Tuesday, December 01, 2015


You know that part of the movie A Christmas Story where
the family goes out to buy the tree and the parents have a little
argument over it? Well, I laugh every time I see it because
like so much in that film it echoes my childhood.

Every Christmas when I was younger either we’d go shopping
for a tree or Dad would buy one on his way home from work.
Now as regular readers of this blog know by now, my Dad was
from Maine. But even more than that, he had experience in trees.
He’d helped his father cutting down trees, and he’d worked for a
landscaper in the Boston area when he’d first come home from
the war. Mom would remind Dad of his experience every year
when the tree was fixed into the tree stand, the rope cut from
the branches and the inevitable big empty space was discovered.
Usually the problem was solved by rotating the tree so the empty
spot was in the back facing the wall. The lights were strung(and
here we differed from the film. We never blew out the fuses.),
then the garlands, the ornaments, and the icicles. Finally the
angel went up on top of the tree and we were all set. With
judicious watering the tree would last us until around “Little
Christmas” at which time it would be undecorated and deposited
curbside to await the dump truck.

Of course our tree paled in comparison to the giant my Mom’s
Uncle Tommy and Aunt Francis had in their home down in
Milton. It was so big they cut the top off and the branches didn’t
taper at the top. They were all the same size: large. I could
never believe they'd gotten that big a tree into the house in the
first place!

Then the first artificial Christmas trees hit the market and Mom
began vowing she was going to get one as she vacuumed up pine
needles from the rug. Eventually we did but that provided us
with new challenges, such as assembling the tree.

As we all grew older the prospect of trying to get the tree
together became less enchanting and so it too was replaced, this
time by a small ceramic musical tree that was lit from within by
a light bulb. I used that tree myself for several years after Mom
died although I felt no great urge to wind it up for the music. It
lasted until a few years back when I dropped it and the base

Its replacement is a small artificial tree that I bought at work with
my employee discount along with a garland. Last year some
friends sent me some snowmen ornaments for it. I haven’t put it
up yet but think I will this weekend. It fits on top of the tv.

And at some point over the holidays I’ll see that scene from A
Christmas Story again and grin.

2009 update: I bought a small string of battery powered lights
to add to my tree last week!

2010 update: I lost my Christmas stuff in my move last April so
I'll be picking it up another one at work soon.

2011 update
I bought another teeny Christmas tree with lights and ornaments
at Borders. Since the company closed, it will remind me of my
store when I set it out each year.

2012 update
I haven't put up my teeny Christmas tree yet but plan to do it this weekend.

2013 Update
I'll be putting the tree out tomorrow. I may have to buy a new string of
lights this year since some of the teeny weeny bulbs may have died last year.

2014 Update
I haven't put the teeny Christmas tree up yet again. I think I will do
it tomorrow, though.

2015 Update
The teeny Christmas tree will go up this weekend as soon as I decide 
where it will go this year.  

Originally posted in 2007.

“The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history twenty-four different ways during December! Learn more at

Monday, November 30, 2015


My examination of my grandmother Cora Bertha Barker's ancestors for the 2015 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks continues now with my 8x great grandfather Isaac Learned. According to William Richard
Cutter, he was a prominent citizen in Woburn and then Chelmsford:

(II) Isaac, only son of William and Judith Learned, was baptized February 25, 1624, at Bermondsey, and died November 27, 1657, in Chelmsford, Massachusetts. He was a small boy when he came with his parents to this country, and was not yet of age when they settled in Woburn. He appears to have resided in that town until 1652, when he removed to Chelmsford. He sold his house and lands in Woburn, April 2, 1652. The inventory of his estate made in December, 1657, amounted to one hundred and eighty-seven pounds, eighteen shillings and six pence. His widow and her father were administrators of the estate, which was beholden to his father's widow for three pounds per year. She survived him about four years and the inventory of her estate included an item of six pounds still due her from the Widow Learned, of Chelmsford. Isaac Learned married, in Woburn, August 9, 1646, Mary, daughter of Isaac and Mary (Barker) Stearns, born January 6, 1626, in Mayland, Suffolk, England, died 1663. She married (second), June 9, 1662, John Burge, of Weymouth. Children of Isaac and Mary Learned: Mary, born August 7, 1647; Hannah, August 24, 1649; William, October 1, 1650; Sarah, October 28, 1653; Isaac, mentioned below, and Benoni, November 29, 1657. The last three were born in Chelmsford, and the others in Woburn.
Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of the State of Massachusetts, Volume 4 Lewis historical publishing Company, 1910, NY, NY

I've found the probate file for Isaac's estate and I'll discuss that in the next post.

