Saturday, July 12, 2014

BARTLETT of Newbury, Massachusetts

My original BARTLETT immigrant ancestor was Richard BARTLETT, who married Joan UNKNOWN of Wiltshire (she is sometimes styled "Joan DEWILTSHIRE").

Richard was born in Wiltshire, Sussex, England; the original spelling of his surname was BARTELLOT. The ancestral seat of the Bartellots is Stopham, England.

BARTLETT coat of arms at St. Mary the Virgin parish church in Stopham, England. Photo courtesy of 8th cousin Cheryle.

Richard and his family may have come over on the Mary and John in 1633, and settled in Newbury, Massachusetts. Richard was a shoemaker, and he died on 25 May 1647.

Grave of Richard BARTLETT I (1580-1647), First Settlers Burying Ground, Newbury, MA 

Ancestral line:

Richard BARTLETT I (1580-1647 m. Joan UNKNOWN)
Richard BARTLETT II (1621-1698) m. Abigail UNKNOWN
Samuel BARTLETT I (1645/6-1732) m. Elizabeth TITCOMB
Samuel BARTLETT II (1676-1753) m. Abigail WELLS
David BARTLETT (b. 1713) m. Priscilla HOLGATE
Priscilla BARTLETT (1756-1832) m. John DAVIS
Priscilla DAVIS (1798-1828) m. William FITTS 
Sophia Haskell FITTS (1823-1880) m. Isaiah 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)

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Sunday Music: American Patrol

So yesterday I was updating some songs in my iTunes library with the actual years that they were released, and was working on some Glenn Miller songs.

I love jazz, especially swing, but I had no idea until yesterday that "American Patrol" was actually a march written by Frank White in 1885, and that Miller had re-worked it.

Here's the original march, which, in my opinion, is just as catchy as the 1942 swing version. Thought it was also appropriate to post for this Independence Day weekend.


And if you're unfamiliar with the Glen Miller version and want to compare it to the above-- or simply want to listen to some great swing-- then here you go:

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Cherie Blair's family too boring for Who Do You Think You Are?

When I saw that headline via Dick Eastman's newsletter, I thought that maybe I was actually on the website for the mock news site The Onion. But no, it's apparently for real: Cherie, wife of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, was approached to be on the genealogy program (or should I write "programme", since it's the UK version?), only to be rejected because her family history wasn't deemed interesting enough.

Seriously? Sorry, but if the WDYTYA episode featuring Cindy Crawford wasn't the dullest aired to date, I don't know what was. They evidently had to go back twelve generations to find anything interesting in her lineage (a 10th great-grandfather of hers was a soldier who had fought in the English Civil War). And then they had to trot out Charlemagne as a 30-something great-grandfather; you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone of western European ancestry who is not a descendant of Charlemagne.

I think everyone has interesting ancestors; and one doesn't have to have a title or have a Wikipedia page to be interesting. There are stories and mysteries surrounding "ordinary" people that I think are worth exploring.

In fact, audiences might actually respond better to a genealogy research show focused on average everyday people rather than celebrities ("Oh sure, Gwyneth, you have the time and the money to jet off to Barbados and have private consultations with genealogists who have done the legwork for you. Hmmmph.").


The BBC might not find Cherie Blair's family air-worthy, but many viewers may disagree. I would think that her maiden name--BOOTH-- could be a very interesting lead.

Friday, July 4, 2014

A letter from Medford

For Independence Day weekend, I wanted to highlight the story of an ancestor who fought for America's freedom.

My 5th great-grandfather Samuel SEVERANCE, born about 1741, was a native of Kingston, New Hampshire, and enlisted in the Revolutionary army in the summer of 1775. He was in the Battle of Bunker Hill, and he brought back home a small stone as a memento of that event.

The Battle of Bunker Hill, 1775

His wife Hannah sent him green beans, pork to cook them with, and some corn meal. His packages also contained berries lovingly picked for him by his six-year-old daughter, also named Hannah. The other soldiers were moved to tears, wishing that they had wives and children to send them such nice little gifts.

