Monday, March 30, 2015

Jane Walford - Accused Witch

Jane Walford was the wife of Thomas Walford. They came from England to settle on Great Island in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Thomas & Jane (___) Walford are my tenth great-grandparents. Jane was accused of witchcraft a number of times and but was never jailed. She seems to have been in a particular conflict with Nicholas & Elizabeth (___) Rowe. Elizabeth was her first accuser in 1648. Jane sued Elizabeth and her husband and won a judgment of 2 pounds plus the costs of court.

In 1656, Jane was back in court and was required to put up a bond of 20 pounds. The evidence was heard by a group of three men, Brian Pendleton, Henry Sherburne, and Renald Fernald. I also descend from all three of these men.

On this day, Susannah Trimmings testified that "On Lord's Day 30th of March at night going home with Goodwife Barton, she seperated from her at the freshet next to her house. On her return between Goodman Evens' and Robert Davis' she heard a rustling in the woods, which she at first thought was occasioned by swine, and presently after, there did appear to
her a woman whom she apprehended to be old Goodwife Walford. She asked me where my consort was; I answered I had none. She said thy consort is at home by this time. Lend me a pound of cotton. I told her I had but two pounds in the house, and I would not spare any to my mother. She said I had better have done it; that my sorrow was great already, and it should be greater for I was going a great journey but should ne'er come there. She then left me, and I was struck as with a clap of fire on the back, and she vanished toward the water side in my apprehension in the shape of a cat. She had on her head a white linen hood tied under her chin and her waistcoat and petticoat were read, with an old green apron and a black hat upon her head. Taken upon oath, 18th April 1656 before Brian Pendleton, Henry Sherburne, Renald Fernald."

Susannah's husband, Oliver Trimmings backed up her report by testifying that his wife had come home in a "sad condition" and "her back was as a flame of fire." She laid down her daughter and sat down, but she could not talk. When she finally caught her breath she said, "Lord have mercy upon me, this wicked woman would kill me." He also said she complained of numbness in her lower extremities and could not feel it when he pinched her there. Another witness, Elisa Barton said that Susannah's face was spotted and her eyes "looked as if they had been scalded."

An unnamed witness came forward and stated that it could not have been Jane Walford because she had been at home, acting normally, at the time of Susannah Trimmings' incident.

Another witness against Jane Walford was Nicholas Rowe, who saw her as an apparition. He said she "came to the deponent in the evening and put her hand upon his breast so that he could not speak and was in great pain until the next day. By the light of the fire in the next room, it appeared to be Goody Walford but she did not speak."

In 1669, Jane sued Robert Couch, a doctor, for calling her a witch and saying he could prove it. She was awarded 5 pounds in damages.

Thomas Walford - husband of Jane, the accused
Jane Walford
Martha Peverly
Christopher Noble
Mary Noble
Sarah Rand
Lydia Rand
Tryphenia Lunt
John Henry Cotton
Francis Llewellyn Cotton
Ray Everett Cotton
Fern Lyndell Cotton - my grandmother

For More Information See:
The Devil in the Shape of a Woman: Witchcraft in Colonial New England by Carol F. Karlsen.

Witch-Hunting in Seventeenth-Century New England: A Documentary History 1638-1693, Second Edition by David D. Hall.

Brian Pendleton and His Descendants, 1599-1910, With Some Account of the Pembleton Families of Orange County, N.Y., Ostego County N.Y., and Luzerne County, Pa., and Notices of Other Pendletons of Later Origin in the United States, Everett Hall Pendleton, compiler.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Mentally Ill, Accused, Imprisoned, & Deserted by Her Husband - 52 Ancestors #13

This week's prompt is "Different." Well this is the story of how being different was a dangerous thing in colonial New England. Instead of finding compassion, this poor woman was persecuted for her mental distress. 

Rebecca Andrews was the daughter of Thomas & Rebecca Andrews. She was married first to John Frost on June 26, 1666 in Cambridge, MA. After John Frost's death, Rebecca was married to George Jacobs, Jr. The Jacobs and Andrews families got swept up in the Salem Witchcraft hysteria. Rebecca's father-in-law, George Jacobs, Sr., an old man, was hanged with John Proctor, George Burroughs, John Willard, and Martha Carrier on August 19, 1692. 

