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Recently, the Providence Public Library received the archival collections of noted Rhode Island genealogist James Newell Arnold (1844-1927) from the Knight Memorial Library in Providence, which had housed the papers since James Arnold’s death in 1927. The James N. Arnold Collection is now part of The Rhode Island Collection.

Providence Public Library. Always be sure to take a good look around; it's a lovely old place.

Stairwell, Providence Public Library. Always be sure to take a good look around; it’s a lovely old place.  Photo by Diane Boumenot.

Kate Wells of the Providence Public Library had clued me in to this last winter and recently let me know that the materials were now newly processed into an archival collection and were, essentially, open for business.  It’s not completely trivial to access the collection (for instance, the boxes are stored on another floor from the Rhode Island Collection office and reading room), so I made an appointment with Kate for my visit.

Here is the Finding Aid for the collection (it opens up as a pdf download).

James Newell Arnold as a young man. I love this picture, he's quite a handsome young man. Hard to imagine he was already suffering from the affliction that was noticeable later in life, something that caused him to rely on crutches. Whatever the affliction was, could it have started later?

James Newell Arnold as a young man. I love this picture, he’s quite a handsome young man. Was he already suffering from the affliction that was noticeable later in life, something that caused him to rely on crutches?  3-59, “Photographs, James N. Arnold”, James N. Arnold Collection, Rhode Island Collection, Providence Public Library.

In the course of a long life James N. Arnold followed his historical data collection interests with a passion.  Although the Narragansett Historical Register, his gravestone recordings, and the Vital Record of Rhode Island, 1636-1850 were his most visible projects, he spent a lifetime studying historical claims and events, arguing and sometimes feuding with other historians (most notably, a long standing feud with the Rhode Island Historical Society), collecting books, stories and ephemera, and never missing an opportunity to disparage Roger Williams.

One of the two card catalogs containing various indices to parts of the collection.

One of the two card catalogs containing various indices to parts of the collection.

I carefully studied the Finding Aid (see above) in advance and decided to focus on the records of the Arnold family.  James Arnold never produced the formal Arnold genealogy volume that he, no doubt, planned to finish someday, although late in life he seems to have collaborated a bit with other Arnold researchers who did produce manuscripts or books (more on published works here).   It was clear from my perusal that my particular problem has not been solved; time for me to figure it out myself.  But I was grateful for a chance to check that out.

These colorful gravestone collection index cards were, I think compiled after James Arnold's death by volunteers.

These colorful gravestone collection index cards were, I think, compiled after James Arnold’s death, by volunteers.

Kate Wells advised me that, with the vital records and gravestone work widely available elsewhere, the most likely source for some genealogy magic was one of the card catalogs that had accompanied the manuscripts, plus a set of genealogy correspondence folders that contained many inquiries, answers, and notes.  I attacked the card catalogs with a pre-determined list and didn’t turn up much. The only work of James Arnold that seemed to intersect significantly with my needs were some early Smithfield/Cumberland families.  But I would like to return and approach this again with more time to peruse the many letters on file.

Arnold's weather diaries, kept for many years, plus some farm accounts. Box 4,

Arnold’s weather diaries, kept for many years, plus some farm accounts. Box 4, “Weather journals”, James N. Arnold Collection, Rhode Island Collection, Providence Public Library.

The documents are ordered and filed in boxes.  Genealogy notes on many Rhode Island families, tombstone recordings, Arnold family notes, historical as well as fictional stories, clippings, correspondence, account books, annals of war — there are many possibilities for research here.

You just don't know what you're going to find among the many boxes and folders.

You just don’t know what you’re going to find among the many boxes and folders.

I enjoyed my journey into James Arnold’s world and intend to keep studying his work. I was thrilled to find the original newspaper clippings of Harriet James’ work on my Andrews family.  The genealogy work on Rhode Island families was a hodge podge of copied notes, essays, clippings and abstracts, but was definitely unique and valuable.  I will revisit those.

James Arnold, in early middle age perhaps, looking speculative and a little untidy. The well-known poverty of his later years may well have factored into all stages of his life.

James Arnold, in early middle age perhaps, looking speculative and a little untidy. The well-known poverty of his later years may well have factored into many stages of his life.  3-59, “Photographs, James N. Arnold”, James N. Arnold Collection, Rhode Island Collection, Providence Public Library.

A folder of photographs of James Arnold claimed my attention.  Never married, physically impaired,  determined, opinionated to a fault, Arnold was — from what little I know of him — incapable of the fawning demeanor of service that might have made him more valued and protected by Rhode Island’s wealthier classes, who relied on his work.

This fascinating photo shows Arnold leaning on the crutches that were his companion during, at least, his later life. One gets a cemetery feel from the picture but it could be a noted historical spot. 3-59,

This fascinating photo shows Arnold leaning on the crutches that were his companion during, at least, his later life. One gets an overgrown cemetery feel from the picture but it could be an ancient historical spot. 3-59, “Photographs, James N. Arnold”, James N. Arnold Collection, Rhode Island Collection, Providence Public Library.

As time went on, James Arnold found that his life’s work, including his two major publishing ventures, had not ensured a comfortable old age.  Late in life he was basically destitute, dependent on Providence’s Dexter Asylum.

Well into middle age, Arnold was sometimes photographed with his crutches. 3-59,

Well into middle age.  Note his possibly disfigured foot.  3-59, “Photographs, James N. Arnold”, James N. Arnold Collection, Rhode Island Collection, Providence Public Library.

A set of documents relating to James Arnold’s death make it clear that he tried, as an old man, to dispose of his massive collection of poorly arranged papers.  Several important repositories corresponded with him and would have been happy to take them. The choicest books might perhaps have been sold during his life but many books  as well as the papers were eventually donated to the library in Elmwood, Providence, that eventually became the Knight Memorial Library.  The books, according to Kate, were eventually dispersed among Providence’s library system.

James Arnold in 1925, two years before his death. 3-59,

James Arnold in 1925, two years before his death. 3-59, “Photographs, James N. Arnold”, James N. Arnold Collection, Rhode Island Collection, Providence Public Library.

No one’s work is perfect but it’s notable that no person, in the hundred years since his Vital Record of Rhode Island volumes were published, has systematically re-checked his work in its entirety.  No one has been willing to take on the project that he did, and so we all owe this man a great deal of gratitude for a lifetime spent saving our history.

The post you are reading is located at:

https://onerhodeislandfamily.com/2016/11/18/the-james-n-arnold-collection/

James Arnold, looking somewhat business-like, probably at the heyday of his publishing career. 3-59,

James Arnold, looking somewhat business-like, probably at the heyday of his publishing career. 3-59, “Photographs, James N. Arnold”, James N. Arnold Collection, Rhode Island Collection, Providence Public Library.

Choosing a gift for a genealogist can be puzzling.  Loved ones and, especially, relatives want to be supportive but don’t know how.  To those who search for that perfect idea, maybe one below will be right for your favorite genealogists.  This is an update and consolidation of all previous lists.

Paper and stationery gifts

  • 1. My friend Midge has a terrific suggestion for the genealogist who has everything: bullet journal supplies from Erin Condren. You buy the spiral notebook and then some clip-in accessories like erasable lists and rulers, stretchable bands (also good for holding a tablet case on) and colorful tape and stickers.  Add colorful pens by Staedtler
Bullet journal supplies for the inspired genealogist. Photo from Midge, chief bullet journal consultant here at One Rhode Island Family.

Bullet journal supplies for the inspired genealogist, from Staples. Photo from Midge Frazel, chief bullet journal consultant here at One Rhode Island Family.

Brother Printer PT70BM Wireless Personal Handheld Labeler

Brother Printer PT70BM Wireless Personal Handheld Labeler

  • 4. Clip board. A clipboard, a pad, and a pencil can be brought into most archives, even if nothing else can, and a clipboard serves as a writing surface when at a microfilm machine or library. Try the thin printed ones at Staples.  Add a bouquet of Black Warrior Pencils topped off with a 3-pack of White Pearl Erasers.  I’m actually serious about this.  I know genealogists.
  • 5. 97.8% of genealogists love office supplies.  OK I made that up.  But this little book of sticky Redi-Tag Divider notes was love at first sight.
Redi-Tag Divider Notes would be handy when working in books or notebooks.

Redi-Tag Divider Notes would be handy when working in books or notebooks.

  • 6. These Post-It tabs are great in binders or reference books.  And, giant Post-Its! On those, I can’t decide if I like lined or unlined.  Either way.

About photos and archives

  • 7. Maybe a simple Canon Camera in the $100-$125 range.  In the end, cheaper than paying for photocopies.   This light is good for photographing pages without yellowing.
  • 8. If your genealogist is not getting any younger, try magnifiers and magnifying lights.
  • 9. Camera digital SD memory cards.  And a little case to put them in, like this or this.
  • 10. For the genealogist who serves as the family archivist (which is all genealogists), my friend Bernadine had a good experience with photo supplies from universityproducts.com, for instance, their archival storage boxes. When she phoned them, they were helpful.
  • 11. I like this Canoscan scanner for pictures and papers, but you might be able to find a cheaper one that you like.
  • 12. I like my Flip-Pal mobile scanner – it runs on batteries and records onto a memory card – no computer needed until you are ready to review and store the pictures. Many genealogists really covet these.  The linked page is an affiliate link of mine, because I own and love this product, and you can also find cool accessories there, as well as Legacy Family Tree software and webinar subscriptions.
Flip Pal mobile scanner

Flip Pal mobile scanner

  • 13. Family Photo Detective and many other works by Maureen Taylor help genealogists figure out those old family photos, and I also like Denise Levenick’s new guide, How to Archive Family Photos: A Step-by-Step Guide to Organize and Share Your Photos Digitally.

Electronic and computer gadgets

  • 14. Lifechat headphones for listening to webinars or group chats on the computer.  
  • 15. Cocoon Grid-It keeps small electronics together when traveling (also available in other configurations)
  • 16. Eneloop rechargeable batteries by Panasonic, size AA, with a charger and case, would be good for a person who already has a Flip-Pal.  Try Amazon or other retailers.  I also like AA batteries that re-charge in any USB port.  These would be great in a computer mouse, for travelers, in case the mouse batteries died.
  • 17. USB flash drives.  8gb or 16gb should be fine.  Look for sales. Genealogists need something large and bright so they remember to remove it from the computer.  Combined with the lanyard, below, from Staples, this would make a terrific tech gift in the $10 range.

