Treasure Chest Thursday: The wedding dresses of Ida Edith (Payne) Edwards, 1949-1958

My husband’s grandmother Ida Edith (Payne) Edwards was a talented dressmaker.  From the ages of 14 to 16, she served a two year apprenticeship with a dressmaker in the west end of London.  She spent the majority of her working career as a ladies tailor or dressmaker throughout London. While working as a tailoress, she met her husband William James Stephen Edwards, a fellow tailor, and they married in 1913. In the 1930s she worked for a small couture dressmaker. During World War II, she worked as dressmaker for Debenham’s department store, remaining in London during the Blitz. She was very skilled, and would often make dresses for dowagers which cost thousands of pounds. Years later she shared that Queen Alexandra and later Queen Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon preferred to have “Mrs. Edwards” as their fitter. At Debenhem’s, she quickly learned to write down the women’s statements and measurements exactly, especially if they quarreled over the measurements which Ida had taken (the women claiming they were smaller than their physical measurements had indicated!), so that later Ida could not be in trouble if the women later complained that the dress was too small, since she prided herself on her accuracy. Ida left Debenham’s after World War II and joined St. Francis Hospital in their linen room as a needlewoman where she worked until her retirement in the 1960s. During her time at the hospital, however, she missed dressmaking and therefore after hours would often work for commission or for free to create wedding dresses or other dresses for friends, neighbors, and others. Appreciative brides often sent Mrs. Edwards’ photographs from their wedding of “the dress”, which I have included below:

The dress she made for her niece Doris Fielder’s 1949 wedding:

1949SaundersFredFielderDorisWeddingPhoto-FrontClose

The dress she made for her daughter-in-law Rene Royce’s 1955 wedding:

Chris and Rene Wedding

The dress she made for her neighbor Rosina Newton’s 1956 wedding:

1956McCarthyJohnNewtonRosinaWedding-Front

The dress she made for Edna Dines’ 1957 wedding:

1957DinesEdnaWeddingDress-Front

A dress for an unknown bride’s 1953 wedding:

1953-UnknownBridesDressPhotographerWadex-Front

A dress for an unknown bride’s 1953 wedding:

1953DevilleBrideDress-Front

A dress for an unknown bride’s 1958 wedding:

1958July-BridesDress-Front

A dress for an unknown bride’s wedding during the 1950s:

1950s-UnknownBridesDress-Front

A dress for an unknown bride’s wedding during the 1950s:

1950sBrideDressPhotographerDaborn-Front

A dress for an unknown bride’s wedding during the 1950s:

1950sUnknownBridesDressPhotographerCountyStudios-Front

Tombstone Tuesday: An 18th Century Graveyard “Haunting” in Hingham, Massachusetts

ghost

Just in time for Halloween, a bit of historical haunting debunking…

By the 1820s, Dr. James Thacher of Plymouth, famed Revolutionary War surgeon and doctor, was on a mission: to provide scientific or medical explanations for superstitions he had encountered. He gathered evidence from medical journals as well as anecdotes from learned friends near and far and compiled An Essay on Demonology, Ghosts and Apparitions, And Popular Superstitions. Also, An Account of the Witchcraft Delusion at Salem, published in 1831.

He reported the following story:

“Were all the supposed apparitions and spectres to be met with the intrepidity displayed in the following instance, ghost stories would seldom be repeated.”

“About the latter part of the last century, a Mr. Blake of Hingham, Massachusetts, was passing the church-yard in the night, when he saw an object in human form, clothed in white, sitting near an open tomb. Resolving to satisfy himself, he walked toward it. The form moved as he approached, and endeavored to elude his pursuit; when he ran, the object ran before him, and after turning in different directions, descended into the tomb. Mr. Blake followed, and there found a woman, who was in a deranged state of mind, who had covered herself with a sheet, and was roaming among the silent tombs.” [p. 54]

Dr. James Thacher, courtesy Wikipedia Commons

The Mr. Blake who spotted this “haunting” in the late 1700s was perhaps Joseph or Solomon Blake of Hingham and churchyard mentioned was the Hingham Cemetery by the Old Ship Church.

Amanuensis Monday: The Broken Indenture of Ezekiel Sprague Jr. of Scituate, Mass.

While performing research in Scituate, Massachusetts town records, I came across an unusual record from a town meeting (edited slightly for spelling):

 25 May 1767

Upon the Petition & Request of Ebenezer Mott setting forth that he about four years ago took by indenture an apprentice named Ezekel Sprague to learn the trade of a cordwainer & to provide for him til he should arrive to the age of twenty one years he being now about 13 years old but so it is that yt Ezekel has been for some time troubled with uncommon fits and it is doubtful whether he will ever be cured & as said Ebenezer has been at great charge, he earnestly requests that said town upon the said indenture being vacated that said town would take said boy into their charge & care. Wherefore said town voted that upon the said indentures being exchanged & vacated that ye selectmen of said town should take said boy into their care as one of said town’s poor & do what may be needful for him.

