In Memoriam – John J Schlenker

The USS Block Island, part of a hunter-killer group of escort carriers providing cover for convoys moving across the mid-Atlantic, is north-west of the Canary Islands on 29 May 1944. On board were 957 crew, including my grandfathers first cousin John J Schlenker. At 20:13, German U-boat U549 slipped through the screen and fired four torpedoes, three hit the Block Island. John and five other men were killed in the attack.

USS Block Island in Oct 1943. By US Navy Employee - U.S. National Archives photo #80-G-87149., Public Domain,

USS Block Island in Oct 1943

John was the son of John Joseph Schlenker and Bernice O’Brien. He enlisted just before his 37th birthday in September 1943. John worked as a shipping clerk at the Gonic Manufacturing Company, a woolen mill in Rochester, NH and was married to Myrtle Lamprey. They had no children.

John and my great uncle Gerald were groomsmen in John's sister Mary's wedding on 28 Apr 1932.

John and my great uncle Gerald were groomsmen in John’s sister Mary’s wedding on 28 Apr 1932.

It’s Memorial Day and John is the only person I’m aware of in my tree that died in service after the Civil War. I’d written about the Bowen family in the Civil War before here and here, so I thought I’d remember John and say thank you to him and all the men and women that have paid the ultimate price fighting for our country.


Sources: U.S. Navy Cruise Books, 1918-2009 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc, 2011.
Original data: United States Navy. Various U.S. Navy Cruise Books. Navy Department Library, Washington, D.C.

Block Island Photo By US Navy Employee – U.S. National Archives photo #80-G-87149., Public Domain,

The House at 7 Harbour Hill

The only place I’ve ever seen a street address on a headstone is Cobh. Quite a few of them had an address, perhaps this is common in Ireland? On one particular stone, it was the same address mentioned in the 1923 obituary of my 3rd great-grand aunt Anne Mann

“Widow of John Mann, Carpenter. Chronic Nephritis. Daughter Mary E Mann present at death. 7 Harbour Hill”

This was a new address, Anne had lived at 36 Harbour Row in most of the records I’d seen. When we visited Cobh in February, one item on the to do list was to try to find graves for any Mann, Lucey or Walsh family members. There is no map or burial listing for St. Colman’s Cemetery, so we walked the rows looking for familiar surnames. I did the genealogy happy dance when I found this one (in my mind of course, I don’t dance and I was in the middle of a graveyard).

Mann headstone, St. Colman's Cemetery, Cobh, Ireland

Mann headstone, St. Colman’s Cemetery, Cobh, Ireland

Mary Ellen is the daughter of Anne mentioned in the obituary. Elizabeth is another daughter and pretty much my favorite person in the Mann family. She traveled back and forth from Cobh to America and lived with the Lucey’s in Haverhill and Groveland Massachusetts and left a wonderful paper trail. She is the reason I know that there was still family in Ireland! I didn’t know that she married (Fred Fryer in 1922) or that she had come back to Cobh after Fred died.

Who are Yvonne Wallace and Kate Buckley? What’s the connection to 7 Harbour Hill? We left the cemetery and walked back to town, passing by Harbour Hill to get a look at the house. Above the window is a painted sign that says “Buckley.”

7 Harbour Hill, Cobh, Ireland

7 Harbour Hill, Cobh, Ireland. There is nothing like the evening sun in Cobh, just beautiful.

With these clues, additional research uncovered that Mary Ellen and Elizabeth’s sister Anne married Thomas Buckley in 1910. They were living at this address in the 1911 census. Thomas was a house painter, his father was a builder and the sign above the window was an advertisement for the family businesses. Apparently sometime after 1911 Anne’s mother and sister moved in with them at 7 Harbour Hill.

Kate Buckley was Anne and Thomas’ daughter, she was a nun at the Carmelite Convent and died at the Bon Secours Home in Cork. Thomas and Anne had several other children according to some unconfirmed information, still working on that. I think one of the children still has living descendants in Ireland, potential distant cousins!

Yvonne Wallace was the infant daughter of the folks that lived at 5 Harbour Hill, not related as far as I’ve been able to find.

Thanks to Cork-based genealogist Margaret Jordan for her help locating obituaries and vital records to document these connections. I highly recommend her services and look forward to working with her again. More to come on the other discoveries she helped me make…

Ireland Trip – Templerobin Cemetery, Cobh

In February we visited Ireland for the second time. In 2002 we went with the kids, this time it was just Sue and I. In the 13 years between trips, I’ve learned a lot about who my Irish ancestors were and where they were from, but there are always more mysteries. James Lucey and Mary Walsh were married in Cobh in 1841 and they had five children there, including my 2nd great-grandfather James, before leaving for America in 1853.

I have a million things to write about the family in Cobh. I learned so much over the past six months about them thanks to Margaret Jordan, a Cork-based genealogist that Sue hired for me as a Christmas present (Best. Present. Ever!) as well as visiting and walking the graveyards there.

More to come on what I found out, but I wanted to share some photos of the Templerobin Cemetery in the Ballymore section of Cobh. This cemetery is where my Walsh ancestors are interred, possibly some Lucey’s as well. We met with local David Verling who showed us around the cemetery. David is part of a community group that took ownership/responsibility for the cemetery after it had been left derelict for many years. His group has done an amazing job cleaning up the overgrowth and documenting any readable headstones. Not much is left in the way of records, so the efforts of preservation here were needed badly. I do have a copy of the transcriptions and I’m happy to do lookups, just email me (contact info on the About page). I eventually hope to digitize the data and make it public, with the permission of those that created it of course.

So, here are some of the photos, all photos copyright me, if you want to use one just ask.

IMG_1489 IMG_1488 IMG_1487 IMG_1486 IMG_1485 IMG_1484 IMG_1482 IMG_1481 IMG_1479 IMG_1478 IMG_1474 IMG_1472 IMG_1471 IMG_1470 IMG_1468 IMG_1464 IMG_1463

Me and David Verling at the  Cobh Heritage Center

Me and David Verling at the Cobh Heritage Center


Lucey – Ireland DNA Project

I’m very excited to announce the creation of the Lucey – Ireland Y-DNA surname project at Family Tree DNA.

The project uses Y-DNA test results to find matches between participants with the goal of encouraging the use of genetic genealogy to prove relationships and hopefully determining the townland of origin in Ireland of the various Lucey families.

Any male Lucey worldwide is invited to join.

Y-DNA follows the paternal line, so usually aligns with the surname which allows us to compare the various Lucey families to each other. If you are unfamiliar with Y-DNA and/or Family Tree DNA, I’d highly recommend reading Y-DNA basics and viewing the Introduction to Family Tree DNA webinar.

If you are a male Lucey or know one, please share the project details with them and contact me with any questions at luceydnaproject at

A headstone for William Bowen 52 Ancestors #40

The Bowen family of Washington County Maine made the ultimate sacrifice in the Civil War. Father William and three of his sons signed up to fight for the Union and none returned home [more here]. Back in 2001 or so, cousin Jeanne O’Shea had given me loads of information about William and family and because I lived near where William died, she had hoped I could find his headstone.

I visited the Edson Cemetery in Lowell, Massachusetts and found that the book for 1862 had gone missing so the staff could not pinpoint his burial place. They suggested that perhaps he’d been buried in a small section of the cemetery that was fenced off from the main part as a number of Civil War-era graves were there. I walked that section and checked every headstone, no luck. We had resigned ourselves to the fact that perhaps we’d never find a headstone and there might not even be one to find in the first place.