Books and magazines

  • 18.  Very new, so if your favorite genealogist has not recently purchased these, they don’t have them:  AT LAST, a reliable guide to those confusing DNA test results:  The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy by Blaine T. Bettinger. Also a new and moving book about the strange and unexpected news that DNA testing can bring: Stranger in My Genes by Bill Griffeth.  Both of these are on my wish list.
  • 19. The Third Edition edition of Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills was published this year.  My highest recommendation. Also check Genealogical.com in case there’s a sale.
  • 20. Was new in 2015, The New York Family History Research Guide and Gazetteer, published by the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society.  This book is huge, and I mean huge.  But awesome for those troublesome New York problems.
  • 21. How to Use Evernote for Genealogy: A Step-by-Step Guide to Organize Your Research and Boost Your Genealogy Productivity by Kerry Scott would be helpful for any genealogist who has mastered normal genealogy software but is looking to organize research and family history material “in the cloud.”
  • 22. Looking farther afield for those ancestors?  My friend Barbara recommends Tracing your Irish Ancestors Fourth Edition by John Grenham and The German Research Companion by Shirley Riemer, Roger Minert, & Jennifer Anderson.  My friend Sara points out that with so many Irish records newly online, this is a great time to get going on your Irish heritage.  In fact your favorite researcher might need a subscription to FindMyPast.com.  Another suggestion I saw recently was Finding Your Mexican Ancestors by George and Peggy Ryskamp.   
  • 23. To learn more about finding immigrant records, They Came in Ships by John Philip Colletta.
  • 24. If your genealogist is surrounded by books, there are some bookends with index tabs that won’t get lost when the shelves fill up.  Actually, the Container Store has three styles I love:  Index bookends, Tower bookends with a little storage cubby, and Mod bookends.
Bookends from the Container Store

Bookends from the Container Store

I love the gavestone art from Gravestone Girls.

I love the gravestone art from Gravestone Girls.

Support genealogy small businesses

  • 31. I love the work of the Gravestone Girls.  I have a refrigerator magnet.
  • 32. Lookup the historical society for an area your genealogist is researching and see what they offer – maps are always good.  Also, the local genealogy societies usually offer publications or guides.  For instance, the Rhode Island Genealogical Society has many valuable books and cemetery guides at their online store.
  • 33.  See what you can find on Etsy!
  • 34. The idea of heritage cookbooks was sent to me by Wendy Grant Walter.  She recently purchased Great German Recipes and said: “in it are many dishes that I remember having as a kid that I assume my mom learned from her 1st generation German mom.”  At that same link many other cultures are covered, too. 
  • 35. Barb’s Branches has some attractive tree jewelry in an Etsy shop.  Among her interesting handmade “tree” pieces, she has the inspired idea of making jewelry from old silver spoons.  Amazing!
A pendant made from an antique silver spoon, by Barb's Branches.

A pendant made from an antique silver spoon, by Barb’s Branches.

  • 36. Every genealogist loves a beautifully executed family tree chart.  Two suggestions:
    • I have seen the work of Family Chartmasters and it is not only excellent, but each piece is tailored to the family’s preferences. Go to this link and scroll down to check out the samples.  If you have access to enough info, you could order one, if not, you could give a gift certificate and allow your genealogist to collaborate with Family Chartmasters on a wonderful end product.
    • i (chart) you makes beautiful custom ancestor charts; you send the data and they send you the file electronically, ready for you to have printed in the size you prefer.  This would have to be ordered by the genealogist, but a gift certificate (see the last few boxes on the main page) might be nice.  Thanks to Wendy Grant Walter for this idea. I was thinking of taking this off the list this year and then I looked at them and realized I really want one.

Make your own gift

  • 37. The family genealogist wears too many hats.  Family historian, archivist, photo restorer, report writer, researcher, local historian, cemetery rabbit.  A gift that would be appreciated is an effort to collect and produce a small book on one aspect of your family history.  Say, dad’s service in WW2, the relatives overseas from when you visited, or just everyone’s childhood.  My sister does this from time to time and it’s great.  No genealogy expertise needed, she asks me for pictures in advance, and the whole family gets a slice of its story without me having to do anything.
  • 38. A similar option would be to find, scan and print a copy of an old family photo, and frame it nicely – perhaps in an old frame.

For Rhode Island genealogy

  • 39. Good news!  All 9 volumes of The Narragansett Historical Register (originally published in the 1880’s-1890’s) are back in print from Heritage Press.  Check them out!  vol.1  vol.2  vol.3  vol.4  vol.5  vol.6  vol.7  vol. 8  vol.9  How about one volume a year?
Narragansett Historical Register, modern reprint

Narragansett Historical Register, modern reprint

  • 40. I heartily and strongly recommend the recent book Rhode Island in the American Revolution: A Source Guide for Genealogists and Historians by Eric G. Grundset for the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR Source Guides on the American Revolution Series No. 4), 2014. Quite a bargain at $25.  It is 200 pages of guidance on where to find Rhode Island records from the 1770’s and 1780’s, but it will not contain the records themselves – most of those are buried in archives and manuscripts.
Rhode Island in the American Revolution - A source Guide for Genealogists and Historians, by Eric G Grundset

Rhode Island in the American Revolution – A source Guide for Genealogists and Historians, by Eric G Grundset

  • 41. The most valuable book for those with ancestors in Rhode Island during the 1600’s is The Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island by John O. Austin, published by Genealogical Publishing.  It maps the first three generations of many early Rhode Island families. You can sometimes find a cheaper used copy on eBay, but be sure to buy a version with additions and corrections from the 1960’s – 70’s.
  • 42. The Rhode Island Historical Society has a bookstore at the John Brown House, and online, offering my favorite print of Providence ever, President Street by Joseph Partridge, 1822. I also love Market Square.  Only $15 each.
  • 43. New England Court Records by Diane Rappaport.
  • 44. Spirit of 76 in Rhode Island by Benjamin Cowell for listings of R.I. Revolutionary War soldiers.
  • 45. The complete three volume New England Marriages Before 1700 by Clarence Almon Torrey would be quite a thrill for any serious early New England researcher.  It seems to be falling out of print; try searching for it here or here.
  • 46. A gift membership in the Rhode Island Genealogical Society is a terrific gift for the serious Rhode Island genealogist.

Trying something new

  • 47. For those new to DNA testing, and looking for an easy way to try it out, I could recommend an Ancestry DNA test kit.  Your genealogist will use the kit to submit a sample (in fact, it will be important to the genealogist to choose WHO will be sampled) which will be analyzed, and the results, available online, will show links to other individuals.
  • 48. A better choice for the same money, for a genealogist who is more experienced, is the Family Tree DNA Family Finder test kit.  Family Tree DNA gives enough information to more accurately allow you to estimate, if the right people are tested, the common source of your matches.

Caution I brake for cemeteries

FREE FOR EVERYBODY:  My vintage Christmas gift tag sheets on Pinterest, ready for printing.

ALSO:  Check out Anne Wagner (of Rhode Island)’s PDF handout on GIFTS GENEALOGISTS MAY WANT TO GIVE.  I may try some of these!

The post you are reading is located at:  https://onerhodeislandfamily.com/2016/11/10/50-gifts-for-genealogists-2016/

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It’s easy to record a practice run of your Powerpoint presentation, complete with audio, and watch it on your computer.  It’s a great way to prepare for a speaking engagement.  I used Powerpoint for years before I discovered this easy utility; nothing in Powerpoint makes it obvious.

The only thing you’ll need is your prepared Powerpoint presentation and a headset. I am using a PC and Office 2016.

Microsoft Lifechat headphones plug into a USB port on your computer

Microsoft Lifechat headphones plug into a USB port on your computer

Step 1  Create a copy of your presentation

This process will add an audio file to each of your slides.  That will greatly increase the size of the file, by 500-600%.  So start by making an extra “practice recording” copy of your presentation, and working with that.  You can discard it later. That way you don’t increase the size of your final document.

2016-11-06-14_03_13-4-brick-walls-bessie-version

Step 2  Fix your settings

Open the new copy of your finished presentation.  Go to the Slide Show tab.  “Play Narrations” and “Use Timings” should be checkmarked.  Put on your headphones and plug them into the computer.

2016-11-06-14_14_38-4-brick-walls-and-how-they-were-solved-b-powerpoint

 

Step 3  Start recording

Use “Record Slide Show” —  sub-choice: “Record from beginning.”  This brings up the recording screen.  There is a large RED BUTTON in the upper corner – clicking that starts the recording session.  Then, speaking into your headset microphone, make your presentation while clicking through the slides.  Both the sound and the timing will all be recorded.  My presentation takes about an hour; the timing showed during recording so I could pace myself.

TIP: Sound is only recorded slide-by slide.  So don’t speak during the slide transitions.

I noticed while doing it that I wasn’t allowed to click backwards at all, only progress forward through the slides.  During the taping, the red button turned into a button that could be used to stop or pause.

2016-11-06-16_03_19-4-bw-practice-recording-powerpoint-presenter-view

When you click past the final slide, a message will appear saying to click to end the presentation.  Clicking anything at that point ends it.  The screen goes back to normal.

Step 4  Review your presentation

Now, back in the normal editing view of your powerpoint slides, you will notice that each slide has a gray audio icon in the lower corner.

2016-11-06-16_15_22-4-bw-practice-recording-powerpoint

At this point, seeing the audio icons reassures you that the sound was recorded.

If for any reason you ever want to remove the audio from that slide, just click the icon, delete it, and the sound is deleted.  Or, your voice (“narrations”) could be deleted under the Slide Show tab, using “Record Slide Show” — “Clear” — “Clear narrations …”

If you stopped completely mid-way through, it’s also possible to re-launch your recording by going to the slide where you want to keep going, and selecting Record Slide Show and “Record from Current Slide.”  In my experience, the most recent taping of the slideshow is saved.

Step 5  Play your recorded presentation

To play your recorded presentation, go to the Slide Show tab again.  Click “From Beginning.”

This brings up the presentation and begins to play it.  You can either listen on your headphones, or unplug them and the sound should come directly from the computer.

Step 6  If you want to save or share your video

If all you want to do is review your own presentation, you’re done.  If you want to share your recorded video, and don’t want to share it as a Powerpoint file, then you can save it as an WMV or MP4 file.  I’m still testing that out.

Good luck with recording your video!

The post you are reading is located at:

Watch a Practice Run of Your Powerpoint Presentation

It’s easy to get caught in a cycle of web searches or casual queries that produce spotty and confusing results, or no results at all.  Once we realize that the answer to our difficult family history question won’t come that way, it frees us up to consider the alternative sources that may provide evidence, strategies to get around unrecorded events, and a plan for research that, if nothing else, will guarantee greater expertise in the era, the place, and the available resources.

Research question

My question comes from an East Greenwich deed of my 4x-great grandparents, Jesse and Sarah (Arnold) Andrews. I am related to them in the following way:  my grandmother Edna May Darling – her father Russell E Darling – his mother Emma L Lamphere – her mother Hannah Andrews, daughter of Jesse and Sarah.

How and why were Jesse and Sarah, in 1800, the owners of a property worth $900?  Subsequently, they seemed to be poor; living in Warwick near her family and moving on to Connecticut where they owned only a small property with a significant mortgage.  The kind of records that suggest money – probate, gravestones, church pews, business licenses, town appointments, recording vital records, and newspaper mentions – don’t seem to exist for Jesse Andrews.  Did he start out well off?

