Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Isabel Amey's Birth Certificate Lacks the Day of Her Birth

Leah Smith

14 March 2016

Homework for Dear Myrtle's Elizabeth Shown Mills Study Group Week 1

Elizabeth Shown Mills, “QuickLesson 1: Analysis and Citation,” Evidence Explained: Historical Analysis, Citation & Source Usage (https://www.evidenceexplained.com/content/quicklesson-1-analysis-citation :  accessed 14 March 2015)

Isabel Emily Amey Certified Birth Record Analysis   
   I have here a certified copy of my grandmother's birth record. It is printed on heavy weight stock of a pinkish color with navy blue borders and seals. A copy of the record form submitted to the state of New Hampshire by the Clarksville, NH town clerk is on the certificate. Printed toward the bottom of the form is the following statement. "I HEREBY CERTIFY  THAT THIS IS A TRUE ABSTRACT ISSUED FROM THE OFFICIAL RECORDS ON FILE AT THIS OFFICE"  The signature of the State Registrar and an official stamp appear just below that statement.  It also bears a stamp stating, "Original Records filed in Town Clerk's Office in chronological order with other records for the year "  1907 is handwritten after the word year.  A number stamped in red ink is just above the state seal on the bottom left. 
    Upon close examination, I see that her first name, Isabelle, is spelled differently than she spelled it, and that her middle initial "E," rather than her middle name of Emily appears. The day of her birth is missing, and the month is June rather than May when she celebrated her birthday.  Her place of birth, Clarksville, New Hampshire, was also the residence of her parents. Thomas Amey was the name of her father, but other records indicate that he was born in Pittsburg, New Hampshire and not Clarksville, New Hampshire as appears on this record. His residence, age and occupation are in agreement with other sources.  Ardelle  was the middle name of Isabel's mother, and her first name, Nellie does not appear on this record. (Isabel's mother was sometimes identified as Ardel or Dell in both vital and census records.)  Ardelle's maiden name, age, occupation and residence are in agreement with other records. Isabelle was listed as the fourth child.  She was the fourth child of this family, but the eighth or ninth child of  Nellie Ardelle Luther.  
   F. W. McLaughlin of W. Stewartstown, NH was listed as the physician or attendant at birth.  The name does not indicate whether or not he/she was a physician, but I know from Report of the State Board of Health of the State of New Hampshire for the Two Years Ending ..., Volume 20,  Published by Arthur E. Clark public printer 1908, and found on Google Books, that there was a Dr. F. W. McLaughlin of West Stewartstown at that time.
   There are two problems with this record. 
   Firstly - The day of the month is missing. 
   Secondly - The month may be incorrect. My grandmother always celebrated her birthday on May 23rd.
   This is certainly the official birth record for my grandmother. I would use it as a primary source for her place of birth, and the names of her parents, but not for her date of birth. What could account for the lack of a birth date, and the possibility of an incorrect birth month?  I can only guess, that some time passed before the doctor reported the birth, and he simply did not remember when it occurred. Assuming that the Town Clerk's records were in chronological order as stated, perhaps the birth was recorded in the correct place in the record book according to known birth dates of the births just before and after  my grandmother's.  Clarksville was sparsely populated and there would not have been many births in a year. It is likely, but by no means certain, that my grandmother was born, May 23rd 1907.  She was my grandfather's only daughter, and he may have remembered it as a very special day in his life.
   When my grandmother had to furnish proof of her birth information, no birth record was found in Clarksville, New Hampshire. I seem to remember that she was told the records were destroyed in a fire.  May 23, 1907 was accepted by the Social Security Administration only after my grandmother's half-sister, 20 years her senior, wrote a letter stating that she was present at the birth on May 23, 1907. I do not have a copy of the letter, nor can I verify her statement.


