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Archive for the ‘Baldwin’ Category

Yes, you read that right, my family members were willing to make a little research trip recently.  They got a few instructions from me and off they went to the beautiful county seat of Belmont, New York, to look for some court records.  How did I get them to do this, you ask?  I really have no idea.  Incessantly asking, perhaps …

Dad searching in the records

Dad, Mom, my sister Bonnie and brother in law Doug spent an afternoon in Belmont looking for records of our ancestors Edward and Catherine (Youngs) Baldwin, who lived in Belmont for less than a decade around 1860. Two children were most likely born there, Harriet and my mother’s grandfather, Miles Edward Baldwin.  Catherine’s earlier marriage may have taken place in Belmont, or perhaps not.  Although my breakthrough about the origins of the Baldwins has helped us know more about Edward Baldwin, we are still mystified about many details of Catherine’s complicated life (which began, somehow, in Surrey, England).

Allegany County Courthouse

Here are the questions:

  • Are there birth records for any of the children?    NO.
  • Are there records for either of Catherine’s marriages?   NO.
  • Is there evidence of a divorce between Catherine and her first husband (who was still living in 1890) or, less likely, between Catherine and Edward?   NO.
  • Are there any records that might throw some light on Catherine’s first husband, William Bennett?   NOT REALLY.

Mom going through an index

This last question is somewhat less clear because they talked to the county historian, Craig Braack, and he told them that there was, historically, a large Bennett family in nearby Granger.  We may be able to contact them.  My relatives made notes of some Bennetts found in census volumes there.  They didn’t go into deeds, which are unlikely to be fruitful in this case.

Current location of the county historian’s office

The county historian can help genealogists hire a local researcher if they are unable to visit Belmont.  That is how email questions will be handled.  He pointed out that for the early years when no official records were recorded, local newspapers might occasionally have birth, death or marriage notices.  An overview of local newspaper holdings can be found at the New York State Library.  For those wishing to access a few volumes of Allegany County Probate records from home, FamilySearch has some Allegany County Probate Record books.

They enjoyed a nice lunch at the Fountain Bistro nearby.

Lunchtime at the Fountain Bistro

All in all, I think it was a worthwhile trip.  It was good to get confirmation that government birth, death and marriage records were not kept in Allegany County at that time.  A divorce between Catherine and husband #1 was worth searching for.   Another place where I will try to find that is Middlesex County, Massachusetts, or Worcester County, Mass.  Next on the research strategy list would probably be immigration or naturalization records for Catherine, either in Massachusetts or New York.  I’ve tried to find that, but haven’t tried hard enough.

It’s certainly good to have some support on the genealogy front.  Whether the relatives hunt for old pictures, consult other relatives, accompany you to the cemeteries, or actually go looking for records, it really helps.

The post you are reading is located at: http://wp.me/p1JmJS-AV

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Using the new Massachusetts Town Vital Collections, 1620-1988 on Ancestry.com has, in one evening, turned up a lot of good information for me.  Admittedly, coverage is not complete, but the thing I like is that these are the original town records, not the transcribed records held more centrally by the state.  I have noticed handwritten notes near some records (like permission for a minor to marry) and some extra data that did not make the transcriptions.

Here are 5 things I discovered in an evening:

  • From the 4059-page Newton records, I found my uncle Blanchard Baldwin’s corrected birth record.  His first name, the slightly edited names of his parents, and a note had been added in a darker pen, saying that the updates were done on April 9, 1914.   That may have been when Blanchard joined the Navy. I’m sure the original birth record was incomplete because his mother died the next day.  It must have been a chaotic time.
  • My great-grandparent’s marriage record (ok, nothing new here, but my family might like to see it):

residence ... occupation

place of birth ... names of parents

  • Evidence that the “Grandma Ross,” who was my grandfather’s grandmother (he always referred to her maiden name as Spaulding) is the same Catherine Ross that was the mother of William Blackstone Bennett, Anna Jean Bennett, and Hattie Baldwin (they all listed her maiden name as “Youngs” in their own marriage records), since in her (third) marriage license, to Hiram Ross, she gives her maiden name as Youngs:
  • Catherine's portion of the marriage record to her third husband, Hiram Ross. Note that her maiden name is listed as Youngs and her parents are listed as "unknown" - I wonder why?

  • A death record for Aunt Hattie, who died in Wayland, Mass in 1933.  This record had eluded me before; I didn’t even have a death date.  Her mother is listed as Catherine Young … were my grandfather, and HIS father, the only people who thought her maiden name was Spaulding?
  • The second half of Hattie’s death record contained something I’ve been searching for since pretty much the first week I started genealogy – the origin of my mother’s family, the Baldwins.  Hattie’s death record shows that her father, Edward Baldwin, was born in Townsend, Massachusetts.  If it’s true, this is the biggest discovery made I’ve made in a long time.

