Thanksgiving 2015

This year, I have much to be thankful for. A kitchen full of food,a roof over my head and warm clothes to keep me comfortable. A car that still works, a friend to share the meal with, and family to call and with whom I can share my love.

I am also very thankful for the many people that came together over the centuries, in love or out of duty, that eventually ended up in my being here. Their stories and histories are what make genealogy the fascinating and frustrating path I continue to follow.

Share your stories with your family. Share your love and your life with all of those with whom you come into contact, and share the blessings that we can see around us in every single day. From my house to yours, I wish everyone a warm and happy holiday season.


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52 Ancestors 2015 #43: OOPS!

Week 43 (October 22-28) – Oops. An ancestor who made an “oops,” or one that you made while researching one of them. (We’ve all done it, believe me!)

There was a family story about how an ancestor had robbed a Civil War pay train and escaped to Canada. I still don’t know for sure if he did steal money – but he did go AWOL before his second deployment in the Civil War and went home because his father had just died. To avoid capture and imprisonment, he went back and forth over the US/Canada border between Calais, Maine and New Brunswick, Canada. He later received a Congressional pardon. This was Ephraim Weston Reynolds , my third great-grandfather.

When it comes to research ‘oops’ – the one that comes to mind is when I was trying to find the parents of Abigail Branch – Abigail Tucker and Moses Branch are not her parents. MY Abigail Branch was born in Canada, not Connecticut. She is often confused with the Abigail Branch born in CT who died in CT.

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52 Ancestors 2015 #44: Frightening

Week 44 (October 29 – November 4) – Frightening: Do you have an ancestor who did something frightening or lived through a scary event? Do you have your own ghost story in the family? Now is the perfect time to share!

There are several frightening events that my ancestors lived through. The Salem Witch Trials involved several members of my 9th Great Grandfather’s family, Edward Bishop ; my 10th Great grandfather, William Vinson ; my 11th Great grandfather, Job Tyler and his family; Hannah Bradford Ripley , my 7th Great grandmother; and my 10th Great grandfather, Henry Kinne.

Joel Day & Catherine Richardson lost most of their children in the diptheria epidemic of 1864. There is nothing more terrifying than losing a child, and they lost seven in thirty-four days.

My great-great-grandmother, Carrie Hawkins Roberts was raised by her grandparents – and lost her mother, stepfather and baby brother in a house fire in 1883.

My grandparents, Helen Reynolds and Edward Graff, lost their first two children in a house fire while Helen was pregnant with my mother.

Zoeth Howland, my 8th great-grandfather, was a rebellious Quaker who was killed by Pocasset indians in Rhode Island by a river on his way home from a meeting.

So yes, quite a few frightening or scary things happened in my family.

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52 Ancestors 2015 #42: Proud

Week 42 (October 15-21) – Proud: Which ancestor did something that made you proud? Which ancestor are you proud of finding?

One of the most heart-filling, exciting moments was when I visited my grand-aunt Ditta and saw the portrait of my great-great-grandmother, Ellanora Boelling Graff.  I also got to see the family bible and other photos that Aunt Ditta was kind enough to let me take back to Mom’s and scan. A treasure beyond price.

Ellanora Boelling Graff 1885 "Wedding Portrait"

Ellanora Boelling Graff
1885 “Wedding Portrait”

Ella had a pretty tragic life – she married Henry Graff  in Ohio within months after he left his first wife and infant daughter in Maryland  – likely unaware he was still married. She bore him twin daughters 9 months later and they died before they were five. After giving him several more children, she was beaten by one of her sons while pregnant – and died with the baby.

Finding her portrait and the information about her was a huge break in my brick wall. Finding her father was another break – but I still have not found her mother.

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52 Ancestors 2015 #41: Colorful ancestors

Week 41 (October 8-14) – Colorful. Everyone has at least one “colorful” ancestor. Share the story of one of yours 🙂

Yeah…like I could pick just one? the more I dig into my ancestry, the more variety of ‘colorful’ ancestor stories I find. The one trait that is most pervasive throughout all of my family lines is being outspoken about what they believe is right and not putting up with crap from anyone. From Job Tyler who even turned on members of his own family for becoming social sheep to Zoeth Howland , a Quaker rebel who was drowned in a river on the way home from meeting by hostile Pocasset Indians.

The doctor, Dr. William Dyer, a respected physician and influential, even had a record of being stubborn.