State of New Hampshire, Department of Health & Human Services, Division of Public Health Services, Registrar of Vital Records, and Health Statistics, Certification of Vital Record , Clarksville, Coos County, New Hampshire, Certificate Number 00484485, Isabelle E. Amey, Certified Copy issued  31 January 2000 held in personal collection of author.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

My Genealogical Giant - Talk about Irish Luck!

   Dave McDonald in his "Thinking Genealogically" blog wrote a recent post about a "genealogical giant" in his life.  He asked his readers about their own "genealogical giants."
   One who immediately came to my mind was Ed O'Day. Ed and I have never met in person, but corresponded for awhile years ago.  I learned about him from a member of the historical society in my Massachusetts home town. I remembered his parents, the Postmaster and Postmistress in town, but I had never met Ed, who had left town, probably before I was born.  Known to many as Professor Emeritus at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois, here was a hometown descendant of an Irish Famine era family. He had extensively researched his own family and other local Irish families, as well. And he was willing to share some of his knowledge with me!
   He shared information from the Chattel Mortgage Books he found in the basement of the town hall. (I would never have learned of their existence from any other source.) He had naturalization information found at the county courthouse. I learned from him that naturalization papers for the brother of my husband's great great grandfather contained the parish and county of his birthplace in Ireland. I hadn't even known there was a brother! Later, I was able to locate images of these naturalization papers online at familysearch.org.
   Ed was familiar with the history of the Roman Catholic church in the area, and knew how to find records according to the time period.  He had written a history of the Roman Catholic Parish in our town. He had also researched and written a scholarly article about Irish railroad workers.
   Ed published some information helpful to those researching Irish families.  It is on a website entitled Irish and Irish-American Family Research Many listed resources have become available online in the fourteen years since he posted the information. A checklist for locating Irish origins using American records is just one of the items available on this site.
   I will always be grateful for Ed's kindness, assistance, and encouragement.  I feel so fortunate to have found an Irish genealogist and historian from my own hometown.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Photo of Gordon Richards For Sale on Ebay

EBay has a photo of Gordon Richards for sale.  The photo of an infant child on a pillow, was taken outdoors in a rocking chair.  See the photo at this link  http://www.ebay.com/itm/G09-782-Gordon-Richards-West-Brookfield-MA-idd-/200905907381?hash=item2ec6ecdcb5:g:nH0AAOSwPe1UFKyJ

Most likely this is G[eorge] Gordon Richards, born 14 March 1908 in West Brookfield, Massachusetts, son of George Leonard Richards and Cora Elizabeth Mundell.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Mr. Andrew Stirling - Memories of Childhood Neighbor

   Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings posted his Saturday Night Fun Genealogy Challenge for tonight. It was to write a blog post about a childhood neighbor. 

   My family moved next door to Mr. Stirling, when I was four years old.  My parents had been warned about the grumpy old man in the house next door.  It turned out that this widower, whose only daughter had died, and who did not seem to be close to his sons, became the reason for many pleasant childhood memories.  He was a character, for sure. He had nicknames for some of the other neighbors which were not flattering at all.("Old Horse Face" and "Old Stanhole" were two that come to mind. Never would he buy cookies from us when we sold them to benefit our 4-H club.  In fact, he made reference to "the damned hache fours."  He was very upset when Benjamin Franklin's likeness on the half dollar coin was replaced with the likeness of John F. Kennedy.  Mr. Stirling's parents had come to Massachusetts from Scotland.  His deceased wife had also been born in Scotland. (Clearly, he was not a fan of the Irish, although my siblings and I really did not understand it at the time.) He told stories of his time working on the Panama Canal, and occasionally he mentioned his deceased wife and daughter.
   I remember climbing the apple tree, and playing croquet in his yard, and growing my 4-H vegetable garden on his property.  My sister and I would pick dandelions from his yard for a nickel a bucket full.  (This kept another neighbor with a meticulously kept lawn, very happy.) Sometimes Mr. Stirling would give us those chocolate covered marshmallow cookies, or Archway oatmeal raisin cookies as snacks.  Other times he would come outside and tell us to quiet down so he could take his nap.
   A dog he named, Sally, came to live with him at some point. She was of  mixed breeds, part Pointer, I think.  Sally would wrap her body around us and knock us over in the snow banks created by the snow plow. She was fed hamburger and steak, while Mr. Stirling preferred to eat crackers and milk.
   My parents had a cordial relationship with this neighbor. My father mowed his lawn in the summer, and was allowed to store the lawnmower in his barn.
   One summer we came home from summer camp and found that Mr. Stirling's funeral had been that very day.  He had been found dead in his rocking chair, after other neighbors became concerned that Sally had been outside for an extended period of time and had been barking.
   The following year Mr. Stirling's young grandson and his wife became our neighbors.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Images of a book of Biographical Sketches of the Members of Alanson Hamilton Post GAR now online

