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Archive for the ‘Martin’ Category

Over the last few years I have made a lot of progress on tracing my mother’s family.   Over the next year or two I hope to do some research on ten problems I’ve identified.  I am recording them here, and I will provide links, in the future, to any postings I do about each one.

What surprised me about this list is the huge range of skills and strategies that I would need to pursue these questions.  Searching in accessible resources and repositories has helped, but not solved these problems.  This is where research really begins. None of these are easy, but working on them will be a real education.

1. Jessie Ruth (McLeod) Murdock, 1861 – 1936

Jessie Ruth McLeod with husband Louis Murdock

Jessie Ruth McLeod was born March 10, 1861 in Pictou, Nova Scotia.  She is my great great grandmother along the all-female line.  Her marriage certificate lists her parents as William and Rachel McLeod.  She arrived in the U.S. around 1881.  There is no evidence of her coming with close family, but it’s hard to believe she came without family or friends at all.   Her subsequent life I know all about, but this is all I have of her family origins.  I have only one possible match in the Canadian census, and the only other clue is that her eventual father in law, William Murdock, had also come from Pictou, much earlier.

  • Skills needed:  Make timeline for her, try once again to learn more about her father in law’s Pictou  family, and explore naturalization records in Massachusetts.  Re-explore family records for clues.

2. Catherine (Youngs Bennett Baldwin) Ross, 1835 – 1907

Worcester Daily Spy, 03 May 1894. Catherine and third husband, Hiram Ross, lost their house in a fire in Sterling, Mass.

Another great-great-grandmother, Catherine Youngs, is the kind of mystery woman a person could chase for decades.  Born in Surrey, England, perhaps on 4 Jul 1835, Catherine arrived in the U.S. around 1843.  On one marriage certificate she lists her parents as William and Catherine Youngs.  On another, she lists them as “unknown.”  Three of her children thought her maiden name was Youngs, and one thought it was Spaulding.  She was married three times, to Bennett, Baldwin, and Ross.  After her marriage to Hiram Ross in 1870, I know a great deal about her.  Before that, very little.  Her first home in the U.S. could have been Massachusetts or New York, or someplace else.  If she came with family, I know nothing about them.

  • Skills needed:  Analyze all data reported by her and by others about her, look for other British citizens in Allegany County, New York, explore early British census and vital records,  explore U.S. immigration and naturalization records in Massachusetts and New York, look for the first husband William Bennett using methods appropriate for common name searches, and talk to my mother about the idea that her father could have been wrong about his grandmother’s maiden name being Spaulding.

3. Maria (Shipley) Martin, 1848 – ?

Maria’s daughter Bessie’s marriage announcement fails to mention Maria’s husband, although I know he was alive. — The Milton News/Dorchester Advertiser vol. XII No. 24, 10 Sep 1892

The problem with yet another great great grandmother, Maria Shipley, is almost the opposite problem.  Born in Wolfville, Nova Scotia around 1841, I know a great deal about her Shipley/Innis/Dougherty/Bransby/Munroe ancestors.  She came to the U.S. around 1885 with her husband and children, and at least one sister. But after her daughter’s wedding in 1892 in Milton, Massachusetts, at which time she seems to be separated from her husband, I have no knowledge of her.  So I would like to know more.

  • Skills needed:  Find local newspapers for any town she might have been living in. Pin down locations and circumstances for each relative I know of in Massachusetts, which would be her estranged husband, her six children, her sister, and a niece.

4. Anna Jean (Bennett Gilley) Douglas, 1854 – 1939

Anna Jean in Montreal. Perhaps around 1880?

My grandfather’s aunt Anna Jean Bennett was born in Belmont, New York in 1854 and her parents seem to have divorced, perhaps, soon after.  By 1860 she was living with her mother and stepfather in Belmont, in obscure poverty.  In 1873 she married a Boston druggist, Harrison Gilley.  They divorced at some point and in 1884 she married a Providence attorney, William Wilberforce Douglas, who became a judge and, eventually, Chief Justice of the R.I. Supreme Court.  From 1884 on, I am very familiar with her life.  But other than that first marriage record, I have no idea what happened to her from 1860 to 1884.  The lovely photographic portrait of her above was taken in Montreal during this period.  Her brother was a globe-trotting artist.  Who was her father (named William Bennett)?  I would like to know her story, which I suspect is fascinating.