Abstract of the deed

Andrews to Spencer, Warranty Deed
East Greenwich, Kent County, Rhode Island
Land Evidence 10:527
Drawn 26 Feb 1800, recorded 26 Feb 1800
JESSE ANDREWS of East Greenwich “Yeoman alias Mariner” for nine hundred dollars paid by Captain JOSEPH SPENCER of East Greenwich, Mariner, “have sold a lot of land with a dwelling house and other buildings” located in East Greenwich, described as:
“Containing by Estimation about twenty seven Square Rods be the same more or Less and bounded as followeth. East on the Main Street or Post Road, South Part on Land of STEPHEN GREEN JOHN CASEY and CLARK BROWN, West on a Lot of Land belonging to the Heirs of OLIVER ARNOLD Late Deceased and North on a Street or Highway. “
“I the said JESSE ANDREWS do Promise” that
“I am the true sole & Lawful owner of the above bargained premises and Lawfully seized & Possessed of the same in my own Proper Right as a good Perfect and absolute Estate of inheritance in fee simple[.]”
Dower release by SARAH ANDREWS, wife of JESSE ANDREWS. 26 February A.D. 1800. [signed] JESSE ANDREWS (seal), SARAH ANDREWS (+) “her mark” (seal). Witnesses: DAN TAYLOR, ANDREW BOYD.
Recorded February 26th AD 1800; JESSE and SARAH ANDREWS personally appeared in East Greenwich.

Analysis of current deed (see full transcription at bottom of this post)

Jesse Andrews was a “Yeoman Alias Mariner” in this deed; from prior research I know he had a Seaman’s Protection Certificate from Providence and was documented on at least one voyage in 1794. So apparently he was transitioning to a Yeoman.  And yet, he owns only 27 square rods of land  – less than ¼ acre.  Clearly he would do very little farming or animal husbandry there.

The sale price of $900 seems extraordinary.  There is no mention of a mortgage in any way, nor do other deeds suggest that.  From all later accounts the family seems poor. Were their earlier fortunes much better?  Jesse’s father died in the late 1780’s, when Jesse was a teenager, leaving no surviving probate record.  Only two sons are documented as surviving him; the other moved to Rensselaer County, New York and did well.  Did Jesse start life with a reasonable inheritance?

“Main Street or Post Road” is the same street then as today; the main street of downtown East Greenwich, a thriving community with the Bay to the East with a small port, quickly turning (at this earlier period) to farmland on the west side.  Through previous research I know Jesse’s property, from this deed, was located at the corner of Main and Montrose Streets.

This map of 1820 East Greenwich is provided as evidence that King Street, leading down to the bay, was the main thoroughfare of East Greenwich, not Main Street, where my ancestor had a house. That goes a long way to explain how my ancestor could afford such a classy address - maybe it wasn't - from The History of East Greenwich by McPartland, p. 51.

This map of 1820 East Greenwich is provided as evidence that King Street, leading down to the bay, was the main thoroughfare of East Greenwich, not Main Street, where Jesse Andrews’ house was. – from The History of East Greenwich by McPartland, p. 51.

Sarah cannot write her name, but being female this doesn’t provide much evidence of financial standing of her family.  Jesse can write, which suggests, at least, a financially stable childhood.

One abutter was Oliver Arnold.  Sarah Andrews’ maiden name was Arnold and her father was Joseph.  Was Oliver related to her?

The house was sold in February; by mid-year Jesse was enumerated in nearby Warwick between his mother and his father in law (and again in 1810).  Depending on the exact location, that could be just a few blocks away.  With money in hand, it’s hard to imagine why the couple retreated to their parents’ neighborhood and did not appear to own property again for the next two decades.

Witness “Dan Taylor” is related to the Campbell family, previous owners of this property and relatives of a noted local genealogist.  Further evidence from that quarter should turn up the exact location and history of this property.

Research plan

1. Look at other deeds for Jesse Andrews, in particular, the documents that explain his acquisition of this property. Look at the surrounding towns to find ALL property records for Jesse’s father, Philip Andrews, and investigate through deeds and probate exactly what Philip inherited from his own father.

  • Deeds (use grantor and grantee index volumes) for Jesse Andrews, Philip Andrews, and John Andrews in Warwick, East Greenwich, and Coventry, R.I.
  • Check for early Mortgage records which may be filed separately in East Greenwich.
  • Probate for Jesse’s grandfather John Andrews in East Greenwich or Warwick.

2. Determine the meaning of Yeoman beyond just farming; also, Warranty Deed.

  • Blacks Law Dictionary
  • Researchers Guide to American Genealogy
  • East Greenwich and Warwick deeds in my possession

3. Look for tax records in East Greenwich.

  • Inquire at the East Greenwich town clerk’s office about the federal 1798 Direct Tax, to verify that the East Greenwich list is lost.
  • Also ask if any other tax records survive from 1795-1801.
Bruce McGunnigle's recent guide to historic East Greenwich is helpful for pinning down locations of property. The East Greenwich Free Library provides additional manuscript materials.

Bruce McGunnigle’s recent guide to historic East Greenwich is helpful for pinning down locations of property. The East Greenwich Free Library provides additional manuscript materials.

4. Investigate the neighbor Oliver Arnold.

  • Greene, D.H. History of the Town of East Greenwich and Adjacent Territory (Providence, 1877).
  • Adamson, Thaire H. and Marion Fry.  A History of East Greenwich Rhode Island : as published in The East Greenwich Packet.  East Greenwich, R.I. : East Greenwich Preservation Society, 1996.
  • Use East Greenwich deeds to determine who the previous owner of Oliver’s property was.
  • The Arnold Memorial by Elisha Arnold
  • If necessary: James Arnold’s Vital Record of Rhode Island, vol. 1
  • If necessary: Search Rhode Island Roots at americanancestors.org.

5. Determine the value of $900 in 1800; was currency in fluctuation; was it controlled by the federal government or the state at that time.

  • Find a journal article or book that explains currency fluctuations 1790-1810.

6. Examine the three abutters – Stephen Green, John Casey, and Clark Brown – listed on the deed, to seek relatives for Sarah.

  • Greene, D.H. History of the Town of East Greenwich and Adjacent Territory (Providence, 1877).
  • McPartland, Martha R.  The History of East Greenwich, Rhode Island 1677-1960 With Related Genealogies (East Greenwich Free Library Association, 1960).
  • Casey Family of Casey Farm, vertical file at Rhode Island Historical Society.
  • The Brown Family History II: Tracing the Clark Brown Line by Spooner, Platz and Young, at R.I. Historical Society Library.
  • The Clarke Family of Rhode Island by George Austin Morrison available online at http://digital.library.yale.edu/cdm/ref/collection/rebooks/id/101779
  • Bamberg, Cherry Fletcher. “Gleanings from Rhode Island Town Records: East Greenwich Town Council Records, 1734-1774.” Rhode Island Roots. Special Bonus Issue 2008 (April 2008).
  • Bamberg, Cherry Fletcher. “Gleanings from Rhode Island Town Records: East Greenwich Town Council Records, 1775-1800.” Rhode Island Roots. Special Bonus Issue 2009 (April 2009).
  • James Arnold’s Vital Record of Rhode Island, vol. 1
  • Search Rhode Island Roots at americanancestors.org.

7. Study the backgrounds of the witnesses, Dan Taylor and Andrew Boyd, especially in light of Dan Taylor’s appearance in prior deeds.

  • MacGunnigle, Bruce Campbell. “Archibald Campbell Esq.: Ancestors and Descendants; Part One.”  Rhode Island Roots, 32:1 (Mar 2006) 1-22.
  • Adamson, Thaire H. “The Campbell Chronicle” in A History of East Greenwich, Rhode Island, Second Printing (East Greenwich, R.I. Preservation Society, 1996) 116-117.

8. Learn more about the purchaser, Joseph Spencer. What were his subsequent activities on the property? Do they suggest some type of outfitting or location specifics that could reveal something about the uses Jesse and Sarah had for the house?  Look in local journals, newspapers, and, if necessary, probate.

  • McPartland, Martha R.  The History of East Greenwich, Rhode Island 1677-1960 With Related Genealogies (East Greenwich Free Library Association, 1960).
  • Greene, D.H. History of the Town of East Greenwich and Adjacent Territory (Providence, 1877).
  • MacGunnigle, Bruce C. Strolling in Historic East Greenwich. Charleston, SC: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2014.

In closing

Working on a strategy is time well spent.  A written research strategy can be taken to repositories, and amended as new evidence comes up.  Notes and footnotes can be taken adjacent to the items on the list, forming a quick research report, ready for analysis.

More on the outcomes of this research later.

Signature of Jesse and Sarah Andrews on the deed. He signed, she made her mark.

Signature of Jesse and Sarah Andrews on the deed. He signed, she made her mark.

———-

Transcription of deed

Andrews to Spencer, Warranty Deed
East Greenwich, Kent County, Rhode Island
Land Evidence 10:527
Drawn 26 Feb 1800, recorded 26 Feb 1800
To all People to whom these Presents shall Come, I Jesse Andrews of East Greenwich in the County of Kent and State of Rhode Island Yeoman alias Mariner send Greeting. Know ye that I the said Jesse Andrews for and in Consideration of the sum of Nine Hundred Dollars to me in Hand before the Ensealing thereof, well and Truly Paid by Capt. Joseph Spencer of said East Greenwich in said County of Kent Mariner, the Receipt whereof I do hereby acknowledge and myself therewith fully satisfied Contented and Paid, and thereof and of every Part and Parcel thereof do exonerate acquit and discharge him the said Joseph Spencer his heirs Executors and Administrators, forever by these Presents Have Given, granted, bargained sold assined, enfeoffed Conveyed and Confirmed, and by these Presents do freely, fully and absolutely Give, Grant bargain sell assine enfeoffe Convey and Confirm unto him the said Joseph Spencer his heirs and assigns forever a Certain Lot of Land With a Dwelling House & other Buildings thereon standing situate in East Greenwich aforesaid said Lot Containing by Estimation about Twenty seven square Rods be the same more or Less and bounded as followeth. East on the Main Street or Post Road, South Part on Land of Stephen Green John Casey and Clark Brown, West on a Lot of Land belonging to the Heirs of Oliver Arnold Late Deceased and North on a Street or Highway. To Have and to Hold the said Granted and bargained Premises, with all the appurtenances, Privilidges & Commodeties to the same belonging or in anywise appertaining to him the said Joseph Spencer his heirs & assigns forever to his and their only proper use benefit and behalf forever, and I the said Jesse Andrews for myself my heirs Executors & Administrators do Covenant Promise and Grant to & with the said Joseph Spencer his heirs and assigns that at and before the Ensealing hereof I am the true sole & Lawful owner of the above bargained premises and Lawfully seized & Possessed of the same in my own Proper Right as a good Perfect and absolute Estate of inheritance in fee simple & have in my self Good Right full Power and Lawfull Authority to Grant bargain Sell Convey and Confirm the said bargained Premises in Manner as aforesaid and that the said Joseph Spencer his heirs & assigns shall and may from time to time and at all times forever hereafter by force and Virtue of these Presents Lawfully Peaceably and Justly Have hold and[?] occupy Possess and Enjoy the said devised & bargained Premises with the appurtinances freely and Clearly acquitted Exonerated and discharged of and from all & all Manner of former or other Gifts Grants bargains Sales Leases Mortgages Wills Entails Jointures Dowries Judgments Executions & incumbrances of what Name or Nature soever[?] that might in any Measure or Dagne [?] or make void the Present Deed. Furthermore I the said Jesse Andrews for me my heirs Executors & Administrators do Covenant & Engage the above devised Premises to him the said Joseph Spencer his heirs & assigns against the lawful
Claims or demands of any Person or Persons whatsoever, forever to Warrant Secure and Defend by these Presents & Sarah Andrews Wife of the said Jesse Andrews for the Consideration above Mentioned doth Yield up and surrender unto the before mentioned Joseph Spencer his heirs & assigns forever all her Right of Dower & Power of thirds in & unto the before described Lot of Land & Premises. In Witness whereof we the said Jesse Andrews and Sarah Andrews have hereunto set our Hand and Seal this Twenty Sixth Day of February Anno Domi 1800 — —
Jesse Andrews (seal)
her
Sarah + Andrews (seal)
Mark
Signed Sealed & Delivered in Presence of
Dan Taylor
Andrew Boyd
Recorded & Compd with the original February 26th AD 1800 by
H. Cooke,Tn Clk
Kent / East Greenwich the day & year above Mentioned Personally appeared the above subscribers Jesse Andrews & Sarah Andrews & acknowledged the above Deed of sale to be their voluntary act & Deed hand and seal thereunto affixed before me
A. Boyd Just. Peace —

——–

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design-abroad

Who Were the Parents of Hannah (Andrews) Lamphere?

