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

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



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

Learning more about the Aldriches

Recently, I have been learning more about Asa Aldrich of Cumberland, Rhode Island and nearby Sheldonville (West Wrentham), Massachusetts.

This recent curiosity began over the past year as I have corresponded a bit with a small group of volunteers who are documenting some cemeteries that my Aldrich and Darling ancestors are buried in, particularly the Sheldonville Cemetery.  The cemetery is in back of a house that has a historic marker for my 5x great grandfather, Nathan Aldrich, in the Sheldonville village in Wrentham.

When I mentioned Nathan Aldrich’s house in an email, one of the volunteers told me something very interesting.  She gave me the address of another house very near to Nathan’s on West Street that had belonged to Asa Aldrich, Nathan’s father.  He is my 6x great grandfather.  She kindly copied the entries for both houses that she found in a booklet by the Wrentham Historical Commission, A Guide to Historic Wrentham, Massachusetts, 1993.  She was sure that the public library had a copy.

This is the story of how that small collaboration led to a lot of new information for me.

A Guide to Historic Wrentham, Massachusetts

A Guide to Historic Wrentham, Massachusetts

Reviewing what I know about Asa Aldrich

I am descended from Asa Aldrich in the following way:

My grandmother Edna Darling is a descendant of Asa Aldrich.

My grandmother Edna Darling is a descendant of Asa Aldrich.

Here is what I knew about Asa Aldrich:

  • Asa Aldrich was born 10 May 1744 in Mendon, Massachusetts (1).   He was the first child born to Jonathan Aldrich and Patience (Gaskill) Aldrich (2).  On his father’s side, he descended from George Aldrich and Fernando Thayer (among the original settlers of Mendon, Massachusetts), and on his mother’s, from early Salem and Ipswich families.  Provided Southwick, Salem’s Quaker daughter who was immortalized in the Whittier poem “Cassandra Southwick” was Asa’s great-great grandmother.
  • He married Lucy Haskell in 1770, daughter of Abner Haskell and Grace (Slack) Haskell.  (Lucy had a twin brother, Comfort Haskell, who served in the Revolutionary War in some Rhode Island militias, and his widow was granted a pension in 1849.  I had not seen many such pensions originating in Rhode Island, and I realized as I read the 57 pages on Fold3.com that many officers and friends were mentioned there. Note to self – any pension record from the town of an ancestor is worth reading, particularly if the ancestor served but left few records. In this case, there is no evidence that Asa served in the war.)
  • Asa and Lucy had two sons recorded in Wrentham, Nathaniel in 1771 and Nathan in 1773 (3).  The other children were recorded in Asa’a probate record, 1826, and in various deeds:  Abigail (Aldrich) Barnes, David Aldrich, Amey (Aldrich) Hancock, Amos Aldrich, and Samuel Aldrich.

And here is what I am learning by consulting new sources:

  • A Suffolk County deed from 1772.  It occurred to me that since Norfolk County deeds, online at FamilySearch, begin in 1793, there must be earlier deeds in a parent county.  That would be Suffolk.  There were some deeds from prior generations there, and a 1772 deed for Asa, who purchased 74 acres from Thomas Jenks of Cumberland, R.I.  The southern bound of the land “borders Hathaway’s” which, based on my previous mappings for Richard Ballou’s property, puts the southern end in Cumberland, R.I.  It’s bound to the West by “Indian Meadow Road” which I believe may be today’s Burnt Swamp Road.  I believe this property was the basis for various gifts of land Asa later gave most of his sons.
The intersection of Burnt Swamp Road (which begins in Cumberland, R.I.) and West Street in Sheldonville.

The intersection of Burnt Swamp Road (which begins in Cumberland, R.I.) and West Street in Sheldonville. This picture was taken in front of the house with the Nathan Aldrich, 1841 plaque.

