Welcome ! Come join me and find out what we may have in common

Picture a welcoming place to sit, a warm, friendly enviroment,

maybe a steaming cup of coffee or tea and a smiling face that is intereted in sharing many thoughts....I have a curious mind and if you are reading this my guess is you do too...let's share a few minutes and some conversation as friends old and new.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

It's Christmas all year long!!!

Genealogy is the most generous and supportive hobby I know.

Years ago when I first started my hunt, I learned
quickly how thoughtful and kind people you have never met can be. I remember someone answered a query I posted and said "I'll send you some information on your line" within a week a large brown envelope arrived in the mail. I was so excited...it answered several questions and gave me clear proof of the line I was
having trouble finding. Another time I was in New England and a lady from a small town met me at the library/historic society on a day she was not scheduled to be there so I could go through records. A gentleman from Dracut, Ma took my husband and I on a tour of their historical society/museum and search records with us .
A lady in Texas lent me two books (that were out of print) for as long as I needed them. We had only met and she trusted me to take these books home and return them in a timely manner.

Through the years I have tried to return the favors others have so graciously shown to me by giving others a start
and experiencing their joy when they learn of their ancestry.

Last year my husband and I taught a beginning genealogy class at our local senior center. We made a point to make sure everyone that took our class left having some information they did not already know about their family.
We were able to connect one of our students with her second cousin in Virginia. They had never met and did not even know about the other. It turned out they were both born on the same day of the same year! They each had some family information the other did not have. Now they call each other and keep in touch.
Genealogy is a hobby you can do alone, but how wonderful that online opportunities have made it possible for us to find "cousins" that we can get to know and  share our family stories , memories and solve family mysteries together.
At the end of 2010 I wish to THANK all of you who have shared your research so selflessly and brighted the day
of another. I THANK you all for reading my blog and sharing your comments with me...I look forward to
2011 ....shaking that family tree to find another ancestor.
"Isn't it strange the Princes and Kings
And clowns who caper in stardust rings,
And common people like you and me
Are buildres for enternity?"

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Strong Women

We often hear about our early ancestors the MEN who built our country, well I would like to add ....and women.
The men did have a more "public: face as they were the military leaders, statesmen, clergy,and government officials of the New England towns and cities. We hear about the men on the Mayflower and the men who fought
the Revolutionary War, but to a much lesser degree were the women who played an enormous role as well.

When my granddaughter was in high school she emailed me. She had to write a paper on the women in our family
and some of their attributes, and knowing her " mimi" loved genealogy wanted to know what I might contribute.
What FUN...now I could tell her of two of the earlier women of our family and bits about others.
I have books written about two of the most prominent Mary Dyer (Quaker Martyr) and Anne Hutchinson ( also a Quaker)

My ancestor Mary Dyer was hanged in Boston because she was a Quaker teaching her Quaker beliefs.
Mary (1611-1660) came to this country like so many other for religious freedom (she was not a Quaker when she arrived).The New England clergy was extremely strong and influential and there was a real difference in the community about Bible interpretation. Mary and husband William were independent thinkers and Mary started attending Anne Hutchinson's conversations after Sunday church as they walked home ans soon other women were also involved. Women had no opportunity to speak out in church so it was these early get togethers that
were so enriching to Mary. Years later Mary became a strong Quaker and history shows Quakers were treated very badly by the Puritans. They would drive the out of the area or imprison the many were beaten some tarred and feathered . Without tell her whole story she eventual was hung in the Boston Common...the only woman
Quaker to die for her Quaker beliefs.

Anne Hutchinson, an intelligent, confident woman who questioned the leading clergymen of the day. She herself was the daughter of a clergyman and well versed in the Bible. Her ideas and critiques of the Sunday morning
sermons drew a host of admirers and followers that were willing to leave Massachusetts and follow Anne went the courts banished her from the state.She was able to debate the most learner ed of men and that was not
to be tolerated by the Governor and Judges , she was just too threatening to their power and influence.
Her life ended sadly when she ( along with her children and several servants) were murdered by the Siwanoy warriors thinking she was Dutch and in revenge for the Dutch killing eighty Indian men, women and children.
One daughter was out picking blueberries and escaped the slaughter. The story of this remarkable woman's life would make a powerful movie and should be taught in all the history books.

