Or is it "My Lady"? I've never been royalty before. Thanks to Highland Titles, wholly owned by Highland Titles Charitable Trust for Scotland, however, I am now officially Lady Maura of Glencoe. Actually, one of my sisters is also now a Lady of Glencoe and one of my brothers is a Lord of Glencoe, and according to the Highland Titles web site, we have "over 200,000" companions in lady/lord/lairdshipness. It is all for a good cause; the preservation of highland wilderness, flora, and fauna, including my favorite, the endangered Scottish wildcat. (This is a real animal, honest, we saw one stuffed at the museum in Glencoe.) For about $45 you can be a laird, lord, or lady or give titled status to the Scotland enthusiast in your life. This is especially meaningful if you have ancestors from the areas where the organization has a nature reserve or to which you have traveled personally. Highland Titles currently sells plots of land in the Glencoe Wood Nature Reserve (a beautiful area) and the Mountain View Nature Reserve (where they help the Scottish wildcat and bumblebees. Title holders there are Lords/Lairds/Ladies of Lochaber.) You can buy plots ranging from one square foot to 1,000 square feet. The finer points of all this, like having a tartan (see the Glencoe tartan below), how royal you really are (not), and bequeathing your land to an heir (yes, you can do that) are explained on the web site.
photos © Maura Mackowski, 2019
These two stone markers, one commemorating Capt. John Gallup and the other 40 men buried in a single grave, are at Smith's Castle in North Kingstown, RI, toured with a group of New England genealogical societies yesterday. Three soldiers in my family died during King Philip's War but not in the December 1675 Great Swamp Fight, which the two markers commemorate. Smith's Castle was rebuilt in 1678, the first structure (a house + trading post) having been destroyed in the war. The tour is definitely worth your time, as the docents share a lot of detail, plus the most recent restoration (the home was lived in by private families until the mid-1900s) left some of the 17th century construction techniques visible. If you just like pastoral scenery, the view out front is beautiful as well.
Your tour of the Old Slater Mill National Historic Landmark in Pawtucket, RI begins at this floor map, which is gigantic. Just beneath the word "Cumberland" at the top, to the right of the Blackstone River, you will see the word "Ashton," next to a picture representing a mill in that Rhode Island town. On the Doty, Cooke, Alden-Mullins, Brewster, and Warren pages you can see two Mayflower Faces that worked at a cotton spinning mill there in 1880, the two L. Giffords. One of them was also a Rogers descendant. Check this site out in person next time you are in Rhode Island. It is not part of the National Park Service so relies on visitors like me and you. (This was a tour organized by The Order of the First Families of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. If you are over 18 and had an ancestor in Rhode Island by 1 January 1647/48 you are invited to apply.)
Pardon the glare in my photo, but while researching at the New Bedford Whaling Museum Library last week I spotted this bicentennial birthday tribute to the city's adopted son, Frederick Douglass. The text inside the cabinet (which you can read by clicking on the second link in the previous sentence) mentioned how closely he worked with abolitionist publisher William Lloyd Garrison of The Liberator, but did not mention that Douglass started his own newspaper, The North Star. The Portland, Maine abolitionist publisher ancestor in my October 2, 2019 post, below, D. C. Colesworthy, corresponded regularly with Garrison but I do not know if he knew Douglass, who moved to Rochester, NY. The exhibit also did not mention that after the death of his first wife, Anna (Murray) Douglass, Frederick married Helen Pitts, an Alden-Mullins, Rogers, and Warren descendant. You can see Helen's picture, and that of her sister Eva Pitts, right here on MayflowerFaces.com, in the sections for descendants of those pilgrims. (Frederick and Helen had no children together.) Happy birthday, Frederick, and thank you for everything you did for America.
but photo © Maura Mackowski 2019
An African American genealogist colleague pointed out a few years back that people researching non-Black ancestors should consider joining an African American family history society or using their resources. As he said, they do "FAMILY history," not just "black families' histories." Above is a photo of a building I found a while back on the Portland Freedom Trail Self-Guided Walking Tour Map. One of my colonial Boston DAR families moved to Maine in the early 1800s and had 3 children. Two sons became printers and publishers. One, D.C. Colesworthy, was also a writer, poet, active abolitionist, and in old age my great-grandmother's pen pal. To the far right you can see the basement entrance to his print shop, where in 1836 D.C. (then age 25-26) printed Light and Truth from Ancient and Sacred History, by Robert Benjamin Lewis, said to be "the first Afro-centric history of the world." Per his wikipedia page, Lewis was half Native American but on his mother's side the grandson of a man kidnapped as a boy (c. 1740) from Africa and still angry decades later, perhaps providing some of the stories for his grandson's book or at least the motivation to write it. The book was updated and reprinted several times over the next 140 years. Visiting the Mariners' Church - where the basement print shop had long since become a pub - didn't contain Colesworthy genealogical data, but it was satisfying to walk around that part of town where he and his siblings, parents, grandmother, uncle, etc. lived and worked and to know that he made a meaningful contribution to a cause that mattered greatly.
