Archive for the ‘Martin’ Category

Having a fifth cousin scout out a distant ancestral town is way, way, better than nothing. Especially when that cousin is Pat Hagan.

Bessie Blanche Martin

My great-grandmother Bessie Blanche Martin (mother of my grandfather, Miles E. Baldwin) was born in Wolfville, Kings County, Nova Scotia in 1870.

Bessie’s father was Marsden Martin.  His ancestry looks something like this:

Marston Martin tree

Her mother’s family are the Shipleys from England and the Doughertys from Scotland (not a part of this discussion).

In the 1871 census, Bessie was a baby living with her parents, Marsden and Mariah (Shipley) and her sister Minnie in Wolfville, Kings County.  Marsden was working as a day laborer. By the 1881 census, the family was living in Mill Village (now Parrsboro), Cumberland County, Nova Scotia.  There were three new siblings – May, Clara, and John A.  The family moved to Milton or Newton, Mass. around 1885, and census records after that are very few, for various reasons.  I have been able to learn very little about Bessie’s life before her death at age 27, particularly about her early life, although I have written about her here, here, here, here, and about a memory book made for her son, and an early marriage license she obtained and never used.

In King’s County

Wolfville is a lovely college town, home to Acadia University.   I would love to visit, but probably won’t get there for another year or two.

However, thanks to the internet and, more recently, DNA testing, I know some cousins in that line.  Pat Hagan is my 5th cousin; we are descended from our fourth-great grandparents John Secomb Anderson (son of privateer James Anderson) and Elizabeth Hardacker who died in Gaspereau, Kings County.  Although Pat’s branch of the family is in western Canada now, he was told by his grandmother about a cousin in Nova Scotia, and that’s how Pat was able to track this other descendant of James Anderson down, and see and take pictures of our ancestor James Anderson’s surviving documents: a New York Marine Society certificate and a Masonic document, on which is scrawled “Died in the West Indies July 1796.”  There’s also an old chest identified by the family as James’.

Pat and his wife Marlene had the pleasure of visiting the cousin again in May, 2015.  Pat called me a couple of times during the trip and I even got to talk to him myself. My favorite part?  When Pat passed the phone to him, I heard an entreaty “Now, be nice!” There’s always a lot of kidding going on with those Anderson descendants, I think.  Pat has learned a lot about our Anderson line, and has had a great time getting to know the cousins.

I had given Pat a few names of some local family lines that I have, that he does not share – the Martins and the Grahams.  Pat was able to scout around and send me some terrific pictures.

More treasures from the Captain’s sea chest

Pat Hagan and another cousin, Bonnie Lord and I are on a mission to discover the family roots of our ancestor James Anderson, sea captain and sometime privateer.  Of course Pat spent some time looking at the relics of James Anderson.  Thanks to James’ activities during the Revolutionary War, the Anderson family fled to Nova Scotia after the war.  But James Anderson’s original roots, from before he built a brick house in Fell’s Point, Baltimore, are an ongoing mystery to us.

Previously, we have seen a masonic certificate and a Marine Society certificate.  Pat unearthed a few more clues in the sea chest.

There is a copy of a letter from our gggg-grandfather John Secomb Anderson to our gggg-grandmother Elizabeth Hardacker (note pictures of both are in this blog post).

A copy of an 1813 letter from our gggg-granfather John Secomb Anderson to our gggg-grandmother Elizabeth Hardacre.  Page 1.

A copy of an 1813 letter between our gggg-grandparents.  “O my Dear I think If I could but creap Into this letter till I could see you…”. Page 1.

Page 2 of the letter, signed

Page 2 of the letter mentions a hope of “getting into the yard” and is signed “your affectionate friend and lover, John S. Anderson.”

A long letter on the occasion of John Secomb Anderson's death between his sons William and James, 1869.

A long letter (not included here) on the occasion of John Secomb Anderson’s death between his sons William and James, 1869.

And even another artifact of James Anderson, an old pocket notebook from the 1780’s. There are lists of expenses in here – a page for what appears to be the building of something wooden – a fence? a dock? and a page for some sails of different types.  There seem to be notes about bills payed or monies owed by others.  The handwriting is, I think, somewhat sophisticated, even if the writing is quick and sloppy. Pat Hagan has a theory that James Anderson came from a fairly wealthy background. If this is his handwriting, this supports that theory, I think.

An old pocket notebook from the 1780's.  Presumably, this belonged to James Anderson.

An old pocket notebook from the 1780’s. Presumably, this belonged to James Anderson.