  • Skills needed: Learn more about Canadian border crossings  for this time period, as well as Montreal resources such as newspapers, employment records, city directories, high schools, art.  Try to find her in the 1870/71 census, and 1880/81, possibly living with her father in the U.S. or Canada, using searches on multiple members of the family, since her father and brother have very common names. Since the first husband was from Boston, use city directories to pin down his locations over many years. Review all later artifacts, documents and photos for additional clues.

5. Hannah (Andrews) Lamphere, 1819? – 1878

Cemetery surrounding the Long Society Meeting House in Preston

Hannah Andrews, my ggg-grandmother, was born in Massachusetts or Connecticut around 1819.  She has a brother Alden and her parents’ names may be Jesse and Sarah Andrews.  She married Russell Lamphere, Jr. in 1838 in Preston, Connecticut.  There were a number of Andrews who moved from northeastern Massachusetts to Preston about 130 years before Hannah was born.  But Hannah may actually have been born in Massachusetts.  Her brother married a girl from Springfield, Mass.  I can find no sign of her parents – I wonder if they died young.

  • Skills needed: do another literature search, analyze known information, learn more about guardianship records just over the border in the central portion of southern Massachusetts and also in Preston.  Explore church records for the church where they married.

6. Daniel Lamphere, 1745? – 1808

Russell Lamphere, late of Westerly, but now residing in Norwich

Daniel Lamphere is the father of my gggg-grandfather Russell Lamphere, Sr.  The detail above from Daniel’s 1808 probate file, about his son Russell, is part of the substantial evidence of the branch back to Daniel.  Daniel, from Westerly, is likely descended somehow from George Lamphere, an original settler of Westerly, R.I.  But there were several Daniel Lampheres in the area at that time and it’s confusing, so, no luck so far.

  • Skills needed: Learning more about all the people surrounding Daniel and his wife Nancy is the strategy I have started and plan to continue.  Track down his Westerly deeds.  Find out where he’s buried. 

7. Lydia (Miner) Lamphere, 1787 – 1849

The Factories at Yantic Falls, Norwich, from “Connecticut Historical Collections” by John Warner Barber, 1836.

Lydia Miner of Norwich, Connecticut, my gggg-grandmother, married Russell Lamphere, Sr. in 1807 in Norwich, CT.  She passed away in Norwich in 1849.  There is some suggestion she may have been born in Rhode Island, most likely just over the border in Westerly, like her husband.  Miners originally settled the nearby southeastern corner of Connecticut.  People familiar with the well-documented Miners/Minors think this problem should be easily solved, but so far, it hasn’t been.  I believe Lydia and her husband were attracted by the growing factories in Norwich, since they lived in the Yantic Falls neighborhood.  Of all of my family, they were among the earliest to abandon farming for industrial life.  It’s possible that she and Russell met as factory hands, or that her father worked in an early factory.

  • Skills needed: Local Yantic Falls history is likely to provide additional clues.   Also, less easily accessed sources of local Westerly and Norwich information such as church  records, town council records, the Connecticut State Library, cemetery records, and still more tracing of each of their children may help.  Analyzing every available fact may bring up other possibilities.  I would like to find where she and Russell are buried.

8. Thomas Arnold, 1733 – 1817

Thomas’ father (Lieut. Thos.) appears in a 1748 Highway District list, a good source to learn who the neighbors are, on page 30 of “History of the Town of Smithfield” by Thomas Steere, 1881.

My ggggggg-grandfather Thomas Arnold comes from a well-documented Smithfield, Rhode Island family.  But of course my branch is not so well documented.  His wife, Rachel, might be a Smith.   That possibility is repeated here and there with no evidence.  I wonder if a concentrated look at deeds or other local records might help me determine Thomas’ association with nearby Smith families.