  • 1782 Rhode Island census lists Asa in Cumberland with a household of six, apparently in neighborhood order, amidst relatives that I am familiar with.
  • 1788, Asa was serving as an overseer of the poor in Cumberland, Rhode Island.  I first learned about this in Unwelcome Americans: Living on the Margin in Early New England by Ruth Wallis Herndon (5).  On the library trip, described below, I found several notes from the town records about Asa’s activities looking after the poor.
  • This one made me laugh.  Asa only appears once in the Records of the Colony of Rhode Island.

[October, 1790].  Whereas, it appears to this Assembly, that Asa Aldrich, an inhabitant of the town of Cumberland, in this state, hath been deemed by the select men of Wrentham, in the commonwealth of Massachusetts, an inhabitant of that town, and in consequence thereof hath been greatly vexed and oppressed.

It is therefore voted and resolved, that His Excellency the Governor, be requested to write to his Excellency the Governor of Massachusetts, representing the state of this matter, and desiring that the select men and inhabitants of the said town of Wrentham, may be directed to surcease all proceedings against the said Asa Aldrich, until the line between said commonwealth and this state, in that part, be settled.  (Volume 10, page 397).

I got a chuckle after years of confusion about whether Asa and his sons really lived in Cumberland or Wrentham, to find that the states of Rhode Island and Massachusetts were likewise befuddled over 230 years ago.  I’m not feeling so stupid now.

In a situation like this, you always ask yourself whether the person stayed in one spot, but the county/state lines changed.  I now think Asa may have moved, living first on the Rhode Island end of his property, but later in life, on the Massachusetts side.

  • Sheldonville Baptist Church:  I had seen in Mrs. Sprague’s manuscript about Cumberland (4) in the Rhode Island Historical Society Library that the Aldriches were Baptists.  Several of my direct line were married by Justices of the Peace, but I know that in 1873 Asa’a great granddaughter Abby Darling married Julius Mead at the Sheldonville Baptist Church.  When I visited Sheldonville, there was the church itself, within view of the houses my ancestors lived in.  How involved were they?  I need to explore this further.
  • 1790 census.  After the additional research I’ve done in maps, graves, and other records, when I look at the 1790 census it immediately jumps out at me that Asa is next to his father in law, Abner Haskell, and his wife’s twin brother, Comfort Haskell.  Since there are still some Haskells located on the 1838 Cumberland map given to me by John Tew (see his blog post here for how to get the map), that further clarifies the location of Asa’s house as being on the western edge of Sumner Brown Road.

    Sheldonville, 1888 map showing the location of the cemetery, Nathan's former house, and Asa'a former house.

    Sheldonville, 1888 map showing the location of the cemetery on Burnt Swamp Road, Nathan’s former house, and Asa’a former house.

  • Asa’s house in Sheldonville.  Thanks to my contacts at Find A Grave, I was alerted to Asa’s house in Sheldonville, and drove up to see it, see below.
  • Asa and Lucy’s graves.  I also found, thanks to the entries of those same volunteers of the West Wrentham Cemetery, Asa and Lucy’s graves, see below.
  • Asa’s 1826 probate situation is complicated since it seems to have been processed both in Wrentham, Mass and Cumberland, R.I. , and involved a dispute that I cannot really understand.  I am still gathering the complete documents.

A trip to Sheldonville

I visited the West Wrentham Cemetery recently to look for the graves of Asa and Lucy (Haskell) Aldrich.  There were pictures on Find A Grave, of rounded gray markers with the small shoulders rather common for the early 1800’s.  I thought I could find them easily, but as I looked around I realized most of the graves looked exactly like that.

West Wrentham Cemetery

West Wrentham Cemetery.

I finally found them, over to one side.  Asa and Lucy have matching stones, surrounded by names I’m not familiar with.  But in other parts of the cemetery, I spotted many members of Lucy’s family.  Over the course of this particular search I grew much more familiar with all the siblings and spouses.  Looking at early maps, cemeteries, and town notes now, I am starting to recognize most of Sheldonville’s early population.

Graves of Asa and Lucy (Haskell) Aldrich

Graves of Asa and Lucy (Haskell) Aldrich.

