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 screens 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).

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Upcoming shows

So the U.S. version of Who Do You Think You Are? is done, but there are still a few episodes left of the U.K. version (which, in my opinion, is better anyway). You can catch the episodes on YouTube.

There are three other shows with new seasons debuting this month and next month:

Series 5 of Downton Abbey premiers in the U.K. on September 21st (I know this isn't genealogy-related, but still, it's a great show). In the States, it won't be aired until January (on PBS). This four-month delay irritates me: why should U.S. viewers have to wait to see it? So I don't wait for January-- I download it from a torrent site.

Henry Louis Gates Jr.'s show Finding Your Roots starts again on PBS on September 23. This is similar to Who Do You Think You Are? except that the celebs being featured don't go all over the country and the world to meet with genealogists-- they simply sit down with HLG Jr., who will present them with their "Book of Life", a compilation of the research done, and present these findings. Finding Your Roots also gets into DNA research as well.

Then, probably late in this month, Geneology Roadshow comes back. I absolutely loved the four episodes aired last year, and can't wait for this year's season to start. Three featured cities this season will be St. Louis, New Orleans, and Philadelphia. I couldn't find an actual date when the episodes will start airing, but last year it began on September 23, and there were four episodes total.

Each episode consists of chosen participants sitting down with a professional genealogist and having specific questions answered by said genealogist. For example, a participant may have heard that she was related to some famous historical figure, and she wants to confirm whether or not it's true. There are about four or five people's stories/questions per episode. I like this format, because it keeps the show from dragging the way Who Do You Think You Are? sometimes can. Also, I like that it features "regular" people as opposed to celebrities.

So late September and October has some good stuff happening!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

BLY of Salem, Massachusetts

My original BLY immigrant ancestor was John BLY. He was a bricklayer, and in Salem on 11 November 1663 he married Rebecca GOLT (sometimes spelled GOTT), daughter of Deacon Charles GOLT/GOTT.

John and his son William both testified against Bridget Bishop during the Salem Witch Trials.

Testimony of John and Willliam Bly, dated June 27, 1692

Sophronia C. Bly Mace Fellows, c. 1890's in Fremont, New Hampshire

Sophronia's death record

Ancestry line:

John BLY (1635-aft 1709) m. Rebecca GOLT/GOTT
William BLY (1676-1727) m. Susannah WOOD
James BLY (1708-1788) m. Joanna HADLEY
Benjamin BLY (b. 1750) m. Hannah ORDWAY
Asa BLY (?-?) m. Elizabeth GIBSON
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)

Saturday, August 23, 2014

TreeSync issues

Okay, I'm getting seriously irritated with Family Tree Maker's TreeSync feature. Several times now, my uploaded tree on has become unlinked from FTM. I've continually re-uploaded my tree on, but either the tree doesn't show up under my tree lists, or eventually, my FTM says that my uploaded tree has been deleted (meaning that they have become unlinked).

What makes this particularly annoying is that there is no way to actually re-attach the trees once they've become unlinked. You have to re-upload the tree on, and then this means that you have to start all over with media uploading, hints, and re-inviting people you have "invited" to view your tree.

The only other option I can think of is to download my tree to FTM.

TreeSync has frankly had continuous problems (for me, anyway) from the beginning. It would be a great feature if it weren't so buggy.

I love, but they're not very good about letting their customers know of system SNAFUs they're having.

Anyone else experiencing issues?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Who Do You Think You Are?: Valerie Bertinelli

Yeah, this is way late. As I've mentioned before, I don't have cable, so I'm waiting until the episodes get uploaded to youTube to stream to my TV. Also been pretty busy, so didn't get around to watching this episode till last night.

I've always liked Valerie Bertinelli; she seems like a classy lady.

For the program, she investigates two of her lines-- the first was her paternal great-grandmother who immigrated from Italy (and who narrowly escaped being shot to death by pretending to have been hit and playing dead). Talk about quick thinking and terrific acting!

The second was of more personal interest to me, because she traces one of her mother's English lines-- the surname was CLAYPOOLE-- to some common ancestors: the Wingfields, a prominent noble family which descend from... wait for it... Plantagenet royalty, in the form of Edward I.

Valerie and I can both trace ourselves back to Sir Robert WINGFIELD and Elizabeth GOUSHILL, who were my 18th great-grands. It is through Elizabeth's line that we go back to "Longshanks."

Here's my ancestry line:

Edward I PLANTAGENET (1239-1307) m. Eleanor BURGUNDY of Castile & Leon
Elizabeth PLANTAGENET (1282-1316) m. Humphrey de BOHUN
William de BOHUN (1312-1360) m. Elizabeth de BADLESMERE
Elizabeth de BOHUN (1348-1385) m. Richard FITZALAN
Elizabeth FITZALAN (b. 1371) m. Robert GOUSHILL
Elizabeth GOUSHILL (b. 1402) m. Robert WINGFIELD
John WINGFIELD I (1430-1481) m. Elizabeth FITZLEWIS
John WINGFIELD II (b. 1457) m. Margaret DORWARD
Thomas WINGFIELD (b. 1484) m. Elizabeth WOODHOUSE
Elizabeth WINGFIELD (1528-1621) m. Geoffrey DOWNING
George DOWNING (1552-1610) m. Dorcas BELLAMY
Emanuel DOWNING (1585-1658) m. Anne WARE
Susan DOWNING (1622-1666) m. Robert ROBERTS
John ROBERTS (1655-1714) m. Hannah BRAY
Susannah ROBERTS (1680-1719) m. David DOWNING
Hannah DOWNING (1703-1771) m. Ebenezer DAY
Hannah DAY (b. 1726) m. Jacob LUFKIN
Hannah LUFKIN (1752-1790) m. Amos HILTON
Jacob Lufkin HILTON (1775-1855) m. Hannah TRASK
Mehitable HILTON (1796-1865) m. John BAKER
George Albert BAKER (1842-1914) m. Hannah Melissa SPECHT
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)

Whew, that took awhile to type out!