Women through the years have been the backbone of families and have welded a strong presence in spite of the fact they were no able to get the same kind of education as men and could not vote or speak out in public.
These two women are a sampling of the strong women through the years and I am proud they are a part of my
roots.  There are others and they too deserve your honor and mention.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

How can one ancestor be such a worry?

and the answer is....... he is a BROWN. OH those Browns, Smiths and all the other VERY COMMON names
( with no middle name)  I have been searching for his parents for YEARS. Samuel H. Brown was born in Maine 10 Sep 1814( where?    is a mystery) a ships carpenter married twice and died in Yarmouth Cumberland Maine. I have been to his grave and there he is with two wives #1 Alphonsa Drinkwater with a baby's grave beside and #2 ( my line) Sarah Mariah True ( now here's where it gets good) and beside his grave and his wives graves Rebecca Brown. OH you say Rebecca is obviously his mother. The dates are right...Rebecca Brown b. 1788 and d. 25 Mar 1854 . I have hunted all over Maine and in every place I can think of for Samuel and Rebecca. His first wife died 12 Sep 1849
and most likely died in childbirth or shortly after. The Drinkwater family was a VERY well known family ( ship builders and Mariners) but Alphonsa is not well known to the ones I contacted. The Trues owned a mill in Yarmouth and I have traced this line but again not much said about Mariah and her husband Samuel Brown. They had two sons and the first son Willie ( William) was a sailor who disappears rather early in his life. The 1850 Census has Samuels but NOT my Samuel.(or Rebecca) I have been to the State archives in Augusta and talked with a Brown expert ...no luck. At one point I was so desperate I wrote EVERY Brown in North Yarmouth hoping someone might be able to give me some information...nothing. I believe now I have connected him to a Brown family in Greene Maine but it's a Rachel not Rebecca and it only my theory...no factual information.
Oh where oh where has my grandfather (grgr) gone oh Where oh where can he be? ( in the records)
When I get to the next world WE are going to have a talk!!!!! ( how dare he hide from me all these years)
His is and most likely will always be my man of mystery.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Bushel of Yankees

I come from 16+ generations of New Englanders and seem to be connected to everyone with roots in Maine, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island around the 1600's . Over the years I have joined several groups like DAR
Mayflower Society and helped others in their quest to join. Their families may be SOUTHERN (they think) but
many  begin back in the north east. Many churches sent their missionaries south to teach the Indians and others moved south for land and new opportunities. It is interesting to learn the patterns of migration. For those who think they don't have "damn yankees"  ancestors...they might want to check their own heritage. Many English families are found in North and South. Gordons, Dyers,Browns,Moores,Vinings,Holmes, to name a few. It is also interesting to learn not everyone who lived in the south fought for the Confederacy...whole counties and certainly families were ripped apart by their divided loyalities and to this day some are still holding on to those beliefs. Our 1st mayor was born in NH and married a southern woman. During the war between the states they left the south and went to stay with a son. A Congregational church from Dorchester, Ma sent a rather large number of their parishioners south and they ended up in Liberty, Ga. My ancestors however, stayed in New England and just about all my personal  family research has been centered there. I am greatful for New England Historical, it has been a great resource for me. If you have ancestors from any of the states I mentioned let me know ...who knows we might find we are cousins !!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Salem Witch Trials

Tis a strange and at times unfriendly world. As I mature :) I realize how the lowest common denominator applies to our thinking. In the Salem Witch Trials ,the people who suffered most were the vulnerable. All it took was  someone to accuse you of witchcraft and you were left to defend the charge. If you had a disability, were old, weak, crippled, or perhaps a widow you were a prime target. If someone didn't like you or had a grudge against you they simply accused you of witchcraft. People were superstitous, ignorant, and easily lead by others. I had ancestors on both sides of this fence. We are horrified as we read their testamonies and are repulsed by the hysterical wildfire that swept New England before more rational people stopped the madness, yet TODAY in Iran members of the Bahai Faith are experiencing that same kind of fear and hostility. Their homes are being burned, they are not allowed to go to schools, or take part in other normal activities and they live with the knowledge that someone might decide to accuse them and they will end up imprisioned, or dead. At the core is again is  ignorance, and fear, the same kind of hostility that is also affecting Muslims in our country, and the old,poor, and sick and disabled in other countries. Where is our humanity? If you are "different" what gives others the right to take from you, hurt you or deprive you of the basic human needs. Where is love thy neighbor?