When Rebecca's husband, George Jacobs, Jr. and Daniel Andrews (Rebecca's brother) were accused, they both fled to avoid prison and a trial. At the time of Rebecca's arrest the house was searched thoroughly for her husband and brother but they were not located. It astounds me that her husband and her brother just left her in this awful time. In addition, Rebecca (Andrews) (Frost) Jacobs had been described as crazy for a number of years before this stressful event. 

So with her husband & brother accused and on the run, her daughter imprisoned, her father-in-law executed, Rebecca was in prison with little support except for her mother. 

"Rebecca Fox [mother of Rebecca Jacobs] petitioned the court in 1692 on behalf of her daughter, Rebecca (Andrews) (Frost) Jacobs, who was imprisoned for witchcraft. In November she stated that her daughter had been in prison "for (I think) about this half Year" and her "poor Daughter ... is a Woman Craz'd, Distracted & Broken in her mind, & that She has been so these twelve Years & upward." The other petition stated that Rebecca Jacobs "at some time uttered hard words of her self as tho she had killed her Child, which words are much accounted of as is famed."

Fortunately, both Rebecca and her daughter, Margaret are released and George Jacobs, Jr. returned from his exile. 

Children of George & Rebecca (Andrews) (Frost) Jacobs: 
  1. Margaret was born in 1675 and married John Foster (or Forster). She was arrested and was the one who gave testimony against her grandfather. 
  2. George was born in 1677 and he married twice: 1) Hannah Cousins in 1701; 2) Elizabeth (Donnell) (Harris) Burnham
  3. John was born in 1679 and married twice: 1) Abigail Waters in 1704; 2) Lydia Cooke in 1721. 
  4. Jonathan was born in 1681. 
  5. Mary was born in 1683 and drowned in 1685 when she fell into a well. One has to wonder if her death had something to do with her mother being "Craz'd, Distracted, and Broken in her mind." According to the petition, her troubles had started before this but losing a child certainly could not have helped Rebecca's mental state. 
  6. Joseph was probably the baby that was still nursing when his mother was arrested.

Rebecca Andrews
George Jacobs (the third of this name)
Priscilla Jacobs
Lydia Bartlett
Nancy Ripley
Galen Blake
Charles Galen Blake
Harriet May Blake
Clayton L. Blake - my grandfather

Friday, March 27, 2015

An Immigrant's Story - Fearless Females Series

Rebecca Williamson came from Ireland in 1821 with her father, John, mother, Ann, and brother, William. She was born in Manorhamilton, Ireland in January 1814. The family settled in the part of Bethel, Maine, known as Middle Intervale. Her father and his brother were shoe makers but her father became a farmer during his time in Bethel. Her brother, William, attended Bowdoin College and became a doctor. I don't have any immigration documents or photos of her or her family. The sketch of her father, in The History of Bethel, Formerly Sudbury, Canada, Oxford County, Maine, 1768-1890, by William B. Lapham, says that John never became a naturalized citizen of the United States. 

Rebecca married a neighbor, Elias Mellen Carter. Their first child was born in 1838 so the marriage is presumed to have taken place shortly before then. Elias was the son of Dr. Timothy & Frances (Freeland) Carter and was born September 11, 1811. He and Rebecca took over the family home known as the Brick End House. Dr. Timothy Carter was the first doctor in Bethel. 

Brick End House & Rebecca Williamson (Carter) Bailey on left with an unidentified woman on the right. Rebecca Williamson (Carter) Bailey was the great-granddaughter of Rebecca Williamson, the Irish immigrant.
Elias & Rebecca had a large family of eleven children, seen in the 1860 census below. Daughter Frances Ann, age 20 was already out of the household, but the other ten children were Augustus Mellen, age 19; Mary Elizabeth, age 16; William Lawson, age 15; Timothy Cullen, age 13; Emily Jane, age 11; Julia Elizabeth, age 10; Sarah Lily (listed as Lily S.), age 8; twins John Herbert and Helen Louise, age 6; and Anna Grace, age 3. 

1860 Census page 1

1860 Census page 2
However, in 1861, the family lost 5 daughters, between September 13th and September 30th, to diphtheria. Emily & Julia died on September 13th, Helen on September 20th, (Sarah) Lily on September 26th, and Anna on September 30th. The 1870 census shows the much smaller family. Rebecca also lost her mother in 1861 and son, Augustus went off to fight in the Civil War the next year. Fortunately, he survived the war and became the next to inhabit the family home. 

