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Rhode Island Roots is the journal of the Rhode Island Genealogical Society.  It is published four times per year and in the last decade, an extra volume of record transcriptions has also been made available annually to RIGS members.  Edited by Cherry Fletcher Bamburg, FASG, with Michael F. Dwyer currently serving as Assistant Editor, Linda Mathew editing the special records volumes, and Geri Clarke producing an annual index of names, Rhode Island Roots is a high quality journal that targets a compact location.  We who are researching are extremely lucky to have it.

I tried something recently that worked out quite well.  Knowing I would be on an airplane all day, I took with me, instead of my usual paperbacks, only several genealogy journals.  These included Rhode Island Roots and a few other journals.  With nothing else to do, I read every word, from cover to cover. I thought I had been reading them previously, but from editor’s introductions to lists, articles, footnotes and book reviews, it was Rhode Island Roots that surprised me the most.  I had been missing a lot.

Rhode Island Roots, March, 2014

Rhode Island Roots, March, 2014

Why I think Rhode Island Roots is important

In my opinion there are three reasons to carefully read each issue of Rhode Island Roots from cover to cover:

  • There may be some direct evidence related to your ancestors, for instance they could be mentioned by name in a transcribed list, as a relative of a family being studied, or involved in an event or story under discussion.  I think everyone understands this.  Rhode Island Roots provides an index at the end of each year.  I suspect this is the most common use of journals, and that’s unfortunate.
  • Reading well-edited genealogical journals is the best way to learn.  How did the researcher find evidence?  What were the sources?  How did the argument progress, and was it convincing?  Did the writer rely on vital records (hardly likely in early Rhode Island!) or did he or she assemble other direct and indirect evidence into a solid case? To what extent would you agree that a reasonably exhaustive search was done, and how was possible counter-evidence treated?  It would take me several readings of an article to really know any of these answers.  And then, I often find myself wondering how I could assemble clues to solve my own research problems.  What I am writing here is not new, it is standard advice that any aspiring genealogist will hear often.
  • Every step taken by the writer is a lesson in local research.  For Rhode Island Roots in particular, there is not an article or item that is worth skipping, because the state is too small for that.  Where did the writer turn for evidence?  What repositories?  What books, databases, records, manuscripts, and journals?  How did they seem to evaluate the content they were finding?  What migration patterns are seen?  What laws or local events impacted lives?  What evidence was found for various types of activities – seafaring, farming, trades, adoption, immigration, holidays, divorce, crime, education, burial?  What type of evidence was available for each town, and where was it found?

5 things I learned from reading Rhode Island Roots

  • East Greenwich soldier Phillip Andrew (potentially my 5th great-grandfather if I ever get this solved) appears in a list of French and Indian War soldiers at Fort Stanwix in Rome, New York, recorded in a journal by Beriah Hopkins in 1762.  Most likely, this manuscript was not available to Howard M. Chapin when he compiled Rhode Island in the Colonial Wars (1918; reprinted Clearfield, 2010), so it’s interesting to have another source of information about the local soldiers in Philip’s unit, and some of their experiences.    ( — Ensign Beriah Hopkins His Book by Rachel Peirce, Rhode Island Roots, 40:1, March, 2014, p. 24-35).
  • In a story about Warwick families, while examining footnotes, I learned that, in addition to the cemetery office records I’ve already used, one can find deeds for North Burial Ground plots recorded at the Providence City Archives.   ( — A Line of Descent from Ambrose Taylor, Chairmaker of Warwick, Rhode Island by Cherry Fletcher Bamburg, FASG, Rhode Island Roots, 40:1, September, 2013, p. 113-133.)
  • We always think of finding records and reports on our ancestors, but all of our hard work is for nothing if we don’t know how to analyze what we find. I wish every aspiring genealogist who has ever uncovered a compiled genealogy book or article mentioning their ancestor could read Notes on Thomas Ward of Newport by Cherry Fletcher Bamburg, FASG.  Put the webinars away for a bit and focus on this amazing analysis of research on the well-known Ward family of Newport by leading genealogists over the last 200 years. It is helping me be a more critical reader.  ( — Notes on Thomas Ward of Newport by Cherry Fletcher Bamburg, FASG, Rhode Island Roots, 38:3, September, 2012, p. 148-164.)
  • An excellent overview of all Warwick, Rhode Island records by Cherry Fletcher Bamburg is very useful.  She talks about the existence of various types of early records, what has been complied and published, and where they can be found.   ( — Warwick, Rhode Island Records in 1776 by Cherry Fletcher Bamburg, FASG, Rhode Island Roots, 39:4, December, 2013, p. 203-205).
  • If you haven’t read “Aunt Hat” and the Bigamy King by Rachel Peirce, run, don’t walk, to find it.  It’s a thoughtful retelling of a difficult story, and while I’m not sure most of us will find a story quite this sensational in our own families, every genealogist struggles with how to tell difficult truths.    ( — “Aunt Hat” and the Bigamy King by Rachel Peirce, Rhode Island Roots, 39:3, September, 2013, p. 135-150).

How to subscribe

Membership for the Rhode Island Genealogical Society runs on a calendar year system, January – December.

New Englnad Historic Genealogical Society library oin Boston.  Photo by Diane Boumenot.

New England Historic Genealogical Society library in Boston. Photo by Diane Boumenot.

How to access older issues

Older issues of the journal are accessible from the New England Historic Genealogical Society website.  This page on the RIGS website leads to that.

The post you are reading is located at:  http://onerhodeislandfamily.com/2014/08/20/reading-rhode-island-roots/

cats-cups

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This week I attended GRIP, the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh.  I registered in late winter and managed to get into the “Law School for Genealogists” class led by Judy G. Russell, J.D., CG, CGL and Richard “Rick” G. Sayre, CG, CGL.   The institute was held at LaRoche College, and I stayed, along with many other attendees, in the dorms, and ate meals in the cafeteria.  Others took classes on genetic genealogy and a variety of other topics.

My dorm room was a large triple - there was also a microwave, mini frig, and bathroom to myself.