The old doctor had a knack of keeping in hot water with his neighbors, and like Tristam Shandy’s father, had a spice in his temper known by the name of perseverance in a good cause, and obstinacy in a bad one. I should do great injustice to a long line of descendants, justly proud of their ancestors,to deny them a like precious inheritance. His family all married and settled around him, soon became among the largest and most influential in town ; a position maintained to this day.”

I’ve been told that I am…stubborn. (queue grin and wry chuckle) I guess I’ve managed to carry on the inheritance of both my maternal and paternal lines.

Rather proud of that…


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52 Ancestors 2015 #40: October anniversaries and birthdays

Week 40 (October 1-7) – October: What ancestor has a birthday or anniversary in October?

My parents celebrated their wedding anniversary on October 21 – 53 years together before Dad died. They were married October 21, 1961.

Mom and Dad got married on my great-grandfather’s 65th birthday – Harry Nelson Reynolds – who was born October 21, 1896 in Machias, Washington County, Maine.


Harry & Hazel Reynolds 1960

Harry & Hazel Reynolds 1960

Charles & Elizabeth Eldridge October 21, 1961

Charles & Elizabeth Eldridge October 21, 1961

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52 Ancestors 2015: #39 John Lougee’s ‘unusual’ life story

Week 39 (September 24-30) – Unusual: What is the most unusual record you’ve ever found? Or, who is the most unusual of your ancestors? (You can take that any way you want to!)

I don’t know if John Lougee is my most unusual ancestor – if you knew my family, you’d know that there were a lot of characters over the years – but John had a most unusual life story.

John is the son of  Louis Fremont Lougee, born about 1650 in Jersey, Channel Islands, Great Britain.

John Lougee (1682-1771) was born on the Isle of Jersey and died in Exeter, Rockingham County, New Hampshire. He was my 6th great-grandfather. He married Mary Anne Gilman (1695-1771) in 1718 in Exeter, NH and had 5 sons and 4 daughters, John (1719-1794), Joseph (1723-1794), Anne (1725-?), Moses (1727-1785), Gilman (1729-1811), Edmund (1731-1807), Shuah (1734-?), Joanne (1735-1810), Elizabeth (1737-?)

In “History of Parsonsfield” (meaning Parsonsfield, Maine), it states “John Lougee, from the Isle of Jersey; born about 1700; settled at Exeter, N.H. His grandsons, Gilman, Samuel and John, settled in Parsonsfield early as 1779.”

In “Genealogy and History of representative citizens of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts”: “Oscar Clough Lougee, a resident of Cambridge, was born February 27, 1850, son of Parker Morgan and Mercy Elizabeth (Clough) Lougee. He is a descendant in the sixth generation of John Lougee, a native of the Isle of Jersey, by trade a knitter, who came to New England during Queen Anne’s War, he being then eighteen years old. He settled at Exeter, NH. In 1710, he was captured by Indians and taken to Canada and thence, as stated in the History of Exeter, to England. Five or six years later he returned to Exeter. “At a town meeting held April 12, 1725, it was voted that John Lougee be granted 30 acres of land, but to wait 10 years.” He d. in Exeter at the age of seventy-seven years. He m. about 1720, Mary, daughter of Colonel Moses Gilman, of New Market, NH. Their children were John, Joseph, Moses, Edmund, Gilman, Shuah, Anna and Joanna.”

Family stories claim that John (and Louis Fremont) were Huguenots – the mention of Queen Anne’s War further supports that.

From “History of the town of Exeter, New Hampshire” – The Death of Colonel Hilton “Scarcely two weeks after the return of this scout, the enemy, who had long been on the watch for an opportunity to take their daring and dreaded enemy, Colonel Winthrop Hilton, at a disadvantage, succeeded in their purpose. He went out on the twenty-second of July with a party of seventeen men, to peel some large hemlock logs which he had cut for masts the previous season, and which were liable to be injured by worms unless stripped of their bark. They were lying at the distance of about fourteen miles to the westward of his house. The day had been stormy. While the party were employed in doing the work, a body of Indians fired upon them from an ambush and killed three, Colonel Hilton and two others. The remainder of the whites, intimidated by their loss, and finding their guns unserviceable by the wet, fled except two who were taken captive. These were Dudley Hilton, a brother of the colonel, and John Lougee, both of Exeter. The next day one hundred men marched in pursuit of the Indians, but discovered only the bodies of the fallen. The enemy in their triumph had struck their hatchets into the brain of Colonel Hilton, and left a lance sticking in his heart. His body was brought to his home, and buried with every mark of respect and honor.

