01 February 2018

I am very pleased!

A little while ago [ okay, last  two years - I really need to remember to hit the publish button] I met my cousin in Boston for one our routine visits to NEHGS for a two day marathon of genealogy, exploring, shopping, dining and catching up. First of all, I love being able to take the train or bus into Boston! I really don't mind driving in Boston, but I really dislike parking there.

Then there is the hotel where we always stay. I'm sorry I can't tell the name or location of it. I will say that there are no night long parties or errant fire alarms ringing at this hotel. Which pretty much makes it ideal.

I was amazingly focused on this trip. My three top research topics were: where did my 6th ggf John Mack come from, where did he land, and what was he like? Legend has it that he came from Inverness, landed in the new world about 1680 settling in Amesbury/Salisbury, Massachusetts by 1681. The first record of John Mack that I have found, is his marriage to Sarah Bagley in 1681. I know, there ought to be more information, but it is hiding I think.

With the help of the staff at NEHGS, I found books that vaguely recorded his arrival and existence. I think I found two. As an aside, I have been looking for John Mack for about twenty years now, and still have little to show for it. I do have the bare bones: birth, marriage, children, locations, and death records. But there are also speculative writings that I just cannot add to my family tree. Great stories, but no evidence to back them up.

John Mack allegedly comes from wealth and postion - even has a crest and a motto. His history is astonishing in some writings. But there are no records to back any of this up. So, I searched and searched. And I was rewarded.

I decided to look for mention of John in the towns where he lived. I started with the the local history section of the library and went chronologically through the towns he and his family lived in. Amesbury/Salisbury, MA, Concord, MA, and Lyme, CT.

Here is the short form of the results:

Amesbury/Salisbury: marriage record, birth of first child (I had already found these years ago, so I moved on to see where his inlaws and their relatives lived. So they - the Bagleys, and Colbys are on the maps and listed in the rosters. I will have look deeper into these records and genealogies and hope there will be more than a mention of John's surname.

Concord, MA: For such a small town (in 1693) one would have thought there would be a mention of John and his family. Beyond birth records of the next five children, I did not find any mention of John. I will have to explore Concord on my own. I did find a little book that describes the houses of early Concord and the people who built and lived in them. Not John, of course. Not a total waste of time though. There just isn't much in the library of pre-revolutionary Concord.

Lyme, CT: John and family moved to Lyme by 1697, the year my 5th ggf was born, and where John and Sarah lived out their lives. Aside from fathering six more children, I found out the following tidbits from the records:

From the book Lyme Records 1667 - 1730 A Literal Transcription of the Minutes of the Town

Meetings with Marginal Notations, to which hath been Appended Land Grants and Ear Marks. Compiled & Edited by Jean Chandler Burr. Published by the Peqout Press Inc. Stonington, Connecticut Anno Domini 1968: [ I have spelled everything the way it was written]

Before the 8thJune 1702:  "At the same metting John Macke was admitted an inhabitance"

Before the 15th of December 1702: "New Highway Voted  At the same metting it was voted that land betwixt goodman persons land  and Henory benets shall lay for a perpetuall High way leading to good man Macke lott of 35 acres at Chestnut"

The 14th of Desember 1704: " Town Officers for the coming year... At the same metting John Mack was chose Constable for the year ensewing. Sworn."

This 11 Desember 1705: "At the same metting Aaron Huntley and John Mack Sener was Chose to be Constabls for the year ensewing- Sworne."

Before This 16 December 1706: "At the same metting John Mack wase Chose Comstabell for the year ensewing."

This 16 December 1706:
Eleven Year's  Arrears Due Minister :"... It was voated that the Constabell now Chosen John Mack senr shall gather Mr. Noyes present Rate for this year ensewing and that the said Constabell is hearby impowered to gather the arrears of the Reverent Mr. Noyes old arrears from the yeare 1695 to this time be paid the said Mack to have fees according to Lawe of thos parsons that are delinkquent that is to pay all thos that are now inhabitance.

This 21 Desember 1708: "at the same metting John Mack and John Harvey was chosen collectors of Mr. noyes Rate this year. At the same metting... John Mack Sr  was Chosen survaiers of the highways to sarve in there severall quarters or in all the Towne."

This 24 December 1708:" At the same metti John Mack Sener refused to sarve in the place of a collector and was fred in this present towne metteing and Timothy was Chose Collector for the year ensewing in John macks Rownes"

"School Committee Chosen- At the same metting it was voated that there shall be a Committy Chosen to settel a Town schole accoeding to law: the Committy are Leftenant Brunson, old John Mack, Gorg Waye, John Marvin old goodman Brockway: voated"

And so on until his death in 1721. John Mack Juner was chosen survayer of the highway in 1709, while John Mack Sener was chosen as lister. In the following years John Mack Sener still was involved in the Town's working as second Constable for the year 1714, still collecting the Reverend Noyes' Rate. He declined the position in following years. John Mack Sener was appointed to the position of Lot Layer in 1714 when all of the current Lot Layers were replaced.His job was to lay out all lots or lands granted by the town and legally enter in the town book.

Thanks to this little record book, I certainly gained a bit more insight into my 6th ggf's life, in his later years. I am pleased to know that he was civic minded, and felt rooted in his last hometown.

I just wish my ancestors kept diaries.

17 February 2017

When I was a kid...

my whole world was only a couple of acres big. Most of my neighbors were my closest relatives. We lived on our great-grandfathers farm. Our house was in the middle of an apple orchard. Oh, how I loved those trees! All decked out with a profusion of blossoms in the spring, that smelled like nothing else in the world. The trees hummed with the busy little bees gathering nectar and spreading pollen. The lovely shade in the summer, and fabulous limbs for climbing and swinging from. In fall there were sooo many apples! And again the humming, but this time it was yellow jackets buzzing around windfall apples, so ripe they squished between your toes. Cider, apple pies. Mmmmm.

Just a little reminder that things were pretty great in the early 50s.