Monday, July 28, 2014

Faces of the past: Late medieval Scots

Via Dick Eastman, a very cool article.

Science, in the form of digital reconstruction, has actually brought back the faces of people who resided in Leith, Scotland, between seven hundred and three hundred years ago.

I'm fascinated by historical facial reconstructions. To see people of the past literally staring back at you through the ages. Who ever would have thought, even thirty or forty years ago, that this could be done?

The article has photos of three of the people: a 13 or 14-year-old boy from the late 14th century, a woman between 25-35, and a young man the same age from between the mid-16th to mid-17th century.

These are amazing... granted, liberties have been taken with complexions and hairstyles. The mens' hair, in my opinion, looks way too modern, but the woman's looks period. I would have given the men longer hair, or maybe a King Richard III/Lord Farquaad bob for the boy.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

PERKINS of Ipswich, Massachusetts

Fellow genealogy blogger Heather Wilkinson Rojo posted about her Perkins ancestors; it so happens that this is just one of several lines on which we connect.

This prompted me to write about my own Perkins lineage.

My (and Heather's) original PERKINS immigrant ancestor was John PERKINS (1583-1654), son of Henry PERKINS and Elizabeth SAWBRIDGE and grandson of Thomas PERKINS and Alice KEBBLE. John's cousin Isaac PERKINS II, also a grandson of Thomas and Alice by their son Isaac I, settled in Hampton, New Hampshire, and I'll do a separate post on that line.

John and his wife Judith GATER married in Hillmorton, Warwickshire, England, on 9 Oct 1608.



I descend from John and Judith through 3 of their children: John II, Elizabeth, and Mary. Mary would marry Thomas BRADBURY, and be convicted of witchcraft during the Salem Witch Trials. Somehow, she escaped the gallows, and died of natural causes in 1700.


Ancestry line #1:

Thomas PERKINS (1527-1592) m. Alice KEBBLE
Henry PERKINS (1555-1608) m. Elizabeth SAWBRIDGE
John PERKINS I (1583-1654) m. Judith GATER
John PERKINS II (1609-1686) m. Elizabeth EVELETH
Mary PERKINS II (1652-1727) m. Thomas WELLS 
Abigail WELLS (b. 1682) m. Samuel BARTLETT
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 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:
    
                                         John PERKINS I (1583-1654) m. Judith GATER
                                   Elizabeth PERKINS (1610-1670) m. William SARGENT
                                    Thomas SARGENT (1653-1706) m. Rachel BARNES
                                      Jacob SARGENT (1678-1754) m. Gertrude DAVIS
                                      Sarah SARGENT (b. 1701) m. Isaac TEWKSBURY
                                  Elizabeth TEWKSBURY (b. 1721) m. Joseph BARNARD
                                   Dorothy BARNARD (1762-1827) m. Thomas COLBY 
                                     Dorothy COLBY (1791-1847) m. John PURINTON
                                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)


Ancestry line #2b

Elizabeth PERKINS (1610-1670) m. William SARGENT
William SARGENT II (1645-1712) m. Mary COLBY
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. 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)


Ancestry line # 2c


Elizabeth PERKINS (1610-1670) m. William SARGENT
Sarah SARGENT (1652-1701) m. Orlando BAGLEY
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 # 3

John PERKINS I (1583-1654) m. Judith GATER
Mary PERKINS (1615-1700) m. Thomas BRADBURY
Mary BRADBURY (b. 1642) m. John STANYAN
Jacob STANYAN (1683-1761) m. Dorothy FOOTE
Mary STANYAN (1712-1789) m. Benjamin WEBSTER
Jacob WEBSTER (1745-1836) m. Elizabeth GEORGE
Mary "Polly" WEBSTER (1772-1861) m. John WINSLOW
William WINSLOW (1800-1860) m. Mary "Polly" SEVERANCE
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)


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Who Do You Think You Are?: Cynthia Nixon

So season 5 of the U.S.  version of Who Do You Think You Are? premiered last night (I don't have cable, but I do have Apple TV, and downloaded the episode from iTunes) with actress Cynthia Nixon.



Cynthia's quest focused on her 3x-great grandmother, Martha Curnutt Casto, and her tragic story. 

Okay, spoiler alert-- stop reading now if you haven't seen the episode yet....

....

I said STOP!...

Okay, fine, keep reading. Just don't blame me for ruining it for you.


If this episode had a subtitle, it would have been "So I'm Descended From An Axe Murderer."

Cynthia finds out that, in 1843, her 3x-great-grandmother Martha had killed her husband Noah Casto with an axe (move over, Lizzie Borden) after he had told her he would kill her later that night. She had claimed that she was acting in self-defense, sure that he would make good on his promise unless she got him first.

Back then, murderers were usually executed by hanging, but Martha's charge got reduced to manslaughter. She still had to spend 5 years in prison-- the only female prisoner in the jail-- and at some point she got pregnant and had her baby in jail. Though it was winter, she and the baby were not allowed any heat, and the baby was actually naked for the first several days after birth. Can you say, "hideous cruelty"?

Cynthia came away with a feeling of awe and admiration for her ancestor, musing that if her great-great-great grandma had not embedded an axe blade into her husband's face, she might not be here. 

A couple of things that I came away with after viewing this episode:

Firstly, Civil War veteran pension records often contain a lot of information about the person in question-- both biographical and military service-related. You can order copies of said records from the National Archives-- I believe the cost is $30 per request. Cynthia found out about pension records when looking into one of Martha's relatives who had served and died in the Civil War.

Secondly, the episode made aware the fact that prisons in the 19th century were truly horrific places-- and the concepts of prison and punishment were very different from today. There were no women's prisons, because so few violent criminals back then were female (though they did exist, some every bit as diabolically evil as the worst male). Therefore Cynthia's ancestor had to be housed in the same jail as men; she was the only woman in the place during her sentence, and only the second female ever to have been incarcerated there.

There is much that I disparage about the modern world, but it can't be denied that there are a lot of things that are better today than they were in the past: the existence of laws protecting people from abuse is one of them.

Altogether, an interesting, if disturbing, episode.


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.

Enjoy!




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.").

Anyway...

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)