Dudley Hilton was never more heard from, and probably perished in captivity. Lougee was taken to Canada and thens to England. He returned to Exeter as early as 1716, and was married and left descendants there.”

New information I’ve found says the following:

LOWGIE, or LOUGEE: — John, came at the age of
16, in the Confidence of London, from Southampton,
1638, with Grace, perhaps his sister, as servant of John
Stephens, of Caversham, Oxfordshire. This name is
still found in New Hampshire, but the tradition of the
family derives it from John, who came from the Isle of
Jersey, about 1700.

References : — Lancaster’s Gilmarton, 275 ; Runnel’s
Sanbornton, N. H., II, 466-70.

I have not yet found any information on Grace, but that will be another trail to follow.

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52 Ancestors 2015: #38 Serendipity or Fate?

Week 38 (September 17-23) – Favorite Place: What has been  your favorite place to research? Which ancestor came from there?

I have ancestors from England, Germany, Scotland, Ireland, Canada and New England. While the other countries are beautiful – they are incredibly difficult to research ancestors from those places – particularly Ireland. The most enjoyment has been in finding ancestors in places I know. I was born in Quincy and grew up in Pembroke – about twenty minutes from Plymouth Rock.

Finding names of ancestors like Robert Stetson (1670-1760) my 8th great grandfather, and knowing I swam every summer in Stetson’s Pond. Names like Nathaniel Cox (1741-1799) my 6th great-grandfather, who was born in Pembroke, Massachusetts, or his father, Edward Cox (1718-1778) who was born and died in Pembroke.

I giue and bequeath to my well beloued son William his Heirs or
assigns foreuer the whole of my home-lot or Lands lying on the western side of the country Road that passes by my house, togather with all the Buildings thereon reserving to my wife the preveleges granted to her — which Lands I  bought of Deacon Ford of Pembroke deceased — also the whole of my  meadow lying on Indian head Riuer, which I bought of Solomon Beals, and the  one half of my Pew in the west meeting House in Pembroke

— From “New England Cox Family”

This land is about 5 miles from where I grew up. I probably rode my bike over his land, and never knew.

When I was about twelve, I found an abandoned cemetery in a pocket of wild brush and trees between two cranberry bogs. We used to ride our bikes around the bog roads and play in the woods, so when I found it, I thought it was the coolest thing! Turns out it was in Hanson, Massachusetts. I cleaned it up and took pictures and then went to the Hanson Historical Society and told them about it. They took it over and now keep it maintained.  Little did I realize that my Stetson ancestors had family buried in that cemetery.

Stetson Cemetery

Stetson Cemetery

Stetson Cemetery

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52 Ancestors 2015: #37 The Roberts Clan of Wesley, Maine

Week 37 (September 10-16) – Large Family.  So let’s feature an ancestor who had a large family or who was a member of a large family.

My great-great-grandparents, John Milton Roberts & Carrie Evelyn Hawkins had thirteen children between 1887 and 1911. He worked as a farmer and lumberman his whole life, supporting his family.

Carrie and John Roberts - Elizabeth Park - CT - 1930s

Carrie and John Roberts – Elizabeth Park – CT – 1930s

Carrie was 17 when she married the 29 year old John Milton on July 24, 1886 in Wesley, Washington County, Maine. Her first child was born on August 1, 1887 when she was 18, and he was 30 – Nora Mae (1887-1974).  Gertrude Bradbury (1889-1977) was born on January 31, 1889 when Carrie was 20. Nellie Grace (1890-1968) was born on December 14, 1890, and Annie Laurie (1892-1963) was born December 24, 1892. Their first son was born October 14, 1894 when Fred Oscar (1894-1959) arrived, followed by Walter Roscoe (1896-1917) and his twin sister who died at birth on November 2, 1896. Ethel (1897-1992) was born on December 20, 1897, Hazel Pearl (1900-1990) – my great-grandmother- was born April 4, 1900. Ruth Eva (1901-1988) was born on July 31, 1901, Evelyn Marie (1903-1987) was born August 8, 1903 and another son, Kenneth Paul (1906-1977) was born on September 21, 1906.  The last child, John Milton Jr. (1911-1989) was born on December 10, 1911 when Carrie was 42 years old.

