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The following article was NOT written by me; it is copied from an out-of-copyright volume, Collections of the Rhode Island Historical Society, Volume X (Providence: RIHS, 1902).  The article, by Clarence S. Brigham, the society’s Librarian in 1902, gives a list of obscure names of places and natural features of Providence County, Rhode Island, found in documents surviving from the pre-1700 period.  Mr. Brigham includes both a map to all the places, and notes on each place name indicating where the reference to the place name was found.  His notes, in the list below, sometimes mention “at the current time” but remember, all notes refer to 1902, not today.

Some of these definitions have already helped me to decipher some early deeds, so I thought I would share this here.

For a clean copy of the original article that you can save to your computer, click here. Thanks to One Rhode Island Family’s English correspondent Walt O’Dowd for pointing that out.

Rhode Island Historical Society collections v X


LIST OF SEVENTEENTH CENTURY  PLACE-NAMES

IN

PROVIDENCE PLANTATIONS  1636 – 1700

by Clarence S. Brigham

In the following alphabetical index and accompanying map the attempt is made to locate every place-name mentioned in the Providence records before 1700 and included within the original town of Providence as granted by the Indians to the early colonists, i. e., the territory between the Pawtuxet River and the Blackstone River. [note: full introductory text can be found at the bottom of this post].

SOURCES CITED

[NOTE: Mr. Brigham references the following sources in the list.  It’s probably best if we settle for his analysis of the place names, in this case (although it’s unusual for me to recommend that), since most mentions will provide no further information and these works may not be held in the repositories listed, and may now be known by different names, or are so early and fragile that access must be very limited.  The following list is in Mr. Brigham’s words. ]

  • P.R. printed volumes of Providence Records are given merely to show early or suggestive usage of a name. [These are Early Records of the Town of Providence, available online – for some reason Mr. Brigham refers to the volumes in Roman numerals – i, ii, iii, etc.]
  • The references to manuscript sources are in most cases self-explanatory. The early manuscripts in the [Providence] City Hall have been of great service, especially
    • the Fenner Papers
    • the long series of Providence Town Papers in the office of the Clerk of the Municipal Court
    • the volumes of deeds and the plat cards in the Deed Office
    • two folio volumes of early Plats of Highways in the custody of the City Clerk
  • In the library of the Rhode Island Historical Society:
    • the Field Papers
    • the Fenner Papers
    • The frequent references to the Harris Papers are to the printed volume.
  • Maps.  The following maps and atlases have been of especial value:
    • C. Harris, Map of the State of Rhode Island, 1795
    • B. Lockwood & S. B. Cushing, Map of the City of Providence and Town of North Providence, 1835
    • J. Stevens, Topographical Map of the State of Rhode Island, 1831
    • H. F. Walling, Map of the State of Rhode Island, 1862
    • D. G. Beers, Atlas of the State of Rhode Island, 1870
    • G. M. Hopkins, Atlas of the City of Providence and Environs, 1882
    • United States Geological Survey, Topographical Atlas of the State of Rhode Island, 1891
    • Everts & Richards, New Topographical Atlas of Surveys, Providence County, 1895

MAP OF PLACES

All the places, below, are mapped here.  Open to enlarge map. Note many common place names are omitted here; only the obscure ones are shown.

Click on map to enlarge and see the place names

LIST OF PLACE NAMES.

Absolute Swamp. An original boundary of Providence and undoubtedly the swamp northwest of the present Olney’s Pond and southeast of the junction of the Louisquisset Pike and the so-called Breakneck Road, in the town of Lincoln. (P. R. ii:73; iii:243; and Fenner Papers no. 17717 in City Hall.)

Antashantuck. The neck of land in the bend of the Pocasset River, east of the present Randall’s Pond in the town of Cranston. Antashantuck Pond was the present Randall’s Pond. (P. R. 4 : 68 ; viii : 72 ; and plat in Fenner Papers, p. 43, in R. I. Hist. Soc.)

Ascocanoxsuck. The single mention of this locality in 1667 gives no clue as to its location. (P. R. i : 36.)

Assopumsett Brook. See Ossapimsuck Brook.

Baileys Butts. Two little hills formerlv located on the western side of the present Grotto Brook running into Baileys Cove, and probably on either side of the present Black- stone Boulevard near Magellan street. (P. R. iii : 76, 188, and Lockwood Map of 1835. These may be the two little hills shown on Hayward’s Plan of the Proposed Survey of the Boston and Providence Railway, 1828.)

Baileys Cove. The cove at the southeast end of the Butler Hospital grounds into which the present Grotto Brook runs. It was also called Baileys Further Cove or Upper Cove. Baileys Hither Cove or Lower Cove was about one- sixth of a mile further south, where the brook from Cat Swamp empties into the Seekonk River. (P. R. i : 84 ; ii : 36, 106 ; iv : 144 ; viii : 73; – and Lockwood Map of 1835.)

Benedicts Pond. Mentioned in the records as early as 1659, being practically in the same location as it is at the present time – south of the junction of Union avenue and Wadsworth street. (P. R. i : 99, and Hopkins 1882 Atlas.)

Bewits Brow. This locality, one of the original boundaries of Providence lands, was on the west side of the Moshassuck River. The order in which it is listed in the ” Sovereign Plaister ” would seem to place it somewhere near the present Saylesville, but a careful study of early deeds places it a mile south of where the Moshassuck River bends toward the west at the upper end of the North Burial Ground. According to 18th century tradition the brow of land formerly southwest of the present junction of Charles and Hawes streets was called Bewits Brow. (P. R. ii:i8, 19, 73; iii : 243 ; and Harris Papers, p. 92.)

Blackstone River. In the 17th century almost invariably called the Pawtucket River. A rare instance of the present name is in Harris Papers, p. 171.

Broad Cove. The present Burgess Cove, north of Fields Point. (P. R. ii : 32 ; vi : 37.)

Cat Swamp. Mentioned in the records as early as 1669, although of somewhat larger extent than its present area. (P. R. iii : 118, and Lockwood Map of 1835.)

Caucaunjawatchuck. A tract of land directly northeast of the present Olneys Pond in the town of Lincoln. (P. R. i : 34 ; v : 87 ; xi : 139 ; and Plat Card 385 in City Hall.)

Cedar Swamp Brook. The ” brook from the cedar swamp flowing into Neutaconkanut river” is mentioned frequently in the early records. Identical with the present Cedar Swamp Brook in the town of Johnston. (P. R. viii : 72, 81; xiv : 100, 220.)

Chapompamiskock. A large tract of land extending southeast from the present Chopmist Hill in the northwest corner of Scituate. The name was also applied to the hill itself. (P. R. viii : 138 ; xii : 68 ; xvi: 322.)

Cold Spring. The only apparent mention of the locality of this name near Red Bridge in the early records is in 1681, where the place spoken of is undoubtedly identical with the Cold Spring situated at the extreme eastern end of East Manning street. (P. R. viii : 91 and Plat Cards 112 and 125 in City Hall.) Another locality called Cold Spring was southeast of Scotts Pond, being situated near the present corner of Lonsdale avenue and Crossman street in the city of Central Falls. (P. R. ix : 16 ; xiv : 16 ; and Walling Map of 1862.)

Cove. ” The Cove ” or great body of water formed by the joining of the Woonasquatucket and Moshassuck Rivers, as is shown on all the early maps of Providence, was so called as early as 1671. (P. R. iii : 214 ; v : 199, 227.)

Alvan Fisher, painting. Providence from Across the Cove, 1818. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Cowpen Point. A point jutting into the Providence River at the present corner of Point and Eddy streets. Appears on the Anthony Map of 1803. (P. R. ii : 103 ; viii : 69.)