The Fiske Public Library, Wrentham

As I prepared from home to visit the Fiske Public Library to see the Guide to Historic Wrentham I didn’t note anything special on the website.  The day of my visit, I found the library down a side street, parked and entered, and inquired about the booklet.  I was quite surprised when the librarian asked if I was looking for the Genealogy Room.  Well, sure I was.  That sounded good.

Fiske Public  Library, Wrentham

Fiske Public Library, Wrentham

The Genealogy Room was an attractive, quiet space lined with books.  There was a microfilm reader and a small collection of useful microfilm.  I photographed the boxes of microfilm so I would have the titles.

The Genealogy Room at the library, donated by the Ross Family.

The Genealogy Room at the library, donated by the Ross Family.

One very notable feature of the collection was the Wrentham Historical Society MacDougald Collection, a large set of binders covering one wall, containing a huge variety of information about historic Wrentham.  I looked through 10 or 20 of the binders; they are well indexed and hold notes, lists, clippings, abstracts, letters, and copies of all sorts of documentation such as cemetery records, maps, family history, and town business.

A few of the many binders of the MacDougald Collection

A few of the many binders of the MacDougald Collection

I photographed so many pages, particularly of the cemetery plot information and the abstracts of town business (sorted by name), that I went through the two camera batteries I had and started on my phone camera.

One interesting item that I found in the “Aldrich” pages was a study of Asa and Lucy’s son Amos Aldrich, one of the first boat builders in Sheldonville, an area known for boat building.

Another thing I learned, in my reading of the Guide to Historic Wrentham, was that Asa’s son Nathan Aldrich, my 5x-great grandfather, was “a local farmer and builder, who built many houses in Sheldonville”.  Two that still exist today are 57 Hancock Street, c1840, and 63 Burnt Swamp Road.  I had usually seen him described as a farmer, but like many New England farmers he clearly pursued other work as well.  At last, a detail about my ancestors that my husband, the woodworker, might appreciate.

Asa’s house

The volunteers told me about the book A Guide to Historic Wrentham, Massachusetts.  Perusing the book at the library gave me the following information about 995 West Street:

[Simple Georgian - 1816]: This house with gable end to the street and entrance on the side has retained its old corner trim, cornice, cornice returns, doorframe and fine proportions.  There is a shed dormer on the rear and the usual center chimney.

The first owner was Asa Aldrich; the second was his son, Nathan.  Subsequent owners were boat builders, Charles Follett in 1859 and Charles J. Farmer by the turn of the century.

Asa Aldrich's house in Sheldonville, from rather late in life, 1814.

Asa Aldrich’s house in Sheldonville, from rather late in his life, 1816.

If Asa was the original owner, I have to wonder if Nathan built this house, in fact it resembles other houses pictured in the Historic Wrentham booklet.

In conclusion

It meant a lot to me to find another house of my ancestors, particularly one almost 200 years old.  If, according to the booklet, Nathan Aldrich lived in this house later in life (from the deeds I can see that he sold the house with the plaque to his son William in the 1840’s, and William ultimately sold it and moved away) then this one could be the house where Nathan was enumerated in 1850 and 1860, with his grandson Ellis Aldrich Darling, my 3x-great grandfather, and his family, and where my great-great grandfather Addison Parmenter Darling was born in 1856.  Addison left Sheldonville in 1872, as a teenager, to learn silver engraving with his new brother-in-law in the city of Providence.  Many years later, my great grandmother asked my folks to take a drive with her up to Sheldonville, to see if she could spot the house where her father-in-law had been born, but she couldn’t pick it out.

Now, perhaps we’ve found it.


(1)  Town and City Clerks of Massachusetts, Massachusetts Vital and Town Records, 1620-1988 , database, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com, accessed 19 May 2014), entry for Asa Aldrich (Mendon, Births, p. 80).

(2)  Aldrich, Ralph Ernest.  The Aldrich Family Genealogy : Descendants of George Aldrich of Mendon, Mass. Part E: Jacob. National Aldrich Association, 1998.  