 

This was Ezekiel Sprague Jr., born in Scituate 16 May 1755 [sic, 1754] and baptized at the Scituate Second Church (now Norwell) on 29 September 1754 to Ezekiel and Priscilla Sprague. Ezekiel Sprague Sr. married Priscilla Totman in Scituate in 1753. They later had children Abigail, Rebecca Prouty, and Samuel Sprague, all born and baptized in Scituate. Ezekiel Sr. had also been raised as an apprentice or indentured servant, and on 8 March 1729/30, he was baptized at the Hanover Congregational Church, “his master, James Tory, publickly promising to take care he should have a religious education”. There are no Scituate death or probate records for Ezekiel Sr. and Priscilla, so it is uncertain if they were dead by the time that Ezekiel Jr. was taken on by the Scituate selectmen as one of the town’s poor. Does anyone know what happened to Ezekiel Sprague Jr.’s parents?

Thankful Thursday: Boston Firefighter James M. Gibbons (1949-1981)

James M. Gibbons Medal of Valor. Courtesy of the Boston Fire Historical Society. http://www.bostonfirehistory.org/citation1981gibbons.jpg

James M. Gibbons Medal of Valor. Courtesy of the Boston Fire Historical Society. http://www.bostonfirehistory.org/citation1981gibbons.jpg

 

This week the city of Boston mourns and honors Boston firefighters Lt. Edward J. Walsh Jr., 43, and Michael R. Kennedy, 33, who were trapped in a fire in a brownstone at 298 Beacon Street in the Back Bay. The era of the internet has been a remarkable force, garnering community support, thoughts and prayers, as well as encouraging donations to help the firefighters’ families.

Three decades ago a similar fire took the lives of my mother’s cousin Jimmy Gibbons, 31, and his friend Lt. Paul M. Lentini of Engine Company 37, in a brownstone at 0 Newbury St. in the Back Bay. The Boston Fire Historical Society reports that just after 3 p.m. on 6 January 1981, a fire was discovered in a historic retail brownstone building by the entrance to the Boston Public Gardens, and fire “spread through an open-cage elevator shaft to the upper floors, which housed several offices, including that of the Boston School Volunteers and former Governor Francis Sargent [who] was able to escape the building unharmed… after the fire had been knocked down and overhauling operations had begun, a partial collapse of the upper floors occurred (an event similar to the tragic Vendome Fire of 1972). The third floor gave way, with the fourth floor crashing down on top of the firefighters… Twelve firefighters were trapped in the rubble. The body of Fire Lieutenant Paul M. Lentini of Engine Company 37 was located, trapped by a fallen beam. Beneath Lentini were several firefighters, who were trapped but alive. Searches continued for other missing firefighters, until all were accounted for except for Firefighter James M. Gibbons of Engine 37. After many hours of searching, his body was recovered at 10:30 p.m at the bottom of the collapse area”.

 

Firefighter James Michael Gibbons was born in Boston in 1949, the son of James J. Gibbons, a newspaperman for the Boston Herald, and Mary Joan Granville. He was married with two young sons at the time of his death. The Gibbons were a large Boston Irish family. His great-grandparents, James and Celia (Doherty) Gibbons had emigrated from County Donegal, Ireland, then married and started a large family in Boston. Their eldest son, Charles James Joseph Gibbons (1884-1945) married Margaret E. Duff(e)y and had four children, including my Nana, Marie Gibbons, and her younger brother James J. Gibbons – the father of Firefighter James “Jimmy” M. Gibbons. Jimmy Gibbons became a Boston firefighter in July 1974 at the age of 25 and had served with Brighton Ladder 22 and Dorchester Ladder 6 before his assignment in December 1976 to Engine Company 37 on Huntington Ave.

 

I inherited a small collection of family papers from Marie (Gibbons) Buckley Marotta, including the following newspaper clippings she held onto. She would sometimes reflect upon her nephew’s tragic death and describe his bravery and sense of humor, and how awestruck the family was when thousands of firefighters came to pay their respects.

 

GIBBONS-In Quincy, January 6, in the line of duty, Boston Firefighter James M., Engine Company 37; beloved husband of Marie E. (Foley); devoted father of Sean and Dennis; beloved son of James J. and Mary (Granville) Gibbons of Hyde Park; brother of Joan Gibbons of Quincy, Mrs. Barbara Crawford of East Bridgewater, and Mrs. Maureen Devin of Somerville. Funeral from the John J. O’Connor Funeral Home, 740 Adams St. (near Gallivan Boulevard), DORCHESTER, Saturday morning at 11:15. Funeral Mass in Our Lady of Good Counsel Church at 12:30. Relatives and friends respectfully invited. Visiting hours Thursday evening 7-9, Friday 2-4 and 7-9. Member Local 718, Society of St. Florian, B.F.D. Drill Team. Interment St. Joseph’s Cemetery. In lieu of flowers donations may be made in his memory to the Jimmy Fund.

Mass in Quincy on Saturday

A Mass for Pvt. James Gibbons, 31, of Quincy, a member of Engine Co. 37 of the Boston Fire Department, will be celebrated at 12:30 Saturday in Our Lady of Good Counsel Church, Quincy. Gibbons was killed Tuesday while fighting an eight-alarm fire at Arlington and Newbury Streets, Back Bay. He was appointed to Boston Fire Department in July, 1974, and was assigned to Ladder 22 in Brighton. In September, 1975, he was transferred to Ladder 6, Morton Street, Dorchester, and on December 1, 1976, he was assigned to Engine Co. 37, Huntington Avenue and Ruggles Street, Roxbury, from where he responded to the fire. He was a member of Local 718 of the International Association of Firefighters, Society of St. Florian and the Fire Department’s Drill Team. He leaves his wife, Marie E. (Foley); two sons, Sean and Dennis, and his parents, Mr. and Mrs. James J. Gibbons of Hyde Park. His father is a printer in the composing room of the Herald American. He also leaves three sisters, Joan Gibbons of Quincy, Mrs. Barbara Crawford of East Bridgewater and Mrs. Maureen Devin of Somerville. Interment will be in St. Joseph’s Cemetery, West Roxbury. Arrangements are by the John J. O’Connor and Son Funeral Home, Dorchester.