Fast forward to two weeks ago…

An user, Jane Mangum, put a comment on William on my tree with a Find-a-Grave ID number and sure enough, it’s the right William! Find-a-Grave user Rick Weaver had taken a picture of the headstone and created the memorial page for William back in 2011.

Photo courtesy of Rick Weaver, used with permission.

Photo courtesy of Rick Weaver, used with permission.

The headstone reads:

Wm. BOWEN 1 Batty 1 Battn. ME L.A.

Translated: William Bowen, 1st Battery, 1st Battalion, Maine Light Artillery.

It’s a good reminder to check those research dead-ends every once in a while, wonderful things are happening in the genealogical world, it’s amazing what’s being made available every day. Volunteers do a lot of the heavy lifting, Rick and Jane are perfect examples, look at their profiles on Find-a-Grave, how many thousands of pages they’ve created, it’s inspiring. Thank you very much to Rick and Jane for walking cemeteries and posting the pictures, it’s a lot of work and it is much appreciated. Also thank you to Jane for bringing the page to my attention!

This post is 40th in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge series.

52 Ancestors #39: Sewall Bridges Stanhope

136 years ago today [4 Nov 1878], my 2nd great-grandfather Sewall Bridges Stanhope married Annie Amelia Hayward in Edmunds, Maine. She was the daughter of George Henry Hayward and Rachel Bridges Carter. I have no idea if Annie knew, but she was a Mayflower descendant via her mother’s line, a topic for a future post.

Sewall was born in late August, 1852 in Dennysville, Maine, to Rodolphus and Charlotte (Leighton) Stanhope, one of 10 children.


Sewall and Anna/Annie had 12 children, including my great-grandmother Bessie, over the next 28 years. They lived in Edmunds on Shore Road (which might now be S. Edmunds Rd) and his occupation was listed as Farmer or Farm laborer. Sometime between 1910 and 1920, Sewall gave up farming and moved the family to the village of Milltown in Calais, Maine and found work as a “Woodsman” at a lumber company.

He died 28 Feb 1934 at 81 years old and is buried in Dennysville, Maine.


Sewall B Stanhope, abt 1920



This post is 39th in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge series.

52 Ancestors #38: Frederic Lowell Bowen

158 years ago today [28 Oct 1856], my 2nd great-grandfather Frederic Lowell Bowen was born in Perry, Maine, the eighth and last son born to William and Mary (Boynton/Boyington) Bowen.

I imagine Fred had a pretty rough childhood. By the time he was 8, four of his older brothers and his father were dead. Leaving his mother with six children under 14 years old and the family farm.

Fred ended up keeping the farm and in 1880 married Adelaide Robinson, the 20-year-old daughter of James and Sarah (Stanhope) Robinson. Over the next 25 years, they had 12 children: William, Sadie, Robert, Justin, Walter, Mattie, George [my great-grandfather], Dora, Amy, Myron, Edna and Augusta. Unfortunately, both Addy and Augusta died in childbirth on 4 Feb 1905. They are both buried in the Ross family cemetery on the farm (see the map for the approximate location). The Ross family lived on the farm after the Bowen family and a number of both families buried there. See “At Rest in Perry, Maine” compiled by cousins Jeanne O’Shea Wagner and Colon Morrison for more information about rural cemeteries in Washington county Maine.

Bowen Headstone

While I have heard some stories of Fred’s cruelty to his children, my grandmother remembered him as a kind man who took her into town (probably Calais or Eastport) on his horse and wagon and bought her a dress.

Fred died in Perry on 19 August, 1922 of angina and is buried with his wife in the Ross Cemetery.

This post is 38th in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge series.

52 Ancestors #37: James Lucey and the Battle of Wyse Fork

IMG_0934In late 1864 into early 1865, the 2nd Massachusetts Heavy Artillery was stationed in New Bern, NC on garrison duty. Company M included 16-year-old James Lucey, my 2nd great-grandfather.

Luther Webber Gravestone

New Bern National Cemetery

In the fall of 1864 there was an outbreak of yellow fever in New Bern. An epidemic which took the lives of many, including 23-year-old fellow private and Worcester, MA native Luther Webber.

Early in 1865, the 2nd Mass Heavy Artillery was called upon to join General Jacob Cox’s Provisional Corps that were to move towards Goldsboro, ultimately to join with Sherman’s army. Just south of Kinston, near Southwest Creek, they ran into Confederate forces under the command of Gen. Braxton Bragg.

Bragg’s men attacked the Union flanks and captured an entire regiment, the last mass capture of Union troops in the war. However, miscommunication allowed the Union army time for reinforcements to arrive and fortify its position. Bragg was forced to withdraw, thanks in no small part to the heavy artillery units that repelled the rebel attack.

In the span of three days, there were a total of 2,601 injured and killed, including several of James’ compatriots in Company M. Most are buried at the New Bern National Cemetery.

My wife and I recently had the opportunity to visit Kinston and New Bern, including the Wyse Fork Battlefield and the New Bern National Cemetery. We were celebrating our 23rd wedding anniversary and continuing our tradition of visiting either a cemetery or a battlefield on our weekend away.

While Company M may have been involved in various skirmishes over the course of the war, the only documented battle is Wyse Fork. It’s always an exciting experience to walk where your ancestor walked but it’s surreal to visit a battlefield where your 16-year-old ancestor fought.

Today (1 October 2014) would be his 166th birthday.

In the New Bern National Cemetery, there are hundreds of Civil War era graves and several monuments, including one to honor the Massachusetts soldiers.

IMG_0932 IMG_0963

This post is 37th in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge series.

52 Ancestors #36: Vincent Lucey

100 years ago today, my grandfather Vincent John Lucey was born in Rochester, New Hampshire, the fifth child of James and Mary (O’Brien) Lucey. He spent the first few weeks of his life in a makeshift incubator, a shoebox on a radiator, due to his size. He didn’t get much bigger, as an adult he was only 5’5″ tall.


Vinny circa 1917, York Beach Maine

He attended Rochester High School and played on the football team, graduated in 1932.

Rochester High Football, 1931-32. Vinny on the far left, front row

Rochester High Football, 1931-32. Vinny on the far left, front row


High School picture

High School picture, 1930-32

On 28 November, 1936, Vinny married Doris Bowen, whom he met a year or so before while working at Winkley’s Market, a local grocer.

Circa 1936

Circa 1936

They had two children in Rochester and lived there until the mid-40’s, when they moved to 28 Bridge St in Saugus, Massachusetts. He worked for Gibbs Oil as a driver and yard foreman for many years. I used to get Hess Trucks every year for Christmas, one of my favorite toys.

Scanned Photo-8-1_edited

An avid fisherman, Vinny owned a boat that he kept in the Saugus River for quick access to the Atlantic

He and my grandmother traveled extensively around New England and eastern Canada, as evidenced by a tremendous swizzle-stick collection that I’m proud to own.

Vinny about to enjoy a Canadian Club after a very long drive to some random hotel in New England

Vinny about to enjoy a Canadian Club and soda after a very long drive to some random, beautifully decorated hotel in New England

In 1976, my family celebrated Vinny’s 62nd birthday at his house, he had been ill and was about to retire and I’m sure was looking forward to spending time fishing and traveling. When we walked into our house after the short ride home, the phone was ringing. It was my grandmother, Vinny had collapsed. He was rushed to the hospital but never regained consciousness.