Cranberry Pond. That part of the present Scotts Pond, in the town of Lincoln, which was known as Cranberry Pond before the construction of the Blackstone Canal, and which to-day is sometimes called Floating Island Pond. (P. R. iii : 163 ; xiv : 13-16 ; and Stevens Map of 183 1.)

Crookfall Brook. This brook, the present boundary between Lincoln and North Smithfield, was so called as early as 1683. It was more often, however, termed the Wesquadomeset. (P. R. iv : 143 ; xiv : 194 ; xvii : 20.)

Devils Hole. A deep hole on the west side of the Woonasquatucket River, near the present village of Dyerville. (P. R.v: 97, 139; x i : 181 ; xiv : 152; and MS. Deeds, iv: 187, in City Hall.)

Dirty Cove. See Hawkins Cove.

Dividing Line between Providence and Pawtuxet lands. The attempt is here made to summarize the various details of action regarding this line, from 1640 until its final settlement in 1712.

The line from Sassafras Cove to the tree at Mashapaug and thence between the Pawtuxet and Woonasquatucket rivers “of an even distance” was agreed upon July 27, 1640 (P. R. xv : 2, j6). It was apparently run out by the Pawtuxet men in 1659 (xv : 76) and by a joint committee sometime between 1661 and 1665 (xvii 1215; Harris Papers, p. 256). In 1660 the Town of Providence voted that they would own the line to extend equally between the two rivers for twenty miles, which vote, as later testimony shows, was procured at a ” packed ” meeting (P. R. ii : 125 ; and Fenner Papers no. 16675 in City Hall). On April 27, 1661, a joint committee was appointed to extend the line beyond Mashapaug (P. R. iii : 2). This line, however, as Harris shows in his account of the survey, was run much too far north, to Hipses Rock (Harris Papers , p. 256). A joint committee appointed in 1665 to extend the line correctly beyond Mashapaug never accomplished anything (P. R. iii : 61 ; xvii : 245). In 1669 the committee of 1661 reported that they had run the line from Sassafras Cove to Mashapaug, thence north to a point midway between the two rivers, thence west to a point near the Pocasset River, which report was accepted by the Town (iii : 136 ; xvii : 215).

The subject of the dividing line rested until Harris obtained his order from the Court, November 24, 1677, requiring Providence to run a direct line from the head of the Woonasquatucket River to the Pawtuxet River, and then a line equidistant between the two rivers to this thwart line (viii : 46 ; xv : 174). Providence immediately appointed a committee (viii: 21), but endeavored to shorten the Pawtuxet territory by running a thwart line from the head of the Woonasquatucket River to a point on the Pawtuxet River near its mouth (viii : 28, 31 ; Harris Papers, p. 238 ; and map in Rider’s Hist. Tract, ser. 2, no. 4, p. 100). Although the Court disapproved of this method of running the thwart line and an order was obtained from the King requiring a true execution of the verdicts, yet the death of Harris, in 1681, removed the leader of the Pawtuxet men from the field, and on January 16, 1683, a joint committee agreed that the western boundary of the Pawtuxet territory should be the seven-mile line, and that the northern boundary should be a line running from a center point on a head line through the tree at Mashapaug to a point on the seven-mile line midway between the Woonasquatucket River and the Warwick north line (P. P. iv : 73), which was practically an equi-distant line between the two rivers. Providence approved of this report and ordered the lines to be run without delay (viii: 130). Yet, although this order was renewed in 1698 and in 1706 (xi : 43, 105) and was made the subject of numerous petitions from the Pawtuxet men (xvii: 230-274), it was not until May 14, 171 1, that the line was finally run by a joint committee. This line ran from a marked stone at Mashapaug west 14 north to the seven-mile line, and from that point due south to the Warwick line (xvii : 282). Its more specific boundaries are given in the Harris Papers, p. 371. The committee’s report was drawn up on February 11, 1712, and recorded, marked “accepted,” on March 3, 171 2 (xvii : 284.)

Dry Brook. Situated in the town of Johnston and still so called. (P. R. v: 180.) The present reservoirs on the brook, however, are of comparatively recent construction.

Foxes Hill. Appears in the records as early as 1644. The hill, which has been mostly cut away, extended between the present South Main and Ann streets as far south as India street, the highest point being near the present corner of Brook and Tockwotton streets. (P. P. ii : 5, and engraving on Anthony Map of 1823.)

Gotham Valley. A valley, formerly so called, located south of the southern bend of the Woonasquatucket River near the present junction of the Hartford and Plainfield roads. (P. R. i : 5; xiv : 168.)

Great Meadow Hollow. A valley, mentioned frequently in the early records, directly south of the present junction of Lonsdale avenue and Main street, in Pawtucket. It appears on the Lock wood Map of 1835, where it is called Meadow Hollow. The Great Meadow itself lay on the Moshassuck River to the west of the Hollow. (P. R. ii : 7 ; iii : 98 ; xi : 165 ; xiv: 162.)

Great Point. A hilly point on the northern side of the old Cove, being practically at the present junction of Gaspee street and Kinsley avenue. (P. R. ii : 36 ; iii : 175 ; and Lockwood Map of 1835.)

Great Pond. That part of the present Scotts Pond in the town of Lincoln which was known as Scotts Pond before the Blackstone Canal was built. (P. R. ix : 16 ; xiv : 16.) Earlier known as Worlds End Pond.

Great Swamp. A large swamp, much of which still remains, extending north from Cypress street, between East avenue and the Swan Point road, nearly as far as Pidge avenue. It had four “openings,” the first of which was at Cypress street and the second at Rochambeau avenue. (P. R. ii ‘: 16 ; viii : 149.) Its location is well shown on the Lockwood Map of 1835.

Hackeltons Rock. The original name of Dexters Lime Rocks, in the town of Lincoln. (P. R. iii: 8, 66, 229, 241, and Dexter Genealogy, pp. 14, 26.)

Hawkins Cove. A cove, the general outline of which can still be seen, at the eastern end of the present Blackstone street. It was also called Muddy Cove and Dirty Cove. (P. R. xiv: no; Providence MS. Deeds, iv: 237; and Plat Card 66 in City Hall.) It appears on many of the early Providence maps and was formerly the eastern bound of the Providence-Cranston line. (See Cushing & Walling Map of 1849.)

Hawkins Hole. A swampy place at the northeastern end of the present Randalls pond, in the town of Cranston. (P. R. iv : 62, 68 ; v : 137 ; and plat in Fenner Papers, p. 43, in R. I. Hist. Society.)

Hipses Rock. Undoubtedly the high rock still standing in the three-cornered tract bounded by the old Plainfield road, the Morgans Mills road and the Pocasset River. (P. R. ii : 73 ; iii:6i; xiv 126; Harris Papers, p. 256; and plat of the “Wise Farm ” in the Fenner Papers, p. n, in the R. I. Hist. Society.)

Hipses Rock, Providence Public Library Special Collections, made available through a partnership between the PPL Special Collections and the Paul S. Krot Community Darkroom at AS220. For more information about the project visit: http://www.provlib.org/exhibitions/rediscovered-glass-negative-project.

Hunters Rock. The single mention of this locality in 1686 gives little clue as to where it was situated. (P. R. xiv : 227.)

Hurtleberry Hill. The hill, the highest part of which is near the present corner of Eaton and Hillwood streets, that is now called Bradley Hill. (P. R. iii : 88 ; viii : 158 ; and Plat Cards 118, 377, in City Hall.)

Joshuas Swamp. A swamp mentioned in the account of Samuel Winsor’s estate, in 1687, and probably situated on Small Brook, directly north of the present Chalkstone avenue. (P. R. xiv : 41 ; xvii : 54, 97 ; and Plat Card 118 in City Hall.)

