Saturday, October 18, 2014

Why I made my Ancestry.com tree private

Ever since I've had my family tree uploaded on Ancestry.com, I've kept it public. My rationale was that there was no point in having your tree on a website if you didn't want it to be accessible, and regarded people who had their trees marked private as jerks who were jealously keeping their information to themselves.

But I've rethought this of late.



I noticed that someone (who turned out to be a the wife of a second cousin) was saving many documents and photos relating to my paternal grandmother and her line from my family tree to hers. I recognized her last name as being the married name of my great-aunt, so I contacted her, and she emailed me. I emailed her back, twice, and have not heard anything back. I noticed that she's been recently logged into her Ancestry.com account, so it isn't that she hasn't had an opportunity. I can only conclude that she's simply not interested in sharing information with me, although she accessed and saved all of the information I had.

This has prompted me to make my tree private. Not because I'm a jerk who doesn't want to share genealogical information-- most genealogists are thrilled to share what they have-- but I want people to share back. And having one's tree public means that people can access your information without having to communicate/reciprocate.

So from now on, yes, I'll be very happy to share my information with you, but you'll have to contact me first.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Public service announcement: beware of phishing scams!

This post has nothing to do with genealogy, other than making the observation that our ancestors didn't have to deal with this particular annoyance and potential security threat.

In the past week, I have gotten two emails purporting to be from businesses. The first claimed to be from a bank, alerting me that my account has been compromised. The thing is, I have no account at all with this bank.

The second was a bit more slick, supposedly sent by Amazon alerting me that I had just won a 90% off coupon. The email went on that they had sent this to one million customers to celebrate their 20th anniversary. There was a link to a survey that you would have to take to "download" the coupon, so this made me even more suspicious. The link just didn't look "right" to me, and when I caught a couple of typographical/grammar errors, I knew for sure it wasn't legit. I reported this to Amazon. 

Some things to alert you to "phishing" (scams in which scammers send emails and set up false websites that present to be those of legitimate businesses, especially banks, for the purpose of getting you to give them information to access your accounts):

- The url address is just not right-- e.g., the business name in the url is misspelled by one letter.

- The favicon (the little image in your web browser particular to a website) to a suspected phishing site is different than the legitimate site.

- When placing an order or doing a financial transaction online, a legit business will have a url starting with "https://". The "s" at the end means "secure." If there is no "s", do not enter any sensitive information.

- The biggest telltale signs are misspellings, grammatical, or typographical errors. 

Now, just because the url is correct or there is an "s" in it and there are no typos does not necessarily mean the site is legit-- phishing scammers are getting more sophisticated. 

Bottom line: businesses and banks will not ask you for personally identifying information online, especially not passwords, pin numbers, et cetera. Never give these out over the net. Ever.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

One Lovely Blog Award

Thanks to fellow geneablogger and multiple-line cousin Heather Wilkinson Rojo of Nutfield Genealogy for the nomination!





Okay, so the rules are:

1. Thank the person(s) who nominated you and link to their blog; I would hope that people would do this anyway, but...

2. Share seven things about yourself.

3. Nominate 15 bloggers you admire (or as many as you can think of).

4. Let the bloggers know that you've tagged them for the One Lovely Blog Award.


So here are the seven things I'm sharing about myself:

1. I'm the youngest of five children, born in Dorchester, Massachusetts; my mother wasn't supposed to be able carry another pregnancy to term after my brother, so I was something of a miracle baby.

2. I have New England Puritan, Irish, and Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry, which keeps genealogy research interesting.

3. I'm fascinated by anything to do with the paranormal, and love shows and movies about ghosts.

4. I love to sing. I've performed in school and church choirs, and even sang with a local country band.

5. I got a Master's degree in education only to realize afterward that I didn't want to teach.

6. I have cousin connections to a serial killer.

7. I've been actively researching my family tree since 2006.


And here are the bloggers I want to recognize... actually, I don't think I KNOW 15 bloggers, so I'm just going to do 5. And some of these nominations are honestly going to be for people who have already been nominated. But I figure that they deserve twice the recognition!

1. Heather Wilkinson Rojo of Nutfield Genealogy.

2. Elizabeth Handler of From Maine To Kentucky and A Jewish Genealogical Journey

3. Devon Lee of A Patient Genealogist

4. Janice Brown of Cow Hampshire

5. Bill West of West in New England


Saturday, September 27, 2014

LEMMON of Charlestown and Marblehead, Massachusetts

My first LEMMON ancestor in America was Joseph LEMMON I, born November of 1662 in Dorchester, Dorset, England. He married Mary BRADLEY on 12 June 1690, in Charlestown, MA, and died in June of 1709.