(3)  Vital Records of Wrentham, Massachusetts, to the Year 1850. Boston:  1910. Volume 1, Births.  Entry for Nathan and Nathaniel Aldrich, page 11.

(4)  Sprague, Mrs. Abigail.  Unpublished notes, History of Cumberland.  c 1890-1906.  Rhode Island Historical Society MSS 1023.    Box 1, folder 43: Hathaway Mills neighborhood.   Box 2, folder 32: Aldrich family.   Box 2, folder 40:  Ballou.

(5) Herndon, Ruth Wallis. Unwelcome Americans (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2001).

The post you are reading is located at:  http://onerhodeislandfamily.com/2016/05/14/sources-for-asa-aldrich/

sheldonville post cardColor photos by Diane Boumenot, 2014.

Recently, I realized that I have not been using the census taken in Rhode Island in 1782 very much.  While records from a few towns did not survive, lists for most towns survive as a manuscript in the Rhode Island Historical Society Library and, I believe, on microfilm there.  General categories for age, gender and race were included in the original records, and names for heads of households (only) were collected.

A transcription of the entries by Katharine U. Waterman appears in several volumes of the New England Historical and Genealogical Register from the 1970’s.  Mrs. Waterman’s work, published after her death, appears in eleven issues between 1973 and 1975.  The order of entries in each town follows the order of the original manuscripts – in some cases, alphabetical, in some cases, not alphabetical. Often, non-alphabetical census lists reflect neighborhoods and proximity in some way, but I have to admit these particular sets appear to be oddly jumbled, sometimes partly alphabetized, so you may see the people you are looking for in relation to their neighbors, but don’t count on that.

1753 map from Plan for the British Dominions of New England and North America by William Douglas MD.

1753 map of Rhode Island from a larger map, Plan for the British Dominions of New England and North America by William Douglas MD.

New England Historical and Genealogical Register

“The Rhode Island Census of 1782 transcribed by the late Katharine U. Waterman of North Scituate, Rhode Island”

- vol. 127, no. 1, January 1973:

  • Introduction explaining the call by the Continental Congress for the information to be collected by the states, the resolution passed by the Rhode Island General Assembly, and Mrs. Waterman’s arrangements and symbols – page 3 – 5.  The introduction explains that five of the lists are missing:  Barrington, Johnston, North Providence, Richmond and Smithfield.
  • Note especially the explanation of symbols on pages 4 – 5.  The members of each household are broken down in categories by gender, age and race.
  • Newport, page 5 – 17

- vol. 127, no. 2, April 1973:

  • Newport cont., page 138 – 142
  • Middletown, page 142 – 147
  • Tiverton, page 142 – 150

- vol. 127, no. 3, July 1973:

  • Tiverton cont., page 216 – 218
  • Little Compton, page 218 – 222
  • Providence, page 222 – 229

- vol. 127, no. 4, October 1973:

  • Providence cont., page 302 – 312

- vol. 128, no. 1, January 1974:

  • Providence cont., page 49 – 50
  • Cranston, page 50 – 55
  • Gloucester, page 55 – 63

- vol. 128, no. 2, April 1974:

  • South Kingston, page 124 – 130
  • North Kingstown, page 130 – 135

- vol. 128, no. 3, July 1974:

  • North Kingston cont., page 215
  • Charlestown, page 215 – 219
  • Westerly, page 219 – 224
  • Exeter, page 224

- vol. 128, no. 4, October 1974:

  • Exeter cont., page 293 – 303
  • East Greenwich, page 303 – 304

- vol. 129, no. 1, January 1975:

  • East Greenwich cont., page 53 – 57
  • West Greenwich, page 57 – 62
  • Coventry, page 62  – 67

- vol. 129, no. 3, July 1975:

  • Coventry cont., page 270
  • Warwick, page 270 – 277

- vol. 129, no. 4, October 1975:

  • Warwick cont., page 379 – 380
  • Bristol, page 380 – 383
  • Cumberland, page 383 – 387

How to see these articles

For New England Historic Genealogical Society members, each article can be viewed online at American Ancestors.org using the “Search” screen (selecting New England Historic and Genealogical Register from the “Database” field, and the Volume and Page).  This will lead you to search results that can be clicked through to browse the articles.  Of course, one could actually search for a name on that page, but beware not all names were recorded with the spelling we would expect today.