Rebecca was widowed later that year. Elias died on November 17, 1880. In the 1900 census, Rebecca is living with her recently widowed son, Augustus and his two children, Edward age 25 and Frances age 21. Augustus has also taken in his sister, Mary (Carter) Wiley and her son, William. 

Rebecca died on April 2, 1906 of cancer of the scalp. 
My line of descent from Rebecca is through her son, Augustus, to his son, Edward. My grandfather, Thomas Richard Carter, was the second son of Edward. The only daughter of Edward was named after his grandmother, Rebecca Williamson (Carter) Bailey. 

Tragedy Strikes - The story of the five daughters who died in 1861. 

Thank you to Lisa Alzo, author of The Accidental Genealogist, for providing 31 prompts celebrating Women's History Month. This is her 6th year and she has some great resources (with some discounts) for finding one's female ancestors. 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

May I Have Your Child? - 52 Ancestors #12

William Harlow was born about 1624 and in Lynn, Massachusetts by 1637. He was a cooper by trade and was married three times before his death in 1691. His first wife was Rebecca Bartlett and they had four children before she died in 1658.

His second wife was Mary Faunce and this marriage added five more children between 1659 and 1664. Mary died just days after giving birth to her son, Nathaniel.

William's third wife was Mary Shelley and the family kept on growing, adding five more daughters in ten years.

On April 12, 1667, William entered into an agreement with Nathaniel and Lydia (Cooper) Morton. Nathaniel had lost his father when he was eleven and was raised by his uncle, Gov. William Bradford. Nathaniel and Lydia did not have any living sons and they had lost a married daughter and a young son within two days of each other two months before this deal was made. They asked William Harlow if they could foster his son, Nathaniel and William agreed to the deal. Nathaniel Harlow was raised to the age of twenty-one in the home of Nathaniel and Lydia Morton and received an inheritance when Nathaniel Morton died.

Now it seems odd that one would just give away a son but William Harlow may have seen this as a chance to give his son something he otherwise could not provide. He ended up with 13-15 children in all (conflicting sources). The Mortons were related to little Nathaniel through is mother - Mary (Faunce) Harlow was Nathaniel Morton's niece, the daughter of his sister, Patience (Morton) Faunce.  Or to put it another way, Nathaniel Harlow was the great-nephew of his foster father, Nathaniel Morton.

Still I have to wonder how the conversation got started and how it was explained to the other children. How did Nathaniel Harlow feel about the deal as he grew up? When did he know? Since he seems to have retained the name Harlow, he must have figured it out? Did he have contact with his birth father and siblings?

Family of Nathaniel & Lydia (Cooper) Morton

  1. Remember born about 1637 and died July 24, 1707. Married Abraham Jackson.
  2. Mercy was born about 1639 and died February 19, 1666/67. Married John Dunham. 
  3. Lydia was born about 1641 and married George Elliston. 
  4. Hannah was born about 1646 and died after November 25, 1696. Married Benjamin Bosworth and Isaac Cole. 
  5. Eleazer - died January 16, 1649/50
  6. Stillborn daughter November 23, 1650
  7. Elizabeth was born May 3, 1652 and died April 6, 1673. Married Nathaniel Bosworth.
  8. Johanna was born November 9, 1654 and married Joseph Prince.
  9. Nathaniel - died February 17, 1666/67.
  10. Nathaniel Harlow was born September 30, 1664. 

Family of William & Mary (Shelley) Harlow - with step-children from his previous marriages
  1. William (with wife, Rebecca Bartlett) born and died in 1650
  2. Samuel (with wife, Rebecca Bartlett) born January 27, 1652
  3. Rebecca (with wife, Rebecca Bartlett) born June 12, 1655
  4. William (with wife, Rebecca Bartlett) born June 2, 1657
  5. Mary (with wife, Mary Faunce) born May 19, 1659
  6. Repentance (with wife, Mary Faunce) born November 22, 1660
  7. possibly John (with wife, Mary Faunce) born 1662
  8. Benjamin (with wife, Mary Faunce) born October 19, 1662
  9. Nathaniel (see above)
  10. Hannah was born October 28, 1666
  11. Bathsheba was born April 21, 1667
  12. Johanna was born March 24, 1669
  13. Mehitable was born October 4, 1672
  14. Judith was born 1676

Harlow Line:
William Harlow - 9th great-grandfather
Mary Harlow
Ebenezer Dunham
John Dunham
James Dunham
James Dunham
Florilla Dunham
Nina King Ellingwood
Annie Florilla Gibbs
Fern Lyndell Cotton - my grandmother

Morton Line:
Nathaniel Morton
Mercy Morton
Eleazer Dunham
Mercy Dunham
Mary Kempton
Rebecca Burbank
Hannah Keene
Timothy Cox
Christiana Cox
Francis Llewellyn Cotton
Ray Everett Cotton
Fern Lyndell Cotton - my grandmother

Genealogy Makes History Come Alive!

