Sunday, October 4, 2020

Genealogybank adds Worcester Evening Gazette Issues From January 1930 - December 1940

 Genealogybank, a paid newspaper website, has recently added 1930-1940 issues of the Worcester Evening Gazette to its "Newspaper Archives"  Collection. This is a welcome addition for those of us who research Worcester County families. I was able to find some obituaries for West Brookfield residents, that I was unable to find in the Springfield Newspapers already available at GenealogyBank, or in the Spencer Leader files on the Brookfield Resources site. 

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Will of Cornelius McKenney of West Brookfield, Massachusetts

This is my transcription of a typewritten copy of the will of Cornelius McKenney. Note that the name  is spelled McKenney in the title of the will, but MacKenney in the body.  It appears also that the typist may have underlined the word my which should have been the word may, and also the words and, which should have been any, and off, which should have been of.

Worcester County Probate Court
Case No. 30318 - Will
[Page 381]

Cornelius McKenney
Know all men by these presents, that I, Cornelius MacKenney of West Brookfield, in the County of Worcester and Commonwealth of Massachusetts being in good health and of sound and disposing mind and memory do make this my last will, hereby revoking all former wills by me at any time heretofore made.

1st. I hereby constitute and appoint my wife Catherine MacKenney to be sole executrix of this my last will hereby directing my said executrix to pay all of my just debts and funeral expenses out of my estate & then to receive the residue of my estate as hereinafter named.

I request that my said executrix be not required to furnish and surety upon such bond as the Probate Court my require when appointing her to said trust.

2d. After the payment of my said debts and funeral expenses I give and devise and bequeath unto my said wife the use and income of all the rest and residue of my estate to have and to hold the same for and during the remainder of her natural life.

3d. All of my estate may and shall be held in trust by my said wife, and in case the said use and income, shall in the judgment of said wife, be insufficient for her proper support, then and in such case, she may sell and convey have and use any part or portion of my estate both principal and income for her proper support all in manner and way she may or shall deem best.

And I desire and will that all such part of my estate as may or shall remain unexpended by my said wife for her proper support shall at her decease, be given to those who are then my next of kin in equal division.

4th. In making this will, I do not forget my two children, viz: my son James

[page 382]

and my daughter Catherine, but desire that my estate be disposed off per the parts of this my last will herein marked "2d" and "3d" and in no other way.

In witness of the above, I hereto set my hand this twenty first day of May in the year one thousand nine hundred and two.


Signed, published and declared by the above named Cornelius MacKenney as and for is last will in the presence of each of us who in his presence and at his request have subscribed these presents as witnesses hereto.
Cornelius   + MacKenney
E. J. Mooney                  3
Joseph Mcevoy  Witnesses
Peter Langton    necessary

Will allowed July 28, 1902

A true record,

Attest: George H. Harlow [signature]

Source : Massachusetts, Wills and Probate Records, 1635-1991, >Worcester Probate Records >Vols. 577-580> images 451-452 of 1068 > 1902, Case 30318, Stamped pages No. 381 - 382. Ancestry ( : accessed 10 May 2020.)  [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2015.
Original data: Massachusetts County, District and Probate Courts.Typewritten copy of the Will of Cornelius McKenney.

A Glimpse Into Merriam Family Bible

Recently this Bible was purchased by a genealogist from West Brookfield who very graciously shared digital copies of the Title Page, the Family Register, and some lose items found within its pages.
Title Page from Bible of Ebenezer Merriam
Digital copy from D Hamilton Files. Received  15 April 2020
Used with permission.

The publishers information below has been slightly enlarged. The year shown is 1803


The Family Register entries appear to have been written by at least two different people, with the earliest birth date Dec. 15, 1777, and the latest death date April 9, 1894.

             The loose items found in the Bible included:

  • A receipt in the amount of $.25 dated November 28, 1855, from the Western Railroad Corporation for transporting apples. 
  • A list of ministers of the West Brookfield Congregational Church from the years 1717-1871 clipped from a newspaper.
  • Two clipped different newspaper obituaries of Capt. E. P. Merriam
  • A printed copy of a poem from Charles Merriam to his cousin Ebenezer Parsons Merriam of West Brookfield on his 69th Birthday November 16, 1873

You may be interested in an earlier post on the Merriam Family Ebenezer Merriam - Printer


Saturday, May 9, 2020

Will of Hiram Eaton of North Brookfield, Massachusetts

Hiram Eaton was born in Meltonville, Vermont in 1819.  His parents were Sylvanus Eaton and Olive Taylor.  Hiram was enumerated in the 1850 census in West Brookfield, Massachusetts along with his wife, Sarah Kendrick and their three daughters, Maria Ann, Lucy L., and Abbie Jane. Maria Ann married Samuel Gardner Irish on 6 August 1867.  Lucy married Samuel's brother Isaac Franklin Irish on that same day. Abbie had married Dwight Bowen in February of that same year.