Keyes. A clump of pines on the eastern side of the northern branch of the Woonasquatucket River, and near the present dividing line between North Smithfield and Smithfield. This branch was occasionally called the Nipsachuck River. This statement corrects the note on p. 103, infra. (P. R. iii : 244 ; iv : 151 ; v : 106 ; Harris Papers, pp. 102-104 ; and Plat Card 385 in City Hall.)

Little Flood. See Rumley Marsh.

Long Cove. See Sassafras Cove.

Long Craft. A small meadow on the Pocasset River, in the vicinity of Neutaconkanut Hill. Its exact location can- not be identified. (P. R. ii : 124, 126; and Fenner Papers, no. 17760, in City Hall.)

Long Neck. The neck, still often so called, extending north and south, to the east of the cove at Pawtuxet. It was also called the Little Neck. (P. R. v : 55, 57; xv : 95 ; and Hopkins Atlas of 1882.) On a plat of 1661, in the R. I. Hist. Soc. MSS., v: 11, this neck is marked Washouset Point.

Long Pond. Mentioned in the records as early as 1661, being in the same location as it was until recent years, – west of Elmwood avenue and between Daboll and Cromwell streets. P.R.i: 54, 95, and 1882 Atlas.)

Loquasqussuck. A tract of wooded country comprising practically the northern two-thirds of the present town of Lincoln. Mentioned as early as 1646. (P. R. iii : 26, 245; v : 108 ; and R. I. Col. Rec. i : 32.) Now spelled Louisquisset.

Mameawequate. Apparently a boundary of the Mashantatuck purchase. {Harris Papers, p. 63.)

Many Holes. A boggy meadow on the west side of Mashapaug Brook, a few hundred feet north of the present Park avenue. (P. R. ii: 13 ; v: 62 ; xiv : 268 ; xvi : 334 ; and plat in Field Papers, p. 84, in R. I. Hist. Society.) The Cunliffs Pond of to-day is chiefly artificial, being merely an enlargement of Mashapaug Brook. (See the Stevens Map of 1 83 1 and plat in Riders’ Hist. Tract, ser. 2, no. 4, p. 100.)

Martins Wading Place. A ford on the Blackstone River, a little south of the present village of Ashton, and about 100 feet north of the present Berkeley bridge. (P. R. ii : 86 ; Wilkinson Genealogy, pp. 53-54; and Walling Map of 1862.)

Mashackqunt. A tract of land beyond Wesquadomeset. (P. R. v: 283.)

Mashantatuck. A tract of land, comprising about 4000 acres, purchased of the Indians in 1662. The Indian boundaries are so indefinite that it is difficult to tell how far the purchase extended beyond Mashantatuck Brook, but in general its boundaries may be said to be the Pocasset River on the east, the Pawtuxet on the south, the Mashantatuck on the west and the Providence-Pawtuxet dividing line on the north. The locality was also occasionally called Paquabuck. (P. R. vi : 197 ; xiv : 290 ; R. I. Col. Rec. i : 483 ; and Harris Papers, pp. 62, 64, 69.) The name to-day, as it is given to the brook, is spelled Meshanticut.

Mashapaug. A tract of meadow land about half a mile southeast of Mashapaug Pond. The locality was an original boundary of the town of Providence and in the earliest days a pathway led to it. {P. R. i : 13 ; iv:7l, 135; v : 60 ; xiv: 199; xv : 2, 21.) Mashapaug Pond. Identical with the present pond of the same name, although of somewhat smaller extent; mentioned in the records as early as 1645. {P. R. v:6i; vi-: 141; xv:74.)

Mashapaug Brook. The outlet from Mashapaug Pond to the Pawtuxet River. The present Park lakes and Cunliffs Pond have been chiefly con- structed by damming this brook. (P. R. i : 45, 94 J vi : 205 ; and Stevens Map of 1831.)

Maskataquatt. An Indian locality mentioned apparently as the southwestern boundary of the Mashantatuck purchase. (Harris Papers, pp. 63, 64.)

Mattetakonitt Meadows. The meadows on the north- western branch of the Woonasquatucket River and directly northwest of the present village of Primrose in the town of North Smithfield. Occasionally called the Mattity Meadows and to-day known as Mattity Swamp. (P. R. viii : 1 39 ; xiv: 114; and Plat Card 385 in City Hall.)

Mile End Cove. A cove formerly on the east side of the Providence River, where Link street is now located. After 1700 it was occasionally called Wickendens Cove. The brook that followed the course of the present Brook street, and turning west flowed into the cove, was called Mile End Cove Brook. (P. R. 1:4; ii : 5 ; xvii : 280 ; Hopkins’ Home-Lots, p. 60; and plat of 1707 in Steere Genealogy, p. 193.)

Mill River. A name given to the Moshassuck River for a short distance above the present Mill street. (P. R. vii : 50 ; xi : 148 ; and folio Plat Book, i : 7, in City Clerk’s office.)

Mishoasakit. The name of an Indian locality apparently bounded on the north by Wayunkeke, on the east by Secesakutt and extending westward seven miles. As a pond, the name might apply to either the present Spragues or Watermans reservoir. (P. R. v : 284-286.)

Moshassuck River. Same as the present river of that name; an original boundary of Providence. In the town deed, Moshassuck is used as a name synonymous with Providence. (P. R. iv: 71 ; v: 296; and Roger Williams’ Letters in Narr. Club Publications, vi : 263.)

Moswansicut. First mentioned as a locality in 1660 and as a pond in 1665 – the same as the present pond in the northeastern corner of Scituate. The lands about here were divided in 1684. (P. R. ii : 134 ; lii : 68 ; viii : 138 ; and plat in R. I. Hist. Soc. MSS., vii : 11, 12.)

Muddy Cove. See Hawkins Cove.

Mushattchuckapeake. An Indian ground, which it is impossible to identify with any modern locality. It was, however, evidently near Mashapaug Brook, in the vicinity of Fran- cis Weston’s house. (P. R. xv : 101 ; and map in Rider’s Hist. Tract, ser. 2, no. 4, p. 100.)

Nanipsick Pond. A pond mentioned in the boundaries of the Indian tract Mishoasakit. It seems impossible to identify it with any modern body of water. (P. R. v : 284.)

Narrow Passage. A narrow place in the Seekonk River, directly south of the present Red, or Central, Bridge. Andrew Edmunds kept a ferry here during the latter part of the 17th century. (P. R. iii : 48 ; viii : 44 ; xiv: 124, 237; and folio Plat Book, ii : 1, in City Clerk’s office.)

Natick. A tract of land, generally spelled Nachick, the boundaries of which, according to its division in 1673, were the Pawtuxet River, the Mashantatuck Brook, the Warwick north line, and the vicinity of the present village of Arkwright. The hill standing in this tract was called Nachick Hill. (Harris Papers, pp. 61, 303 ; Fuller’s Hist, of Warwick, p. 206; and map in Rider’s Hist. Tract, ser. 2, no. 4, p. 100.)

Neck. “The Neck ” was the land between the Moshassuck and Seekonk rivers, and extending on the north somewhat beyond the present line between Providence and Pawtucket. Mentioned in the records as early as 1642. (P. R. i: no; ii : 1 ; and MS. Town Papers, 01 291.)

Neutaconkanut. The name of a hill in the present town of Johnston, generally spelled Neotaconkonitt in the early records. One of the original boundaries of Providence (P. R. iv: 71 ; v: 296; and Harris Papers, p. 55.) The name was also given to the Pocasset River above the southern end of Neutaconkanut Hill. (P. R. iv : 38 ; viii : 71.)

Nipsachuck. A hill, in the present southwestern corner of North Smithfield, that was a western boundary of the first Inman purchase of 1666. The name was also applied to the river flowing down by the Keyes (q. v.), to the locality around the hill and to the swamp southwest of the hill. (P. R. iv : 184; v:65; Narr. Hist. Register, vi : 49, 62; and Stevens Map of 1 83 1.)