One of the things I noticed in that biographical sketch is how young Isaac was when he died, only
thirty-three years old. His youngest child was born two days after his death, and his widow, Mary
(Stearns) Learned didn't remarry until five years later.

To be continued.  

Friday, November 27, 2015


The Findmypast Friday record collections release for 27Nov focuses on 'watermen", an
occupation not familiar to we Americans. According to Wikipedia, "A waterman is a river worker
who transfers passengers across and along city centre rivers and estuaries in the United Kingdom
and its colonies. Most notable are those on the River Thames and River Medway, but other rivers such as the River Tyne and River Dee, Wales also had their watermen who formed guilds in medieval times."

 Here's the list of collections:

An important and surprisingly common profession from centuries past is being showcased this week as we release a variety of London watermen collections. These fascinating new resources include birth registers, Navy records, a royal petition and more. Plus, explore our latest round-up of Irish newspapers which saw 16 new titles added recently.

We're bringing you over 2 million new records and newspaper articles including:

Irish Newspapers
We've added 16 new titles to our Irish newspapers collection recently, increasing our numbers by 2 million fully searchable articles.
See what’s new on the blog » 

London, Watermen in Royal Navy, 1803-1809
This collection holds lists of Watermen impressed into the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic wars - several on the HMS Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar.
Discover how they served »

London, List of Free Watermen, 1827
This "mini-census" of watermen from 1827 details 5,400 names of watermen in London. See if one of your relatives had this very common occupation.
Search the list »

London, Watermen, Birth Register of Contracted Men, 1865-1921
This register lists over 1,400 apprentices of the Worshipful Company of Waterman and Lighterman. You'll discover their birth or baptism date and place of birth.
Find your family's apprentice »

If you're unsure of your London ancestors occupations, these new watermen records are worth exploring - we now have more than 100,000 online. Who knows, you may discover that your family member was an essential part of early London society!

If you have any queries or comments, or discoveries you'd like to share, get in touch here. We love hearing your stories.

Have a great weekend,

Jen Baldwin

You can see fuller descriptions of the collections here at

 Full disclosure: I am a member of the Findmypast Ambassador Program which includes a
complimentary one year world subscription to Findmypast and a Findmypast First membership.

Thursday, November 26, 2015


Welcome to the roundup of posts submitted in Seventh Annual Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge !
Here are the rules for submissions to the Challenge:
 1. Find a poem by a local poet, famous or obscure, from the region 
your ancestors lived in. It can be about an historical event, a
legend, a person, or even about some place (like a river)or a local
animal. It can even be a poem you or one of your ancestors have written!
0r if you prefer, post the lyrics of a song or a link to a video of someone
performing the song. 

2. Post the poem or song to your blog (remembering to cite the source
where you found it.).  If you wish to enter an older post, you may as long

as long as it has not appeared here in an earlier Poetry Challenge.
3.Tell us how the subject of the poem or song relates to your ancestor's
home or life, or the area of the country where they lived.

We have a variety of poetry in this year's Challenge. There is a poem for commercial use, several
celebratory poems written for events, and one to ease a child to sleep. There are poems written by
famous poets and poems written by relatives, poems about a battle, one about a shipwreck and one
written by a homesick young man. And the poems vary in length from the short to the very long.

I hope you enjoy reading them all, and please be sure to leave a comment to let each blogger know
your thoughts on their post. 