 

Years later I attended grad school on Huntington Avenue and often walked by Engine No. 37, where a memorial plaque is placed in honor of their fallen firefighters. My mother, brother and I later visited the firehouse specifically to read the plaque and chat with some of the firefighters to thank them and remember. At the time I was working on Newbury Street just a block away from 0 Newbury St., which has since been completely rebuilt and today houses a Burberry retail shop. A quieter place for reflection is at the beautiful Vendome Fire Memorial on Commonwealth Ave. and Dartmouth St.

Memorials at the Engine 37 Firehouse at 560 Huntington Ave., including a Lentini-Gibbons plaque. Courtesy of the Boston Fire Historical Society. http://www.bostonfirehistory.org/activefirehouseengine37.html

Memorials at the Engine 37 Firehouse at 560 Huntington Ave., including a Lentini-Gibbons plaque. Courtesy of the Boston Fire Historical Society. http://www.bostonfirehistory.org/activefirehouseengine37.html

In addition to the memorial plaques at Engine 37, they also had Boston University students paint a mural on the station wall memorializing their fallen firefighters as well as celebrating their unit. There is also a Lentini-Gibbons Memorial Baseball Diamond at East Second & N Streets in South Boston and a Fire Fighter Memorial at Florian Hall which commemorates all Boston Local 718 members who died in the line of duty, including James M. Gibbons. All these years later, we still remember, celebrate, and are so very thankful the bravery of all our firefighters.

The Fire Lt. Paul M. Lentini & Fire Fighter James M. Gibbons Memorial Baseball Diamond at East Second & N Streets, South Boston. Courtesy of the Boston Fire Historical Society. http://www.bostonfirehistory.org/firefightermemorials.html

The Fire Lt. Paul M. Lentini & Fire Fighter James M. Gibbons
Memorial Baseball Diamond at East Second & N Streets, South Boston. Courtesy of the Boston Fire Historical Society. http://www.bostonfirehistory.org/firefightermemorials.html

Fire Fighter Memorial at Florian Hall, IAFF Local 718 Headquarters, Hallet St., Dorchester, Mass. Courtesy of the Boston Fire Historical Society. http://www.bostonfirehistory.org/firefightermemorials.html

Fire Fighter Memorial at Florian Hall, IAFF Local 718 Headquarters, Hallet St., Dorchester, Mass. Courtesy of the Boston Fire Historical Society. http://www.bostonfirehistory.org/firefightermemorials.html

Right Tablet at the Florian Hall Firefighters Memorial, including James M. Gibbons. Courtesy of the Boston Fire Historical Society. http://www.bostonfirehistory.org/firefightermemorials.html

Right Tablet at the Florian Hall Firefighters Memorial, including James M. Gibbons. Courtesy of the Boston Fire Historical Society. http://www.bostonfirehistory.org/firefightermemorials.html

Amanuensis Monday: 1848 San Donato Val di Comino, Italy Marriages

While searching for family names in the San Donato Val di Comino records, I thought the San Donatese diaspora might appreciate having an accessible transcription of some of the historic civil registration indexes for the town. Awhile ago I transcribed the 1849 Births. Today I have transcribed the 49 marriages recorded during the year 1848.

1848 Marriages

Tavola alfabetica annual de matrimonj per l’anno mille ottocento quarantotto

Alphabetical table of annual marriages in the year one thousand eight hundred forty-eight

No. d’ord.

Page #

Cognomi e Nomi de sposi

Names and Surnames of Spouses

Patria

Home

Cognomi e nomi de genitori

Name and surname of parents

Giorno della celebrazione del matrimonio innanzi alla chiesa

Day of the marriage celebration in the church

Osservaz.

Observations

5

Antonellis, Antonio

San donato

Domenico Antonellis and Pasqua Gallo

28 February

 

Salvucci, Carmina

Idem

Luigi Salvucci and Caterina Salvucci

 

7

Antonellis, Giuseppe

Idem

Angelo Antonellis and Francesca Cantilli

3 March

 

Mazilli, Maria

Idem

Antonio Mazilli and Orazia Decitto

 

4

Bona, Donato

Idem

Loreto Bona and Tomasa Valentini

10 February

 

Cucuzzo, Angelica

Idem

Antonio Cucuzzo and Lucia Mulilli

 

14

Bona, Donato

Idem

Vincenzo Bona and Angela Ceccone

20 May

 

Marini, Marta

Idem

Luigi Marini and Loreta Rufo

 

8

Celluci, Carmine

Idem

Michele Celluci and Giovanna Cugini

8 March

 

Piscelli, Maria Annalia

Idem

 Pasquale Piscelli and Carolina Pesce

 

11

Casilli, Pietro

Idem

Vincenzo Casilli and Teresa Ceccone

31 March

 

Fabrizio, Sommata

Idem

Nicola Fabrizio and Maria Giuseppa Quintilini

 

11

Cugini, Gerardo

Idem

Pietro Cugini and Loreta Valentini

16 April

 

Baccaro, Costanza

Idem

Valerio Baccaro and Lucia Trojani

 

15

Casseti?, D Girolamo

Arce

Niccola Casseti? and Anna Franconi?