 Hopefully the rational people of the world will again prevail and will rise up to defend the rights of those who feel their voice is not being heard. Let's not let the Salem Witch Trials happen again.
 Merry Christmas and wishing you and yours a brighter New Year.

Monday, December 13, 2010

From Maine to Georgia

I have a somewhat unusual maiden name, and I never met anyone with that same last name until I was an adult.The name VINING was a huge attraction to me and probably one of the main reasons I dived into my family roots.
When I moved to Georgia, I was surprised to find out there was a whole TOWN called Vinings, Ga.  Years later as I started my search for ancestors, I went to the Marietta, Ga library and asked what information /history they might have on Vinings, Ga. They brought me a file of miscellaneous papers. The town was originally owned by a Mr. Pace who had a ferry. At that time Atlanta was called Marthasville and before the Civil War (War between the States) a railroad was being built between Chattanooga, Tennessee and Marthasville. The person in charge of receiving materials was Mr. Vining. It was said "Drop the material's off at Vining's station" and through the years the station got dropped and Vinings remained. Who WAS this Mr. Vining? I checked census reports and every other source to no avail.
I contacted the Vinings in the Atlanta area who were also doing genealogy and they said they had been trying to find out and had not been successful.In this process I was curious to find where the southern Vinings came from so I was detoured as I followed the trail from Salem, Massachusetts to the south through North Carolina, South Carolina,Georgia and Florida. I was invited to join the Georgia Vinings for a family reunion. It was wonderful to be around a group of people with the name I had known all my life. My Vining line was from Weymouth, Ma (very close to Salem, Ma)they later moved to Maine. Certainly we were all from the same family in England, and many  were in agreement ,although we could not definately prove it.
Since that reunion I have proven to myself (although some still doubt) we did indeed come from the same family line, AND years later found the mysterious Mr. Vining an assistant civil engineer of the Vining's station.Anthony Doyle wrote a book called Vining's Revisited and in it he identifies a Mr. William Vining from New Castle Delaware as the man we had all been searching for. He was found through his payroll requests with the W&A Railroad.
Since that time we  have wanted to get DNA proof  of our connection but have not found a male on both sides to do the DNA test that would unite this family. Maybe one day...maybe

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


A newbie genealogist can made so many wrong asumptions. Many get hung up if the ancestor's name is mispelled or the Census shows them by his or her middle name. What about religion? YES, "OH they can't be Quakers" I said. We don't have any Quakers in our family. WRONG...sure enough I was soon to learn we had a parcel!!! Everyone has some idea their ancestors were 1) no good,2) very famous, 3) married to an Indian ( that's cool these days) or some other story that's called "family lore". After doing genealogy for years you learn YES we all have an ancestor who is a scoundrel ,YES, we have a few we would love to have known, and thanks to shows like "Who do you think you are?" we might have mixed racial lines, or some other surprise in store to be discovered. I started collecting stories on some of the more interesting ancestors. I found one actually wrote a letter to me...well, not JUST me to his descendants which includes me, now wasn't that a special treat!
Approach Genealogy as you would a treaure hunt using every clue or wild card and not discounting or assuming
anything. If you do you are apt to find the treasures you are looking for. OH, did I mention the one ingredient
everyone who STICKS with this hobby has to have or acquire in short order......patience and I might add creativity. No one of past generations (with maybe a few exceptions like my grgrgrgr grandfather who wrote to his descendants) EVER thought someone would be looking for them and want to know all about them. Don't ever say "they didn't go to the Gold Rush or they didn't move 4states away....sure they did! What was happening in history around the time they were living? Did the acquire land in another state? Did they fight in another state then decide to go back there? Did they get caught up with a church that sent them as missionaries to a far off spot?
Many churches from New England sent out missionaries to teach the Indians in the South and they stayed there,
so don't ever make a newbie mistake in thinking small. I would love to hear your family discoveries...drop me a line sometime. We are all fishers of ideas.

Friday, November 19, 2010

FOUND...what a surprise!!

I had been doing genealogy for some time when, I received a phone call from my daughter.
She told me she had something she wanted to give me. We arranged to meet for lunch and as I put down the phone I noted she seemed especially excited about "something".

I will back up and tell you my maternal grandmother lived with us for several years after the death of my grandfather. In her dresser were pictures, a bible, letters and other momentos that were dear to her.
When my mother passed away, my sister and I had to go through not only my mother's things but Gramma's
room as well. If you have ever had to do this, you know it can be daunting. I had things I wanted to take home and my sister had things and many things did not seem very important as the work progressed.