Back in late 19th and early 20th century America, businesses frequently used poems to
advertise their products. Dorene Paul of Graveyard Rabbit of Sandusky Bay blog found and shares
one such poem in her post Seventh Annual Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge. You might be surprised
at what company used the poem and what the connection was between it and a certain animal.

Heather Wilkinson Rojo of Nutfield Genealogy has shared her grandmother's poems with us in previous Poetry Challenges.I've enjoyed each one of them. This year she contributes another, the beautiful Baby's Lullaby, by Bertha Roberts Wilkinson, and tells a bit about Bertha's life.

For many years Americans used poetry to celebrate special events or family history with poetry. It's a vanished tradition, except perhaps for poet laureates reciting a poem at Presidential Inaugurations.  My Ellingwood cousin Pam Carter found a poem about a relative's courtship written for a dedication. Her post is Deborah Bachiler Poem at Pam's My Maine Ancestry blog. 

Vickie at BeNotForgot has another example of a celebratory poem, this one for the 250th
anniversary of the town of Andover. Ma. Like her, some of my ancestors were among the first
settlers and I have several cousin connections with Vickie. Read the poem in the blog post entitled
1653:: Marriage of Clemens and Osgood.

Barbara Poole knew exactly what she wanted to do for this year's challenge and set about
looking for a poem written by one of her ancestors. She found one by her 2nd great
granduncle Fitch Poole, as well as an article about his life. They are posted on her Life From
The Roots
blog in two posts, THE LIBRARIAN'S EPITAPH, a Poem, and I Googled POEM and FITCH POOLE and came up with This.

Schalene Dagutis is related by marriage to Nathaniel Tucker, a poet who lived in the late 18th -early 19th century.  Although he lived for a time in the American colonies, he had been born in Bermuda, which inspired his poem The Bermudan. Like much poetry of that era it's long. See for yourself in the post
52 Ancestors #1: Nathaniel Tucker, Poet at Tangled Roots and Leaves.

I have three poems here on West in New England for my own contribution to the Challenge:

Back in June I had mentioned on Facebook that my Mom's German paternal great  grandparents had come to America on the ship S.S. Deutschland and friend Terri Kallio asked me if was the same ship
that sank in 1875 during a storm. She sent me a link to Wikipedia which led me to finding English poet  Gerald Manley Hopkins' poem about the tragedy,The Wreck of the Deutschland.

Then in September I found two poems about a Colonial American era  battle at Lovewell's
Pond in New Hampshire between the "Snowshoe Soldier" militia and Native Americans.
One poem, The Battle of Lovell's Pond, was the first published work by Henry Wadsworth
Longfellow; the second, Song of Lovewell's Fight, was a popular ballad from a century before
Longfellow's poem. Some of my ancestors had served under Lovewell in previous campaigns.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


The subject for Week 47 of the 2015 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge is my immigrant
ancestor and 9x great grandfather William Learned. William is one of my ancestors for whom
I've found quite a bit, including an entry in The Great Migration Begins and this long biographical sketch from one of William Richard Cutter's books:

(1)William Learned was born as early as 1590, and died in Woburn, Massachusetts. March 1, 1646. He was in Massachusetts as early as 1632, and possibly as early as 1630. The records of Charlestown show that he was admitted as an inhabitant there and had a planting lot in 1630. But as these records were made many years afterwards,-the time is somewhat uncertain. The admission of himself and wife to what is now the First Church of Charlestown was the first recorded, December 6, 1632. In this record his wife's name is spelled Gooithe, and is presumed to mean Judith, though some authorities claim it is derived from the Saxon word Goditha. It is possible that William Learned resided for a short time in Ware, England, and it is known that he resided in the parish of Bermondsey, Surrey, from 1612 to 1625. In the latter year his third child was buried there. His eldest child, Sarah, may have been the Sarah Learned, baptized September 30, 1604, at Ware, though records made in Massachusetts indicate that she was born about 1607. Such discrepancy as this is not uncommon, and it may easily be supposable that the baptism at Ware applies to William Learned's daughter. His other children baptized at Bermondsey were: Bertha, October 29. 1612; Mary, September 15, 1615; Abigail, September 30, 1618; Elizabeth, March 25, 1621; and Isaac, mentioned below. William Learned was an inhabitant of Charlestown in 1633-35-36, and received a share of marsh land there February 11. 1637. The record of various parcels granted him makes it appear that he had more than seventy-two acres. He was made a freeman, May 14, 1634, and was subsequently selectman. February 13, 1636, he was made a member of a committee to stint the common lands, and he was on various committees to lay out lots and bounds. Being a friend of Wheelwright, he signed a remonstrance against the treatment of that worthy, and was subsequently compelled by the church to renounce such action. He was on a committee to settle with the school master in 1638, and on February 26, of that year, was made a member of a committee to "consider of some things tending toward a body of laws." He was among those who attended the first meeting for the organization of the town of Woburn, December 18, 1614, and was one of the signers of the town orders of that time. The clerks record of the transaction spells his name Lernedt. He was one of the seven to form the first church of Woburn, which was gathered, August 14, 1642. On November 24 of that year he gave up his lot for the use of the town, and received subsequent grants, including seventy-two acres laid out to his son Isaac, in recompense for abandoning his first lot. On April 13, 1643, ne was elected constable and selectman, and was again chosen to the same offices, February 9, 1645, and died just before the succeeding election. The office of constable was an important one at that time, as the collection of taxes was made by that officer. His widow appears in subsequent records as Sarah or Jane. The inventory of her estate made in November, 1661, amounted to forty-one pounds, eighteen shillings and eleven pence.
Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of the State of Massachusetts, Volume 4 Lewis historical publishing Company, 1910, NY, NY

I've had no luck finding a probate file and seen no mention of one either. I'll have to look for
land sale records. But what I have found already shows William Learned to have been a prominent
citizen of Charlestown and then Woburn.

Saturday, November 21, 2015


(( I first posted two articles about my Mayflower family descents back in
 November 2011 and decided to repost them every year as a Thanksgiving 

Whenever I am talking or writing about my Mayflower descent, for some
ironic reason I always forget about Remember Allerton. The reason for the
irony is that both my Dad's parents were Allerton descendants: Pop from
Remember Allerton and Grandma Bertha from Mary Allerton.:

Allerton through Ellingwood Line

Isaac Allerton & Mary Norris
Remember Allerton & Moses Maverick
Abigail Maverick & Samuel Ward
Martha Ward & John Tuthill(Tuttle)
Martha Tuthill(Tuttle) & Mark Haskell
Martha Haskell & John Safford
Ruth Safford & Samuel Haskell
Martha Haskell & Moses Houghton
Sally Houghton & James Thomas Dunham
Florilla Dunham & Asa Freeman Ellingwood
Clara Ellingwood & Phillip Jonathan West
Floyd Earl West Sr  & Cora B Barker
Floyd Earl West Jr &  Anne Marie White

Allerton through Barker Line

Isaac Allerton & Mary Norris
Mary Allerton & Thomas Cushman
Sarah Cushman & Adam Hawkes
John Hawkes & Mary(Margery)Whitford
Eva Hawkes & John Bancroft         Eunice Hawkes & Jacob Walton
John Bancroft & Mary Walton
Sally(Sarah)Bancroft & Francis Upton
Hannah Upton & Cyrus Moore
Betsey Jane Moore & Amos Hastings Barker
Charlotte Lovenia Barker & Frank W Barker
Cora B, Barker & Floyd Earl Wesrt Sr
Floyd Earl West Jr and Anne Marie White.

My Warren ancestry comes through my Ames line

Warren Through Ames Line

Richard Warren  &  Elizabeth (?)
Mary Warren & Robert Bartlett
Mary Bartlett & Jonathan Mowrey(Morey)
Hannah Mowrey(Morey) & John Bumpas
Mary Bumpas & Seth Ellis
Mary Ellis & Ephraim Griffith
John Griffith & Mary Boyden
Polly Griffith & Jonathan Phelps Ames
Arvilla S. Ames & John Cutter West
John Cutter West & Louisa Richardson
Phillip Jonathan West & Clara Ellingwood
Floyd Earl West Sr & Cora B Barker
Floyd Earl West Jr and Anne Marie White.