For others, the volumes should be found in genealogical libraries, or possibly through special arrangement with your local library.

The 1790 and 1800 census books, as well as the 1747 booklet and Bartlett's 1774 version of the census returns were purchased used.  The "Military Census of 1777" was a recent purchase from Genealogical.com.

Some compiled census books.  The 1790 and 1800 federal census books, as well as the 1747 booklet and Bartlett’s version of the 1774 census were purchased used. The “Military Census of 1777″ was a recent purchase from Genealogical.com.

More about Rhode Island census records

To learn more about early census records, a knowledgeable discussion of Rhode Island census records can be found in the article Early Rhode Island Censuses by Cherry Fletcher Bamburg, FASG, which is located on the Rhode Island Genealogical Society website.

The post you are reading is located at:  http://onerhodeislandfamily.com/2014/05/18/rhode-island-census-of-1782


My search for the origins of my Loyalist ancestor, James Anderson, originally of Baltimore, has brought me some new information, mostly in the form of pictures.  My previous posts on James Anderson cover his timeline and Loyalist claim, including sources, and his privateer activities.

My grandfather Miles Baldwin is a descendant of James Anderson

My grandfather Miles Baldwin is a descendant of James Anderson

Fells Point

Recently, I was able to visit Baltimore and see the spot where, we believe, James Anderson built a brick house, on Thames Street by the water in Fells Point.  I was surprised to learn that Fells Point has a long history of privateers, and privateers of the War of 1812 era are celebrated in an annual Privateer Festival.  So whatever attracted James to Baltimore (I don’t believe he was born there, but we don’t know where he was born) may have included the kind of marine activities he was interested in.  I believe the 1770’s were early days for Fells Point privateers, so he was part of that.

James Anderson purchased the property from John Bond in 1772 as Lot #22 on Thames Street, Fell’s Point.  My cousin who has been searching for James Anderson’s roots much longer than me, Pat Hagan, had advised me that the spot was roughly at the intersection of Bond and Thames.  We knew it was on the water side because of a 1777 ad in the Maryland Journal describing the auction of the Brigantine Mary-Ann and contents in James’ backyard.  While we are still trying to locate a copy of the map of those original Fells Point lots, he had been told on his own visit to Baltimore that this was the spot, and so that is where I visited.

Corner of Thames and Bond Streets, Fell's Point.  This 1792 map by A.P. Folie is a from the Library of Congress, g3844b ct000792 http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.gmd/g3844b.ct000792

Corner of Thames and Bond Streets, Fell’s Point. This 1792 map by A.P. Folie is from the Library of Congress, http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.gmd/g3844b.ct000792

From home, I prepared many maps and visited all the streets in advance on Google maps.

The intersection of Thames and Bond Street, Fells Point, looking out on the water.

The intersection of Thames and Bond Street, Fells Point, looking out on the water.

A visit to Baltimore

During a recent visit to Baltimore I took a cab over to Bond and Thames and the cab driver obligingly waited while I wandered around snapping photos.  The spot I was there to visit actually consisted of a long, wide dock, with a very old brick warehouse running along one side, now in use as shops and restaurants.

Looking towards downtown from Fells Point.

Looking towards downtown from Fells Point.

My first impression was that 235 years had not completely changed the setting.  There were wharves and ships, brick buildings, shops and restaurants and, just inland, old two- and three-story buildings obviously still used as homes.  The water itself was timeless and beautiful.  Baltimore, then and now, could be seen across the way.

A house across Thames Street, also serving as a shop.

A house across Thames Street, also serving as a shop.

I noticed the cobblestone streets and charming brick buildings.  One across the way was serving as a shop.

