My days at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City this winter, aided by my research notebook, gave me the opportunity to pursue many record sets that I had not used before.  Of course many of those turned out not to have the possible record I was seeking. I am recording all those negative results, and also taking a careful look at what I did find.

Russell Lamphere

I have been pursuing the unusual story of my ggg-grandfather Russell Lamphere (1817-1898), who moved his family from Norwich, Connecticut to Tuscaloosa, Alabama in the 1850’s to start a business, and returned by 1875 to Johnston, Rhode Island where he attempted to launch another business.  Russell was a metalworker/machinist, and often worked as an overseer in cotton mills, but what the business was exactly, I don’t know.  The most intriguing thing I know about him is that a congressional bill for relief was submitted to the U.S. House of Representatives three times in the 1880’s seeking reparations for his losses during the Civil War – totaling $50,000.  I have to know what this was.  I just have to.

Norwich Town from the East.  from History of Norwich, Connecticut, from its settl... p.front

Norwich Town from the East. from History of Norwich, Connecticut, (Caulkins, 1845), frontispiece

Partnerships in Tuscaloosa

Recently, a perceptive reader pointed out to me that pursuing the wealthy, better documented industrial families of Norwich might reveal a business interest in Tuscaloosa, Alabama … possibly a partner for Russell. She pointed out that it could even explain the relationship with Congressman John Turner Wait.  I have stalked Mr Wait and his connections for years and have yet to turn up a plausible link to Russell. So it’s time to pursue this idea, and I am planning a visit to Norwich where I will follow up a bit more on that this summer.  It makes a lot of sense because Russell, a metalworker, often worked as an overseer in cotton mills and I suspect his expertise was in the machinery itself … the kind of expertise a wealthy mill owner would probably want to bring with him to Alabama.

In what might have been a later partnership, Russell lost his business partner William B Murrell (a native of North Carolina) to death before February, 1861.  An ad appeared in the Independent Monitor of February 1, 1861, page 2:

Russell Lamphere's business Partner, Wm B Murrell, died in

Russell Lamphere’s business Partner, Wm B Murrell, had died by 1861. Independent Monitor, Tuscaloosa, Ala., 1 Feb 1861, p. 2

But there were no property or probate records for Murrell in Tuscaloosa.

Looking for property in Tuscaloosa

I didn’t know if Russell had ever purchased property in Tuscaloosa, so this was my chance to go through Tuscaloosa deeds.  Nothing turned up.  I wasn’t too surprised.  I knew by this ad in the Independent Monitor that he was running a shop in “a house” that was formerly a book store – I could imagine the family might live in the back or upstairs.  It always struck me as rental property.

The business Russell advertised after the death of his partner.

The business Russell advertised after the death of his partner.  Independent Monitor, Tuscaloosa, Ala, 29 March 1861, p. 3

But while I was at it, I also noted the film numbers for deeds back in Norwich, Connecticut, where Russell was born and married, and where his father had lived since 1807.  I realized I had never examined any deeds from there, mostly because I didn’t really expect that they owned property.  I haven’t worked on Russell in a long time, and I think on my previous visits to Norwich, years ago, I wasn’t used to looking at deeds and didn’t realize that they revealed so much.  Rookie mistake, of course.

Property in Norwich, Connecticut

And so I learned that they did, indeed, own property, through some strange and convoluted transactions.  I captured images from microfilm and have been examining them for a couple of weeks.

History of Norwich, Connecticut, (Caulkins, 1845). p.185

from History of Norwich, Connecticut, (Caulkins, 1845). p.185

There were six transactions:

  1. Henry Palmer sold to Russell Lamphere and Russell Lamphere Jr for $200 a tract of land with one half of a dwelling house in the village of Greeneville, Norwich, near Main & Sixth Streets. ALWAYS PROVIDED … notes of hand … well and truly paid with interest  … one year from date (this is just a mortgage).  2 Aug 1845 (52:548).
  2. William Phillips, Conservator of John J Denison of Norwich … a lunatic and distracted person … for $545 paid by Russell Lamphere (who was the highest bidder) certain parcel of land … said homestead … the portion NOT sold to Dwight L. Phillips …  (refers to deeds from 1828 and 1839 for full description).  9 Jun 1847 (54:382).
  3. Dwight L Phillips of Norwich … for $175 received of Russell Lamphere 2nd of said Town … a certain tract of land at Norwich Falls (same property as conveyed to me by William Phillips Conservator of John J. Denison 28 April 1846 – p. 357 – a portion of the old homestead of said John J. Denison, the remainder of which is this day deeded… to Russell Lamphere.  9 Jun 1847 (54:383).
  4. Russell Lamphere 2d of Norwich … for $400 … received of John J. Denison … a certain lot of land situated in the Town of Norwich at Norwich Falls … the same property as was conveyed to me this day … from William Phillips … and all the buildings thereon standing … ALWAYS PROVIDED … I am justly indebted to him for … the sum of 400 dollars with annual interest … if I do well and truly pay … this present deed to be void (this is just a mortgage) … 9 Jun 1847 (54:384).
  5. Russell Lamphere 2d of Norwich … for $175 … received of Dwight L. Phillips … do sell … two parcels of land … in the town of Norwich … with the buildings thereon standing … being the same parcels of land as have this day been deeded to me the one from William Phillips as Conservator of John J Denison and fully described in said deed from Wm Phillips to me and the other fully described in a deed from Dwight L. Phillips to me, the whole comprising all the old homestead of John J Denison … ALWAYS PROVIDED … I am indebted to D.L. Phillips by my note … the sum of $175 … if I pay … this present deed to be null and void.  9 Jun 1847 (54:385).
  6. Russell Lamphere Junior of Montville … for $100 received … quit-claim unto said John Eggleston of Norwich a certain tract of land situate in Norwich, being a part or portion of the “No Man’s Acre” lot, so called … North side of the highway leading from the Methodist Chapel, at Norwich Falls, to the Paper Mill Bridge … meaning to convey in this conveyance, all the buildings on said land, and all appurtenances and privileges … being the land and premises which were conveyed to me by Thames Manufg Co by two deeds, one of which is dated Feb. 28, 1828, and is recorded in Norwich, in the 40th Book of Deeds, at the 527th page, and the other bears the date the 1st day of April 1828, and is recorded in said records, Book 44st at page 43, to which reference is had … set my hand and seal … 15 May 1851 (57:384).

Panic ensues

As I read deed #6 I realized that when I perused these deeds at the Family History Library, I missed the point that the property had been acquired by Russell Lamphere 2nd in 1828.  Although Russell’s birth was apparently unrecorded, he consistently reported a birth year of 1817 or 1818.  He can’t have purchased the property from the Thames Manuf. Co. at the age of 10 or 11.  And it couldn’t be Russell Lamphere, Sr. since his father’s name was Daniel (by 1850, “Jr.” or “2nd” was very likely to have the same meaning that it has today). Not only that, but Russell was recorded in the 1850 census living in Norwich.  I wasn’t sure what “of Montville” was referring to in an 1851 deed.

I have studied the name Lamphere in Norwich for a long time.  All Lampheres at the Falls seem to be Russell Lamphere 2nd’s parents or siblings. The idea that ANOTHER, older Russell Lamphere 2nd was hanging around the Falls buying property was quite a lot to take in.  I really, really had to know what those 1828 deeds said.  It was the first morning of the NERGC conference.  I realized it was one of the few days I would have off of work for a couple of months.  So, I made a quick trip to Norwich before attending the conference that day.  It was a genealogy emergency.

The Falls in Norwich, on the Yantic River, from Map of New London County, Connecticut, Walling, 1854.

The Falls in Norwich, on the Yantic River, from Map of New London County, Connecticut, Walling, 1854.  I believe this section compiles a couple of busy neighborhoods because the Shetucket River and Greeneville (the reddish factories shown in the top corner) are actually to the south and west of the Falls neighborhood.

A quick visit to Norwich City Hall

The town hall had binders of photocopied pages on display in place of the oldest deed books.  I couldn’t photograph them; their system required that I pay for them to remove and photocopy the pages, which was fine. I easily found the deeds thanks to the clear citations in the 1851 deed.  Sure enough:

  • Deed 40:527 was a deed for part of “No Man’s Acre” being sold for $870 to Stephen Remington, by the Thames Manufacturing Co., 28 Feb 1828, signed by William P Greene and Williams C. Gilman.
  • Deed 44:43 was for an additional portion of the “No Man’s Acre” also sold to Stephen Remington for $100, 1 April 1828.

I investigated the Thames Manufacturing Company and found a good overview of the establishment of the various mills and factories at the Falls in Modern History of New London County, Chapter VI, “The City of Norwich” (particularly p. 150-152).  Some businesses failed during the panic of 1837, and the buildings were later re-used by new companies. I can only conclude that the phrase “conveyed to me” in the 1851 deed was simply an error.  Many portions of deeds were copied (I recognized the descriptions from deed to deed) and the deeds recorded in the town hall are, themselves, copies.  Careless wording could have happened at any point.

Don’t look now, but I think I just passed some sort of genealogy milestone.  I found my first mistake in a deed.

Studying the map

Once I got to the conference, I found a CD for sale of Walling’s 1854 map of New London County from Old-Maps.  The Falls section, pictured above, shows the Falls Mfg. Company site, which was the former location of the Thames Mfg. Co.  Because I have been to Yantic Cemetery several times, I realized the earliest section (where Russell and Hannah Lamphere are buried) was shown on the map as “Cemetery.”

An 1833 map of Norwich by William Lester, from the David Rumsey Map Collection, shows a different view of The Falls.  The orange spot is near the original section of Yantic Cemetery; it may possibly be the Methodist Church.

An 1833 map of Norwich by William Lester, from the David Rumsey Map Collection, shows a different view of The Falls. The orange spot is near the original section of Yantic Cemetery; could there have been an early church there? The map legend suggest it might be a Methodist Church. Or, it could just be the early part of the cemetery.

The story the deeds are telling

  • Russell Lamphere and his father gave a $200 mortgage in 1845 to Russell’s brother-in-law, Henry Palmer (married since 1830 to Russell’s oldest sister, Lydia Lamphere).
  • The transactions in deeds 2, 3, 4 and 5 all occurred on the same day, 9 Jun 1847.  Russell purchased, in two separate transactions, the full property of lunatic John J. Denison for a total of $720.  He obtained two mortgages from the sellers (one, the Administrator of Denison’s estate, the other, a local man who had purchased the other portion of the estate at the auction) for a total of $575.  The property was located in Norwich Falls and was at one time owned by the Thames Manufacturing Co.
  • Russell Lamphere was living in Montville (just to the south of Norwich) in 1851.  He left Connecticut shortly thereafter; my gg-grandmother Emma Lamphere would be born in Alabama in 1854.
  • Russell quit claimed his rights to the entire property in 1851 for $100.  Quit claim means you give up any rights you may or may not have in a property; I assume because of the mortgages that Russell couldn’t sell it in any other manner. This is murky to me; the mortgages aren’t mentioned. So, he owned the property for four years.
Falls Company, pictured in 1888.  By then, the factory was greatly expanded from the early days as the Thames Mfg. Co.

