06 September 2013

A Book and Some Unfinished Research

The unfinished research is my own.

It has been one year since I finished graduate school and moved from Boston. While living in the city, I never had the time I would have liked to spend at the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS). I spent my last few free days, between my thesis presentation and graduation, frantically scanning microfilms of deeds and probate records for my colonial Massachusetts ancestors. Now, a year later, I am finally finding the time to read through these records, transcribe them, and add the information to my database. Today I had an OMG moment—three times.

The first time was thanks to Amos Putnam, my 7 times great-grandfather (a descendant of the Putnams of Salem fame). I was adding his property transactions to my database when I came across one in 1770 for land in Oxford, Massachusetts. I had copied from the index that the land was bought of Ephraim Ballard and did not think anything of it—until I was looking at the bottom of the deed for the exact date. Right below the date was the language where his wife released her dower rights. Ephraim’s wife was Martha Ballard. Ephraim and Martha Ballard. It rang many bells in my head. You see, one of those Master’s degrees I just got was in history and my specialization was social history. I have read A Midwife’s Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812 many times and seen the PBS documentary based on the book more than once. This book is seminal in the study of social and micro histories, helping to legitimize both as “real” history. My copy of A Midwife’s Tale has been signed by the author, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. I have heard Professor Ulrich speak. Needless to say, this book means a great deal to me. And now I have a personally connection to it. To say I was floored would be an understatement. And it only gets better.

My second "OMG" moment comes courtesy of the PBS documentary about A Midwife’s Tale and, more specifically, its accompanying website. On that site is a timeline detailing American history, medical history, and Martha (Moore) Ballard’s history, showing how the three intertwine. This is the first time I really noted that Martha’s maiden name was Moore. Right before I was working on the deeds of Amos Putnam, I was transcribing the deeds for Collins Moore, also of Oxford, Massachusetts. Could Martha and Collins be related? I had a possible father for Collins Moore, Richard, but had not really done any research on that line. The PBS website’s timeline listed Martha’s grandfather as Richard Moore. Furthermore, Richard Moore was one of the founders of Oxford. Ten minutes doing research online pretty much confirmed that my Collins Moore was indeed the son of Richard Moore; which would make him the uncle of Martha (Moore) Ballard. Having lived in the same small town, they would have known each other. I not only have a personal connection to A Midwife’s Tale, I am related to Martha Ballard. This find earned a squeal.

My third "wow" moment came after I got home and dug out my copy of A Midwife’s Tale. I re-read the introduction and re-learned that Martha (Moore) Ballard’s sister, Dorothy, married Stephen Barton. Their granddaughter was Clarissa Harlowe “Clara” Barton, founder of the American Red Cross. That’s quite a few connections for one day.

Another accomplishment, of sorts, today: by researching my Moore line, I finally passed 5,000 people in my database.

03 June 2012

A Life Update

Wow, time has flown by. The past two years have left me with little time to blog as I worked my way through grad school, internships, and a regular job. Not to mention living in a new place (Boston) full of history, including mine, that needed exploring. In May I graduated with Master's degrees in History and Library Science - Archives Management from Simmons College. The month before that I got engaged. :)! In the past two weeks I have moved across country (to Phoenix, Arizona) and have started the job hunt. Next weekend I will be able to attend the SCGS Jamboree. I was bumbed that I would not be able to make it this year, but a bit of schedule rearranging is allowing me to be there for Thursday and Friday. On Thursday I will once again be a part of Kids Camp while on Friday I will be one of the presenters of the JamboFREE Beginning Genealogy - Next Steps. I look forward to seeing many of my friends from SCGS and online at Jamboree. And now that I have free time again, this blog will be update more than once or twice a year.

16 July 2011

SNGF - Your "Heritage Pie" Chart

From Randy Seaver over at Genea-Musing
Ah, Genea-folks, it's Saturday Night again - are you ready for more Genealogy Fun?
Your mission tonight, should you decide to accept it, is to:
1)  List your 16 great-great-grandparents with their birth, death and marriage data (dates and places).  [Hint - you might use an Ancestral Name List from your software for this.
2)  Determine the countries (or states) that these ancestors lived in at their birth and at their death.
3)  For extra credit, go make a "Heritage Pie" chart for the country of origin (birth place) for these 16 ancestors. [Hint: you could use the  chart generator from Kid Zone for this.] [Note: Thank you to Sheri Fenley for the "Heritage Pie" chart idea.]
4)  Tell us about it in your own blog post, in a comment to this post, or in a post on Facebook or google+.

1. James Elza Shaw, b. 30 Sept 1859 Ohio; d. 7 June 1934 California
2. Katherine Cole, b. 6 May 1860 Ohio; d. 15 May 1939 California
3. James M. Edmison, b. 8 Aug 1873 Canada; d. 18 Jan 1951 California
4. Anna Linderman, 1 Jan 1872 Michigan; d. 26 Mar 1950 California
5. Demetris Birbilis, b/d. Greece
6. Polexene "Polly" ?, b. 1861 Greece, d. New York
7. Gregory Devriotis, b/d. Greece
8. Anastasia ?, b/d. Greece
9. Giuseppe "Joseph" Spedale, b. 14 May 1869 Sicily, Italy; d. 7 Jan 1930 Ohio
10. Leonarda "Eleanor" Bugica, b. 12 Nov 1863 Sicily, Italy; d. 26 Sept 1958 California
11.Cologero "Charles" Geraci, b. 24 Dec 1869 Sicily, Italy; d. 4 Dec 1921 Ohio
12. Irene "Rose" Spedale, b. 22 Jul 1880 Sicily, Italy; d. 30 Nov 1969 Ohio
13. Joel Gustafsson Linner, b. 19 April 1867 Sweden; d. 28 Jun 1897 Minnesota
14. Anna Lydia Johansdotter Davidson, b. 21 May 1868 Sweden; d. 17 Apr 1921 Minnesota
15. Philip McCall, b. 6 May 1860 Pennsylvania; d. ?
16.  Dora Emily Rutter, b. 3 Feb 1861 Iowa; d. 29 Mar 1936 Minnesota

 Yes these are my great-great-grandparents; I really am that young. 
Two of my g-g-grandparents were born on the same day: 6 May 1860 (#2 & #15).

I am:
1/4 Greek
1/4 Italian
1/8 Swedish
1/16 Canadian (English/Scottish)
1/16 Irish (#15 was the son of Irish immigrants and one of my brick walls)
1/4 American (colonial roots)