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.

The post you are reading is located at: https://onerhodeislandfamily.com/2015/07/31/kings-county-nova-scotia/

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DNA and Teddy’s Book

Since my previous report on my efforts to try DNA testing, a lot has happened.  Here is an update.

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.

The post you are reading is located at:  https://onerhodeislandfamily.com/2015/12/30/dna-and-teddys-book/



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About two years ago I posted my top 10 problems and that post actually led to the solution of one of those problems.  So I am trying here, again, and my list today is somewhat different, due to progress made in several areas.

1. Catherine Young (Bennett) (Baldwin) Ross (1832? – 1907).  The first “gap” in my mother’s family tree is for the parents of my gg-grandmother, Catherine Young (Bennett) (Baldwin) Ross, known as “Grandma Ross” to my grandfather.  Grandma Ross took my grandfather in for a while after his mother died and his father was busy with other things.  He knew about her three marriages because he scrawled all the names on the back of this picture – he was descended from her second husband, Edward Baldwin.

Catherine was born in Surrey, England, possibly 04 Jun 1832.  The borders of Surrey were altered around that time, making this extra-difficult.  Her father’s name may be William B and her mother, Catherine (from her death record).  In the 1900 census she gave her immigration year as 1843; the 1905 census says 1840.  Searching English census records, ship passenger lists and American records has turned up a few speculative possibilities but nothing that seems to fit together.  My earliest record for her is an 1860 census record with her second husband at Belmont in western New York; eventually she had four children, William Blackstone Bennett, Anna Jean Bennett, Harriet Elizabeth Baldwin and Miles Edward Baldwin.  I have found no trace of any member of her original family.

My latest research track:

  • try and pin down her elusive first husband, William Bennett, who was born in Massachusetts.  I suspect she was divorced rather than widowed.
  • Keep investigating the idea that her first marriage might have taken place in Massachusetts, and even the divorce could have happened there.  It did not happen in Allegany County, New York.
  • Keep pursuing possible clues from DNA.
Catherine Baldwin, circa 1900 in Providence, RI, in her 60's.

Catherine Baldwin, circa 1900 on Marshall Street, Providence, R.I. around 1900.

2. Sarah Arnold (1776? – 1861?).  Having confirmed my relationship to Sarah’s husband, Jesse Andrews, I now need to move on to determine which part of the large Arnold family in Warwick Sarah’s father, Joseph Arnold, is from.  That name is pulled from Sarah’s 1795 marriage record in Warwick, Rhode Island.  Sarah is, as far as I can tell, not mentioned in The Arnold Memorial or other books published about the Pawtuxet/Warwick Arnolds, which probably means that she was not mentioned in any local birth or probate records (although I continue to check).  A Joseph Arnold is sometimes noted nearby Jesse and Sarah in census records. 

This would be an ideal common-name problem for me to tackle because I have good access to many records. No excuses!

My latest research track:

  • make my own documentation of all possible Joseph Arnolds, using vital, probate and land records in Warwick and East Greenwich.
  • try to pin down any further details of the neighbor Joseph Arnold, including nearby possible grown children.
  • Explore Joseph Arnold more widely in court, military and cemetery records.
  • I do not know the names of most of Sarah’s children, but continue to try and find those names, possibly in Norwich, Connecticut, as hints to her family.
One of several pages of Joseph Arnold deeds indexed at Warwick City Hall.  Note the "S.D." and "S.W." indicating "Son of D" and "Son of W".  Not every deed has that, of course.

One of several pages of Joseph Arnold deeds indexed at Warwick City Hall. Note the “S.D.” and “S.W.” indicating “Son of D” and “Son of W”. Not every deed has that, of course. That would be too easy.

3. James Lawrence (1807-1882).  My 4x-great grandfather James Lawrence was born in England in 1807, and his father’s name may have been James.  In 1835, he married Ann Shortridge (Shortriggs) in Dorchester, Massachusetts.  The next twenty years found them in North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, and Connecticut before ending up in Providence by 1860 with several of their almost-grown children.  According to the 1865 census, he was a machinist.  If I could learn more about James’ origins, it might help me to verify my complicated relationship to the Lawrences through DNA testing.