The cobblestone streets and old houses and shops lined Bond Street.

The cobblestone streets … old houses and shops lined Bond Street on a cold January day.

I was charmed by the setting and found myself picturing sloops anchored offshore and the busy streets filled with sailors, ship owners, and their families.

Bond Street Wharf Building at the corner of Bond and Thames.

Bond Street Wharf Building at the corner of Bond and Thames.

I’m always afraid, when I visit somewhere, that my ancestor’s stomping ground will now be a convenience store.  But in this case, I did get a sense of the sailors and captains walking through cobbled streets (legend has it the streets are made from ship’s ballast) amidst homes, gardens, taverns, children, women running shops, and every kind of sea-craft along shore.

A picture of James Anderson’s son

Prior to my visit to Baltimore this winter, my wonderful cousin Pat Hagan also managed to send me something I have long heard about, and never seen, the photographs of James’ Anderson’s son (my 4th great grandfather) John Secomb Anderson and his wife (my fourth great grandmother) Elizabeth Hardacker Anderson.  They are property of the Nova Scotia descendants, and those kind folks have given permission for these copies to be placed here.

John Secomb Anderson, 1790-1869

John Secomb Anderson, 1790-1869

These are the first pictures I have seen of direct ancestors born in the 1700’s.  Exciting!  The picture of John Secomb Anderson (named, I believe, for a popular local minister in Nova Scotia) is the only idea we have of James’ appearance.  I can’t help but imagine that  the adventurous James Anderson’s expression was never so severe. But John lost his father early in life, and perhaps was not greatly influenced by him.

Elizabeth Hardacker Anderson, 1789-1871

Elizabeth Hardacker Anderson, 1789-1871

Naval history

In addition to sources I’ve mentioned in my first and second posts on James Anderson, I am trying to learn more about his dealings with the American and British navies.  The series “Naval Documents of the American Revolution” is what I am exploring right now.  Each of the 11 volumes can be downloaded from the website of the American Naval Records Society and contains an index.  The stories in the books are descriptive and fascinating, although it is challenging to know which refer to this James Anderson.

In closing

Did seeing Thames Street help my research?  I actually think it did.  Being in Fells Point alerted me to the early days of Fells Point privateers.  Since there is no evidence yet that James came from an early Baltimore family, the privateering gives me an idea of what might have drawn him to Fells Point from somewhere else.  All in all, it helps to picture what I’m researching.

Lately, my cousins and I have been learning more about other Andersons in the counties surrounding Baltimore. There is another cousin, Bonnie, also working on this, and other relatives cheering us on.  A 1729 deed was sent to me by Pat Hagan for 100 acres of  “Sunken Islands” property sold to a James Anderson of Anne Arundell County, Maryland by Philip Jones, Junr.  Could that James be a father or grandfather? A historian that I mentioned in my second post, Richard D. Pougher, sent us a story from the 1750’s about Captain John Anderson and the Brigantine Betsey.  Other sources also refer to various early seafaring Andersons.  Somehow, I feel like we are compiling so many clues, that we will manage someday to put them together to tell the story of where James Anderson came from.

Last but not least, a direct male descendant of James Anderson in Canada has agreed to supply DNA for a Y-DNA test.  This is our first foray into DNA testing, and we will see if it helps at all.

The post you are reading is located at:  http://onerhodeislandfamily.com/2014/05/08/picturing-james-anderson



My Samsung Galaxy Note II is very useful to me in a lot of ways. It’s an Android phone with a large screen.  These are some of the ways I use it for genealogy, and perhaps others have useful tips to leave here also.

Midge Frazel dubbed this the "genea-phone".  I like that.

Midge Frazel dubbed this the “genea-phone.”  I like that.