23 May

 

Salvucci, D Luigia

San donato

Emilio Salvucci and Clementina Antonangelo

 

20

Cardarelli, Gaetano

Idem

Giovanni Cardarelli and Lucreza Cedrone

15 August

 

Di Bona, Clementina

Idem

Gaetano Di Bona and Teresa Mazilli

 

15

Coletti, Paolo

Idem

Antonio Coletti and Nora Coletti

20 October

 

Quintiliani, Marianna

Idem

Luigi Quintiliani and Teresa Caruzzo

 

26

Ceccone, Gerardo

Idem

Gaetano Ceccone and Frigsda? Venture

23 October

 

Cardarelli, Antonia

Idem

Giuseppe Cardarelli and Felicia Saulutti?

 

28

Cellucci, Antonio

Idem

Donato Cellucci and Maria Tramontozzi

6 December

 

Visco?, Cesidia

Idem

Domenico Visco? and Anna Leone?

 

29

Cucchi, Sigr: Loreto

Idem

Francesco Cucchi and Susanna Vitti?

24 December

 

Cedrone, Giuseppa

Idem

Alessio? Cedrone and Costanza Cardarelli

 

2

Gentile, Cesidio

Idem

Mario? Gentile and Loreta Ventura

23 January

 

Cucchi, Maria

Idem

Felix Cucchi and Loreta Cedrone

 

12

Gentilucci, Giovanni

Idem

Francesco Gentilucci and Lucia Celluci

15 April

 

Leone, Vittoria

Idem

Francesco Leone and Clemenza Cucuzzo

 

5

Leone, Carmine

Idem

Michele Leone and Marianna Ventre

22 February

 

Ventre, Giuseppa

Idem

Vincenzo Ventre and Clementina Trojani

 

15

Bona, Pietro

San Donato

Vincenzo Bona and Angela Ceccone

20 February 1848

 

Coletta, Maria Elisabetta

Idem

Agostino Coletta and Blandina Cardarelli

 

16

Bona, Vincenzo

Idem

Domenico Bona and Marianna Salvucci

22 March

 

Roffo, Teresa Nunziata

Idem

Gaetano Roffo and Maria Angela Gallo

 

4

Cellucci, Loreto

Idem

Giovanni Cellucci and Lucrezia Cucuzzo

22 January

 

Cellucci, Anna Maria

Idem

Gaetano Cellucci and Lucia Quintiliano

 

6

Cugini, Domeniantonio

Idem

Carmine Cugini and Domenica Salvucci

29 January

 

Rufo, Caterina

Idem

Francesco Rufo and Maria Cedrone

 

7

Cellucci, Niccola

Idem

Giuseppe Cellucci and Antonia Cucchi

5 February

 

Tramontozzi, Maria Luisa

Idem

Angelo Tramontozzi and Maria Leone

 

11

Cardarelli, Donato

Idem

Giuseppe Cardarelli and Marianna Quintiliano

12 February

 

Quintiliano, Carmina Pasqua

Idem

Giuseppe Quintiliano and Loreta Masilli

 

12

Cardarelli, Luigi

Idem

Domenico Cardarelli and Maria Sacchetti

12 February

 

Tempesta, Domenica

Idem

Loreto Tempesta and Beladina Cellucci

 

17

Cellucci, Niccola

Idem

Gaetano Cellucci and Carmina Cucuzzo

3 April

 

Vergati, Antonia

Idem

Gaetano Vergati and Santa di Bona

 

18

Cecchi, Cesidio

Idem

Angelantonio Cecchi and Areangela Ventura

9 April

 

Salvucci, Nachele

Idem

Matteo Salvucci and Giacinta Gentile

 

19

Cugini, Luigi

Idem

Agostino Cugini and Antonia Coletta

6 May

 

Fabrizio, Loreta

Idem

Angelo Fabrizio and Giuseppina Valentino

 

20

Coletta, Benedetto

Idem

Niccola Coletta and Carolina Quintiliano

7 May

 

Paglia, Lucia

Idem

Loreto Paglia and Maria Luigia Ventura

 

21

Coletta, Carlo

Idem

Luigi Coletta and Diomira Cedrone

10 June

 

Ceccone, Maddalena

Idem

Gaetano Ceccone and Brigida Ventura

 

26

Cucuzzo, Carlo Donato

Idem

Giuseppe Cucuzzo and Venanzia Tempesta

5 August

 

Cardarelli, Blandina

Idem

Luigi Cardarelli and Giovanna Fabrizio

 

?

Camillo, Nunziato Agostino

San Donato

Francesco Camillo and Giuseppa Sambucci

14 October 1848

 

Rufo, Donata

Idem

Luigi Rufo and Luigia Salvucci

 

?

