19 August 2015

Obituary: Dan Davison

Transcribed from the newspaper Vermont Republican of Windsor, Vermont.  It was the 5 March 1821 issue on p. 3.  Accessed with GenealogyBank.com

DIED --  At Hartland, on the 31st Jan Deacon DAN DAVISON in the 85th year of his age.  It may truly be said of him, 'He came to his grave in a full age, like as a shock of corn cometh in, in his season.' He was a soldier in the last French war in America, and when the struggle commenced between Great Britain and America, he was a warm friend to his country, and had two tours in the Revolutionary Army.  He was a member of the Legislature of Vermont several years.  He was a kind neighbor and a faithful friend.   The order and regulations of his family, were exceeded by few, if any in the present age; and great spiritual blessings has he enjoyed in his family.  He was a Deacon in the Baptist Church in Hartland, from its first constitution, and one of its main pillars.  We think we shall not exaggerate if we say, he lived and died a Christain, in the consciences of all classes of people.--His funeral was attended on the 3d inst. by a great concourse of people.  A discourse was delivered on the occasion, by one whom he had appointed, from the words of Elisha when his master was taken away, recorded in II Kings, 11th chap, and a part of the 12th verse 'My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof.'
'Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright; for the end of theta man is peace.' 

The death notice immediately following was, coincidentally, one sentence for one of his grandsons, Paul Davison, who died at age 26 in Waterford.

It saddens me that the memory of this man did not survive to my generation.  When I began my research, I did not know that any of my ancestors had lived in New England, or that they had fought in wars, or that they were Deacons or even Baptist.  Deacon Dan Davison was one of my 4th-great-grandfather on my mother's side.

17 August 2015

Thomas Bascom and Martha Boltwood Field

Thomas Bascom and his wife, Martha Boltwood Field, are two of my fourth-great-grandparents, through their son David.  This image is from Amherst town records and shows a family listing of their first five children.

Such a record does not prove the children were born in Amherst, but most certainy the family resided there for a time.  Given that David is the last listed, it is more likely that he was born there.  Town histories uniformly name Thomas Bascom as one of the early settlers of Amherst and there is no record of him returning to Warren, Worcester, Massachusetts prior to 1880.  Consequently, I believe it is fairly safe to say that David was born in Amherst.

The baptismal note added to the first Nathan's birth listing would seem to imply that he was at least baptized in Amherst.  It's probably also safe to list Martha and the second Nathan as born in Amherst.

Four more children were more probably born in Warren: Solomon, Asa, Absalon, and Simon.

Line of Descent
Thomas Bascom = Martha Boltwood Field
David Bascom = Lydia Palmer
Titus Davison = Hannah Field Bascom
Celim Homer Porter = Clara Evelene Davidson
my Grampa Porter

FHL186126 / online browse images / Amherst
Amherst, Hampshire: Births, marriages, deaths 1747-1836 vol 1 / clip from image 7 
Massachusetts, Town Clerk, Vital and Town Records, 1627-2001 at Familysearch.org

13 August 2015

Obituary: Walter H. Hegwer

Thank you, thank you, and thank you again to the Mesa County Libraries!!

My goodness, I'm having a great summer finding obituaries!! This time it's not a subscription website but is a free service of a public library: Mesa County Libraries in Colorado.

Luckily for me, one of my great-grandmothers spent her last years in Grand Junction, Colorado. I know my great-grandmother is buried there and that Hegwer grave(s?) were purchased at the Orchard Mesa Cemetery in Grand Junction.  I know I've looked before but, this time, something went right and I stumbled into the Genealogy section of the library system's website.

I was shocked to find that they had four entries for "Hegwer" or related "Danes" surnames in their files. I was even more shocked to see that it appeared that they have a free service of providing e-copies of the related obituaries.  I filled out the form and now I have copies of obituaries from the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel for:
  • Margaret Lavina (Richardson) (Hegwer) Danes, my great-grandmother
  • Albert Wentling Danes, her second husband
  • Walter Hegwer, one of her children who died young
  • Myrtle "Mamie" May (Foltz) Hegwer, widow of Raymond Dudley Hegwer, another of Margaret's sons
The biggest news here is the info about work, residence, and illness for grand-uncle Walter.  And, I have his birthplace as Laveta, Costilla, Colorado rather than Pueblo.  The clipping is from the 18 Feb 1908 issue on p. 8.

The moral of the story is to always check the library where family lived and to recheck it periodically...the digital world is changing...!