My latest research track:

  • Keep looking for ship passenger records and court naturalization records for James.
  • Other than birthplaces listed by his children years later, I am having trouble pursuing him across the eastern U.S. through the 1830’s – 1850’s, although I do have an 1850 census record for them in Virginia.  Try finding clues from that for further research.
  • Learn more about Dorchester resources such as directories, businesses, and immigrant populations there.
Places fo birth:  England, South Carolina, North Carolina, Connecticut, Rhode Island.  My father was right.  My mother DOES descend from a long line of gypsies.

Places of birth for James’ children, from the 1865 census: England, South Carolina, North Carolina, Connecticut, Rhode Island.

4. Jessie Ruth MacLeod Murdock (1861-1936).  Thanks to a helpful cousin who saw my blog post, I learned about a 1954 local genealogy book written by the nephew of my brick-wall gg-grandmother back in Pictou, Nova Scotia. That was a great moment, but imagine my surprise as I obtained the book and saw her listed as “adopted” – a sentiment I do not believe she shared.  Although I now know more about my gg-grandmother Jessie’s early life in Pictou, Nova Scotia, I continue to know nothing about her mother, Rachel, and her relationship to the people who may have adopted her, William and Mary MacLeod.  Jessie came to the U.S. around 1881, according to the 1900 and 1905 census.  I can find no evidence of her journey or any relatives coming with her.  She married Louis Murdock in 1883, making me wonder if she was related to Louis’ adopted father, William Murdock, also from Pictou.  There are some Rachel’s in the Murdock family.

My latest research track:

  • investigate land and probate records of the Murdocks in Pictou through microfilm at the New England Historic and Genealogical Society library in Boston.
  • see if the name of her third daughter – Jessie Ellen – can be matched with any people from Pictou.
  • naturalization records
The MacLean farm which became the home of William and Mary (MacLean) Murdock, from page 192

The farm in Lorne, Pictou, where Jessie MacLeod spent her teen years, from page 192, The Pioneers and Churches.

5. Lydia Minor (1787-1849). Now that I have solved the Andrews problem, I plan to move one generation back to the Lydia Minor problem.  She married Russell Lamphere in Norwich, Connecticut in May, 1807 “At Preston”, as reported by the announcement in the Norwich Courier. Lydia and Russell had seven boys and seven girls in Norwich Falls, Connecticut.  No vital records for the marriage, the children, or Lydia’s death has been found.  A Norwich Courier notice indicates she died 18 January 1849.

Russell was from Westerly, Rhode Island, and at age 32 in 1808 his father’s probate papers said he was “late of Westerly now residing in Norwich”, however census and town records show him moving between Westerly and Norwich several times.  So the marriage at Preston could be because she was from Preston, or perhaps they were both originally Westerly residents.

Lydia’s 1849 death notice gives her age as 62, making her birth (if true) around 1787.  There was a Lydia Minor born to Jerusha Peabody and Ludowick Minor in nearby Stonington, Connecticut in 1787, however, I am pursuing another person that may be THAT Lydia.

My latest research track:

  • Examine deeds and probate for a potential “Minor” family in Westerly and Preston
  • Look for probate for Lodowick Minor at Stonington.
  • Keep pursuing the possible sister for Lydia, Eliza.
A quote from Lydia's 80 year old son, William, from the Norwich Bulletin, 12 Sep 1898, reminiscing with a friend about his mother.  Sent to me by a kind researcher in Norwich.

A quote from Lydia’s 80 year old son, William, from the Norwich Bulletin, 12 Sep 1898, reminiscing with a friend about his mother. The article later makes it clear both families had 14 children each, in Lydia’s case, 7 boys and 7 girls.  Sent to me by a kind researcher in Norwich.