Coletta, Niccola Carmine

Idem

Liborio Coletta and Santa Tempesta

23 December

 

Rufo, Clementina

Idem

Antonio Rufo and Maria Ventre

 

?

Gatti, Raffaele Carmine

Idem

Fabiano Gatti and Maria Delicata

13 January 1849

 

Evangelista, Carmina Evagelista

Idem

Davide Evangelista and Loreta Cugini

 

?

Leone, Giuseppe Cedrone Domenico Francesco

Idem

Francesco Leone and Clemenza Cucuzzo

22 January 1848

 

Cucuzzo, Clemenza

Idem

Rocco Cucuzzo and Angela Celluci

 

?

Leone, Flamminio

Idem

Domenico Leone and Loreta Tocci

22 January “

 

Antonellis, Chiara

Idem

Luigi Antonellis and Nunziata Magnarelli

 

?

Leone, Cesidio Domenicantonio

Idem

Giovanni Leone and Antonia Rufo

5 February

 

Vergati, Domenica Natalizia

Idem

Pietro Vergati and Lucia Gatti

 

?

Leone, Pasquale

Idem

Giovanni Leone and Teresa Decina

12 February

 

Cucuzzo, Pasquala

Idem

Loreto Cucuzzo and Rosaria Antonellis

 

?

Leone, Domenico

Idem

Gaetano Leone and Livia Baccaro

16 February

 

Coletta, Teresa

Idem

Vincenzo Coletta and Giuseppina Pesce

 

?

Marini, Antonio Fortunato

Idem

Loreto Marini and Carmina Antonellis

5 February

 

Salvucci, Lucia

Idem

Pietro Salvucci and Giovanna Antonellis

 

?

Mazzala, Carlo

Idem

Donato Mazzala and Gaetana Gentilucci

25 November

 

Cedrone, Costanza

Idem

Teodoro Cedrone and Domenica Cedrone

 

?

Paglia, Giovanni

Idem

Pietro Paglia and Carmela Antonellis

17 June

 

Cardarelli, Marta

Idem

Saverio Cardarelli and Serafina Cotello

 

?

Piselli, Raffaele

Idem

Francesco Piselli and Teresa Cedrone

23 July

 

Coletta, Teodora

Idem

Francesco Coletta and Annamaria di Bona

 

26

Paglia, Cristino

San Donato

Pietro Paglia and Carmela Antonellis

7 October 1848

 

Cardarelli, Eleonora

Idem

Niccola Cardarelli and Serafina Gatti

 

28

Pellegrini, Carmine

Idem

Benedetto Pellegrini and Cardina Delina? Gatti

28 October

 

Tocci, Angiola

Idem

Francesco Tocci and Carmina Lombardi

 

30

Quintiliano, Loreto

Idem

Donato Quintiliano and Maria Cedrone

14 December

 

Marini, Cesidia Maria

Idem

Vincenzo Marini and Mazia Lanno

 

13

Rufo, Giuseppe

Idem

Filippo Rufo and Caterina Ruffo

12 February

 

Salvucci, Paolina

Idem

Luigi Salvucci and Caterina Salvucci

 

2

Salvucci, Luigi

Idem

Niccola Salvucci and Maddalena de Angelis

2 January

 

Rufo, Carmina Maria Lucia

Idem

Domenico Rufo and Teresa Cugini

 

1

Tocci, Domenico

Idem

Giovanni Tocci and Giusta Salvucci

2 January

 

Celluci, Maria Loreta

Idem

Giovanni Celluci and Lucrezia Cucuzzo

 

25

Tocci, Donato

Idem

Francesco Tocci and Carmina Lombardi

7 October

 

Mazzola, Maria

Idem

Luigi Mazzola and Lucia diStazio

 

32

Tocci, Angelantonio

Idem

Antonio Tocci and Anna Tramontozzi

7 January 1849

 

Rufo, Lucia

Idem

Pasquale Rufo and Maria Mazzola

 

Index1848

1848 San Donato Val di Comino Index of Marriages, Courtesy of Family History Library [FHL 1173844]

Index1848p2

1848 San Donato Val di Comino Index of Marriages, Courtesy of Family History Library [FHL 1173844]

Index1848p3

1848 San Donato Val di Comino Index of Marriages, Courtesy of Family History Library [FHL 1173844]

 

1848 San Donato Val di Comino Index of Marriages, Courtesy of Family History Library [FHL 1173844]

1848 San Donato Val di Comino Index of Marriages, Courtesy of Family History Library [FHL 1173844]

 

Did you locate an ancestor in this transcription – or have a correction to suggest? Leave a comment below to let me know! Then order the microfilm San Donato Val di Comino Matrimoni [Marriages] giugno 1827-1861, FHL 1173844 Items 1-15 to view the full marriage record using the page number provided by the index (or scan through the year if the indexed page number was obscured by the binding – the marriage records are arranged chronologically and therefore easy to find).

Matrilineal Monday: My Father’s Matrilineal Line Featured On Who Do You Think You Are?

MatrilinealMondayWDYTYA

I was a researcher for several seasons of the American version of Who Do You Think You Are? It was an absolute blast performing the research, and then very interesting to see how the findings were later used for the filming itself.