Falls Company, pictured in 1888. By then, the factory was greatly expanded from the early days as the Thames Mfg. Co.

Who was John J. Denison?

Norwich vital records show that John J Denison married Olive Jillson in 13 Feb 1828 (p. 685). The following mortuary notice appeared in The Morning News (New London, CT) Vol. I, issue: 158, P. 3 (15 May 1845):

DIED … In Norwich Falls, on the 11th inst., Mrs. Olive Denison, wife of John Denison.

John J. Denison died in 1875 in Norwich and was buried in Yantic Cemetery (Lot 16).  An article in the Daily Constitution (Middletown, CT) vol. III, issue 768, p2 (21 January 1875) reads as follows:

John J. Denison, who has lived a recluse at Norwich Falls ever since the death of his wife, twenty-nine years ago, was found dead in his bed the other day.  He refused to live with his children, persisting in a solitary mode of living.  The neighbors having missed him from the streets for some days, entered his hermitage by a window and found him.

John Denison lived next door to Russell in 1850. This probably just means that they let the recluse rent or just live somewhere on the property even after the 1847 sale.

Russell and his family living next door to John Denison in Norwich, 1850.  Federal Census, Connecticut, New London County, Norwich, p. 286.

Russell and his family living next door to John Denison in Norwich, 1850. 1850 Federal Census, Connecticut, New London County, Norwich, p. 286.

Was John J. Denison (likely born in 1805 in nearby Stonington, Connecticut) a relative of Russell Lamphere’s mother, Lydia Minor (Minor is a common Stonington name and Lydia is a brick wall with unknown family)?  John appears on page 123 of Baldwin & Clift’s  A Record of the Descendants of Capt. George Denison (1888) as John I Denison.  I have no idea of the reliability of this book, but I cannot make out a possible relationship to Lydia.

Oddly, Russell Lamphere Sr. had a sister Nancy (Lamphere) Crocker (1787-1862) who had a son named John Denison Crocker.  While a relationship to John Denison is looking unlikely, any connection might possibly go back to Russell Sr.’s brick wall mother, Nancy (—) Lamphere (c1752-1833).

The big questions

  • Was the 1847 purchase intended for establishing a business, or just for a residence?  Given the location and history of the property, it could be either.
  • Will Norwich newspapers and books help me determine if any well-financed mill owners started an operation in Tuscaloosa in the early 1850’s?  If so, why did Russell have a new partner by 1860?
  • Can I find additional evidence in Tuscaloosa?  I do have a few books to read through.  It was a depressing time in Tuscaloosa.  It’s been hard to get myself to learn more, but, learning more always helps.
  • Is there any evidence in Norwich newspapers of Russell and Hannah’s life and departure for Tuscaloosa?
  • Is there any point in further research on the congressional bills from the 1880’s?  Once, a kind blog reader put a request in for me to the National Archives in DC.  Nothing was found, but I wonder if I could try again, perhaps by hiring my own NARA researcher.
  • Does May, 1851 – the date of the last Norwich deed – represent the departure date for the Lampheres?  I suspect it does.  And why was Russell “of Montville” when he had just been enumerated in 1850 in Norwich? Were they staying with someone?
  • Will tracing John Denison back to Stonington, on my own, not relying on any books, help me find something to link him to a Lamphere wife?
  • Are there any other middle name clues to be found amongst the descendants of Daniel and Nancy Lamphere?  I have tried to find any, but need to try harder.
  • Can DNA results help at all?

A note to my readers

If you think you are a fourth, fifth or sixth cousin to me, and you have a DNA test on Ancestry DNA or Family Tree DNA, can you drop me a note and tell me the name listed as the test taker?  I would appreciate it.  And there are a lot of cousins out there; I am lucky to hear from them from time to time.

The post you are reading is located at: http://onerhodeislandfamily.com/2015/04/24/lampheres-in-norwich/

Lydia (Lamphere) Palmer's grave, from the same plot as Russell (Jr.) and Hannah Lamphere in Yantic Cemetery.

Lydia (Lamphere) Palmer’s grave, from the same plot as Russell (Jr.) and Hannah Lamphere in Yantic Cemetery.  Photo by Diane Boumenot.

Interviews with two NERGC speakers

Recently, I had the opportunity to interview two of the speakers at the upcoming New England Regional Genealogical Conference, scheduled for April 15-18, at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence, Rhode Island. I chose two important genealogists with Rhode Island connections. They are Cherry Fletcher Bamberg, FASG, and Nathaniel Lane Taylor, Ph.D., FASG.  They were good sports about answering lots of questions about Rhode Island genealogy.  The subject of pirates came up several times!

First of all let me say, the schedule of speakers at NERGC 2015 (Navigating the Past, Sailing into the Future) is very impressive.  The selection was, I think, very well chosen by the Program Committee: Shellee Morehead, Marian Pierre-Louis, and Maureen Taylor. If you haven’t registered yet, check out the program and consider making your way to Providence, even for a day, to hear the knowledgeable speakers and visit the Exhibits.

Nathaniel Lane Taylor

from the program: Nathaniel Lane Taylor, Ph.D., FASG, is co-editor of The American Genealogist. A historian, he has taught medieval history at the university level for many years. His genealogical work ranges from medieval Spain, France and Britain to colonial New England and Virginia. He lives in a colonial house in Barrington, Rhode Island, on a farm which used to be part of Plymouth Colony.

Where are your own ancestors from, and can you tell us a little more about your Rhode Island ancestors, if any?

I personally have NO Rhode Island ancestors, but I do have one Massachusetts ancestor who owned land stretching down across the (current) border into Rhode Island — this figures in my NERGC talk. I was researching the ownership of that parcel (now in Barrington, RI) and traced it back to a guy whose name sounded familiar — turns out he was my own ancestor, and I had no idea he had lived anywhere close to here (he died in 1723, when Barrington was a town in Massachusetts!). My own ancestors are half Yankee, half southern (Virginia & Maryland > Ohio Valley > Kentucky). On each side I have mostly Anglo, but some German. My Yankee ancestors are almost all north of Boston — no Plymouth colony, and no Mayflower! One slim strain of early Connecticut, via Nova Scotia.

My wife & children do have remote RI ancestors in Bristol, including one of the nine sisters of the famous Bristol pirate, Captain Simeon Potter. Bruce MacGunnigle has written about Potter, and in Bristol, Ray Battcher has for many years dressed up as Potter to do tours. I drafted most of a genealogical article on Potter’s nine married sisters and their combined total of circa 70 children, but it is one of those projects that is still unfinished after many years. Some day you might see it in Rhode Island Roots!

Clearly, history and genealogy are intertwined in your career. What would your recommendation be to genealogists with Rhode Island roots seeking to learn more about Rhode Island’s unique history?

My basic advice to genealogists is true wherever you are or wherever your ancestors are, not just in Rhode Island: follow your nose through your family tree, and allow yourself the time and pleasure to explore any story that piques your interest. As a newcomer to Rhode Island (only lived here 14 years) I don’t pretend to be an expert in where to find great stories of RI history! [editor’s note – wow, Nat IS recently arrived.  He probably still thinks there’s supposed to be an “r” at the end of the word “chowda”] 

Can you think of an under-utilized repository in Rhode Island that you would recommend to Rhode Island genealogists?

Rhode Island’s size and original political character resulted in more records being kept at the town level (like probate) than other New England colonies & states. Use the town records of all kinds — including tax lists and other civil records. Rhode Island Genealogical Society has some good resources on town sources — including many of the collections of town records published in recent years, but I would also urge the face-to-face visit with town clerks to ask what may be available to poke through. As for other venues, even the best-known repositories are “under-utilized”: Rhode Island Historical Society library, Providence Public Library, state archives, and judicial archives.

Has historical research led you to some unusual destinations or settings?

Not too many years ago I remember looking at the original Bristol County (Mass.) probate act books from the 1680s through 1740s. They were in a bookcase in a hallway outside a juvenile courtroom in Fall River. I’m not sure if they’re still there, but that seemed pretty unusual.

As a graduate student 20 years ago, I had the pleasure of spending a few months traveling to monasteries and cathedrals in France and Spain, to visit tiny archives and libraries to read and study original 10th-century wills. Having read wills on stacks of thousand-year-old parchments has given me an interesting perspective for approaching our American records—even 350-year-old colonial records seem young by comparison.

Only Rhode Islanders, or seasoned researchers, would understand that “East Bay” has a very different history from “West Bay” in our tiny state. What do genealogists need to know about that?

Again, it’s not so much a unique story, but small parts of small states can have their own tortured geographic and political histories, that affect how we go about digging into them. The East Bay’s journey from Plymouth Colony, to Massachusetts Bay Colony, to Rhode Island, is similar to many border shifts that can take researchers by surprise. West Bay had some of its own jurisdictional shifts, down on the Connecticut line. And there are those little towns and bits of towns that have gone back and forth between Connecticut and Mass. So each geographic story is unique, but the importance of learning about the geography is universal.

I began subscribing to The American Genealogist (TAG) recently, and noticed that you are the co-editor. Can you explain to readers how subscribing to a quality journal like TAG will improve their research skills?

TAG is a place where you can see good genealogy. Our aim is that the articles in TAG will tell two good stories: first, about the families who are the subject of the article, and second, about how the writer found and analyzed his or her sources to uncover the story. Our goal is that each genealogy can be readable for pleasure, as well as instructive, whether or not you happen to be related to the folks on the page. The value of that is that each of us should think about how best to tell the stories we uncover, to others, or to posterity. And there is no substitute for good writing, which comes best from practice. Other journals focus on one region (like the Register for New England), or focus on presenting methodological lessons (like the National Genealogical Society Quarterly). I hope TAG will be able to continue a legacy of valuing good writing.

What genealogist from long ago has had the biggest impact on your own research and career, and in what way?

Dave Greene, the long-time editor and publisher of TAG, has just stepped down after 30 years, and has entrusted TAG to me. I am honored that he saw in me a sort of kindred spirit (and someone crazy enough to try to continue TAG‘s legacy). Dave is, like me, someone who delights in a good genealogical story and in telling it well. He has been a great influence on me, of course.