Student project
Here is my second interview for NERGC. Catherine "Casey" Zahn is the author of two teachers' guides on genealogy, available from Heritage Books (search her last name). She enjoys sharing her passion for genealogy with her students as a way to make history come alive. She was the program chair for the FGS conference in Philadelphia and speaks frequently at state and regional conferences. This will be her first time speaking at NERGC, a conference she loves.

  • Can you tell me a little bit about your teaching background? 
I have been teaching for over 30 years -mainly in elementary school. My school district was a farming community in the early 80s and is now part of the NYC/Philly suburbs. My class is a diverse one represented by many different cultures. I became a teacher because I thought it would be fun to teach...and it has been! I also have been using genealogy with great success for the past 25 years and give lectures/classes at the adult level as well as high school.
  • For those who are not familiar with the Common Core State Standards, what parts are most aligned with the work of genealogical researchers and family historians?  
Believe it or not, many of the aspects of the CCSS are very familiar to genealogists and historians. The state where I teach recently adopted the  newest Social Studies standards that align well with skills a genealogist uses. From learning about a child's neighborhood in the elementary school to discovering how the cultures in the community impact the people who live there parallel nicely with genealogy. Children are asked to study how their communities changed over time, create maps and diagrams, to compare their lives to those of their neighbors in the past and to use digital information to make discoveries. There are even standards on immigration and the immigration process.
  • What is the benefit of using research about one's family to teach or reinforce these skills for students?
There is a huge benefit of using genealogy research -your own or a child's- to make Social Studies come to life for the children. If you are teaching about colonial times and happen to have an ancestor who played a role in establishing the community, what better way to portray his/her life in the community at the time it was established? My students love it when I tell them stories about my seafaring ancestor and when I portray him as the captain of the ship they are sailing on when they  are sailing to the English colonies in colonial times. The best part is that any ancestor can cross time and pop in a conversation on any subject.
Making social studies relevant to a child's place/home/time can also have a huge impact. For example, every year I give a presentation about the township where I teach. The class loves it when they discover Ben Franklin walked through their town when he ran away from Boston. This year was fabulous because one of my children lives on the road where he passed by. Talk about a teachable moment!
  • What has been your biggest challenge? 
The biggest challenge is my most frustrating do we teachers keep not only our own students but colleagues and the public, in general, interested in history? I find it appalling that late night hosts get a laugh at the ignorance of people who can't tell their reporters who was the first president of the US or if Hawaii is a state. (By the way I love to floor my children when I tell them that George  Washington was NOT the first president-He was the first under the US Constitution!) Politicians mess up matters by demanding that teachers need to prepare students for the future and to work in a global economy. But when will they realize it takes social studies to move our children forward to these goals? How can we expect children to work globally if they can't understand their own history, past, and culture?
  • What assignments do your students find most interesting to complete or what assignments do you find most interesting to teach? 
I find that something as simple as a timeline can be very useful for children to understand the concept of time. Children as young as kindergarten age can begin this process by sorting pictures as now and then. Another activity I use with success is my Veteran's project. I invite the children to interview a relative or neighbor who served our country. If they don't know of anyone, they are encouraged to research a president or famous military hero/heroine. It is very moving to read about their stories and invites new avenues and opportunities for a teacher to grab hold of and use.
  • How hard is it to work on your own genealogy interests with all your other activities? 
It is not hard at all! Can we say summer vacation and school breaks? I feel that being a teacher and loving genealogy can be a win/win situation. If I am having a tough day at school, a few minutes on the computer in an online database can do wonders for the spirit. But you have to be careful to limit your time or you can find yourself staring down 8 year-olds after an all night genealogy jaunt!
  • Has working in the field of genealogy helped you be a better teacher?
Yes and being a teacher has made me a better genealogist. Tools of both professions are intertwined and can compliment each other. 
  • What is your favorite thing about attending and/or speaking at genealogy conferences? 
I love attending genealogy conferences -especially NERGC- because I am always looking for new places, records, and ideas to broaden my genealogical knowledge. If I can learn about an obscure collection that is held only at the Connecticut State Library or Rhode Island Historical Society, I am going to plan my trip home for a visit with my family to include a visit at the repository. I have had much success when I do this for genealogy reasons. Being a teacher and having an opportunity to "give back" to other educators is a great way to share my knowledge and to learn new ideas that I can bring back to my students.