Notes from the pocket book.  The handwriting is, I think, somewhat sophisticated. Pat Hagan has a theory that James Anderson came from a fairly wealthy background.  If this is his handwriting, this supports that theory, I think.

Notes from the pocket book. There are several more pages for me to go through carefully.  Is that “3 Bushals tatos”?  I wonder what the mention of “Cap. Martin” refers to?

The graves of the Martins and Grahams

Pat was kind enough to travel to Kings County to visit a cemetery and take pictures of Martin and Graham burials.

The beautiful Melanson Cemetery, Wolfville.

The beautiful Melanson Cemetery, Wolfville. Photo by Pat Hagan.

The grave of my gggg-grandmother,

Pat found the grave of my gggg-grandmother, “Olevia” (Graham) Martin, wife of Perez Martin, at the Melanson Cemetery. Photo by Pat Hagan.

The graves of my ggg-grandparents, James B and Margarety A. (Anderson) Martin - Bessie Blanche Martin's grandparents.

The graves of my ggg-grandparents, James B and Margaret A. (Anderson) Martin at the Melanson Cemetery – Bessie Blanche Martin’s grandparents.  Photo by Pat Hagan.

The house of Perez Martin

Amazingly, Pat found the house of my gggg-grandparents Perez (1800-1871) and Olivia (Graham) (1799-1859) Martin.  The house is in use, and modernized, but definitely has a 19th century charm.  Even better, the current owner has agreed to correspond with me about his research into the Martins and Grahams.  The Martins are originally from Massachusetts, and I have been able to trace them pretty well, but the origins of the Grahams are a complete mystery to me.  So I am very excited to learn more.

Pat must be a reader of my blog, and knew I would like a picture of the sign for Martin Cross Road, where the old Martin house is located.

The sign for Martin Cross Road in Wolfville, where the old Martin house is located. Photo by Pat Hagan.

The Perez Martin house.

The Perez Martin house. Photo by Pat Hagan.

Another view of the Perez Martin house.

Another view of the Perez Martin house. Photo by Pat Hagan.

An older view of the Perez Martin house.

An older view of the Perez Martin house.

Pat took the time to visit some local repositories, but nothing new turned up.  James Anderson should have had a probate record – he died with property and minor children – but evidently any such documents have not survived.

All in all, a very successful journey, and I can’t wait to go myself.

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DNA and Teddy’s Book

Family Finder on Family Tree DNA

My mom and dad both took the Family Finder test. The results were interesting, but I began to realize that it would also be helpful to start having more relatives in the mix.  Towards the end of 2014, Family Tree DNA started offering discount coupons on each account. Somehow I managed to purchase the Family Finder test as an add-on to my existing MtDNA test, instead of a new test kit – oops!  I hadn’t even realized such a thing was possible. I wrote to them for help, and eventually got a reply, and after a phone conversation, we agreed on a partial refund.  Which was nice, because it was mostly my own stupidity that caused this.

My plan is to administer the test to another relative to help me distinguish the source of some of mom’s particular DNA.  I have a peculiar lack of relatives on that side – mom had an identical twin (well that’s not so helpful, DNA-wise) and no other siblings, and only one first cousin.  She had two second cousins who have recently passed away, one with no descendants.  So, I think mom’s first cousin is able and willing, and I will pursue that question, now that my new kit is in hand.

So now I have Family Finders for myself, Mom and Dad.  It has been rather interesting to have results for all of us.

Looking at Family Finder tests

There is far more data analysis available through Family Tree DNA than there is on Ancestry DNA, although the down side is there are far fewer trees to look at. When the results came into Family Tree DNA, I recognized some “old friends” from mom’s Ancestry DNA test.  But now, I was able to do more with those matches.

Family tree DNA allows you to do some analysis pretty easily.  Here are some examples.

After months of looking things over and utilizing some tools in Family Tree DNA, I have learned some things about mom's closest matches.

Mom’s 9 closest matches.  I’m on top.  After months of looking things over and utilizing some tools in Family Tree DNA, I have learned some things about mom’s closest matches.

Here are mom’s top matches.   By default, the list sorts by size of largest block.  But it also can be interesting to look at the total shared cM.

#1 is me – we match very closely of course.

Match #3 is someone I had corresponded with on Ancestry DNA and he is part of my Andrews connection.  He told me about a match we share, which was mom’s #2 match.  With some advice from #3 I approached #2 for more information – he has no tree or data on Family Tree DNA.  I got a friendly response and a little data, which #2 expanded on – he had already begun researching this himself.  I need to do my own research on #2 and this may lead me to answers for some of my Andrews questions.  Match #9 is part of that group as well.