    THIS IS THE BIG FIND - a place of birth for Edward Baldwin

  • As you can imagine, I moved on quickly to the Townsend records.  First I checked the map – Townsend is at the northern border of Massachusetts, north of Worcester.  This is roughly in the section of the state where I thought he might have been born.  Then I went through the Townsend birth records by index and page-by-page.  Then I checked several other places, and I don’t see a birth record.  However, I see Baldwins, I see at least one Miles family, and, more intriguingly, I see LOTS of Spauldings.  And it’s possible that Edward was located at some time in Townsend, or was born close by.  Despite a lack of a definite solution at this point I am thrilled, and have lots more to explore.

Tonight’s breakthrough was made possible by the work of Jay and Delene Holbrook, who compiled the Massachusetts records, over several decades, that now appear on Ancestry.  Thank you!

The link for this blog post:  http://wp.me/p1JmJS-tr

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This past Christmas my mother passed along to me a few little treasures that I hadn’t seen yet.  One was a small booklet made when my grandfather was very small called “Teddy Baldwin’s book”.  When she had described this to me we assumed it was a little book of his sayings penned by perhaps his mother or possibly, later, his grandmother.  She mentioned there were some fabric samples in it.

Teddy Baldwin's Book, October 1, 1898

I was surprised to see that the book was from Newton, Mass., during the period when Teddy’s mother Bessie Blanche (Martin) Baldwin had passed away and his father had recently remarried.  At that time, I guess Bessie’s sisters still had a large role in his life.

The book contains some of Teddy’s sayings and ends with about 5 pages of cloth snippets with handwritten labels identifying them as “mama’s dress”, etc.  I suspect this was produced during the period after Bessie’s death in March, 1897 and Miles, Sr.’s removal from Newton, Mass in late 1899.  He remarried in 1898.

People mentioned in the book:

  • Teddy – my grandfather, Miles Edward Baldwin Jr.
  • Mama – Bessie (Martin) Baldwin, 1870-1897
  • Papa – that is Teddy’s father, Miles Sr.
  • Aunt Hazel – she is Bessie’s sister; she was 14 at the time
  • Mrs Ferguson – I don’t know who this is; I suspect she was the landlady or a neighbor
  • Mama Mabel – the new wife and stepmother.  Was it generous of the sisters to include her in the booklet, or were they all genuinely friendly?
  • Charles Henry, who is obviously a baby – this baby seems to be living with Teddy.  Teddy’s brother, born one day prior to the death of the mother, is Blanchard, known as “Jim” – so this is confusing.  But it’s possible no one ever liked the name Blanchard – given for the deceased mother, according to family stories – but if you were going to give a baby nickname would it really be Charles Henry?  Jim’s birth record on FamilySearch is confusing and was apparently amended, so I need to see the local record myself.  Jim has no descendants.
Who is the unnamed author?

I suspect this was sister May.  Since sister Clara married and was living elsewhere by 1896, I believe Clara is not the author.  May (see below) was maid of honor at her sister’s wedding, so I am guessing she was the attentive aunt who made this booklet for Teddy.  The next year, Teddy went to live with his paternal grandmother, Grandma Ross, in Providence while Miles Sr. and the new wife spent the year in Connecticut where I assume he was improving his watchmaking skills. The baby Blanchard may have been sent to board with a local family – not relatives.  Much of this is a mystery to us.

In my recent visit to the Boston Public Library, I found some articles about Bessie in the local newspapers on microfilm:

Bessie

  • Miss Bessie B., daughter of Mrs. Marston Martin of Milton, and Mr. M.E. Baldwin of Newton were married on Thursday evening of last week at the home of the bride’s mother in Milton.  The ceremony occurred at 8 o’clock in the presence of relatives and near friends, Rev. Mr. Sherman of Mattapan officiating.  The bride’s sister, Miss May Martin, was maid of honor, and Mr. James Carson of Boston Highlands was best man.    Following the ceremony a reception was held, at the close of which the newly wedded couple departed on their wedding tour.  Upon their return, Mr. and Mrs. Baldwin will reside on Erie Avenue, Newton Highlands.   –from The Milton News/Dorchester Advertiser, v. XII no.24, Milton, Mass., Saturday, Sept. 10, 1892, p. 5 (unnumbered), “Local Department – Milton”.
  • “DIED.”  -   BALDWIN – At Newton Hospital, March 15, Bessie, wife of Miles E. Baldwin, 24 yrs., 8 mos.  — from The Newton Graphic, Friday, March 19, 1897, p.2.
  • The funeral of Mrs. Baldwin, wife of Mr. M.E. Baldwin, whose death occurred at the Newton Hospital on Monday, took place at the chapel of Newton Cemetery on Wednesday.  Rev. Mr. Bonner officiated. — from The Newton Graphic, Friday, March 19, 1897, p.6, “Newton Highlands.”