Check out her blog and website:

My stories about doing genealogy projects with students

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Luck of the Irish

Happy St. Patrick's Day!
(Originally published on March 17, 2012)
Most of my family lines go back to immigrants who came to New England in the 1600s. However, I have one 3X great-grandmother who came from Ireland, probably in the 1820s according to census records. Eva Bean included John Williamson among the veterans of the War of 1812 but that doesn't make sense with the census records. The family is not in the 1820 census and according to later census records Rebecca was born about 1816 in Ireland. If the family was here in time for the War of 1812, Rebecca would have been born in the U.S. In the 1830 Bethel census John Williamson is the head of the household and there are two females - one between 30 & 40 and one between 15 & 20.  These facts line up with the dates passed down through the family for John, his wife Ann, and his daughter, Rebecca. 

Williamson is not a very Irish sounding name so I wonder if they were English and moved to Manorhamilton somewhere along the way. I also would love to find out why they left Ireland. Regardless of the exact date they came, it is clear they were in Bethel well before the potato famine in Ireland. 
Manorhamilton, Ireland

The family came from Manorhamilton, named for Sir Frederick Hamilton who was granted the land for his services in the European wars of the 17th century. The town was called Clonmullen and in the hands of the O'Roarke clan prior to its being granted to Sir Frederick. Manorhamilton Castle, built by Sir Frederick was burned to the ground in 1652 by the native Irish. This act appears to have been provoked by Hamilton’s cruel treatment of prisoners and his burning of Sligo town.  Here is a sketch of the castle before the fire and three pictures of the castle ruins. 

In searching Irish records, I can see general information without paying and I can find several passenger lists with Williamsons on board but none of the dates and ages of the passengers line up with my ancestors. I'm unwilling at this point to pay about $20 just to look at one record. Hopefully some day I will be able to go and look through records myself. For now, I will have to be content with what I know about their time in the United States. Williamson is not a very Irish sounding name so I wonder if they were English and moved to Manorhamilton somewhere along the way. I also would love to find out why they left Ireland. Regardless of the exact date they came, it is clear they were in Bethel well before the potato famine in Ireland. 

In honor of St. Patrick's Day and through the magic of the internet here are two videos of Manorhamilton.

St. Patrick's Day Parade - Manorhamilton, Leitrim, Ireland 2009

Youtube - Manorhamilton

Wikipedia - Manorhamilton

Lapham, Howard B. "History of Bethel:." Google Books. Web. 03 Mar. 2012. <>.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

A Birthday Tribute - Fern Lyndell (Cotton) Carter

I decided to complete this Saturday Night Genealogy Fun mission from Randy Seaver for both my grandmothers because they both have birthdays this month. 

My father's mother, Fern Lyndell (Cotton) Carter was born on March 22, 1922 to Ray Everett & Annie Florilla (Gibbs) Cotton. She died on October 31, 2002. 
Not sure of the date on this picture

In 1922, March 22 was a Wednesday. This site is where I found the information. It also tells me that she is an Aries and was born in the year of the Dog in the Chinese zodiac. 

Historical Headlines - From - Headlines include problems in Ireland, work on a Four-Power Treaty, and the Fatty Arbuckle Trial. 
Hollywood Scandal

Historical happenings for March 22 can be found here and here, including:

  • 1765 - Stamp Act is imposed on the American colonies
  • 1933 - FDR makes beer and wine with an alcohol content up to 3.2% legal
  • 1946 - first U.S. rocket leaves the Earth's atmosphere
  • 1965 - the U.S. confirms the use of chemical warfare in Vietnam.
  • 1972 the Equal Rights Amendment is approved by Congress (but is never ratified by the required 3/4ths of states). 