Nonpluss Hill. A small hill directly northwest of the present village of Enfield, in the town of Smithfield. It may be said to correspond with the southern end of Wolf Hill, although this latter name was used as early, at least, as 1726. (P. R. iv : 54 ; v : 28 ; xi : 16 ; xiv : 226.)

Observation. As a hill, the name applied to the present Stump Hill in the southern part of the town of Lincoln. Observation Rock was a high, peaked rock standing on top of the hill before the construction of the reservoir. (P. R. ii : 73 ; viii: 101.) Observation Meadow was a tract of meadow land now overflowed and known as Olneys Pond. The brook running through it to the Moshassuck River was known as Observation Run. (P. R. i : 44 ; ii : 19 ; xvi : 223.)

Ossapimsuck Brook. A brook in the present town of Johnston, running easterly into the Woonasquatucket River between Allendale and Lymansville. Also called Assopumsett. (P. R. v:ii7, 134; xiv 1225; xvi: 259; and Harris Map of 1795.)

Oxford. An original boundary of the town of Providence, which it is impossible to identify with any modern locality. Judging from the order in which it is listed in the original boundaries, it was probably a ford on the Woonasquatucket River about six miles from Providence. (P. R. ii : 73 ; Harris Papers , p. 92.)

Pamechipsk. A ridge of hills forming the eastern boundary of the Indian tract Wayunkeke, and undoubtedly the range extending north and south through the center of the present town of Smithfield. (P. R. v: 285.)

Papaquinapaug. The present Fenners Pond in the town of Cranston. The neighboring region was also called Papaquinapaug, as was the brook running out of the pond. Mashapaug Brook, near its southern end, seems to have been some- times termed Papaquinapaug Brook. (P. R. i : 45, 80 ; vi : 201 ; Harris Papers, pp. 57, 258 ; plat reproduced in Rider’s Hist. Tract, ser. 2, no. 4, p. 100 ; and plat in Field Papers, p. 84, in R. I. Hist. Soc.)

Paquabuck. A name occasionally applied to Mashantatuck. (P. R. xv : 87 ; Harris Papers, pp. 62, 69.)

Paugachauge. An Indian field on the eastern side of the Neutaconkanut or Pocasset River, directly south of where Dry Brook flows in. (P. R. v : 53, 319 ; xiv : 39.)

Paugeamapauge Pond. Apparently another name for Tabamapauge Pond, q. v. (P. R. iv : 136 ; v : 38, 137.)

Pawtucket. The name, Pawtucket River, an original boundary of Providence, was used interchangeably with the name Seekonk River for that part of the stream between Pawtucket and the present India Point, as well as for that part of the present Providence River south of India Point. The name was also invariably applied to the river north of Pawtucket, now called the Blackstone River. Pawtucket Fields, also an original Providence boundary, were on the western side of the river and south of Pawtucket Falls. (P. R. ii: 129; iv: 71 ; v: 224; xiv : 112, 194.)

Pawtuxet. An original boundary of Providence and a name given then, as now, to the locality, the falls and the river. Also in one or two cases called Pootatugock. (P. R. iv : 18, 71 ; xiv : 64. There is an early plat of the lands north of Pawtuxet reproduced in Rider’s Hist. Tract, ser. 2, no. 4, p. 100, and a hitherto unnoticed plat of 1661 of the lands south of the river in R. I. Hist. Soc. MSS., v: 11.)

Pesaumkamesquesit Pond. The present Blackmore Pond in the town of Cranston. The magnetic meridan line of 1664, run due north from the mouth of the Pocasset River to the Neutaconkanut road, could have passed only through Blackmore Pond. This corrects the footnote on p. 73. (See Harris Papers, p. 73, and 1895 Atlas).

Pettaconset. The meadow, or bottom, land on the north side of the Pawtuxet River, where the present pumping station is located. (P. R. vii : 199 ; xiv : opp. p. iv ; xvii : 289 ; and Harris Papers, p. 62.)

Pocasset River. Mentioned in the records as early as 1652, but generally spelled Pauchasett. It was invariably called the Neotaconkonitt above the bend south of the hill. (P. R. ii: 12; viii: 71.)

Pomecansett. The neck of land between the present Fields Point and Sassafras Point. Also spelled Pumgansett. One reference, however, in the early records seems to locate this region nearly two miles further south than Fields Point. (P. R. iii : 7 ; xiv : 146, 212 ; xv : 101.)

Ponagansett Pond. The present Ponagansett Reservoir in the town of Glocester, being the extreme headwaters of the Pawtuxet River. The name, generally spelled Punhungansett, was also applied to the locality about the pond and to the stream which joined, with the Moswansicut River at South Scituate to form the northern branch of the Pawtuxet River. (P. R. iv : 43 ; xv : 87 ; xvii : 230, 262 ; and Harris Papers, pp. 188, 212, 220.)

Poor Man’s Plain. A name occasionally applied to Venter Plain, q. v. (P. R. iii : 89 ; and MS. Deed Book, xiv : 283, in City Hall.)

Providence. The name first occurs in the records in the original Indian deed. (P. R. iv : 70.) Roger Williams often called it New Providence in his earliest letters. The Providence River, from Pawtuxet as far north as the Cove, was invariably called the ” salt river ” or the ” great salt river” before 1700; the earliest date that the present name occurs in the records is 1705. (P. R. iv: 19 ; ix : 14 ; xvii : 198.)

Quttonckanitnuing. The northern boundary of Wayunkeke; not identifiable with any modern locality. (P. R. v:28s.)

Reynolds Valley. That part of the Blackstone Valley between the present Scotts Pond and the Blackstone River, in the town of Lincoln. (P. R. ii : 7 ; xiv : 10-16.)

Robbins Brook. The brook flowing down by the western side of Windmill Hill to the West River – now a series of ponds, Randall’s Pond, Upper and Lower Canada ponds, and Lincoln’s Pond. (P. R. v : 15 ; viii : 151.)

Rocky Hill. A hill, still so called, in the town of Cranston, east of the present Print Works pond ; mentioned in the records as early as 1659. (P. R.i:97; iii : 169 ; xiv : 128.)

Round Cove. A cove chiefly of thatch grass, of about six acres, which was formerly located directly west of the present East River street at Red Bridge, and extending northerly to Medway street. (P. R. iv : 192 ; v : 222 ; xiv : 279 ; Plat Card 125 ; and plat in Fenner Papers no. 17030 in City Hall ; and Lockwood Map of 1835.)

Rumley Marsh. A little marsh, also called “Rumney Marsh on the Little Flood ” bordering on the northeast corner of the Cove and directly north of the island later known as Whipple’s Island. The location of this island, also called Little Island and Grassey Island, is well shown on the Anthony Map of 1823 and in folio Plat Book, ii : page 1, in City Clerk’s office. (P. R. ii : 4, 21, 56 ; v: 227 ; xiv : 9 ; Hopkins’ Home Lots, p. 69; and Prov. MS. Town Papers, no. 0048199, in City Hall.)

Sassafras Cove. A cove, generally spelled Saxafrax in the early records, corresponding to the present Corliss Cove at Sassafras Point. Also called Long Cove, occasionally in the 17th century and generally in the 18th century. (P. R. xiv: 146; xv : 2; and plat in Field Papers, p. 20, in the R. I. Hist. Soc.)

Scockanoxet. The region around Hackletons Lime Rocks – the present Dexters Lime Rocks – a little southeast of the village of Lime Rock in the town of Lincoln. (P. R. iii : 66, 229, 241 ; xvii : 295 ; and Dexter’ Genealogy, pp. 14, 22.) The brook flowing from the Lime Rocks to the Blackstone river was called Scockonoxet Brook. (MS. Deeds, v : 294, in City Hall.)