The focus of WDYTYA? and other genealogy programs tends to focus on celebrities discovering their past (although some shows now have started to feature segments on “everyday” folks who have interesting ancestors too), although I always thought it would be fun to see some of my ancestors featured in a similar way. So imagine my surprise when I recently was watching through a backlog of British WDYTYA? seasons and saw that my father’s matrilineal ancestors were featured in a 2008 episode with British model Jodie Kidd. She was surprised to discover that she had early New England ancestors, whose descendants eventually returned back to England in her direct line.

At the Rowley, Massachusetts Town Clerk’s office, she discovered that her seventh-great-grandfather Richard Hazen (brother to my ancestor Elizabeth Hazen – my father’s ninth-great-grandmother directly on his matrilineal line, and my tenth-great-grandmother) was the son of Edward Hazen and Hannah Grant in the book Early Settlers of Rowley, Massachusetts. Jodie was told that Edward Hazen’s wife Hannah Grant was an original settler of the town of Rowley with her parents Thomas and Jane (Haburne) Grant, who came to America in 1638 aboard the ship John of London with Rev. Ezekiel Rogers as part of the Great Migration.

Jodie then traveled to St. Peter’s Church in Rowley, East Riding, Yorkshire where Rev. Ezekiel Rogers was rector before he was suspended for his Puritan practices. In response, Rev. Rogers gathered almost thirty Puritan families from the area, including the Grant family, and migrated to New England.

St. Peter’s Church, Rowley, East Riding, Yorkshire, England. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Archivist Lizzy Baker from East Riding Archives then pulled out several original parish record books from the nearby town of Cottingham where the Grant family lived, and revealed the baptism record of Hannah Grant, daughter of Thomas Grant, on 16 October 1631, and the marriage of Hannah’s parents Thomas Grant and Jane Haburne at Cottingham on 21 September 1624.

Jodie was then shown a stained glass window which commemorated the migration of Rev. Roger’s families to Rowley, Massachusetts. She was then shown a silver chalice inscribed “1634″, which Rev. Rogers would have used during services, and Kidd speculated “maybe my ancestors could have drunk from it”, although it is not clear to me that the Grant family would actually have worshiped at Roger’s church in Rowley, since Thomas and Jane Grant had children baptized at Cottingham from 1625/6-1637, then left for America in 1638. More likely, as Puritans they have occasionally heard the controversial Rev. Rogers preach, then answered his call to nearby parishes to migrate to New England. However, they worshipped at St. Mary the Virgin Church in Cottingham, East Riding, Yorkshire.

St. Mary the Virgin Church, Cottingham, East Riding, Yorkshire. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

And while not discussed in the show, Jane Haburne was the daughter of Ralph Haburne and Maud Jecles, who married at Cottingham on 2 December 1593. Therefore, Maud (Jecles/Jeckles/Jekyll) Haburne is my father’s earliest identified matrilineal ancestor. And after taking DNA tests at FamilyTreeDNA and 23andMe, my father discovered that Maud passed her mitochondrial DNA from haplogroup H (called Helena in Bryan Sykes’ Seven Daughters of Eve) on to all of her children, and her daughters and their daughters continued to pass down the same mtDNA throughout the generations.

My father directly inherited his mtDNA haplogroup H from his mother, who inherited it from her mother Sarah Anne “Sally” ANNIS (1908-1980) who m. Edgar Cameron McCLELLAN. She inherited it from her mother (my father’s great-grandmother) Edna Hamson STILES (1877-1957) who m. William Freeland ANNIS.

  • And so on down the line, through my father’s Great-Great-Grandmother: Sarah Ann SIBLEY (1840-1900) m. Charles Dean STILES
  • Third Great-Grandmother: Tamison HAMSON (1810-1873) m. John Shaw SIBLEY
  • Fourth Great-Grandmother: Tamison WAITE (1788-1856) m. William HAMSON
  • Fifth Great-Grandmother: Abigail TREFRY (1757-1831) m. Jacob WAITE
  • Sixth Great-Grandmother: Elizabeth HALES (1724 – aft. 1760) m. James TREFRY
  • Seventh Great-Grandmother: Elizabeth PRITCHETT (1702 – aft. 1746) m. Edward Hales
  • Eighth Great-Grandmother: Sarah HARRIS (1681-1729) m. Lt. John Pritchett
  • Ninth Great-Grandmother: Elizabeth HAZEN (1651-) m. Nathaniel Harris
  • Tenth Great-Grandmother: Hannah GRANT (1631-1716) m. Edward Hazen
  • Eleventh Great-Grandmother: Jane HABURNE (1602-1697/8) m. Thomas Grant
  • Twelfth Great-Grandmother: Maud JECLES (-1623) m. Ralph Haburne

Perhaps next time we visit my brother-in-law in Yorkshire I will visit the Cottingham church and the East Riding Archives to see if I can identify any additional generations back beyond Maud Jecles to extend the matrilineal line even further. But for now it’s pretty amazing to know that my dad’s mitochondrial DNA was directly inherited from remarkable women Elizabeth (Hazen) Harris, Hannah (Grant) Hazen, Jane (Haburne) Grant and Maud (Jecles) Haburne, all featured directly or indirectly on Who Do You Think You Are?

