Eastham, MA – and being woefully unprepared.

It has been a busy summer with both jobs and as such, my genealogical pursuits have been put on the back burner though they are almost constantly in my daydreams and thoughts and last weekend was no exception.

For the last five years, I have been volunteering as a photographer for the ‘3 Day, 50 Mile MS Challenge Walk.’ held the weekend after labor day, on Cape Cod. My Wife has now walked 2 of her last 8 years helping out, and we do so for her father who has Multiple Sclerosis.


To my knowledge, my 9th great grandfather, John Young died in Eastham Massachusetts in 1690. He was born in England and married Abigail Howland in Plymouth. From there, 4 generations of Young’s’ had been born in Eastham before migrating to the Bar Harbor area of Maine. My Grandfather Merton finally returned the family to Cape Cod around 1935 after my Father had been born.

It just so happens that the midpoint of the second day of the walk is in, you guessed it, Eastham. I know very little about my Great Grandmothers from that time – and I would have liked to been able to do some on the ground digging however the much needed ‘rest’ after an event as such took precedence over anything. It also seems that my research pulled up that neither the library, or historical society itself was open on that Monday I had ‘free’.


Really though, two main things were against me. The first is that I had not researched what resources were open this time of year and I may have been able to make a special appointment.  The Library was closed, as was the Historical Society and any of their assets.  I did not think to check the town hall and my brain could not think of anything else to check at the time.

Another item working against me was that the only information I had with me, was the online tree at Ancestry.com. While a good resource, I should have printed hard copies of some family record sheets. This would have helped me focus on names that I did know, and not the Snow’s, and Freeman’s, and Doane’s that I thought might be in the tree but… oh those names sound so familiar.


For those of you with Cape Cod Ancestors, I would like to mention the site Cape Cod Gravestones – Gravestones Dated 1683 – 1880 or Later in Barnstable County, Massachusetts The site has, Forty Four Thousand Names with Gravestone Inscription Information, Four Thousand Color Photographs, One Hundred Thirty Five Old Burial Grounds, Forty Six Gravestone Carvers, Eight Hundred Colonial Epitaphs, Cemetery Survey Reference Sources, and more.

While the site does not have a search function, the following is taken from their home page:

If you want to search for a specific name on this large web site, go to the Google search engine at www.google.com. In the search box enter capecodgravestones+name. There should be no space before or after the + sign. For example, if you are searching for Marcy Freeman, enter in the search box capecodgravestones+Marcy+Freeman. The search result will be a listing of links to Marcy Freeman

At the end of the day all I can do is begin to plan next years trip, and assuming I can get the time to research, I will have what I need, and know where I can go to get it.


Old Colony History Museum, Taunton Massachusetts

After attending the 2016 26th Annual Pro Video & Lighting Trade Show Thursday, Sue and I found ourselves 30 minutes North of Taunton MA, birthplace of my father and his father. I have many other ancestors from the neighboring towns in Bristol County as well. The Old Colony History Museum is the local historical society and sounds like a place we just had to explore.


We were greeted by a wonderful woman who took us for a tour of their amazing collection as well as a bit of the history of the building.  Pro-Tip #1 – ask about the museum’s photography policy at the beginning of the tour and not at the end. I suppose that not taking photographs of every little thing did leave me less distracted.

The first floor gallery and meeting room was much larger than we had expected I think.  Among the items on this floor there were a couple that stood out for me.  The first of which were several grandfathers clocks made in the area by local tradesmen.  They looked amazingly similar to one that stands in my Mothers house right now, handed down by my Grandfather, made by his cousin William Davis.  The other item, a writing desk, also bears a resemblance to a piece in the front hall of her house as well.


Clock made by William M. Davis of Taunton, 1907. Photos by Claire Young

The second floor was simply amazing with what must have been thousands of objects to see and discover.  Everything from dolls to clothing to furniture.  Some amazing old photographs, cameras and paintings.  Taunton was home to many cast iron stove makers and several were also on display.  They had an old pump fire wagon, a descent sized multi harness loom, and a display of Native American finds.

Of the many items in this room though there was a lone daguerreotype of a steam engine from the late 1800’s.  My 2nd Great Grandfather Leonard Ivy Young used to work for the railroads in this area and of course this made me wonder if I was looking at something he himself had seen – or even worked on.