This site lists famous birthdays on March 22, including:

  • Chico Marx - born in 1887 and died in 1961
  • Louis L'Amour - born in 1907 and died in 1988
  • Karl Malden - born in 1912 and died in 2009
  • Marcel Marceau - born in 1923 and died in 2007
  • Stephen Sondheim - born in 1930
  • George Benson - born in 1943
  • With my Dad
    Probably about 1941

Christmas was always her favorite
She would be turning 93 this year

Happy 95th Birthday!

This week, Randy Seaver's weekly prompt, Saturday Night Genealogy Fun is all about your grandmother's birthday. It seems fitting as my grandmother just turned 95! So here is some information about my Grandmother's birthday. 

First things first, her name is Linona Alice Yates and she is the daughter of Estes & Eva (Hayes) Yates. She was born on March 12, 1920. 
In the center, at her 90th Birthday Party

  • What day of the week was March 12, 1920 & how did I find out. 
    • March 12, 1920 was a Friday. This site also lets me know that that makes her a Pisces and she was born in the year of the monkey (Chinese zodiac). 
  • What was a headline event in the news on that date & how did I find out? 
    •  This is the site I used to find a headline. 
    • Copyright, New York Times, 2010

  • What are five other historical events occurred on this date (month & day) and how did I find out? 
    • This site provides a list of historical happenings.
      • 1894 - Coca-Cola was sold in bottles for the first time.
      • 1912 - Girls Scouts was founded, originally Girl Guides.
      • 1933 - President Franklin Roosevelt gave his first Fireside Chat. 
      • 1947 - President Truman issues the "Truman Doctrine" to help Greece and Turkey resist Communism. (See headline above) 
      • 2010 - Apple began taking orders for the first iPad.
  • Who are 5 famous people born on this date and how did I find out?
    • This site provides a list of famous people born on this date. We have 1) Andrew Young born in 1932 and 2) Liza Minnelli born in 1948. After that, I'm not thrilled with the choices. So I went to this site and found 3)Jack Kerouac was born in 1922, 4) James Taylor born in 1948, and 5) Carl Hiaasen born in 1953. 

Five Generation Photo Shoot, September 2014

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Celebrating A Centenarian - 52 Ancestors #11

John Williamson, from The History of Bethel, formerly Sudbury, Canada, Maine, 1768-1890, by William B. Lapham, 1891. 
Pages 155-156

John Williamson was born in Manor Hamilton, Ireland, either in seventeen hundred and eighty-six or eighty-seven. He celebrated the hundredth anniversary of his birth in eighteen hundred and eighty-six. He came to Bethel in eighteen hundred and twenty-one with his wife and children, and settled in Bethel. He was a shoemaker by trade, but followed farming after he came to Bethel. He was a lover of nature 
and of the land he cultivated. He was well educated and well versed in ancient history. He was never naturalized, having a strong attachment for England and her institutions, especially the established church of which he was a faithful member. He was also much attached to the land of his adoption and its free institutions. 

He was a great student of the Bible, which was his constant companion, and of which he had committed to memory many chapters. He was a very interesting man socially and otherwise, and his conversation was always entertaining and instructive. His wife, whose maiden name was Ann McClure, passed on many years before him, and during his later years, he was tenderly cared for by his daughter, Mrs. Elias M. Carter and her sons. They anticipated his every want, accomplished everything that loving hearts could suggest and willing hands perform to make his last years happy, and smooth the way to the bank of the dark river." 

John & Ann (McClure) Williamson
Rebecca Williamson m. Elias Mellen Carter
Augustus Mellen Carter
Edward Mellen Carter
Thomas Richard Carter - my grandfather

Previous Posts about the family: 
Tracking the Williamsons

Friday, March 13, 2015

Everyone Has A Story & Why NERGC Is A "Must Attend" Event

Photo courtesy of
I had the opportunity to conduct an email interview with D. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS. This interview is part of a series of interviews conducted by New England geneabloggers promoting the New England Regional Genealogy Conference. You may have seen Josh on the NBC & TLC series, Who Do You Think You Are? or the PBS series, Genealogy Roadshow. He is also the president of the Federation of Genealogical Studies and works for the Preserve the Pensions - War of 1812 Project. At NERGC, he is offering a variety of presentations including using social media, the westward migration from New England, making sense of compiled genealogies, and encouraging future family historians. Here are my questions and his answers. 

Because I work with many students about to go off to college, I hear them discussing career choices. I don't think most even know that a career in genealogy is an option. What attracted you to the field of genealogy as a career choice? 