  • Skills needed: Investigate town records from Smithfield and any deed connected with Thomas (who is not the only Thomas Arnold in that area).  Continue to research each of the children.

9. Mercy (Ballou) Aldrich, 1778 – ?

1803 Divorce granted to Mercy Ballou by the R.I. Supreme Court

Working on Thomas Arnold, and local deeds, might help me figure out whatever happened to his granddaughter, my ggggg-grandmother Mercy Ballou, who divorced Nathan Aldrich in 1803. I have no knowledge of her life after that, but I would like to know what happened to her.  Her former husband, and his second wife, sold property to her father after the divorce, and I believe they moved up the road to Wrentham, Mass after that. I am trying to pin down her father Richard Ballou’s property to find a location she may have returned to after her divorce.

  • Skills needed: There are numerous small family cemeteries in Smithfield.  I wonder if she could have been buried there.  Her father’s 1824 will only mentions his wife and “lawful heirs”, no specifics.  Knowing far more about her siblings might help.  

10. Russell R. Lamphere, 1818 – 1898

After leaving Alabama in the mid-1870’s, Russell ended up using his metalworking skills at the Oriental Mills, in Providence. This is the building (Union Paper) as it appears today.

Of all the details of my ggg-grandfather Russell Lamphere‘s life that I don’t know, one thing that I am most curious about is his relationship with Connecticut Congressman John Turner Wait.  Congressman Wait submitted a war reparations bill for Russell Lamphere three times in the 1880’s.  What happened in Alabama that would have justified reparations, and why were they submitted by a Connecticut Congressman even though Russell and his family had moved from Alabama to Rhode Island?  There is nothing in Congressman Wait’s rather illustrious family history that suggests a connection to either Russell’s wife or mother, and yet I suspect there is a connection, or at the very least, perhaps Mr. Wait left some papers.

  • I am also learning a lot more about Tuscaloosa, Alabama during the Civil War.  A kind reader approached NARA in Washington DC about any files connected to Russell’s war claims.  Staff did some substantial searching; it wasn’t perfunctory.  So I feel fairly confident there is nothing to be found there.  I need to move on.  I have a half-formed idea that studying Congressman Wait’s complete genealogy will reveal some answers to my own.

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I have recently visited Newton, Massachusetts to learn more about my great-grandmother Bessie Blanche (Martin) Baldwin.  Bessie was born about 1870 in Wolfville, Nova Scotia.  Her family appears in the Canadian 1871 and 1881 census.  I knew that in 1892 she married my great grandfather Miles Baldwin and they had two children in Newton (my grandfather Miles Jr in 1893 and his younger brother Blanchard in 1897).  Two days after Blanchard’s birth, she passed away.  The cause of death was cancer of the stomach.  As you might expect, we knew little or nothing of Bessie and her life when I started genealogy.

Today, I wanted to follow up on something very intriguing I found when the Massachusetts Town Records first appeared on Ancestry.com a few months ago:

Bessie’s application for a marriage license in 1887, covered over by a parental permission slip

I found this marriage license application while searching under her father’s name, Marsden Martin.  A slip of paper with Marsden Martin’s signature was covering a marriage license application.

The slip read:

Newton, Aug. 8th 1887     I Marsden Martin parent of Bessie Martin hereby give my consent for her marriage to Aubry James Lyman.    In presence of   May Martin                —  Marsden Martin

I had looked around online for details of Aubry James Lyman — he appeared to marry again around 1892, the same as Bessie, and never had any children.  He died fairly young.  If they had married, they must have divorced.  I was intrigued with what a divorce record might tell me.

I was able to get to the Newton city hall today.

Newton City Hall

Inside the City Hall

The clerk’s office was on the first floor.