A separate room holds military artifacts and for my re-enactor friends several articles of clothing, hats and, accouterments.  Our tour guide told us an amazing story of a slave who fought with the Continental Army in the revolutionary war as a part of a cannon crew.  When he returned he was granted his freedom and gifted a cannon by General Washington himself or at least that is what the rumor and town lore told.  I learned more about Camp Myles Standish mentioned briefly in one of my Grandfather’s WW2 Greenland diaries.

Old Colony Historical Museum items

Sue managed to remember to take a couple of photographs before we left (with permission of course)

In the last room an amazing display of locally made silver goods. Among the normal items there was a silver handled and ebony sock darner, a small silver clad pencil, an elaborate silver and glass pickle jar and my favorite – the Ketchup, Mustard and Relish containers – appropriately etched just in case you forgot which was which.  One name stood out in this room, Albert Pitts, a local silversmith that I will have to keep in mind as my research continues.

The last stop on our tour took us into the William T. and Mary L. Hurley Library also located on the second floor.  Wow.  That’s all.  Wow.  Now, I know I didn’t come here prepared to do any research – nor did we have the time really however I will now offer out Pro-Tip #2.  Have a genealogical travel kit.  I’m not sure how – but I am going to get working on one.

From the Old Colony Historical Museum website about their library:

 Our research collection, which includes more than 7,000 volumes in our non-circulating library and over 400 linear feet of archival material, embraces a wide range of topics.

Some of the largest collections include:

• Family histories (published and unpublished works)
• Family papers
• Diaries
• Unpublished manuscripts
• Cemetery gravestone transcriptions
• Local church and municipal records

Primary Records:
• Proprietors’ records for the Taunton region
• Military records and accounts from the 17th to 20th centuries
• Materials related to prominent local industries (textiles, machinery, locomotives, stoves, iron, pewter, silver, pottery, nails, tacks, bricks, shipbuilding, etc.)
• Collection of maritime records including diaries, papers, ships’ logs, etc.
• Account books of local merchants, businesses, and citizens
• Selected Bristol County Court records (17th to 20th centuries)
• Newspapers: Taunton Daily Gazette (1848-2001) on microfilm; other newspapers on microfilm and in bound copies as early as 1824

Published Records:
• Vital records for the Commonwealth of MA and the State of RI (prior to 1850)
• Maps and atlases for Taunton and Bristol County
• Taunton municipal records, dates vary (Fire Department, Police Department, Public Schools)
Taunton City Directory, 1850 to 2002
• Yearbooks from Taunton High School (1891-1990, incomplete), Msgr. Coyle High School, Bishop Cassidy High School, St. Mary’s High School, St. Anthony Parish, St. Jaques Parish

I am looking forward to returning, taking some photographs, and of course delving into the library but first – I must prepare.

Our thanks again to the Old Colony History Museum for a wonderful afternoon.

Old Colony History Museum
66 Church Green
Taunton, Massachusetts 02780

Open Tuesday – Saturday
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.





Our Adventures at the Genealogy Roadshow

Yesterday the PBS series ‘Genealogy Roadshow’ filmed in Providence, Rhode Island at the amazing Public Library, and Sue and I were able to go and join in on the fun.  We had little idea on what to expect to see or do while we were there and I have to say we both were very, very happy with what there was to offer.

Sue and Dan holding the sign!

Sue and Dan holding the sign!

We were one of the first few people there on the very windy morning. After a short bit, a camera crew came out and filmed a few short bits talking to some of the folks in line, as well as some of the guests that were going to be on the show.  After a short while, we did a few staged ‘Walking into the Library’ shots and the led us to a holding area while they finished setting things up and to get us out of the cold.

The camera crew that was filming all of the pick up shots.  Left to right was the Still Photographer, a Producer, Production Assistant, Sound Guy, and Cameraman (and for those interested they were filming with a Canon C300)

The camera crew that was filming all of the pick up shots. Left to right was the Still Photographer, a Producer, Production Assistant, Sound Guy, and Cameraman (and for those interested they were filming with a Canon C300)

I should back up a moment; there is a casting process to get onto the show that must be filled out long ahead of time. The information is on their web site and I would imagine at this point that any submissions would be considered for the next season.  The producers (or someone on the crew,) reviews the submissions and they pick the most interesting stories they receive.  It then seems that they will then choose the cites they film in based on the submissions.  For those of us that do show up that day, they do film a few people in line and wandering about the ‘Trade Show’ portion of the hall.