Seekonk River. Generally spelled Seaconke, mentioned in the records as early as 1650, and often called the Pawtucket River. (P. R. ii : 10 ; v : 283 ; xvii : 155.)

Sekesakut Hill. A hill, formerly so called, in the town of Johnston, extending north and south, and about a mile and a half west of the present village of Lymansville. The name was also applied to the region about the hill. (P. R. i : 20 ; iv: 130; v: 116, 132.)

Seven Mile Line. This line was established on May 14, 1660, as the bounds of the first division of proprietors lands. From a point seven miles due west from Foxes Hill, it was to run north to the Pawtucket River and south to the Pawtuxet River (P. R. ii : 129). On December 30, 1663, a committee was chosen to set the bound seven miles west of Foxes Hill and to run the northern extension of the line (iii : 47). The latter part of this order was renewed February 19, 1666 (ii : 69), and the line was run probably as far as the Woonasquatucket River soon thereafter. According to the Providence-Pawtuxet agreement of January 16, 1683, the southern extension of the line was to be run as far as the Warwick north line (xv : 237). Although it was ordered, on April 27, 1683, that this be done without delay (viii : 130), and although it became the subject of frequent later discussion (P. R. xi : 43, 105 ; xvii : 231, 274 ; and Fenner Papers, no. 16675, 168 16, 16847, 16975, in City Hall) it was not until February 11, 1712, that a joint committee reported that the line had been run and the bounds set (P. R. xvii : 284). In the meanwhile, on January 27, 1710, it had been ordered that the line should be run out from the Woonasquatucket River northerly unto the limits of the Providence lands (xi : 141). The line which to-day forms the eastern boundary of Burrillville, Glocester and Scituate is practically the seven-mile line as it was established in 1660. The distance from Foxes Hill was evidently approximated, and not surveyed, since it amounts to slightly over eight miles. Being surveyed by a compass, moreover, the line falls about  west of the true astronomical north given on most modern maps.

Small Brook. The brook flowing through the present Davis Park into the Woonasquatucket River. (P. R. ii : 21 ; v:222; Hopkins’ Home Lots, p. 69; and Plat Card 118 in City Hall.)

Home Lots of the Early Settlers by Hopkins – p.69

Snail Hill. A hill, formerly so called, near the present Spectacle Pond. Identical with the present pond of the same name in the town of Cranston ; mentioned in the records as early as 1644. (P. R. ii : 3 ; iv: 141.) Spectacle Meadows lay to the west of the pond. {Harris Papers, pp. 55, 73, 98.) There were also Spectacle Meadows on the Branch River, near the present Burrillville-North Smithfield dividing mentioned early in the 18th century.

Stampers. A hill, formerly so called, at the present Stampers street, on the east side of the Moshassuck River. Stampers Bottoms lay at the foot of the hill, on the river. (P. R. ii 1.58, 91 ; hi : 75 ; and plat reproduced in Steere Genealogy, P- 36.)

Suckatunkanuck Hill. A hill directly east of the present Almy’s Reservoir, in the town of Johnston. (P. R. iv : 24 ; xiv: 93; and Stevens Map of 1831.)

Sugar Loaf Hill. Mentioned in 1653 as an original boundary of the town of Providence. Judging by its order in the list then given, it must have been situated a little northwest of Pawtucket. (P. R. ii : 73.) corner of Waterman and Cooke streets. A plat of the Snail Hill property drawn by Gov. Hopkins is in the Moses Brown Papers, vol. 18, no. 124a, in the R. I. Hist. Soc. (P. R. ii : 12, 20; and MS. Deeds, xii : 152.)

Sockanosset. The locality of the present Sockanosset Reservoir in the town of Cranston. (P. R. xvi : 286 ; Harris Papers, p. 207.)

Solitary Hill. A hill formerly located directly south of the present Olneyville Public Library Building at Olneyville Square. The dividing line between Providence and Johnston ran due north and south from the eastern side of this hill. (P. R. i : 8 ; xiv : 169 ; R. I. Col. Rec. vi : 194 ; Steere Genealogy, p. 180; Cushing and Walling Map of 1849.)

Sutamachute Hill. A hill, formerly so called, located in the town of Johnston, south of Dry Brook and directly northwest of the village of Simmonsville. Often spelled Sichamachute. (P. R. iii : 241 ; iv: 156; v: 319; xi : 77.)

Swan Point. On the Seekonk River and still so called ; mentioned in the records as early as 1685. (P. R. viii: 149, 160.)

Swan Pond. A little pond on the west side of the Moshassuck River, directly south of the present Breakneck Road and north of Olney’s Pond. In the 1895 Atlas it is called Quinsnicket Pond, and in Holbrook’s Genealogy of the Hopkins Family (1881), p. 18, it is spoken of as Goldfish Pond. (P. R. ii : 107 ; iv : 1 19, 228.)

Tabamapauge Pond. The present Dyer’s Pond in the town of Cranston. Sometimes called Paugeamapauge Pond and in one deed apparently confused with Antashantuck Pond. (P. R. iv : 136 ; v : 38, 137 ; viii : 71.)

Tarebreech Plain. The sole mention of this name before 1700 gives no hint as to its location. Perhaps the word has some connection with the 18th century Tar Bridge, at Olneyville. (P. R. iii : 88.)

Third Lake Brook. A brook flowing from the northern end of the Great Swamp into the Moshassuck River. Traces of it can still be seen where it enters the river at Moshassuck street in the city of Pawtucket, crossing Main street near the junction of West avenue. (P. R. iii: 21 ; xiv: 191, 208; and Hopkins Atlas of 1882.)

Tongue Pond. Mentioned in the records as early as 1659, being practically in its present location – between Fenner avenue and the railroad, and directly south of the Narragansett Brewing Company. (P. R. i : 98, 99 ; and 1895 Atlas.)

Toskeunke. The meadows on both sides of the Pawtuxet River, south of the present Warwick line and to the east of the village of Pontiac. It was affirmed that the river itself at that place was called Toskeunke, but it was apparently never so termed, except by some of the Warwick settlers. (P. R. iv: 161 ; Harris Papers, pp. 57, 298, 310; plats in Rider’s Hist. Tract, ser. 2, no. 4, p. 100; and R. I. Hist. Soc. MSS. v : 11 ; and Warner Papers, no. 63, 75, in J. C. B. Library. The land between Pontiac and Meshanticut Brook is called Chee-Toskeunke on the plat in Rider’s Hist. Tract, and there is occasional use of the name (See Copies of Warwick Records, p. 33, in R. I. Hist. Society).

Toyaskqut River. A river running “down to Pawtucket,” mentioned in 1661 as the western boundary of Wrayunkeke. Perhaps the present Tarkiln River. (P. R. v : 285.)

Venter. A name formerly given to a brook flowing into the Woonasquatucket River directly north of the present village of Merino in the town of Johnston, as well as to the meadows north of the brook and to the general locality. The plain to the south of the brook was called both Venter Plain and Poor Man’s Plain. Occasionally spelled Venture. (P. R. ii : 37 ; iii : 89 ; vi : 105 ; xiv : 63, 100 ; xvi : 435 ; MS. Deeds, xiv: 283, in City Hall; ‘and Hopkins 1882 Atlas.)

Vineyard. An island in the Pawtuxet River, directly north of the present Rhodes boathouse. It formerly belonged to the thirteen Pawtuxet proprietors and is still known by its original name. (P. R. ii-: 11,; v : 55 ; xiv : 75 ; and 1895 Atlas.)