There is preserved a very touching if badly-spelled letter Samuel wrote to his family:

Madford [Medford, Massachusetts] July th 17. 1775,

These Lines comes to you, my loveing wife and dear children, hoping in the marcy of god that you are all well, and I hope in gods time I shall be restored home again; but if not, I beg of god that we may so live in this world that we may spend wone day in each others preasents in a world of glory, for I put noe trust in the arm of flesh, but my trust in in god alone for life and mearcy, and I hope in the mearcy of god that he will cary you throu all your troble and difictiles that you have to pas throu in this life. my love to father and mother, to brother John and wife. I hope that you are all well, and the rest of my friends, to my wife; what money I send home to you, you may take care of it. if you have aney pros[pect] of corn, I would have that old cow have a peas on her horns, so I have noe more at the preasent, so I remain your Loving housband til death peart.
Saml. Severance

Personally, I think the awful spelling makes this letter all the sweeter.

His son, my 4th great-grandfather Samuel Jr., would be born one month after he wrote this, so I can imagine how rough it was on both him and his wife; I'm imagining poor Hannah, heavily pregnant in the middle of summer, and her husband is off fighting a war and might not come home. Talk about mood swings and crying jags!

But as it turned out, she wouldn't have long to wait; he came down with "camp sickness" (i.e., dysentery) and was discharged. He was so pale and haggard when he returned to his family that little Hannah didn't recognize her father and hid herself behind a door in fear of this "stranger."

The above information and letter was furnished to the New England Historic Genealogical Society by E. George Adams, a descendant of Samuel's above-mentioned daughter Hannah Severance Adams, which appeared in Volume 12, page 22 of their Register. I'm very grateful to him for that.

Ancestry line:

Samuel SEVERANCE (b. 1741) m. Hannah WINSLOW
Samuel SEVERANCE II (1775-1836) m. Judith TOWLE
Mary "Polly" SEVERANCE (1805-1889) m. William WINSLOW
James W. WINSLOW (1838-1906) m. Elizabeth A. MACE
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)

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Why I moved from Blogger to Squarespace and back again

Some of my readers might remember that I moved my blogging platform from Blogger to Squarespace back in April. Well, I've moved it back.

For years, I blogged using Squarespace, and absolutely loved their platform. It does cost to have a Squarespace blog, but found it to be worth it. Their customer service was-- and still is-- second to none. If you email tech support with a question, they get back to you very quickly, and are very helpful.

The last time I had used Squarespace was a couple of years ago, and I had decided a few months ago that I missed some of the advantages they offered-- for example, very easy blog customization, and the ability to see who's visiting your site, where they came from, and exactly what they are looking at/doing.

Well, since then, Squarespace has come out with Version 6, which is quite a radical change from Version 5.

Annnnd, as it turns out, I absolutely hate Version 6. It seems to be much more geared towards online business than personal blogs.

First, I found it very user-unfriendly and confusing. I basically had to relearn everything as far as posting and designing, and while there are some things that are simpler/better, I found it generally much more difficult to use even after I got used to it.

Second, the templates that they've created for V6, while pretty, are far less customizable. With V5, you could tweak every aspect of your blog-- number and location of navigation bars, blog post details, fonts for blog post details and captions. With V6, many aspect of the templates are no longer able to be changed-- at least not without being knowledgable in CSS. The whole point of Squarespace used to be that you could easily customize your blog without having to know coding/web design. Even if you do try to use code, Squarespace has a "use code at your own risk" policy-- if you botch your CSS coding, tech support will not guarantee that they'll be able to help you, and you may be on your own.

Apparently what coding you use depends on what template you're using-- and if you want to change templates, you pretty much have to start all over with customizing it.

Third, they've actually taken away a lot of what you used to be able to see as far as visitor details-- you can't see most search terms people have used to find your blog, for example.