Hannah Andrews and Russell Lamphere married on 11 June 1838 at Norwich, Connecticut and over the next 40 years until her death in 1878 they lived their lives and raised their children in Connecticut, Alabama, and Rhode Island, leaving behind enough records to make the details of her adult life reasonably clear.  The question is, who were the parents of Hannah Andrews?

There are documents that reveal the names of Hannah’s parents to be Jesse and Sarah Andrews.  Knowing exactly which Jesse and Sarah Andrews is problematic.  Neither Hannah nor her parents lived out their lives in one place, and their vital records are spotty.  Many records left by wealthier families – vital records, numerous land transactions, church pews, probate records, informative cemetery markers – were seemingly out of reach for Hannah’s family.  And of the evidence that does exist, some is contradictory.

Using a combination of direct evidence and evidence gleaned through identifying two siblings, proof that Hannah’s parents were the Jesse and Sarah Andrews married in Warwick, Rhode Island in 1795 can be pieced together.

Map showing the important locations in Hannah's lifetime.

Map showing the important locations in Hannah’s lifetime.

Jessie and Sarah Andrews

Hannah’s death record contains the names of her parents: Jesse Andrews and Sarah Andrews.  It also reports that Sarah Andrews was born in Warwick, Rhode Island.

Hannah’s 1878 death record, signed by her doctor with data reported by her husband, exists as both a “Return of Death” and as the same information copied into the Providence record book of Deaths.[1]  It is the most direct report of Hannah’s parents found.  Jesse’s birthplace is given as “U.S.” and Sarah’s as “Warwick” which would mean Warwick, Rhode Island since the form was from Providence, Rhode Island.  Hannah’s birthplace is listed as “Coventry, Connecticut,” and her birth date calculates to 12 February 1819.  Since Russell and Hannah married when Hannah was 19, her family situation prior to marriage should have been well known to him.

Research shows two sets of Jesse and Sarah Andrews in New England, although of course there could be others:

  1. Jesse Andrews and Sarah Alvord married at Montague, Franklin County, Massachusetts (intentions, 18 Dec 1817[2]) and became the parents of three living children (Nancy Eliza, Sophia Lucretia, and Moses) between January, 1819 and October, 1822[3]. There would not have been time for the birth of Hannah and another sibling (Alden, see below) during the period 1817-1822.  There is no evidence that this couple ever left Massachusetts.
  2. Jesse Andrews, of Philip, and Sally Arnold, of Joseph, married at Warwick, Rhode Island on 22 February 1795.[4] The town, Warwick, coincides with information on Hannah’s death record. If Sarah Arnold had been 18 at marriage, in that case, she could have been about 42 in 1819, the probable year of Hannah’s birth.  Given that there were many children reported in the federal census records of 1800[5] and 1810[6] for this couple, a child as late as age 42 seems possible. No record has been found in Rhode Island for this couple after the 1810 census.

More evidence is needed to build a case for Jesse and Sally Andrews of Warwick to be Hannah’s parents, because they did not remain in Warwick.  From here, it is necessary to backtrack through Hannah’s adult life to find the additional clues.

Hannah’s marriage

Norwich Town 11 June 1838 Russell Lamphere of Norwich and Hannah Andrews of Ashford entered in the marriage relation before me . Joel R. Arnold, Pastor of the Congl Church Colchester. Received July 5, 1878. Simeon [?] Town Clerk

Norwich Town 11 June 1838

The first clue is that Hannah was, in 1838, from Ashford, Connecticut.  The marriage of Hannah Andrews and Russell Lamphere appears in the town records of Norwich, Connecticut:

Norwich Town 11 June 1838 Russell Lamphere of Norwich and Hannah Andrews of Ashford entered in the marriage relation before me   Joel R Arnold   Pastor of Cong’l Church   Colchester   Received July 5 1838 Simeon Thomas Town Clerk. [7]

The handwritten record, a primary source, provides direct evidence of the marriage and was viewed in the original book where it was recorded several weeks later by the town clerk, as reported by the officiant.  It is less clear why Hannah was not married in her own town of Ashford, and why they chose a minister from another town five miles distant.

Newlyweds Hannah and Russell were enumerated in Norwich, Connecticut in 1840 with one boy under 5 and with three extra adults in the household, besides the young couple[8].

Hannah’s brother

Although birth and death records are non-existent for this family before the 1870’s, during Hannah’s marriage and even after her death, there is evidence of a brother, Alden Andrews, who was the son of the Jesse Andrews of Ashford.  Alden can very reasonably be called Hannah’s brother because of four circumstances:  co-habitation, similar age and birthplace, parental names on the death records, and assistance given to Alden’s children.

Alden is enumerated in the same Norwich, Connecticut dwelling with Hannah and Russell Lamphere in 1850.

1850 NORWICH, CONN.  Dwelling 1939[9] Name Age Sex Occup Birthplace Attended school
Family 2432 Russell Lamphere 32 M Machinist Conn.
Hannah  “ 31 F Mass.
William “ 10 M Conn. 1
Sarah  “ 7 F Conn. 1
Charles  “ 5 M
Caroline  “ 2 F
Family 2433 Alden Andrews 31 M Machinist Mass.
Sarah  “ 26 F Mass.
Albert  “ 1 M Conn.
Louisa Tucker 18 F Mass.

 

This census shows Alden Andrews living in the same dwelling as Hannah and Russell and their children, along with Alden’s family.  Alden and Russell were working as machinists.  For them to live in the same dwelling provides strong evidence that they were family.  The lack of a difference in their ages seems inconsistent with other records, that usually maintain an earlier birth year for Alden.  The birthplace for both, Massachusetts, might point to other Jesse and Sarah Andrews family, from Montague, Massachusetts as parents, but in fact the period of their birth, the late 1810’s, is one in which the Jesse and Sarah Andrews of Warwick had disappeared from Warwick records, and not yet made their appearance in Ashford records, so they could have been in Massachusetts.  Or the designation of Massachusetts could be wrong.  Despite a report in her death record that Coventry, Connecticut was her birthplace, no evidence has ever turned up to clarify the birthplace question for Hannah or Alden.

Alden later lived in Rhode Island, appearing with his wife and children in the 1870 census[10] (and providing evidence that he had a son Merrill) and dying in Coventry, Rhode Island in 1873[11], leading to the second piece of evidence that Alden was Hannah’s brother:  his father was listed on his death certificate as “Jesse”; mother left blank.

The third and final piece of evidence, a census record from 1880[12], after Hannah’s death, shows that Russell Lamphere was living in Providence, Rhode Island and had taken in Alden’s son Merrill Andrews as a boarder. Both men were employed at a “Cotton Mill” which suggests that Russell (often employed in a senior capacity) may have helped the younger man find employment in Providence.

Hannah’s later life

By 1855, Hannah and Russell and the children had moved to Alabama[13].  The 1860 census in Tuscaloosa, Alabama assigned Massachusetts as Hannah’s birthplace[14].  Although Russell and his youngest daughter, Emma, were enumerated at a boarding house in nearby Meridian, Mississippi in 1870[15] a search for an 1870 census record for Hannah and the other grown children has not been successful, despite two of the sons being in their late 20s and capable of running households, which they later did, remaining throughout their lives in the south.

The 1875 Rhode Island state census in Johnston, Rhode Island shows Russell, Hannah and the daughters back up north[16].  She died in Providence on 22 June 1878 (see footnote 1) after, according to her obituary, “a long and painful illness”[17] which might explain her absence from the 1870 Meridian household of her husband.

Looking back at Ashford, Connecticut

Property records in Ashford provide the direct evidence that the Jesse Andrews of Ashford was Alden Andrews’ father.

Ashford Deeds, volume 24 : 432-433.  8 Jan 1838[18] 

Jesse Andrews of Ashford sells to Alden Andrews of Ashford, 50 acres, for $200.  Described as:

A certain tract or piece of land lying in said Ashford containing about 50 acres be the same more or less and bounded south on lands of Rufus Eastman, East on land of Rufus Eastman and William Shurman, North on land of Tomson Lyon and land possessed by Nathan B. Lyon, west on lands of said Nathan B. Lyon and land of Rufus Eastman.

This is further documentation of the only Jesse Andrews found in Ashford in the 1830’s; showing him “of Ashford” selling property to Alden Andrews of Ashford in 1838.  Significantly, this item places Jesse in Ashford in the key year of 1838, only several months before Hannah’s marriage, where she is recorded as being “of Ashford.”

Another deed documents the relationship of Jesse and Alden, using the words “received by deed of my father, Jesse Andrews”:

Ashford Deeds, volume 24 : 493-494.  31 March 1838[19] 

Alden Andrews of Ashford sells to Samuel Mosely of Hampton, 50 acres, for $175.  Described as:

A certain tract or piece of land being and lying in said and bounded on the north on lands of Nathan B. Lyon and Tomson Lyon, East on lands of William Shurman and Rufus Eastman, south on land of Rufus Eastman, West on lands of Rufus Eastman & Nathan B. Lyon, being the same piece of land which I the grantor received by deed of my father, Jesse Andrews.

Ashford, Connecticut town hall, June, 2013

Ashford, Connecticut town hall, June, 2013. Photo by Diane Boumenot.

Ashford census

The federal census offers the final clue that Hannah’s parents, Jesse and Sarah Andrews of Ashford, Connecticut, were the Jesse and Sally Andrews of Warwick, Rhode Island.  Knowing that Hannah was “of Ashford” when she married in 1838, a look at the 1820, 1830, 1840 and 1850 federal census records for Ashford reveals some details about Jesse Andrews.

Each of these census records is an original record, placed online as a digital copy.  For each year, the pages give the impression of having been created in some kind of geographical order, because no other scheme seems evident.  Eastford, Connecticut was split off from Ashford in 1847[20] and it is likely the Andrews were in approximately the same place for all four decades.