Wallers Island. An island in the Great Swamp, several hundred feet north of the present Rochambeau avenue and near the Blackstone Boulevard. (P. R. iii : 107 ; xiv : 165.)

Wallers Swamp. The swamp to the west of the present Mount Pleasant avenue and north of Chalkstone avenue. Called N. Brown’s Swamp on Lockwood Map of 1835. (P.R. vi : 63 ; xiv : 82 ; and Hopkins’ Home Lots, p. 69.)

Wallings Pond. The present Sprague’s Lower Reservoir in the town of Smithfield. (P. R. iv : 21 ; xiv : 99 ; and Harris Papers, p. 319.)

Walsingham. A name given to the Thomas Walling farm, formerly located on the western side of the Louisquisset Pike, in the present town of Lincoln, and near the southern boundary line of the town. (P. R. iii: 117, 158, 160; xiv: 31 ; and MS. Deeds, iv : 146, in City Hall.)

Wanskuck. The name of a brook flowing into the West River near the present boundary line between Providence and North Providence. The name was also applied to the meadows along the brook and to the neighboring locality. Thename today is applied to a village and pond somewhat to the east of Wanskuck Brook. In its alternate form of spelling “Wenscott”  it seems at quite an early date to have been applied to the meadows a mile and a half northwest of the brook. (P. R. iii : 239 ; iv:i42; xvi : 202 ; and Lockwood Map of 1835.)

Wapwaysitt. Another spelling of Weybosset, q. v.

Washouset Point. See Long Neck.

Wayunkeke. The region in the immediate vicinity of the present Wionkhiege Hill in the town of Smithfield, and apparently regarded by the early colonists as a tract of about four square miles. The name, in its various spellings, was applied to the hill, to the fields southeast of the hill and occasionally to that branch of the Woonasquatucket River which flowed nearby. (P. R. iii: 19; iv:i82; v : 94, 285, 320; xvi : 208 ; and Narr. Club Publicatiofis, vi : 315.) Weecapasacheck. A reasonable interpretation of the records seems to place this locality a little south of the present Wionkhiege Hill in the town of Smithnejd. (P. R. iii : 38, 241, 244.)

Wesquadomeset. A name applied at least as early as 1666 to the present Sayles Hill in the town of North Smithfield and likewise to the Crookfall Brook. The surrounding locality, which was included in the Inman Purchase, was also so called. (P. R. iii 1242; iv: 143; v: 144; xiv : 112, 140; and Narr. Hist. Register, vi : 49.)

West River. Mentioned in the records as early as 1652 and still so called. (P. R.’xw 11 ; xiv : 8, 106.)

Westconnaug. A tract of land purchased in 1662 and comprising practically the southern half of the present town of Foster and that part of the town of Scituate south of the Pawtuxet River. Its northern boundary line was established in 1708. The name was generally spelled Wesquenoid or Westquadnaig. (P. R. xvi : 204 ; xvii : 223 ; original deed in Fenner Papers, no. 16628, in City Hall; and map of Foster in R. I. Hist. Soc. MSS., vii, no. 1409. There is a mutilated plat of the purchase in the office of the town clerk of Foster.)

Weybosset. The specific locality, Weybosset, when mentioned in the early records,’ invariably meant the neck of land bounded on the north by the Cove, on the east and southeast by the Providence River and on the southwest by Muddy Bridge, or Dorrance street. Weybosset Bridge, connecting this neck with the east side of the river, is the Market Square Bridge of to-day. Weybosset Hill stood directly to the west of the present Turks Head, between Weybosset and Westminster streets. (P. R. ii : 14 ; iii : 33 ; ix : 41 ; xi : 90, 92.) Weybosset Plain is spoken of as the ” plain south of the Wanasquatucket River” or “the plain between Weybosset and the Pawtuxet line,” yet whenever land is mentioned before 1700 as being on Weybosset Plain, its location is invariably near the east side of Long Pond. (P. R. i : 95 ; ii : 34 ; xiv: no.) Weybosset was generally spelled Waybossett, and occasionally Wap way sitt. (See R. I. Hist. Soc. Pub. iii : 117.)

What Cheer. An Indian field of about six acres, located immediately to the west of “What Cheer Rock” and early granted to Roger Williams. The Fenners subsequently owned this and surrounding property and the plat of their estate, known as “What Cheer,” is on Plat Card 61 in the City Deed Office. The cove to the northeast of the Rock was called What Cheer Cove, after 1700. (P. R. i: no; iii: in, 190; xi : 114; and Hopkins’ Home Lots , p. 61.)

Wickendens Cove. See Mile End Cove.

Wind Mill Hill. Identical with the present hill of the same name, which is located at the joining of the boundary lines of Providence, North Providence and Pawtucket. (P. R. v: 16; vii: 22; xi : 55.)

Woonasquatucket. First mentioned as a river in the original deed of Providence and ever since so known. Woonasquatucket Plain was the land in the vicinity of the new State Capitol, called Jefferson Plains on the Lockwood Map of 1835. It was generally spelled Wanasquatucket. (P. R. ii : 9, 36 ; iv : 71 ; v : 223, 296 ; xi : 52.)

Woonsocket. In the early records this name applied to the hill now called Woonsocket Hill and to the immediately surrounding region rather than to the vicinity of the present town of Woonsocket. It was generally spelled Wansokutt or Wansokett. (P. R. viii : 1 18 ; xiv : 38 ; xv : 217 ; and original deed in R. I. Hist. Soc, and printed in Narr. Hist Register, vi : 52.)

Worlds End. A pond, formerly so called, identical with Great Pond, or that part of the present Scotts Pond in the town of Lincoln which was called Scotts Pond before the construction ‘ of the Blackstone Canal. The Worlds End Meadows were southwest of the pond, on the Moshassuck River. (P.R. ii: 102; xi : 164; xiv : 158; and MS. Deeds, ii : 489 ; v : 293, in City Hall.)

PREFATORY NOTE

[note – what follows is the complete preface by the author, Clarence W. Brigham]

In the following alphabetical index and accompanying map the attempt is made to locate every place-name mentioned in the Providence records before 1700 and included within the original town of Providence as granted by the Indians to the early colonists, i. e., the territory between the Pawtuxet River and the Blackstone River.  A concise description is given of each name in order that it may be located on a modern map. In the case of those names which are still in use, the modern spelling has been generally adopted, with note of the fact if the early spelling is greatly at variance with that of the present day. In calculating distances given in early surveys it should be remembered that the surveyors used both the 16 and the 18 foot pole, and that consequently a distance can often only be approximated. It should also be borne in mind that the magnetic north of the latter part of the 17th century varied about 12 west of the true astronomical north used on the recent government maps and on many modern surveys.

The references, which are chiefly to the printed volumes of Providence Records, are given merely to show early or suggestive usage of a name. The references to manuscript sources are in most cases self-explanatory. The early manuscripts in the City Hall have been of great service, especially the Fenner Papers and the long series of Providence Town Papers in the office of the Clerk of the Municipal Court, the volumes of deeds and the plat cards in the Deed Office, and the two folio volumes of early Plats of Highways in the custody of the City Clerk. In the library of the Rhode Island Historical Society the Field Papers, the Fenner Papers and the Rhode Island Historical Society Manuscripts have been particularly serviceable. The frequent references to the Harris Papers are to the printed volume. The following maps and atlases have been of especial value: C. Harris, Map of the State of Rhode Island, 1795 ; B. Lockwood & S. B. Cushing, Map of the City of Providence and Town of North Providence, 1835 ; J. Stevens, Topographical Map of the State of Rhode Island, .1831 ; H. F. Walling, Map of the State of Rhode Island, 1862 ; D. G. Beers, Atlas of the State of Rhode Island, 1870; G. M. Hopkins, Atlas of the City of Providence and Environs, 1882 ; United States Geological Survey, Topographical Atlas of the State of Rhode Island, 1891 ; Everts & Richards, New Topographical Atlas of Surveys, Providence County, 1895.