This post is 36th in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge series.

52 Ancestors #35: G.A.R. Member James Lucey

My 3rd great-grandfather James E. Lucey was very proud of his Civil War service. He joined the Grand Army of the Republic in Rochester, NH and participated in parades and other events, such as the one captured in this photo. The only details on the picture are “Rochester Common, G.A.R. 1928, Jim Lucey”

1928 Rochester Commons, Rochester NH G.A.R. Ceremony. James Lucey on the far right

1928 Rochester Commons, Rochester NH G.A.R. Ceremony. James Lucey on the far right

For more information about the Grand Army of the Republic, visit the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War website

This post is 35th in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge series.

52 Ancestors #34: Anna (Lucey) Stevens

This is one of my favorite family pictures because it reminds me of early fall, the grass is long and it’s ‘sweater weather’, my favorite time of year.

The three women in this picture are my great-grand aunts, sisters of my great-grandfather James Edward Lucey: Agnes, Anna and Margaret.

circa 1910

circa 1910, probably at the Lucey house 66 Church St, Gonic, NH

Anna Theresa Lucey was born 7 July 1883 in Rochester, NH to James and Johanna (Donoghue) Lucey, the fifth child and second daughter. She married Percy Wilder Stevens in 1923. They had one son, Robert, later in 1923 and lived at 57 Silver St in Dover, NH until Percy’s untimely death. He had a pulmonary embolism and died on 20 March 1937 at age 48.

Anna and Bobby moved into the Lucey house in Gonic and she worked as a bookkeeper at Kendall Insurance in Rochester. A cousin remembers her as a devout Catholic; coming home from work on the bus, having a small meal and going up to her room to pray for the evening. She never remarried and lived in Gonic until she died 16 November 1972 at age 89.

This post is 34th in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge series.

52 Ancestors #33: Martha (Cole) Odell

I love these two pictures of my 3rd great-grandmother Martha (Cole) Odell. In the first she looks annoyed while her granddaughters goof around and pose, but in the second I think her true self comes through. In light of the second picture, I wonder if the look in the first is one of faux-annoyance and she was goofing around just as much as they were, we just can’t see the eye-roll in a still picture.


Martha (Cole) Odell with granddaughter Ethel Drake (1908-1974) and great-granddaughter Gladys May Hotchkiss (1902-1984) circa 1918

I’m not exactly sure of the date these pictures were taken, but there are a few more taken that same day in the same place of Martha’s daughter Susan and husband Julius Henry Frost (my 2nd great-grandparents). I estimate 1918 based on the ages of all the people across the photos. In 1918 Martha would have been 80, so perhaps the family had gathered to celebrate her birthday?

Martha Cole

Martha was born about 1838 in New York, one of eight children born to John and Hester Sophia (Martinez) Coles. At some point between 1840 and 1843, the family moved to Newark where Martha met Reuben Odell. They married 10 August 1856 in Newark and had eight children.

Martha died on Christmas day, 1921 and is buried in the family plot, Fairmont Cemetery, Newark.

This post is 33rd in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge series.

52 Ancestors #32: Paratrooper Doug Frost

My grandfather and his three younger brothers all served in the military during the World War II era. The youngest brother, Douglas Kingsley Frost, was an Army paratrooper that enlisted in January of 1944.

Douglas Frost 1944

Douglas Frost 1944

DougFrost1944 1_

Everett, Massachusetts newspaper article 1944

Doug was born in Brooklyn, NY, 21 October 1925. He was married twice, first to Ruthie (unknown maiden name) with whom he had one son, David Duane, born in 1960. In 1976, David died in Miami at just 15 years old. Doug married his second wife, Dorothy [she went by Jody] (Rouleau) on 28 July 1973 in Miami. On Halloween, 1978 Doug died in his sleep probably due to a heart-related issue, he was 53 years old.

This post is 32nd in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge series.

52 Ancestors #31: Justine (Fusco) Frost

This picture is of my grandmother, Justine (Fusco) Frost with her husbands’ grandmother, Minnie Smith. The picture was taken in Minnie’s garden at 51 Hammond St. in Bridgewater, MA, probably in the summer of 1941 when Justine was “with child”. I plan on doing a more in-depth post on Justine later, but I just came across this picture and had to share it.

Minnie is the woman of many names mentioned in the post on Leon Petralis, her first husband, so far I’m up to 10 different names used on various records.

This post is 31st in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge series.

52 Ancestors #29: Patrick J O’Donoghue

In the late 90’s we visited my great-aunt Betty (Lucey) Bedard and her family in Toronto. She knew I was interested in family history and she had a number of old family photos and documents to share, she gave me some, others I photocopied (no cell cameras at the time). One of my favorite photos she gave me was of Patrick Joseph O’Donoghue.


On the back of the photo is written “Patrick Donohue Ireland next to Montana” and ” Mary Corson’s grandmothers brother Hanna Donohue Lucey”. I don’t know about Montana, but I do know that Patrick was not Hanna Donohue Lucey’s brother, he was her nephew. But I understand the confusion, you see, both of Patrick’s parents were Donoghue’s.

His father was also named Patrick, his mother Catherine was Johanna (Donoghue) Lucey’s sister, which makes Patrick my first cousin 3 times removed.

Patrick was born 16 February 1874 in Glenflesk, County Kerry, Ireland and came to America around 1895. In 1905, he was in San Francisco, CA where he married Nora Williams. They had 5 children, Catherine, John, James, Thomas and Bernard. According to census records Patrick was a car inspector for the street railroad there for many years. He died 7 April 1958 and is buried in the Holy Cross Cemetery in Colma, CA [which is known as “the city of the silent”, the dead outnumber the living 1000 to 1!].

A side note, Patrick’s brother Florence stayed in Shroneboy, Glenflesk, the family homestead of Catherine and Johanna’s father John (Sean Con) O’Donoghue [link is to a transcription of an 1896 letter from John to Johanna], thus keeping the farm in the O’Donoghue name, although not in the same patrilineal line. The descendants of Florence still live there today.

This post is 29th in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge series.

52 Ancestors #30: Leon Petralis

My 2nd great-grandfather Leon Petralis (or Petrolis) is still a bit of a mystery. I have multiple documents on two events that he was involved with, his marriage and the birth of his daughter (my great-grandmother). Beyond that I have a family story about how he died, a possible death record and a potential passenger list entry from when he came to America, but those are speculative and naturally, the names aren’t all the same. I’m guessing that most people with Eastern European ancestry run into the near constant changing of names. I have so far documented 10 different names for Leon’s wife, Petrusia.

Passenger List

This passenger list shows a Lewen Petralis leaving Hamburg, Germany for Boston on 7 May 1889 aboard the ship Coblenz. He is a native of Rademanz, Russland, as is the passenger directly above him, Michal Aschzin who is also traveling to Boston. The dates fit both the age and arrival of Leon, but I’m not sure if this is him.