My dorm room was a large triple – I had the room (as well as microwave, mini frig, and bathroom) to myself.  Since I was driving, I was able to bring a couple things. I was glad I brought the quilt, lamp and extra pillows from home.

Day 1

I arrived on Sunday and moved into the dorm.  I knew several people who planned to attend, but that’s not a necessity – genealogists are friendly.  Some people shared dorm rooms and even those staying at local motels were welcome to pay by the meal to eat conveniently in the cafeteria.  The schedule on Sunday was to check in, get settled, and have dinner in the cafeteria.  This was followed by a welcome session and some door prizes.

I was in for a surprise at GRIP, though, because after the class lists came out, I heard from a young woman named Sara that she was my husband’s third cousin and would be there, and in the same class, and she was looking forward to meeting me.  I had to look back at my email to remember that my husband and I had corresponded with Sara several years ago, and she was obviously an accomplished genealogist who had done some excellent work on my husband’s difficult family tree.  I was very happy to be able to meet her.

Our classroom during a break.

Our classroom early in the morning.

Day 2

Monday morning, my first class was at 8:15.  I enjoyed the talks and quickly realized this was a pretty intense learning experience – for people who truly want to learn more about methods and resources for family history research, these institutes are excellent.

And I discovered there was homework each night.

A takeaway from day one:  get an old copy of Black’s law dictionary and look up each new term you encounter in probate, deeds, etc.  A late 1800’s copy should be available for free download from Google Books.  No point in buying a new one; the old terminology was removed a couple decades ago.

The lunch line, with the table area in the background.

The lunch line, with the table area in the background.

Day 3

By Tuesday I was getting used to things.  Judy Russell is a superb and experienced teacher; she is a clear speaker and very interesting.  I was far less familiar with the material being covered by Rick Sayre, about federal laws and how to find documents related to the federal government, but the wheels were turning as he got me wondering about all sorts of records I’ve never looked for.  Clearly, there are many research projects ahead for me.

Tip for the day:  Try this website: “A Century of Lawmaking” for index entries to government records that you may need to further track down and obtain.

Using my Galaxy Note tablet, I could keep the screen open for writing notes, plus another window for the pdf app to look at the syllabus.  My friend Minda McAully showed me how to open the syllabus in Acrobat Reader so I could also highlight, write on it, etc.  She's brilliant!

Using my Galaxy Note tablet, I could keep the screen open for writing notes (with the stylus), plus another window for the pdf app to look at the syllabus. My friend Linda McCauley showed me how to open the syllabus in Acrobat Reader so I could also highlight, write on it, etc. She’s brilliant!

Day 4

On Wednesday we were treated to two sessions with Marian L . Smith, who leads the Historic Research Branch at US Citizenship and Immigration Services (Department of Homeland Security).  Marian has immense knowledge of immigration and naturalization records and she gave us excellent advice about what records might exist in what era, and about the laws (and purposes) behind the various questions, forms, and records.  Since naturalization procedures were only moved to the federal government in the 1890’s, prior records – like the 1840’s records I am seeking – could be in any state, county or local court of record.  As I listened to Marian I realized I could definitely obtain, at some point, my grandparents’ naturalization records from when they came from Nova Scotia in the early 1900’s.

My takeaway from Wednesday was to pay the $20 for a Genealogy Program Index Search to obtain the correct record numbers for an ancestor processed after 1893 (but not ship manifest records, or records from port locations).  Then I could pursue getting the actual records.

That night I ate dinner with a friend from the DNA class and asked her about some questions I had about testing.  That’s almost the best thing about being here – the mealtime conversations about genealogy.

The season premiere of Who Do You Think You Are? was enjoyed by the crowd Wednesday night.  There were many aspects of the show that related to knowledge of the law for the time and places mentioned.

Some of the crowd enjoying the season opener of Who Do You Think You Are?

Some of the crowd enjoying the season opener of Who Do You Think You Are?

Day 5

On Thursday, the content was focused on laws about women, children, marriage and divorce.  There were also sessions on military pensions and Claims Committees.  I am on a mission to find supporting papers for my ggg-grandfather’s 1878 claim for reparations after the Civil War.  I feel like I have some more things to try now.

Takeaway from this day:  when using those faulty OCR-produced index services on the internet (in other words, indexing NOT produced by humans) try to use as many services as possible (like maybe Ancestry.com, Fold3 and Family Search) since they will all have different index entries.

My books from the Maia's Books exhibit.  She is willing to ship them, also.

My books from the Maia’s Books exhibit. She is willing to ship them, also.

Day 6

On Friday, I finalized my book purchases from Maia’s books, we had our last sessions, received certificates and prepared to depart.  Our teachers sent us a set of electronic documents they had gathered just for us, which I look forward to exploring more at home.

The major point of this week: find the law that will help you understand more about the document you’re reading, and also the reverse of that: continue to learn more about laws that might have impacted our ancestors, and produced record sets we’re not even  thinking of.  The whole process this week was one of reading the informative articles in the syllabus (over 100 pages), listening to and occasionally participating in the lectures, and following that up with homework each night, and, when I return home, with a lot of research I would like to do using my new knowledge and skills, plus the extra documents to go through.

There were interesting talks each night for the whole group, and I heard wonderful things about each one, but didn’t attend them.  I had some quiet evenings with friends or just doing homework.

In closing

I can heartily endorse this program.   The company was wonderful, the classes truly excellent, things ran smoothly and I know that’s not easy, and I am going home with a list a mile long of things I should be trying and ideas for specific problems. Nothing is perfect, and staying in a dorm is never a dream vacation, but overall I have no complaints. I have had more genealogy conversations here (along the lines of Did you try this?  Did you look here?  What about … ?) than probably any other venue I have ever been in.

I am grateful to my teachers Judy Russell, Rick Sayre, and Marian Smith.  I learned this week that there are laws (or occasionally some other motivation) behind records and we need to understand those purposes, look up national and local laws, and think through what was allowed and legal for the time and place that our ancestors lived.  Knowing the law can give us data and genealogical information that never appears in any index.  If person A did x in a certain year, and x could only be done by people of a certain age, that gives you a piece of data you may not find anywhere else.  And legal records are absolutely filled with direct evidence too, for instance when certain facts had to be documented for, say, a pension application.  Did our ancestors ever lie?  Well sure, but that’s just part of the fun.