Watch Jodie Kidd learn about Edward Hazen and Hannah Grant beginning at minute 3:00, learn about Thomas & Jane Grant in New England at minute 6:55 and learn about Thomas & Jane Grant in England at 10:35:

Tuesday’s Tip: Top Ten Tips for Visiting the Family History Library

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Last year I took a brief weekend trip to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City and copied a wonderful selection of records – then couldn’t believe how quickly the time passed, and how many more records I still wanted to copy or locate! So this year I planned a week-long visit. After having a very successful trip, I thought I would share my top ten tips for making the most out of your research trip to the Family History Library!

1. Research, research, research. Research in order to research? YES! Novice, intermediate and advanced genealogists can greatly benefit from a visit to the FHL, but unless you are local to the area, I would recommend visiting FHL only after you have your family tree pretty well sketched out, and are looking to fill in gaps, try to solve brick walls, or get copies of things you just can’t easily obtain from other repositories. With that in mind, you probably already have a mental list of the families and/or individuals you want to find additional records for. I keep a running list of any basic vital records I am missing for my ancestors, which can easily be converted into a wish list of records to search for at the FHL. Then I looked over my family tree software to see if there were certain families I wanted additional non-vital records for, or if there were problem solving techniques I could apply to attempt to solve outstanding questions.

Then: become good friends with the FamilySearch.org website, in order to achieve tip number 2:

2. Compile a detailed list of the records and microfilms you want to scan or copy. Use the FamilySearch website for two important components: identifying specific individuals records on FamilySearch’s Search feature, and identifying specific microfilms from FamilySearch’s Catalog. Both steps are important. For example, using the search feature, I located an indexed baptism record for my great grandfather in the collection Germany, Births and Baptisms, 1558-1898 which provided the microfilm number, page number, and line number for his specific record that I wanted to copy. But then, using the catalog search, I learned that there were numerous microfilms for the church that he was baptized in which were not transcribed online and I knew I wanted to search for additional records – confirmation records, marriage records, and death records. So that provided me with two types of records to search for: in the first instance, I had a specific record with a specific page reference on a specific microfilm to search for. In the second instance, I had a specific microfilm to search in general for names I believed would be on the film, but with no guarantee that they would definitely be there, or knowledge of where in the film they would be located. Make a detailed list of the microfilms you want to search [see bonus tip #11 for organizational tips for this list!] and include any relevant notes that might be useful in finding the record – ie parents names, date of the event, etc.  And be sure to bring along a decent-sized USB memory stick (or a few!) in order to digitally scan then save a copy of the record you find (using the microfilm readers first!) using the excellent ScanPro microfilm scanners on every floor’s scan/print/copy stations.

3. Make good use of cloud and mobile technology before your visit. The first time I visited, I brought an old laptop that had a very outdated copy of my family tree software file which turned out to be missing some of the people I wanted to research, and placed a few articles on my Dropbox account for reference, only to remember upon arrival that the laptop had an older version of Word and couldn’t open the articles. Unhelpful on both accounts! Additionally, I forgot several genealogical website passwords. So this time around, I downloaded the Rootsmagic mobile app for my phone and made sure a current copy of my family tree was placed in the cloud for the app to access (Rootsmagic uses Dropbox for this step). Then I made good use of the password storage and encryption program http://keepass.info/. While at the library, my husband found that using heavy reference international dictionaries was cumbersome while looking at Italian, Hungarian, and German records, so he downloaded the Google Translate app on the spot and happily translated away on his phone while reading records in foreign languages. Take a moment to consider if you have any other cloud or mobile apps that should be up-to-date before you make the trip.

4. Make use of digital collections only available onsite at FHL. Ahead of time, check FamilySearch.org for any digital databases relevant to your ancestors that are noted as only available to view onsite at the Family History Library. I even discovered some collections that were collaborations between FHL and other repositories were available to view, despite not being explicitly noted as available on the website. For instance,  Wales, Monmouthshire, Parish Registers, 1538-1912 and several other Welsh databases are collaborations between FHL and FindMyPast. On my home computer, I could view a basic transcribed record on Family Search from this collection, but in order to see the primary document it said “The image is viewable at findmypast.co.uk. By clicking here you will be leaving FamilySearch.org” and required a FindMyPast subscription. But onsite at FHL, the record was available to view for free (through either FHL’s partnership or their institutional collaboration).

5. Pace yourself. Make sure to take breaks! There is a snack room on the main floor with vending machines, the only place in the library where food and drink are allowed. Make sure to hydrate! We found it easy to have a morning research session, then take a lunch break, followed by an afternoon research session. And since the library is open on most days until 9 PM occasionally we were ambitious enough to then have an evening research session following dinner. (But see Tip Number 9, too!) I also found it useful to occasionally switch between searching for “easy” records (such as already identified-with-certificate-numbered NY vital records or Irish civil registration records) versus more time-consuming unindexed or complicated records. Although plowing through a series of “easy” records felt very satisfying, it involved lots of jumping up and down to pull the microfilm, find its location on the reader, then run to the ScanPro to make a digital copy, then start over again. Sometimes it was nice to mix it up and sit for a solid chunk of time scrolling for relevant surnames in hard-to-read films, or slowly translating and closely investigating foreign language films (and save yourself some translating time and see if the FamilySearch wiki has already translated header columns of common international records such as Hungarian Catholic Church records, German Familienbücher, Italian civil registrations, etc.).

