Almost Wordless Wednesday:

The newest branch on the family tree:

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Little Miss A
born January 21, 2014
2:46 p.m.
6 lbs. 3 oz., 17.5 in.

On her blessing day, April 13, 2014:

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I realize I haven’t posted here since September, but I haven’t had a lot of time for family history research let alone time to update the blog due to these five cuties:

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I am looking forward to getting back into it though!

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Tombstone Tuesday: George E. Hall

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Capt.
George E. Hall
Died
Oct. 21, 1875
Aet. 39 yrs. 5 ms.

George Edward Hall was born May 14, 1836, in Dresden, Maine, the son of Edward H. Hall and Mary.  Edward is a descendant of Major Samuel Goodwin: Edward H., Sarah Bailey, Sarah Goodwin, Major Samuel.  I’m not sure who his wife Mary is.  There is a marriage recorded in Dresden for an Edward H. Hall to a Mary H. Goodwin in 1832.  I think these are George’s parents, but cannot yet say for certain.  I also think Mary H. Goodwin is the daughter of George Goodwin and Sally Houdlette, making her a descendant of Major Samuel as well.  But I am even less certain about that than I am about the marriage record.  One way or another, there is always more research to do!

George served in the Civil War in the Maine 12th Infantry Regiment.  After the war, he married Emily Parlin in Dresden in 1866 and they had three children, all born in Dresden:

  1. Charles G.  b. 11 Nov. 1867
  2. Leslie Holmes  b. 14 Nov. 1870 (according to her headstone), d. 16 July 1898 (suicide by ingesting poison!)
  3. Mary Grace  b. 15 Dec. 1873, d. 1 Mar. 1903 from pulmonary tuberculosis

George died in October 1875 and is buried in the Pownalborough Court House cemetery.  His widow was married again to Orrin McFadden in 1879 and had two more children.

We’re featured on BillionGraves today!

With my new-to-me smartphone, we’ve had lots of fun taking photos for BillionGraves recently.  BillionGraves is a company whose goal is to literally document a billion graves around the world.  Get the free smartphone app and go out and take pictures of headstones and then it’s easy to upload them to BillionGraves.  They are automatically sorted into cemeteries based on the GPS data from your phone and receive a place marker on a world map.  Images then go into a queue for transcription by volunteers (kind of like FamilySearch Indexing) or you can transcribe the headstones you upload yourself, which is particularly helpful if they are your family members for whom you have more information than what is on their headstone.  All names in BillionGraves come up in search results done on FamilySearch and can be directly linked to individuals in FamilyTree.

So, the backstory–

BillionGraves had a contest during Rootstech back in March.  We entered, and we won!  In emailing back and forth with Lisa, who writes the BillionGraves blog, and sharing our mailing address for the winner’s tshirt, I mentioned, among other things that my 12-year-old son had attended Rootstech with me, that we homeschooled, and that his younger brothers were into genealogy just as much as he was.  She was impressed and asked if she could come interview us some time.

It took a while to get together working around DH’s shoulder surgery and her graduation from BYU, but finally we were able to meet her and her husband up at the Salt Lake City Cemetery and we had a delightful time together telling them our story, and sharing some of our passion, not only for family history, but for why doing it at this busy busy time in our lives has been a blessing.

Go take a look–Genealogy’s NOT just for Grandmas!

Mystery Monday: Goodwins in Fairfield, Maine

Mystery solved?

A few months ago I was working on the Bodfish line.  Major Samuel Goodwin’s daughter Mercy married Nymphas Bodfish in 1774, and in her family notebook she lists a number of her children’s and grandchildren’s births and marriages as happening in Fairfield, Maine, some 44 miles to the north of Dresden.  After doing what research I could online, I finally made it to the Family History Library a few weeks ago to look at the original Fairfield town records on microfilm.

The name of Bodfish actually doesn’t appear too often beyond a few marriage records, but I was running into Goodwins all over the place and that sparked my curiosity as several of the marriages corresponded with names in my records.  Bodfishes forgotten, I returned to researching the name of Goodwin, which is typical of my research.  It really doesn’t matter where I start, I inevitably end up somewhere completely different.