In the preparation of this index, the compiler has gathered a large collection of miscellaneous references gleaned from deeds, wills and town proceedings, relating both to the 17th century place-names included in the list and also to many 18th century place-names. This material is to be kept in the library of the Historical Society, where it may be of service to the student of local history. The indebtedness of the compiler to Mr. Edward Field, Mr. William G. Brennen, and Mr. Welcome A. Greene for courtesies* extended to him in the work of preparation is hereby gratefully acknowledged.

–Clarence S. Brigham.


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I guess I have always wanted to know about the places my ancestors lived.  But finding the spot for that family farm, as New England genealogists know, is never easy.  Rhode Island land doesn’t come packaged in neat square lots (ever).  With an almost 400 year history, buildings come and go.  Towns and borders are rearranged.  Deeds are kept in 39 locations around the state, and seldom online.

So we learn to be curious about maps, guides, historic landmarks, place names, and history.  While prior to genealogy I would only have been marginally interested in a guide to a town’s historic structures and neighborhoods, I have gradually become obsessed with these things.  If you want to solve a brick wall, one best practice is to learn as much as possible about the nearest locations you can find.

Fortunately, the Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission has produced, over the last several decades, guides to historic architecture and resources around the state.  Focusing town by town on buildings and other structures such as bridges, the guides present a history of the landscape and neighborhoods, some details of evolving land use and industries, guides to local historic houses, and, at the end of the volumes, impressive bibliographies of books and maps for further research.

There are even some local maps here and there, which help you to sort through the historic neighborhood names.  And, plenty of pictures of historic houses and buildings.

All of these volumes are now available through their website, as free downloads.  Although I own several volumes already, having instant access to ALL volumes is a huge step forward.  The pdf copies can be downloaded from the RIHPHC website here.

I can’t reproduce their materials here, of course, so visit their website to access the books.  This is the list of books available on the website:

  • Barrington
  • Block Island
  • Bristol
  • Burrillville
  • Central Falls
  • Charlestown
  • Coventry
  • Cranston – also: Pawtuxet Village
  • Cumberland
  • East Greenwich
  • East Providence
  • Exeter
  • Foster
  • Glocester
  • Hopkinton
  • Jamestown
  • Johnston
  • Lincoln
  • Little Compton
  • Middletown
  • Narragansett – also: Narragansett Pier
  • Newport–see:
    •   African-Americans of Newport
    •   Kay-Catherine-Old Beach Rd
    •   Southern Thames Street
    •   West Broadway
  • North Kingstown
  • North Providence
  • North Smithfield
  • Pawtucket
  • Portsmouth
  • Providence (Citywide) also:
    •   Downtown
    •   East Side
    •   Elmwood
    •   Providence Industrial Sites
    •   Smith Hill
    •   South Providence
    •   West Side
  • Richmond
  • Scituate
  • Smithfield
  • South Kingstown
  • Tiverton
  • Warren
  • Warwick – also: Pawtuxet Village
  • West Greenwich
  • West Warwick
  • Westerly
  • Woonsocket

RI Statewide–see:

  •   Historic Highway Bridges of RI
  •   Historic Landscapes of RI
  •   Native American Archaeology
  •   Outdoor Sculpture of RI
  •   RI Engineering/Industrial Sites
  •   RI: State-Owned Hist. Properties
  •   State Houses of RI

I think exploring these books at the RIHPHC website would be a great way to learn more about your ancestors’ neighborhood.  They would help you understand the landmarks mentioned in deeds, and to understand how the landscape changed over the centuries, and what the local industries were.

What a goldmine!  Hope they help you.

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I’ve decided to revisit a brick wall ancestor, my 4x-great grandmother, Lydia Minor, and to create, along the way, a complete guide to this journey.  I hope readers with their own Rhode Island brick walls will follow along, and perhaps choose one problem to explore on their own as this goes on. The problem originates in Rhode Island but then veers westward; something that many readers will identify with.

I’m not kidding when I say this will probably take years.  I chose this problem because it’s pretty hopeless.  Eight years has not solved it yet, so there is no low hanging fruit.  It should be/would be/could be solvable – the Minors of southeastern Connecticut are pretty well known – but this particular individual has eluded researchers up to now.  Lydia Minor is the great-grandmother of my mother’s grandfather, Russell Earl Darling.

The problem, if it is ever solved, will be solved by devising and implementing strategies, which will often involve seeking connections between small details that can be gleaned about Lydia and her known family.  So, let’s strategize.

I absolutely need an “X-RAYS BOX.” Right away.

The research question

It’s important to state, in writing, the question.  The question needs to narrow down the focus, but also to refer to specific people.

Who were the parents of Lydia Miner, who married Russell Lamphear in 1807 in Preston, Connecticut?

OK.  Now I know what I’m looking for.

Lydia Minor’s life

I’d like to begin by showing the little I know about who Lydia Minor really was, so that readers will begin to appreciate her as much as I do.

Direct Evidence

Her marriage:[1]

At Preston, Mr. RUSSELL LAMPHEAR, to Miss Lydia Miner.

Evaluation

  • The marriage was recorded in a Norwich, Connecticut newspaper as happening in Preston (Connecticut), the town immediately east of Norwich.  When I review facts on the husband, Russell, it will be clear that he was living in Norwich at this time, having recently moved from Westerly, Rhode Island.
  • With few Minors in Preston, no clues have surfaced to connect Lydia or Russell to Preston.  But embarrassingly, I now realize that although I have consulted The Barbour Collection of Connecticut Town Records, Preston 1687-1850, Parts 1 & 2, some New London County probate districts via microfilm at the NEHGS library in Boston, and some Preston deeds at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, I have never been to Preston Town Hall. And there’s nothing like going to the town hall.  Well, that’s why we’re doing this!  Adding it to the list.
  • “Miss” Lydia Miner is an indication this is a first marriage.  Based on her age (from her death record, coming up) of about 20 or 21, that was very likely anyway.

Lydia’s newspaper death notice clipping was something I ordered from the New London County Historical Society[3]:

The scanty 23 January 1849 death notice for Lydia at least gives an age, 62.

Evaluation

  • The notice, in a Norwich, Connecticut newspaper, specifies that the death occurred at “Norwich Falls.”  The Falls is a neighborhood that became industrialized thanks to water power in the very early 1800’s, and (as will be reviewed in the future) evidence points to Russell and Lydia spending many years there.
  • Lydia died on 18 January, 1849, still married to her husband Russell.  Her age in January, 1849 of 62 years suggests a birth year of 1787 or, even more likely, 1786.  Russell certainly knew how old she was, but who the source of this information was, and whether it was reported directly to the paper for insertion or copied from some town record, is unknown.  No death record was found on three separate searches in the Norwich Town Hall or in the printed two volume set, Vital records of Norwich, 1659-1848. Also none was found at the Connecticut State Archives in Hartford.
  • Western papers please copy is a good indication that Lydia had loved ones west of Connecticut.  Although only one son and one daughter are specifically known to have headed west, this is something to keep in mind as the children are explored.

Indirect Evidence

Here are some thoughts about her as shared by her son William in his old age as he was reminiscing to a reporter, along with an old friend (this clipping was sent to me by a very kind researcher on a related line who noticed Russell Lamphere on my blog)[2]:

I think for a woman who married in 1807 and had 14 children, being remembered in this manner by a loving son 50 years after her death is very sweet.

The story, further, tells us that Lydia and Russell Lamphere had 14 children; seven boys and seven girls:

Note that the “genial old gentleman, fond of stories” was Lydia’s son William Lamphere, and the rest of the paragraph refers to Lydia’s husband, Russell Lamphere.