11 August 2015

Great Goodness: Sixth Blogiversary, 2009 to 2015

Wow...I almost missed it!  I sat down to send a note to Thomas MacEntee of Geneabloggers and High-Definition Genealogy (among others) and suddenly flashed on 'what date is this?!'

State of the Blog  --  Writing
I haven't posted annual goals for  GreatGreats for ages.  Considering I only blogged once in all of 2014, my unstated goal this year was just to get back in the rhythm.  I'm feeling pretty good about 2015: eighteen posts since last (uncelebrated) blogiversary.

On the other hand, I haven't done as many as I'd planned on DNA in my genealogy research.  I have to do better with my DNA research in general.

I resumed First-Friday-Folder posts, but I've missed a couple.  It's really hard when the first of the month is Thursday or Friday...I must plan ahead!!  I'm very happy that I've scheduled regular review of existing folders and the related family group sheet.  The biggest thing I saw recently is that while I have always written source citations, many  of the earlier ones are lacking any written, specific explanation of specifically what my thought process had been.

State of the Blog  --  Cosmetics
I'm feeling a serious urge to redecorate, ie redesign the blog.  Ideas?  Comments?  My husband says my font size is too small.  With the ease of manipulating screens nowadays, is that an issue for anyone?  Anyway, the next time you visit GreatGreats, don't be surprised if it has a new look!

07 August 2015

First Friday Folder: David Bascom & Lydia Palmer

David Bascom and Lydia are third great-grandparents on my mother's side.  I selected this folder for review because, if I decide to participate in NEHGS' new database project  Early Vermont Settlers to 1784, Lydia's father, Zenas Palmer, is a viable candidate.  Before working on Zenas, I better make sure the more recent generation is in good shape….   (Read the very first one here to review what I mean by First Friday Folder.)

The Couple
Lydia PALMER was born in 1789 in Fairfax, Franklin, Vermont, the daughter of Zenas Palmer and Lydia Marshall.   David BASCOM, son of Thomas Bascom and Martha Field, was born 8 Aug 1780 in Amherst, Hampshire, Massachusetts.  David was in Fairfax by 5 Dec 1805 when he married Lydia.  They lived there the rest of their lives and had nine children.  David died 21 May 1859 and Lydia died just three months later, 29 Aug 1859. They, and many members of their families, are buried in Sanderson Corners Cemetery in Fairfax and most are listed at Find A Grave.

The Folder
The folder's contents were is relatively good shape, organized and nicely grouped.  There were even three unnecessary duplicate pages to remove and file in the trash!  I was feeling pretty good until I reviewed the family group sheet. While my citations were thorough enough to find the related source, I could not tell what-in-the-world I had been thinking…what did that page have to do with the event to which I had linked it?!  I probably thought the link was obvious…something I'd "never" forget...

The Plan
  • FHL #28213 has been on my to-do list for some time: Now is the time to order these early Fairfax Town Records and write really thorough citations and proof statements as appropriate!
  • Review all citations for this couple and re-research and/or rewrite as needed.
  • Investigate two very promising DNA match in this line at Ancestry.com and another at FTDNA
  •  I need to remember that I am writing citations not for me today, but for me later when I am not in the midst of solving that problem and I no longer remember what I was thinking at the time.  My  new dream is to someday review a folder that does not embarrass me….
  • I have to figure out a rationale or procedure on how to prioritize and rank which DNA matches to pursue.  There are just too many to do them all justice.

23 July 2015

Resource: Old Lutheran Migration

The latest issue of American Ancestors has a great surprise!  American Ancestors is a publication of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and I'm used to finding info about my maternal grandfather's Colonial New England ancestry in almost every issue.  I was unhappy about 2 years ago when the society decided to open their focus to be much more general: there'd be less content for me but I could understand their need to appeal to more people and make more money to support the society...so...

I never expected to find an article directly relevant to my Hegwer line!  While Carl Benjamin Hegwer and Maria Rosina (Ilgner) Hegwer are not specifically mentioned, "George Dopf and the Old Lutheran Migration of 1839" is a very good article about the nature of their immigration in 1839.  It's very hard (as in near impossible?) to find scholarly things in English about the early 1800s in Silesia, so this article is a real treat.  The ship the Hegwer's were on left Hamburg 1 Jul 1839 and is the one described in this article, arriving NY on 24 Aug 1839. 