1820 ASHFORD, CONN. W M <10 W M 10-15 W M 45+ W F <10 W F 10-15 W F 16-25 W F 26-44 Engaged Agric. Engaged Manuf.
Jessee Andrews [21] 3 2 1 2 1 1 1 (1) (5)

The 1820 census, the earliest Connecticut record for Jesse Andrews, is consistent with the growing family found in the earlier Warwick records.  Jesse Andrews was head of a bustling household of 11 in 1820, with five of those persons engaged in manufacture, and five household members under the age of 10 – presumably, Hannah and Alden were among them.  Although Ashford was rural, eastern Connecticut in this era was a thriving industrial area, with Norwich and Plainfield being home to several industries.  Possibly, the family was doing some sort of piecework for a local industry.

1830 ASHFORD, CONN. W M 20-29 W M 60-69 W F 20-29 W F 50-59
Jesse Andrews [22] 1 1
Benjamin Andrews, next entry to Jesse[23] 1 1

But in 1830, when Hannah and Alden would have been about 11 and 13 years old, no children were enumerated in the Jesse Andrews household, making this record serve as contradictory evidence.  Next door, if the census was done in a geographic path, Benjamin Andrews, a young man, was living with his wife (Benjamin had married Lucy Snow on 8 March 1830 at Ashford[24].)  Jesse’s almost empty house implies that the older couple had no parental responsibilities.  But the older offspring, formerly “engaged in manufactures,” would have households of their own by 1830 and possibly took the younger children with them, for household help or to work in industries close by; this supposition is based on the large number of household members “engaged in manufactures” in the prior census.  No obvious candidates for the older siblings, except for Benjamin, appear in the 1830 Eastford or Ashford enumeration districts, so they may have gone to more industrialized towns nearby.  Hannah met her husband Russell, a longtime Norwich resident, by the time of her marriage in 1838 and it is doubtful she could have met him in Ashford.

1840 ASHFORD, CONN. W M 5-9 W M 30-39 W F <5 W F 5-9 W F 30-39 Employed in Agric
Benjamin B. Andrews [25] 3 2 1 2 1 (1)

In 1840, no trace of Jesse or his wife can be found in Windham County, and no burial, probate, cemetery, newspaper or any other record can be found for Jesse after 1838.

1850 EASTFORD, CONN. Age Sex Occup Birthplace Attended school
Benjamin B. Andrews [26] 41 M Farmer R.I.
Sarah Andrews 74 F R.I.
Norris B “ 18 M Shoe Maker Conn. 1
Susan D “ 14 F Conn. 1

By 1850, Benjamin was enumerated with an older woman, Sarah Andrews, and his children, and remarkably, both Benjamin and Sarah reported being born in Rhode Island.  This theory (and unfortunately there is no further evidence for it) that Jesse is Benjamin’s father, and that Sarah was his mother, living with him and perhaps caring for his apparently motherless children, provides the only evidence that the wife of Jesse Andrews, of Ashford, was named Sarah, and the only direct link of the Ashford Andrews back to Rhode Island.  No death record can be found for Sarah.  Benjamin, after a long career in and out of jail as a noted chicken thief[27], was given a perfunctory death record in Eastford in 1885 which did not name his parents[28].  Most other death records on that page and surrounding pages recorded names and places of birth for parents.  Likely, Benjamin died friendless and no one wished to report any facts about him.

1860 NORWICH, CONN. Age Sex Occup Birthplace Attended school
Benj. B. Andrews [29] 51 M Farmer Mass
Mary A  “ 51 F Housekeeper Ct.
Norris  “ 27 M Shoe Maker Ct.
Anna “ 84 F R.I.
Michael Davis 78 M CT

Some further support for Sarah Andrews’ birth in Rhode Island occurs in the 1860 census. Benjamin and his second wife Mary Ann Davis were enumerated in Norwich, Connecticut. Although Sarah appears to be enumerated as “Anna” Andrews, this is her son’s household, based on names and ages, and further evidence that this is Sarah can be found in the 1861 city directory for Norwich, where “Sarah Andrews” boarded at 22 Spring Street, which is the same address as given for farmer “Benjamin B. Andrews[30].”

Ashford, from Connecticut Historical Collections by J.W. Barber, New Haven, 1836, p. 417.

Ashford, from Connecticut Historical Collections by J.W. Barber, New Haven, 1836, p. 417.

In conclusion

The case for Jesse and Sally Andrews married in 1795 in Warwick, Rhode Island to be Hannah’s parents rests on Hannah’s death record which states that her mother Sarah was born in Warwick, on the 1850 census report that Benjamin and the elderly Sarah Andrews were born in Rhode Island (further backed up by a flawed 1860 census), and on the evidence that Alden (and, much more hypothetically, Benjamin) were brothers of Hannah, thereby linking her more completely to the Jesse Andrews of Ashford.  Although the evidence appears contradictory at times, the story holds together and exhaustive research has uncovered no other solution.

Further research will be ongoing among the Andrews of Windham and New London counties, Connecticut, to find another likely sibling with a post-1870 death record that properly lists parents and their birthplaces.

Endnotes

[1] Two versions:  (1) City of Providence, Rhode Island, Returns of Deaths, 1856-1921, for Hannah Lanphear (died 22 June 1878), digital images, FamilySearch.org, (htttp://www.familysearch.org : accessed 4/18/2016) image 2023 of 2142, from FHL microfilm 2022884 (June 1877-June 1878).  (2; derivative of the first and omitting birthplaces of the parents) Providence, Rhode Island, “Deaths,” Book 14, p. 161, for “Hannah Lanphear,” Providence City Archives, Providence.

[2] Town of Montague, Franklin County, Massachusetts, Town Records with Births, Marriages, and Deaths, for Mr. Jesse Andrews of Montague and Miss Sarah Alvord of Greenfield (Montague, Dec. 18, 1817 on page 439, digital image, Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 04/12/2012) image 217 of 232, from Massachusetts Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988.

[3] Town of Montague, Franklin County, Massachusetts, Montague Births and Deaths, 1744-1861, Book 1, for Jesse Andrews and Sarah Alvord, his wife, (Nancy Eliza, daughter, born Jan. 27, 1819; Sophia Lucretia, daughter, born Oct 6, “1819 or 1820”; Moses, son, born Oct 7, 1822, plus eight subsequent births, page 12-13), digital image, Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 04/12/2012) image 24 of 518, from Massachusetts Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988.

[4] The marriage record reads: “2 : 258 – Andrews, Jesse, of Phillip, deceased, and Sally Arnold, of Joseph; m. by James Jerauld, Justice, Feb 22, 1795.”  Arnold, James, Vital Record of Rhode Island, 1636-1850. First Series, Births, Marriages and Deaths. 6 vols.  (Providence, Narragansett Historical Publishing Company, 1891), 1 (section: Warwick – Marriages) : 3. Note: Original book cited, Warwick Marriages 2, page 238, has not been found in Warwick City Hall and was not microfilmed with other books in the 1970’s. Note also that wife “Sally” signed her name as “Sarah” with her mark in a 1797 deed (East Greenwich, Rhode Island, Land Evidence, 10: 424, Jesse Andrews to Christopher Andrews, Town Clerk’s Office, East Greenwich.)

[5] (The 1800 census shows the couple in Warwick, with one boy under 10 and two girls under 10 plus a man and two women).  1800 U.S. Census. Kent County, Rhode Island, population schedule, Warwick, p. 38 (penned), line 15, Jesse Andrews; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 22 June 2014); from National Archives microfilm publication M32, roll 45.

[6] (In the 1810 census, still in Warwick, Jesse Andrew’s household shows three boys under 10, one boy 10-16, one girl under 10, and two girls 10-16 plus a man and a woman. He is enumerated next to Joseph Arnold, which is the name of his father in law, according to his marriage record, see footnote 4). 1810 U.S. Census. Kent County, Rhode Island, population schedule, Warwick, p. 22 (penned), line 22, Jesse Andrew; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 22 June 2014); from National Archives microfilm publication M252, roll 59.

[7] Norwich, Connecticut, “Marriages Births & Deaths No. 6,” p. 19, for “Russell Lamphere of Norwich” and “Hannah Andrews of Ashford;” Office of the City Clerk, Norwich.

[8] 1840 U.S. Census. New London County, Connecticut, population schedule, Norwich, p. 3613 & 3614 (stamped), p. 178 (stamped), line 26, Russel Lamphere; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 14 June 2016); from National Archives microfilm publication M704, roll 30.

[9] 1850 U.S. Census. Windham, Connecticut, population schedule, Eastford Township, p. 470 (penned 471 on facing page), p. 235B (stamped 235 on previous page), dwelling 63, family 67, Sarah Andrews; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 14 June 2016); from National Archives microfilm publication M432, roll 51.

[10]   1870 U.S. Census. Kent County, Rhode Island, population schedule, Coventry, Post Office: Summit, p. 139 (following page, stamped), p. 34 (penned), dwelling 237, family 312, Aldin Andrews; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 14 June 2016); from National Archives microfilm publication M593, roll 1471.

[11]   Coventry, Rhode Island, “Record of Deaths, 1843-1900, Town of Coventry”, Deaths section : 34, Alden Andrews; digital images, FamilySearch.org, (www.FamilySearch.org : accessed 22 June 2016) image 393 of 528, from FHL microfilm 925616 (Births, marriages, deaths 1830-1900).

[12]   1880 U.S. Census. Providence County, Rhode Island, population schedule, Providence Enumeration District 61, p.541 (stamped), p. 19 (penned), dwelling 90, family 110, Russell Lamphere; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 16 June 2016); from National Archives microfilm publication T9, roll 1213.

[13]   1855 census, Tuscaloosa County, Alabama, “An Enumeration of the Inhabitants of the County of Tuscaloosa taken under an Act “To take the Census of the State of Alabama for the year 1855,” p. 75, line 3, household of Russel Lamphere; FHL microfilm 1,492,023.

[14]   1860 U.S. Census. Tuscaloosa County, Alabama, population schedule (free), City of Tuscaloosa, p. 448 (stamped 447 on prior page), p. 12 (penned), dwelling 130, family 130, Hannah Lamphere; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 14 June 2016); from National Archives microfilm publication M657, roll 25.

[15]   1870 U.S. Census. Lauderdale County, Mississippi, population schedule (free), Township 6, Post Office “Meridian,” p. 29 (stamped), p. 17 (penned), dwelling 130, family 130, Russell Landfare; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 14 June 2016); from National Archives microfilm publication M593, roll 735.

[16]   1875 census, Providence County, Rhode Island, “Census of District, No. 1, Town of Johnston, June 1, 1875,” p. 51, “Silver Lake Street,” line 34, household of Russel Lamphere; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 June 2016); Rhode Island, State Census, 1865-1935 for Hannah Lamphere, 1875, Providence, Johnston, image 51 of 145.

[17]   “Providence Journal, Tuesday Morning, June 25, 1878,” obituary for Hannah Lanphere, The Providence Daily Journal, 25 June 1878, p. 2, col. 3.

[18]   Ashford, Connecticut, Deeds, 24:  493-494, Col. Jesse Andrews to Alden Andrews 8 January 1838; Town Clerk’s Office, Ashford.