Book cover image used with permission and clipped from

  I have just become aware of a resource recently placed online at
http://www.brookfieldsresearch.com/   You may view the images of a wonderful book of sketches of Civil War Veterans who were members of the Alanson Hamilton Post of the GAR in West Brookfield.  These sketches include biographical, genealogical and war service information. The information was kept up to date into the 1930's and includes the names of many descendants of GAR members. Burial places are included, some with Section and Plot numbers. The original belongs to the Quaboag Historical Society.
  Be sure to check this out!
  You may also be interested to know that there is a similar book about Brookfield Civil War soldiers which may be found at the Merrick Public Library in Brookfield.
Thank you to Dan Hamilton for letting me know about this book.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Washington Tufts of Brookfield, Massachusetts: A Will Transcibed

Recently I came across Washington Tufts' will in Ancestry's collection of
"Massachusetts, Wills and Probate Records, 1635-1991." I had seen the signature of Washington Tufts on some naturalization documents he had witnessed, but I knew nothing else about him. This Will begins to paint a picture of Mr. Tufts, his character, and the people and ideas which were important to him. I have since found other information in his obituary, and in Massachusetts Vital Records.  US Census records also helped to fill in some details.  I have thus far been unable to find a photograph or portrait showing his likeness.

Washington Tufts was born in New Braintree, Massachusetts, in 1814 and relocated in Brookfield about 1840.  He was employed as a clerk in a local business, and then for a time was in the meat business in West Brookfield.  He became the first agent for the Western Railroad Corporation in about 1858, and held that position for 34 years.

Washington married Harriet Sanford in 1846.  She died in 1858. There were no children as far as I can tell, and Washington never remarried.

Mr. Tufts served for fifteen years as the town clerk in Brookfield.  He was the first town clerk after Brookfield and West Brookfield became separate towns, and at one time or another held almost every town office. Washington became a state senator in 1875. He was a charter member of the Hayden Lodge of Masons, and a Knight Templar.

Washington Tufts died in Brookfield 1 July 1893 leaving a large estate. His funeral was held at the Unitarian Church there, and his burial was in the town cemetery after a masonic service. Find A Grave has a photo of the monument on his grave which is impressive in appearance. See http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=pv&GRid=64817897&PIpi=46155524

Worcester County Probate Files
Case 15455                                                                                                              Washington Tufts

Be it remembered, that I, Washington Tufts, of Brookfield, Worcester County, Massachusetts, being of sound mind and memory, but knowing the uncertainty of this life, do make this my last will and testament.

After the payment of my debts, funeral charges and the expenses of administering my estate, I give, devise and bequeath as follows, viz:

First, I give the sum of one hundred dollars to be deposited by my Executor in Some Savings Bank, to be held in trust by said bank, under the provisions of the Public Statutes of Massachusetts, Chapter 116, Section 35, for the following uses, trusts and purposes, viz: Said principal sum shall be forever held in trust and the dividends or income derived therefrom shall be to the person who, when the same is paid shall be acting as Treasurer of the town of Brookfield, said dividend or income to be expended by said town on the care, preservation and embellishment of my lot and its appurtenances and surroundings, situated in the Cemetery in said Brookfield, in which I shall be buried, and the receipt of the Treasurer of said town as aforesaid to said Bank, shall be a full discharge for said Bank, for all payments of dividends as aforesaid.