 6. Maria Shipley Martin (1848? – ?).  Maria or Mariah Shipley Martin, my gg-grandmother, has a fascinating family tree that includes immigrants from Scotland and England who came to Nova Scotia in the 1700’s.  So she is one of those mystery ancestors whose origins are well known, but she disappears from records after 1892, when her daughter got married at her home in Milton, Massachusetts.  I suspect, by that time, she was separated from her husband, but I have never found any further record of her.  Massachusetts was pretty strict about death records so perhaps she had gone with a relative to another state before her death, or perhaps she did, indeed, divorce and remarry.  My family had no knowledge of this branch, so I have found the stories of her children Bessie (my great grandmother), Clara, Hazel and Daisy, but I have found very little about Minnie, May, and John Anderson Martin.

My latest research track:

  • keep looking for a divorce record in several counties.  Look further for a second marriage in Massachusetts.
  • Look for her death record at the NEHGS library in Boston.
  • Try Milton, Mass. city directories.
  • Try naturalization records.
A book of her grandson's sayings and some fabric scraps, put together by Maria's daughters in 1898 after the death of daughter Bessie.

A book of her grandson’s Teddy’s sayings and some fabric scraps, put together by Maria’s daughters in 1898 after the death of daughter Bessie.

7.  Nancy (——-) Lamphere (1752?-1833). Nancy may be a Tefft, but I have no confidence in that so I am open to all names.  She married Daniel Lamphere around 1774 and had six children.  The only records I have for her are her husband’s probate in 1808 (and later), a number of Westerly deeds that she is mentioned in, and the birth records of her children in Westerly. She may have died around 1833.  If she was living next to her son Russell Lamphere in 1810 (perhaps in her third of the house), then apparently she was sometimes called Anne, an obvious variant that I haven’t been using very much.  

My latest research track:

  • Explore middle names that were used by Nancy’s children for their own offspring.
  • Do a thorough review of all the neighbors from early census records, and also those mentioned in the deeds.
  • Look at the spouses of her children for possible connections.
Transcription of Nancy's mark on the 1817 deed to Nathan F. Dixon.  So, Nancy was not able to write her name.

Transcription of Nancy’s mark on the 1817 deed to Nathan F. Dixon. So, Nancy was not able to write her name.

8. Rachel Smith (1734? – ?).   I estimate that my 7th great grandmother Rachel was born around 1735 (based on first child born mid-1750’s), and signed a deed in 1768.  She may have been a Smith.  She married Thomas Arnold around 1754 and they had 5 children that I know of: Lucy, Asa, Catherine, Aaron, and Philadelphia. My most recent clue is that Thomas Arnold purchased some property from John and Mary Smith very early on in Smithfield.  The children ended up in Cumberland, but the story of Thomas and Rachel seems to end around 1775 and although the children stayed in Cumberland, I can find no further trace of Thomas and Rachel – perhaps they died young.  Truly, this one may never be solved which, of course, just seems like a fun challenge.

My latest research track:

  • Pursue the early, local Smiths
  • Keep looking for the exact John and Mary Smith that sold land to Thomas Arnold, following clues in the deed, which I now have.
  • Try looking at town council records for Smithfield.


Smithfield records, held in Central Falls, will probably be the best source of Rachel's family.

Smithfield records, held in Central Falls, will probably be the best source of Rachel’s family.

9. James Anderson (1748?-1796).  With the help of some fellow researchers I know so much about my 5x-great grandfather James Anderson of Fells Point, Baltimore, later Chester, Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia.  Usually, knowing this much should have led, long ago, to knowing about his origins, but not so in this case.  His original family and place of birth remain a mystery.

My latest research track:

  • My cousins and I are focusing on DNA at this point.
  • Of the latest clues uncovered here and there, the ones that seem the most realistic are for other, earlier Anderson privateers off the coast of Maryland.  I may be able to explore those clues further in Maryland court records online, or at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.
  • Think about how to acquire further records which may be held in England.

New York No 759. These are to Certify that Capt James Anderson was by a Majority of Votes regualrly admitted a Member of the New York Marine Society at a Meeting held the 11th day of June A.D. 1781 Given under my hand and the Seal of the Society this 11th day of June - Annoque Domini 1781.  Geo. Fowler Sec. [illegible] President.