In the years after, I moved, divorced, and things got boxed up, some things were never found again and in all honesty I forgot about things like yearbooks,and other items I now treasure as a genealogist.

Our lunch was special because my daughter had 'found" a friendship book belonging to my gr grandmother
(my grandmother's mother) and knowing it's importance to me, she presented it with a huge smile at the end of our meal. WOW!!! a friendship book....it was faded and worn but I was actually holding something that was my
gr grandmother's ! It might contain leads to other discoveries.
In our throw away society, coming across a friendship book or some other ancestor's belonging can be so very special. I hope you have such an experience in your lifetime! Tell me about a discovery you made in an old trunk, box, or attic.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

You Needed Me

There are so many people to meet and in thinking about the people who have had the greatest effect on my life ( aside from immediate family) it has NOT been the famous, rich, powerful, well-known people ...it has been
God's most humble. There was an opportunity to meet and befriend a lady of very simple means who lived by herself in the country with a yard full of dogs. She had little but took in and shared what she had with her animals. She had no family and her beloved husband was beaten up and left for dead on the road side on his way home. He had just been paid and was walking down their road when he was attacked. "Betty" lived in a house you could see light through her walls...her family pictures were of the Cartwrights from TV' Bonanza and other people who she did not personally know. She was 1/4 Cherokee Indian and had been raised by her grandmother.
I do not know what happened to her parents. She needed to get some prescriptions filled and there was concern voiced she might be suicidal...she was grieving and depressed. My children and I went to meet her. Before we went into the house I told my two children to mind their manners and then we waited for Betty to put up the dogs.
It took a while and we learned later she was putting down two Jacob's coat braided rugs to spruce up her place.
She was delighted to see us ( especially the children) and we had a nice 1st visit. It was the start of a friendship not only with my family but including others in our religious community. Her first request was PICTURES. Did we have any she could have? She had no bathtub so after some community consultation and a new dress...we found a tactful way of freshing Betty up. She was sweet, innocent and funny and with some time, she became part of our community family. She couldn't read but had more common sense in her little finger than most folks acquire in a lifetime. When she got her welfare check at month's end aside from some cigarettes for herself her main concern was feeding her dogs. She could be somewhat manipulative, but never mean spirited...if she ran out of cigarettes ...somehow she would manage to get you or someone else to drive her to get a few more (and pay for them) with the promise she would pay it back "when her check arrived" :)
She just adored it when she was invited to join out family for a dinner out in a restaurant...she sat there like the proud gramma she had become. There are so many things I could share about my friend and might in future blogs ...when she heard Anne Murray's song "You needed me" she said "that's my song "as we wiped our tears away. I will never not think of her as deeply connected to that song. The lessons we all learned from this humble
spirit will be a part of me forevermore.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

How interesting to uncover your family roots!

Years ago, I was challenged to take some genealogy notes my grandparents had done ( the old fashioned way) by going to courthouses and cemeteries and libraries and expand on it. I was living in the south and my heritiage was New England so I foolishly thought I would not find much. At our library I found the Revolutionary War pension records....and to my surprise there were my ancestors!

The real "discovery" came when on a trip west my husband ( who has spent many more years in genealogy) suggested we check out Powells Used Bookstore In Portland, Oregon. While taking in the large genealogy/history section we found a book about Durham, Maine. I knew it to be the town my grandfather came from so  bought it along with a couple of other interesting books . One evening while hubby was immersed in the baseball game, I remembered our books. How did this book about a small town in Maine get to Portland Oregon? I looked to see who it might have belonged to but the name inscribed didn't sound familiar. I started reading...OMG...these were MANY of my ancestors!!! They started this town... I was overcome with this new information so my husband was interupted several times with my excitement ... these were MY people !! As if it was meant to be I found two obituaries that were neatly cut out of the newspaper a placed in the back pages of this book. I did not recognize the first one but as I read the send one I could hardly breathe...the book was about my father's side of the family and the second obituary was my mother's second cousin!!! WOW...talk about messages from beyond! I WAS supposed to find this treasure.
Since that discovery much has change in my life and in my attitude...which will be a blog for another time.
Other genealogists have told me..unusual findings have happened to them too....care to comment and share?