Second, I give the some of one hundred dollars to be deposited by my executor in some Savings Bank, to be held in trust by said Bank,  under the provisions of the Public Statutes of Massachusetts, Chapter 116, Section 35, for the following uses, trusts and purposes, viz: Said principal sum shall be forever held in trust and the dividends or income derived therefrom shall be to the person who, when the same is paid shall be acting as Treasurer of the town of New Braintree in said County of Worcester, to be expended by said town on the care, preservation and embellishment of my lot and its appurtenances and surroundings, situated in said New Braintree, in which my father and mother are buried, and the receipt of the Treasurer of said town as aforesaid, to said Bank, shall be full discharge for said Bank, for all payments of dividends as aforesaid.

Third, I give my watch and chain to my cousin Charles Keyes, son of Franklin Keyes of Warren, Mass.

Fourth, I give all my silver and plated ware, to Charles B. Sanford, who was brother to my deceased wife.

Fifth, I give to Henry W. Crosby, Frank Prouty, and Hiram P. Gerald, all of said Brookfield, and their successors and assigns, all of my Bonds of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad Co., the face value of which amounts to Twelve thousand dollars, in trust nevertheless, and for the following uses, trusts and purposes viz:  This legacy shall be forever held in trust as a fund, to be known as the Washington Tufts Fund, the net income derived therefrom, after paying expenses and for their own service, to be paid over by said trusties as soon as can conveniently be done after the receipt thereof, to the person who when the same is paid, shall be acting as the Treasurer of the first Congregational Unitarian Society of Brookfield, a religious society located in said Brookfield, being the one where I usually attend church, to be expended by said Society for their general uses and purposes, and the receipt of said Treasurer, shall be a full discharge for said Trustees for the payment of said dividends and income.  I hereby authorize my said Trustees, and their successors and assigns to sell or exchange any part or all of said bonds at any time, should they be unanimously agreed that it was for the best interest of said Society so to do, and the net proceeds derived from such sale or exchange, shall thereafter held as, and shall constitute the fund as aforesaid for all and the same uses and purposes as hertofore provided.

It is my will also, that there shall at all times be three Trusties in charge if said fund and in case of the death, resignation, or removal of any of my said Trusties herein mentioned, or their successors to said trust, then it is my will that said Society shall as soon as can conveniently thereafter be done, elect a successor or successors to fill all vacancies, and said Trusties and there successors may be required by said Society to execute to them a satisfactory bond either with or without sureties for the faithful discharge of their duties as such Trusties.

Sixth. I give to the Congregational Society in New Braintree, in said County of Worcester, a religious society where my father and mother usually attended church, the sum of Five hundred dollars, and it is my will that said Society should invest the same, and forever after hold the same as a fund, to be known as the Washington Tufts Fund, and the net income derived therefrom to be expended and applied by said society toward the payment for the services of a minister of the gospel for preaching for said society, and the receipt of the person, who shall be acting as treasurer of said society shall be a full discharge for my executor,

Seventh. I give to my Executor, herinafter named the sum of Four thousand dollars, in trust nevertheless, and for the following uses trusts and purposes, viz: To invest the same as a fund, and keep the same invested thereafter, and to reinvest the same or any part thereof as may be necessary or expedient, and to allow said fund to accumulate by the addition of the interest and thereto, and in case that my sister Sally C. Tufts should survive me and should have expended all of her own property and estate, or if at any time after my decease she should have expended all of her property and estate, then my said executor shall pay over to her, or expend for her, any part or all of said trust fund, either of both principal and interest, for her comfortable support and maintainance during her life, or so long as any part of said fund shall remain unexpended as aforesaid, it being my will that she should have a good and comfortable support and maintainance out of said fund during her life after she shall have expended all of her own property and estate.  At the decease of my said sister, then all of said fund that shall remain unexpended as aforesaid, I give to my nephew, George K. Tufts, to him and his heirs forever, In case my sister should decease before my decease, then this legacy shall lapse.