Staatsarchiv Hamburg. Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2008. Original data: Staatsarchiv Hamburg, Bestand: 373-7 I, VIII B 1 Band 078; Seite: 600 (Auswanderungsamt I). Mikrofilmrollen K 1701 - K 2008, S 17363 - S 17383, 13116 - 13183. Month : Indirekt Band 078 (1 Apr 1889 - 29 Jun 1889)

Staatsarchiv Hamburg. Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2008.
Original data: Staatsarchiv Hamburg, Bestand: 373-7 I, VIII B 1 Band 078; Seite: 600 (Auswanderungsamt I). Mikrofilmrollen K 1701 – K 2008, S 17363 – S 17383, 13116 – 13183. Month : Indirekt Band 078 (1 Apr 1889 – 29 Jun 1889)

The Marriage Certificate

Top-3 copy

Baptismal Certificate

This baptismal certificate was obtained by my great-grandmother in 1952 and lists her name as M. Helen Petralis. After Leon died in the late 1890’s, Petrusia married a man who went by John Frank Smith. Helen grew up thinking he was her father and didn’t find out he wasn’t until later in life. She went by Helen Smith, but did occasionally use different last names.

Top-2(1) copy

Civil Birth Record

This Greenfield, New Hampshire birth record has no first name listed for the child, but lists Wilno, Poland as the birthplace of Leon and Petrusia. This is the same date as Helen’s birth, 31 Aug 1894 and most of the details match the Massachusetts Birth Record below.

"New Hampshire, Birth Records, Early to 1900," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 10 Aug 2014), Leon Petralis in entry for MM9.1.1/FLP3-4HP:, 03 Aug 1894; citing Greenfield, Hillsborough, New Hampshire, United States, Vital Records and Health Statistics, Concord; FHL microfilm 1001032.

“New Hampshire, Birth Records, Early to 1900,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 10 Aug 2014), Leon Petralis in entry for MM9.1.1/FLP3-4HP:, 03 Aug 1894; citing Greenfield, Hillsborough, New Hampshire, United States, Vital Records and Health Statistics, Concord; FHL microfilm 1001032.

On this Massachusetts Birth Record for Helen, it lists her first name as “Lena”, place of birth as Greenfield, NH and says the parents (Leon and Bertha? Petralis) live at 104 Garden St in Lawrence, MA.

"Massachusetts, Births, 1841-1915," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 19 Aug 2014), Lena Petralis, 31 Aug 1894; citing Greenfield, New York [this is incorrect, it's NH], p425, Massachusetts Archives, Boston; FHL microfilm 1651224.

“Massachusetts, Births, 1841-1915,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 19 Aug 2014), Lena Petralis, 31 Aug 1894; citing Greenfield, New York [this is incorrect, it’s NH], p425, Massachusetts Archives, Boston; FHL microfilm 1651224.


The family lore about Leon’s death was that he was killed in an accident with a runaway horse when his daughter Helen was just 2 years old. These two records certainly are about the same person, but I’m not sure if it’s my Leon. The date of this Leon’s death, 19 Feb 1896, fits with both the family story and the birth of Helen’s half-sister Mae in 1898.

This Leon is the right age, is married and is from Russia. The mother’s first name is the same as the marriage record (Mary) but the father’s is different: Michael here, Mathew on the marriage record. Of course, Leon wouldn’t have been the one providing the information for the death record, so an inconsistency is not surprising. He died of Typhoid Fever and Peritonitis.

Leon does not appear in any other city directories that I can find and his widow is not listed in any later Worcester, Massachusetts directory. In fact, if this is my Leon, these would be the only records that I’ve found that show him in Worcester.

Nashua, Lawrence and Worcester are not all that far apart and as a laborer he likely just went wherever the work was. Also, all 3 cities had strong Lithuanian/Russian communities at the time. If this is Leon, then his mother’s last name is possibly Balcute, which would be a new name to me and another line of possible investigation.

Worcester, Massachusetts Deaths 1896 Massachusetts, Death Records, 1841-1915 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2013. Original data: Massachusetts Vital Records, 1840–1911. New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts.Massachusetts Vital Records, 1911–1915. New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts.

Title : Worcester, Massachusetts, City Directory, 1897 Source Information U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.

Title : Worcester, Massachusetts, City Directory, 1897
Source Information U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.

I’m hoping I have a cousin from the old country that knows all about “Cousin Leon that went to America”, are you out there?

This post is 30th in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge series.

52 Ancestors #28: Stephen Fountain, the Loyalist

Last night on Who Do You Think You Are some movie person that I’m not familiar with found out that her 5x great-grandfather was a Loyalist during the American Revolution. It reminded me that I too have a Loyalist ancestor, although I hadn’t done much research on him.

Stephen Fountain, my 6x great-grandfather, was born in Stamford, Connecticut around 1745 to Matthew Fountain and an unknown to me wife. Some online trees have Elizabeth Hoyt as the mother of all of Matthew’s children, but there is some conflicting information and I’m pretty sure that the first four or five children where from a different mother. More investigation is needed there.

In 1775 and 6, Stephen is married to Sarah (Scofield) and is a blacksmith/gunsmith in either Brookhaven, NY or Stamford, possibly both. And apparently, he is assisting the British ships in Long Island Sound with arms and supplies, and recruiting those sympathetic to the crown.

On 13 May 1776, the Joint Committee of Brookhaven hears “evidence being called to discover the secret plots and misconduct of sundry evil-minded persons”, namely Captain Jonathan Baker and blacksmith Stephen Fountain. Stephen’s apprentice Henry Hulse, Jr. testifies of secretive behavior:

a number of New-England people had staid in that neighbourhood, being to him strangers, who were often in private conference, in private places, with said Fountain, and would not let him (the deponent) come near them, nor hear what they said;

In all, 22 witnesses testify against Baker and Fountain and they are convicted “as persons that have acted inimical to the liberties of America in a most glaring manner”. The committee asks Lieutenant William Clarke to take the prisoners to the Provincial Congress in New York for disposition. On 8 June 1776, Congress confirms what the Brookhaven Committee had decided and sentences them to prison.

Jonathan Baker and Stephen Fountain, charged and convicted by the Joint Committees of Brookhaven, Manor of St.George, and Patenship of Meritches, of being enemies of their country, and, as such, of having taken up arms and held correspondence with our enemies on board of the Ministerial Ships of War, and very much promoted discord amongst the inhabitants, and seduced many to forsake the cause of their country, were sent to this Congress.
Resolved, That the said Jonathan Baker and Stephen Fountain, be committed to close custody.
And Ordered, That Daniel Goldsmith, the Jailer, he, and he is hereby, directed and requested to receive and keep them in safe custody until the further order of this Congress.

Details are sketchy on what happens next and how long he was imprisoned for, but it seems that Stephen escaped and joined the Royal Army.

In late 1780 through early 1781, Stephen was a member of the Queen’s Rangers. Fans of the TV series “Turn” might recognize the Lieutenant Colonel Commandant of his unit, one John Graves Simcoe, Esq. I’m hoping Stephen makes an appearance next season!

SFountainMusterRoll copy

Credit for this document goes to Linda Drake, a cousin that worked with UELAC to establish Stephen Fountain as a documented Loyalist.

In April of 1783, Stephen, wife Sarah and 207 other Loyalists boarded the ship “The Union” and were resettled in Nova Scotia. The Loyalists were granted land there and Stephen established a blacksmith shop and lived in Sandy Cove, Digby, Annapolis County, Nova Scotia until he died in 1818.

This post is 28th in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge series.

Special thank you to cousin Linda Drake, who worked with UELAC to document that Stephen Fountain was a Loyalist and to past president of UELAC Vancouver Branch Wendy Cosby who called this to my attention.