As someone who does not specialize in French Canadian genealogy I was not very aware of the American-Canadian Genealogical Society, other than knowing they existed. It turns out they are in Manchester, NH and kindly let me visit today to use their online databases. (A downfall to travel is finding a local library with access to the databases you don't subscribe to.) They are staffed by very friendly and helpful volunteers, have a large bank of computers, and have numerous records for researching Acadians in Canada or the U.S., Franco-American genealogy (think Paul Revere), and the French-Canadians who worked in large numbers in mill towns like Manchester and Lowell, New Bedford, & Fall River in MA during the 19th & 20th centuries (think Jack Kerouac.) Their street address is not on their web site, in part because they are soon to relocate from a Blessed Sacrament parish schoolroom to one of the historic mill buildings a block or two closer to the river. If you cannot make it in person, they will research for you for a fee. If your Early American or Mayflower genealogical trail disappears for a generation or two, then re-emerges, especially in a state bordering Canada, don't forget to check there. More than a few Americans sojourned for a while in the Great White North.
I received an email from this afternoon from a casting company in Burbank, CA that is looking for people who want to take part in a "new docu-series for one of the major cable news networks." They are looking to cast people who got a big surprise when they took a DNA test and found out they aren't who they thought they were. The show would follow test-takers through the ups-and-downs that come with such a revelation, as they make decisions about what to do with the information.
This is a for-real company (https://pitmancasting.com/) and they would love to hear from you if you are a U.S. resident age 18 "on the cusp of starting an investigation after finding out this life-changing information." You can apply for the role by email at email@example.com or online at https://pitmancastinginc.formstack.com/forms/dna_project
If you have a compelling story and are willing to share it with the world, Hollywood is calling.
What do the Scotland-born naval hero of the American Revolution and needlework schools have to do with tracing your ancestral roots? You can go to the John Paul Jones House in Portsmouth, New Hampshire and find out or read the abbreviated version here: While overseeing the construction of 2 vessels during the Revolution, Jones boarded at a house that has been preserved and is today known as the John Paul Jones House. It's eclectic holdings include local history artifacts, some Jones material, a room devoted to the 1905 Treaty of Portsmouth (ending the Russo-Japanese War and earning Theodore Roosevelt the 1906 Nobel Peace Prize.) It also has a room with an impressive display of needlepoint samplers crafted by female students at the academies that sprang up in Portsmouth after the Revolution and continued into the early 1800s. A Mary Ann Smith ran one such school and Rev. Timothy Alden (see the Alden-Mullins page) ran another. The samplers are large, very detailed, and contain the maker's full name, age, and sometimes the name of her school. Elizabeth F. Willey (see below) created one in 1834 listing her parents and siblings, with dates of birth and mother's maiden name.
Of greater significance for NH genealogical research overall, some schools kept records of their students and teachers that are still extant today. (The Portsmouth Athenaeum has some material and contemporary newspaper ads for such school can be found on Genealogybank.com.) If you cannot get to Portsmouth, get a copy of John F. LaBranche & Rita F. Conant, In Female Worth and Elegance: Sampler and Needlework Students and Teachers in Portsmouth, New Hampshire 1741-1840 (Portsmouth: Portsmouth Marine Society, 1996.) Because it was published for a 2009 exhibition of samplers by the Portsmouth Historical Society it gives the creator's names and biographical data for 111 different samplers. Difficult as it is to find anything on females during that period, this is a must-read for New Hampshire genealogy.
Photos © Maura Mackowski, 2019
The signage is practically invisible, which we told them after finally finding the place, so here are street views of what you are looking for. The yellow building is starting point, and the entry, now under reconstruction is behind the back. You park to the side of the tavern, on Water Street, but the parking is on a little side street. Set your GPS for the address specified on the American Independence Museum web site but be on the lookout for these buildings. They are tucked in between Phillips Exeter Academy and the main street (Water St.) and there are multiple tiny streets, some one-way. The building is home to the Society of the Cincinnati (the hereditary society for male descendants of officers in the Continental Army, including our first president) and is definitely worth a visit. The tavern, where George Washington really did dine (but not sleep) is very interesting architecturally and the museum displays include a number of original documents. If you are from Rockingham Co, NH, your ancestor might be in one of them. There are no archives, however.
Don't you wish you inherited this ancestor's artistic way with tools? The maker was Robert Crossman of Taunton, Bristol Co, MA - not a Mayflower descendant but that's ok. He lived and worked there throughout most of the 1700s. How did I find this out? By visiting the very cool Currier Museum of Art in Manchester, New Hampshire (where I am doing some genealogical research for someone.) Knowing what your ancestor did for a living can be invaluable in your own hunt and sometimes you just get lucky and run across something he or she made in a regional or specialty museum that collects items or records from that period. If you are lucky, the museum has some provenance (documentation to prove original maker and chain of ownership) and will share those with you on request.
Dr. Maura Mackowski is an Arizona research historian who enjoys the challenge of looking for Mayflower descendants, hers and anyone else's.
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