The Clerk’s office and Archives

I asked the clerk for the original of the page I showed above, so I could look underneath the permission slip.  She looked Bessie up in the index book and card file, and was mystified about why she didn’t find the record.  The absence of those things implies there was no marriage.  When she realized she was looking at an “Intentions” page, she said she would try to find that book, but it might be in storage since there was very little call for Intentions records (just marriages).  Fortunately, she was able to find the Intentions book and I turned to page 338.

page 338 of the 1887 Intentions book

I was able to see what was underneath:

Marriage Intentions record

City Clerk’s office, Tuesday the 9th day of Aug. 1887.  Between Aubry James Lyman of Newton aged 21 years, by occupation a Carpenter.  He was born in Grand Pre, N.S. and was the son of Abraham D and Jane (Frazer).  This will be his first marriage.  And Bessie Martin (crossed out; Wolfville N.S.) of Newton aged 17 years.  She was born in Wolfville N.S. and was the daughter of Marsden and Marian (Chipley).  This will be her first marriage. 

[the mother's name is incorrect here, it was Maria (Shipley).]

I still might have been mystified about this story if it were not for a penciled note on the bottom of the permission slip, which was visible in person, although not on the online copy:

Bessie left for British Provinces Aug 15 before ceremony could be performed.

She left for the British Provinces before the ceremony could be performed.  Really?  Whatever happened to “I’m so sorry, I’ve changed my mind”?  Leaving the country?  I suspect Bessie may have read too many dime novels or seen too many Julia Roberts movies.  So off she went.

I can’t find evidence of her journey so far, but perhaps I will someday.

The City of Newton has done a wonderful job of making original vital records and city directories available online.  But those things aren’t helping me at this point.

Some remaining questions

  • How did a 17-year old leave the country (and eventually return)?  was an adult with her?
  • Why was “May” the witness to the permission slip?  Sister May was 14 at the time.  Could the mother, Maria, possibly have been called May?
  • Is this really what it seems to be?  Or is there something here that I’m not aware of?
  • Grand Pre and Wolfville are adjacent towns in Kings County, Nova Scotia.  Did the young couple know each other there?
  • Where exactly in Newton were Bessie and her family residing at this time?
  • When exactly did the family come to Massachusetts?

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Bessie Martin Baldwin, 1870-1897

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The Boston Transcript newspaper (or Boston Evening Transcript) is sometimes cited as a source of genealogical information about New England families.  For a long time, I wondered about that.  Eventually I noted some entries I wanted to see, and accessed it on microfilm at the New England Historic Genealogical Society library and more recently, online.

The Boston Transcript

The Boston Transcript was a Boston, Massachusetts newspaper that regularly carried a page of genealogical questions and answers.  That feature ran for several decades in the late 1800’s/early 1900’s.

It is indexed in the books of the AGBI (American Genealogical and Biographical Index) published by the Godfrey Memorial Library (Middletown, Connecticut) and carried in many libraries that have significant genealogical holdings.  The AGBI, and therefore the Boston Transcript genealogy column, is also found on Ancestry.com, as an index only.

Here is what the top of the Genealogy page looks like:

The Genealogical section usually takes up one page, or less.

The Genealogical section usually takes up one page, or less.

A sample entry:

This is a simple Question entry – note that it has a number

This is an Answer entry:

This sample Answer I pulled out relates to a family that moved from Martha’s Vinyard to Lebanon, Conn. – just like my Martins

A sample Notes entry:

These notes relate to Gashet/Pitts/Godfrey – I believe these families fall in the early part of my Baldwin tree

Genealogists from around the country could subscribe to just the Monday and Wednesday papers if they chose.

You Can Access the Boston Transcript for Free

Many issues from the period 1873-1915 of the Boston Transcript are available on Google News Archives.

Honestly, this looks so intriguing.  Some of the entries were very long and informative.  While the shorter queries and answers were not footnoted (by a long shot), sources were sometimes mentioned (such as “I saw in the Sudbury birth records …” or “Savage says …”).  In the longer pieces, genealogical journals are often cited and longer quotes are sometimes given from wills and deeds.  The longer Notes are often more like conversations among experts.

The 1905 Facebook?  Blog?   RSS Feed?

