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When we left off in Part One, we found that Bessie married in 1892 in Milton, Massachusetts but had Wolfville, Nova Scotia roots.

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

From an old family photo, and the census records, I know that Bessie had a sister, Clara.  Did the two sisters come to the U.S. on their own?

A little more about Aunt Clara

I had good luck finding some records for Clara.  She married Arthur Beaudry in 1896.  In 1897 (per the Springfield Union, on GenealogyBank.com), she was called back to Springfield to testify about a sad little incident where a neighbor accused her of spending the night in the bedroom of the local homeless shelter keeper (well THAT doesn’t sound tempting).  Clara acquitted herself well; it turns out although she lived down the street, she was out of town during the time in question, but the whole thing makes me wonder how chaotic and difficult their lives were. In that article Clara mentioned visiting a relative, “Mrs. Hendrickson”.  By researching Hendrickson records in Springfield at that time, I discovered that Clara’s aunt, Deliah Shipley Cameron, was living in Springfield and had a daughter who married a Hendrickson.

Combining this knowledge with a Massachusetts birth and death record for Maria and Marston’s youngest child, Daisy, I now knew that Maria and Marston’s whole family, and indeed some extended family, had immigrated to the U.S.  Clara reported in a later census that the immigration year was 1888 but it must have been by 1887, when Marston and Maria’s youngest child was born in Massachusetts.

Clara ... could she be holding her nephew, Miles? or was it a later picture with a child of her own?

Clara went on to have what seemed like a happy life, moving from place to place with her husband Arthur Beaudry, who built church organs.  They eventually settled in Cleveland, Ohio, where I suspect Arthur was employed by the early Holtkamp Organ Company.

Bessie marries

So Bessie Martin arrived in the U.S. as an 18 year old and married Miles Edward Baldwin about four years later.  She was living in Milton, Mass. (no occupation – “at home”) before her marriage and then took up residence in Newton, Mass. where her husband was a watchmaker.  His shop was on Beacon Street opposite Sumner in Newton Center, and “Mr. and Mrs. M.E. Baldwin” were boarding at 85 Erie Avenue in Newton (thanks and a tip of the hat to the folks in Newton who placed a number of old city directories online here).  A peek at Erie Avenue on Google Maps shows it to be quite a nice tree lined street with modest Victorian houses that might pre-date 1893.

Baby Miles "Teddy" Baldwin

Their first child, Miles Edward Baldwin Jr., was born 30 April 1893.  We have a beautiful, faded portrait of grampa as a baby.  When you look at it, you can only think, someone loved this baby very much.

A sad ending

On 14 Mar 1897 their second son, Blanchard Baldwin, was born in Newton.  One day later, Bessie Blanche Martin died.  I had always thought complications of birth caused her death so I was surprised when the death record, found via FamilySearch.org, listed Cancer of the Stomach as the cause of death.

My grandfather was not quite four when she died.  He didn’t remember her.  I suspect Bessie’s mother was gone by this time, Clara had moved west, and so Grampa lost touch completely with this family. He was raised by his father and a stepmother, although he wasn’t particularly welcome in their home.

–Diane

Next time, the surprising history of the Martin family and the heritage that Grampa never knew about. 

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For a person who starts family history research alone, without the prior work of other generations, I think it must be quite common to find stories that we wish we could share with the relatives who are gone.  I was unsure if I would ever learn much about my grandfather’s family, but I was wrong about that; I have learned both good and bad … I have learned a lot.  To know that I know so much more than he ever did is a funny position to be in.

Tintype of Bessie around 1892, the time of her marriage

Bessie Blanche (Martin) Baldwin was my great grandmother, the mother of my grandfather Miles E Baldwin Jr.  The full extent of my family’s knowledge of my great grandmother Bessie before I started researching this a few years ago consisted of:

  • a notation of her name and her parent’s names made by my grandfather
  • we knew that she had died when Miles’ younger brother Blanchard was born
  • a tintype and a few pictures
Surprise Number One

I knew that Bessie’s parents were Marston Martin and Maria (Shipley) Martin.   I knew my grandfather was born in Newton, Mass.  As I looked for the family in census records I was very surprised to find them in the 1871 and 1881 Canadian Census living in Wolfville and Mills, Cumberland County, Nova Scotia.  I asked my mother if she thought Bessie was from Nova Scotia, but she knew nothing about it.  This is one of those occasions when the 1890 U.S. Census would have been a big help because I was wondering when Bessie arrived in Massachusetts and whom she was with.

On FamilySearch.org I found the record for Bessie’s marriage to Miles Edward Baldwin in Newton, Mass. on 1 Sep 1892 along with the record of my grandfather’s birth in 1893.

Back to Nova Scotia

My research then turned to other members of this unknown family.

Marston and Maria married 30 April 1868.  I found this record on Ancestry.com and ordered it through Nova Scotia Historical Vital Statistics.  One thing that jumped out at me at the time was the two sets of parents:

  • James & Margaret Martin
  • James & Margaret Shipley

While the names are common enough, this coincidence seemed important to me, especially as subsequent searches for Marston revealed nothing.  Were the names mis-written in the record?  Was he an orphan or a runaway and didn’t want to give the real names of his parents?

The two witnesses were:

  • John E. Dougherty
  • Obed B. Coldwell

It’s great when the witness names provide clues about the families.  But at the time only Dougherty was helpful to me; it helped me find Maria Shipley Martin’s mother, Margaret Dougherty. I believe John E. Dougherty was Maria’s uncle. Later, I would find out Obed B. Coldwell was Marston’s second cousin.  But at the time, the name got me nowhere.

Yes, I have an ancestor named Marmaduke

The Shipleys have a wonderful story, which time and further skills on my part will bring out, I hope.  I believe one set of Maria’s great grandparents were Robert Innis and Janet Monroe, passengers on The Hector, the well known ship that began the migration from the Scottish Highlands to Nova Scotia.  Another set of great-grandparents were of English descent; she may have a set of ggg-grandparents named Marmaduke Shipley and Elizabeth Spencer.  Hmm, Spencer, could be a royal connection there; I’ll have to check that out sometime.  No hurry, I’ve already missed the royal wedding!

Back to Marston and Maria

Marston and Maria had the following children that I know about; all but the last born in Nova Scotia:

  • Minnie Martin, b. 1869
  • Bessie Blanche Martin, 1869 – 1897
  • May Martin, 1873 –
  • Clara Pearl Martin, 1878 – 1952, married 13 Jun 1896 in Springfield, Mass., pipe organ builder Arthur Lewis Beaudry and lived in Buffalo, NY and Cleveland, Ohio; had children Thelma, Arthur, and Jules
  • John A. Martin, 1880 –
  • Hazel Violet Martin, 1884 – 1908, married 25 Sept 1905 in Somerville, Mass., Frederick Bamblett, no children
  • Daisy Martin, 1887 – 1888, born and died in Needham, Massachusetts

I would love to connect with any descendants.

Next time, the few details of Bessie’s life and death in Massachusetts.  Later, a real breakthrough about the Martins.

— Diane

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