Hiram's wife Sarah Kendrick died in 1873, and in 1881 he married Mrs. Clarissa (Stebbins) Chamberlain.  Clarissa survived Hiram, who died February 1, 1903,  Daughters Lucy and Abbie survived him, as well.  Maria predeceased her father in 1895.

Hiram Eaton's Last Will and Testament is transcribed below.

Photocopy received from Worcester County Probate Court
Worcester County Massachusetts
Case No. 31365, Series B 1903

Hiram Eaton Case No. 31365 Series B
Know all man by these presents
that I Hiram Eaton of North Brookfield in the County of Worcester and Commonwealth of Massachusetts being of sound disposing mind and memory do make this my Last Will and Testament - to wit;
First I Give devise and bequeath to my daughter Lucy L. Irish the wife of Frank Irish now residing in the city of Brockton Massachusetts, my entire Farm situated in the south
easterly part of said North Brookfield, continuing now about 50 acres of land with Buildings thereon:
Also to said Lucy L. Irish all the Farming Tools, carriages, and other implements about or upon the premises Also all the Live stock and household Furniture which I shall
own at the time of my decease
Second To my daughter Abbie now the widow of Dwight W Bowen deceased the sum of twenty five dollars ($25.)
Third I hereby constitute and appoint my said daughter Lucy L. Irish executrix of this my Last Will
[page 2]
and Testament, and I request that she shall not be required to furnish sureties upon her official bond as such Executrix
In Witness whereof I have signed, Sealed and published and declared this my Last Will and Testament at North Brookfield aforesaid this eighth day of April in the year of Our Lord one thousand eight hundred and ninety nine (Apr 8 1899)
Hiram Eaton
The said Hiram Eaton at said North Brookfield on said 8th day of April AD 1899 signed and sealed this instrument and published and declared the same as and for his Last Will and Testament.
And we at his request and in his presence and in the presence of each other have hereunto written our names as subscribing witnesses
George A Haradon
Sarah A Knight
Hiram Knight

[The full name of the husband of Lucy L. Irish was Isaac Franklin Irish. George Haradon, a witness to the will was a brother-in law of Isaac Franklin Irish. Hiram's widow, Clarissa Stebbins Eaton is not mentioned in the will but listed in a list of heirs on another document in the file. Clarissa was a resident of Worcester Insane Hospital at the time of the 1900 US Census.]

Cornelius McKinney from Longfield, County Tyrone, Ireland - Petition for Naturalization - Transcription

   A Digital Image of Cornelius McKinney's Naturalization document was found at Family Search.
     "United States, New England, Petitions for Naturalization, 1787-1906," images, FamilySearch      ( : 22 May 2014), Massachusetts > Worcester County > Court of Common Pleas at Worcester > Petitions for naturalization, 1849-1856, vol 2 > image 278 of 454; citing NARA NAID 4752894, National Archives at Boston, Waltham, Massachusetts.

 The document contains the Irish county and parish of his birth; as well as the approximate time of his birth, and the time and place of his arrival in the United States.

Here I have transcribed the words in the document using italics where the information was handwritten on the printed form.  I have changed the formatting for readability and appearances sake.

Worcester, ss.

To the Honorable Justices of the Court of Common Pleas begun and holden at Worcester, within and for the County of Worcester on the first Monday of December being the fourth day of said month, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty four.
Cornelius McKinney of West Brookfield in the County of Worcester, an alien and free white person, represents, That he was born at in the Parish of Longfield in the County of Tyrone Ireland ion about the Month of January, in the year one thousand eight hundred and twenty seven, and is now about twenty eight years of age; that he arrived at Boston in the State of Massachusetts, in the United States of America, in or about the month day of October, in the year one thousand eight hundred and forty seven ; that it his bona fide intention to become a Citizen of the United States of
America, and to renounce forever all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign Prince, Potentate, State and Sovereignty, whatever, and particularly to Victoria, Queen of Great Britain and Ireland, whose subject he has heretofore been:
All which together with his declaration thereof on oath, before this court for this county appears in the Records of said Court, to wit: at the December Term thereof, A. D. 1852.
And said petitioner further represents, that he has ever since continued to reside within the jurisdiction of said United States, to wit: at West Brookfield aforesaid that he has never bourne any hereditary title, or been of any of the orders of Nobility; that he is ready to renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to every foreign Prince, Potentate, State, or Sovereignty, whatsoever, and particularly to the said Victoria, Queen
as aforesaid, whose subject he has heretofore been; that he is attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States, and well disposed to the good order and happiness of the same:
Wherefore said Petitioner prays, that he may be admitted to become a citizen of the United States of America, according to the forms of the statutes in such case made and provided.
                                               Cornelius X McKinney