The Booth for the Southern California Genealogical Society

The Booth for the Southern California Genealogical Society

So once they were all set up and let us go ‘free’ we finally got a chance to see what there was.  Though the venue was small, they used the available space well and to make it look busier than it really was.  The day before they filmed in Boston and I was told it was much busier.

Looking back from one corner of the room.

Looking back from one corner of the room.

Vendors included, The Rhode Island Historical Society, The Massachusetts Genealogical Council, The Federation of Genealogical Societies, Essex Society Of Genealogists, The Providence Public Library, The Daughters of the American Revolution, Massachusetts Society of Genealogists, The Southern California Genealogical Society, Maureen Taylor – Photo Detective, American-French Genealogical Society, and a group that represented smaller Historical Societies in Rhode Island.  There was one other Rhode Island based group there and I realize now that I didn’t get their name but they had many publications of family histories, local history and one on regimental history.  I will post as many links as I have below.

We did wonder if there would be any independent genealogist there to ‘ask questions to’ much like you would see on Antiques Roadshow but here, at least in Rhode Island, there were none.  The people at the booths however were certainly happy to help in any way shape or form that they could and many had laptops and tablets to look information up.  If you do find yourself going to a roadshow, make sure you bring some cash as many of the vendors had publications, quick sheets, and other items to sell.  Sue and I did purchase a cookbook from the American-French Genealogical Society.

Sue and Dan outside the Providence Public Library, awaiting the Genealogy Roadshow to begin

Sue and Dan outside the Providence Public Library, awaiting the Genealogy Roadshow to begin

While we were milling about, I especially had a fun time looking at all of the behind the scenes action from the camera men, production crew, lighting guy, and video village (the place where all the cameras get fed back to so the Director can watch the action)  It also turns out that Steve Kaye, the aforementioned Lighting Guy, was someone whom I have not seen in a very long time and we have worked on projects in the past.  He was able to show us a few extra behind the scenes items and it was fabulous to re-connect.

Setting up for one of the produced segments.  The Man in the middle is Steven Kaye - The lighting guy.

Setting up for one of the produced segments. The Man in the middle is Steven Kaye – The lighting guy.

If you have made it this far – Bravo and Thank You.

While Sue and I learned a lot of little things about the organizations, the two major props need to go out to the American-French Genealogical Society and the Rhode Island Historical Society.Genealogy Roadshow

While Sue was chatting with the AFGS, one of the men behind the computer was able to find four generations in the Drouin Collection in a matter of a short time.  The Drouin collection is a listing of marriage records in Quebec.  These records include parents names and places of birth.  Most of this information was entirely new for her tree.  To say she was ecstatic is an understatement.  This was something that wasn’t even on her research plan radar but now – another set of plans to add.

The book of accounts lists many fantastic items, prices, and names of people who shopped there.

The book of accounts lists many fantastic items, prices, and names of people who shopped there.

For me, I have in my collection of family heirlooms two account ledger books from around 1850.  We recently learned that they may have been for a department store in of all places… Providence RI.  I have family members who lived in the general area – Dighton and Somerset MA, and it was included with a photo album (among other items) from them.  The woman I spoke to at the Rhode Island Historical Society was very inquisitive, took down a lot of information on the family tree and who I thought it may have belonged too along with many photographs.  She may even be researching it right at this moment.  I am hoping she may be able to find information as to why it may have ended up in the hands of my family.  In the end (unless she can tell me otherwise,) I plan to donate / loan the ledgers to the society as there is so much history in this book that must be shared. To quote Indy – “It belongs in a museum.”

1848 Ledger of Accounts - Gladding and Pond, Providence RI.  I have a Nathan Simmons in my tree - but I have nothing to connect these two names.

1848 Ledger of Accounts – Gladding and Pond, Providence RI. I have a Nathan Simmons in my tree – but I have nothing to connect these two names.

This also seemed to be my ‘On camera moment’ as in the middle of the conversation I realized there was a microphone boom over my head and the cameraman was pointed our way.  My nerves increased but I made it through.

Our tips if you end up going to one of the Genealogy Roadshow events:

  • Bring some Cash
  • While it worked for us, don’t rely on your online tree alone to get information to those that can help you.  I should have printed a family page (or two) to just hand to the researcher at the historical society.
  • Bring some water – While I think that the Producers may have had a small ‘Craft Services’ table set up for the guests, it was unclear.
  • Don’t expect to be on camera.  Go to the Roadshow to meet people and learn about the various groups that are there.  If you have an interesting story, the producers will find you.