Bottom line: if a blog is going to cost, then I want to be able to customize it the way I want it. I'm not spending money to use a blogging platform that has, sadly, gotten rid of many features that made it worth paying for.

So after a frustrating afternoon and evening yesterday, I have, today, finally gotten my DNS set up properly and pointed to the url (I am not the most technologically-savvy person in the world).

My Blogger blog might not be quite a professional-looking as the one on Squarespace, but I can deal, and I'm sure readers can too.

This was me last night

Saturday, June 21, 2014

How our ancestors slept

...or, rather, how they didn't sleep.

Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night, and find that it takes a couple of hours to drift off again?
If so, it doesn't mean you have insomnia. In fact, your 3rd great-grandparents probably did this every night-- and it appears to be a perfectly natural pattern to humans.

Before the advent electric lighting in the late 19th and early 20th century, nighttime was a far darker and more dangerous world. Really, there wasn't much you could do when night came, because you couldn't see well. 

People generally went to sleep when the light faded, which is much earlier than most go to bed today, and got up when it rose. So your ancestors probably went to bed around 8 o'clock, and then woke around 12 or 1 am. For a couple of hours, they would chat, read, pray, make love, and perhaps even visit neighbors (an aside here: I can hardly imagine getting a 1 a.m. knock at the door and hearing, "Yoo-hoo, Karen, you up for a spirited game of Scrabble?")

Then they would go back to sleep for a few more hours until morning.

Light, as it happens, plays a huge role in how and how much we sleep: darkness tells our brains that it's time to sleep, and light tell them that it's time to wake up. So when electric lighting allowed us, for the first time, to have bright illumination at night (when our brains would otherwise be telling us to go to bed), it allowed us to stay up later and do more. In short, it messed with the segmented sleep pattern that most people in the western world were used to. It gradually stopped, and was completely gone by the 1920s.

So if you find yourself waking during the night, instead of tossing around trying to get back to sleep, just do what your ancestors did and find something quiet and relaxing to do for an hour or so. I usually just read or listen to music on my iPod until I find myself getting sleepy again.

Read more on this here.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Daniel MACE captured at Petersburg

Today, June 17, marks the 140th anniversary of the day that my 3rd great-uncle Daniel Webster MACE (1845-1924) was wounded and captured during the Siege of Petersburg. He would spend the next five months as a prisoner of war at Camp Sumter-- a.k.a.Andersonville-- until 25 Nov 1864, when he was exchanged.

According to the Veteran's census schedule in 1890, Daniel had been wounded in the left leg. 

Interestingly, on Sunday, a descendant of "Uncle Dan" shared something with me via email: a photo that is very likely to be of him. The photo had been (mis)labeled as Daniel's son William (born 1867), but the photo seems to be too old to be his son; my cousin observed that the photo had glue residue on the edges, meaning that it had been encased as a tintype. Tintypes were made in the 1860s, and had stopped being made by the mid-1870s. The jacket worn by the subject is also is period to the late 1860s; this cannot be William, who would have been a young man in the late 1880s and early 1890s. 

Photo likely to be of Daniel Webster MACE, 1845-1924, c. late 1860's

This man is probably Daniel W. Mace, though we cannot be certain; his face is youthful and handsome, but tough; the expression suggests that he has seen difficult times. Surely the experience of war and the horror of Andersonville would have affected him greatly; his wife Mirinda WILKINSON, whom he married on 16 March 1865, would divorce him in 1880 due to-- according to the divorce record-- "habitual drunkenness." When you consider what he had been through, and that there was no VA and no counseling for war veterans, I can hardly blame the guy for drinking. Also worthy of notice is the straw hat the man is wearing; Daniel's wife Marinda had made straw hats for a living.

How interesting that this photo should surface just a couple of days before the anniversary of Daniel's capture at Petersburg. Thanks to my cousin for sharing this.