[19]   Ashford, Connecticut, Deeds, 24 :  432-433, Alden Andrews to Samuel Mosely, 31 March 1838; Town Clerk’s Office, Ashford.

[20]   Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org), “Eastford, Connecticut” 09/12/2016.

[21]   1820 U.S. Census. Windham County, Connecticut, population schedule, Ashford, p. 28 (penned), p. 430 (stamped), p. 1978 (stamped), line 8, “Jessee Andrews”; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 14 June 2016); from National Archives microfilm publication M33, roll 3.

[22]   1830 U.S. Census. Windham County, Connecticut, population schedule, Ashford, p. 166 (penned), p. 330 & 331 (penned), line 2, Jesse Andrews; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 14 June 2016); from National Archives microfilm publication M19, roll 11.

[23]   1830 U.S. Census. Windham County, Connecticut, population schedule, Ashford, p. 166 (penned), p. 330 & 331 (penned), line 3, Benjamin Andrews; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 14 June 2016); from National Archives microfilm publication M19, roll 11.

[24]   Ashford, Connecticut, “Births Marriages Deaths 1710-1851,” 6: 38, for Benjamin B Andrews and Lucy B. Snow “both of Ashford,” Office of the Town Clerk, Ashford.

[25]   1840 U.S. Census. Windham County, Connecticut, population schedule, Ashford, p. 4275 (stamped), line 12, Benjamin B. Andrews; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 14 June 2016); from National Archives microfilm publication M704, roll 32.

[26]   1850 U.S. Census. Windham County, Connecticut, population schedule, Eastford, p. 235B (stamped), line 13-16, Benjamin B. Andrews household; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 19 May 2016); from National Archives microfilm publication roll M432_51, page 235B, image 285.

[27]   For instance, “Tuesday Apr 30 1878: Benjamin Andrews from Eastford, was brought before Judge Tilden last week, charged with stealing 10 chickens from Chas. Simpson of South Windham. He was found guilty on circumstantial evidence, and fined $5 and costs. He appealed, and in default of bonds was sent to Brooklyn to await trial. He was well known at the jail, and bears a bad reputation among his neighbors. It is stated that one year he sold 200 chickens and did not raise one of them.” – Message Boards > Topics > Newspaper Research > Willimantic Enterprise News Message Board 1877. “1262.”  Digital item, http://Ancestry.com: accessed 21 October 2013.

[28]   Eastford, Connecticut, Births Marriages Deaths, 3 (1881-1886): 210-211, for “Benjamin Andrews,” Eastford Town Hall, Eastford.

[29]   1860 U.S. Census. New London County, Connecticut, population schedule, Norwich, p. 217, line 33-37, Benjamin B. Andrews household; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 28 June 2016); from National Archives microfilm publication Roll M653_90, page 1000, image 375.

[30]   John W. Steadman, compiler, Directory of the City and Town of Norwich, No. 1, 1861, microfilm reprint, U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995, Ancestry.com, Norwich, Connecticut City Directory, 1861, 15, “Sarah Andrews.”

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This is the page for all things that did not fit well in the other categories, but have been very helpful to me.

Archives & manuscripts

Portsmouth Free Public Library, Portsmouth, Rhode Island

Portsmouth Free Public Library, Portsmouth, Rhode Island

Booksellers

  • Allison Goodsell Books, 2528 Kingstown Rd, Kingston, RI – many standard Rhode Island genealogy series and books, secondhand. 
  • Paper Nautilus, 5 South Angell, Providence, RI – a variety of important Rhode Island history books, not much genealogy.
  • Lavendier Books online – a good selection of Rhode Island genealogy classics and history books, secondhand.

Boston Transcript

  • The Boston Transcript was a Boston, Massachusetts newspaper that regularly carried a page of genealogical questions and answers.  That feature ran for several decades in the late 1800’s/early 1900’s. It is gradually becoming easier to locate these papers online.

Church Records

First Baptist Church in America, Providence

First Baptist Church in America, Providence

City Directories

Court records

  • request a pre-1900 divorce record, use this form at the Rhode Island Judicial Records Center.
  • Colonial Justice: Early Rhode Island Court Records Project offers a small set of court records from the Rhode Island Historical Society.
  • Fiske, Jane Fletcher. Gleanings from Newport Court Files 1659-1783. Boxford, Massachusetts: 1998.
  • Fiske, Jane Fletcher, transcriber. Rhode Island General Court of Trials 1671-1704. Boxford, Massachusetts, 1998.
  • Rappaport, Diane. New England Court Records. Burlington, Mass.: Quill Pen Press, 2006. [a guide to finding records in the New England states]
  • Kent County Divorces from Court Records by Katherine Bruce and Violet E. Kettelle.   Rhode Island Roots 14:2 (Jun 1988) p. 41-50.
  • Petitions to the Rhode Island General Assembly from the Rhode Island State Archives. Volume 1 (1725-1729): Rhode Island Roots 20:1 (Mar 1994) p. 5-7.  Volume 2 (1728-1733): 20:2 (Jun 1994) p. 41-45.  Volume 3 (1734-1738): 20:3 (Sep 1994) p. 87-93.  Volume 4 (1739-1742): 20:4 (Dec 1994) p. 121-126.  Volume 5 (1739-1743):  21:1 (Mar 1995) p. 25-29.  Volume 6 (1743-1748): 21:2 (Jun 1995) p. 44-48.  Volume 7 (1748-1750):  21:4 (Dec 1995) p. 118-122.  Volume 8 (1751-1754)  23:1 (Mar 1997) p. 13-20.

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Immigration

  • Ancestry.com:  Rhode Island, Indexes to Naturalization Records, 1890-1992
  • Taylor, Maureen A. Rhode Island Passenger ListsPort of Providence 1798-1808; 1820-1872 Port of Bristol and Warren 1820-1871; Compiled from United States Custom House Papers.  Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1995.

Historical stuff

Journals

Laws and government

People of color in Rhode Island

  • Black and Indian Sailors Born in Rhode Island: Bristol Customs House Protection Papers by Jeffrey Howe.  Rhode Island Roots 31:1 (Mar 2005) p. 91-98 and 31:3 (Sep 2005) p. 143-155. New London  31:4 (Dec 2005) p. 196-200.  New Bedford  32:1 (Mar 2006) p. 43-44.  New Bedford 32:2 (Jun 2006) p. 91-93.  Providence  32:3 (Sep 2006) p. 156-163 also 32:4 (Dec 2006) p. 197-207, 33:1 (Mar 2007) p. 34-49.
  • Manumissions in Providence, 1784-1800 by Linda L. Mathew.  Rhode Island Roots 32:4 (Dec 2006) p. 193-196.
  • Smithfield, R.I. Manumissions: Glasco, Jenne, and Their Children by Charlotte Scozzafava.  Rhode Island Roots 34:2 (Jun 2008) : p. 98-101.
  • Free People of Color in the 1825 Census of Providence, R.I. by Jeffrey Howe.  Rhode Island Roots 36:1 (Mar 2010) p. 26-32.
  • Men of Color in the R.I. Regimental Book for 1781 by Bruce C. MacGunnigle. Part One: Piracy and Piety in Newport Rhode Island Roots 38:4 (Dec 2012) : p. 206.
  • Blacks in the 1774 Census of Rhode Island by David Lambert.  Rhode Island Roots 22:3 (Sep 1996) p. 90-94.

Photography

  • Checklist of R.I. Photographers from City Directories by Stephen P. Gross. This project was introduced in 33:2 (Jun 2007) p. 101-105.  [This series was continued for several years and covered many R.I. cities and towns, as an aid to those trying to identify a photograph.]

Records of the poor

  • Herndon, Ruth Wallis. Unwelcome Americans (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2001).
  • Smithfield’s Town Poor, 1850 by Elizabeth J. Johnson and Roger D. Joslyn.  Rhode Island Roots 15:1 (Mar 1989) : p. 22-23.  [by combining information from an 1850 printed book, identifying inmates in R.I. poor farms by initials only, with the 1850 federal census that provides names of inmates, the authors compiled of list of “cause of poverty” and “birthplace” for each inmate, and suggested the procedure could work for all Rhode Island poor farms in 1850.  A great idea.]
  • Burial Records from the State Institutions at Howard by Florence Patenaude.  Rhode Island Roots 24:1/2 (Mar/Jun 1998) p. 71-110. Continued in 24: 3/4 (Sep/Dec 1998) p. 191-258.  24:1 (Mar 1999) p. 24-35.  25:2 (Jun 1999) p. 51-71.  26:3 (Sep 2000) p. 19-41. See additional note 27:1 (Mar 2001) p. 46.
  • Indentures at the Dexter Asylum, 1828-1844 by Maureen Taylor.  Rhode Island Roots 22:3 (Sep 1996) p. 68-70.
  • State Farm Records: Abstracts, 1871-1872 by Jean Therrien.  Rhode Island Roots 23:2 (Jun 1997) : p. 51-56.  23:3 (Sep 1997) p. 76-79.  23:4 (Dec 1997) p. 112-115.  25:1 (Mar 1999) p. 17-20.
  • Deaths from the Bills of the Overseers of the Poor, Richmond, Rhode Island, 1820-1850 by Vera M. Robinson.  Rhode Island Roots 29:2 (Jun 2003) p. 87-88.  See addenda 29:3 (Sep 2003) p. 161.
  • Residency Certificates from the Warwick Archives by Cherry Fletcher Bamberg.  Rhode Island Roots 31:1 (Mar 2005) p. 32-39.
  • Some Northern Rhode Island Men Unable to Equip Themselves as Required by Law, 1776 by Linda L. Mathew.  Rhode Island Roots 33:2 (Jun 2007) p. 106-110.  See also Exeter and Richmond 35:1 (Mar 2009) p. 34-37. North Kingstown 37:3 (Sep 2011) p. 142.
  • Notes on Deaths at the Smithfield Town Farm and Asylum, 1865-1870 by Mickey Finn-Jordan.  Rhode Island Roots 41:4 (Dec 2015) : p. 191-200.

In closing

I will be updating this material from time to time.  Thanks for your patience as I put these posts together.  I wish you a lot of success with your Rhode Island research!

Slater Mill, first cotton mill in the United States, Pawtucket, R.I. Library of Congress LC-USZ62-116492

Slater Mill, first cotton mill in the United States, Pawtucket, R.I. Library of Congress LC-USZ62-116492

Find the rest of the 8 WEEKS TO BETTER RHODE ISLAND GENEALOGY RESEARCH series:

  1. Week 1 – Vital Records
  2. Week 2 – Census Records
  3. Week 3 – Probate & Cemeteries
  4. Week 4 – Maps & Deeds
  5. Week 5 – Town Records, Histories, and Newspapers
  6. Week 6 – Published Family Genealogies
  7. Week 7 – Military and Pensions
  8. Week 8 – Everything Else

Posts are the property of One Rhode Island Family.