You can see the 2015 program here.  I had a great week and I look forward to similar events in the future.

The post you are reading is located at:  http://onerhodeislandfamily.com/2014/07/25/grip-2014/

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I really have not done a lot of research on the MacLeans of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, which is my grandfather’s family.  But recently, I connected with a Canadian relative and he passed along some pictures, and gave me permission to post them here.  I am going to tell what little I know, and hope that others will add to my information in the comments. Most of my information comes from my cousin John and my Aunt Mae.  Yup, this is the side of the family that actually kept track of their heritage.

Unfortunately, none of us have had much success tracing them back to Scotland, although we know they likely arrived in Cape Breton during the 1820’s.  I am leaving some notes here for other descendants (and there are many) who may want to collaborate further.

John Alexander MacLean, 1892-1933

My grandfather, John Alexander MacLean, 1892-1933

John and Josie (MacLeod) MacLean

My grandparents John Alexander MacLean and Josie May MacLeod were married June 16, 1920 in North Sydney, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.  John, called Jack, was born 17 Feb 1892, and Josie was born 3 Aug 1892. They lost their first daughter, Josie, but had four children after that:  Kenneth Torquil, Marion Bannington, and twins named for themselves, John Alexander and Josie May.  My grandfather John MacLean died in Providence in 1933, and Josie raised the children in Rhode Island.  My Uncle Ken wrote about the family in this post:  Where We Came From.

Torquil MacLean

Torquil MacLean

Torquil and Sarah MacLean

My grandfather John MacLean’s parents were Torquil and Sarah (MacLean) MacLean.  Torquil MacLean was a farmer and ferryman in Englishtown, Nova Scotia who was born 15 Aug 1841 at Wreck Cove, Victoria, Nova Scotia, and died in Englishtown 29 Dec 1921. He was the son of Donald MacLean and Christine MacLeod.

I believe Torquil MacLean is well known among his many descendants, and locally, as the ferryman, from back in the day when that meant rowing, and coaxing horses on board, with their wagons, and even earlier, when the boat was smaller and the horse swam along behind, held by a rope.  Apparently he took over the ferry from his own father, ran it for 50 years, and his son Allen succeeded him in the business.  Today, the local ferry is still named for Torquil MacLean.  Torquil’s story was told in Issue 2 of Cape Breton’s Magazine.

Sarah (MacLean) MacLean

Sarah (MacLean) MacLean

Sarah MacLean was born in Middle River, Nova Scotia, 24 Mar 1852 and died 1 Jan 1940 in New Campbellton, Nova Scotia.  Her parents were Allen MacLean and Margaret Nicholson.  I do not know the connection between Torquil and Sarah’s families.

Torquil and Sarah MacLean’s children

Torquil and Sarah had eleven children.  Remarkably, they had five girls followed by six boys (family lore has it that they dug a new well).  Those researching Torquil and Sarah MacLean should consult The Road to Englishtown by Bonnie Thornhill (2009), p. 270-288.

  • Christena “Tena” MacLean, 1875 – 1968.  Married Charles Thomas Woolnough.  They lived in Halifax, where he ran a hotel/restaurant.
  • Mary MacLean, 1879 – 1931.  Married Malcolm B. Morrison in 1904.  Resided in Englishtown.  Their children were Dan, Edward, Gordon, Harry, John, Neil, and Sadie. 
Mary (MacLean) Morrison. Photo courtesy of Brian Burnett.

Mary (MacLean) Morrison. Photo courtesy of Byron Burnett.

  • Flora MacLean, 1880 – 1952.  Married Alexander “Sandy” Bain, a blacksmith, in 1899, and resided in New Campbellton, Cape Breton.   Her obituary is on this page of the Cape Breton Gen Web Project.  
  • Margaret MacLean, 1881 – 1948.  Married Donald R. MacDonald. She was a nurse and he was a doctor. She and her husband passed away within a few days of each other in Shediac, New Brunswick. 
  • Alice “Lexy” MacLean, 1883 – 1969.  She may have been married twice, first to John Phillip McLeod and later to Felix Gillan.  She died in Detroit, Michigan in 1969.
Daniel J. MacLean. Photo courtesy of Brian Burnett.

Daniel J. MacLean. Photo courtesy of Byron Burnett.

  • Daniel John MacLean, 1885 – 1918.  Daniel died in an Alberta coal mine in 1918.
  • Allan MacLean, 1887 – 1954. The only son to live a relatively long life, Allen took over the ferry from his father, and is mentioned in the Torquil MacLean article cited above (Cape Breton Magazine).  He married Sadie Grace Campbell, who died in 1930, and afterwards married Annie Urquhart, who lived until 1993.  His children were Daniel Edward, John Campbell, Allen Torquil, Robert K., Malcolm Arnold, Sadie Grace, and Margaret (Peggy).
Kenneth MacLean.  Photo courtesy of Brian Burnett.

Kenneth MacLean. Photo courtesy of Byron Burnett.

  • Kenneth R MacLean, 1889 – 1934.  Kenneth was a sailor, and was working for a Great Lakes transportation company in Buffalo, NY when he drowned.  He was married to Mary Belle Sutherland and had several children.
  • John Alexander MacLean, 1892 – 1933.  My grandfather, see above.  During WWI, he became a U.S. citizen due to the requirements of his job on board ships that were providing transportation services for the U.S. military. He married Josie MacLeod in 1920 and they had four children in Brooklyn, NY. He died in the hospital from an infection in 1933.  The family had recently moved to Rhode Island from Brooklyn and my grandmother decided to stay on in Rhode Island after his death.
Edward MacLean.  Photo courtesy of Brian Burnett.

Edward MacLean. Photo courtesy of Byron Burnett.