 Here's the Findmypast Friday records release announcement for 20Nov 2015, which is quite large:

This week, we're releasing a variety of fascinating UK collections including almost 10,000 volumes of England & Wales electoral registers, now browsable online for the first time. We're also bringing you military records, social history, and a large update to our newspapers. With so much to explore, you're bound to find something on your British family.

We've added over 3.8 million new records and newspaper articles including:

England & Wales, Electoral Registers 1832-1932, Image Browse
Browse over 5.4 million images containing approximately 220 million names to find your family between the censuses. Discover where they lived, the property they owned or lean about the history of your local area.
Find your ancestors before they came to America »

British Newspapers
We're debuting 11 brand new publications and have bolstered another 43 titles with additional articles and years.
Paint a picture of the life your ancestor lived »

British In Argentina, 1914-1919
This book contains information and photographs of British volunteers from Argentina who went back home to serve their country in World War I.
See who answered the call of duty »

Additional Social & Institutional Records from Devon, England
Explore two centuries of Devon's social history to paint a vivid picture of everyday life there. We've added over 49,000 more records to the collection.
Delve into these rich records »

We hope you enjoy exploring these rich and varied collections. The electoral registers in particular, are a fantastic resource that have helped me gain a better understanding of my ancestors' place in society.

If you have any queries or comments, or discoveries you'd like to share, get in touch here. We love hearing your stories!

Have a great weekend,
Jen Baldwin

You can see more complete descriptions of these records here.

Full disclosure: I am a member of the Findmypast Ambassador Program which includes a
complimentary one year world subscription to Findmypast and a Findmypast First membership.

Friday, November 20, 2015


(( I first posted two articles about my Mayflower family descents back in
 November 2011 and decided to repost them every year as a Thanksgiving 

Back when I first started researching the family genealogy online I was
thrilled to discover we were descended from several Mayflower passengers.
At one point I even carried around a small folded up piece of paper
in my wallet with the lines of descent to show when discussing genealogy
with some customer at the bookstore. But I lost that some time ago, so I
thought I'd post them here for other family members.

The first three lines come down through my Ellingwood ancestry from
Stephen Hopkins, Thomas Rogers, and James Chilton.

Hopkins Line
Stephen Hopkins and Mary____
Constance Hopkins & Nicholas Snow
Elizabeth Snow & Thomas Rogers
Eleazer Rogers & Ruhamah Willis
Experience Rogers & Stephen Totman
Deborah Totman & Moses Barrows Jr.
Asa Barrows & Content Benson
Rachel Barrows & John Ellingwood Jr
Asa F. Ellingwood & Florilla Dunham
Clara Ellingwood & Philip West
Floyd West Sr & Clara Barker
Floyd West Jr & Anne M White

Rogers Line
Thomas Rogers & Alice Cosford
Joseph Rogers & Hannah___
Thomas Rogers & Elizabeth Snow
Eleazer Rogers & Ruhamah Willis
Experience Rogers & Stephen Totman
Deborah Totman & Moses Barrows Jr.
Asa Barrows & Content Benson
Rachel Barrows & John Ellingwood Jr
Asa F. Ellingwood & Florilla Dunham
Clara Ellingwood & Philip West
Floyd West Sr & Clara Barker
Floyd West Jr & Anne M White

Chilton Line
James Chilton & ?
Isabella Chilton & Roger Chandler
Sarah Chandler & Moses Simmons
Moses Simmons Jr & Patience Barstow
Patience Simmons & George Barrows
Moses Barrows & Mary Carver
Deborah Totman & Moses Barrows Jr.
Asa Barrows & Content Benson
Rachel Barrows & John Ellingwood Jr
Asa F. Ellingwood & Florilla Dunham
Clara Ellingwood & Philip West
Floyd West Sr & Clara Barker
Floyd West Jr & Anne M White