17 February 2011

Remarks on a passing

This is the passage in it's entirety:

Monday, Oct. 13th - I hear that Mr. Samuel Mack of Portmedway Dyed last Saturday. He has been a long time Sick. The water is raised So that Some of the Sawmills are like to go this day.

That's it. Samuel Mack is my 4th great grandfather Pop > Harold > Burton > John > Solomon > Samuel > Ebenezer > John).

The passage is from Simeon Perkins Diary 1780-1789, specifially 1783, page 202.

Simeon Perkins immigrated to Liverpool, Nova Scotia about 1760 from Norwich, CT. He became a magistrate for the local court; the head of the local militia during the American Revolution until age got the better of him; a keeper of accounts for all the trading that went on in Liverpool, NS and beyond; and a keeper of the comings and goings of the ships, cargo and people in the area.

His voluminous output is priceless in terms of interesting reading material, but is also genealogically important - particularly for our family, as there are so few records back then beyond births, marriages, deaths and land records.

Except for our friend Mr. Perkins, who did fortunately have business dealings with Mr. Samuel Mack, Mr. William Cahoon, Captain Ephraim Dean and many more prominent men of Liverpool, NS.

Thank you Mr. Perkins!

13 February 2011

To my friends and relatives who have so generously shared...

their memories of our good old days...

Sledding Party on the Hill ca. 195?

Thank you!

12 February 2011

Synchronicity... you have to love it.

I scanned some more photos yesterday. This batch came from Mom's desk. Again, most are identified, but some are not. I sat down this morning to look them over and rename the photos - somehow I don't think scan0013 is going to be descriptive enough.

I picked out a photo at random, which turns out to be a picture of Amelia and Henry Stoddard having a meal at the dining table. Breakfast I think, since Henry appears to be reading the newspaper, and there is a lot of light streaming in from the outside.

Henry and Amelia Stoddard's dining room

I was looking at the picture, noticing that Amelia didn't look all that happy about having her picture taken, then the chandelier caught my eye ... lovely shaped glass covers... and the bas relief frieze above the fireplace mirror. Traveling around the picture my eyes settled on the chair by the window. Oh! I've seen that chair before!

A couple of days ago Alex's issue of Fine Woodworking came and guess what is on the back cover?

How is that for coincidence? The article is about a student of Boston's North Bennet Street School (known for producing very fine woodworkers) and his reproduction Federal-era heartback chair. The article continues to describe how Steve Brown found the chair in a book, tracked it down to the Philadelphia Museum of Art where he was permitted to take measurements and trace the original. Heartback chairs were popular in Philadelphia around 1800.

You just never can predict where you will find something interesting about your family.

The next photo may the one we will never figure out. Let me know if you have any ideas...

If all else fails, there is a woman, Maureen Taylor, who specializes in identifying old photographs. Maybe I will send it to her to help us figure it out.


11 February 2011

Who is this fine fellow?

I've started a new project (don't tell Alex!).

Yesterday, I scanned the photos from Mildred Dikeman's photo album. Yay grandmother Mildred! She actually identified every photo but two. So, now we know who these fantastic people are.

Or do we? His name is Rufus G. Russell. I did not even know he existed until I started the photo project. So, last night I started poking around in ancestry.com and found out that he is Mom's great grandfather:

Marcia Stoddard (Mack) Ahlefeld > Mildred Dikeman Stoddard > Lillian Adella Russell > Rufus G. Russell.

Rufus was married to Elizabeth, and they lived in New Haven, Connecticut in 1880.

Lillian's brother is Byron G. Russell:

He was a minister in Rockport, Massachusetts in 1877. He was married to Sarah E.

It is so tantalizing to learn a few little facts... but even with these tidbits of information we can now dig a little deeper and find out more about them...

Elizabeth Ann Sanford Russell.

I wonder if this is Rufus's wife Elizabeth? I'm thinking it might be, but I haven't found proof of her other names. I need to find the marriage and death records - places where the parent's information would often be listed. The only identification of the photo was her name.

And does anyone know where this lady fits into the Russell family?

Loly Tirrell Russell wife of Ransom R Russell.

The inscription on the border of  the album said Mildred's great-grandmother. Rufus's mother I suppose. Unfortunately I can't tell from the U.S. Census reports from 1850, Prospect CT. The family is listed as:

Ransom Russell, 54
Lola, 48
Edwin, 20
Henry, 19
Caroline, 15

My guess is that Rufus is already out of the house - he would be about 22 at this time. I found Rufus on an 1880 U. S. Census, New Haven, CT ...

R. G Russell, 51
Elizabeth, 55
Oscar Dikeman, 33
Lillian A. Dikeman, 30

So let's do the math. 1880-1850 = 30 years ... Lillian is 30 years old. So it is likely that Rufus Russell is married to Elizabeth by 1850 and probably enjoying fatherhood as well. If we add in the birth dates of Byron was born in 1846, and Lillian born in 1849... well, I believe we have our answer.

It would be good to get the marriage and death records to verify this information. They are probably located in New Haven, or maybe the records are old enough to be in the Connecticut State Archives Library in Hartford.

Do you see why I'm hooked?

07 February 2011

I know. Another blog.

Before you start rolling your eyes, hear me out. This blog will be dedicated to our genealogy. No beads, no cute pictures of animals or birds, no updates on what's on jewelry bench... you can go to "Today is ..." for all that.

I know some folks just aren't as consumed with the same passion for their families' history that others have. And that's just fine. But if you are, you can come here and wallow in it. If you aren't, I won't bore you with all that stuff in my other blog.

At least that is my intention, and if I stray, you have my permission to let me know.