  • Edward C. MacLean, 1894 – 1913. Edward was a young coal miner, unmarried I believe, when he died in a mining accident in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia in 1913.  My cousin Byron Burnett tells me that he is buried in the Auld Cemetery, Englishtown. 
  • Hugh Neil MacLean, 1896 – 1921.  Hugh served in WWI.  His draft papers from Poccahontas, Alberta, Canada report him as 5′ 9″, blue eyes, light brown hair, working at that time as a miner.  He served overseas during the war.  He was working on a ship after his return, and disappeared in New York City the night he was supposed to report to the ship.  Nothing more was heard from him and he was presumed dead.  At the time, my grandparents were a young married couple living in Brooklyn and were, I would think, the last family members to see him.  

A glimpse of the Torquil MacLean family

The book “Down North and Up Along” by Margaret Warner Morley (New York: Dodd, Mead and Co., 1900) recounts the author’s travel experiences in Nova Scotia in the late 1890’s. She took the Englishtown Ferry along with a friend and a rented horse named Dan.

TORQUIL McLANE’S ferry is the notable instrument by means of which the traveller can find his way out of Englishtown to the north.
Englishtown lies opposite the narrowest part of St. Anne, which here may be about a mile wide, but that providential tongue of land must not be forgotten which separates the inner harbour from the outer bay, leaving only ” a passage for one vessel at a time,” and making of it a safe refuge in time of war.
Although not at present of military importance, the tongue of land still answers a very good purpose in shortening the labours of Torquil, the ferryman, who Is a man of note all over Cape North, and, for that matter, much farther. For whoever writes an article or even a letter about this part of the country, never fails to adorn the same with the picturesque name of Torquil McLane, the Englishtown ferryman.
Torquil must be pronounced ” turkle,” and Cape Breton on the spot must be called Cape ” Britton.” It is supposed by some that the island got its name from the Basque sailors who came to these shores from Cape Breton near Bayonne, in very early times. Be that as it may, the Basque sailors are no longer there to see justice done their mother tongue, and Cape ” Britton ” it is in the mouths of these former subjects of the British Empire.
Torquil McLane’s ferry was quite as picturesque as Torquil himself, and resembled nothing so little as our narrow-minded ideas of a ” ferry.” To see it was to understand and sympathise with Mr. A.’s concern that we should have a horse willing to cross it !
It had no landing whatever other than the pebbly beach provided by nature. The ferryboat resembled a retired dory, grown broad and flat-bottomed with increase of years. We reached this promising form of transportation by pitching down a stony embankment upon a stony beach.
Torquil was waiting for us, for had he not seen us enter town the night before, and did he not hope and trust that we should be crossing his ferry in the morning ? He was a tall, spare Highlander, and he surveyed us with his shrewd Scotch eyes, and in a deep voice inquired, after the manner of his people, where we came from, where we were going, and what our names were.
We answered and looked at each other in consternation, for while we might get aboard the high-sided boat, rocking in the water, what of Dan ? Could he and would he do this thing ? We did not believe that he could or would.
While Torquil was taking the horse from the waggon, his daughter, aged eighteen, strongly built and rosy-cheeked, appeared upon the scene. She had come to help her father row us over the ferry, and was accompanied by a little boy and a solemn-faced baby.
Torquil and his buxom daughter laid hold upon the waggon and pulled it out into the water and aboard the boat, that vehicle going through the most alarming contortions meantime. Then it was Dan’s turn, and we watched with bated breath as he waded out.
” Get in there ! ” said Torquil the ferryman — and Dan got in ! It was a beautiful sight. He pawed about with his front feet until he got them over the side and in the boat, and repeated the operation with his hind ones until he was all in. Could he have known the feelings with which we regarded him upon that occasion, he would have been a proud and happy horse.
As it was, he was no sooner in than he wished himself out again, and it became necessary for one of us to stand on a seat and keep him from walking overboard, while Torquil and his daughter pushed the boat from shore and turned it toward the other side of the harbour.
The baby was stowed for safe-keeping under the seat in the bow, whence it peered out curious but silent— as became a Scotch baby. The little boy pulled at his father’s oar until his face was crimson, and the strong-armed daughter kept stroke with her father. Thus we passed the perils of the sea.
As soon as the boat grated on the pebbles of the opposite shore, Dan scrambled overboard and Torquil harnessed him to the waggon. We paid the ferryman his fee and watched the clumsy craft go back across the mouth of the harbour bearing the far-famed ferryman, his strong daughter, his crimson-faced son, and his silent baby.

I wonder which daughter was the strong rower?  I suspect my grandfather, born in 1892, was not the solemn baby, but could he have been the boy?

A Map of Cape Breton, Englishtown highlighted, from Down North, p. 158.

A Map of Cape Breton (Englishtown highlighted), from Down North, p. 158.

In closing

I have many cousins on this side of the family and I hear from a new one from time to time.  Please, if anyone has better or further information, share it here where others will find it.  Thank you.

The post you are reading is located at:  https://onerhodeislandfamily.com/2014/07/15/my-branch-of-the-macleans/

 

Headstone of Torquil and Sarah MacLean.

Headstone of Torquil and Sarah MacLean in the Englishtown cemetery.  Photo by Bonnie Churcher.

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First of all let me say, I do expect to pay for services that help me with my genealogy.  To scan documents and make them searchable and viewable on a website involves expenses which I expect to contribute to. To maintain and staff buildings with roomfuls of books and documents that I might need is not free.  To move genealogy forward, and help us to gain access to the best work, and improve our own, certain organizations need to exist, and I would like to support them.

Here is a summary of what I pay for on a regular basis.