When Carrie & John were having their second to last child, Kenneth Paul, their eldest daughter, Nora, was having her first son, William Elliot McLain (b. June 1, 1906) and Gertie, the second daughter, had three children by the time their last son was born – Eva Belle (1908-1945), Georgia Louise (1909-2008) and Forrest Paul (1910-1998). Third daughter, Nellie Grace, had her first son, Osmond Filmore Alley Jr on March 12, 1911 (1911-1993) just a few months before her youngest brother was born.

Before Carrie died in 1949, all of her 63 grandchildren were born, and several of her great-grandchildren were born. Six of those grandchildren died young. Two of her own children – Walter Roscoe at 17 and his twin sister at birth – were also gone.

1936 - Fiftieth Wedding Anniversary

1936 – Fiftieth Wedding Anniversary with children

Most of the children and their families were in the same area in Maine – some moved to Massachusetts, others to Connecticut. Imagine the holiday gatherings! Eleven living children, their spouses and fifty-seven grandchildren…some of their spouses and great-grandchildren…  I’m guessing that there were more than a few family ‘gatherings’ but the “Roberts Reunion” didn’t start until after John & Carrie died – as a memorial and celebration of their life. The first one was in 1953 or 1954, depending on which source you ask.   This link will take you to scans of the “Reunion Book” my mom kept.  I remember one reunion I attended had over 350 people – but I can’t remember which year that was.  And yes – they still have reunion gatherings

July 3-4 1955

July 3-4 1955

July 5-6 1958

July 5-6 1958

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52 Ancestors 2015: #36 Occupations

Week 36 (September 3-9) – Working for a Living: September 7 is Labor Day in the United States. Write about an ancestor and his or her occupation.

I’ve always found that what my ancestors did for an occupation, a fascinating thing. Many of my ancestors were farmers or seafaring folk – fishers, sailors and whalermen. There were a few that really stood out, however…

John Lothrop (1584-1683) Parish curate in England to minister in Scituate, Massachusetts Bay Colony.

William Bradford (1590-1657) Governor & architect of the Mayflower Compact

William Brewster (1560-1644)  Printer & postmaster, English teacher in Scrooby, England – became minister in Massachusetts Colony and acted as a governor in his own right as well as adviser to William Bradford.

Willard Holt Eldredge (1882-1957)- carpenter – house to fish factory to house

Francis Ralph Roach (1892-1966) – “timber” at shoe manufactory in 1920 to crane operator at shoe factory in 1930 to ‘laborer/wage salary in gov’t work’ in 1940

Mary Mildred O’Keefe/Keith (1896-1960)  Burlesque dancer

George Gerhardt Graff (1834-1892) carriage manufacturing and carpenter

Henry William Graff (1890-1971) 1920 – Farmer on his own farm, 1930 foreman in a die casting business, 1940 tool maker

Henry Graff (1863-1941) – 1880 blacksmith apprentice for a carriage making business, 1900 Photographer in Manhattan, 1920 photographer in Boston, MA

Harry Nelson Reynolds (1896-1963) – 1920 “Fitter” at Nordey boxes, 1930 “leather maker” at a belt shop, 1940 Section foreman in Danielson, CT  (Addendum from my Uncle, Henry Graff: ” He was a cook in a lumber camp in Maine.. They called him Cookie. I was only 13 when he died but I can still remember the great boiled dinners he cooked. His Jacob Cattle baked beans were great also. When he was part of the Danielson Mfg. Company (DANCO) start up in the 1930’s he was the guy in charge of mixing the glue (chemist) they used in making the glued up cowhide “LUGS”. They were wear strips/ shock absorbers that went on looms to absorb the energy of the shuttles.They also developed the leather/ glue material and made “Dead Blow” hammers.” )

Thomas Pendleton, Sr (1717-1809) “Tradition says that Thomas was a whaler-man, and that on one of his voyages to Greenland, he put in at Castine, where, excited by the beauty of the Penobscot Bay region, he determined to settle.”

Louis Fremont Lougee(1856-1924)- 1920 Carpenter “building industry” “own account” so likely a contractor/carpenter

John Milton Roberts (1858-1939) – farmer – he owned his own farm, land likely given when he married Carrie Hawkins by her grandfather, Samuel Hawkins, who owned
the land first. The photo is of John’s wife, Carrie, churning butter in the barn.

Carrie in the barn, churning butter

Carrie in the barn, churning butter

Samuel Melville Hawkins (1824-1902) – ran a trading post where he traded with the white settlers and the native tribes of Miqmac and Passamaquoddy, then a farmer. At one point he was also the town treasurer for Wesley, Washington County, Maine.

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