Testimonial quotes taken from this source:

AMERICAN ARCHIVES: Fourth Series containing A DOCUMENTARY HISTORY of The English Colonies in North America. By Peter Force; Volume VI.; Published by M. ST. Clair Clarke and Peter Force. Available here:

52 Ancestors #27: Gerald Lucey, the poet

Both of my grandfathers come from large families: Vincent was one of 7, Robert was one of 9 children. Coincidentally, they each had a brother that died too young, one was Vinny’s brother Gerald.

James Gerald Lucey was the eldest son of James E and Mary (O’Brien) Lucey, born in Rochester, NH on 28 July 1908.

I found a guardianship record for him dated 23 January 1923 on, which is confusing, since his parents were both alive and it seems that his father is being named his guardian. Seems redundant to name a parent as your legal guardian. I recently learned that when a minor is left an inheritance that a guardian has to be established. Since Gerald was only 14, perhaps that’s the situation here. [thank you Heidi Forrester for asking the question on the Transitional Genealogists Rootsweb forum].
GeraldLuceyGuardianshipProbateRecord His grandmother Johanna (Donohue) Lucey died in March of 1922, perhaps she left Gerald an inheritance? I haven’t found any probate records for Johanna, but I’ll keep looking.

The Poet

Gerald graduated from Rochester High School in 1928. His sister Betty gave me copies of several yearbook pages, including two poems that he wrote. Betty hand wrote “this one won a prize!” on one of them. Betty lit up when she talked about Gerald, you could tell he held a special place in her heart.

The quote on his profile: “Love heats the brain, and anger makes the poet.” is from the Roman poet Juvenal. Paul Whiteman was a popular bandleader in the 1920’s known as the “King of Jazz”.

TopmpPoems from students Gerald Lucey, Blanche Davis, Horace Swaine, Annie Phillips, Kenneth Palmer, and Emerson Corson appeared in the Rochester High School yearbook.
GeraldLuceyPoetry GeraldLuceyPoetry 2

In April of 1929, Gerald married Marguerite Hayes, the 18-year-old daughter of George and Nellie (Blazo) Hayes. The Hayes family lived just a few doors down from the Lucey’s on Portland Street.

Gerald was an usher in his cousin Mary Schlenker’s 1932 wedding to Wilfred Roy.

28 April 1932 Wedding of Mary Schlenker and Wilfrid Roy

28 April 1932 Wedding of Mary Schlenker and Wilfred Roy, Rochester, NH

He worked as a Carder at the Gonic Woolen Mills, possibly under the direction of his grandfather James, they likely worked together for a short time before James retired.

Gerald and Marguerite had one daughter, Eleanor around 1933. She married Arthur Belanger Jr in 1953, they had four children.

Just nine years later, on 28 March 1942, at age 33, Gerald died of rheumatic heart disease brought on by rheumatic fever.

This post is 27th in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge series.

52 Ancestors #26: Mary Walsh, the disappearing great-grandmother

Every family tree has someone who “disappeared”, right? I have a few people who seemingly drop off the face of the earth, no censuses, death records, obituaries after a certain point.

My 3rd great-grandmother, Mary (Walsh) Lucey led a fairly well-documented life right up until she didn’t. This is kind of surprising, given that she lived in the mid to late 1800’s in Massachusetts, a time and place when both church and civil record keeping was in place. I’d like to share what I know, in the hopes that someday she is found.

The Early Years in Ireland

There is a Mary Walsh born 6 Aug 1821 in the Parish Registers of the Diocese of Cloyne, parish of Templerobin, Cove, Co Cork, Ireland 1. The parents listed are Mich[ael] & Mary Thomey, sponsors William Grant and Cath Nagle. I’m not sure if this is the correct Mary Walsh but it was the only one I could find in the area in the timeframe of her birth.

The next record of Mary is her marriage to James Lucey, 10 July 1841, documented in the same parish register as the birth record. The clergyman was P Fuller and the witnesses Jim Callaghan and Mary Sloane.

In April of 1853, a Mary Lucey is enumerated in Griffith’s Valuation on Cuskinny Road (off Bishop Street) in Queenstown2[modern-day Cobh].

Ireland Griffiths Valuation 18481864-1 copy

In America

On the 12th of November, 1853 Mary arrived in America with her sons John and James3.

Mary, John and James, coming to America aboard the Meridian. They arrived on 12 Nov, 1853.

Mary, John and James, coming to America aboard the Meridian. They arrived on 12 Nov, 1853.

In 1855 Mary, along with husband James [the only record of James in the U.S.] and sons John and James are living in Brighton, Massachusetts.

First record of my Lucey family in the U.S.

James, Mary and sons John and James.

In 18604, Mary lived in the BallardVale section of Andover, husband James is not listed. Her occupation is “washing” and the value of personal estate is $20.

Lucey's in the 1860 Census

Mary, John, James, Margaret and David

On 24 June of the following year, she married John Hogan of Lawrence, his third, her second marriage. This is the only record where her parents are listed and unfortunately, she only listed one: David Welch5 , which doesn’t match the birth record I had found.
I assume that her first husband James died sometime between 1855 and 1861, but I have not been able to find a death record.

John Hogan & Mary Lucey Marriage Record, 24 Jun 1861, Lawrence MA. Edited.

John Hogan & Mary Lucey Marriage Record, 24 Jun 1861, Lawrence MA. Edited.

In May of 1865 Mary, husband John Hogan and her children James, Mary, Margaret and David were living in South Groveland, Mass6. Incidentally, next door lived the Crotty family, including 16-year-old Mary Jane who would later marry James and die in childbirth.

Massachusetts State Census 1865-1 copy

27 July 1870, Mary makes her last appearance in the records7. Living in the same house as the 1865 census, but listed as Margaret Hogan with children Margaret and David, no husband listed. John was about 20 years older than Mary, so I assume that he died sometime between 1865 and 70.


Three of Mary’s children, David, Mary and Margaret, stayed in the Groveland area for the rest of their lives. James [my 2nd great-grandfather] moved to Rochester, New Hampshire in 1880. She wasn’t living with any of them in the 1880 census or with anyone else in the area that I can find. I’ve checked every Mary Hogan in the Massachusetts Death Record indexes, none fit.

I’ve searched cemetery records, newspapers, directories, civil records, census records, to no avail. It’s possible that she’s buried in the same plot as her son John at St. Augustine’s cemetery in Andover, MA, but the church has lost the records of who is buried in the plot beyond John. I’ll keep looking, hopefully someday a record will turn up that shows what happened to her. Have any suggestions, please leave them in the comments!

1. Parish Registers of the Diocese of Cloyne, parish of Templerobin, Co Cork, Ireland, no page numbers, Film Number: P4987. National Archives, Dublin, Ireland. Transcribed by the author 22 Feb 2002.
2. “Heritage World Family History Services. Ireland, Griffith’s Valuation, 1847-1864 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2008. Original data: General Valuation of Ireland. Dublin, Ireland: Irish Microforms Ltd., 1978. National Archives, Dublin and Public Record Office, Belfast. Parish: Templerobin. Pg. 66.
3. “Boston Passenger Lists, 1820-1943” database. ** ( : accessed 17 Sep 2013), entry for Mary Lucy, aboard *Meridian*, Liverpool to Boston, arriving 12 Nov 1853; citing Boston, Massachusetts. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Boston, Massachusetts, 1820-1891. Micropublication M277. RG036. 115 rolls. National Archives, Washington, D.C.
4. 1860 U.S. Census, Essex County, Massachusetts, population schedule, Town of Andover, Ballard Vale post office, page 202, dwelling 1368, family 1615, Mary Lucy household; digital images, ** ( : accessed 17 Sep 2013); citing NARA microfilm publication M653, roll 496; Page: 202; Image: 206; Family History Library Film: 803496.”
5. Massachusetts, Marriage Records, 1840-1915 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2013.Original data: Massachusetts Vital Records, 1840–1911. New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts.Massachusetts Vital Records, 1911–1915. New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts. Entry for Mary Lucey and John Hogan
6. Massachusetts, State Census, 1865 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2014.
Original data: Massachusetts. 1855–1865 Massachusetts State Census [microform]. New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts. Town of Groveland, Lines 27-32, Household 311.