If you have appeared on the Genealogy Roadshow (or if the producer is reading this,) I would love to learn more about that side of the table, and what those who are cast to appear can expect, and perhaps what they should not expect while going through the process.

Among other signage, this was one of them.

Among other signage, this was one of them.

Links in this post (in no real order)

Providence Public Library – http://www.provlib.org
Genealogy Roadshow – http://genealogyroadshow.org

American-French Genealogical Society – www.afgs.org
The Rhode Island Historical Society – www.rihs.org
The Massachusetts Genealogical Council – massgencouncil.org
The Federation of Genealogical Societies – www.fgs.org
Essex Society Of Genealogists – www.esog.org
Daughters of the American Revolution – www.dar.org
Massachusetts Society of Genealogists – www.msoginc.org
The Southern California Genealogical Society – www.scgsgenealogy.com
Maureen Taylor – Photo Detective – www.maureentaylor.com

Kaye Lights – www.kayelites.com

The Grave of Moses Noble – Part 1

Sue and I had a fantastic 19th anniversary while exploring the back roads of Berwick, Maine in search of her 5th Great Grandfather, Moses Noble.


While the photo above does give away the eventual outcome, it took us adventurers a couple of tries and a bit of research to find it.

Deb Sweeney (from http://www.genealogylady.net) had identified quite a while ago that Moses was buried off of Blackberry Hill Road in Berwick.  I believe the information was gleaned from a book written in 1922 – Burial Inscriptions of Berwick Maine compiled by Wilber D Spencer Page 34 (with a list of Cemetery #18 on page 8). [Link]

As it so happens, a few weeks back Sue and I found ourselves in the area and dug in with both feet to see what we could find.  I did try Google Street view for the road ahead of time to see what I could find but nothing stood out and of course, only half of the road was available.

Click Here to visit Google Maps.

We found Blackberry Hill road and drove its length. A few times. In some parts it is farmland while others woodland. It is about 4 miles in length total with a sharp turn at a crossroads at its center.

At the south end of it we did find a larger burial ground but no Moses (Just North of the Railroad Tracks). Cross referencing the names in it with those in Spencer’s book lists it as Clark Cemetery (Page 44). [Link to Find A Grave]

Other than that though, no sign of anything.  We opted to try another method of searching – something a bit outside of the box. I checked the area for local Geocaches.

What is a geocache you ask? It is a hidden container that people use GPS coordinates to find. They often times bring you to interesting places you would never have gone to in the first place. (Check out Geocaching.com for more information. Caches have brought me near small pocket cemeteries before and as luck would have it, the one listed on Blackberry Hill road mentions nothing about a cemetery.

However… My app for it does not use Google maps but rather OpenMaps and low and behold… one of the roads at the aforementioned crossroads is listed not as Love Brook Road… but as Old Blackberry Hill Road! Score one for geocaching.

On our way to this road we found another small cemetery for the Grant family. I captured images of the markers and moved on.

Grant Family - Berwick Maine

Old Blackberry Hill Road (currently known as Love Brook Road) was in bad shape with a few homes scattered here and there. One caught my eye as I could see what looked like the remains of an old barn that could be very photogenic – but we moved on. By the time we reached the end it was nothing but thick woods with ATV trails on either side (that looked in better shape than the roads. Large no trespassing signs loomed to either side and we were dodging deep puddles and large boulders more than looking for signs of head stones. Did I mention the light rain we had all day?

At this point we were back at the crossroads as we had come in from the east and it was getting a bit late.

In the next installment we will visit the Historical Society, a homeowner along Blackberry Hill Road and review another search method to see if any of those leads pay off.

Hudson, NH – Genealogy Club

Last week held the second Friday of the month which meant that the Genealogy Club of Hudson NH met at the Rodgers Memorial Library.

This was the first time that I had attended and I found it very interesting.  Genealogists from all levels were present.  One with 40+ years of experience to someone who has not even begun yet and was looking for guidance on where to start.

The Rodgers Library in Hudson NH.  Image Courtesy of The Rodgers Library http://www.rodgerslibrary.org/

The Rodgers Memorial Library in Hudson NH.  Image Courtesy of The Rodgers Library http://www.rodgerslibrary.org/

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