Samuel D. Stoddard of West Brookfield and Jeremiah Foley of Worcester in the County of Worcester and both citizens of the United States, severally depose and say, that we have known Cornelius McKinney the foregoing petitioner for five years last past, during which time he has resided in
West Brookfield aforesaid
, has conducted himself and behaved as a man of good moral character, attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States, and well disposed to the good order and happiness of the same.

WORCESTER, ss. January 29 1855
Sworn to in Court                   Samuel D. Stoddard
Attest: Jos Mason Clerk         Jeremiah Foley

I Cornelius McKinney do solemnly swear that I do absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to every foreign Prince,
Potentate, State, or Sovereignty whatever, particularly to Victoria Queen of Great Britain and Ireland, whose subject I have heretofore been; and that I will support the Constitution of the United States of America. So help me God.

WORCESTER, ss. January 29th A.D. 1855 Cornelius his mark McKinney
Sworn to in Court
Attest: Jo .s Mason Clerk

Commonwealth of Massachusetts
WORCESTER, ss. At a Court of Common Pleas, begun and holden at Worcester, within and for the County of Worcester, on the first Monday of December A.D. 1855, to wit, on the twenty ninth day of January during said term,                                      Cornelius McKinney
made accordingly. Attest,
Jo.s Mason Clerk.

Massachusetts Vital Records 1921-1924 on

9 May 2020

I recently became aware that the vital records from 1921 - 1924 are becoming available to browse at . The records cannot be downloaded, due to contractual obligations, but they are visible. Not all years for all towns are available, but progress has been made.

You must have a Family Search account to view the records.  The account is free of charge and it takes just a minute to set up.

 Massachusetts Birth records 1921-1924 are here.  Just scroll  down the page to find the page to find the correct Volume.  They are organized by towns in alphabetical order and the description also includes a volume number.

You will notice that births which occurred at home in West Brookfield are on white paper and say "Certificate of Birth."  A pink "Copy of Certificate of Birth" was received by the Registrar in West Brookfield in cases where children born to West Brookfield residents occurred in a hospital or location in another town.

The links below are to the West Brookfield Records

1921 Births - Births small short volumes state, Vol 132 Wenham-West Stockbridge, 1 Jan–31 Dec 1921  You should notice they begin with image no. 124 and continue to image 144.

1922 Births - West Brookfield Births 1922

1923 Births - Births small short volumes state, Vol 133 West Bridgewater-Westborough, 2 Jan–26 Jun 1923

1924 Births - Births small short volumes state, Vol 139 Wellesley to West Springfield Jan 1-June 16, 1924  

Massachusetts Marriage Records 1921-1924 are here.

1921 Marriages - Marriages small short volumes state, Vol 062 West Bridgewater-Weston, 1921

1922 Marriages - Marriages small short volumes state, Vol 060 Wellfleet-Westford, 1922

1923 Marriages - Marriages small short volumes state, Vol 065 Wellfleet-Westford, 1923

1924 Marriages -  Marriages small short volumes state, Vol. 60 Wellesley to Westfield, 1924
Massachusetts Death Records 1921 -1924 are here. 

1921 Deaths - Deaths small short volumes state, Vol 078 Webster-West Springfield, 1921

1922 Deaths - Deaths small short volumes state, Vol 085 Wayland-West Newbury, 1922

1923 Deaths - Deaths Certificates, Vol 089 Wellesley-West Springfield, 1923

1924 Deaths -  Death Certificates, Vol 085 Wellesley to West Tisbury, 1924

Thursday, February 6, 2020

West Brookfield Men In World War I Draft List

Draft Registration June 5, 1917
Draft Drawing in Washington, DC July 1917
Physical Examination and Appearance before Exemption Board began 9 Aug. 1917
Report for Training

From the Spencer Leader published 27 July 1917 thru September 1917
Names of West Brookfield men of Division 2 with their red ink numbers.