7. 1870 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Year: 1870; Census Place: Groveland, Essex, Massachusetts; Roll: M593_608; Page: 602B; Image: 439; Family History Library Film: 552107. Family 382

This post is 26th in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge series.

Independence Day 52 Ancestors #25: Peter Stanhope – Rev War Soldier

I’m fortunate to have a direct ancestor that participated in the American Revolution, my 5th great-grandfather Peter Stanhope. I’ll eventually get around to filling out my Sons of the American Revolution membership application.

He and his older brother Samuel both served, of the two, Samuel’s service is better documented due to his pension records. I’m not sure why Peter doesn’t have a pension file. Samuel served two separate stints with the militia in Massachusetts, the first for 8 months in 1775. According to his pension record “that at the time Bunker Hill Battle was fought he was at home on a furlough”

Both served in Captain Manasseh Sawyer’s Company, Colonel Nicholas Dike’s Regiment for 3 months in the fall of 1776. Samuel’s application for pension provides a description of this service:

…he joined the army at Dorchester hill – at which place he assisted in the building of a fort and where he was stationed the principal part of the time – that towards the last part of this enlistment he was ordered to Castle Island where he worked on the fortress there being built on said island during the day, and returned at night to Dorchester Hill…


Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors in the Revolutionary War pg. 825 entry for Peter Stanhope

Peter was born 29 Nov 1759 in Sudbury, Massachusetts to Samuel and Elisabeth (Angier) Stanhope. Peter married Elizabeth Parmenter 30 Nov 1775 in Bolton, they had 12 children there and at some point between 1802 and 1810 moved to Plantation 4 [later Robbinston] in Washington County Maine. In 1845 he died there at age 86.

This post is 25th in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge series.

Sources: Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors in the Revolutionary War (Images Online) [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2004.
Original data: Massachusetts. Secretary of the Commonwealth. Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolutionary WarVol. 1-17. Boston, MA, USA: Wright & Potter Printing, 1896-1908. Case Files of Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Applications Based on Revolutionary War Service, NARA M804. Record of Samuel Stanhope, page 5 of Pension Application. Accessed 4 Jul 2014.

52 Ancestors #24: James Lucey and Cocheco Bottling Works

In March of 1904, my great-grandfather James E Lucey Jr along with his brothers David and John, purchased the Emerson Bottling Company of Rochester, NH and renamed it the Cocheco Bottling Works.

Listing in Vol 1 of the State of NH Annual Reports 1912-1913

Listing in Vol 1 of the State of NH Annual Reports 1912-1913 Pg.16

They bottled their own ginger ale, tonic water as well as orange and lemon-lime crush. Around 1917, the Lucey’s sold the business to Alfred Lagasse, who lived a few doors down from James and his wife Mary on Portland St. in Rochester. Alfred was late with a payment once and Mary chased him down Portland street with a broom according to a story I was told by her daughter Betty.

coverThe Bottling Works building made the cover of the Images of America Rochester book by Florence Horne Smith. If you are not familiar with this wonderful series of books from Arcadia Publishing, check out the available titles here. I have about 30 of them from the various places my family have lived over the years, there’s always something of interest in them.

Over the years I’ve found some bottles and a wooden crate with the Cocheco logo, it’s doubtful that they are from the time period when the Lucey’s owned it, but still nice to have.


James was born in South Groveland, MA on 14 Apr 1879 and married Mary O’Brien on Halloween in 1905. They had seven children, all in Rochester: Frances, James Gerald, Richard, Donald, Vincent [my grandfather], Joan and Elizabeth. James died of a heart attack in Rochester on 19 Jan 1944 at 64 years old.

This post is 24th in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge series.

New Discovery – Dexheimer Surname

As I mentioned in an earlier post about my 3rd great-grandfather John Frost, his wife Catherine’s surname was unknown. Recently added records from the New York, New York Marriage Indexes 1866-1937 and I found the entry for John and Catherine’s son Frederick, who married Augusta Kiem in 1886 at the German Evangelical Church in Brooklyn [where Augusta’s family lived]. I ordered the original from the NYC Department of Records and 6 weeks later the photocopy arrived in the mail. It’s not always the case, but this one included quite a bit of information, including his mother’s maiden name!

The name could be spelled Dixheimer, but based on some preliminary searching I think Dexheimer is the proper spelling. Her first name is also spelled with a K on this record, but C is used on every other record I have for her, I’m pretty sure K is the more traditional German spelling.

Because John and Katherine lived in Newark, NJ, I checked for records of other Dexheimer’s in the area and found one that is particularly interesting. Frederick Dexheimer was born around 1829 in Hesse Darmstadt and is a barber in the 1861 Jersey City directory. Katherine was also from Hesse Darmstadt and was born around 1818, so they could be siblings, but what’s really interesting is that he’s a barber.
Screenshot 2014-06-18 21.21.59 Katherine’s sons Julius [my 2nd great-grandfather] and Frederick [possibly named after his uncle?] were in the barber supply business for many years. I’ve often wondered how they got involved in that business, perhaps it was Uncle Fred?

Interesting how answering one question leads to so many more, the investigation continues…

This post is 23rd in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge series.

References: New York, New York, Marriage Indexes 1866-1937 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2014.
Original data: Index to New York City Marriages, 1866-1937. Indices prepared by the Italian Genealogical Group and the German Genealogy Group, and used with permission of the New York City Department of Records/Municipal Archives. U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.

Graduation Day – 1932/2014

Yesterday my son graduated high-school, congratulations Josh!

Eighty two years ago, my grandfather Vincent John Lucey graduated from Rochester (NH) High. I’m sure Vinny’s parents were as proud of him as we are of Joshua.

Hope springs eternal…

VinnyCap&Gown copy IMG_0309





This post is 22nd in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge series.

Memorial Day – Remembering the 1st Maine Heavy Artillery

A monument stands in the Petersburg National Battlefield near Colquitt’s Salient Trail. Today there are tall pine trees, a paved path and quiet. It’s hard to imagine that this exact spot was once an open field described as “a burning, seething, crashing, hissing hell”.

picture1sLieutenant Horace H. Shaw used those words to describe the events of 18 June 1864, when the 1st Maine Heavy Artillery regiment, some 900 men, were ordered to charge across 300 yards of open field to attack the Confederate breastworks near the tree line. Of the nine hundred, 632 were killed or wounded in the span of 10 minutes. The largest loss of life in a single action of any regiment in the war.
picture4sIn 1895, Horace Shaw organized funds to purchase the land and commission the monument [details here].
picture7sOne of the survivors was my 1st cousin 4x removed George A Stanhope, older brother of Gilbert. George was 22 when he enlisted in 1862, his first child Emma had been born just a few months before. In November of 1864 he was promoted to Corporal and returned to Robbinston, Maine when he mustered out in June of 1865. He and his wife Susan (Laskey) had nine more children, I’ve only found seven of the ten so far: Emma, Sophronia, George Jr, John, Mary, Alice and Jessie. Susan died in 1912 and two years later George married Sophia Hatt. He died 24 May 1919 in Calais, Maine.