Another I must name is Cherry Bamberg, whom I didn’t meet until after I had been living in Rhode Island for several years. Rhode Island is enormously lucky to have Cherry, who is one of the best writers in the country to combine a flair for a great story with impeccable research. With Cherry, and now also Michael Dwyer at the helm, Rhode Island Roots is always a great read, which makes it simply the best state-focused genealogical journal in the country.  [editor’s note: I completely agree with that last statement, and I’m glad to hear it from someone so knowledgeable]

Nat’s talk will be a must for those with Rhode Island roots:

  • Rhode Island’s East Bay: a Case Study in Border and Identity Shifts. S-318 Saturday, April 18, 1:45 p.m.  Nockum Hill is the site of the first Baptist meeting house in the New World. This lecture explores the impact of settlement patterns and border changes on research.

Cherry Fletcher Bamberg

from the program: Cherry Bamberg, FASG, is the editor of Rhode Island Roots since 2002; consulting editor to the NEHG Register since 2006; Donna Holt Siemiatkoski Genealogy Volunteer of the Year Award, 2006; Fellow of the American Society of Genealogists, elected 2007; Rhode Island researcher for the Danish version of Who Do You Think You Are? 2010. Scores of articles on Rhode Island families and research, 1998 to present. Author and/or editor of books for Rhode Island Genealogical Society 2000 to present.

I am reporting her answers, below, from our phone interview.

Where are your own ancestors from, and can you tell us a little more about your Rhode Island ancestors, if any?

Cherry was born into a genealogy-minded family, although she didn’t catch the bug until later in life. Cherry’s ancestor John Fletcher, a silver chaser, came to the U.S. with his family from Birmingham, England in the 1870s, and his children married into Rhode Island families. When her father exhausted his own lineage and turned to her mother’s family for more genealogical work, he was surprised to discover that his wife’s central New York farming family held deep Rhode Island roots. Her ancestral locations include England, Rhode Island, Vermont, New York, and Germany. These days, Cherry pursues projects not directly related to her own genealogy.

She has a lifelong fascination with Rhode Island history. She recalls, growing up in Newport, being surrounded with artifacts, buildings and neighborhoods that represented tiny snippets of Rhode Island history … and how the normal Rhode Island history course that all schoolchildren muddle through held her spellbound as she mentally pieced together things she had seen with the centuries-long story that wove them together.

In her early days as a genealogist, Cherry worked with others on historical research for the Rhode Island Historical Cemetery Database. She eventually came to realize that her passion lay not so much with the stones, but with the stories behind the stones – the lives that they represented. Even within her own family history, she especially enjoyed seeking out the quirky family stories and proving/disproving them. Her eyes were opened to the fallibility of family tradition on a visit to a cemetery in Warwick: the gravestone of the woman her grandmother always called “the richest widow in Warwick” showed that she died before her husband! The richest widow turned out to have lived in the previous generation.

One family story that she researched concerned the Revolutionary War experience of an ancestor from Marblehead, Mass. He was captured on a privateer ship off Newfoundland early in the war and was locked up with other prisoners at Edinburgh Castle, Scotland, where he remained for four years. His son, during the War of 1812, also became a military captive, imprisoned at the infamous Dartmoor in Devonshire, England, for two years. HIS son enlisted in the Civil War, but upon his arrival at the Battle of Fredericksburg, took a train and returned home (thus, perhaps, purposefully ending that family legacy). The research led Cherry to trips to Edinburgh and Dartmoor that were much more entertaining than those of her ancestors.

I noticed your recent article in Rhode Island History, (Rhode Island Historical Society, Spring, 2015, 73:1) “Bristol Yamma and John Quamine in Rhode Island” in which you told the true story of two former slaves chosen to become missionaries. Can you talk about your commitment to telling the stories of obscure individuals who were not among the privileged classes?

Cherry points out that the slaves found in Rhode Island cemeteries and probate records first brought her attention to the importance of slavery in Rhode Island research. How someone who grew up in Newport had not understood the town’s role in the slave trade continues to amaze her. In 1774 almost one out of every five persons walking the streets of Newport were people of color, almost all of them slaves. She feels strongly that the legacy of slavery belongs to all concerned; many Rhode Island families participated in slavery in one way or another. We talked about the difficulties in tracing slave families, and she pointed out several ways in which published Rhode Island census records deliberately suppressed or summarized data on people of color. Some of the same records have been carefully re-transcribed and published in Rhode Island Roots over the years, to address those problems.

When asked to name a favorite project, Cherry laughingly pointed out that her current work is always her favorite. She chooses projects very carefully (always looking for a certain level of available information), but often feels, in the end, that they chose her. When she encounters a connection to the same person or event over and over, it becomes hard NOT to be curious and want to learn more.

Clearly, history and genealogy are intertwined in your career. What would your recommendation be to genealogists with Rhode Island roots seeking to learn more about Rhode Island’s unique history?

Cherry recommended several books:

  • Crane, Elaine Forman. Ebb Tide in New England: Women, Seaports, and Social Change, 1630-1800
  • Crane, Elaine Forman. A Dependent People: Newport, Rhode Island in the Revolutionary Era
  • Rappleye, Charles. Sons of Providence: the Brown Brothers, the Slave Trade, and the American Revolution
  • Lovejoy, David Sherman. Rhode Island Politics and the American Revolution 1760-1776

Her most basic recommendation for those with early Rhode Island ancestors is to utilize John O. Austin’s Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island (that is, the later versions which contain a few corrections).

Cherry recommends that anyone with Rhode Island roots learn as much as possible about the role religion played in their family’s story. Rhode Island became home, at its founding, to some of the most sincerely religious men and women in the colonies, and some of the least religious individuals. How did THAT work out? Her talk on “Religious Freedom and RI Church Records” (see below) gives an overview of the unique roles of different faith groups in Rhode Island history and their importance in genealogical research.

She also points out that geography is extremely important in understanding the course of Rhode Island’s history. The extensive, irregular coastline and the availability of water transportation often shaped the spread of families as the generations passed. It’s important to learn what towns were just a boat ride away from each other, and accommodated day trips back and forth. And the ports and ocean also provided almost limitless possibilities for international commerce and even piracy.

Personally, she has enjoyed exploring the correspondence of Roger Williams, although she knows that may not be the kind of research everyone is ready for.

Can you think of an under-utilized repository in Rhode Island that you would recommend to Rhode Island genealogists?

Cherry focused on the Newport Historical Society which houses a unique collection of manuscripts (note: that library is currently closed for renovations). She also pointed out that the data collection work done on Rhode Island’s many cemeteries over the years can, to a great extent, be accessed online at the Rhode Island Historic Cemetery Commission website and this resource is extremely valuable for genealogists.

Many genealogists attending NERGC will go to the Rhode Island Historical Society or the Rhode Island State Archives for the first time. Can you name a collection, index or manuscript set that they will want to be sure and check out?

Rhode Island Historical Society: There is a card file of manuscripts located in the main reading room which lead researchers to many unique documents housed in the Society’s collection. These may or may not be mentioned on the website or online catalog.

Rhode Island State Archives: There is an extremely valuable opportunity to view an index of all post-1853 births, deaths, and marriages in Rhode Island (keeping in mind that certain more recent records will be unavailable, according to state law). Once found in an index, the researcher should pull up the specific record on microfilm. Prints can be made from the microfilm very economically. For those researching pre-1853 ancestors, another rich source is the collection “Petitions to the General Assembly,” indexed in a card file. These lead to unique and often personal stories about our ancestors or their neighborhoods. Once found in the index, the General Assembly records can be viewed on microfilm. Free parking is allowed in the lot next door for up to two hours; bring your ticket with you to the archives to have it stamped.

What is the one advancement in digitization of Rhode Island records or resources that you would like to see, most of all, in your lifetime?

Cherry chose Rhode Island deeds, which are housed in the 39 cities and towns of Rhode Island. Since they have for the most part been microfilmed, perhaps we could hope that they make their way online someday.

I highly recommend both of Cherry Bamberg’s talks at NERGC:

  • Diving into RI Genealogy F-226 Friday, April 17, 3:15 p.m. Worried when your colonial ancestor steps across the border into Rhode Island? Come learn the basics of how to follow him or her into the wilds of the Ocean State.
  • Religious Freedom and RI Church Records S-314 Saturday, April 18, 10:00 a.m. Rhode Island’s unique religious history shaped the colony and its residents. Come learn the importance of identifying your ancestor’s faith as a clue to genealogical research.

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This is the story (just the beginning) of finding a family for my 5x-great grandmother, Freelove (—-) Andrews, born around 1746.  I am related to Freelove in the following way:  my grandmother Edna May Darling — her father Russell E. Darling — Emma L. Lamphere — Hannah Andrews — Jesse Andrews — Freelove (—-).  In my last post, I reviewed some sources for the Andrews.  I had gone through those resources carefully looking for a stray “Freelove” cousin.  No luck.

Although I originally encountered Freelove in Warwick around 1790-1810, I first realized that she had been living previously in Coventry, Rhode Island through an article in Rhode Island Roots, (volume 31, March, 2005, p. 33 – 39, Cherry Fletcher Bamburg “Warwick Residency Certificates, 1737-1820”).  Freelove’s entry (p. 36) reads:

For:  Freelove Andrew, widow of Philip, and ch. of Philip Andrew   From:  Coventry    Date:  8 Dec. 1787

So, Warwick warned Freelove and her children that they didn’t belong in Warwick and needed to leave (they didn’t).  Since her previous town was Coventry, that certainly makes me wonder if she was perhaps born or raised in Coventry.

I copied some deeds from microfilm at the Family History Library in February, but then I didn’t like my page pictures, so I went to Coventry Town Hall to get better ones.

The Coventry Town Hall and Public Library is an unimposing building on Flat River Road, Coventry.

The Coventry Town Hall and Public Library is an unimposing building on Flat River Road, Coventry.  There is plenty of parking.

Coventry, Rhode Island

Coventry was originally the western section of Warwick, and split off in 1741.  So ancestors could have been living in Warwick, but then you find their later deeds in Coventry, but actually they never moved.  I don’t think that’s quite what happened here, but I do think my ancestors were often close to the borders of East Greenwich, Warwick, and Coventry.

The town hall is on Flat River Road.  You park around the back. There’s not a lot of signage from the parking lot, but one door leads you to the library and town hall.  The older records are on movable shelves in a back room in the town clerk section.  A retired gentleman was around that day that helped me find a few things.  He asked me what family I was researching, and when I said Andrews, he guffawed a bit and wished me luck.  Guess everyone knows I am in need of that.

Phillip Andrews in Coventry

I was hoping to find evidence of Phillip and Freelove Andrew’s time in Coventry.