Matches #4, #5, and #6 have no trees and few or no surnames listed.  About all I can do with such people is see who ELSE they match with, hoping those folks have trees.  I would do this as follows:

  • Turn on Show Full View so I could see the Longest Block measurement, and “+ Compare in Chromosome Browser” for each match.
DNA matches

When you click Show Full View, the Compare in Chromosome Browser choice shows up below each entry.

  •  Try the Run Common Matches button to see who they ALSO match from among mom’s matches – use In Common With
In Common With shows up when you click the last of the four symbols below the name.

In Common With shows up when you click the last of the four symbols below the name.

  • From there, choose people to put into the Chromosome Browser.  See if they match in the same place.
  • Another choice is to use the Matrix feature (under My DNA — Family Finder — Matrix).

By running those features I developed several groups of matches with a fair idea of where, approximately, they might match me or mom.  Based on what I’ve been reading, I paid more attention to matches that both mom and I share, which is a good clue about non-random matches.  So far, the groups have been interesting but only the Andrews one, noted in my first DNA post, seems definite. The other groups need to be explored more.

A third cousin

It was match #7 that has been the biggest surprise.  First of all, because Family Finder sorts the matches by largest block, it was a LONG time before I finally noticed that he was mom’s largest match by far at 112.97 cM.  He matches me at approximately half that amount.  A match of that size is likely to be, say, a second cousin 1x removed.  A match of half that size is likely to be a third cousin.  It looked like I had found someone who was a third cousin to me, and second cousin 1x removed to my mom.

#7 offered very little in the way of names on the Family Tree DNA site.  I wrote to him.  We corresponded once or twice and he gave me some names and details of his grandparents.  His paternal side was clearly not matching my family.  On his maternal side, he mentioned some names and places that didn’t match what I had.  He had a Martin, but from the wrong place.

I began researching one side of his maternal line.  What a fascinating, large family.  I traced numerous great aunts and uncles, each story more intriguing than the last.  I found pictures, court records, and newspaper items.  Eventually, I found enough to reluctantly convince myself I was not related to those people. So I moved on.

The other side had a Carson who married a Martin.  There was some confusion about what the first name was.  Using what I had, I began to research.  One of the first things I found was a census record and suddenly, it all became clear, although it took me several days to gather additional evidence.

I found Lillian (from Canada) and James (from Ireland) Carson living in Somerville, Massachusetts with their son in 1900.  Also in the household was sister in law Hazel Martin, born March, 1885.  I know who Hazel Martin was, in fact, I had saved the census record in my Shoebox on Ancestry years ago.  Hazel Violet Martin was the younger sister of my great grandmother, who had died in 1897.  In 1905 Hazel married Frederick Bamblett in Providence, Rhode Island, and she died in Detroit in 1907.

Bessie Martin Baldwin,1870 - 1897

My great grandmother Bessie had another sister, May, that I could never account for.  She was listed in the census records before the family left Canada.  She, for some reason, was a witness to Bessie’s first (unused) marriage license.  She was the maid of honor at my great grandparents’ wedding. It was obvious that May must have been the author of “Teddy’s Book.” What I had never realized was that May Martin was really Lillian May Martin.

Marriage announcement of Bessie Blanche Martin, The Milton News/Dorchester Advertiser, vol. XII, No. 24, Saturday, Sept 10, 1892. From microfilm, Boston Public Library.

Marriage announcement of Bessie Blanche Martin, The Milton News/Dorchester Advertiser, vol. XII, No. 24, Saturday, Sept 10, 1892. From microfilm, Boston Public Library.

As I went back to review what could be known about my grandparents’ wedding, I saw probably the most compelling clue:  James Carson (Lillian May Martin’s husband) was the best man.  I had never put the clue in the newspaper clipping together with the clue in the census record that was a possible match for sister Hazel.  Evidentia would have solved this one, I think.  I hadn’t used it on Bessie Martin.

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

Bessie (in back) and sister Clara … hopefully having fun at a fair … unless those hats were the latest thing.

My additional evidence is a bit garbled because of the inconsistency with which the siblings reported their parents as “Marston/John/Jonathan” and “Maria/Elizabeth.”  I know this sounds incongruous, but these are the same people, and for some reason in the 1890’s the family sometimes went with the alternate versions (particularly, on my great grandmother’s death record).  I have some evidence that they never really obtained any citizenship status, so maybe they had something to hide.  Or it’s possible middle names were used at random (like Lillian May).  I don’t know.