  • Ancestry.com.  Ancestry.com has a lot of records, and even the brief index records have tipped me off to records I should investigate elsewhere.  I keep a tree on Ancestry.  I sometimes pay for a U.S. subscription, and sometimes for a Worldwide subscription.  One thing I do not do on Ancestry is pay any attention to the other trees.  Just turn all that off – you’ll feel much better.  If I ever do look at an individual on another tree, it is just to see if they have any sources listed that might help me.  99 times out of 100 they don’t.  I can access Ancestry.com through my cell phone app, meaning I can see my information at any time.
  • Family Tree Maker software.  I keep this updated and currently have version 2014.  It synchs automatically with my Ancestry tree, meaning all the valuable documents I’ve attached to my tree in Ancestry also move to my computer, on their own.  If I ended my Ancestry subscription tomorrow, I would always have what I’ve found so far, right on my computer.  baby-mom from Abroad
  • Fold3.com.  I love Fold3 and use it mostly for U.S. military records.  I also like the city directories, and I sometimes use Fold3 for an alternative index to U.S. federal census records if I am having trouble finding something, although they only have 1860 and 1900-1930.  They allow you to directly attach a document to a person in your Ancestry tree.  That is especially useful for situations of distant relatives where I’m probably not going to save the entire record anyway.
  • AmericanAncestors.org, the website of the New England Historic Genealogical Society.  What can I say about NEHGS membership.  They had me at “The Great Migration” series of books, where you can find reliable information on those who arrived in New England from Europe between 1620 and 1635.  Reading the Register when it comes in the mail is an education.  The website is very helpful, and contains access to all this, plus additional outside databases.  The website is useful to me for searching among many genealogical journals.  Visiting the library in Boston is a wonderful and helpful experience.
  • GenealogyBank.com (newspapers and more searchable, online). Newspapers have told me so many interesting things that I would never have known. My favorite discovery so far is competing ads in 1802 by my 5th great-grandparents disowning each other, one of my first finds. Whenever I subscribe to something like a newspaper site, I read the renewal details carefully and learn, in advance, how I would be able to unsubscribe.  If they make it clear they will never refund a fee, even one made without my consent, I move on.  I trust GenealogyBank.com and have had no problems. As I recall, they give me a discount because I have an Ancestry subscription.  children-hoop from Abroad
  • Rhode Island Historical Society membership.  Historical societies in the areas where you are researching are important and they always need support.
  • The National Genealogical Society.  I enjoy getting the Quarterly and feeling like my membership is contributing to the future of genealogy.
  • Rhode Island Genealogical Society.    It is important to me to belong to the group which has the best interests of Rhode Island genealogy as its core mission.  Rhode Island Roots is an important publication, and they publish excellent books, too.
  • Evernote Premium (online notebook). I keep research documents and files on my computer, but Evernote holds an increasing amount of my genea-details, like to-do lists for each repository, details about all these subscriptions, helpful things like blank census records, details about every repository and cemetery I might ever visit, research notes for each family, results of DNA tests, and conference syllabi.  So, I want to support Evernote and get the best features.  I also access all this on my cell phone through the app.
  • Dropbox.com (online document backup).  All documents on my computer are stored in one folder that is synched with Dropbox.  Anywhere that I have access to the internet, I can access all my documents.  All of them.  Books, maps, notes, pictures, screen shots, anything.  The free account is too small; I use a paid account.  If my computer ended up in Narragansett Bay tomorrow, all my work would be safe.  swans- from Abroad
  • FamilySearch Center microfilm rentals.  I use these more and more.  Someday fairly soon, these films will all be online. Until then, for $7.50, I get to use the exact record book I need (if they have it), no matter where in the world it came from.  I prefer to see the original record books, but will settle for this kind of copy if I have to, and find it preferable (and cheaper) than ordering new certificates transcribed by a clerk (mostly because I like to see everything else on the page, or a couple of pages, and like to do my own deciphering of difficult handwriting).  I save the pages I find on a flash drive and take them home for storage on my computer.
  • Mocavo.com.  Mocavo and I have an on-again, off-again relationship. Right now it’s on.  It is best at what it always was, a site for searching the web and getting only historically and genealogically relevant search results.  I love getting these automatically in my in-box.  If your ancestors could possibly be mentioned in old books, genealogies, directories, or other printed matter, this is the site for you.
  • FindMyPast.com.  Since discovering some more recent English ancestors, I have started subscribing briefly to FindMyPast once in a while.  I don’t do enough to make it worthwhile all the time.

train-ride from Abroad

I notice the trend now is that every major site wants to hold your full tree, help you match with others, and have you save everything right there.  Realistically, we can’t do such a thing on 4 or 5 different sites. Can we?  Sounds exhausting.  One thing I avoid, so far, on these sites is the temptation to upload a whole tree (except on Ancestry.com).  I may, in the future, try this on Mocavo or FindMyPast, to see what “hints” come up for individuals, as long as I can keep the tree private, and delete it later (since I won’t be updating it). (Commenters here and on Facebook have alerted me that the FamilySearch tree won’t be working that way).

This list is longer than I thought it would be.  If you find other memberships or subscriptions worth paying for, and want to point them out here in the comments, please do.

The post you are reading is located at:  http://onerhodeislandfamily.com/2014/06/22/what-i-pay-for/

The illustrations are from the book “Abroad” by Thomas Crane and Ellen Elizabeth Houghton (London: Marcus Ward & Co, 1884?)

Abroad _ Crane

 

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Since my post last year about research in early Rhode Island records “A Research List for 1650-1750 in Rhode Island”, I have had several questions sent to me about my 7th great grandmother Elizabeth Phillips and her possible father, Joseph Phillips of Providence.  Another possibility for Elizabeth’s father is Joshua Phillips of Sutton, Mass.  There are several other Phillips intermarried with the Ballous, so when I actually research this I may find the answer fairly easily.  But for those in the Providence branch of the Phillips, there are serious questions.

My grandmother is descended from Elizabeth Phillips in the following way:

Elizabeth Phillips (1709 – 1755) m. John Ballou
- Richard Ballou (1751 – 1824)
- Marcy Ballou (1778 – )
- Nancy Ann Aldrich (1800 – 1879)
- Ellis Aldrich Darling (1824 – 1883)
- Addison Parmenter Darling (1856 – 1933)
- Russell Earl Darling (1883 – 1959)
- Edna May Darling (1905 – 1999)
The controversy
The great question is about Joseph’s parents.  Barbara and Michael Phillips of Newport and Providence are reported in Austin’s Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island (on page 152 of the 1978 version published by Genealogical Publishing Co.) as having six children:
  • John
  • William
  • James
  • Richard
  • Joseph
  • Alice

However, some disagree with Austin’s conclusion that Joseph belongs in this family.  A correspondent mentioned to me that there were probate documents at the Providence City Hall that might provide some evidence one way or the other.  Apparently, some of these descendants are involved in a Y-DNA project and they are getting some results that conflict with Austin’s list.