First of all, there were no vital records to be found for Phillip.  I was really hoping a death record would show up.  I have narrowed down his death to 1780-1787.  No death or probate record in Coventry (or Warwick or East Greenwich).  There are MANY Andrews in Coventry (see the Andrews manuscript mentioned last time), but no records seemed to pertain to my branch.

When I first looked at the deeds, I encountered one of those special indexing systems.  They are used in a large alphabetical index that covers 1743-1925. I later learned, from Christine Rose’s Courthouse Indexes Illustrated (2006) that this is called the Russell Index (p. 15).  It classifies names by CERTAIN letters that may appear in the name after the first letter.  It’s the first time I’ve seen this one, so I had to stop and figure it out.  I’m sure it solved some problems in the pre-digital world, but it’s a bit convoluted today.

This code was filmed from the flyleaf of each index volume.  It's the "Russell Code".

This code was filmed from the flyleaf of each index volume. It’s the “Russell Code”.

Andrews deeds

As I explored deeds, I was a little surprised at what I found.  The index showed five deeds of interest:

  • Grantee: Phillip Andrews al. Grantor: John Alerton Jr. v 4 p. 228 (1768)
  • Grantee: John Adams Grantor: Philip Andrews al. v. 5  p. 136  (1768)
  • Grantee: Josiah Potter GrantorPhilip Andrews al by Shff  v. 5  p. 205 (1771)
  • Grantee: Sweet Whitford Grantor: Jesse Andrews al. v. 9  p. 114 (1796)
  • Grantee: Abner Bartholick Grantor: Jesse Andrews al. v. 9  p. 116 (1796)

Let me summarize what happened in the deeds.

  1.  v 4 p. 228 (1768)    I, John Alerton Junr of Coventry … Cooper … for … Eight Hundred good Spanish milled Dollars … paid by John Andrews and Phillip Andrews of East GreenwichCoopers
    • A certain parcel of Land Situate … in Coventry … by Estimation One hundred and fifty acres … Butted and Bounded as followeth: South on a Highway West on Carrs River North on the fish pond farm so called East on Land formerly belonging to Gideon Freeborn,
    • Together with part of Two Mishnick Lots,
      • one part of the Seventh Lot Bound East and West on a highway North on the Lot Number Eight South on the Lot Number Six by Estimation 4 acres
      • also part of another Lot Number five butted and bounded as followeth East and West on a Highway North on the Lot Number Six, South on the Lot Number four, by estimation Two acres and one half, be the same more or less …
    • and Rose Alerton, wife to the above said John Alerton Junr … surrender all her right of dower … 12 day of April 1768.   In the presence of William Spencer Junr, Thomas Shippee.  John Rice, Town Clerk … Personally appeared … Before Thomas Shippee Justice of the Peace.
  2. v. 5  p. 136  (1768)   We, John & Phillip Andrews for … Thirty Pounds … paid by John Adams of Warren in the County of Bristol and Colony of Rhode Island, Yeoman … Quit Claim all our Right which we now have or ever had … all that part of the Farm No.2 in the last Division below Carrs River, said farm was drawn in the right of Ezekiel Holloman … on the north of a Streight line to be drawn from the Northerly Corner of the farm on which we now live to the South Westerly Corner of the fish pond farm so called … said dividing line is to be run agreeable to the original plan of the three mentioned farms … third day of May … 1768.
    • In the presence of Stephen Potter, Mary Potter.
    • Signed John Andrews … Phillip Andrews.
    • And Hannah the wife of me the said John Andrews … do acquit all her … Dower … Hannah Andrews, her mark.
    • And Freelove the wife of me the said Phillip Andrews … doth acquit all her Right of Dower … Freelove Andrews her mark
    • Personally appeared … John Andrews … 24th day of November 1770
    • Personally appeared … Phillip Andrews … tenth day of December, 1770 Before me Sam Wall Justice of the Peace.
  3. v. 5  p. 205 (1771)    I Henry Rice Esq. Sherriff of the County of Kent in the Colony of Rhode Island … Whereas two Executions against John Andrews and Philip Andrews at the suit of John Alerton Junr and one Execution against John Andrews at the suit of Joseph Carpenter were by me the said Sheriff levied on a certain farm or tract of Land Situate  in Coventry with a Dwelling House and other Buildings thereon standing containing about One Hundred and Fifty Acres Bounded as followeth viz Southerly on a Highway Westerly on Carrs River Northerly and Easterly on Land formerly belonging to John Adams, and whereas on the first day of December AD 1770 all the Estate Right Title Interest and Property of the said John Andrews and Philip Andrews in the premises aforesaid were by me the said Sheriff sold at Public Vendue for the satisfaction of said executions to Josiah Potter who was the Highest Bidder for the sum of One Hundred and Twenty Six Pounds lawful money which the said Josiah Potter hath since well and truly paid me the said Sheriff.
    • Now Know ye that by force and Vertue of an Act of the General Assembly at their Session held at South Kingstown … October 1763 entitled “An Act for Regulating the Method of Assigning Real Estate Sold by Execution &c” —-  I the Said Sheriff … Sell … to … Josiah… All and Every the Lands Tenaments and Hereditaments with their and every of their Appurtenances …
    • In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my Hand and Seal the Twenty Sixth day of January … 1771.
  4. v. 9  p. 114 (1796)    We Christopher Andrews of Pits Town in the County of Renselaer in the State of New York Yeoman and Jesse Andrews of Coventry Mariner … for … the sum of Ten Dollars … To us … paid by …  Sweet Whitford of Coventry … Yeoman.  One certain small lot of land lying … in that partcalledMishnick Swamp being part of the Lot Number five in said Swamp, … contains by estimation two acres.
    • hereunto set our hands and seals this Seventh Day of September, AD1796.
    • In the presence of Asa Stone, William Stone.  Before William Stone Justice of the Peace
  5. v. 9  p. 116 (1796)    We Christopher Andrews of Pits Town in the County of Renselaer in the State of New York Yeoman and Jesse Andrews of Coventry Mariner … for … the sum of 22 Dollars and a half Dollar … To us … paid by … Abner Bartholick of Coventry … Yeoman.  Two small Lots of land
    • one of which is part of the Seventh Lot in Mishnick Swamp Lying in the Township of Coventry … containing by estimation four acres …
    • the other small lot being part of the Fifth Lot in Mishnick Swamp … containing by estimation one half acre …
    • hereunto set our hands and seals this Seventh Day of September, AD1796.
    • In the presence of Asa Stone, William Stone.  Before William Stone Justice of the Peace
Older records at the Coventry town clerk's office.

Older records at the Coventry town clerk’s office.

10 things I learned from the deeds

  1. Phillip Andrews and his father made a land purchase together in 1768. I know it was him and his father (and not, say, a brother John) because their wives signed a subsequent deed. There were SO MANY John Andrews transactions in the Coventry index, I haven’t yet sorted out the prior ones that belong to this John.
  2. John and Phillip bought 150 acres plus buildings in 1768, plus small parts of Lots 7 and 5 in Mishnick Swamp (I believe, today, this is known as Mishnock Swamp).  Mishnock Swamp is very near the Maple Root Baptist Church in Coventry, a church heavily populated with Andrews, and built on their land.  A couple of months later, they quit-claimed what appears to be a smaller property nearby … could that have been their previous home?
  3. It seems possible that Phillip and John housed their families in one dwelling on this property, although I don’t yet know if other properties were owned, or if more than the one mentioned dwelling was available there.
  4. Phillip and his father John Andrews were coopers.  Never knew that; I had only seen Philip working as a soldier in wartime from time to time.
  5. The property was near Carrs River.  So, the land was near the border of Coventry and West Warwick.
  6. If there’s one thing I learned from Judy G. Russell during “Law School for Genealogists” at GRIP last summer, it was to check the legal terms that I am not completely sure of.  For these deeds, I looked up the following in Black’s Dictionary of Law, 1891 (Judy Russell offers her Black’s Dictionary of Law advice here):
    • ExecutionThe completion, fulfillment, or perfecting of anything, or carrying it into operation and effect. The signing, sealing, and delivery of a deed. The signing and publication of a will. The performance of a contract according to its terms.    In practice. The last stage of a suit, whereby possession is obtained of anything recovered. It is styled “final process,” and consists in putting the sentence of the law in force. 3 Bl. Comm. 412. The carrying into effect of the sentence or judgment of a court.
    • VendueA sale; generally a sale at public auction; and more particularly a sale so made under authority of law, as by a constable, sheriff, tax collector, administrator, etc.
    • Tenement This term, in its vulgar acceptation, is only applied to houses and other buildings, but in its original, proper, and legal sense it signifies everything that may be holden, provided it be of a permanent nature, whether it be of a substantial and sensible, or of an unsubstantial, ideal, kind. Thus, liberum tenementum, frank tenement, or freehold, is applicable not only to lands and other solid objects, but also to offices, rents, commons, advowsons, franchises, peerages, etc. 2 Bl. Comm. 16.     “Tenement” is a word of greater extent than “land,” including not only land, but rents, commons, and several other rights and interests issuing out of or concerning land. 1 Steph. Comm. 158, 159.
    • HereditamentsThings capable of being inherited, be it corporeal or incorporeal, real, personal, or mixed, and including not only lands and everything thereon, but also heir-looms, and certain furniture which, by custom, may descend to the heir together with the land. Co. Litt. 56; 2 Bl. Comm. 17. The two kinds of hereditaments are corporeal, which are tangible, (in fact, they mean the same thing as land,) and incorporeal, which are not tangible, and are the rights and profits annexed to or issuing out of land. Wharton.

      Freelove Andrews her mark, from the 1777 deed.

      Freelove Andrews her mark, from the 1768 deed.

  7. And, of course, I need to know the law that impacted my ancestor’s life – in this case:  an Act of the General Assembly at their Session held at South Kingstown … October 1763 entitled “An Act for Regulating the Method of Assigning Real Estate Sold by Execution &c” –  I referred to Bartlett’s Colonial Records of Rhode Island (vol. 6, p. 373) but it only reports:
    • Public Acts Passed During the Year 1763 —  [item 3] An Act for regulating the method of conveying and assessing real estates sold by execution, and for changing the form of the deed heretofore given and used by the Sheriffs (October).    [a better source for the law might be the State Archives].
  8. The 150 acres were seized by the sheriff and sold in 1771, based on “suits” by John Alerton Jr and Joseph Carpenter.  This implies there were some kind of mortgages or claims that I haven’t found yet.  The loss of the land may explain why no deeds or probate seem to mark the end of John Andrews’ life, and with no vital record, there is no evidence of John’s death.
  9. In 1796, Phillip’s sons Christopher and Jesse sold the small remaining part of Lots 5 & 7 in the Mishnock Swamp.  Christopher had already moved on to Pittstown, New York, and Jesse was a newlywed and was about to buy property on Main Street, East Greenwich, the following year.
  10. The mention of Ezekial Holliman as the original owner of one of the swamp lots is intriguing – more coming on that idea in the future. 
Carr River marked in orange spots; Mishnock Swamp marked with red marker. Courtesy of Google Maps.