Wherever the article refers to the Silesia group, that's us!  There is no doubt that Carl Benjamin Hegwer knew Krause and Grabau, and probably Rohr, too.  There was quite a bit of documented 'drama' among the 3 ministers, the Buffalo congregation, and the Wisconsin groups that has been left out of this article.  You can't fit everything in one article!

I had no idea that any of the travel documents needed by the Old Lutherans to leave Prussia still existed.  I can't wait to follow author McGrath's reference list and see if I can find some new info specific to the Hegwer's or Ilgner's.  Records from the part of Silesia now in Poland are harder to find than those now in Germany, but I'll still try... and maybe the Hegwer/Ilgner party had already started to move and were interrogated along the way, leaving records in what is now Germany???

McGrath, Lawrence R. "George Dopf and the Old Lutheran Migration of 1839." American AncestorsVol. 16 (2), Spring 2015, pages 37-40 & 59.

I am a paid member of NEHGS but receive no other consideration from them.

21 July 2015

Great-Great-Grandfather Homer Thomas Porter

Clipping from the St. Albans Messenger of St. Albans, Vermont.  This obituary appeared Thursday, 31 Dec 1903 on page 8.  I found it through GenealogyBank.com; I'm very happy with my new subscription!*

Homer Thomas Porter and Dolly Bates are one set of my maternal great-great-grandparents.  It's always nice to have an obituary for an ancestor, but this one is especially nice for several reasons:
  --It specifies where he was living when he died.
  --Dolly Ann (Bates) is named as his late wife.
  --His father, Thomas, is named. With common names, it's always nice to have generations linked!
  --It not only says where Dolly was when she died, it also specifies why she was so far from Vermont.
  --Surviving relatives are named and residences specified.
  --His religion and commitment to it are included.

I had most of these events but only from a distant family  member.  Granted, an obituary may not be reliable but this one is still closer to being original than what I had previously.  All input considered, I'm feeling pretty good about reliability.  What I had is confirmed and I'm able to fill in some very meaningful new details.

And, I have something new to research: What was the "battle of Plattsburg" and why is it still mentioned 90 years later???

Line of Descent

For the curious or the observant, Dolly Ann (Bates) Porter and her mother-in-law Abigail (Bates) Porter are not closely related.  Abigail is a descendent of Clement Bates, while Dolly Ann is a descendent of Edward Bates of Weymouth.

I am a new, paid subscriber to GenealogyBank.  I do not receive any favor from them beyond my subscription.

05 July 2015

Portrait of a Great Great: Mary Mason

With a full quarter of my ancestry coming from the Great Migration, I'm used to finding the occasional mention in American Ancestors, one of the periodical publications of the New England Historic Genealogical Society.  But the Winter 2015 (Vol. 16, No. 1) has set a new standard here for excitement!

One article is primarily about Abigail Smith Adams, wife of President John Adams and mother of President John Quincey Adams [1].  Author Michelle Marchetti Coughlin hypothesizes howAbigail's maternal great-grandparents may have affected Abigail.  Luckily for me, those maternal great-grandparents are also my 8th-great-grandparents, John NORTON and Mary MASON.

The entire article is very interesting and includes a good deal of family history information and detail, far beyond birth-marriage-death.  The great surprise is a portrait of Mary Mason, circa 1670!  The actual portrait, artist unknown, is on display at the Adams National Historical Park in Quincy, Massachusetts.  As part of the United States National Park Service (NPS), the website is great, too.  It includes a Photo Gallery with eight sections, one of which is Portraits in the Old House. Of the 32 portraits shown there, one is of "Mary Mason, circa 1670" and a download is available.  My illustration here is a clip of that NPS download. Please visit their fine site for your own full copy.


  • Join national genealogy societies!
  • Read their publications and be prepared for surprises!
  • Appreciate fine government websites!

Line of Descent
Rev. John Norton = Mary Mason
Capt. John Norton = Elizabeth Thaxter
William Norton = Elizabeth Bennett
Moses Bates = Hannah Norton
Moses Bates = Ruth Shaw
Norton Bates = Betsey Sweet
Homer Thomas Porter = Dolly Ann Bates
Celim Homer Porter = Clara Evelene Davidson
my Grandpa Porter

[1] Coughlin, Michelle Coughlin. "A shared sensibility: Examining the legacy of John and Mary (Mason) Norton, maternal great-grandparents of Abigail Smith Adams." American Ancestors, 16 (1): 47-51.