Samuel Twycross Goodwin, a grandson of Major Samuel, and his wife Elizabeth Holland were married in Pownalborough Aug. 11, 1792.  They had eight children according to Dresden town records:

  1. Samuel b. 16 Nov 1793
  2. David Speare b. 31 Dec 1794
  3. John b. 9 May 1797
  4. Benjamin b. 21 Jan 1799
  5. Edward H. b. 16 Nov 1800
  6. Randolph b. 8 Apr 1803
  7. Ann Frances b. 12 June 1805
  8. Abiel Varon b. 13 Dec 1809 (who is my husband’s direct line ancestor)

We know a lot about Abiel, and quite a bit about David, John, and Randolph, and their spouses and children.  But we’ve had very little success searching out the other four and their families.  Most of what I have is information submitted to FamilySearch way back when by one of my husband’s uncles.   This half of this family was mostly blank spaces and question marks.   Samuel may have married a Lucy, but was it Lucy Covel?  or Lucy Theobald?  or someone else altogether?  Ann Frances supposedly married an Allen Covel, and Benjamin may have married a Covel as well.  Or not.

So I was excited to see Goodwins (especially marrying Covels) in Fairfield town records along with births of their children which helped me to match them up to 1850 census records.  The dates all match the birthdates in Dresden for Samuel, Benjamin, Edward, and Ann Frances, but I don’t put a lot of stock in birth years according to the census.  All marriage records listed them as being from Fairfield, rather than Dresden.  I wanted something definitive to say yes, these are four of the children of Samuel Twycross Goodwin of Dresden, Maine.

A very interesting tidbit was that in the household of Samuel Goodwin in Fairfield in 1850, there is an Elizabeth H. Goodwin, age 86, born in Massachusetts.  Elizabeth Holland was said to be from Boston when she married Samuel Twycross Goodwin.

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In recent months I’ve noticed a lot of small cemeteries in Maine have been photographed and added to Findagrave.com.  I was finally able to find Samuel T. Goodwin’s headstone in Forest Hill Cemetery in Dresden.  He died in 1848 which explains my not finding him anywhere on the 1850 census and his wife Elizabeth is listed as dying June 23, 1850, at age 88.  What’s interesting is that the Fairfield 1850 census wasn’t taken until August 1, but the official census day was June 1 that year, so if this is our Elizabeth Holland Goodwin living with her eldest son Samuel in Fairfield, she would have still been living there on the official census day.

Since I now knew Samuel T.’s death date, I searched Lincoln County probate records, but to no avail.  And what a pain!  I really do love my easy access to the Family History Library with its millions of microfilmed records, but I can’t wait for the day when said records are all finally digitized.  There were at least 12 rolls of microfilm that covered the period when his probate could have shown up.  Each roll had two volumes with an index at the beginning of each volume.  So I’d check the first volume then crank through half a roll of microfilm to get to the index on the next roll, and then either wind forward or all the way back.  It’s not work I completely mind doing, but it is time-consuming.  I found lots of other documents relevant to the Goodwin family (which I still need to sit down and analyze) so it wasn’t a wasted evening at the library, but no probate for Samuel T. was to be found.

Meanwhile I continued to research the families and descendants of the four Goodwins in Fairfield, hoping I wasn’t spending a lot of time for nought. My gut feeling told me they were my family, but gut feelings aren’t accepted proof in genealogy.  Then a friend suggested looking at land records.  I haven’t delved into land records much (my self-education in genealogy is showing here) but I’m a definite fan now!

Again, I was intimidated by the number of rolls of microfilm I might have to crank through, but Somerset county had a nice and neat index in one volume for all the land records and I found many references to my Goodwins.  Apparently land included in the Kennebec Purchase was more extensive than I first realized and Major Samuel and his descendants owned quite a bit of land up and down the Kennebec River including acreage in Fairfield.