All of this leads me to know a little more:

  • Bessie’s mother was still alive in 1892 and was apparently separated from her husband, and living in Milton.  I have no further record of her but there is more for me to explore in Milton, Mass.
  • Aunt Clara, whom I have pictures of, was not the maid of honor, it was May.
  • The family were not church-goers; the funeral was held in the cemetery chapel across the street, where Miles Sr.’s stepfather was a supervisor.
  • Bessie’s family obviously cared about Teddy and spent a lot of time with him before he moved from Newton.

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Pill Rollers in the Argonne, Part 4

Recently, we discovered two additional letters written by my grandfather, Miles E. Baldwin, during his service in the Ambulance Corp in France, 1917-1919. I am adding these to the previous post series on this subject.

The first letter was written during the period when Miles was recovering from illness, and enduring a long convalescence. He was exposed to mustard gas and also suffered hearing loss from artillery blasts; the mustard gas caused some serious respiratory problems.    He was unhappy being away from his company and the men he had trained with, and was trying to be reassigned to his unit.

April 12/18

Commanding Officer

104th Ambulance Co.

Sir: – I greatly desire to return to your command and since it is only through your insistence that my return is possible, I appeal to you again.

It has been my misfortune to be separated from the company by sickness; now that I am well I desire to be back with my comrades, with the company that I esteem above all others.

Application to the Div. Surgeon and Headquarters of the 41st Div, also applications sent to the 161st Field Hospital have returned some men to their original companies.

I am now in good health and feel great confidence in my ability to carry out everything in line of duty.  Please give me a chance to play the game like a man, and not remain here like an unfit, entirely out of it all.

I have done everything possible to effect my return, but it’s only through your effort that it can be brought about.

Will you please notify me if you desire my return to your command so that I may act in conjunction with your wishes.

Respectfully

Pvt. 1/cl Miles E. Baldwin, Jr.

161st Field Hospital

A.E.F.

The letter has a typed heading along one side: HQ1 26th DIV. AEF. 705. (Dis. from Hosp.)  May 9, 1918.

Miles "Ted" Baldwin

The last letter was written about a year later, to Aunt Jennie, and contains some more details of his stay. He never was returned to his unit, and endured a variety of random assignments in the year before his departure back to the states.

March 1, 1919

Dear Aunt Jennie, I am in Brest, on the sailing list and expect soon to be on the way back to the States.

I feel pretty fair considering the manner in which I spent my time convalescing.  During that time I did everything from administering an anesthetic to digging drainage ditches.

Do not send any more mail to France for I will probably be on my way home before it arrives here, besides I haven’t received any mail since January 12, anyway.

The rain here is continuous and after you take a breath of the air here, you need a bellows to blow the fog off your chest.

I suppose most of the boys in my old unit are home or in the States by the time you receive this letter.  I expect that it will be rather rough crossing at this time of the year.  I send love and best wishes to you all and I hope the days will be few before I am back in little Rhody again where the sun shines once in a while and New England boiled dinners are obtainable.

Love to yourself,  Ted.

Pvt. 1/cl Miles E Baldwin Jr

Casual Company #979

Censored by: [blank]

Combined with the earlier letters and pictures these letters give me a better idea of his two-year experience.

I close this series with the last memento I have:

                  

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Or, how I made a book in three hours.

I like to make a printed “draft” booklet about a branch of the family once in a while, just in case something prevents me from following my plan to spend the next 40 years pursuing the COMPLETE answers to my genealogical problems. I feel like small books will be saved and available to the next generations even if my electronic trees, gedcoms, notes and files are not.

Software

My usual style is to compile some charts, an Ahnentafel, a table of contents, some stories and an index using my Legacy software. Then I take the printouts to Staples and have them spiral bound. I like the look of the Legacy-produced documents and they have quite a few great options like place name indices and including additional spouses. However my new BFF is Family Tree Maker 2012, because it automatically synchs with the Ancestry trees, and synchs fairly well. For instance, it copies the census records into stored files on my computer. Gotta love that. And it synchs pictures as well as data. So I have decided to just get through the learning curve on FTM12 and live with the reports not being everything my heart desires.