But what it really all added up to was that I had found the author of “Teddy’s Book.”

Teddy’s Book

We knew almost nothing about my great-grandmother Bessie Blanche Martin (1870-1897) when I started genealogy.  I chronicled her story here, here, here, and here (and don’t miss The Runaway Bride of Newton, Massachusetts). We had a tintype of her, a picture of her and her sister Clara, a picture of Clara holding a baby, and a tiny homemade album of scraps and quotes called “Teddy’s Book” which was clearly created by someone for my grandfather when he was a small child. From those clues one would suspect Clara had been the sister she was closest to, but as I learned more I realized that Clara married and moved away, and it must have been May, still home in Milton, Massachusetts, that was close to her sister when my Grandfather was small.

My great grandmother died the day after giving birth to her second child, Blanchard “Jim” Baldwin.  Cause of death was listed as cancer of the stomach.  One has to picture the illness and pregnancy as a sad and difficult time, assuming this was known.  My great grandfather, Miles E. Baldwin, quickly married again.

Teddy Baldwin's Book

Teddy Baldwin’s Book

But in the pages of “Teddy’s Book,” written for my grandfather when he was about 5, around 1898 (shortly before the family left Newton) we get a glimpse of a Teddy’s doting and attentive aunts, obviously constant visitors at the Baldwin household both before and after the death of Bessie.  They clearly adored their nephew, to the point of making a little scrap book filled with his “sayings” as well as snippets of his mother’s clothes.  They spoke kindly of the new wife, either because they genuinely liked her or perhaps for the sake of their nephew … in either case, it was a loving, supportive gesture.

Things did not go all that easily for my grandfather once his family moved out of town and he went on without his mother and the loving aunts.  I imagine he felt that loss, unknowingly, for the rest of his life.  Lillian May’s life was difficult, filled with loss in the succeeding years.  The author of the sweet and charming book, a happy fiance and, later, wife, also fared rather badly as life went on.

"Last night gown mama made" and other remnants

“Last night gown mama made” and other remnants

The DNA match filled in a story that I half knew, and, I hope, helped both sets of descendants get a glimpse of happier times.  I have recorded the full contents of Teddy Baldwin’s Book” as a pdf HERE for them to see.

"From gray flannel skirt" - perhaps that is Bessie's stitching.

“From gray flannel skirt” – perhaps that is Bessie’s stitching.

In closing

I had put this information together in December, and on Christmas Eve morning, sent it to my third cousin, supposing that if he saw his family he would pass it on.  I got a very nice reply from his mother, and corresponded with her a bit.  I am glad to have met them – and in fact, I have “met” online some of Clara’s descendants, too – and it seems good to put some pieces back together, even in such a small way, of what was obviously once a supportive family group.

Later in February, I am going to meet another second cousin on my father’s side. She emailed me a picture which was a big hit with my family.  I didn’t exactly start DNA to connect with cousins, but it has been rather amazing to do so.

Next steps

My aspiration at this point is to use the following blog posts to process some of the other information a little better:

SO MUCH to learn with DNA, and it’s slow.  I don’t know Roberta J. Estes, author of the DNA eXplained blog, but she appears to be some kind of genius. Her work at dna-explained.com is extensive, well written and really illuminating.

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

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

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

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

The slip read:

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

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

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

Newton City Hall

Inside the City Hall

The clerk’s office was on the first floor.

The Clerk’s office and Archives

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

page 338 of the 1887 Intentions book

I was able to see what was underneath:

Marriage Intentions record

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some remaining questions

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

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Bessie Martin Baldwin, 1870-1897

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

The Boston Transcript

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

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

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

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

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

A sample entry:

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

This is an Answer entry:

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

A sample Notes entry:

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

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

You Can Access the Boston Transcript for Free

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

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

The 1905 Facebook?  Blog?   RSS Feed?

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

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

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

Martin Note, part 2

Martin Note, part 3

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

How to find issues NOT on Google News

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

To see libraries that have holdings for the Boston Transcript (sometimes called Boston Evening Transcript) see this Chronicling American link:


and go to the bottom of that screen to click “View complete holdings.”  A list will come up of various libraries that have the newspaper on microfilm.


FamilySearch.org has placed some of the columns online, freely available, 1911-1940.  Access them here.  The earlier entries in that set are for normal marriage and death Notices found in the rest of the newspaper pages; not the genealogy column. Thanks to reader Mary for alerting me to this!