For me, it was the chance to combine a passion with a career. There is always something new to learn in family history (which is one reason that I love attending conferences like NERGC). I also always loved history and love the chance that I have to see history through the lens of real people on a daily basis. 

Your biography says that you have degrees in library science and history. What skills did you gain from your education that help you the most in your day-to-day work? 
The ability to analyze records and interpret sources through the historical viewpoint is something I find myself doing on a day-to-day basis. From the library perspective, the ability to catalog (and understand the cataloging process) helps me to tackle online library catalogs and finding aids in ways I didn't realize was possible. 

What part of your work do you enjoy the most? 
Everyone has a story - and you never really know what you are going to find. In the morning, I might find myself working with records from Rhode Island and by the afternoon am knee-deep in church records from Italy, you just never know!

What part of your work do you find the most challenging or difficult? 
Well..that everyone has a story! There isn't any one single way to "do genealogy" and we all hit roadblocks as research progresses. It can be discouraging to have the empty spaces on the family tree and even more frustrating when they remain empty after a great deal of research. 

One of your sessions is about attracting the next generation of genealogists using technology. As a history teacher and genealogist, I am very interested in this topic. Could you share one important reason for a young person to start researching their genealogy or family history? 
One reason? We don't talk about it enough - and that is the chance to discover more about yourself and your place within the world. We are part of a much longer history than most realize. Understanding where you came from is a great way to help determine where you want to go. 

I'm curious whether you find time for your own personal genealogy or do you find that you are like the cobbler's shoeless child and never get to work on something specifically for you? 
It gets harder and harder, but I try and make it a goal to still work on my own projects. When we are filming and working on Genealogy Roadshow that time quickly slips away (but I have found there is always a way to spend an hour or two hunting down a cemetery). 

Is there anything else you would like to share about yourself or about the New England Regional Genealogy Conference? 
I have loved going to NERGC for a few years now. The unique combination of societies from around the New England area makes it a "must-attend" event for anyone who has New England roots. 

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Stormy Weather - 52 Ancestors #10

Surf at Pemaquid - 2014 

I've written before about the hurricane that struck in 1635 and destroyed the Angel Gabriel off the coast of Pemaquid, Maine. For this week's prompt regarding stormy weather, I thought I would highlight another family who was on the same ship and add a bit more information. 

Surf at Pemaquid 2014
An interesting tidbit is that the Angel Gabriel was commissioned by Sir Walter Raleigh in 1617 for a voyage to Guiana. Five ships set out from England. The three were headed to Newfoundland were smaller and faster and landed before the hurricane struck. The James and the Angel Gabriel traveled together were caught by the storm. The James weathered the storm off the Isle of Shoals on the Maine-New Hampshire border and the Angel Gabriel stopped to ride out the storm at Pemaquid. When the ship was dashed against the rocks and destroyed, it was fortunate that only a few people lost their lives. Most of the passengers and crew escaped with their lives although they lost their possessions.

Surf at Pemaquid - 2014
John Bailey was a weaver. He settled with his son, also named John, in Salisbury and had a fishing grant in the Powwow River. When he and John sailed for New England, they left behind the rest of the family assuming they would return and fetch them later. However, the violence of the storm scared him enough that he would never agree to make the ocean crossing again. His wife and other children were also too afraid to make the crossing to join him. 

Couples were not supposed to live apart in Puritan society and the court had ordered him to reunite with his wife. Finally in 1649, the court decided that he "having used sufficient means to procure his wife over from England, and she utterly refusing to come," should not be required to go back to England. However, he was expected to continue to try to persuade her to come live with him. 

When he died in 1651, he left money for his wife and children in England but they would only get the full amount if they came to New England. The executor was to pay for the passage of those who would come to New England. His legacy to his wife was 6 pounds per year, to his son, Robert, 15 pounds, to his daughters, 10 pounds each. However, if they stayed in England, they would only receive 5 shillings each. We only know the name of one of his daughters, Joanna, who married William Huntington, came to New England. 

John Bailey - my 11th great-grandfather
John Bailey, Jr. 
Sarah Bailey
Eleanor Cheney
John Safford
Ruth Safford
Martha Haskell
Mary "Sally" Houghton
Florilla Dunham
Nina K. Ellingwood
Annie Florilla Gibbs
Fern Lyndell Cotton - my grandmother