 676 John H. Nelson               married with 2 children        exempt
 692 Elmer R. Varnum           married with 4 children        exempt
 652 John H. Donovan           single                                     alternate
 675 David Murphy               married with 2 children         public utility worker
 645 Robert Converse           single                                   enlisted 
 677 Edward J. O'Day                                                          Dental Corps. Reserve
 638 Francis S. Beeman         married with 2 children         exempt
 685 William M. Richardson physically unfit                      exempt
 637 John H. Anderson
 679 Frederic A. Perry
 664 Kendall V. Huckins      physically unfit                       exempt
 642 F. Arthur Carter                                                            exempt
 656 Wallace L. Gladding     married with 1 child               exempt
 657 Allen T. Godfrey                                                          exempt
 681 Paul N. Plouff
 635 Ralph O. Allen               married with 1 child
 633 B. Paul Allen                 married                                   exempt
 691 Frank E. Underwood     married with 2 children
 636 George H. Anderson
 634 Harry D. Allen              married 1 child                       exempt
 672 Francis J. McRevey      dependent parents                   exempt
 650 Carl F. Davis                 physically unfit                       exempt
 666 Edward W. Joyce          physically unfit                       exempt
 647 George E. Dalton          physically unfit                       exempt
 640 Peter A. Brady                                                              exempt
 668 Earl W. Livermore       qualified                                   not claiming exemption
 694 John J. Whalen             physically unfit
 671 Daniel McRevey          physically unfit                        exempt
 662 Earl O. Hibbard
 641 William H. Brown
 674 Charles L. Mitchell
 639 Albert O. Bosworth
 646 Frank E. Daley
 695 Omer C. White
 667 Louis Larose
 666 Clarence E. Hocum
 658 J. Leo Gratton
 655 G. Walter Fenner
 659 Nathaniel G. Greene
 665 John Jaffray
 682 James H. Pratt
 669 H. Burton Mason
 649 William H. Dane
 648 J. Joseph Dalton                                                                      Army Medical
 643 John F. Clough
 696 W. Raymond Young
 680 Harold D. Phelps
 651 George A. Donovan
 690 L. Edmund Smith
 693 Arthur H. Warfield                                                                    enlisted
 687 Earl D. Sibley
 684 Albert E. Richardson
 661 Harry L. Hewett
 644 Joseph Coderre                    married             
 683 Charles P. Quinlan
 688 Elmer N. Smith
 653 C. Fred Duncanson
 670 John T. McElroy
 654 James Evans
 673 William MisKinnis
 660 Roland M. Hauck                                                                       U. S. Navy
 678 Arthur G. Parker
 687 H. Stanley Smith
 686 Maurice T. Risley                                                                       radio service
 Converse, Warfield, and Risley were among the credits to the district, as they had already enlisted . Thirty-two men were married, and 18 of those had one or more children.

Other men from West Brookfield who served:

      Chauncey Lockhart Olmstead joined the American Ambulance Corp in France in April 1917, at age 16.  He was living with his mother in France at the time. When the United States Army took over the ambulance corps, they had to discharge Lockhart, as he was under the minimum age according to Army regulations.      
      Paul Crosby Chamberlain - served in British Royal Field Artillery
      Edward J. Ducey - drafted in Palmer, Mass.
      Howard J. Foster - drafted in Toledo, Ohio
      Edward. S. Bugbee drafted in Detroit
      Paul H. Hazen - U. S. Navy
      Ellsworth W. Galvin - drafted in the city of Worcester, Mass.
      Marcus A. Cunningham - 48th US Infantry  cook
      Ralph S. Clark - 4th US Aero Squadron
      Henry Durling
      Van Zant Stone - served in Royal Flying Corps of the British Army
      Frank B. Woodward - cook, steamship Amerika
      John O'Connell
      Clifford J. Pratt - Yankee Div., Co. H. 104th Inf.
      Edward F. King - H'quts, Battery C, 17th Field Artillery
      Robert Patterson - Aviation Corps
      Francis Mathews - U. S. Navy
      Charles A. Wine
      Clarence Hocum  - PVT 5 CO - 152 Depot Brigade

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

West Brookfield Congregational Church Records Now Online

The Congregational Library & Archives in Boston with assistance from the National Endowment for the Humanities has digitized old records from a number of towns and placed them online for free viewing. The West Brookfield records are in three volumes covering the periods from 1754 - 1826, 1756 -1818, and 1819-1867 and include information from church and town meetings, membership information, marriages, baptisms etc.

Here is where you can find these records.