In Volume 26 of Somerset County Deed Records, I found the following, beginning on page 186:

(and yes, my images still leave something to be desired which is why I transcribed the document, see below)

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Whereas Samuel T. Goodwin of Dresden in the County of Lincoln, a deranged and insane person, is lawfully seized of a certain lot of land, situate in the town of Fairfield in the County of Somerset, containing about one hundred and thirty acres bounded as follows. beginning about five hundred and sixty poles from Kennebec River, and running a west Northwest course ninety five poles, to land owned by Obed Paddock, then turning South, Southwest and running two hundred and twenty six poles by land now owned by Benjamin and Arnold Gifford, then turning East, South East and running ninety five poles to cross lot No. 1, thence turning North North East, and running two hundred and twenty six poles to the bound first mentioned,the same being now in possession of Samuel Goodwin and Edward Goodwin, which lot of land, if not sold, would at the decease of the said Samuel T. Goodwin, descend to Samuel Goodwin, Benjamin Goodwin, Edward Goodwin of said Fairfield yeomen, Allen Covel of said Fairfield, yeoman and Ann Frances his wife in her right, David S. Goodwin, John Goodwin, and Randolph Goodwin of said Dresden, yeomen, and Abiel Goodwin of said Dresden, a minor, being all the Children, and heirs of said Samuel T. Goodwin, and the said Samuel Goodwin being Guardian of said Samuel T. Goodwin, and also, Guardian  of said Abiel Goodwin, and having contracted with said John Goodwin to maintain his said Father during life–  Now, therefore we the said David S. Goodwin, John Goodwin, and Randolph Goodwin, Benjamin Goodwin, Allen Covel, and Ann Frances Covel, in consideration of the premises, as well as one dollar paid as, the receipt whereof we do hereby acknowledge, do hereby release, remise and quitclaim unto the said Samuel Goodwin his heirs and assigns, forever, all the right, title, interest and estate which we have in and to the above described lot of land, containing about one hundred and thirty acres, and we for our selves, and our heirs, do herby covenant and agree that we will never make any claim or demand for said premises or any part thereof forever.  In witness whereof, we have hereunto set our hands and seals, this nineteenth day of April, in the year of our Lord, one thousand, eight hundred and twenty eight.

Signed, sealed, and delivered David S. Goodwin, Seal
in presence of us                        John Goodwin, Seal
George Houdlett                         Randolph Goodwin, Seal
Francis Houdlett                        Benja Goodwin Seal
Silvanus Covel                             Allen Covel, Seal
Samuel Covel Jr                          Ann F. Covel, Seal

Lincolnss  April 13th 1828.  Then the above named David S. Goodwin, John Goodwin & Randolph Goodwin, appeared and acknowledged the above instrument by them subscribed to be their free act & deed.

Before me George Houdlett Justice Peace

Somersetss Oct 28th 1829.  Then the within named Allen Covel, and Ann F. Covel his wife personally appeared and acknowledged the within instrument by them subscribed to be their free act and deed.

Before me Ellis Burgess Justice of the Peace, Somersetss April 5th 1830  Then the written named Benjamin Goodwin, personally appeared and acknowledged the within instrument by him subscribed to be his free act and deed.  Before me Ellis Burgess Justice of the Peace.

Somersetss Recd June 30, 1830 Entered and compared by Asa Clark, Regr.

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So, interesting facts I did not know–Samuel T. Goodwin was declared insane and deranged, had his property seized, and his eldest son Samuel given guardianship of both his father, Samuel T., and his youngest brother, Abiel.  What I love about this document is that it lists the eight children and heirs of Samuel Twycross Goodwin.  Samuel, Benjamin, and Edward Goodwin, all of Fairfield, are indeed the sons of Samuel T. Goodwin of Dresden, Maine.

Other interesting land documents were also found, but those will have to wait for another post.

The History of Dresden, Maine

A 1931 first edition copy of Charles Edwin Allen’s book, The History of Dresden, Maine, is currently on ebay.  Here’s a link for anyone interested.

I was finally able to obtain my own copy off ebay last year after years of using the Family History Library’s copy (and trying unsuccessfully to track down my own copy.)  It has been invaluable to my research into the Goodwins and related families in Lincoln County.  Unfortunately right now it’s packed away in a box somewhere as we prepare to move.  And I’d much rather work on genealogy right now that pack another box!!  I’m looking forward to perusing it once more in the (hopefully) near future.

A tip–when on ebay searching for items, you can save your search terms.  Then in the future when an item is listed with those same terms, you’ll receive an email.  I have “Pownalborough” and “Dresden” saved as search terms as well as “W&C Silver Halifax” which was a dry goods business some of our Silver ancestors owned in Nova Scotia in the 1800s.  I’ve been able to bid on (and win!) some fabulous finds this way.  I’ll have to share some of them in a future post.

Hello Again!