New York No 759. These are to Certify that Capt James Anderson was by a Majority of Votes regualrly admitted a Member of the New York Marine Society at a Meeting held the 11th day of June A.D. 1781 Given under my hand and the Seal of the Society this 11th day of June – Annoque Domini 1781. Geo. Fowler Sec. [illegible] President.

10. Nathaniel Brown (1741? – 1798).  The last one is from my neglected line of Haydens/Parmenters, a closely intermarried family in Sudbury, Massachusetts that has not been that difficult to trace.  Nathaniel Brown married Elinor Hayden in 1761 in Sudbury and was “of Framingham” but I know the neighborhood where my ancestors lived was right on the border between Sudbury and Framingham, so he may have been very close by.  Nathaniel and Elinor had 11 children, and he died rather young in 1798.  There is a strong theory that he is the son of Thomas Brown and Abigail Cheney, originally of Cambridge, but no real proof.  And Brown was a common name in early Sudbury so anything is possible.  Deeds and probate have not solved this yet.

My latest research track:

  • Keep looking through probate records for local possible fathers of Nathaniel, to see if they mention him
  • Go through Nathaniel’s earliest land transactions more carefully.  He took over the farm of Elinor’s father, so the transactions are not that revealing.  Could he have been a cousin?  How did he have money for a purchase?
  • Learn more about the early history of Sudbury and the place of the Browns in it.
An early Sudbury house built by the Parmenters, in a line more closely related to Midge's husband than to mine.  Photo by Diane Boumenot.

An early Sudbury house built by the Parmenters.  Photo by Diane Boumenot.

In closing

It’s possible I wrote this so I could choose my next project.  Still not sure which it will be.

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Over the last few years I have made a lot of progress on tracing my mother’s family.   Over the next year or two I hope to do some research on ten problems I’ve identified.  I am recording them here, and I will provide links, in the future, to any postings I do about each one.

What surprised me about this list is the huge range of skills and strategies that I would need to pursue these questions.  Searching in accessible resources and repositories has helped, but not solved these problems.  This is where research really begins. None of these are easy, but working on them will be a real education.

1. Jessie Ruth (McLeod) Murdock, 1861 – 1936

Jessie Ruth McLeod with husband Louis Murdock

Jessie Ruth McLeod was born March 10, 1861 in Pictou, Nova Scotia.  She is my great great grandmother along the all-female line.  Her marriage certificate lists her parents as William and Rachel McLeod.  She arrived in the U.S. around 1881.  There is no evidence of her coming with close family, but it’s hard to believe she came without family or friends at all.   Her subsequent life I know all about, but this is all I have of her family origins.  I have only one possible match in the Canadian census, and the only other clue is that her eventual father in law, William Murdock, had also come from Pictou, much earlier.

  • Skills needed:  Make timeline for her, try once again to learn more about her father in law’s Pictou  family, and explore naturalization records in Massachusetts.  Re-explore family records for clues.

2. Catherine (Youngs Bennett Baldwin) Ross, 1835 – 1907

Worcester Daily Spy, 03 May 1894. Catherine and third husband, Hiram Ross, lost their house in a fire in Sterling, Mass.

Another great-great-grandmother, Catherine Youngs, is the kind of mystery woman a person could chase for decades.  Born in Surrey, England, perhaps on 4 Jul 1835, Catherine arrived in the U.S. around 1843.  On one marriage certificate she lists her parents as William and Catherine Youngs.  On another, she lists them as “unknown.”  Three of her children thought her maiden name was Youngs, and one thought it was Spaulding.  She was married three times, to Bennett, Baldwin, and Ross.  After her marriage to Hiram Ross in 1870, I know a great deal about her.  Before that, very little.  Her first home in the U.S. could have been Massachusetts or New York, or someplace else.  If she came with family, I know nothing about them.