Carr River marked in orange spots; Mishnock Swamp marked with red marker. Courtesy of Google Maps.

Making a connection through the deeds

Needless to say, even as I was sitting at the microfilm machine in Salt Lake City, I quickly checked all the names mentioned in the deeds against the index of the Andrews Genealogy to see if any were related to Phillip.  None were found (not that that proves anything, of course).  But since I am seeking Freelove’s family, that might be good news – perhaps they were connected to her.

The most interesting name was the first one, John Alerton, Jr., since Phillip Andrews’ first acquisition might be most closely connected to his family or his wife’s. Two factors that make this less likely are the fact that Phillip’s father John was also a purchaser, and that John Alerton eventually foreclosed on them – but, who knows.  I copied John Alerton’s marriage, children’s births, and probate record from the Coventry Town Hall.  Based on dates, I wondered if he could be Freelove’s brother.

The name Alerton rang a bell, and I couldn’t remember why, then of course I remembered Isaac Allerton, Mayflower passenger. I thought if I could consult the recent Allerton “silver book” I could get a quick overview of any possible links to Freelove.  

I consulted:

  • Robert Charles Anderson’s bibliographic notes on Isaac Allerton in The Great Migration Begins (vol. 1, p. 39). 
  • An older book online – A history of the Allerton family in the United States : 1585 to 1885 by Walter S. Allerton.  I was a little astonished at what I found. The John Allerton, Jr. that lived in Coventry, R.I. (p. 39) had a daughter Freelove (be still my heart! – although that would not be my Freelove) and an uncle Jesse.  The family even had links to Plainfield and Norwich, Connecticut, where my Andrews ended up.  Just finding a Freelove and a Jesse in John Allerton’s family is enough to make this a giant clue.
  • Descendants of Edward Small of New England by Lora Altine Woodbury Underhill, 1910, volume 2, p. 685.  This book repeated the story of John Allerton, Sen. being the son of Isaac (3).
  • I was feeling pretty excited about the Allertons. Unfortunately, the silver book (Mayflower Families Through Five Generations, Vol. 17: Issac Allerton, 2013) explained, in a footnote on page 7, that John Allerton Sr. of Norwich, Conn., Warwick, and Coventry, R.I. was only tied to the Mayflower Allertons by family tradition, and no evidence linked him to the person assumed to be his father, Isaac (3) Allerton, even though that had been re-copied in several places.

So, no easy, carefully traced tree here. The Allertons (junior and senior) are real but I will have to research them myself.  One thing I learned from the silver book was that John Allerton Sr was also in Warwick. There are no vital records  for Allertons reported in Arnold’s Rhode Island Vital Records, vol. 1, but there may be other Warwick records.

The section at town hall with the more recent real estate records.

The section at town hall with the more recent real estate records.

In closing

It occurs to me that Phillip’s son Christopher’s departure for Pittstown, New York in the late 1790’s could be the result of a bounty land grant for Phillip, after the Revolutionary War.  I’ve never found that – just a few records here and there about several years of service.  But I need to look more.  First of all, I’m going to review the laws and see if Phillips’ death in the late 1780’s would have prevented the family from getting such a grant.

But meanwhile, back in Coventry, I am a little mystified by the origins of the 150 acre lot and the Mishnock swamp lots.  On the one hand, Mishnock Swamp is adjacent to the Maple Root Church property, clearly Andrews land.  On the other hand, they didn’t buy it from close Andrews relatives or in-laws – they bought it from John Alerton Jr.  I have a vague idea that John Alerton could possibly be a relative of Freelove.  But I need to know where John Alerton got the land, regardless of any connection to Freelove.  I think that is the next step.

The post you are reading is located at:  http://onerhodeislandfamily.com/2015/03/26/coventry-town-hall/

In later years, parts of Coventry became industrialized, where waterpower was available.

In later years, the parts of Coventry where waterpower was available became industrialized.

While at the Family History Library last month, I was finally able to get a copy of the 1726/7 map showing the division of George Lamphere’s property among his heirs.  My goal in investigating the early Lamphere property is to seek evidence of the parents of my 5th-great grandfather Daniel Lamphere of Westerly, who died in 1808 and may have been born around 1735-1740.  Given the timing, it’s likely that Daniel’s father was a grandson of George Lamphere.

Westerly in a much busier era, 1888, in Picturesque Narragansett, p. 163.

View of Westerly and the Pawcatuck River.  Westerly in a much busier era, 1888, from Picturesque Narragansett, p. 163.

The problem

The theory in The Lamphere Family Research Aid (1981) by Shirley Bucknum that the Daniel who married Eunice Wise was Daniel4 (Daniel3, John2, George1) was something I double-checked while in Salt Lake City; unfortunately THAT Daniel signed a receipt in his father Daniel’s 1788 probate record along with his wife, Wealthia.  MY Daniel was married to Nancy at the time. I wanted to explore the whole probate record (my copies download here if you want to take a look – page 1, page 2, page 3, page 4) and when I did, sure enough, THAT Daniel really does seem to be the son of John2, because he names his wife, Cattern.  So I am looking things over again, more broadly.  This is an open question.

I consulted the only reliable compiled tree on the early Lampheres, Scott Andrew Bartley’s series of articles:

  • Scott Andrew Bartley. “George Lanphear of Westerly, Rhode Island and his Descendants.”  New England Historic Genealogical Register 153 (April 1999): 131-140.
  • Scott Andrew Bartley. “George Lanphear of Westerly, Rhode Island and his Descendants, Part 2.”  New England Historic Genealogical Register 159 (October 2005): 333-340.
  • Scott Andrew Bartley. “George Lanphear of Westerly, Rhode Island and his Descendants, Part 3.”  New England Historic Genealogical Register 160 (January 2006): 47-59.
Daniel and Welthia Lanpher signed a discharge on March 18, 1789 for their share from Daniel Lamphere's estate.

Daniel and Welthia Lanpher signed a discharge on March 18, 1789 for their share from Daniel Lamphere’s estate.

Daniel’s children

According to the articles (and also, more or less, according to Austin’s Genealogical Dictionary of R.I.), George’s children were:

  • Richard
  • Shadrack
  • Mary m. Peter Button
  • Patience m. Eber Crandall
  • John
  • Seth
  • Theodosios
  • Sarah m. James Covey
  • Elizabeth m. James Pendleton

While we’re on the subject, I would note Mr. Bartley’s warning that there is no evidence for the name of George’s wife.  People may “have” a name, they may “find” a name, but there is no evidence.

I found in Westerly Probate book 4, p. 181, “A Plot of the Land of George Lanphear & Divided According to the Order of Capt James Hill, Capt Oliver Babcock & Justice John Richmond Committee March 21 1726/7 – Christp: Champlin – Survey”

The names are found clearly on the map (get larger version here):

The map from p. 181 (printed numbering) of Westerly Probate Book 4.

The map from p. 181 (printed numbering) of Westerly Probate Book 4 shows the division of George Lamphere’s land.

The names appear as follows:

  • Top row:  No. 9 Shadrack Lamphear  48 Acres
  • Bottom row:  No. 1 Ja. Covey, 27 A 58 R   |  No 2 Seth Lanphear  18 A 80 R  |  No 3 Richard Lanphear  20 A 00 R  |  No 4 Eber Crandall 17 A 64 R  |  No 5 Theodosias Lanphear 28 A 100 R  |  No 6 [Richard?] Lanphear 29 A 40 R  |  No 7 Mary Button 46 A 16 R  |  No 8 James Pendleton 34 A 78 R

Note that the corner landmarks are: A large white oak, large white oak tree, John Lanphear’s [Corner?], and [illegible].  Other landmarks mentioned are a stake, and a stake and stones.

Page 172, adjacent to the map.  Copied in 1735.

Page 172. Copied in 1735.  “The above draft is a true copy of the original entered April 15th 1734.  William Babcock CC.”

Where is it?

I just don’t know where this land is.  My guess about where MY Daniel Lamphere left land to his second wife and his many children is in this post:  On Lanphere Road. The area I found was called “Lamphere Hollow” and there is a decent chance it represents the general area where George had his land, but I don’t know.

The 1774 Census transcribed in Rhode Island Roots (vol. 10, Dec., 20013, “The 1774 Census of Rhode Island: Charlestown and Westerly“, transcribed by Vera M. Robinson) shows the following interesting set of Lampheres and neighbors (p. 197):

  • Joseph Clarke …………….. 1. ……… 1. ……….1 ……………………….. 1 ……………………….. 1 ……
  • Elisha Clarke ……………..2. ….4 ….4 . … 1. ….1 ……………………….. 1 ……………………….. 1 ……
  • William Brombly ………..3 . ……… 1. … 4 …..1 ……………………….. 1 ………………………..1 . …..
  • James Pendleton ………… .3.. …..: ..I.. ……… I.. …………………… …I.. ……………………..I…. …
  • James Pendleton Junr ….. 1. … 1. … 1 ….2 . …. 1 . ………………………1 ………………………..1 ……
  • Nathan Lanpher.. … :. ….. ..2… . 3.. .. 2.. . .2… .. I.. …………………. …..I ……………………….. I.. ….
  • Nathan Lanpher Jur …….. 1… . 2… . l .. .. 3… .. I.. ………………… ……I.. ………………… ……I.. ….
  • Daniel Lanpher …………. .2.. ……. .3… . l … ..I.. ……………………… I.. ………………. ……..I.. ….
  • David Lanpher Junr ……..1 . … 1. … 1 …. 2. ….1 ……………………….1 … ……………………… 1 ……
  • David Lanpher …………… 1. … 3 …. 1. … 2. …. 1 ……………………….1. . ………………………. 1 ……
  • William Vinsant …………. l .. . .5… . 3… . 2…. . I.. …………… …………I… …………………….. 1 ……
  • Daniel Lampher Junr …… 1. .. .3.. .. I.. .. 5… .. I. ……………….. ……I ………………………. .I ……
  • John Burdick ………………4 …. 2 …. 2. …3 ….. 1 ……………………….1. . ……………………… 1 ……
  • William Babcock ……….. 2 ………. 3 …. 1 ….. 1 ……………………….. 1 ……………………….. 1 ……
  • Samuel Brand …………….. 1. …2 …. 1. ………. 1 ……………………….. 1 ………………………..1 ……

The neighbors are some of the same names mentioned in the deeds of my Daniel’s widow, Nancy, as the property was sold off after 1808. Clearly, “Nathan” and “David” are huge clues since, at this early date, they are not Daniel’s sons.  I think “Nathan” may be Nathan4 (Nathan3, John2, George1) who was married by 1774 to his third wife, Sarah Saunders and had about 10 children already.