What’s Next

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

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This past Christmas my mother passed along to me a few little treasures that I hadn’t seen yet.  One was a small booklet made when my grandfather was very small called “Teddy Baldwin’s book”.  When she had described this to me we assumed it was a little book of his sayings penned by perhaps his mother or possibly, later, his grandmother.  She mentioned there were some fabric samples in it.

Teddy Baldwin's Book, October 1, 1898

I was surprised to see that the book was from Newton, Mass., during the period when Teddy’s mother Bessie Blanche (Martin) Baldwin had passed away and his father had recently remarried.  At that time, I guess Bessie’s sisters still had a large role in his life.

The book contains some of Teddy’s sayings and ends with about 5 pages of cloth snippets with handwritten labels identifying them as “mama’s dress”, etc.  I suspect this was produced during the period after Bessie’s death in March, 1897 and Miles, Sr.’s removal from Newton, Mass in late 1899.  He remarried in 1898.

People mentioned in the book:

  • Teddy – my grandfather, Miles Edward Baldwin Jr.
  • Mama – Bessie (Martin) Baldwin, 1870-1897
  • Papa – that is Teddy’s father, Miles Sr.
  • Aunt Hazel – she is Bessie’s sister; she was 14 at the time
  • Mrs Ferguson – I don’t know who this is; I suspect she was the landlady or a neighbor
  • Mama Mabel – the new wife and stepmother.  Was it generous of the sisters to include her in the booklet, or were they all genuinely friendly?
  • Charles Henry, who is obviously a baby – this baby seems to be living with Teddy.  Teddy’s brother, born one day prior to the death of the mother, is Blanchard, known as “Jim” – so this is confusing.  But it’s possible no one ever liked the name Blanchard – given for the deceased mother, according to family stories – but if you were going to give a baby nickname would it really be Charles Henry?  Jim’s birth record on FamilySearch is confusing and was apparently amended, so I need to see the local record myself.  Jim has no descendants.
Who is the unnamed author?

I suspect this was sister May.  Since sister Clara married and was living elsewhere by 1896, I believe Clara is not the author.  May (see below) was maid of honor at her sister’s wedding, so I am guessing she was the attentive aunt who made this booklet for Teddy.  The next year, Teddy went to live with his paternal grandmother, Grandma Ross, in Providence while Miles Sr. and the new wife spent the year in Connecticut where I assume he was improving his watchmaking skills. The baby Blanchard may have been sent to board with a local family – not relatives.  Much of this is a mystery to us.

In my recent visit to the Boston Public Library, I found some articles about Bessie in the local newspapers on microfilm:


  • Miss Bessie B., daughter of Mrs. Marston Martin of Milton, and Mr. M.E. Baldwin of Newton were married on Thursday evening of last week at the home of the bride’s mother in Milton.  The ceremony occurred at 8 o’clock in the presence of relatives and near friends, Rev. Mr. Sherman of Mattapan officiating.  The bride’s sister, Miss May Martin, was maid of honor, and Mr. James Carson of Boston Highlands was best man.    Following the ceremony a reception was held, at the close of which the newly wedded couple departed on their wedding tour.  Upon their return, Mr. and Mrs. Baldwin will reside on Erie Avenue, Newton Highlands.   –from The Milton News/Dorchester Advertiser, v. XII no.24, Milton, Mass., Saturday, Sept. 10, 1892, p. 5 (unnumbered), “Local Department – Milton”.
  • “DIED.”  –   BALDWIN – At Newton Hospital, March 15, Bessie, wife of Miles E. Baldwin, 24 yrs., 8 mos.  — from The Newton Graphic, Friday, March 19, 1897, p.2.
  • The funeral of Mrs. Baldwin, wife of Mr. M.E. Baldwin, whose death occurred at the Newton Hospital on Monday, took place at the chapel of Newton Cemetery on Wednesday.  Rev. Mr. Bonner officiated. — from The Newton Graphic, Friday, March 19, 1897, p.6, “Newton Highlands.”

All of this leads me to know a little more:

  • Bessie’s mother was still alive in 1892 and was apparently separated from her husband, and living in Milton.  I have no further record of her but there is more for me to explore in Milton, Mass.
  • Aunt Clara, whom I have pictures of, was not the maid of honor, it was May.
  • The family were not church-goers; the funeral was held in the cemetery chapel across the street, where Miles Sr.’s stepfather was a supervisor.
  • Bessie’s family obviously cared about Teddy and spent a lot of time with him before he moved from Newton.

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

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

Then an Ancestry.com thing happened

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

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

Meet the Martins, Andersons, Coldwells and Bartletts

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

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

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

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

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

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


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