  • Skills needed:  Analyze all data reported by her and by others about her, look for other British citizens in Allegany County, New York, explore early British census and vital records,  explore U.S. immigration and naturalization records in Massachusetts and New York, look for the first husband William Bennett using methods appropriate for common name searches, and talk to my mother about the idea that her father could have been wrong about his grandmother’s maiden name being Spaulding.

3. Maria (Shipley) Martin, 1848 – ?

Maria’s daughter Bessie’s marriage announcement fails to mention Maria’s husband, although I know he was alive. — The Milton News/Dorchester Advertiser vol. XII No. 24, 10 Sep 1892

The problem with yet another great great grandmother, Maria Shipley, is almost the opposite problem.  Born in Wolfville, Nova Scotia around 1841, I know a great deal about her Shipley/Innis/Dougherty/Bransby/Munroe ancestors.  She came to the U.S. around 1885 with her husband and children, and at least one sister. But after her daughter’s wedding in 1892 in Milton, Massachusetts, at which time she seems to be separated from her husband, I have no knowledge of her.  So I would like to know more.

  • Skills needed:  Find local newspapers for any town she might have been living in. Pin down locations and circumstances for each relative I know of in Massachusetts, which would be her estranged husband, her six children, her sister, and a niece.

4. Anna Jean (Bennett Gilley) Douglas, 1854 – 1939

Anna Jean in Montreal. Perhaps around 1880?

My grandfather’s aunt Anna Jean Bennett was born in Belmont, New York in 1854 and her parents seem to have divorced, perhaps, soon after.  By 1860 she was living with her mother and stepfather in Belmont, in obscure poverty.  In 1873 she married a Boston druggist, Harrison Gilley.  They divorced at some point and in 1884 she married a Providence attorney, William Wilberforce Douglas, who became a judge and, eventually, Chief Justice of the R.I. Supreme Court.  From 1884 on, I am very familiar with her life.  But other than that first marriage record, I have no idea what happened to her from 1860 to 1884.  The lovely photographic portrait of her above was taken in Montreal during this period.  Her brother was a globe-trotting artist.  Who was her father (named William Bennett)?  I would like to know her story, which I suspect is fascinating.

  • Skills needed: Learn more about Canadian border crossings  for this time period, as well as Montreal resources such as newspapers, employment records, city directories, high schools, art.  Try to find her in the 1870/71 census, and 1880/81, possibly living with her father in the U.S. or Canada, using searches on multiple members of the family, since her father and brother have very common names. Since the first husband was from Boston, use city directories to pin down his locations over many years. Review all later artifacts, documents and photos for additional clues.

5. Hannah (Andrews) Lamphere, 1819? – 1878

Cemetery surrounding the Long Society Meeting House in Preston

Hannah Andrews, my ggg-grandmother, was born in Massachusetts or Connecticut around 1819.  She has a brother Alden and her parents’ names may be Jesse and Sarah Andrews.  She married Russell Lamphere, Jr. in 1838 in Preston, Connecticut.  There were a number of Andrews who moved from northeastern Massachusetts to Preston about 130 years before Hannah was born.  But Hannah may actually have been born in Massachusetts.  Her brother married a girl from Springfield, Mass.  I can find no sign of her parents – I wonder if they died young.

  • Skills needed: do another literature search, analyze known information, learn more about guardianship records just over the border in the central portion of southern Massachusetts and also in Preston.  Explore church records for the church where they married.

6. Daniel Lamphere, 1745? – 1808

Russell Lamphere, late of Westerly, but now residing in Norwich

Daniel Lamphere is the father of my gggg-grandfather Russell Lamphere, Sr.  The detail above from Daniel’s 1808 probate file, about his son Russell, is part of the substantial evidence of the branch back to Daniel.  Daniel, from Westerly, is likely descended somehow from George Lamphere, an original settler of Westerly, R.I.  But there were several Daniel Lampheres in the area at that time and it’s confusing, so, no luck so far.

  • Skills needed: Learning more about all the people surrounding Daniel and his wife Nancy is the strategy I have started and plan to continue.  Track down his Westerly deeds.  Find out where he’s buried. 

