Celebrating friendships, stories and discoveries along the way

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Remembering Jinny Scott

On this day three years ago one of my dearest friends, Jinny (Atkins) Scott, passed away. Jinny and I met at a Strafford County Genealogical Society meeting in Dover, New Hampshire in 2004. We became instant friends, sharing many wonderful times over lunch and in genealogical research. We were also distant cousins, sharing a genealogical link through the Buzzell family. She was unfailingly kind, generous, and positive, and my spirits were always lifted in her company. She was the rarest of gifts: a true friend and a kindred spirit. I was very blessed to be her friend, and I still miss her greatly.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Remembering Anne Hutchinson

On this month 371 years ago Anne Hutchinson was massacred at Pelham Point, in the current-day borough of the Bronx, New York. She was massacred by the Siwanoy Indians with six of her eleven children. The only survivor of the massacre was her nine-year old daughter Susan, who was picking blueberries in the woods during the slaughter. Susan heard the screams of her family and hid in a crevice of the Split Rock, a large boulder formation which still exists, located as the intersection of Route 95 and the Hutchinson River Parkway in New York. The Siwanoy found Susan but did not kill her; instead, they raised her and adopter her into their tribe. Susan stayed with the Siwanoy until she was eighteen and then rejoined her five eldest siblings in Boston, where she married John Cole. She and John had eleven children. The family later removed to Rhode Island, where Susan died in 1713 at the age of eighty.1

The exact date of the massacre of Anne's family at Pelham Point is not known, but is believed to have been during the month of August from an entry in John Winthrop's journal in September 1643.2

Anne Marbury Hutchinson, the daughter of Reverend Francis Marbury, was born in Alford, Lincolnshire, England on July 17, 1591. Reverend Marbury believed in education for all his children and educated his daughters at home. The brilliant Anne was an apt pupil. Her religious training led her to follow Puritan minister John Cotton, the minister of Saint Botolph's Church in Boston, Lincolnshire, England. As non-conformist Puritans were forced to leave England, Cotton migrated to Boston, Massachusetts in 1633 and Anne and her husband William Hutchinson migrated the following year. Anne's theology training compelled her to hold religious discussion groups at her home during 1635 and 1636. Her well-attended religious meetings often drew more patrons than Sunday services at the First Church in Boston. Her intelligence and outspokenness was in direct conflict with seventeenth-century Puritan mores. She was accused of heresy and tried by the General Court in 1637, who banished her from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In 1638 Anne was excommunicated by the First Church of Boston, and the excommunication sentence was delivered by her mentor, Reverend John Cotton. She and her family made the journey to Rhode Island, where her husband and sons assisted in the founding of Rhode Island, the landing place for religious dissenters from Massachusetts Bay Colony. After the death of her husband William in 1642 Anne removed from Rhode Island to free herself from English control. She and her seven youngest children resettled in the Dutch Colony of New York at Pelham Bay. In late summer of 1643 the Siwanoy sought reprisals against the Dutch for violence against their tribe which led to the massacre of Anne and her children, who were mistaken by the Siwanoy as Dutch settlers.3

I am extremely proud to be a descendant of Anne Marbury Hutchinson through her daughter Susan Hutchinson Cole. To view my descent from Anne Marbury Hutchinson to my grandmother Bertha Fairchild please click here.

For modern-day views of the Split Rock where Susan hid, please visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Split_Rock_%28Bronx,_New_York%29.

1Eve LaPlante, American Jezebel: The Uncommon Life of Anne Hutchinson, the Woman who Defied the Puritans (New York: Harper Collins, 2004), 238-39.
2LaPlante, American Jezebel, 243-44.
3LaPlante, American Jezebel, 271-72.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Remembering Eleazer Wilber - 150 Years Later

On this day 150 years ago my second great-granduncle, Eleazer Wilber, a private in the 27th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, died at Andersonville Prison in Georgia. Eleazer, with most of his regiment, was captured on May 16, 1864 at Drewry's Bluff, Virginia during an early morning reconnaissance in heavy fog. Eleazer died of disease resulting from starvation at Andersonville and is buried in Grave 6715 at Andersonville National Cemetery.1 This was the second tragic event occurring in the Bates Family in less than one week, as Eleazer's brother-in-law Oliver Stanton Bates of the 20th Massachusetts Regiment died at Slough Barracks Military Hospital in Alexandria, Virginia on August 19, 1864 from a wound resulting in amputation at Petersburg.2

For more information about Eleazer, please visit his Find a Grave memorial. For more information about Oliver Stanton Bates please visit my blog posts labeled Oliver Bates. For additional information about the 20th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment please visit http://20thmassregt150.blogspot.com.

For additional information about Andersonville Prison please visit the Andersonville National Historic Site and the Andersonville National Cemetery website.