Their son Joseph LEMMON II was born in Charlestown on 26 June 1692, and he married Elizabeth PHILLIPS on 3 September 1713.

Their son Joseph LEMMON III was born 5 February 1715 in Charlestown. He would graduate from Harvard University in 1735, and become a prominent physician. He married Hannah SWETT in Marblehead on 29 July 1742, and died on 15 September 1772.

I actually discovered a portrait of him online last night on the Smithsonian American Art Museum website:


Dr. Joseph Lemmon, 1715-1772


This pastel was painted in 1770, two years before Dr. Lemmon's death; the work is attributed to Benjamin Blyth (1746-1786) of Salem. According to the site, this is not currently on view.

How cool it is to find a portrait of a fairly close ancestor (7th great). Feeling very posh now, and want to get a copy of this to frame and hang over a fireplace mantel.


Ancestry line:

Joseph LEMMON I (1662-1709) m. Mary BRADLEY
Joseph LEMMON II (b. 1692) m. Elizabeth PHILLIPS
Joseph LEMMON III (1715-1772) m. Hannah SWETT
Elizabeth LEMMON (b. 1743) m. Thomas LEWIS
Mary "Polly" LEWIS (b. 1777) m. Samuel THURBER
Margaret THURBER (abt 1809-1846) m. Anthony Christopher SPECHT
Hannah Melissa SPECHT (1843-1924) m. George Albert BAKER
Jessie May BAKER (1873-1927) m. Thomas Parker SIMMONDS
Estelle May SIMMONDS (1893-1930) m. Horace William HOWES
Henry Richard HOWES (1913-1987) m. Dorothy Elizabeth PALMER
S. HOWES (1937-1999) m. my father
Me (b. 1974)


Thursday, September 25, 2014

A new brick wall: John Purinton, son of Moses of Berwick, ME

Awhile back I wrote an entry about how the single most common error in genealogy is confusing two people with the same name... well, I found another instance of that in my own research.

A 4th great-grandfather of mine was John PURINTON, who married Dorothy "Dolley" COLBY in Amesbury, Massachusetts on 11 June 1811. 

Initially I had John's father as Hezekiah PURINTON, as there was a John Purinton born in 1780 in Amesbury, and I had thought that this was him. 

But recently I came across a record from the Encyclopedia of Connecticut Biography Vol 6 (basically a "who's who" of Connecticut, circa 1914) relating to a businessman named Roger Fitts James Purinton; he was the son of my 2nd great-grandmother's brother, so would be my first cousin three times removed. This blurb gives Roger as being the grandson of Isaiah PURINTON (my 3x great-grandfather), who was the son of John Purinton and Dorothy Colby. But then the article gives John as being the son of Moses Purinton of Berwick, Maine; unfortunately, John's mother's name isn't given.



So I've been trying to re-trace John Purinton's lineage, but can't come up with anything concrete regarding Moses Purinton. Here's what I do have:

1. There was a Moses Purinton of Berwick, ME, originally born in Amesbury in 1727, and he died about 1799. His first wife was Peace MORRILL, who died in 1786. Moses and Peace had a son named John, but he was born in 1757 and died about 1783. So this John can't possibly be my ancestor.

Moses remarried a Sarah Lamos (nee ROGERS) in 1789. I have been unable to find any children born to them. The only children named in Moses' will are his sons Benajah, Pelatiah, and James, from his first marriage. 

In colonial America, it wasn't unusual to give a baby the same name as that of a previous deceased child; if a couple had a baby named Joseph, and the child died, a subsequent son might also be named Joseph. So just because Moses had a son named John doesn't mean that he couldn't have had another son and given him the same name as his now-deceased son. 

It also wasn't unusual at this time of high infant mortality to refrain from naming babies and young children in wills. In other words, just because a child isn't named in a will doesn't mean he or she didn't exist.

2. There was a grandson of Moses, the son of Moses' son Benajah, born in 1788. He removed to Ohio, where he married a Sophronia ELLSWORTH in 1836 and had a family. Could the article have gotten the lineage wrong, and incorrectly given Moses as being John's father instead of his grandfather? Although this John relocated and married (remarried?) in 1836, it is possible that he was the same John who married Dorothy Colby in 1811 and fathered Isaiah (born 1818). 