I also descend from a John DOWNING who married Mehitable BRAYBROOK, but there is some doubt as to whether this John Downing was the same John who was the son of Emanuel or not... therefore, I'm leaving this out.

But Elizabeth FITZLEWIS, my 17th great-grandmother, also descends from "Longshanks":

Edward I PLANTAGENET (1239-1307) m. Eleanor BURGUNDY of Castile & Leon
Joan PLANTAGENET (1272-1307) m. Ralph MONTHERMER
Thomas MONTHERMER (1301-1340) m. Margaret de BREWES
Margaret MONTHERMER (1329-1395) m. John de MONTAGU
John MONTACUTE (1351-1400) m. Maude FRANCIS
Anne MONTACUTE (d. 1457) m. Lewis JOHN
Elizabeth FITZLEWIS (1436-1500) m. John WINGFIELD

So Edward I was my 23rd great-grandfather through two Wingfield lines. Sir John Wingfield and his wife Elizabeth FitzLewis were both 4th great-grandchildren of the king, making them 5th cousins.

And it makes Valerie Bertinelli and I something like 19th cousins.

Dang, genealogy is fun!

Sir John Wingfield and Elizabeth FitzLewis, my 17th great-grandparents

Edward I and Eleanor of Castile, my 23rd greats; if I were Edward,
I would have had whatever artist rendered this executed.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Pathological musings

So Ebola is back in the news lately, and I've just watched a couple of documentaries on YouTube about the Black Death of the 14th century... hence the topic of this blog post.

I've always been interested in diseases-- what causes them, how they are spread, what people of the past believed about them, and how they affect society.

Basically, western medicine until just a couple of hundred years ago was based on the following beliefs:

1) that good health depended upon the balance of human body fluids, called "humors." Blood, yellow bile, black bile, and phlegm. If you were sick, it meant that your humors were out of balance. This is why people, even up through the 19th century, often tried to "cure" people by bloodletting. If you were feverish, it was because you had excess blood.

2) that, in general, when something bad befell you, it was a judgement from God. Needless to say, when the Black Death arrived on the shores of Sicily in 1348, people were convinced that God was punishing them. This would give rise to weird fringe groups, called Flagellants, who didn't think that the Church was dealing decisively enough with the crisis, and who would walk through the streets whipping themselves. Considering that they were roaming around populated areas, and that they were literally getting blood all over the place while mortifying their flesh, they were probably actually helping the disease to spread.

3) That diseases were caused by foul-smelling air, called miasma. Even in the 19th century, people believed that the disease malaria was caused by breathing noxious night air (malaria literally means "bad air") instead of by the bites of the mosquitos which occupied that air.

This is why plague doctors of the 17th and 18th centuries wore those strange-looking costumes and  creepy-looking masks with beaks. These beaks were stuffed with sweet-smelling herbs and flowers to prevent the wearers from breathing in the stink of the plague patients, and thus, it was thought, to prevent them from getting sick. These outfits inadvertently functioned like modern-day decontamination suits, and so actually did offer protection.

I can only imagine that, if a victim of plague didn't die directly from his illness, opening his eyes to this vision of Big Bird from hell might have given him a heart attack.

Germ theory gradually replaced the miasma theory from the mid to late Victorian era, so people of the 14th century would have had no idea that coughing and sneezing spread disease; most people today automatically know that they should cover their noses and mouths. I imagine that this basic rule of courtesy and health didn't exist back then, since there would have been no reason in their minds to do so.

This brings us to another question: what exactly was the Black Death? It's thought by most to be bubonic plague, transmitted by the fleas which accompanied rats. Many scientists believe that the disease had to have become airborne to have spread as rapidly as it did in Europe. This form would be called pneumonic plague.

But we can't be completely certain what the disease actually was.

The plague would return periodically after this initial epidemic, once about every ten years, but never as virulently as before. Makes me wonder how a pestilence like this started, why it finally ended, and what caused its periodic resurgence?

As nightmarish as the initial three-year rampage of the Black Death was, in which Europe's population was almost cut in half, it did have benefits for those who survived-- and would dramatically change European society. Before the Black Death struck, labor was plentiful and cheap. Peasants, called serfs, had worked for lords, in return for a small share of property and protection. After the epidemic was over, peasants could afford to demand better pay and more rights. The Black Death, in short, ended feudalism-- and those who had escaped the disease found that they were much better off than they had been before.

It also changed the psyche of Europeans... making them more individualistic and questioning of authority; they had seen how little the Church and their rulers could do for them in this crisis.

Strange to think that a single but devastating epidemic of disease could have such a huge impact on a civilization.