Index to the Providence probate records

Index to the Providence probate records

The probate documents

I had a chance to visit the Providence City Archives recently and I was able to photograph two early Phillips probate documents.  I should stress that these were the only two early Phillips documents in the published index (pictured above) however I suspect there could be other records of deeds, wills, inventories, and administrations scattered elsewhere in Providence records.  Or not.  So, this is all I found today but there could be more out there.

1719 – Bond of Mrs. Elizabeth Phillips.  Document A180, Probate Records, Providence
First of all let me say, being a bond, this was one of those documents that actually stays with the government (not a copy), and so what I saw at the Archives was the actual piece of paper signed (her mark) and sealed in 1719 by, Elizabeth (Malavery) Phillips, who could be my 8x great grandmother.  It is the oldest document I’ve personally seen of that nature.  Amazing.

1719 Bond of Elizabeth Phillips

1719 Bond of Elizabeth Phillips. Clicking through will open it and allow you to enlarge.

Text of the bond of Elizabeth Phillips:

Know all men by these presents that I Elizabeth Phillips of Providence in the colony of Rhoad Island and Providence Plantations in New England, widdow, am holden and firmly doo stand bound unto the Towne Council of Providence above sd in the sum of two hundred and ten pounds and 10 shillings in Current money of New England to be paid unto the sd Towne Council [thereto?] certaine attorney or successors in sd office. To the which payment well and truly to be made and don I bind my self my heirs Executors and administrators firmly by these presents sealed with my seale dated this 5th day off October in the sixth yeare of his Majestyes Reign George King of Great Britain &c: anno Dom 1719–

The condition of this obligation is such that whereas the Towne Councill above sd hath granted administration unto the above bounded Elizabeth Philips — upon the movable Estate of her deceased husband Joseph Phillips as pr an Instrument bareing date [Even?] with those presents Referenced there unto being had will appear : therefore of the said Elizabeth Phillips – doth from time to time and at all times hereafter faithfully honestly and truly perform the trust reposed in her concerning her sd administration and Render an account of her proceedings there in unto the said town [Town Cill?] or their successors in sd office when legally called there unto and in all things relating the promises behave her self as an Executrix ought to doe : without fraud or deceit : then this obligation shall be void or Else the same to stand and remain in full force effect and virtue.

Signed sealed and delivered in the presence of us –

Richard Waterman Jr,

Nathan Waterman

—  Elizabeth Phillips

her mark

I have not analyzed this document yet, but a few things jump out at me:

  • Joseph Phillips “her deceased husband” had died by 1719
  • Who were Richard Waterman Jun and Nathan Waterman?  Were they just probate officers?
  • Elizabeth lived in Providence
  • she was granted administration “As pr an Instrument … ” – I wonder if I can find the will. If so, other relatives could be named there.
  • Elizabeth was unable to write her name.

1721 – Bond of Mial Phillips 1721-2, Document A199, Probate Records, Providence

There are two bonds in this file, one from Mial Phillips in the amount of 100 pounds, and the other for approximately two-thirds of that amount, in which Richard Phillips and Benjamin Potter have some responsibility.  Other than those details the bonds are very similar.  Here is the first one:

Top of the first bond from Mial Phillips

Top of the first bond of Mial Phillips. Clicking through will open and allow you to enlarge.

bottom of first bond of Mial Phillips

bottom of first bond of Mial Phillips

transcription of the bond of Mial Phillips:

Know all men by the presence that I Mial Phillips of the Town of Providence in the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations Yeoman I am holden and firmly do stand bound unto Richard Phillips and Benjamin Potter both of Providence aforesaid; yeoman; in the : sum of : one hundred pounds Current money of New England : to be paid unto the said Richard Phillips and Benjamin Potter their heirs Executors and administrators – To the which payment well and truly to be made and done I bind myself my Heirs Executors and administrators firmly by the presents sealed with my seale  Dated this 26 day of february anno Dom 1721/2 and in the Eighth year of his majestyes Reign George King of Greate Brittan &c: -

The condition of this obligation is such that where as the above named Richard Phillips and Benjamin Potter became bound sureties for the above Bounden Mial Phillips his true and faithful performeance of his administration Granted him by the Town Councill of Providence above sd upon the Moveable estate of his brother John Phillips : deceased as pr a bond or obligation from under the hands and seales of the said Richard Phillips and Benjamin Potter bareing date [Even?] with these presents : may appeare there fore if the said Mial Phillips his heirs Executors or administrators shall and doe from time to time and att all times forever here after [same?] and Keepe the said Richard Phillips and Benjamin Potter theire Heirs Executors and administrators harmless and indemnified from all and any Cost Charge and trouble that shall or may here after arise and accrow by Reason of the above mentioned bond or obligation : then this obligation shall be void : but in default there of the same to stand and Remain in full force effect and virtue.

Signed sealed and delivered

In the presence of us

John Whipple

Hope Angel

Mial phillips

I have a few thoughts about this document, to be explored in the future:

  • Clearly, Mial is meant to be the name Michael.
  • Who is Benjamin Potter?
  • “estate of his brother John Phillips” – Michael is the brother of John
  • Michael is called a “yeoman” “of … Providence”
  • I don’t think the document specifically calls Richard Phillips a brother to the other two, but it seems likely.
  • If, as indicated in the 1719 bond, Joseph Phillips is dead, he naturally wouldn’t be named in this 1721/2 document.  I’m not sure much is proven here with regard to that.
  • By mentioning a brother Michael, alive in 1721/2 (the FATHER Michael died in the 1680’s) this document either disagrees with Austin’s Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island or was signed by siblings from a succeeding generation.

I have already left a few research notes in my post “A Research List for 1650-1750 in Rhode Island.”  I would investigate all of Torrey’s references and any journal articles I could find, as well as a more thorough search of the Providence City Archives for further documents, like deeds or wills.  There are Newport and North Kingstown connections for the Phillips, and those should be investigated.  Of course, in my case I would start with the Joshua Phillips of Sutton idea, and pin down the other Phillips intermarriages with my branch of the Ballous.