In many ways, the whole experience reminds me of the random connections one can make while blogging or otherwise communing on the internet.  You never know what you will find, and if you can see a source, that can be a great clue.  And even if it’s not your family, it can be fun to see what everyone else is doing.  I think the experience of perusing it on Monday and Wednesday evenings  must have been very similar to pulling up an RSS feed or a social networking page.  Something to look forward to.

Just by randomly opening a few pages while writing this post, I stumbled upon some items of interest to me (above) and an article (below) about my ancestor Brotherton Martin, son of Thomas.  I had already traced his unusual migration from Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., to Lebanon, Conn., to Horton, Kings, Nova Scotia in the 1700’s.  But the article in the “Notes” section is a conversational speculation about the Martin family from someone who was clearly an expert.  I had never noticed this article coming up in an Ancestry.com search; to see it, one must either link directly to the AGBI Index on Ancestry.com, or do a general search there and choose “Stories, Memories and Histories” and then “Family Histories, Journals, and Biographies”.

Martin Family article, signed “B.A.”, May 1, 1905, page 12

Martin Note, part 2

Martin Note, part 3

The Note is by “B.A.” – that doesn’t seem likely to be the Martha’s Vineyard historian, Charles Edward Banks – but maybe it is.

How to find issues NOT on Google News

If you are anxious to get an entry that you’ve seen in the AGBI, but can’t find on Google News, the Godfrey Memorial Library accepts orders for Boston Transcript Genealogical column entries.  They can be ordered for $10 each, use the form from this web page at the Godfrey Library website.  If there are other sources, I will be happy to list them here in the future.

What’s Next

Now that I know how to access the Boston Transcript up to 1915 from home, I’m going to use it more.

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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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In the last two posts we learned that my great grandmother Bessie was from Nova Scotia and that she married and passed away in Newton, Mass.

My grandfather saw little or nothing of the Martins after Bessie’s death.  When I began researching them I figured out a bit about Bessie’s mother’s family, the Shipleys.  I was stuck on Bessie’s father Marston Martin and getting nowhere.

Then an Ancestry.com thing happened

Marston has been in my Ancestry.com tree for a couple years.  One day, I noticed that someone had saved Bessie and Clara’s pictures to another family tree.  Although I’ve had some false alarms in the past, of thinking there might be a connection only to find something was wrong, I looked through the other tree carefully.  What I found astonished me.  Marston’s parents were there, James and Margaret Martin, just as advertised in the Nova Scotia marriage license.  Margaret was an Anderson.  As I clicked way back through the Martin tree I was amazed to see the birthplace of  “Lebanon, Connecticut” and, even earlier, “Edgartown” (that’s on Martha’s Vinyard, Massachusetts).

I wrote to the tree owner and we began a correspondence.  He’s very nice and a good genealogist.  Years ago, his wife’s mother told him some family stories and, in consultation with her, he began to research her family and document the tree.  His mother in law knew of Marston, who “had gone down to the states”.  The family called him Mars. The tree owner actually lives in Wolfville, which he said was a pleasant college town. I was looking for Marston’s life before leaving Nova Scotia.  He was looking for Marston’s life after leaving Nova Scotia. We met on Ancestry.

Meet the Martins, Andersons, Coldwells and Bartletts

He told me that the original Anderson settlers, James and Mary Anderson, were Loyalists from Baltimore.  I have since learned that a number of other descendants have tried to trace him further, with no success.  It’s been fun connecting with those distant cousins, though.

Then he explained that the Martins were New England Planters.  They were recruited in southern New England in the 1750’s to come to Nova Scotia and take over the Acadian land that had belonged to the French before they were expelled by the British in 1755.  Marston’s gg-grandparents Brotherton and Betty Martin were among those that settled in Horton Township.  They are buried in the Old Burying Ground in Wolfville.  The original grant of land stayed in the family for over 200 years although it has now been sold.