The 1777 Military Census for Westerly, R.I. (Rhode Island Roots vol 10, Sept 1984, “1777 Military Census, Westerly, Rhode Island“) lists:

  • (page 60) Daniel Lanpher 60+  and
  • (page 63) Daniel Lanpher 3d 16-50 A and Daniel Lanpher Jr 16-50 A. (=”From 16 to 50 years and able to bear arms”)

This leaves me confused – I’m not even sure what the right number of Daniels should be.  I need to go through the 1790 and 1800 census page by page – after all, one of the Daniels died in 1788.  Maybe that will clarify things.

map of southern Rhode Island from History of Washington and Kent counties, Rhode Island, 1889, page 1.

map of southern Rhode Island from History of Washington and Kent counties, Rhode Island, 1889, page 1.  The Lamphere property that belonged to my family was just above the bold “Westerly”. 

Next steps

  • Can the old map help me?  Can I find descendants of the Crandalls, Pendletons, Coveys, and Buttons still living near my Lampheres? – I wonder what happened to the properties inherited in this division. 
  • Names – Fortunately, my Daniel had a lot of children over the course of two marriages.  I need to investigate the names more thoroughly.  Unfortunately for this purpose, I still don’t know Nancy’s maiden name or family.  Sources for information about the early families are unreliable after generations 1 – 3.  I may just turn to deeds and vital records so at least I know the names I’m finding are real.  An index to early Westerly deed volumes can be found on USgenweb here which is a useful starting place when planning to look at Westerly deeds.
  • Rhode Island Roots – I explored these for Lampheres years ago when I probably just tried the index for certain names.  There may be lots of subtle clues in there I could find today.
  • Review what’s known – I plan to make a complete list of every fact related to my Daniel and his son Russell.  Some names were mentioned in the probate that I explored extensively a while ago, but need to revisit.
  • Census – re-analyze all existing census records looking for patterns of neighbors.

The post you are reading is located at: http://onerhodeislandfamily.com/2015/03/18/the-land-of-george-lanphear/

From At Home Again page 36.

From At Home Again page 36.






Rhode Island researchers will look at the title of this story and say, that’s nice … wait … what?  Rhode Island really doesn’t have a State Library in quite the way that other states do.  If anything, the State Archives might come closer to what people expect from a state library.  But there is a state library located on the second floor of the Rhode Island State House, and I visited it yesterday.  This is the story (mostly in pictures) of my visit to the Rhode Island State House, Benefit Street, and the Licht Judicial Center where the Supreme Court is held.

The Rhode Island State House

Since the Rhode Island State Library is on the second floor of the State House, I traveled to Smith Street, found some metered parking well down the street, and entered the State House for the first time ever.  The State House, completed in 1902, is beautiful. I wandered around the first and second floors for quite a while.  Note for next time:  ABSOLUTELY do not miss the full length portrait of George Washington, painted by Rhode Island native Gilbert Stuart, in the Governor’s State Room.

What’s hard to portray here is the unique auditory experience of the State House.  There were school children visiting, but their voices and footsteps were heard only as a kind of whirring white noise.  It was a windy day, but still I’m not sure why I seemed to be hearing that inside, too.  At one point, a piano somewhere could be clearly heard; someone was playing well and loudly.  Somehow, the piano and the circulating noises seemed to add to the homey, unique experience of the State House – I couldn’t help but think, I doubt you would hear a piano wafting up the stairwells in the State House of a really large state.  But in Rhode Island, we are who we are.

The Independent Man stands atop the dome of the Rhode Island State House on Smith Street, Providence.

The Independent Man is barely visible atop the dome of the Rhode Island State House.  This is the back entrance, on Smith Street.  The formal entrance faces a large courtyard on the opposite side – I’m not sure whether that is in use.

Completed in 1902, the State House is filled with marble.

Completed in 1902, the interior is grand and spacious. There is marble everywhere.

The State House was filled with memorials to soldiers from many wars. This cannon was used at Gettysburg, with a ball still lodged in it that misfired during the battle.

The State House was filled with memorials to soldiers from many wars. This cannon was used at Gettysburg, with a ball still lodged in it that misfired during the battle.

Charter from King Charles II.  I had no idea it was so big.  What you see here is a temporary duplicate; the original is out being spruced up.

Rhode Island’s 1663 Charter from King Charles II. I had no idea it was so big. What you see here in the protective case is a temporary duplicate; the original is out being spruced up.

Then it was time to head upstairs.

Then it was time to head upstairs.

A beautiful state seal graced the landing.

A beautiful state seal graced the landing.

You can see how small the Senate Chamber is.   It's a small state.

You can see how small the Senate Chamber is. It’s a small state.

I love this statue of Rhode Island's Thomas Dorr.  He fought for an extension of voting rights in the early 1840's.

I love this statue of Rhode Island’s Thomas Dorr. He fought for an extension of voting rights in the early 1840’s.  I believe this statue is quite new.

I was fascinated by the hallways filled with portraits - mostly R.I. Governors.

I was fascinated by the hallways filled with portraits – mostly of R.I. Governors.

The Rhode Island State Library

The library itself is imposing and beautiful, with two balconies and a marvelous gilt and glass ceiling.   I looked over the local books and biographies.  This library serves lawmakers, primarily, although the public is welcome to visit.  If one were looking for specific records, or even  for older transactions of the General Assembly, the State Archives is a better place to visit.

The Library itself is rather amazing.  a tall room with two balconies.

The Library itself is rather amazing. a tall room with two balconies.

The library is a repository for some federal documents, as well as a large collection of Rhode Island law books and books pertaining to things people might make laws about - health, environment, economics, educations, etc.

The library is a repository for some federal documents, as well as a large collection of Rhode Island law books and books pertaining to things people might make laws about – health, environment, economics, education, military, social services, etc.

The biographies and local histories were quite interesting.

The biographies and local histories were quite interesting.

Benefit Street

The beautiful portraits at the State House got me very curious about finding portraits related to my family.  Since two uncles had served as Chief Justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court, I decided to head to the courthouse.  Knowing parking would be quite a problem, I drove down Benefit street until I found a spot, then had a pleasant walk over to the courthouse.

Benefit Street has cars and snow vying for curbside space.

Narrow, colonial Benefit Street has cars and snow vying for curbside space.

Historic Benefit Street boasts colonial charm and and some especially fabulous historic houses.

Benefit Street boasts colonial charm and some especially grand historic houses.

The Licht Judicial Complex

The Supreme Court is located in the Licht Judicial Complex, a landmark in Providence just to the east of downtown, completed in 1933 at significant expense.  The building is ornate and beautiful, with gilding everywhere.  A large law library is housed on the eighth floor, filled to the brim with law volumes.   There wasn’t a lot for me to do there, but the librarian suggested that any portraits of Supreme Court Justices should be in the seventh floor and I should talk to the guard there.

As it turned out, the guard was able to give me a complete guided tour of the whole Supreme Court area.  On this tour, I was able to take pictures in some areas (normally prohibited because the building is a working courthouse).  We talked a lot about Rhode Island’s unique place in history and about the portraits.  He had a lot of stories about the building and its history.  I did find the portrait of my grandfather’s uncle, William Douglas, and I found a copy of Peleg Arnold’s portrait (an uncle who was Chief Justice from 1795-1809 and 1810-1812) although the original is held at the John Hay Library at Brown University (their portrait collection is browsable online).

The Licht Judicial Complex, located between Benefit and South Main streets in Providence, houses the Rhode Island Supreme Court and the county Superior Court.

The Licht Judicial Complex, located between Benefit and South Main streets in Providence, houses the Rhode Island Supreme Court and the Providence County Superior Court.

One of the first portraits I found was my uncle's, Judge William Wilberforce Douglas.

One of the first portraits I came across was my gg-uncle’s, Judge William Wilberforce Douglas.  He served as Chief Justice from 1905-1908.

The Supreme Court

The Supreme Court – there are five seats. This beautiful room features carved Philippine mahogany.

Blind statue of Justice facing the judges in the courtroom.

Blind Statue of Justice facing the judges in the courtroom.

A judges waiting room adjacent to the courtroom.  I really got the good tour!

A judges’ waiting room adjacent to the courtroom. I really got the good tour!

I was very happy to spend my afternoon exploring these two historic sites.  The State House, in particular, is a fun place to walk through or to take a tour.  There is a welcome room on the first floor, or the website, where one can get more information.  Those who come to Providence for NERGC in April, 2015 will notice the State House nearby, in easy walking distance.

The post you are reading is located at: http://onerhodeislandfamily.com/2015/03/13/rhode-island-state-library/

— Photos by Diane Boumenot. 


Click for NERGC flyer

Click for NERGC flyer

Harriet Frances James

Descendants of John MacAndrews, who was present in Quidnesset, Rhode Island in the late 1600’s, owe a great deal to their early 20th-century genealogist, Miss Harriet Frances James.  Miss James’ story is told by Lora S. LaMance in her book The Greene Family and its Branches (Floral Park, NY: Mayflower Publishing Co., 1904(?)).  From the words, one gets the impression they may have been friends.

(p. 103) Chapter XVIII, Line of Lieut. John Greene of Coventry – Descendants of Hannah Greene-Andrews. 

This chapter is a difficult one. In the main I follow Miss Hattie James’ work, “The Andrews Genealogy.” This lady inherited an aptitude for genealogical work from both her father and grandmother. She was born in an Andrews community, and personally knew the half dozen old gentlemen of 85 and 90, who were looked up to as authority on the intricate family relationship. She interviewed all of these, solicited family records from branch after branch, and made a careful study of the old books and records. After years of labor and expense, just as she was getting it into shape for publication, grievous bodily affliction befell her. She finished it lying upon her back, and writing with benumbed, half-paralyzed hands. The Gleaner of Phenix, R. I., ran it as a serial for something over a year. A friend tells us that this invaluable work has netted its author not a penny. When her years of suffering are over, too late it will be realized by this family that a historian was in their midst, and they appreciated her not.

Hattie James never married (according to her census records) and apparently ill health prevented her from completing her work in book form.  Her father had a career in mill operations which took the family from Coventry (the village of Washington) up to Pawtucket, Rhode Island.  According to her own genealogical writing (p.145), Hattie James (4 Nov 1846 – 19 Mar 1916 – death date taken from Pawtucket, R.I. City Directory, 1916) has the following place in the Andrews family:  Harriet Frances James(8) Albert Greene James(7) Jane Andrews(6) Timothy(5) Elnathan(4) John(3) William(2) John(1).

