I have made it through the first unit (5 weeks) of the BU online genealogy course and have turned in the assignment for the first 1 of 3 exercises in the second unit. I appreciate your good thoughts and prayers and ask you to keep all the students on your prayer list. It is a serious time commitment and very challenging, which is a good thing, as they want us to learn new things and unlearn old bad habits. We can all use a dose of that in our lives, right?
The New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) is looking for more volunteers to help them get data online for all of us to use. From what little volunteer indexing I have done in my lifetime, this task involves looking at images on the screen for key bits of data, such as names, and typing them into a data base the sponsoring organization. They also need help scanning parish records (for their Historic Catholic Records Project, which right now is the Archdiocese of Boston parish records) and the General Society of Mayflower Descendants (GSMD) silver books (new ones are issued periodically), and digitizing other records "from the comfort of your own home!" There will be a webinar on Thursday, October 23, from 3-4 pm EDT (which in AZ is noon to 1:00 pm) explaining how this works. If you want online access to more New England documents, like I do, and want to see data in the hands of people dedicated to New England genealogy rather than people with a cause or agenda you don't support, consider at least checking out this opportunity to help.
Other than all of us being Children of God (below, top left), at first glimpse very little. Weren't the occupants all monks? Guess again. They were priests, religious brothers - the 3 on the far right, below - their students, and local employees. Some, like the 3rd man from the right, joined the Franciscans late in life (51.) Many were immigrants, including the 4 Irishmen, Spaniard, and Canadian in the group shot below. The second man from the right had come to CA from Ireland as a gold miner and "eventually" joined the Franciscans in the 1860s. Probably all of these men had brothers and sisters, too. One way to move past a brick wall is to step back a generation and find siblings, then look for THEIR vital records, obituaries, etc. In the case of Catholic immigrants, it was extremely common to have siblings who were sisters/nuns and religious brothers or priests.
Also, as a religious order whose members take vows of poverty, Franciscans relied on the generosity of parishioners, many of whom were later buried on mission grounds. The birth record of Daniel Hill (b. Billerica, MA 1797) is easily found on the NEHGS site. Based on nearby gravestones, Daniel and his descendants intermarried with the local Spanish-speaking population and the family picked up some new surnames and a new religion. I saw gravestones of Rickards and Fitz Randolphs, too, names found in the Warren and E Fuller silver books. Daniel's stone said he had lived in CA since 1823, 11 years before Richard Henry Dana of Boston voyaged there, as told in his memoir Two Years Before the Mast. A generation later, New Englanders were part of the CA Gold Rush of 1849, some remaining in the Golden State. The Santa Barbara mission would have registered its parishioners, listing all family members, and today it has a large archive. If you have alta California ancestry, think about inquiring at the closest mission.
And with Mayflower genealogy specifically? More than I would ever have guessed. To start with, did you know that Jell-O has its own museum?
It does, in LeRoy, Genesee Co, New York, which we took a special detour on our Erie Canal journey to see. LeRoy is the birthplace of Jell-O - AND of the stringless green bean. In its farming heyday (1800s) hundreds of seasonal workers from the surrounding area came to LeRoy (originally Bellona and previously part of Caledonia in Livingston Co, and sometimes referred to as the Ganson Settlement) every year to do the laborious work of shelling beans and assorted other tasks. They were male & female, young & old, but apparently from a relatively limited area, central NY. If you have a Mayflower relative you cannot find, consider looking for him or her in LeRoy / Le Roy, which was on a major migration path out of New England and to NY, MI and elsewhere in the Upper Midwest.
Look for them at the LeRoy Historical Society, 23 East Main St., in the old house in front of the Jell-O Museum (which is around the back). The two work together and visitors to the Jell-O Museum are actually supporting the work of the Historical Society, including the LeRoy House, originally the tiny home of land agent Jacob LeRoy but later expanded to be large enough to hold the first college for women in the U.S., Ingham University. It ran from the 1830s to the 1890s and expanded across Main St. and part of the property is now the Woodward Memorial Library. If you have a female ancestor who was noted at the time for being well-educated, particularly in the arts, look for her in LeRoy, NY.
Tucked away in a corner of LeRoy House (below) was a framed collection of "head shots" labeled something like "Class of 1880." Another item was a bookcase with shelves of plain gray-bound books labeled "lineage books." Who knows, maybe it was someone's records of livestock pedigrees, but the guide thought they had been donated by a group, maybe the DAR, making them human pedigrees. The Society does have a collection of records and will do genealogical research for you, so do contact them or better yet support them with a membership, just $25.00.
I have just finished Week One of the Boston University online genealogy course and turned in my first assignment for grading. It is extremely interesting so far with a ton of new information to learn, even for someone with a doctorate in history, and very challenging assignments requiring a serious commitment of time and energy. There is a large staff of helpful instructors who don't miss a chance to present us with something new to learn from a variety of sources. The student population is (to me) surprisingly varied in background, skill sets, experience level, and goals. Please wish all of them luck as well.