A visit to Lulu

So the other day I wandered into Lulu.com, the self-publishing site, and saw that they were having a 25% off sale which was ending soon. I’ve never used the site before. Honestly, if I’d realized at the get-go that the book was only going to be $7.00 I’m not sure I would have moved so quickly to grab the deal, but I did. I thought, wouldn’t it be fun to print out some information about my grandfather Miles E. Baldwin‘s ancestors (research done in the past year) and just give this to mom when I see her at Christmas. Although I only have discovered a small portion of Grampa’s ancestry, he may be both a Canadian Hector descendant and a Mayflower descendant. I thought mom would like to look this over.

Making the pdf

So I turned to FTM12 to produce a pdf book. I went to the Publish screen and produced and saved several charts and an Ahnentafel. Of course, I had to fool around with the options quite a bit to get things the way I wanted them.

Chart, page one - notice how Catherine Spaulding's parents may be named Younge. It's quite a mystery, but it's all I've found so far. You can see I'm nowhere on the Baldwins.

I like to start the book with a multi-page chart to give people a map, of sorts, to the Ahnentafel. Then after the Ahnentafel I added a source section. To finish up, I wanted an index and a table of contents. Couldn’t figure out how to do that, but then I remembered Randy Seaver had the same problem in his recent series of posts on FTM12. I don’t know why FTM hides those valuable options behind a “Share” button in the corner, but they do. Thank you for the help, Randy.

Because I had fussed over my trees’ place names, stories in the “Notes” field, error correction and other consistencies last winter, my Ahnentafel came out pretty well finished. This saves time because, of course, all edits would have to be made back in the data screens. It was only 360 people; I have a long way to go on Grampa’s family. I put aside my idea of transferring my longer blog stories into an appendix. I do plan to do that in the future, but they would need to be in color. The book was 86 pages.

Creating the book

So now I was about two hours into this and ready to upload the pdf to Lulu. I started an account, uploaded, and made some choices about the format. I chose the standard paper and the black and white printing. Even with black and white printing, the covers will be in color. I decided mom would get a kick out of perfect binding instead of spiral. Designing a cover took a while; my scanned pictures didn’t cooperate very well when they were blown up to fill the whole cover, and I couldn’t seem to find a cover design that would only incorporate smaller pictures. This is where an bunch of extra time could/should/would have been spent, but I didn’t. Just chose something, added one tiny picture on the back, a title, a little text on the back, and moved on.

My book - front cover

Ordering the book

I made sure that I marked the book as “private” so that copies wouldn’t be offered for sale on Lulu (although, wow, what a great opportunity if you DID want to self-publish). I ordered one copy. After I had registered I received an email coupon for a free copy of my newly created book, but I didn’t see that until it was too late. Anyway, with the discount and shipping, the purchase came to $9.71. The whole thing took three hours, total. I didn’t pay for rush shipping, so no guarantee I’ll have it for Christmas, but if not I can always send it later.

Mom is reading this

and now knows about one of her presents. Merry Christmas, Mom.

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I’ve had three small projects I wanted to do:

  • get my grandparents’ graves onto Find A Grave

    those not from New England may have difficulty understanding this picture ...

  • add some veterans to Find A Grave in honor of Veterans Day (thanks to Heather Rojo and Nutfield Genealogy for motivating others to transcribe local veterans monuments — all our local monuments are nicely transcribed already so I decided to try this instead)
  • Try out Billion Graves, which intends to collect pictures of grave markers (using smartphones) which are uploaded and then transcribed.  The unique feature here is that each marker is located through your phone’s GPS, allowing searchers, later, to know the EXACT location of the grave as well as seeing a picture and index entry.

Opening the Million Graves application on my iphone gave me a list of the closest cemeteries.  I was going to Pawtuxet Memorial Park in Warwick, R.I.  It also contains Rhode Island Historical Cemetery Warwick-5, the Arnold-Pawtuxet Burial Ground.

1.  Baldwin graves

After the obligatory first stop (see photo), I made my way to the cemetery.  I called mom when I got there so we could talk about where the grave was located – I thought I could find it but it took a while.  Mom wanted to talk so I spent some time wandering around the cemetery chatting.  The grave was about where I remembered so I did eventually find it.

Grandma and Grampa’s brass marker is aging nicely; they are buried near a tree on a pictureque corner.

They are now all set on FindAGrave.com.  Because of all the wandering around, I had scoped out the cemetery pretty well and was able to find the new section where I knew my aunt’s husband was buried.  It was sad to see Uncle Fred’s grave (which had an engraving of artists’ tools – I loved it), but it reminded me to call my aunt.  We made a lunch date for next week.