Miss James’ work exists today in two versions.

  • A set of scrapbooks at the Rhode Island Historical Society contains the newspaper clippings for Harriet’s work in the Gleaner as well as other news items, obituaries from circa 1900, notes and ephemera. I have examined this and the notes, etc are mostly unrelated to the early Andrews. I have no photographs or specific notes about this manuscript.
  • A three-volume compiled version of her work, with additions, notes and corrections by Anthony Tarbox Briggs is available from the Family History Library on microfilm #22323 Item 1.  It is also available at the Rhode Island Historical Society.
Maple Root Baptist Church, from The Greene Family and Its Branches by Lora S. LaMance, 1904,  p. 106.

Maple Root Baptist Church, a very significant church for the Andrews who spread west to Coventry, Rhode Island.  From The Greene Family and Its Branches by Lora S. LaMance, 1904, p. 106.

The Andrews Family of Rhode Island

Miss James begins her work with a brief overview of the land situation in King’s Town and Quidnesset, Rhode Island in the 1600’s.  She reviews the “Atherton Purchase” and the “Fones Purchase.”  The earliest record she found for John (1) Andrews/MacAndrews was his participation in the Fones Purchase of 1671. From page 5 –

January 1, 1672, he and five others, Capt. John Fones, John Greene, (Quidnesset John) John Briggs, Henry Tibbetts and Thomas Waterman, bought a large tract of land in Narragansett Country for a valuable sum, of Awashuwett, Chief Sachem of the Narragansett Tribe of Indians, the tract since known as the “Fones Purchase”.  The above men were all residents of Quidnesset except John Fones who lived three miles west, now “Briggs Corner”.

Although that situation (that is, the 1671 beginning of the Andrews family story) hasn’t changed too much in the years since, I feel that more work could and should be done to piece together the early generations of Andrews.

Miss James reviewed some stories that she heard while gathering information from various Andrews descendants.  From page 5 –

Among the family traditions are these –

  • First – He came originally from Scotland.  The original name, MacAndrews, helps to sustain this and it has come down to the present time in some of the families of his descendants.
  • Second – There were three brothers, so there were in the Alfred Andrew’s Genealogical Record, but I am not able to connect our Rhode Island Andrews with them.
  • Third – He was driven out of Boston on account of the liberty he took in expressing his opinion, probably on religious views.  His obstinacy in sustaining his rights seemed like John of Boston after he came to King’s Town.
  • Fourth – He came to King’s Town from Cape Cod.  This too is an old family tradition.
  • Fifth – Sometime since leaving Scotland he had lived in Barbadoes, but not so well sustained.

I admire how she presented these as unsubstantiated rumors, which is certainly the truth.  In her genealogical pages, she unfortunately incorporates them into her narrative, but resists glorifying or exaggerating these stories in any way, which many of her contemporaries would surely have done.

Devils Foot Rock, on Post Road in North Kingstown, courtesy of Google maps

Devils Foot Rock, on Post Road in North Kingstown, courtesy of Google maps

Devil’s Foot

Miss James explains a bit about the location of John Andrews’ farm:

[page 9] Land around “Devil’s Foot Rock” for quite a distance took its name from that ledge.  This legendary rock is near the Post Road about halfway between Greenwich and Wickford.  It is being broken up now and carried off to be used for some purpose which I do not remember.  It is a grey granite, also a natural curiosity which it seems a pity to disturb.  It is termed “Devil’s Foot” from impressions made in the rock that resemble the marks of a human foot made in the snow.

[page 13] John Andrews (2) … deeded for love, etc. to his six brothers a share of their father’s property.

“To my six brother, William, Charles, James, Thomas, Edward and Benoni, all interest I have by my father, John Andrews deceased, unto 70 acres, which is part of 90 acres in Greenwich.  And if any brother die before he is twenty one, his part to go equally to the others.  The full improvements and benefits of 70 acres to be at the disposal of mother-in-law (i.e., step-mother) that now is Mary Andrews, until the youngest brother is twenty one”.

The Reamins of Frenchtown, from Memoir Concerning the French Settlement, 1879, p. 1.

The Remains of Frenchtown, from Memoir Concerning the French Settlement, 1879, p. 1.

He agrees to pay for life to his step-mother 10 bushels of apples yearly.

He sold Captain Thomas Fry of East Greenwich his interest in a certain tract of land in Narragansett Country near Devil’s Foot, bounded partly by land of his father, John Andrews deceased, who had with others bought land in 1672 of certain Indians.  John Jr. was one of the 24 partners to the “Fones Purchase” when it was confirmed in 1677.

When he sold the above mentioned land top Thomas Fry April 1, 1698, he lived in Newport.  His stay in Newport was short.  In 1700 he lived in East Greenwich and his children’s birth were recorded here.  He died before 1721.  Rebecca, his widow, married (2) June 18, 1721, John Nichols of East Greenwich.  His land heired from his father, joined his own at “Devil’s Foot” and run up to his father’s homestead and west towards Frenchtown.

It seems clear that she examined deeds in either East Greenwich, North Kingstown, or both.  The above paragraphs are her interpretation of those deeds – others might reach slightly different conclusions.  I do plan to look at them myself.

I would like to revisit the East Greenwich and North Kingstown records mentioned here and make my own analysis of the early deeds.

I would like to revisit the East Greenwich and North Kingstown records mentioned here and make my own analysis of the early deeds.  Photo from East Greenwich Town Hall by Diane Boumenot.

John MacAndrews and his children

Miss James presents the following genealogy for John (1) Andrews.  See my links toward the bottom of this post for some additional pages.

JOHN MACANDREWS, alias ANDREW, first of King’s Town, came from Scotland and lived in Boston, at Cape Cod, and is known to have lived in King’s Towne before May 20, 1671.  He died there before August 22, 1693, for at that date his eldest son, John, settled his father’s estate.  He married first _____.  They had 2 children, John and William.  He married (2) Mary Ridgely by whom they had 5 children, Charles, James, Thomas, Edward, (also called Edmund) and Benoni.  In course of time his descendants called themselves “Andrews”.

The children of John Andrews (1) and his first wife were –

2 – John (2)

3 – William (2) born Aug 23, 1679, died 1762.

The children by second wife, Mary Ridgely, were –

4 – Charles (2) born ——-, died Jany. 13, 1762

5 – James (2) born ——-, died 1715.

6 – Thomas (2) born ——-, died ——- No further record.

7 – Edward (2) born ——-, died ——- No further record.

8 – Benoni (2) born ——–, died ——.

A North Kingstown probate records.  Due to damage from an explosion, the records are challenging to use, although a great deal of effort has been put into restoration.

A North Kingstown probate record for a different family. Due to damage from an explosion, the records are challenging to use, although a great deal of effort has been put into restoration.  Photo by Diane Boumenot.

Other sources

There are other significant sources for John Andrews:

  • For a quality article on some questions about the early Andrews and Sweet families, see The American Genealogist, January, 1976, vol. 52, p 18-20: “Mary Andrew, Wife Of Henry Sweet” by Harriet Woodbury Hodge. The article cites specific deeds and the information that she gleaned from them, to place Mary Andrew as a daughter of John (1) Andrews and his unknown first wife.  TAG articles are available online to NEHGS members, or at libraries with genealogical collections.
  • A Genforum discussion by Duane Boggs titled Griffin, Fry, Spencer and Andrews takes some of these same deeds (above) and speculates that the first wife of John (1) Andrews was a heretofore unknown daughter of Robert Griffin.
  • A more complete version of the Atherton and Fones deeds can be found in The Records of the Proprietors of the Narragansett : Otherwise Called the Fones record (1894) by James N. Arnold.  John Andrews is found on page 166, 167 and 168.
  • Austin’s Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island, page 3 of the 1969 or 1978 edition published by Genealogical Publishing Co.  It can be viewed in an older edition here, although the reproduction is of poor quality.  Torrey’s New England Marriages Prior to 1700 cites Austin and seems to have no further evidence, although with so many John Andrews entries, there’s always a possibility.
  • Some court records for John Andrews, showing that he and Mary Ridgely were fined after the birth of their child (as well as his appearance in some other capacities) are briefly chronicled here and there in the book Rhode Island General Court of Trials, transcribed by Jane Fletcher Fiske, 1998.  There are some Andrews in Gleanings of Newport Court Files, 1659-1783 by Jane Fletcher Fiske, 1998, however these appear to be too far into the 1700’s to be among the first couple of generations of Andrews.  These two books can be found at libraries with Rhode Island genealogical collections.

In closing

I think Miss James’ work is good, although far better on the lines that eventually spread out to Coventry, where she came from, and the Maple Root Church, than on, say, my lines, which appear to be barely known by that group.  But in many ways, her work was just the beginning of the early Andrews story, missing some portions and in need of additional evidence and clarification.

I have copies of pages 1 – 150 of the Andrews Genealogy book (covering approx 1690-1825) – download pdf copy of that here – which gets through the first few generations.  I also have a copy of the entire index, about 100 pages – a pdf of that will download here – if, after using the index, you need more than the pages I have available here, you will have to rent Family History Library microfilm #22323.

Personally, I am descended from sons Charles (2) and Benoni (2).  More on that another time. I have a lot to do to follow up on these sources.

The post you are reading is located at:  http://onerhodeislandfamily.com/2015/03/01/the-andrews-of-rhode-island-3/

Grave of Harriet F James and her parents, Albert C and Mary A James, at Woodland Cemetery, Coventry. Photo used with permission from FindAGrave contributor "Harriet", from entry #65156414.

Grave of Harriet F James and her parents, Albert C and Mary A James, at Woodland Cemetery, Coventry, R.I.. Photo used with permission from FindAGrave.com contributor “Harriet”, from entry #65156414.

Family Trees

With the appearance of my new MacLean page on my blog, my daughter asked me why I didn’t have trees clearly showing all the relatives.  She said lists were hard to follow.  The surprising part of that conversation, of course, is that we were discussing genealogy at all.  That doesn’t often happen.

The more I thought about it, the more sense it made to put up, in picture form, images of large segments of my tree, so that the connections and family names could be seen in their proper context.  My text can be complicated and, well, there’s nothing like a picture.

Here is my tree, with some speculative segments removed, back about 10 or 11 generations, where possible, although they often go farther.

Edna May Darling Baldwin with her twins, Pat and Ann.

Edna May Darling Baldwin with her twins, Ann and Pat, around 1937.  Grandma sewed quite a bit, and may have made those clothes.