 The post you are reading is located at:  https://onerhodeislandfamily.com/2016/09/30/week8-everything-else/

 

 

If there’s one thing I’ve realized since I’ve started genealogy, it’s that once you get to military records, you find two wonderful things:

  • That there is a large contingent of people spending their lives documenting military history – collecting interesting stuff (instead of tossing it), making maps, finding photographs, displaying artifacts, preserving graves, and writing books.  As genealogists, we suddenly feel like we have partners and colleagues working away on our ancestors.  Hurray for that.
  • That the documents you may find in the military sector can be far more revealing than just about anything else.

So our job as genealogists is to use all of this great work to give us clues about where to find records.

Nathanael Green portrait: Copy of mezzotint by Valentine Greene, executed by J. Brown after Charles Wilson Peale; 1785. National Archives

Rhode Island’s own General Nathanael Greene. His homestead is preserved, see http://www.nathanaelgreenehomestead.org.  Copy of mezzotint by Valentine Greene, executed by J. Brown after Peale.

Finding pre-1875 military records for Rhode Island veterans

I am no expert in any of this so I will give some helpful links here and I hope they will be useful. One thing I should say is that for every war that ever affected Rhode Island, there are experts.  They may sometimes be hobbyists and their information may be broadcast in unusual ways.  Be on the lookout for blogs, particularly blogs written by small groups or organizations, and self-published books.  You may find some good leads.

Finding your ancestor’s name may be fairly easy.  Finding their story is going to take a lot of digging.  Think also of archives, manuscripts, veterans groups, lineage societies, biographical works, and local historical societies.

Helpful tips: 

Early wars

King Philip’s War, 1675-1678.  Although initially hoping to avoid military engagements with the Narragansetts, Rhode Island did eventually become embroiled in King Philip’s War.  Craig Anthony has written some books about Rhode Island’s (and the Tefft family in particular) involvement in a horrific assault that occurred in southern Rhode Island called “The Great Swamp Fight.”  After the war, land in East Greenwich, Rhode Island was offered to a group of veterans (see the History of East Greenwich), and nearby Voluntown, Connecticut was founded to distribute land to veterans.  I usually refer to Soldiers in King Philip’s War by George M. Bodge for information about the war itself, but no doubt better modern sources are available.

By U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph. Painting in oils by W. Nowland Van Powell - Naval Historical Center Photo # NH 85201-KN (color), CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9103147

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph. Painting in oils by W. Nowland Van Powell – Naval Historical Center Photo # NH 85201-KN

French and Indian Wars, 1754-1763A List of Rhode Island Soldiers & Sailors in the Old French & Indian War, 1755-1762 by Howard Chapin contains some information and names.

Revolutionary War 1776-1783

Rhode Island sent many soldiers to the war.  Newport was occupied by the British from late 1776 to 1779, resulting in a severe disruption to the rising importance of Newport, and the eventual emergence of Providence as the center of manufacturing, education and government, although that emergence grew slowly over the next hundred years.

A partial list of resources:

  • Rhode Island in the American Revolution by Eric G. Grundset – a recent bibliography of resources for the late colonial period.  This is a must-see – Mr. Grundset will point to numerous record sets that will help you research your ancestor’s service.
  • Benjamin Cowell’s Spirit of 76 in Rhode Island.  Mr. Cowell was instrumental in helping the old soldiers obtain the pensions granted to them by Congress in the 1830’s.  He personally heard their stories, and the stories of officers, friends and neighbors who served.  By 1850, he had put together this book, listing some very brief service records, wishing that he could make an even more complete report.  In my experience, if your ancestor is listed here, keep seeking further service records because he usually only listed a portion.  James Arnold provided an index to Cowell in volume 12 of his Vital Record of Rhode Island.
  • Rhode Island Loyalists by Paul J. Bunnell.  Rhode Island Roots 25:1 (Mar 1999) p. 21-23.
  • Revolutionary War Index at the Rhode Island State Archives.  A slip index of notations for RW soldiers mentioned in various resources at several Rhode Island repositories.  Each slip will give an abbreviated citation back to the source.  Some soldiers have one or two slips, some have dozens.  This is only on paper as far as I know.
slips in the Revolutionary War index file for my ancestor Richard Ballou.

Slips in the Revolutionary War index file for my ancestor Richard Ballou.

  • Rhode Island Historical Society has a Revolutionary War index as well; it often leads to original payrolls or reports in their manuscript collection.  See also this finding aid.
  • Fold3.com contains many military records, especially for federal government units.  It also contains valuable pension records.
  • Rhode Island Loyalists by Paul J. Bunnell.  Rhode Island Roots 25:1 (Mar 1999) p. 21-23.

War of 1812

  • Some information about sources from the Rhode Island Historical Society.
  • This link opens a pdf list of soldiers from the Rhode Island State Archives.
  • Fold3.com is building a set of digital pension records from the National Archives.  My relative, named Ballou, was in there, but for letters farther down the alphabet, the set is not yet finished.
A marriage record found in a pension file. From the War of 1812 pension file of Augustus Ballou, Fold3.com.

A marriage record found in a pension file. From the War of 1812 pension file of Augustus Ballou, Fold3.com.

Mexican War 1846-1848

The most valuable pension record I have ever found for my family, a 96-page document that unlocked the secrets of my gg-grandmother’s birth, was from a Mexican War pension.  I had to order it from the National Archives.  Try starting on Fold3.com in the Mexican War section, to see if some record may exist.  I have now found two Mexican War pensions that were very helpful.

Civil War 1861-1865

Like many Americans, I have relatives on both sides of this war thanks to my Yankee ancestor who got the bright idea to start a business in Alabama in 1852.  That did not work out well, but his sons joined the Alabama militia in 1861.

There are, of course, hundreds of possible sources.  People are still working on this history and still publishing.  Always check for new work.  Just as one example, see this essay by Robert Grandchamp and also his book Rhode Island and the Civil War: Voices from the Ocean State and Frank Grzyb’s Hidden History of Rhode Island and the Civil War.

Soldiers and Sailors Memorial, Providence. Photo by Diane Boumenot.

Soldiers and Sailors Memorial, Providence. Photo by Diane Boumenot.

For later wars, even more information should be available through Ancestry.com and Fold3.com.  The digital availability of pension records expands all the time; check online first but then order the full record from the National Archives link near the top of this post.

There are eight weeks of helpful advice and links:
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8 Weeks to Better Rhode Island Genealogy Research – Week 7 – Military and Pensions

Civil War artillery. From History of the Ninth and Tenth Regiments Rhode Island Volunteers, p. 117.

Civil War artillery. From History of the Ninth and Tenth Regiments Rhode Island Volunteers, p. 117.

Published compiled genealogies, whether they be books or journal articles, can move our genealogy forward by leaps and bounds.  If the material is of poor quality, though, and if we accept it at face value and don’t pursue the research ourselves, it can jeopardize all our future work, sending us down the wrong roads and setting us up to build tree sections that are completely false.  If you think about it, there is only one correct family tree for any of us; only one true sequence of events that led to the unique people we are.  There is no “close” in genealogy.  There is “correct” and “incorrect.”  Which is not to say we should or could expect to ever know the full truth, going back a dozen or more generations; there are so many reasons why some “truth” just will not be found by us. But for the parts of the tree we are able to build, we as genealogists want them to be correct.

Published family genealogies – Books

I think one of the first things New England genealogists find are those family genealogies published in the late 1800’s.  Googling the name, such as “Ballou genealogy” or “Ballou genealogy book” will usually pull up a pdf of the item, if it exists.  My advice would be to download and save such books in folders on your computer, if they relate to your family, and always use the “Comments” feature in Acrobat Reader to mark each page that is significant to you.  See more about searching for books on How to Build your Digital Library.

The quality of the genealogy in these books may be excellent, or very poor, and everything in between.  My own judgment is that reported events and relationships that occurred within about 60 – 70 years of the publication date have a good chance of being true (or as true as the family wanted to put out there).  Events farther back are often:

  • limited to well-documented, wealthier branches who left behind lots of records, such as vital records, probate, and large and informative gravestones
  • clustered mostly in the branch and geographic location that the author had access to, or had contacts in
  • dependent on the genealogical expertise of the author, so look around for evidence of that.

A good genealogist like Adin Ballou (An Elaborate History and Genealogy of the Ballou Family in America, 1888) may not have used proper footnotes (it was not the custom at the time) but he sprinkled every page with clues as to the sources of his information – deed books with page numbers, dates of probate documents, and many statements like “birth date not found.”  If you use data from these books in your tree, always follow up by checking for the records used.

When using these books, always check around for supplements, addenda, and later corrections.

QUICK FACT – When approaching an indexed family genealogy for the first time, seeking information about a couple, a good shortcut is to search for the last name of the spouse instead of the person who holds the name featured in the book (there will be too many of those). 

Wait, there are more books

Sadly, the search described above is where many genealogists leave off.  Therefore, they miss the thousands of genealogy books, also of varied quality, published since 1923 and, in some cases, still under copyright.  A book under copyright will seldom be found as a pdf online.  It might be for sale somewhere, it might show up as a Google Book in which only a bit of searching is possible (no pdf available), or, more likely, it is sitting on a few library shelves here and there.

I’m not going to provide a master list of books on Rhode Island families, much as I would like to, and I may try that someday. But here is how I approach this problem.

To compile a list of books that have been published on your family names, try the googling mentioned above, then try these steps:

  • Check out the online card catalog of the Rhode Island Historical Society’s Robinson Research Center.  They have lots of compiled genealogies there.  Try, for instance, Advanced Search for the subject “Ballou Family.”  This catalog does not cover everything at the library.
  • Try the card catalog of the New England Historic Genealogical Society.  They have a Search Databases function, for members, but anyone can use the “Library Catalog” under “Search.”
  • Always use WorldCat.org to search as well; each entry will come up with the libraries that hold the book, sorted by distance from you.
  • FamilySearch.org also has a “Books” search.
  • I like the card catalog of the Allen County Public Library in Ft. Wayne, Indiana.
  • Try the Ocean State Libraries catalog to find out what is in Rhode Island’s public libraries.
Searching for "Ballou family" in the public library catalog.

Searching for “Ballou family” in the Ocean State public library catalog.  The entry will tell you which Rhode Island libraries that hold the book.

My best advice for finding ALL the genealogies published on a certain Rhode Island family is to consult this book:

  • Guide to Published Genealogies in the Library of the New England Historic Genealogical Society (Boston: NEHGS, 2012).  I use this book a lot.  No doubt the NEHGS online catalog, linked above, would provide similar information, but I find the book format very easy to follow.
Guide to Published Genealogies has a large alphabetical guide to family history books as well as a guide to town and local histories.

Guide to Published Genealogies has a large alphabetical guide to family history books as well as a guide to town and local histories. Photo by Diane Boumenot.

Compiled genealogy sets covering many families

There are books which serve as guides to the literature of your family’s genealogy, or overviews of the genealogies of large areas.

  • The most important: John O. Austin’s The Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island; Comprising three generations of Settlers who came before 1690.  I strongly recommend NOT using an older version of this; you need the 1978 or later version with corrections, published by Genealogical Publishing Company.  This is printed as a marked-up copy, providing references to all the The American Genealogist articles correcting and expanding Austin’s work.
The Bennett entry in Austin's Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island. I know. It's weird.

The Bennett entry in Austin’s Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island. This is the way the book was printed. I know. It’s weird.