2.  Veteran graves onto FindAGrave.com

  • William W. Berghorn, Rhode Island, ML1 U.S. Navy, World War 1, April 22, 1886 – Sept. 9, 1952
  • Edward T Pearson, 1884-1950 and his wife Magdalena Olsson, 1886-1938
  • Thomas H. May, S.Sgt. U.S. Air Force, Vietnam, May 26 1946 – Sep 25, 1975
  • James Robert May, Rhode Island, Cpl. 1102 Svc. Comd. Unit, World War II, May 15, 1919 – April 27, 1959
  • Captain Miller F. Wickham of Newport, who died in a foreign country June 19, 1804, aged 27 years, generally Esteemed and particularly Lamented by him who from an early age ever experienced his Sincerity and Friendship [memorial erected by James Brattell] (only added pic)
  • Col. Job Randall, who departed this life December the 15, 1806, in the 65th year of his age (only added pic)

3.  Billion Graves

So originally this post was supposed to be a tribute to the ease of using Billion Graves.  Sadly, not so.

Basically Billion Graves works like this.  You take your iphone or android phone to the cemetery.  You open the Billion Graves app and take a photo of the grave which shows the text as clearly as possible.  You allow the picture to upload to the Billion Graves site.  Once uploaded, the text should be transcribed to create the index (I later transcribed some photos taken by others – it was kind of fun).

I opened the software and took about 40 pictures with my iphone.  The pictures were sitting there in the Billion Graves app but I could not get them to upload.  I have been struggling with this for the rest of the day.  I checked that the gps was working in the app, that the internet was working on the phone.  I checked the Billion Graves FAQ and the Billion Graves User Guide (which is buried in the FAQ).  I sent a help request to Billion Graves.  I set the app to “auto upload” and went back to the cemetery.  I deleted the 40 pics and took a new one.  It failed to upload.  [update: Early this morning I went back again, with one or two settings in the iphone changed.  no difference.]

The documentation that I can find online does not look exactly like the app in every respect – two points in particular are that a bar does not appear when I am taking the picture telling me how well the gps is working (I see the name of the cemetery and a green circled number like 1, 2, 3); also I have never found a screen where I am seeing the menu choices at the bottom for navigation.  I just reinstalled the app but nothing seems different.  I DO have “Location” turned on for this app on my phone, and the gps in the app always gets my location right with the blue dot.

I don’t mean to be critical of products, especially new ones, however, I suspect this story will have a happy ending if I can get some help.  I will definitely update the blog on the outcome of this.  In the meantime, I need help!!

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City Directory Love

I’m not really a city directory fan.  I didn’t think my mysteries could be solved using them – wrong time period, wrong places.

But that changed one night when I happened upon a set of city directories that had been placed on the Newton, Mass. city website.  And by the way, these wonderful people were also kind enough to place lots of Birth, Marriage and Death city records by year on the site.  These are all large pdf’s of the original city record books – a more original source than the state records.

I wondered why my grandfather was born (1893) in Newton, Mass.  When I last saw the family in the 1880 census they were living on a farm in Sterling, Mass.

Here is what I learned from the city directories:

Why my family lived in Newton

In the first directory, 1868, Henry Ross is listed as the Superintendent of the Newton Cemetery.  Henry Ross is the brother of  Hiram Ross of Sterling, who married my gg-grandmother Catherine Spaulding (Bennett) (Baldwin) in 1869.  By the late 1870′s we find Hiram and Catherine Ross listed in the city directory.  Hiram is working for his brother.  I know they are also, sometimes, at the farm in Sterling because they won several awards at the Agricultural Fair there in the 1880′s so I guess they split their year between the two spots.

That my g-grandfather started a business

Miles E. Baldwin, Sr., had a jewelry shop in Newton Center

By 1889 Miles E Baldwin had a “jewelry shop” on the corner of Centre and Pleasants Streets.  He was really a watchmaker so I suspect it might have been a watch shop.  He continued this business until the late 1890′s when he moved away.

The first record of the oldest son living with the family

In 1889 William Blackstone Bennett, artist, was living with the Ross family (“b. H. Ross”).  I have other means of knowing he is Catherine’s oldest child but this is the earliest time I actually found him living with Catherine.  He married soon after.

Bessie Martin Baldwin’s grave

I have never found a record of her burial place in any of the usual cemetery sources.  Her death certificate says she was buried in Newton.  Now I realize there likely was only one cemetery in Newton at that time, since it’s the only one listed in the directory; Miles’ uncle was the superintendant, so now I would expect that she is buried at Newton Cemetery.  I’ve written to them; we’ll see what the reply is.

Question:  Are there any other collections of pdf city directories available on the web?  If you know of any, please share in the comments.  thanks!!

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