6. Make sure there is time to order Vault Records or missing films. If you have any films that are stored offsite at the Granite Mountain Vault, be sure to order them right away because they take at least a day to arrive (and when we were there, a mountain slide near the vault caused delays!). Or even better, order them in advance (which I didn’t realize I could do beforehand). Additionally, both times I visited, there was at least one film that was just “missing” – probably misfiled (patrons are responsible for re-filing their films and sometimes mistakes are made – but it’s hard to find a film if it has been misfiled!). First wait a few hours to see if a patron is simply using the film you want. But if some time goes by and it doesn’t return to its shelf, speak to the Access Services desk on the floor where your film is missing and they will verify that its missing, then order a copy to be printed from the Vault, which usually takes a day or two to be sent to the Family History Library. On my first trip, that was too long, so I didn’t get to view the film, but this most recent trip I discovered the missing film early enough for it to be ordered and shipped in time. If there’s not enough time, you can also request a free photocopy of the record you need from the FamilySearch Photoduplication Service (which has a several-month turnaround time).

7. Prepare for the unexpected and occasional need for “record triage”. Some discoveries will lead to new findings that you may wish to take advantage of while you are still visiting FHL. Did a deed index provide you with references to land records of your ancestors that you now need to look up the microfilms numbers for? Did a vital record provide you with unknown parents who you can now try to find additional documentation for? Plan on sparing a bit of time to deal with these new discoveries. But also be prepared to perform “record triage” if necessary – after all there are so many records, but so little time! One of the more frustrating situations we came across was when a record had been listed in a FamilySearch database with the microfilm number, but no volume/page/certificate number. Sometimes the record’s location on the microfilm was obvious if it was arranged chronologically, but in some cases there was little in the way of an organization scheme on the film and it could be frustrating to know the record existed SOMEWHERE on the film yet not be able to find it. If this happens to you and the record is very crucial to your research, by all means spend as much time as you need to find it. But if time is slipping away, know when to put on the brakes, move onto finding the next record on your list, and hope that FamilySearch digitizes that undiscovered record soon, since they have ambitious plans to digitize ALL of their microfilms within the next decade (which might just make these tips obsolete by then!).

8. Keep an eye out for the electric microfilm readers amidst a sea of hand-crank microfilm readers. This is a personal preference of mine, but I love the speed and efficiency of the electric microfilm readers. The majority of FHL readers are Northwest Microfilm Inc. 2020 model mechanical hand-crank readers which are lovely, but can make you feel like Popeye with one large arm muscle by the end of the week. So keep an eye out for the electric Gideon model readers, which sometimes are right on the main reader aisles (and usually very popular), but on some floors are tucked away at the back for the savvy researcher to find. On our first trip, we used handcrank readers the first day, then  found and switched to electric readers on the second day. My husband, who had never used microfilms before, said of the smoother electric readers: Where have these been all my life!?

9. Whether visiting for a weekend or a week, make time to play! Before too many visions of microfilmed images or book papercuts start whizzing by in your dreams, make sure to have some fun outside of the library, too! FHL is located right next to the beautiful Temple Square which has outstanding architecture, a reflecting pool, and year-round gardens – and it the home of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. FHL is in walking distance of the City Creek Center and Gateway Mall for shopping and lots of restaurant options. With a cab or rented car (or long hike), go see nearby Ensign Peak for stunning views of the city or some of the city’s excellent museums or civic centers with live performances. For our first visit we flew, but the second time around we drove a VERY long day, following the Oregon Trail from Washington to Utah (which was fantastically historic!), so we took a day trip out to the beautiful Antelope Island in the middle of the Great Salt Lake and saw the wild buffalo and antelope herds there.

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10. Optional: Bring a research buddy! Having an extra set of hands can be a BIG help, genealogy enthusiast or no! My techie husband who had never researched before claimed by the end of the first trip that he found slowly searching for names in old handwriting on microfilms to be meditative – and I appreciated every second of his zen-like assistance. Or if your research buddy comes along to do THEIR research, it is still nice to have a person to sit next to at a film reader, table, or computer to compare the occasional notes, have a second set of eyes look at a questionable record or handwriting, and share in the fun of the experience.

BONUS OCD TIP

11. Organize your microfilm list for maximum efficiency. Once you have come up with your complete microfilm list, I used this system to divide them up: First, in a Word file, itemize and divide the films by floor location (Main Floor = Canada Books, 2nd Floor = US/Canada films, 3rd floor = US Books, Basement 1= International, Basement 2 = British Isles). Then, organize your list in numerical order, since the films are physically ordered numerically. The microfilm shelves are arranged and numbered with seven digits, such as: 0,000,000. So a reference to film 101101 in the catalog will be labeled as 0,101,101 on the shelf. Make sure to note in your list if a film has numerous item numbers – a few times we were baffled when a record was not where it was supposed to be, only to realize it was several item numbers down in the film. You can further subdivide this list into groupings of five, since you are allowed to grab five films at a time and bring them to your microfilm reader. And I made sure to flag the “must-copies” versus the “if there’s time” records or films to help prioritize records if time ran short. And if you do bring a research buddy, make sure to print out two copies of the list and from time to time compare notes on your progress.

 

Most of all: HAVE FUN AND HAPPY RESEARCHING!

 

Did you find this advice helpful? What are your favorite tips for a FHL visit?