1Compiled service record, Eleazer Wilber, Pvt., Co. G, 27th Massachusetts Infantry; Carded Records, Volunteer Organizations, Civil War; Records of the Adjutant General's Office, 1780s-1917, Record Group 94; National Archives, Washington, D.C.

2Compiled service record, Oliver S. Bates, Pvt., Co. A, 20th Massachusetts Infantry; Carded Records, Volunteer Organizations, Civil War; Records of the Adjutant General's Office, 1780s-1917, Record Group 94; National Archives, Washington, D.C.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

NEAPG Meeting with the O'Duills - August 17, 2014

On Sunday my genealogy friend and colleague Sharon Daly and I attended a meeting of the New England Association of Professional Genealogists (NEAPG) hosted by Marian Pierre-Louis. The featured presenters were Eileen and Sean O'Duill who had traveled from Ireland earlier in the week to lecture at the Celtic Connections Conference at Bentley University. Eileen and Sean offered two additional presentations for the NEAPG meeting that were not offered at the Celtic Connections Conferences.

Eileen led an informative lecture, "Dublin, 30th June 1922: Did Everything Blow Up?" The focus of Eileen's presentation was to detail the classes of records that were destroyed in 1922 and to identify alternate replacement sources. Eileen's husband Sean followed with a talk entitled "Death and Burial Customs in 19th Century Ireland" in an informal, engaging style, revealing his expertise as a storyteller and folklorist.

The meeting was well-attended and a great success. After the meeting Sharon and I had the chance to catch up with many of our genealogy friends and colleagues. I wish to thank the O'Duills for their wonderful presentations, the NEAPG for a delightful event and Marian Pierre-Louis for her hospitality.

Eileen and Sean are a husband-and-wife team specializing in Irish genealogy, history, and folklore. For additional information about their research services, lectures, and workshops please visit their website at http://www.heirsireland.com.

The New England Association of Professional Genealogists (NEAPG) is a satellite chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG). For additional information about NEAPG please visit their website at http://www.neapg.org/. For additional information about APG please visit their website at https://www.apgen.org/.

For additional information about the Celtic Connections Conference please visit http://www.celtic-connections.org and my blog post Celtic Connections Conference - August 15 and 16, 2014.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Celtic Connections Conference - August 15 and 16, 2014

Last Friday and Saturday I attended the two-day Celtic Connections Conference, held at the La Cava Conference Center at Bentley University in Waltham. The Celtic Connections Conference was hosted by The Irish Ancestral Research Association (TIARA) and the Irish Genealogical Society International (IGSI) and was the inaugural conference as a joint effort of the two Irish genealogical associations. The event featured outstanding presentations by top-flight Irish genealogists and lecturers from Ireland and the United States.

On Friday I attended five superb presentations. Brian Donovan of Eneclann and findmypast.com delivered the Keynote presentation, "Using findmypast.com to Trace Your Irish Family History." In the morning I attended Kyle Betit's excellent presentation, "Irish Landed Estate Papers" and Nora Galvin's insightful lecture, "The Registry of Deeds in Dublin Holds Genealogical Treasure." A delicious buffet lunch followed, accompanied by a wonderful talk by Sean O'Duill, "Irish - The Language Your Ancestors Spoke." In the afternoon I attended John Grenham's scholarly "Irish Church Records - The Known Unknown" and Richard Doherty's erudite "Genealogical Gold - Irish National School Records." The day ended with an delectable banquet dinner, followed by a captivating musical and lyrical performance by Brian and Lindsay O'Donovan of WGBH Radio's Celtic Sojourn.

On Saturday morning I attended Sheila O'Rourke Northrup's excellent talk on "Immigration Patterns: Irish to North America", followed by Kyle Betit's informative "Irish Occupational Records" and Kate Chadbourne's delightful "A Stor Mo Chroi: Irish Folk Culture on the Move." A delicious lunch followed, accompanied by outstanding a capella performances of songs of diaspora. In the afternoon I attended Richard Doherty's insightful lecture, "The Scots-Irish: Origins, Emigration, Religion, and Research Sources." The lectures concluded with John Grenham's illustrative presentation, "Lost Sheep: Why You Can't Find Your Irish Ancestors Online (Even Though You Know They're There)." The afternoon concluded with the announcement of the next Celtic Connections Conference in 2016 in Minnesota, with the exact date and location of the event to be announced.

Irish genealogical research is extremely challenging due to the loss of principal record collections resulting from the explosion and fire at the Public Records Office in Dublin on June 30, 1922. Census records from 1821 through 1851 were among the many records lost in the explosion. Methodologies for Irish research include identifying and accessing record collections that were not held at the Public Records Office. The conference presentations highlighted alternative record sources and suggested various approaches to assist the Irish genealogical researcher.