3. I came across one other Moses Purinton, born in Salisbury, MA in 1749 to John and Abigail (nee BROWN), but I can't find any other records or information about this Moses. He would have been the right age to have a son born in the 1780's, about when my 4x great-grandfather John would have been born. 

I can't find any actual records or information about the John Purinton who married Dorothy Colby, other than a marriage record. So all I have are the three possibilities above.


Ancestry line:

John PURINTON (?-?) m. Dorothy "Dolley" COLBY
Isaiah F. PURINTON (1818-1890) m. Sophia Haskell FITTS
Mary Olivia PURINTON (1851-1898) m. George Bailey PALMER
Frank Bailey PALMER (1888-1958) m. Bessie Maud WINSLOW
Dorothy Elizabeth PALMER (1918-1984) m. Henry Richard HOWES
S. HOWES (1937-1999) m. my father
Me (b. 1974)


Saturday, September 20, 2014

Trekkin' on a vintage TV

Last weekend I and my best friend were watching her remastered Blu-Rays of Star Trek: The Original Series, feasting our eyes on a young and very hot William Shatner. Apparently the original footage of Star Trek: TOS are pretty badly degraded, which is why they were remastered. We commented on how hokey some of the original effects were (e.g., in "The Naked Time", what is supposed to be the corpse of a disease victim on a desolate planet is very clearly a mannequin).

One of us brought up a good point: when Star Trek: TOS was on prime time back in the mid to late 1960's, people would not have been watching this on nice big 60-inch flat screen TVs with 1080p resolution. 

They would have been watching on a screen no more than 30 inches, and although there were color televisions in the mid 1960s, most people would have still been watching black and white sets. 

Here's an ad from 1967 for a then state-of-the-art RCA telly:




 You can also get vintage TVs on eBay!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

COLBY of Salisbury, Massachusetts

I think everyone in the world is descended from Anthony COLBY.

Well, okay, not really, but it seems that way.

The Colby family actually have Danish origins (any English name with the "by" suffix is Norse, meaning "farmstead"). Many ethnic British people have Scandinavian ancestry, thanks to the Viking raids and settlements in Britain during the 9th and 10th centuries; the DNA test I took revealed only a very small percentage of my breakdown from British Isles (3%), but a surprisingly large percentage from Scandinavia (12%).

Anthony Colby was from Horbling, Lincolnshire, born about 1605. His wife Susannah was possibly the daughter of Jarret HADDON, another founder of what would become the town of Amesbury.

Anthony arrived with the Winthrop Fleet sometime in 1630, first arriving in Boston, then in Ipswich by 1637, and finally ending up in Salisbury by 1639. He had married Susannah soon after arriving, about 1631 or 1632. He was apparently not a man to sit quietly by or suffer fools, because in 1640 he was fined one shilling for being "disorderly" in a town meeting.

A sketch of Anthony Colby, done from imagination (note how mid-19th century this 17th century man looks here;
this would be like me portraying a 19th century woman in jeans and a t-shirt).*

The Macy-Colby House in Amesbury, originally owned by Thomas Macy, sold to Anthony Colby in 1654.
It remained in the Colby family for generations, and is now a museum.


I'm descended from Anthony and Susannah through many lines, through four of their children, in six known ways total; they were my 9th (twice), 10th, and 11th great-grandparents.


Ancestry line #1:

Anthony COLBY (1605-1661) m. Susannah UNKNOWN
Sarah COLBY (1635-1663) m. Orlando BAGLEY I
Orlando BAGLEY II (1658-1728) m. Sarah SARGENT
Sarah BAGLEY (b. 1683) m. Henry LANCASTER
Hannah LANCASTER (b. 1709) m. John JEWELL
Hannah JEWELL (b. 1739) m. Enoch DAVIS
John DAVIS (1761-1831) m. Priscilla BARTLETT
Priscilla DAVIS (1798-1828) m. William FITTS
Sophia Haskell FITTS (1823-1880) m. Isaiah F. PURINTON
Mary Olivia PURINTON (1851-1898) m. George Bailey PALMER
Frank Bailey PALMER (1888-1958) m. Bessie Maud WINSLOW
Dorothy Elizabeth PALMER (1918-1984) m. Henry Richard HOWES
S. HOWES (1937-1999) m. my father
Me (b. 1974)