Last month I attended Rootstech 2013, a genealogy/technology conference held here in Salt Lake City every year.  One of the class offerings was “The Blog Blitz: Create Your Own Genealogy Blog in One Session.” But I’ve already done that.  Twice.  What I really need is a class on how to keep posting something on your genealogy blog more frequently than once a year!

Yes, I last posted in this space in March 2012.

Although now that I look back at the archives, I can see that there have been longer stretches between posts than that!  One coincided with having a baby.  So that was an excuse.  Then that baby turned one and got mobile.  Then he turned two.  Now he is three, and sure is a little busybody.  I have three other boys besides.  And we’re homeschooling.  And I play the cello in a local symphony and teach a few private music students.  And I keep busy with church callings as well (one of which deals with family history at least.)  All of this to say that genealogy blogging doesn’t get to the top of the priority list very often!

I know many would say that perhaps motherhood, or at least the period of intense early child-rearing years is maybe not the best season of life to be thinking about family history and genealogy.  But I feel strongly . . . no, I am quite passionate about the importance of making time for family history as a young mother and sharing our family story with my children. In the very near future, I will share some of the reasons why I am so passionate about this.

For now, I just want to say how much I appreciate the interactions with far-flung cousins and some of the connections I have made from sharing some of my research and experiences on this blog.  Thank you so much for reading and sharing.  I began this particular blog as a way to document a cemetery on the grounds of the Pownalborough Court House in Dresden, Maine.  I soon realized that I had quite a bit of genealogical information on all of the families of those buried in the cemetery that might be of some benefit to others.  I also grew bored of just focusing on headstone photos.  So the project grew (along with my family.)

In the past year or two especially, I’ve actually grown more interested in just how we “do genealogy” and how I can do it better.  My 12-year-old is also fascinated with family history right now and asks to “do genealogy.”  We’re still figuring out just what that looks like for him and what he needs to learn to “do” it.  After attending Rootstech the past few years, I’m realizing I have things I want to say about genealogy.  So maybe the focus of this blog won’t just be on headstones and family facts anymore.  I’ll inject a little more personality, a little more often!

26 Days Until the 1940 Census is released!

Some of you may have noticed the bright new button at the top of my sidebar. I am an official 1940 U.S. Census Blog Ambassador, which just means that I get to share some of my passions with you and spread the word about what’s happening in April.

It’s no secret that I love family history; in fact I love all kinds of history.  But you probably don’t know that I love census records.  Yes, I do!  I think it’s because the census shows families. Birth records don’t do that, marriage records don’t do that, death records don’t do that.  But census records do.  Families are very important to me and there have been a number of family members that I have searched for in vital records to no avail.  But I’ve been able to find them on the census with their families and make sure they’re accounted for.

It is really thrilling to me when I find the actual names of my family members written out on U.S. Census forms.  So I am really excited for April 2, when the 1940 U.S. Census is released by the National Archives.  The 1940 Census is the first census ever to be released digitally.  This new video prepared by the Archives explain the preparations that have gone on behind the scenes to digitize the microfilmed images and have them ready to go on April 2.  Take a look (and know that the scratchy music at the beginning only lasts a few seconds!):

The 1940s have always fascinated me so I am especially looking forward to searching this census.  As the video points out, it describes a country that has just survived the Depression.  It reflects “all of the economic dislocation, how many people were immigrants, how many people had what level of education.”  And it’s a snapshot in time of a country on the brink of war.  This is fascinating stuff to me!

Although the census images will be available in April, it will take a long time to search out our families.  135 million Americans, 3.9 million digital images–you do the math.  The images will be searchable by enumeration districts if you can figure out where your family lived in 1940, but it will be so much easier when there is an index created for the census . . . which is where you come in!

The 1940 U.S. Census Community Project is how that index will be created.  The more volunteers the better.  If you have never done FamilySearch Indexing before, well, why not give it a try?  Download the software from the Indexing website and just start doing it.  You can do as much or as little as you like.  Index a few names when you have time; you can always come back and finish the batch later.  If you’re a busy mom like me, you’ll love a project that gets done and actually stays done!

Personally I can’t wait to find my grandparents somewhere in those images.

Who are you hoping to find?  Leave me a comment and let me know, and let me know if you’ll help me index come April 2!

Thanks!