  • For the earliest settlers
    • It’s easy to forget that standard New England works will, of course, cover early Rhode Island families.  First and foremost, try your early families, arriving 1620-1640, in The Great Migration Study Project (by Robert Charles Anderson and others) including The Great Migration Begins (3 volumes) and The Great Migration (7 volumes) (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1995-2011.)
    • For a reasonably priced way to access brief bibliographies of the settlers detailed in the 10 volumes of the Great Migration series, try The Great Migration Directory: Immigrants to New England, 1620-1640, A Concise Compendium by Robert Charles Anderson (Boston, NEHGS, 2015).   Another choice would be to access some of the material online through NEHGS membership – use Database Search – Category: Great Migration Study Project.
The Great Migration series and Directory. It's important to have regular access to this; it should be in any library with New England genealogy resources. Photo by Diane Boumenot.

The Great Migration series and Directory. Photo by Diane Boumenot.

  • Austin, John Osborne. One Hundred and Sixty Allied Families. Baltimore: reprinted Genealogical Publishing Co., 2009. [note: This was never that useful to me; it covers the author’s, and the author’s wife’s, families only.] 
  • Savage, James.  A Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England, in four volumes.  Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, Inc., 1998 (orig. 1860-62).  The Great Migration is far superior to this source, and if you can use that, no need to consult Savage.
  • Cutter, William Richard.  Not much better than mug books, with lines of descent traced only to wealthy southern New Englanders, but still, I have a soft spot for Cutter.  The entries are always fun to read and very interesting, but unsubstantiated.
  • Torrey, Clarence Almon. New England Marriages Prior to 1700. Volumes 1 – 3. Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2011.   [Torrey is essentially a bibliography of any mention of the married couple in various older sources. Consult the sources noted for specifics. Use the most recent edition of Torrey available to benefit from modern additions, corrections and proper indexing.]

Journals and periodicals

Have you ever thought, I wish I could hire one of the country’s top experts to find that elusive ancestor for me?  Have you ever considered that you could possibly get such work for free?  Here’s how.  Do a thorough search of all the genealogy journals that cover the area in question.  You need to be sure that your important question has not already been researched by someone really competent, complete with reasoned arguments and footnotes. Even finding an article in a quality journal about the county or town you are researching can be a treasure-trove of sources and strategies.  I always read the footnotes first.

Most organizations do not give their journal away online.  You need to belong to that society, or subscribe to something that will offer access, or seek out a library with subscriptions.  Likewise, just finding an index to each journal is not a trivial problem.

Suggestion 1:  If you want to try ONE thing with the biggest chance for success, go to the New England Historic Genealogical Society’s website AmericanAncestors.org and use Search — Databases — Category: Journals & Periodicals.  You will need to establish a free guest user account; for some of these, you will need to be an NEHGS member, or find a library with a subscription.  This allows you to search the following journals, among others (in many cases, only issues more than five years old are included, and many do not go as far back as the earliest issues.)

  • The American Genealogist
  • Boston Evening Transcript Genealogy Pages, 1911-1940 [note: seems not to have a working index, but you can get to the page you want if you know the date]
  • Connecticut Nutmegger
  • Essex Antiquarian & The Essex Genealogist
  • The Maine Genealogist
  • The Mayflower Descendant
  • New England Historical and Genealogical Register
  • New York Genealogical and Biographical Record
  • Rhode Island Roots

Of those, of course, Rhode Island Roots is the most important for Rhode Island research, however, there are some outstanding genealogists producing articles for all the prestigious journals concerning Rhode Island topics.  For additional journal suggestions, see this article.

Quality journals.

Quality journals.

Suggestion 2: The second easy way to access some quality pre-1990 articles is to locate in a library the four volumes of articles published by the Genealogical Publishing Company, below.  Each set contains a thorough index.

  • Genealogies of Rhode Island Families From the New England Historic Genealogical Register, 2 vols. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1989. Specifically, see Gary Boyd Roberts’ brief bibliographies of 100 Rhode Island families, page xix – xxxiv.  Remember, that was current in 1989. This set, and the set below, are very thoroughly indexed at the back of volume 2.
  • Genealogies of Rhode Island Families From Rhode Island Periodicals, 2 vols. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1983.
The two sets of Genealogies of Rhode Island Familes.

The two sets of Genealogies of Rhode Island Familes.  Note there is a substantial index at the back of each.

Additional sources

  • A huge number of local history and genealogy journals are indexed through PERSI, a database available through your local library and/or FindMyPast.com  The indexing is not extensive; they are mostly indexed by general topic, but could be good if there was an article about your family or town. Once a citation is found, you will need to seek out the article itself.  I am not sure about the current status of PERSI; consult your local librarian for help.
  • Godfrey Memorial Library, comp. “American Genealogical-Biographical Index (AGBI).” Database on-line. Ancestry.com. http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=3599 Original data: Godfrey Memorial Library. American Genealogical-Biographical Index. Middletown, CT, USA: Godfrey Memorial Library. [A compiled index to many of the holdings of the Godfrey Memorial Library (a genealogy library in Connecticut); an index of names. Also available at larger genealogy libraries in hard copy (over 200 volumes). Once a citation is found, Godfrey has a photocopy service where they will, for a fee, copy the particular item that was cited. Content includes the Genealogy Column of the Boston Transcript, which is likely to contain a reader query about an ancestor and, possibly, in a subsequent entry, an informed response from a genealogist.]
  • Narragansett Historical Register, 1-9, 1882-1891, published by James Newell Arnold.  Facsimile reprint published by Heritage Books. [See all original copies online here: https://onerhodeislandfamily.com/2012/05/28/the-narragansett-historical-register-free/ ]
  • Rhode Island Genealogical Register. Volumes 1 – 20, 1978-1996. Rhode Island Families Association (founded by Alden Beaman). [not available online. Contains vital record abstracts, articles, and brief genealogies. Volume 16 “Rhode Island Will Index” is a compiled index of will abstracts contained in volumes 1 – 15.]
  • Rhode Island History. Rhode Island Historical Society. [Search and access 1942-2010: Rhode Island History. http://www.rihs.org/publication_search.php ]
  • Check out family genealogical materials at the Newport Historical Society.
  • Index To Genealogical Periodicals, vol. I (1932) and vol. II (1948) , compiled by Donald Lines Jacobus.
  • Index to Early Records of the Town of Providence, by Richard leBaron Bowen (Oxford Press, 1949).  Mr. Bowen, a noted Rhode Island genealogist, realized the potential of the Early Records index to help descendants of early Providence families to trace their ancestors, even if they were otherwise poorly documented, so he added a list of families included in Austin’s Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island (listed above) on page 87-93, plus a brief bibliography of articles on Rhode Island families in the decades leading up to 1950, on pages 93-97.

My favorite 10 Rhode Island family genealogies

Of all the genealogies that actually have helped me, these are the ones I recommend most highly.  If I had different ancestors, the list would be different. These selections make it clear that helpful genealogies are not always online, and are not always found in book form.

  • ALDRICH The Aldrich Family Genealogy – Descendants of George Aldrich of Mendon, MA, a manuscript compiled by Ralph Ernest Aldrich (1902-1984) and his wife Pearl Lillian (Marquis) Aldrich. 18 volumes.
  • ANDREWS – Harriet Francis James had her untitled manuscript on the Kent/Washington County Andrews published as a newspaper column, later compiled in a three volume manuscript by Anthony Tarbox Briggs.
  • ARNOLD The Arnold Family of Smithfield, Rhode Island by Richard H. Benson.  Boston: Newbury Street Press, 2009.  For advice on finding this book and on the other Arnold lines in Rhode Island, see Meet the Arnolds.
  • BALLOU An Elaborate History and Genealogy of the Ballous in America by Adin Ballou. Providence: E.L. Freeman & Son, 1888.
  • BOWEN Richard Bowen (1594?-1675) of Rehoboth, Massachusetts and His Descendants by William B. Saxbe Jr. 3 volumes, Hope, Rhode Island: Rhode Island Genealogical Society, 2011-2015.  What I would say about this set is ALWAYS seek out the highest quality work in an area to see if it can help you. This one is exceptionally well done.  Another such example – Thomas Clemence of Providence, Rhode Island by Jane Fletcher Fiske and Roberta Stokes Smith.  Greenville, R.I.: Rhode Island Genealogical Society, 2007.
  • DARLINGDennis Darling of Braintree and Mendon, by William and Lou Martin, 2006. In addition to genealogical information on the Darlings, the book contains brief sections on the intermarried families of Cook, Southwick, Thayer, and Thompson.  There are about 5000 footnotes which will help you find specific records concerning your ancestors. This book can sometimes be accessed through FamilySearch.org – Search – Books.
  • LAMPHERE – a series of articles in New England Historical Genealogical Register:
    • 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.
  • RICE – a series of articles in Rhode Island Roots:
    • Bamberg, Cherry Fletcher.  “Major Henry Rice of Warwick and His Family.”  Rhode Island Roots 24 (March/June 1998): 1 – 60.
    • Bamberg, Cherry Fletcher.  “John1 Rice of Warwick, Rhode Island.”  Rhode Island Roots 24 (September/December 1998): 153-168.
    • Bamberg, Cherry Fletcher.  “John2 Rice, Jr.,  of Warwick, Rhode Island.”  Rhode Island Roots 25 (September 1999): 81-118.
    • Bamberg, Cherry Fletcher.  “John2 Rice, Jr.,  of Warwick, Rhode Island.”  Rhode Island Roots 26 (September 2000): 57-84.
    • Bamberg, Cherry Fletcher.  “John2 Rice, Jr.,  of Warwick, Rhode Island (concluded).”  Rhode Island Roots 27 (March 2001): 1 – 26.
  • SMITH – Farnham, Charles William. “John Smith, The Miller, of Providence, Rhode Island – Some of His Descendants” in Genealogies of Rhode Island Families From Rhode Island Periodicals, volume II, p. 1 – 150.  Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1983 [originally appeared in the 1960’s as a series of articles in Rhode Island History, v. 20 – 24].  It’s not that this work is so superb, although maybe it is, it’s just that it’s so hard to work with the name Smith.
  • WILLIAMSDescendants of Roger Williams, Book 1 – Book 5.  The website of the Roger Williams Family Association allows you to peruse the first four generations of descent online.  After that, it’s necessary to consult the books.

Should you find a book that you would like to purchase, I usually try Higginson Books, Genealogical Publishing, and Heritage Books for reprints.  I also look on eBay.com (this valuable book has been waiting a while for a forever home) and Amazon.com, although lately I find older books on Amazon to be overpriced, sometimes ridiculously so (often a more thorough search online for the tiny publisher’s website brings up a much more attractive price than anything you will find on Amazon.com.)  In a pinch, my best advice for a local Rhode Island used bookstore is Allison B. Goodsell, Rare Books, also called the Kingston Hill Store.

In closing

Be sure to check out the post about sources of local town records since some of those offer genealogical information about specific families.

There are eight weeks of helpful advice and links:
The post you are reading is the property of One Rhode Island Family.

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https://onerhodeislandfamily.com/2016/07/11/8-weeks-week-6-family-genealogies/

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

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

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