary (Fowler) Chandler and I am not related to her.
Frances Alcock was the wife of John Hutchins. She was later accused and arrested during the Salem Witchcraft hysteria and released on bond as the hysteria was dying down in December 1692. The use of spectral evidence had been ruled inadmissible and in January 1693, 49 of the 52 surviving prisoners were released. Love, the daughter of John & Frances, married my 9th great-granduncle, Capt. Samuel Sherborn.

Noyes Line:
Nicholas & Mary (Cutting) Noyes
Peter & Hannah (Noyes) Cheney
John & Mary (Chute) Cheney
Edmund & Mary (Plummer) Cheney
Edmund & Susanna (Middleton) Cheney
Stephen & Mehitable (Cheney) Blaisdell
William & Susannah (Blaisdell) Rowe
Stephen & Elizabeth (Hilton) Rowe
Charles & Loann (Churchill) Rowe
George & Anna (Rowe) Hayes
Estes & Eva (Hayes) Yates
Linona Alice Yates - my grandmother

March Line:
Hugh & Judith March
George & Mary (Folsom) March
Humphrey & Sarah (March) Deering
Ebenezer & Elizabeth (Deering) Emmons
Eliakim & Molly (Wildes) Emmons
Jacob & Sarah (Shepard) Emmons
Gilbert & Laura (Emmons) Yates
Estes & Eva (Hayes) Yates - see above

Sherburne/Sherborn Connections: Sisters of Capt. Samuel, who married Love Hutchins
Elizabeth (Sherburne) Langdon - 10th great-grandmother traces to Fern Lyndell Cotton - my grandmother
Ruth (Sherburne) Moses - 9th great-grandmother traces to Linona Alice Yates

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Obituary Sunday - Ada Gibbs Balentine

The Lewiston Daily Sun - Oct. 6, 1986
Ada Balentine
Bryant Pond - Ada Gibbs Balentine, 89, of Woodstock and Bethel, died Sunday at Market Square Health Facility in South Paris. 

She was born on Jan. 3, 1897, at Paris, daughter of George and Nina Ellingwood Gibbs. She received her education in schools at Paris and Hallowell. She was married to Walter G. Balentine on Dec. 12, 1916, and resided at Middle Intervale in East Bethel. Mr. Balentine died on July 27, 1943. She spent 36 summers at her log cabin on North Pond in Woodstock. She spent her winters with her daughter and granddaughters in New Jersey and Bethel. Mrs. Balentine was one of the first persons in the area to operate a foster home for young people. She was a practical nurse and devoted much of her time taking care of sick persons in the area. She also was well-known for her ability in handcrafting and carving toy animals. She was an active participant in community affairs and was a member of West Paris Grange, the Eastern Star of Bethel, Sunset Rebekah Lodge of Bethel, a past president of both Jackson-Silver Post and Ring-McKeen Post American Legion Auxiliaries. She was past president to the Oxford County Council American Legion Auxiliary an past president of La Boutique Bes Huit Chateaux et Quartant Fannes, 8/40. She was a member of the Woodstock Senior Citizens. She was a Gold Star Mother. 

She is survived by a niece whom she raised as a daughter from infancy, Mrs. Philip (Ada) Cummings of Roselle Park, N.J.; two granddaughters, Mrs. John (Debra) Swick of Lyndon, N.J., and Mrs. Howard (Macky) Chapman of Bethel; a sister Mrs. Annie F. Cotton of West Paris; three grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. She was pre-deceased by two sons, Lester Balentine, who died in 1968 and W. Linwood Balentine, who was killed in action in March of 1945 while serving with the U.S. Army in Germany. 

Google News Archive

Ada Gibbs Balentine was my great-grandmother's sister. She was a very special woman. I remember her most for her generosity and hospitality. Many family reunions and smaller get togethers were held at her camp on North Pond.