  • Access my Ancestry.com trees.  Anywhere I am – on a cemetery trip, in a library, meeting another genealogist, or just sitting around reading, I can access my Ancestry.com tree using the app on my phone.  It’s actually quite full-featured and useful and contains all the documents you’ve attached to a person.  I’ve been known to pull the car over in a neighborhood and click through all the way to an old census page, looking for an address. 
  • Use the directions feature on Google maps to navigate.  If I’m going somewhere for the first time, like a cemetery or town hall, I set up the Google maps app to speak the instructions to me while I’m driving.  This works pretty well for me.  I hate to count on it though, because even with a reliable carrier, the signal can get out of range in a remote location, so I try to have some type of paper map, usually printed the night before OR a saved snapshot from the map site.
  • Scan books.  I had a post a while back about turning my cell phone into a book scanner.  I find that the scanning goes amazingly fast, however, processing those pages into a set, checking for errors and regulating the size of the final document took some getting used to.  With practice I should get pretty fast at that. 
Many applications will pull up a "Add to home screen" choice for the particular picture or document you are on.

Many applications will pull up a “Add to home screen” choice for the particular picture or document you are on.

  • Place directions or notes on the home screen when going to a repository. I use Evernote for all notes about repositories including directions, open hours, and my to-do list in each location.  I find it helpful, in advance of a trip, to add the specific Evernote page I need to my home screen.  Then there’s less fumbling around. 
  • Use as a camera.  Of course I usually bring my camera for a planned trip, but it’s nice to have a backup and emergency camera for times when I forget the camera or didn’t know I would need it. This is especially important because I never photocopy, I always take pictures.  Cell phone cameras are getting better and better. When I get back to my computer, the pictures have automatically uploaded to DropBox already.  
  • Read books on the Kindle app.  My phone is also a source of genealogy books in a pinch since the Kindle app works really well.  Waiting in a doctor’s office or waiting to pick someone up, it’s great to spend 15 minutes reading. 
My Dropbox account is very simple.

My Dropbox account is very simple.

  • Access documents anywhere.  Like all genealogists I have a large collection of pdf books and all types of documents on my computer at home.  Through Dropbox, I can access them at any time through my cell phone, tablet, or another computer. I had a bad experience early on with Dropbox, but Dropbox and I started getting along a lot better when I limited my Dropbox account to just three folders – my book folder, my document folder, and my cell phone picture folder.  It’s not unusual for me to be out at a library, say, and want to see a deed I had photographed a year before.  I do pay for a large-size Dropbox account.  Knowing that my work is safe is very important to me. 
  • Use the Amazon app.  I tend to use libraries as a way to preview older books I might like to own.  This is especially true since most reference books do not circulate, or I may be visiting a library far from home. Using the Amazon app, I quickly track down the exact book and see what used copies are available, and often buy them right there.
There are numerous pictures of my book shelves in my phone, for checking whether I already own something.

There are numerous pictures of my book shelves in my phone, for checking whether I already own something.

I keep track of the books I already have at home by photographing each shelf regularly, so when away from home I can quickly find the shelf picture, zoom in and make sure I don’t have it.

  • Keep up with podcasts.  I use long drives as a way to catch up on all my favorite genealogy podcasts like Marian Pierre-Louis’ Fieldstone Common, or The Genealogy Guys.  I have a simple little cord that plugs my phone into the “AUX” plug in my car, allowing me to hear the show on the car radio.  I also try to plug the car charger in so I don’t wear down the battery.  
When the keyboard is displaying, you can change it to a microphone instead.

When the keyboard is displaying, you can change it to a microphone instead.

  • This is the one you won’t really believe.  I actually transcribe long documents using my cell phone.  I discovered this by accident, really, noticing the little microphone every time I typed an email on my phone.  I tried dictating the email message instead, and it worked beautifully.  It is not quite so perfect transcribing old documents, but useful enough that I prefer it to typing.  I dictate slowly and clearly into a gmail message (you need to speak the punctuation, like “comma”), then email it to myself and pull it up on my computer. When working on a court case from Vermont, 1816, I read the entire record aloud  in about a half hour, then corrected it.    I’m sure others have far more sophisticated set ups for this, but it works for me, and it’s free. 

The post you are reading is located at:  http://onerhodeislandfamily.com/2015/02/27/my-smart-phone/



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