The more I read about what the men of the 1st Maine went through, the more I respect and appreciate the sacrifice made by the men and women in our military. I will certainly make every effort to observe Memorial Day more formally going forward, they deserve at least that.

If you are planning to visit this National Park, I’d highly recommend a visit to Civil War Hikes.

Images Courtesy of Clarence Woodcock

Original source for much information about the 1st Maine and the first 3 images:
Shaw, Horace H, and Charles J House. The First Maine Heavy Artillery, 1861-1865: a History of Its Part and Place In the War for the Union, with an Outline of Causes of War and Its Results to Our Country. Portland, Me, 1903. Available online via GoogleBooks ( ) Accessed 20-22 May 2014.

This post is 21st in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge series.

1st Maine Heavy Artillery 52 Ancestors: #20 Gilbert Stanhope

In 1862, Peter (my 3rd great-grand uncle) and Caroline (Davis) Stanhope had 5 sons of age to serve in the military. Curtis registered, but I can find no record of military service. Aaron and Lorenzo served in Infantry regiments (9th and 28th, respectively), George and Gilbert served in Company D of the 1st Maine Heavy Artillery.

Fortunately they all survived the war, though not without some physical reminders. In 1890 Gilbert was documented suffering as from rheumatism and deafness, he was 44 years old.

Year: 1890; Census Place: Jonesboro, Whitneyville and Marshfield, Washington, Maine; Roll: 7; Page: 3; Enumeration District: 59. 1890 Veterans Schedules [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2005.

Year: 1890; Census Place: Jonesboro, Whitneyville and Marshfield, Washington, Maine; Roll: 7; Page: 3; Enumeration District: 59. 1890 Veterans Schedules [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2005. Image modified by author to show the relevant lines.

Over a 30 day span, he would have participated in the Battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse, Second Cold Harbor and Petersburg as well as a number of smaller skirmishes. During that short time, over 1100 of his comrades in the 1st Maine were killed or wounded [over 600 in just 10 minutes at Petersburg]. And the war wasn’t over, they fought for almost another year. The accounts [see Ch.9 A Burning, Seething, Crashing, Hissing Hell] of 18 June 1864 at Petersburg alone are horrifying, I can’t imagine how the survivors could ever shake the shadow of war.

Gilbert returned to Washington county after the war and married Charlotte Frost. He worked as a farm laborer and lumberman. They had seven children: Frank, Lillie, Jonas, Betsy Annie, Sadie, Isabel and Gilbert.

In 1885, the survivors of the 1st Maine Heavy Artillery gathered in Portland, Maine. I’m not sure if Gilbert was there, I’d love to find a picture of him to compare with this one.

Courtesy of Clarence Woodcock Image from the book "The First Maine Heavy Artillery, 1861-1865" by Horace H. Shaw, Charles J. House. Citation details at the bottom of the page.

Courtesy of Clarence Woodcock
Image from the book “The First Maine Heavy Artillery, 1861-1865” by Horace H. Shaw, Charles J. House. Citation details at the bottom of the page.

Gilbert died 17 June 1902 at age 56. According to his death record he broke his neck falling out of a wagon while intoxicated. A sad, unfortunate end to be sure.

Source for much information about the 1st Maine and the reunion image:
Shaw, Horace H, and Charles J House. The First Maine Heavy Artillery, 1861-1865: a History of Its Part and Place In the War for the Union, with an Outline of Causes of War and Its Results to Our Country. Portland, Me, 1903. Available online via GoogleBooks ( ) Accessed 12-14 May 2014.

This post is 20th in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge series.

1st Maine Heavy Artillery Survivor 52 Ancestors: #19 Frederick Stanhope

After the The Battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse, the 1st Maine Heavy Artillery regiment fought along with the rest of the Army of the Potomac in smaller battles at the North Anna river and Totopotomoy Creek. In early June they fought in the battle known as Second Cold Harbor, near Mechanicsville, VA. In Grant’s memoir he wrote “I have always regretted that the last assault at Cold Harbor was ever made… no advantage whatever was gained to compensate for the heavy loss we sustained.”

Map by Hal Jespersen,

Map by Hal Jespersen,

It was there that my 2nd great-grand uncle Frederick Stanhope received a gunshot wound. I’m not sure if the wound prevented him from fighting in any of the battles over the next year or so, but he did survive the war.

Frederick was about 17 when he enlisted 5 Jan 1864. He was mustered out 11 Sept 1865 and returned home to Robbinston, Washington County, Maine.

Cold Harbor Wounded

Shaw, Horace H, and Charles J House. The First Maine Heavy Artillery, 1861-1865: a History of Its Part and Place In the War for the Union, with an Outline of Causes of War and Its Results to Our Country. Portland, Me, 1903. Available online via GoogleBooks ( ) Accessed 12-14 May 2014.

A little over a year later, he married Hannah McLaughlin and they had four children: Sarah, Laura, Lucy and Frederick Jr.

Frederick was the eldest son of Rodolphus and Charlotte (Leighton), one of 10 children. I’m related to him through his older sister Sarah (my 3rd great-grandmother) AND his younger brother Sewall (my 2nd great-grandfather).

He died in Dennysville, Maine of tuberculosis on 1 May 1898, at age 52.

Stanhope, Frederick CW Pension Index

Stanhope, Frederick Pension Index. Roll T288 – 449. National Archives and Records Administration. U.S., Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2000.

This post is 19th in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge series.

Battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse 52 Ancestors: #18 George Henry Hayward

George Hayward was a 33-year-old father of six when he enlisted in the U.S. Army. His youngest child, Anna Amelia [my 2nd great-grandmother], had turned two the week before he was mustered into Company K of the 18th Maine Infantry Regiment.

In 1912 the Lewiston Journal published a profile on George in which some stories were shared that I think offer some great perspective on the life of a new soldier in 1862. Thanks to David Colby Young, the family of the late Robert L. Taylor and the Androscoggin Historical Society for transcribing and permission to share from their transcription of the original.

When the companies arrived at Portland they found tents pitched and a good supply of provisions. Most of the officers had little knowledge of what a soldier’s duty was.
When the uniforms came the space between the bottom of the pant’s legs I and the tops of the new army shoes was often an illustration of the relation of 4 the northern and southern states at that time. Nothing could bring them together.

After a while the men began to look natural but it was a good thing that there were no looking glasses. The little army cap, issued and worn at that time, the men regarded as a joke and wore it in all forms except that of a soldier. The arms and equipments, included an unnecessary amount of leather straps and a cartridge box. These were put on in every conceivable manner at, first. But the men soon adjusted themselves to their harness… Aug 24th, Sunday, the regiment took the train for Washington.

Many of the men saw Boston for the first time.

Many of the survivors will remember the reception at the cooper shop in Philadelphia, a refreshing bath and delicious supper. They arrived in Washington about noon of the 27th and were quickly marched into a huge barrack rack, where they were served with a slice of bread, and a piece of boiled beef, with poor coffee to drink and no place to sit down.

That night they encamped with out tents on the side of a hill which had been washed by the, rain, leaving upon the surface stones about the size of a robin’s egg, which, of course made very restless beds.