My mother’s family

My mother’s parents are Miles Edward Baldwin (1893-1979) and Edna May Darling (1905-1999).  My mother’s grandparents are below, with a pdf of each tree next to the name.

These are large pdf’s and will take a minute to open. The trees just contain names and dates, for the curious – no sources, so they are not useful for research or as proof of relationships.

Josie MacLeod MacLean, with suitcase, with my mother and my sister Bonnie and my brother Jay, around 1959.

Josie MacLeod MacLean, with suitcase, with my mother, my sister Bonnie and my brother Jay, around 1958.

My father’s family

My father’s family, from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, has been harder to research, but what is known so far is on two charts, below, one for each of dad’s parents:

These trees were quite simple to make with Family Tree Maker, using Publish – Pedigree Chart – Layout: Poster, Overlap: Fishtail, Generations: 8, with specifications for Items to include and Line styles. I colored male and females differently using the symbol for Box Borders and Line Options.  After opening that up, the “Boxes” list allows you to make choices about various types of data.  To get the generation labels, I clicked the box in the list that appears towards the bottom of the Pedigree Chart Options section.  When all is ready, the “Share” button allows you to export as a single page pdf.  I saved the style as a custom template so I can easily remake these from time to time.  They will also live on my Family Names page, which gets a lot of views.

In closing

I don’t think about this often enough, but a beautiful rendition of a family tree is something I really like, and haven’t done much with.  I need to take a closer look at Family Chart Masters when they come to NERGC in April.  Their work is beautiful and they can customize just for you.

The post you are reading is located at: http://onerhodeislandfamily.com/2015/02/26/family-trees/

from Sketches of Early American Architecture.

A Providence door-yard. From Sketches of Early American Architecture by O.R. Eggars, 1922.

Click for NERGC flyer

Click for NERGC flyer

The Federation of Genealogical Societies conference for 2015 took place last week in Salt Lake City, Utah, alongside the Rootstech Conference.  I arrived on Sunday so I could get several days in at the Family History Library.  I never registered for Rootstech because I knew I couldn’t fit in time at the library and TWO conferences.  I was really looking forward to checking out the Exhibits for new and improved products.

The snowless view of Salt Lake City from my hotel room (except for the tallest mountains).  It was approaching 60 degrees every day, and very pleasant while I was there.

The snowless view of Salt Lake City from my hotel room (except for the tallest mountains). It was approaching 60 degrees every day, and very pleasant while I was there.

As it turns out, I barely went to sessions, partly because a foot problem made it easier to stay in the library and partly because it was a little overwhelming to navigate the conference crowds (over 20,000 Rootstech attendees during the first few days, I heard).  I heard wonderful things about many sessions both at FGS and RootsTech.  The keynote speakers and special events were widely talked about.  So I spent most of the week at the library although it was nice to see genea-friends at other times.

Pansies blooming at the entrance to the Family History Library.

Pansies blooming at the entrance to the Family History Library.


I visited the Exhibits several times.  There were many companies represented, and I enjoyed looking around.  Not as many books as I would have liked, and I only bought two, plus some copies of Going In-Depth, the new genealogy magazine.

Genealogy and the Law, Mayflower Bastard, and two copies of Going in-Depth.

My book purchases: Genealogy and the Law, Mayflower Bastard, and two copies of Going in-Depth.

There were several vendors that I enjoyed talking to:

The ScanPro 3000 is filled with new features.

The ScanPro 3000 is filled with new features.

  • I guess I am some kind of microfilm geek because I had a long talk with the ScanPro 3000 vendor.  The 3000 allows you to scan MULTIPLE pages with one command (swoon), allows for upload to the cloud, and interacts enough with OCR technology to allow you to do some searching on the screen.  I was impressed and I hope these become widely used in libraries.  They are a step ahead, for sure, but still maintain the easy to use menus and buttons genealogists are used to.
This busy booth allowed guests to access their family tree and have a beautiful chart printed on the spot, ready to take home.  I was impressed.


  • This busy booth, GenealogyWallCharts.com, allowed guests to access their family tree and have a beautiful chart printed on the spot, ready to take home. I was impressed.
Family Tree DNA

Family Tree DNA

  • I was also impressed that Family Tree DNA set up a large booth and had many employees sit with many, many customers over the course of the conference fielding questions and comments.  DNA testing is confusing, and I thought this was the perfect approach.
A view of one portion of the Exhibits.

A view of one portion of the Exhibits.


I had prepared for months ahead of time by building a workbook of research plans for the Family History Library.  I concentrated mostly on capturing microfilm records.  I would say before the conference the library was just about at capacity, though not so far beyond capacity that it was impossible to get things done.  Once the conference started, traffic in the library slowed way down.

Yes, that was Robert Charles Anderson (The Great Migration series) a bit ahead of me in line.

Yes, that was Robert Charles Anderson (The Great Migration series) a bit ahead of me in line to enter the library Monday morning.

With workbook in hand, I approached the library early Monday morning and waited in line.  Worried about crowds, I found a microfilm machine I liked on the second floor and settled in.  Over the course of five days, I managed to complete my entire workbook.

Workbook and the microfilm machine.

Workbook, tablet, and the microfilm machine.

I have to say my experience with the workbook (and the amount of thinking and planning needed to prepare it) served me very well at the library, keeping me focused and productive.

I examined the following over the course of five days and recorded about 650 images:

  • The (Rhode Island) Andrews genealogy prepared in 1915
  • Manuscripts of work on the early Rhode Island Sweet families
  • Probate records for Joseph Arnold, d.1819, and other Joseph Arnolds
  • Early Rhode Island court record index pages for various names
  • Probate, cemetery, vital, and property records from Coventry, Rhode Island, looking for Phillip Andrews
  • Bristol County, Mass probate records for two people
  • The several versions of an index for Christening records from Southwark, England, looking for my 4th gr-grandfather James Lawrence
  • Marriage records from St. Mary’s, Lambeth, England, for James and Elizabeth Lawrence
  • Pictou County, Nova Scotia Estate files, looking for Robert Murdock
  • Early Westerly, Rhode Island town, land and probate records, looking for the original Lamphere and Tefft lands
  • A map of George Lamphere’s property division among his children, circa 1731
  • Later Westerly probate records, looking for Tefft or Minor
  • Preston, Connecticut church records, looking for Minors
  • Two early Norwich, Conn. city directories, looking for Lampheres and Andrews
  • Tuscaloosa, Ala. property records, looking for Russell Lamphere or his partner, Wm B. Murrell.  Also probate for Murrell
A page from a Sweet genealogy manuscript.
A page from a Sweet genealogy manuscript. This was a camera picture right at the microfilm machine.  I scanned important documents at the computer microfilm readers.
  • Norwich District probate (Conn.) for Elisha Minor of Preston
  • Norwich, Conn. property records looking for Andrews and Lampheres
  • A rare Cranston, R.I. city directory from 1895, looking for occupants of a house on Blackmore Street where I know calling hours were held in 1898
  • Hampden County, Mass. court records
  • Kings County, Nova Scotia Court of Probate records looking for early Coldwells, Martins and Grahams
  • Early Wrentham, Mass. land grants
  • Early Sudbury, Mass records related to the Browns
  • any compiled genealogy work on the Sudbury Browns
  • Northbridge, Mass town council records from 1867
  • about a dozen books related to these same issues

I will be working for the rest of the winter on the documents that I found, and recording the unsuccessful searches, too.

The most important thing that happened

Amidst the hoopla and excitement that week, I was reminded of what is really important about family history.  I never really started this journey to locate cousins, but as every genealogist knows, it does happen sometimes.   After my dad’s DNA test a few months ago, I was contacted by a second cousin.  She and I share great grandparents, Torquil and Sarah (MacLean) MacLean of Englishtown, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.  Torquil and Sarah had five daughters followed by six sons.  Their children scattered all over Canada and the U.S., and so their grandchildren and great grandchildren never had a chance to know each other.

Torquil MacLean, 1841-1921, from Jo-Anne's original

Torquil MacLean, 1841-1921, from Jo-Anne’s original

My second cousin, Jo-Anne, lives in Orem, Utah.  So when I told her I would be in town during Rootstech, she said that she and her husband would be happy to meet me.  I went to lunch with Jo-Anne and Brent on Friday.  Jo-Anne is an only child, the daughter of two only children.  She has no cousins, and essentially no living relatives outside of her own children and grandchildren, and her husband’s large family.

It was just so great to meet her.  She and her husband couldn’t be nicer, and I enjoyed my time with them so much.  Jo-Anne brought some old pictures and allowed me to scan them with my Flip-Pal portable scanner.  We looked at all the pictures and talked about the memories they brought up, of things we have been told over the years.

Sarah (MacLean) MacLean, 1852-1940, from Jo-Anne's original

Sarah (MacLean) MacLean, 1852-1940, from Jo-Anne’s original

When Jo-Anne turned to the page with the photographs of Torquil and Sarah MacLean that I have seen all my life, I had a feeling I seldom experience in genealogy.  Put DNA aside, put records aside, when she showed me those photos, I knew without a shadow of a doubt that we were family.  Her copies were superior to ours – her family had originals and our photos, I recall, were copies made in the 1960’s and given to my father.  But both families treasured those photos for many years.

Torquil and Sarah lost some children during their lifetimes, particularly Sarah, who had one son left out of six by the time of her death in 1940.  It was this rather tragic story that influenced my grandmother, after the untimely death of her husband, to NOT return to Nova Scotia, where dangerous occupations were the norm at the time.  She wanted her children to be safe and live long, productive lives (which they absolutely continue to do).  But I don’t think Torquil and Sarah would really want to be remembered that way.  If their great grandchildren befriend each other, I think that would be a much more fitting legacy.

Jack MacLean, Josie MacLeod (dark skirt), and Jack's sister-in-law Sadie (Campbell) MacLean, in Englishtown, approximately 1918.

Jack MacLean, Josie MacLeod (dark skirt), and Jack’s sister-in-law Sadie (Campbell) MacLean, in Englishtown, approximately 1918.

Jo-Anne has already brought a lot of happiness to my family by unearthing a picture of my grandparents, Jack MacLean and Josie MacLeod, apparently just prior to their marriage.  No other such picture of them exists; I am making copies and mailing them to my father and his siblings.

I have started a MacLean web page where I will do my best to arrange the stories and pictures (or links to such things) that come my way from Torquil and Sarah’s descendants.

The post you are reading is located at: http://onerhodeislandfamily.com/2015/02/17/fgs-conference-2015/

Jo-Anne's beautiful grandmother, Margaret MacLean, R.N.

Jo-Anne’s beautiful grandmother, Margaret MacLean, R.N.


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