My ancestor Brotherton Martin was born to a family of early settlers on Martha's Vinyard

Brotherton Martin was born in Edgartown, Martha’s Vinyard in 1719 but moved as an adult with his brother to Lebanon, Connecticut.  He married Elizabeth Bartlett in Lebanon and they moved to Horton Township around 1761.  My research is preliminary but the Bartletts are part of a group that moved from Duxbury in Plymouth County, Mass. to Lebanon, Connecticut.

So far, I suspect that Betty Bartlett is a Mayflower descendant many times over; her great great grandparents include John Alden and Priscilla Mullins, and her ggg-grandparents include Mayflower passengers William Brewster and Richard Warren.

In closing I can only imagine that Grampa would have been very, very interested in this story.  I can easily imagine him researching these places, people and events.  He knew more about the Baldwins than I have yet found, however I am sure I know more about the Martins.  There was a distinct lack of history and roots in Miles’ life; little did he know his own history was all around him in southern New England.

–Diane

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When we left off in Part One, we found that Bessie married in 1892 in Milton, Massachusetts but had Wolfville, Nova Scotia roots.

Bessie (back) and sister Clara ... hopefully having fun at a fair (those hats can't be for real!)

From an old family photo, and the census records, I know that Bessie had a sister, Clara.  Did the two sisters come to the U.S. on their own?

A little more about Aunt Clara

I had good luck finding some records for Clara.  She married Arthur Beaudry in 1896.  In 1897 (per the Springfield Union, on GenealogyBank.com), she was called back to Springfield to testify about a sad little incident where a neighbor accused her of spending the night in the bedroom of the local homeless shelter keeper (well THAT doesn’t sound tempting).  Clara acquitted herself well; it turns out although she lived down the street, she was out of town during the time in question, but the whole thing makes me wonder how chaotic and difficult their lives were. In that article Clara mentioned visiting a relative, “Mrs. Hendrickson”.  By researching Hendrickson records in Springfield at that time, I discovered that Clara’s aunt, Deliah Shipley Cameron, was living in Springfield and had a daughter who married a Hendrickson.

Combining this knowledge with a Massachusetts birth and death record for Maria and Marston’s youngest child, Daisy, I now knew that Maria and Marston’s whole family, and indeed some extended family, had immigrated to the U.S.  Clara reported in a later census that the immigration year was 1888 but it must have been by 1887, when Marston and Maria’s youngest child was born in Massachusetts.

Clara ... could she be holding her nephew, Miles? or was it a later picture with a child of her own?

Clara went on to have what seemed like a happy life, moving from place to place with her husband Arthur Beaudry, who built church organs.  They eventually settled in Cleveland, Ohio, where I suspect Arthur was employed by the early Holtkamp Organ Company.

Bessie marries

So Bessie Martin arrived in the U.S. as an 18 year old and married Miles Edward Baldwin about four years later.  She was living in Milton, Mass. (no occupation – “at home”) before her marriage and then took up residence in Newton, Mass. where her husband was a watchmaker.  His shop was on Beacon Street opposite Sumner in Newton Center, and “Mr. and Mrs. M.E. Baldwin” were boarding at 85 Erie Avenue in Newton (thanks and a tip of the hat to the folks in Newton who placed a number of old city directories online here).  A peek at Erie Avenue on Google Maps shows it to be quite a nice tree lined street with modest Victorian houses that might pre-date 1893.

Baby Miles "Teddy" Baldwin

Their first child, Miles Edward Baldwin Jr., was born 30 April 1893.  We have a beautiful, faded portrait of grampa as a baby.  When you look at it, you can only think, someone loved this baby very much.

A sad ending

On 14 Mar 1897 their second son, Blanchard Baldwin, was born in Newton.  One day later, Bessie Blanche Martin died.  I had always thought complications of birth caused her death so I was surprised when the death record, found via FamilySearch.org, listed Cancer of the Stomach as the cause of death.

My grandfather was not quite four when she died.  He didn’t remember her.  I suspect Bessie’s mother was gone by this time, Clara had moved west, and so Grampa lost touch completely with this family. He was raised by his father and a stepmother, although he wasn’t particularly welcome in their home.