Evaluation:

  • Lydia and Russell not only had 14 children, but seven were girls and seven were boys.
  • Lydia did all her own housework (I do know that several of the oldest children were girls, which was probably a help) and met “the demands of society” which I take to mean she led a normal life and interacted with her community.
  • The Lampheres were Methodists.  Good to know.
  • The clue about the children living long lives is barely true, as a child-by-child examination will show, but clearly some of them did.

Research plan (just the beginning of the plan, I will keep adding):

  • Visit Preston Town Hall to seek birth and marriage records for Lydia, and take a careful look at ALL Minor records in the deeds and probate (although Connecticut separates probates into “districts” I notice the towns often have older materials on hand).
  • Review Thomas Minor Descendants 1608-1981 by John Augustus Minor to build a list of all the Lydia Minors that are not the right one.  I’ve done this before, but I think I’ll start fresh.  Also, in that book, explore Minors who were ever resident in Preston.
  • Review historical background materials on Norwich and Preston.
  • Investigate Methodists churches in Norwich Falls in the first half of the 1800’s.
  • Carefully review available record sets for Norwich and Preston on Ancestry.com, AmericanAncestors.org, and FamilySearch.org, as well as any Revolutionary War records on Fold3 for Minors/Miners from Preston.  I haven’t reviewed web resources on this for a while, and it changes quickly.
  • Consider a visit to the New London County Historical Society in New London, after the review is well underway and the research plan is more fully developed.

While I don’t have a picture of Lydia of course, this photograph is of her daughter, Lucy Ann (Lamphere) Cook, 1808-1865. From the collection of L. Buck, used with permission.

Next:  Starting from the beginning, I’ll review the early life and residences of Lydia’s husband Russell, trying to determine where he met Lydia.

Footnotes

[1] “Married,” The Courier (Norwich, Conn.), 20 May 1807, p. 3, col. 3; image copy, GenealogyBank.com, (http://www.genealogybank.com : accessed 18 June 2011).

[2] “Letters from the People : Old Times and Old Folks,” Norwich (Connecticut) Bulletin, 12 September 1898, p. [unknown], col. 3.

[3] “DIED,” Norwich (Connecticut) Evening Courier, 23 January 1849, vol. VII, no. 141, whole num. 541, p. 3, col. 1.

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FamilySearch.org is a wonderful, free website where many genealogists search indexed records.  But FamilySearch.org has a lot more to offer than just the searchable records, although it’s not always that obvious how to find more. (For the record, the site also holds “family tree” functionality, where users collaborate, together, on one large tree – that part doesn’t interest me, and won’t be part of this post. I always encourage people to do their own research.)

Here are four methods I use often.

1

Start the search, then specify a collection

In the SEARCH screen, search by, perhaps, name & location.

familysearch1

The results will come up as individual records. At this point, switch from RECORDS view to COLLECTIONS, and narrow your choice to one or more specific record sets.

familysearch6

After selecting Massachusetts Births 1841-1915, the records list is shorter.

familysearch2

The icons below are indicating that the birth record for Addison Darling has tree information attached, as well as transcribed text from a record, and also a photo of the record itself.

familysearch3

Clicking on the transcribed text also brings up the chance to see the original document. If available, ALWAYS use the photo of the document or page that contains the record. And if no image is available, look elsewhere for the actual record.  Never use an index entry as evidence.

familysearch4

I also found that clicking on the “tree” symbol, then clicking the “PERSON” link, brought up a data screen which was not at all correct, but did include some “Record Hints” that led me to a marriage record I’d never found before (which was actually for the son of Addison Darling, who had the same name).  Record Hints are like Ancestry “leaf” hints – they might be completely wrong, but might be worth looking at. Turns out, Addison Jr’s second marriage occurred in Los Angeles, something I never suspected.

2

Use the Books section

I think the BOOKS section on FamilySearch (under the main heading SEARCH) is the most underutilized feature.  There is a growing collection of books, including many family genealogies, that may not be found anywhere else.

familysearch7

When searching for Darling Family, 2300 hits come up.  That’s too many, so I limit the selection to ON THIS SUBJECT:  “Darling Family.” That gives us 110.  Searching again with the name of the immigrant ancestor, “Dennis Darling,” brings up the best book on my Darling Family: Dennis Darling of Braintree and Mendon and some of his descendants 1662-1800 by William and Lou Martin.  The book was available for download.

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Often, books published since 1923 will NOT be available for download, but could be viewed from a computer at a local Family History Center, or a copy of the book could then be searched using http://www.worldcat.com.

3

Search for record sets by location

Getting away from indexed records and into the wide assortment of UNINDEXED records on FamilySearch, that will never come up in any record search, the tool I often start with is the location search, just to see what’s available for a specific location. Let’s try accessing some of the Darlings’ records from Massachusetts.

Go to the CATALOG (this lives in the SEARCH category).

familysearch9

Using the “Place” search, the system accepts a place named in this configuration: country, state, county, town. So in the search above, we are searching for the county of Norfolk, and not specifying any town.  This will not bring up records for all towns, instead, it will bring up records which are county-wide only.  I limited the search to records available in the location “ONLINE.”

familysearch11

This is really a jackpot of records for this county – probate, court, land (deeds) and some vitals.  The online choices are really growing.  Let’s try Land and property.

Once I opened up that category, I chose Land Records – Deeds, 1793-1890.  On the screen that comes up, one line looks like this:

Massachusetts, Land Records are available online, click here.

After clicking, we then see this line, and click it:

Browse through 5,766,135 images

Well, that’s scary.  But let’s try it.  And we get this:

familysearch12

Choosing Norfolk county brings up this:

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These are VERY long lists of index books and deed books.  Using the index volumes first, we can find the deeds that we are interested in.  Once you open any one of these books, it is basically a roll of microfilm, and you must page through it yourself. Use the arrows in the upper corner to page through, or jump around by typing a number into the box. It’s a matter of guesswork to get to the page you need.  It’s slow, but remember, you’re able to do this in the comfort of your own home, in your pajamas.  What progress!

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After finding the entries I want for Addison Darling’s father, Elias Darling (many of which I now realize I’ve never seen before) I note all the entries, go back to the long list of books, and start using the deed volumes.

4

Drill down to a specific location

Another way to use this catalog is to drill down to very specific locations, to see everything available on FamilySearch for that location.

Let’s say I want to see what is available on the Darlings’ location, Sheldonville village in the town of Wrentham, Norfolk County, Massachusetts.  We start by entering the county in the CATALOG search, just like we previously did:

familysearch9

Next, notice the subtle place breadcrumbs up top of the screen that comes up:

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Clicking on “United States, Massachusetts, Norfolk” at this point will bring us a choice of sub-locations:

familysearch16

There is nothing for Sheldonville, but there are some town records for Wrentham.  Clicking Wrentham limits my results to just the town.  There are some important tax and town records there.

familysearch17

As I was drilling down, I did NOT limit my results to the “Online” location, so most of these records are not online, and would have to be obtained on microfilm from the Family History Library, to view at my local Family History Center.  But I notice more and more of the genealogy libraries are also becoming Family History Center affiliates, helping you to accomplish a lot in one trip, if you can get to one.

In closing

FamilySearch should be one of our first stops when we decide to go after the kind of records that will help us solve our brick walls.  There’s a lot more there than meets the eye, so keep exploring.

The post you are reading is located at: https://onerhodeislandfamily.com/2017/02/09/find-more-on-familysearch/

roof-snow

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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.

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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/

1-kittens6

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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:

https://onerhodeislandfamily.com/2016/11/06/watch-a-practice-run-of-your-powerpoint-presentation

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Working With A Strategy

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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