The additional bond from probate file A199 which pretty much duplicates the Mial Phillips bond, above, I post here for completeness (no transcription):

Top of he second of the Mial Phillips bond documents.

Top of the second of the Mial Phillips bond documents.  Clicking through will open and allow you to enlarge.

The bottom of the second Mial Phillips bond.

The bottom of the second Mial Phillips bond.

The post you are reading is located at:  http://onerhodeislandfamily.com/2014/06/12/phillips-probate-records/

A good day

Elizabeth Malavery Phillips’ mark

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This is the first in an occasional series of articles transcribed directly from The Narragansett Historical Register, a Rhode Island treasure now mostly forgotten.  Published by James Newell Arnold between 1882 and 1891, the magazine was devoted to Rhode Island history and genealogy.  No longer under copyright, the articles can continue to enlighten us.  If the article below makes you curious, check out the full issues and index pages here.

Narragansett Historical Register logo

The Yellow Fever in Providence, 1800

by A.H.

[Transcribed here from The Narragansett Historical Register, Volume 3, No. 1, July, 1884 (Published by the Narragansett Historical Publishing Company, Hamilton, R.I.), p. 136-138.]

Dr. E. M. SNOW, in an elaborate article printed in the Providence Journal in June, 1857, and re-printed in the Journal of September 23d, 1878, after detailing incidents connected with the prevalence of the disease in 1779, at which time there were 36 deaths reported, most of which occurred at the south end of the town and all south of Williams street, goes on to say that ” in the summer of the year 1800 the yellow fever seemed to be confidently expected in Providence, and an order was issued by the Town Council respecting the removal of nuisances on the 12th of May. As early as the 22d of June a vessel arrived from Jamaica with cases of yellow fever on board, which were sent to the hospital. Other infected vessels arrived in June and July, but no case occurred among the inhabitants until the 15th of August. The first case was a Mrs. Taylor, who lived on the west side of Wickenden street, a little north of the present location of the Providence Tool Company. She died on the 20th of August.”

An old paper found among the effects of Joel Metcalf, Esq., who died November 26th, 1834, and who was a member of the Town Council in the year 1800, contains a list of the names of those who were attacked by the disease, noting the date of attack, date of removal to the hospital of those that were sent there, and date of the death of those who did not recover, which is here presented.     -A. H.