Ancestry line #2a

Anthony COLBY (1605-1661) m. Susannah UNKNOWN
Rebecca COLBY (1643-1672) m. John WILLIAMS
Sarah WILLIAMS (b. 1662) m. Joseph BOND
Rebecca BOND (1685-1775) m. Benjamin HARDY
Philip HARDY (b. 1719) m. Hannah TENNEY
Zilpha HARDY (b. 1756) m. Amos BAILEY
Jonathan BAILEY (b. 1788) m. Sarah CLARK
Arvilla BAILEY (b. 1816) m. Joshua BAILEY 
George Bailey PALMER  (1850-1926) m. Mary Olivia PURINTON
Frank Bailey PALMER (1888-1958) m. Bessie Maud WINSLOW
Dorothy Elizabeth PALMER (1918-1984) m. Henry Richard HOWES
S. HOWES (1937-1999) m. my father
Me (b. 1974)

Ancestry line #2b

Anthony COLBY (1605-1661) m. Susannah UNKNOWN
Rebecca COLBY (1643-1672) m. John WILLIAMS
Mary WILLIAMS (1663-1695) m. Thomas SILVER
Sarah SILVER (1682-1770) m. James PHILBRICK
Rachel PHILBRICK (1704-1767) m. Ephraim BROWN
Enoch BROWN (1728-1768) m. Elizabeth CLOUGH
Rachel BROWN (b. 1765) m. Robert GIBSON
Elizabeth GIBSON (b. 1784) m. Asa BLY
Sophronia C. BLY (1818-1905) m. John MACE
Elizabeth A. MACE (1846-1907) m. James W. WINSLOW
Bessie Maud WINSLOW (1886-1970) m. Frank Bailey PALMER
Dorothy Elizabeth PALMER (1918-1984) m. Henry Richard HOWES
S. HOWES (1937-1999) m. my father
Me (b. 1974)


Ancestry line #3

Anthony COLBY (1605-1661) m. Susannah UNKNOWN
Mary COLBY (1647-1716) m. William SARGENT
Jacob SARGENT (1687-1749) m. Judith HARVEY
Winthrop SARGENT (1711-1787) m. Phebe HEALEY
Mary SARGENT (b. 1745) m. Jeremy TOWLE
Judith TOWLE (1783-aft 1864) m. Samuel SEVERANCE 
Mary "Polly" SEVERANCE (1805-1889) m. William WINSLOW
James W. WINSLOW (1838-1906) m. Bessie Maud WINSLOW
Dorothy Elizabeth PALMER (1918-1984) m. Henry Richard HOWES
S. HOWES (1937-1999) m. my father
Me (b. 1974)


Ancestry line #4a

Anthony COLBY (1605-1661) m. Susannah UNKNOWN
Thomas COLBY I (b. 1650) m. Hannah ROWELL
Hannah COLBY (1677-1730) m. John TEWKSBURY
Isaac TEWKSBURY (1698-1765) m. Sarah SARGENT
Elizabeth TEWKSBURY (b. 1721) m. Joseph BARNARD
Dorothy BARNARD (176201827) m. Thomas COLBY II
Dorothy COLBY (1791-1847) m. John PURINTON
Isaiah F. PURINTON (1818-1890) m. Sophia Haskel FITTS
Mary Olivia PURINTON (1851-1898) m. George Bailey PALMER
Frank Bailey PALMER (1888-1958) m. Bessie Maud WINSLOW
Dorothy Elizabeth PALMER (1918-1984) m. Henry Richard HOWES
S. HOWES (1937-1999) m. my father
Me (b. 1974)


Ancestry line #4b

Anthony COLBY (1605-1661) m. Susannah UNKNOWN
Thomas COLBY I (b. 1650) m. Hannah ROWELL
Jacob COLBY (1688-1755) m. Elizabeth ELLIOT
Valentine COLBY (1728-1812) m. Hannah KIMBALL
Thomas COLBY II (1761-1833) m. Dorothy BARNARD
Dorothy COLBY (1791-1847) m. John PURINTON
Isaiah F. PURINTON (1818-1890) m. Sophia Haskel FITTS
Mary Olivia PURINTON (1851-1898) m. George Bailey PALMER
Frank Bailey PALMER (1888-1958) m. Bessie Maud WINSLOW
Dorothy Elizabeth PALMER (1918-1984) m. Henry Richard HOWES
S. HOWES (1937-1999) m. my father
Me (b. 1974)


*CORRECTION: a reader has pointed out that the above sketch is NOT Anthony Colby, but a descendant, Captain Abraham Colby (1785-1865).