7. Lydia (Miner) Lamphere, 1787 – 1849

The Factories at Yantic Falls, Norwich, from “Connecticut Historical Collections” by John Warner Barber, 1836.

Lydia Miner of Norwich, Connecticut, my gggg-grandmother, married Russell Lamphere, Sr. in 1807 in Norwich, CT.  She passed away in Norwich in 1849.  There is some suggestion she may have been born in Rhode Island, most likely just over the border in Westerly, like her husband.  Miners originally settled the nearby southeastern corner of Connecticut.  People familiar with the well-documented Miners/Minors think this problem should be easily solved, but so far, it hasn’t been.  I believe Lydia and her husband were attracted by the growing factories in Norwich, since they lived in the Yantic Falls neighborhood.  Of all of my family, they were among the earliest to abandon farming for industrial life.  It’s possible that she and Russell met as factory hands, or that her father worked in an early factory.

  • Skills needed: Local Yantic Falls history is likely to provide additional clues.   Also, less easily accessed sources of local Westerly and Norwich information such as church  records, town council records, the Connecticut State Library, cemetery records, and still more tracing of each of their children may help.  Analyzing every available fact may bring up other possibilities.  I would like to find where she and Russell are buried.

8. Thomas Arnold, 1733 – 1817

Thomas’ father (Lieut. Thos.) appears in a 1748 Highway District list, a good source to learn who the neighbors are, on page 30 of “History of the Town of Smithfield” by Thomas Steere, 1881.

My ggggggg-grandfather Thomas Arnold comes from a well-documented Smithfield, Rhode Island family.  But of course my branch is not so well documented.  His wife, Rachel, might be a Smith.   That possibility is repeated here and there with no evidence.  I wonder if a concentrated look at deeds or other local records might help me determine Thomas’ association with nearby Smith families.

  • Skills needed: Investigate town records from Smithfield and any deed connected with Thomas (who is not the only Thomas Arnold in that area).  Continue to research each of the children.

9. Mercy (Ballou) Aldrich, 1778 – ?

1803 Divorce granted to Mercy Ballou by the R.I. Supreme Court

Working on Thomas Arnold, and local deeds, might help me figure out whatever happened to his granddaughter, my ggggg-grandmother Mercy Ballou, who divorced Nathan Aldrich in 1803. I have no knowledge of her life after that, but I would like to know what happened to her.  Her former husband, and his second wife, sold property to her father after the divorce, and I believe they moved up the road to Wrentham, Mass after that. I am trying to pin down her father Richard Ballou’s property to find a location she may have returned to after her divorce.

  • Skills needed: There are numerous small family cemeteries in Smithfield.  I wonder if she could have been buried there.  Her father’s 1824 will only mentions his wife and “lawful heirs”, no specifics.  Knowing far more about her siblings might help.  

10. Russell R. Lamphere, 1818 – 1898

After leaving Alabama in the mid-1870’s, Russell ended up using his metalworking skills at the Oriental Mills, in Providence. This is the building (Union Paper) as it appears today.

Of all the details of my ggg-grandfather Russell Lamphere‘s life that I don’t know, one thing that I am most curious about is his relationship with Connecticut Congressman John Turner Wait.  Congressman Wait submitted a war reparations bill for Russell Lamphere three times in the 1880’s.  What happened in Alabama that would have justified reparations, and why were they submitted by a Connecticut Congressman even though Russell and his family had moved from Alabama to Rhode Island?  There is nothing in Congressman Wait’s rather illustrious family history that suggests a connection to either Russell’s wife or mother, and yet I suspect there is a connection, or at the very least, perhaps Mr. Wait left some papers.

  • I am also learning a lot more about Tuscaloosa, Alabama during the Civil War.  A kind reader approached NARA in Washington DC about any files connected to Russell’s war claims.  Staff did some substantial searching; it wasn’t perfunctory.  So I feel fairly confident there is nothing to be found there.  I need to move on.  I have a half-formed idea that studying Congressman Wait’s complete genealogy will reveal some answers to my own.

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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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