If you are tracking ancestors who left the east coast for the center of the country in the early-mid 1800s, hopefully you know to check for them on the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM)'s General Land Office (GLO) records site, https://glorecords.blm.gov. This is a database of sales, grants, bounty land warrant use (whether by the veteran or someone to whom he or an heir gave or sold the warrant), Indian land allotments to individual tribal members, and other transactions in which U.S. land was transferred out of federal hands. The GLO has a new section highlighting "story maps" selected from their immense holdings. It's in the green box on the home page as "Check out GLO's Survey of the Week!" links. (Stories appear to be more "occasional" than "weekly.") The August 17th "fascinating story of the Neutral Strip in Louisiana" is helpful for genealogists researching ancestors in the Lake Charles, LA area circa 1792-1836. Originally it was contested by Louisiana and Texas when both were controlled by the Spanish government, then decreed "neutral ground" in 1806, making it a magnet for "outlaws, settlers, fugitive slaves, and displaced Native Americans." (Sound like any of your ancestors?) After joining the U.S., Congress acted in 1823 and 1824 to survey the land holdings to see who its newest citizens were. Residents testified as to how they acquired the land, when, whose land bordered theirs, what they did with the land, and then neighbors testified in their support. This information is available as Survey Plats and supporting documents. (To see Survey Plats, first find the grant using the "Search Documents" feature on the home page. Back at the home page, click on "Survey Plats and Field Notes" and enter the coordinates for the land as shown on the grant. This will bring up the hand-drawn map with notes. There may be more data on the grant that will allow you to use the "Land Status Records," "Control Document Index Records," "Tract Books," and "Land Catalog" search features on the home page.) Records not yet digitized are held by the National Archives (archives.gov).
I posted one message from my iPad while chugging along the Erie Canal at 6 mph last week or the week before but all that actually showed up was the heading. I'll try again now that I'm home and have my computer. Below is a picture of the mighty Seneca which your webmaster and companions piloted from the stern, using the tiller you can see to the left of the American flag. The first thing I asked, though, was how to pronounce "Skaneateles," where the boat is registered, and which those of you doing central NY genealogy may also have wondered about. Turns out that today they say it "Skinny Atlas" but I would guess that 250 years ago it was something closer to "Skanny AT ah las."
Since returning I've posted an image of Brewster descendant Henry Stanton that I made in Seneca Falls and some photos of Bradford descendants George Eastman and family that I took at his mansion in Rochester, and I dutifully updated the All-Name Index. Stay tuned for more.
For whatever reason, weebly's link to facebook went offline for about 2 weeks and just came back on. That left me to notify readers of new blogposts via Twitter. The facebook capability is back and here are the announcements you missed -- Two milestones: the 2,000th write-up was posted and the 1,000th individual was profiled; thank you, International Plastic Modelers Society (IPMS), for the invitation to present at the 2018 national convention; I passed the DAR's Genealogy Education Program (GEP) III course & offered reasons members ought to take their classes; free microfilm storage cabinets to anyone who can haul them away; deadline looming for booking genealogical research by the NEHGS before the price increase; I was accepted as a member of the Guild of Colonial Artisans and Tradesmen 1607-1783. (Nearly all pilgrim descendants qualify AND you can submit other lineage society papers as your genealogical proofs.) These are all in the August 2018 section of the Archives to your right.
At the bottom left of the screen, beneath the Descendants Index pages is the new, still-under-construction All-Surname Index. The purpose of this new feature is to help you find female non line-carrying ancestors, in-between ancestors, and brick wall ancestors, thus giving you some direction in searching your family for pilgrims. For example, let's say you know you have a great-great grandmother surnamed "Briggs." There was no Briggs on the Mayflower but there are some Briggs families in Bristol Co, MA, the next county over from Plymouth Co. You have ancestors in Bristol Co and want to find out if YOUR Briggs ever married into a Mayflower line. You find the surname Briggs in the All-Surname Index and it says "ALD." Alden. After that are two names: Mary Gray Pearce and Samuel Tolman. This means, yes, the Briggs family connects somehow to John Alden & the Mullinses. How did the Pearces and Tolmans link to Alden? And might they link to YOU? You can either go straight to the Alden-Mullins section and find these two people or (because you want to see if Mary and Samuel link to someone besides the Alden-Mullins family), you go to the J-P section of the Descendant Index, find Mary Pearce, and click on the blue "Alden" next to her name. That takes you to the Alden-Mullins section and you scroll down to find Mary and read up on her. You can either scroll down further amongst the Alden-Mullinses to find Samuel Tolman or click on the Q-Z section of the Descendant Index, find Samuel Tolman, click on "ALD" and look for him. Mary and Samuel have only one Mayflower link outlined here, Alden-Mullins, but the average is two and some people have as many as nine. The idea is to push you to look at pilgrims you never thought about (or never heard of.) In Mary's case you would learn that her mother was Sarah Read/Reid Briggs of Assonet (Freetown), Bristol Co, MA. In Samuel's case there's no specific link given but there are other useful hints. Off you go with fresh leads!
If you are in Arizona, the AZMayflowerSociety.org web site has a list of the six libraries to which the state organization has donated sets of silver books. Download that list from the "Resources" list in the "Membership" section up top. Then head to the library, pick up the Alden silver books (all 5) and start looking for your Briggses or relatives you know married into the Briggs clan. If you can't get to a library, and IF you are a member of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, you can search on the NEHGS website (americanancestors.org) for a Gen 5 descendant surnamed Briggs. The All-Surname Index on MayflowerFaces.com, when complete, will link to (almost) any surname that pops up between the descendant whose picture is posted here and a pilgrim. Having only completed Alden-Mullins there are hundred and hundreds of these intermediate surnames to be posted, so check back from time to time. Many thanks to Ben, the co-administrator of this site for formatting that page - and for fixing the Tallies (Per Pilgrim) section so the headcount lines up neatly.
The author is an Arizona research historian who enjoys the challenge of looking for Mayflower descendants, hers and anyone else's.
- Tallies (per Pilgrim)
- Fuller, Edward
- Fuller, Samuel
- About this Site
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