Eighth, All of the residue and remainder of my estate, that I may die seized and possessed of, or in any way entitled to at the time of my decease, I give to my nephew, the aforesaid George K. Tufts, to him and his heirs forever, and it is my intention to make no bequests to any relative not herein mentioned.

I herby nominate the said George K. Tufts, to be the Executor of the will, and it is my will that he, exempt from giving sureties on his official bond as such Executor.

In case of the death, resignation or removal of the said George K. Tufts, as Executor, as aforesaid , then I give to whoever shall act to execute this will, all the same forever and authority to act in every respect, that I have herein given to my said Executor, and it is my will, that they shall be exempt from sureties on their official bond.

In testimony whereof, I hereunto set my hand, and in the presence of three witnesses, declare this to be my last will this ninth day of May A. D. 1893.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Washington Tufts [signature]

On this 9th day of May A. D. 1893. Washington Tufts, of Brookfield, Massachusetts, signed the foregoing instrument in or presence, declaring it to be his last will, and as witnesses thereof, we three do now at his request, in his presence and the presence of each other hereto subscribe our names.                                                           

                                                                     George A. Craig [signature]

                                                                    William Mulcahy [signature]      
                                                                     Lizzie Mulcahy  [signature]

 A true record;

                   Attest: George H. Harlow

Ancestry.com, "Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988," (http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=MATownVital&h=4599374&indiv=try :accessed 15 December 2015,) marriage record for Washington Tufts and Harriet Adaline Sanford.

Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, Mason Membership Cards, 1733-1990 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013. Washington Tufts, Birth Date - 16 Oct 1816, Birth Place - New Braintree, Death Date - 1 Jul 1893, Last Residence Place - Brookfield, Lodge - Quaboag, (Chartler member Hayden Lodge - Brookfield), Occupation - Station Agent, B and A RR

Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, Wills and Probate Records, 1635-1991 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015.
Original data: Massachusetts County, District and Probate Courts.

"Death of Washington Tufts: Brookfield's Well-Known Citizen Laid to Rest After a Well-Spent Life," Brookfield Times, Friday 7 July 1893, Front page; online image (http:www.broookfieldsresearch.com/newspapers: accessed 15 December 2014.)


Thursday, November 19, 2015

Laudislaus Mazur Baptismal Record - Index Entry From Polish Church Records

Leah Smith
11 November 2015
Dear Myrtle's Tracing Immigrant Ancestors Study Group
Homework - Document from county of origin

Baptismal Information for Laudislaus Mazur from a Polish Church Record Index
   The names in these records are Latin.  I needed to know that Walter in English was Wladyslaw in Polish and Laudislaus in Latin.  I could also do a search using just the last name, Mazur, and the names of his parents Stanislaus, and Katarzyna Novak. ( Entering "Stan*" and "Novak" in the search boxes produced the result I was looking for.) Familysearch.org, which holds the records I accessed, describes the records as being written in Polish, but the names in the index are Latin.

 This is a transcription of the index from the Poland, Tarnow Roman Catholic Diocese Church Books, 1612 -1900 found at familysearch.org, enrtry for Laudislaus Mazur
  Laudislaus Mazur, baptism July 4, 1884 in Slupiec, Slupiec, Krakow, Poland, House Number 44,  Father Stanislaus Mazur, Mother Catharina Nowak. Volume Beginning Year 1840, Volume Ending Year 1884. Gender  female

The microfilm containing these church records, can be ordered from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, for viewing at a Family History Center near my home.