–Diane

Next time, the surprising history of the Martin family and the heritage that Grampa never knew about. 

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For a person who starts family history research alone, without the prior work of other generations, I think it must be quite common to find stories that we wish we could share with the relatives who are gone.  I was unsure if I would ever learn much about my grandfather’s family, but I was wrong about that; I have learned both good and bad … I have learned a lot.  To know that I know so much more than he ever did is a funny position to be in.

Tintype of Bessie around 1892, the time of her marriage

Bessie Blanche (Martin) Baldwin was my great grandmother, the mother of my grandfather Miles E Baldwin Jr.  The full extent of my family’s knowledge of my great grandmother Bessie before I started researching this a few years ago consisted of:

  • a notation of her name and her parent’s names made by my grandfather
  • we knew that she had died when Miles’ younger brother Blanchard was born
  • a tintype and a few pictures
Surprise Number One

I knew that Bessie’s parents were Marston Martin and Maria (Shipley) Martin.   I knew my grandfather was born in Newton, Mass.  As I looked for the family in census records I was very surprised to find them in the 1871 and 1881 Canadian Census living in Wolfville and Mills, Cumberland County, Nova Scotia.  I asked my mother if she thought Bessie was from Nova Scotia, but she knew nothing about it.  This is one of those occasions when the 1890 U.S. Census would have been a big help because I was wondering when Bessie arrived in Massachusetts and whom she was with.

On FamilySearch.org I found the record for Bessie’s marriage to Miles Edward Baldwin in Newton, Mass. on 1 Sep 1892 along with the record of my grandfather’s birth in 1893.

Back to Nova Scotia

My research then turned to other members of this unknown family.

Marston and Maria married 30 April 1868.  I found this record on Ancestry.com and ordered it through Nova Scotia Historical Vital Statistics.  One thing that jumped out at me at the time was the two sets of parents:

  • James & Margaret Martin
  • James & Margaret Shipley

While the names are common enough, this coincidence seemed important to me, especially as subsequent searches for Marston revealed nothing.  Were the names mis-written in the record?  Was he an orphan or a runaway and didn’t want to give the real names of his parents?

The two witnesses were:

  • John E. Dougherty
  • Obed B. Coldwell

It’s great when the witness names provide clues about the families.  But at the time only Dougherty was helpful to me; it helped me find Maria Shipley Martin’s mother, Margaret Dougherty. I believe John E. Dougherty was Maria’s uncle. Later, I would find out Obed B. Coldwell was Marston’s second cousin.  But at the time, the name got me nowhere.

Yes, I have an ancestor named Marmaduke

The Shipleys have a wonderful story, which time and further skills on my part will bring out, I hope.  I believe one set of Maria’s great grandparents were Robert Innis and Janet Monroe, passengers on The Hector, the well known ship that began the migration from the Scottish Highlands to Nova Scotia.  Another set of great-grandparents were of English descent; she may have a set of ggg-grandparents named Marmaduke Shipley and Elizabeth Spencer.  Hmm, Spencer, could be a royal connection there; I’ll have to check that out sometime.  No hurry, I’ve already missed the royal wedding!

Back to Marston and Maria

Marston and Maria had the following children that I know about; all but the last born in Nova Scotia:

  • Minnie Martin, b. 1869
  • Bessie Blanche Martin, 1869 – 1897
  • May Martin, 1873 -
  • Clara Pearl Martin, 1878 – 1952, married 13 Jun 1896 in Springfield, Mass., pipe organ builder Arthur Lewis Beaudry and lived in Buffalo, NY and Cleveland, Ohio; had children Thelma, Arthur, and Jules
  • John A. Martin, 1880 -
  • Hazel Violet Martin, 1884 – 1908, married 25 Sept 1905 in Somerville, Mass., Frederick Bamblett, no children
  • Daisy Martin, 1887 – 1888, born and died in Needham, Massachusetts

I would love to connect with any descendants.

Next time, the few details of Bessie’s life and death in Massachusetts.  Later, a real breakthrough about the Martins.

– Diane

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