The conference also afforded wonderful opportunities to meet other Irish researchers and to connect with many genealogy friends, including Sharon Daly, who traveled from Buffalo, New York for the event. I wish to thank the officers of TIARA and IGSI and the organizers, presenters, sponsors, volunteers, and participants who made the Celtic Connections Conference an outstanding, memorable, and successful event.

For additional information about the Celtic Connections Conference please visit http://www.celtic-connections.org. For additional information about TIARA and upcoming events please visit the TIARA website at http://tiara.ie. For additional information about IGSI and upcoming events please visit the IGSI website at http://irishgenealogical.org/.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Remembering Oliver Bates - 150 Years Later

On this day 150 years ago my second great-granduncle Oliver Stanton Bates of Company A of the 20th Massachusetts Regiment died at Slough Barracks Military Hospital in Alexandria, Virginia. He was severely wounded while serving on picket duty along the Jerusalem Plank Road in Petersburg on June 24 and his leg required immediate amputation on the battlefield. After a two-month struggle at Slough Hospital he succumbed to his wounds. 1

His body was embalmed for transport to his home in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. He is buried next to his mother, Eliza (Stanton) Bates, in the Bates Family Plot at Pittsfield Cemetery.


Before the Civil War Oliver was a harness maker in Pittsfield. He was a man of modest means. At the time of Oliver's death embalming was an expensive procedure, and his family did not have the money to pay for preparing his body for the journey home. I have read about the kindness extended by officers of the 20th Massachusetts Regiment to their fallen enlisted men, and I am certain that one or more of the officers extended this kindness to Oliver and his family by paying for the burial ritual so his body could be sent home. Oliver was one of the few veteran volunteers still alive in his regiment at the time of his death. I am deeply grateful to the officers and enlisted men of the 20th Massachusetts for their generosity to Oliver and his family.3

Oliver had notable ancestry in his genealogical lines. He was a direct descendant of Thomas Stanton, an early Native American interpreter, of John Dwight, an early settler of Dedham, Massachusetts, and of Anne Marbury Hutchinson. To view Oliver's descent from Thomas Stanton please click here. To view Oliver's descent from John Dwight please click here. To view Oliver's descent from Anne Marbury Hutchinson please click here. In addition, Oliver's aunt Susan Bates, the sister of his father Josiah Dwight Bates, was married to Robert Melville, the first cousin of author Herman Melville.

For additional information about Oliver Bates and the 20th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment please visit http://20thmassregt150.blogspot.com and his Find A Grave memorial.

1Compiled service record, Oliver S. Bates, Pvt., Co. A, 20th Massachusetts Infantry; Carded Records, Volunteer Organizations, Civil War; Records of the Adjutant General's Office, 1780s-1917, Record Group 94; National Archives, Washington, D.C.
2Pittsfield Cemetery (Pittsfield, Berkshire County, Massachusetts), Oliver Stanton Bates marker, Hope Mount Section, Lot 41, photographed by Carol Swaine-Kuzel, 4 August 2008.
3Richard F. Miller, Harvard's Civil War: A History of the Twentieth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry (Lebanon, New Hampshire: University Press of New England, 2005), 280-81, 315-17.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Massachusetts Genealogical Council 2014 Seminar

On a recent Saturday I attended the Massachusetts Genealogical Council (MGC) 2014 Annual Seminar, held at the Holiday Inn in Mansfield on July 26. I was thrilled to participate in four excellent sessions during the day: photo detective Maureen Taylor’s "Solving the Case: Photos, Genealogy, and History," Italian genealogy specialist Mary Tedesco’s "Adventures in Italian Genealogy," French-Canadian genealogy authority Michael Le Clerc’s "Advanced Research for Quebec Ancestors," and Irish genealogy expert Judy Lucey’s "Discovering Your Irish Ancestors in Print and Online Sources." Each presentation afforded new techniques and approaches to assist in my various research projects. In addition, "table talks" during lunch presented the opportunity to partake in a wide array of genealogical discussion topics, and I had the pleasure of joining Mary Tedesco’s Italian genealogy table to continue an ongoing discussion about Italian genealogical research. Recently I hired Mary to obtain Italian vital records in my ancestral communes of Gaeta and Scafati. Mary did a fantastic job in obtaining the desired records, which has opened new avenues in my ongoing Italian genealogical research.

The Massachusetts Genealogical Council protects the rights of genealogists to access Massachusetts vital records. For more information about the Massachusetts Genealogical Council please visit their website at http://www.massgencouncil.org/.

I wish to thank the officers of the Massachusetts Genealogical Council and the organizers and presenters of the annual seminar for a truly wonderful event.