Names    /     Taken Sick    /   Removed to Hospital   /   Deaths and Recoveries

1 Mrs. Taylor                     August 15.            ………….             d. Aug. 21.

2 Elizabeth Whiting            ” 15                    .…………..            Rec.

3 Joseph Tillinghast, son of John    ” 16.      …………….         d. Aug.22.

4 Mrs, Luther                August 16.                 ……………         d. Aug 21

5 Joseph Cooke              ” 16.                      ……………..              Rec.

6 Mrs. Earle                       ” 17.                     ……………..             d. Aug 23

7 Sweet Luther                  ” 18.                  ……………..              Rec.

8 Miss Dunn, a child         ” 18.               ……………..              Rec.

9 Miss Warner                    “ 18.                ……………..               Rec.

10 Patrick Morriss             ” 18.                  ……………..            d. Aug 23

11 Jeremiah B. Howell        ” 19.              ……………..            Rec.

12 Rebekah Carr                  ” 19.                    ……………..            d. Aug 23

13 Jonathan Eddy               ” 19.                     ……………..           d. Aug 25

14 Jeremiah Whiting         ” 19.                   ……………..              Rec.

15 Mrs. Atkins                    ” 20.                   Aug 21                     Rec.

16 Charles Tillinghast            ” 21.                 ……………..          Rec.

17 Wife of Charles Tillinghast     ” 21.        …………….         d. Aug 26

18 Nancy Briggs                  ” 22.                       Aug. 22                   Rec.

19 Richard Hinman          ” 22.                          “ 23                     d. Aug 25

20 Lucretia Pearce             ” 22.                       “ 22                     d. “ 26

21 Mrs. Bogman                ” 26.                          “24                    d. Sept. 1

22 Mary Whiting                ” 26.                         “24                    Rec.

23 Patience Greatrix        ” 27.                       ” 28                     Rec.

24 Jos. Arnold                     ” 27.                        …………….       d. Aug. 31

25 Thos. Mitchell               ” 27.                          Aug. 29           Rec.

26 Mrs. Bird                        ” 27.                        ………………        Rec.

27 Amey Read                   ” 27.                          Aug. 23            d. Sept. 1

28 Lucy Libby                     ” 29.                          Sept. 3              Rec.

29 Hannah Fuller, wife of John    ” 29.          Sept. 3              Rec.

30 Mrs. Newell                   Sept. 1.                      ” 3                   Rec.

31 Mrs. Sheldon, wife of John    Aug. 31.      ……………..         d. Sept. 7

32 Betsey Stokes               Sept. 5.                     Sept. 7                 d. “ 11

33 Prince Burrill                      ” 5.                       Sept. 7                 d. “ 12

34 Wife of Prince Burrill         ” 5.                         Sept. 7               Rec.

35 Ruth Curtis                          “ 7.                           “ 8                 d. Sept. 11

36 Mrs. Warner, wife of John    ” 6.              …………….              d. “ 10

37 Stephen Ashton                 ” 6.                    …………….              d. “ 8

38 Amey Tillinghast               ” 4.                   …………….              Rec.

39 Mrs. Warner, wife of Samuel    ” 8.          Sept. 9                  d. Sept. 13

40 Nancy Blinn                    ” 4.                         …………….              Rec.

41 Edward Luther              …………..               …………….             d. Sept. 12

42 Edward Dickens               ” 8.                       Sept. 13                d. “ 15

43 Phebe Hull                        ” 8.                         …………….           d. “ 13

44 Mrs. Dickens                    ” 11.                       …………….            d. “ 16

45 William Olney, son of David   ” 11.          …………….            Rec.

46 Mrs. Pearce                     ” 13.                       …………….            d. Sept. 17

47 Mrs. Dickens, widow         ” 8.                   …………….            d. “ 14

48 Sally Hull                        ” 14.                      Sept. 14               d. “ 17

49 Polly Godfrey                 ” 12.                      …………….           d. “ 20

50 Eliza Dickens                  ” 15.                       Sept. 15               Rec.

51 Moses, negro                  ” 13.                      Sept. 13               Rec.

52 Mary Tillinghast             ” 13.                   …………….             d. Sept. 17

53 Sarah Gibbs, negro          ” 16.                   Sept. 16                Rec.

54 Mary Fields                     ” 17.                       Sept. 17               d. Sept. 20

55 Child of E. Congdon       ” 17.                   …………….             d. “ 21

56 Child ” ”                            ” 17.                       …………….             d. “ 23

57 Mrs. Brown, widow          ” 14.                   Sept. 18             d. “ 19

58 James Temple                    Sept 17         ……………..          d. Sept. 19

59 Daniel Bucklin                    ” 12                 ……………..           Rec.

60 Ephraim Congdon              ” 18              Sept 19                Rec.

61 Mrs. Mitchel                     ” 18                 Sept. 18              d. Sept. 20

62 Sally Howe                        ” 15                     “   17                Rec.

63 Jabez Bucklin                    ” 19                     “ 19                  d. Sept. 26

64 Provy Brown‘s wife          ” 16             ……………..          d. “ 19

65 Mrs. Davis, wife of John      ” 16         ……………..          d. “ 23

66 John Stokes                         ” 19              ……………..         d. “ 21

67 Lydia Eveleth                   ” 18                ……………..         d. “ 22

68 Betsey Huntington            ” 22              Sept. 22           Rec.

69 Rebecca Luther                ” 22                ……………..         d. Oct. 1

70 Amey Godfrey                  ” 22               ……………..     d. Sept. 27

71 John Warner                      ” 21              ……………..     d. “ 26

72 Mary Stokes                     ” 22                  Sept. 22           Rec.

73 Mrs. Tillinghast, wife of John     ” 22      ……………..     d. “ 26

74 Nancy Newfield                   ” 23                   Sept. 24         d. “ 27

75 Violet Cook                 ” 20                    ……………..     d. “ 28

76 John Sheldon                   ” 23                   Sept. 24         d. “ 27

77 Daniel Pearce                ” 24             ……………..     d. “ 25

78 Sally Waters                    ” 23                   Sept. 24         d. “ 28

79 Nancy Waters                  ” 23                 Sept. 24     Rec

80 Phoebe Sisco                    ”   25              Sept. 25       Rec.

81 Mrs. Congdon                   ”   26              Sept. 29       Rec.

82 Henry Faulknan                  Oct. 1         ……………..     Rec.

83 Joshua Harding                  ” 3.               ……………..     d. Oct.–

84 Piney                                 ” 7                        Oct. 8               Rec.

85 Thomas Savin                …………….         ……………..     d. Sept. 26

86 Joshua Penneman       …………….          ……………..     d. Oct. 20

 

Number of deaths …52         Recoveries…..34 – 36

Sick at hospital…….27       Out of do. …..49

Died at “ …………18         Out of do. ……34-52

The post you are reading is located at:  http://onerhodeislandfamily.com/2014/06/08/yellow-fever-providence/old tavern in Providence

 

 

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I recently read a book about genealogical research that I highly recommend:  Advanced Genealogy Research Techniques by George C. Morgan and Drew Smith (New York: McGraw Hill Education, 2014).

I guess it’s no secret that I am fascinated by the process of things – HOW they are done.  Many genealogy books focus on why, or where, and I get that, but how-to is what really resonates with me.  In addition to plenty of practical suggestions, the book is also sprinkled with interesting examples to illustrate their strategies.

Advanced Genealogy Research Techniques

Advanced Genealogy Research Techniques

Everything about this book seemed to speak directly to me.  It is not a beginner’s book, and yet, could profitably be read by anyone wanting to advance from the level of beginner.  If you are doing some things in a more sophisticated way than you used to, and are wondering what other methods you might profitably employ, I think you will find this book helpful.

Advanced Genealogy Research Techniques follows an easy to understand theme of breaking down brick walls by many methods – dismantling them, going around them, etc. As they emphasize in the last chapter, it’s not about tricks to help you hurdle over the hard work of research, it’s about how to approach your problems sensibly with the best possibility of ending up with a proven and correct result.

I think I can best create an impression of the book by giving several examples of how it will influence my research:

  • Have I really, really started over from the beginning of the Andrews research, to see if I come to the same result?  As I began again, I realized I had never re-started from the beginning (the most recent and well-documented things) but rather, I had been reviewing small sections of my work.
  • Am I searching creatively enough, and reading the specifics of each record set before utilizing it?
  • Am I sharing problems effectively with others?  The blog is only one method for that. I’m not discussing problems with my fellow researchers very much, and I’ve never pursued the idea of explaining a research problem to a non-genealogist, just to get their impressions and thoughts (well let’s be honest here, I’m not sure friends and family would be up for that, but one could try).
  • Their explanation of the mtDNA test (which I recently became involved with) is the clearest I’ve read, and I will refer back to it when I get my results.
  • I’m pretty good about research to-do lists, but not so good about turning those to-do’s into research logs, so I know the details of what I tried and when.  The book has some encouraging tips for that.
  • I’m going to review their tools section for any software I might want to add.  While I read about new products from time to time, it’s nice to have reviews in one place where I can find them.
  • For people new to online crowdsourcing (that is, connecting with strangers who have, or can easily get, information you need), the tips are very clear and helpful.  I especially like “The Etiquette of Online Forums” about how to post a question online.
  • Because they mention so many types of records, I often found myself racing to, say, the FamilySearch microfilm collection to see if certain kinds of records were captured from certain locations.

I definitely recommend this book for those who are aspiring to approach their problems in a more comprehensive (and successful!) way.

The post you are reading is located at:  http://onerhodeislandfamily.com/2016/05/19/advanced-genealogy-a-book-review

Dover 257

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