After a year and nine months of garrison duty in Washington D.C., the 18th Infantry was converted into the 1st Maine Heavy Artillery regiment and assigned to join Grant’s army in Virginia, near Spotsylvania for the Overland Campaign. Again from the Lewiston Journal transcription:

Soon the men of Co. K were in active warfare and in the first battle at Spottsylvania courtyard, Mr. Hayward was wounded. The old soldier’s eyes filled with tears as he told how with the last charge in his gun, he was shot by a rebel.

On the 19th of May, In the same battle where Samuel Collier was killed, George was injured. While prone a bullet struck him between his spine and right shoulder-blade and traveled down his back. The bullet was cut from his hip area. George spent the next year in various hospitals and was eventually discharged in May 1865. According to his pension application he suffered lingering issues due to his injury and collected $12 per month as a result.

George and Rachel (Carter) Hayward. Used with kind permission of David Bennett

George and Rachel (Carter) Hayward. Used with kind permission of David Bennett

George was born in Windsor, Nova Scotia 19 July 1829, the son of Stephen and Anna (Gould) Hayward. In 1850 he married Rachel Bridges Carter (1832-1919), the eldest daughter of Samuel and Sarah (Cox) Carter. One more quote from the Lewiston Journal tells how they met:

One day while going to Pembroke to do some haying, he came to a big mud puddle, and on the other side of it he saw a pretty young lady. He helped her over and they soon became good friends. The young lady was Rachel B. Carter of Pembroke. On Jan. 2, 1850 she became his wife.

They would go on to have 12 children, 44 grandchildren and 66 great-grandchildren [that I know of]. George died 2 Sep 1913 in Dennysville, Maine at 84 years old.

This post is 18th in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge series.

Battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse 52 Ancestors: #17 Samuel Collier

You may have heard of the 1st Maine Heavy Artillery Regiment. The unit has the unfortunate distinction of having the most men killed and mortally wounded in battle of any Union regiment during the Civil War. Samuel Collier, the husband of my 2nd great-grand aunt Frances Ellen Bowen, was one of them.

Samuel was born in England around 1830 and married Frances in November of 1861. They lived in Perry, Maine and in August of 1862 when the Army came to enlist men in Washington County, he signed up. His was originally the 18th Maine Infantry unit and the men of Washington County were assigned to Company K.

Annual Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Maine

Annual Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Maine 1863
Source Information: U.S., Adjutant General Military Records, 1631-1976 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.
Original data: Various. Sacramento, California: California State Library.

For the next year and nine months, Company K served in defense of Washington D.C. in Batteries Cameron and Parrott and trained in Infantry and Heavy Artillery tactics. In April 1863, Frances gave birth to their son and named him after his father that he would never meet. Garrison duty in D.C. doesn’t sound like it was very exciting, they did a lot of practicing and drills, but never saw any actual combat. That was about to change.

In early May 1864 Grant’s Overland Campaign began and with it, the order for most of the regiments on guard duty in D.C. to join the battle. The 1st Maine joined Tyler’s Heavy Artillery Division. They met up with the main Army near Spotsylvania on May 18th and the next day had their baptism by fire.

Spotsylvania - May 12 1864. Map from, public domain

Spotsylvania – May 12 1864. Map from, public domain

Although the men of the 1st had been in service for some time, they were still “green”. When they were pressed into service near Harris’ farm to defend the right flank from Ewells’ attack, they fought in a more formal, by-the-book style, rather than the get on the ground/behind cover/in a foxhole – just survive – style that the veterans used. The veterans had learned that there is honor in living to fight another day.

So they stood, literally, in the open and fired at the enemy while being fired upon. As you can imagine, the results were devastating: 82 killed (including 6 officers), 394 wounded, 5 missing. Eventually the Union troops forced the retreat of Ewell’s men and ended the Battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse. This was only the beginning for the 1st Maine, but that’s a story for another time.

For an excellent writeup of this unit, check out Andrew MacIsaac’s thesis “Here the Reaper was the Angel of Death: The First Maine Heavy Artillery During the Overland Campaign” posted here. Also see the National Park Service Regiment Details site.

This post is 17th in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge series.

“He Ran Away With His Child” 52 Ancestors: #16 Frank Drake

Newspapers are one of my favorite sources, where else can you get stories like the one below? This particular article comes from the January 5th, 1895 edition of “The Press” from New York, NY and features my 3rd great-grandfather Reuben Odell. I found it on the Old Fulton NY Post Cards website.

New York Press, 5 January 1895

New York Press, 5 January 1895

He Ran Away With His Child
And Then Hid Behind a Coffin in a Morgue

Frank W. Drake tried to abduct his infant child on Thursday. The child and her older sister were in the oyster saloon of Reuben Odell, at 55 Bleecker street, Newark. Odell is Drake’s father-in-law. Mrs. Drake left her husband a week ago, his treatment of her having become unbearable. Thursday she went back to her husband’s home on Pine Street, South Orange, to remonstrate with him.
During her absence he went to her father’s place. There were hot words between Drake and his father-in-law. Then there was a fight, and Drake was hurled to the sidewalk, bruised and bleeding. By and by he came back again. Odell was in a back room.
Drake saw his little girl sitting on her grandmother’s lap and asked the woman to let him kiss the child. He pleaded with tears in his eyes, and finally the little one was placed in his arms. Then he bolted out of the door and sped away down Washington street. Odell gave chase, Drake dodged into Mullin’s morgue and hid behind a coffin. Odell followed him in.
“Give me the child.” he said.
Drake hesitated a moment, and then placed the infant in its grandfather’s arms. Then he darted out of the morgue and made good his escape.

Mrs. Drake is Martha Odell, sister of Susan Odell Frost. The story does have a happy ending as far as I’m aware, Martha and Frank did reconcile and had four more children.

This post is 16th in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge series.

52 Ancestors: #15 Susan Odell Frost

93 years ago today [19 April], my 2nd great-grandmother Susan Carolyn (Odell) Frost passed away at the age of 62. I’m fortunate to have a few pictures of her, including this one taken around 1919 in Newark, New Jersey with two of her children and her granddaughter.

Mae Frost Hotchkiss, Susan Odell Frost, Dorothy Hotchkiss and Fred Frost

Mae Frost Hotchkiss, Susan Odell Frost, Dorothy Hotchkiss and Fred Frost

She is buried in the family plot in the Fairmont Cemetery in Newark. Which I understand is now in a “not so nice” area, but I’d still try to visit next time I’m in New Jersey.


A cousin sent me the records from the cemetery, which includes the names, ages and dates of death of the 22! family members buried in the plot, including Susan’s parents, grandparents, various aunts, uncles and cousins. Truly a genealogical goldmine of information.

Screenshot 2014-04-19 17.17.47

Susan Carolyn Odell was born 24 April 1858 in New Jersey to Reuben and Martha (Cole) Odell, she was the eldest of their seven children. In June of 1880, she married Julius Henry Frost, a young entrepreneur that had started a Barber Supply business with his brother Frederick.

They had five children:
Mae (1881-1932)
Edward (1883-?)
Julius (1885-1956) [my great-grandfather]
Charles (1890-?)
Frederick (1891-1957)

This post is 15th in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge series.

Preserve the Pensions! 52 Ancestors: #13 Rodolphus Stanhope

My 2nd great-grandfather James Lucey had a wife and child before he married my 2nd great-grandmother. She died in childbirth along with their son James in 1868. Her name was Mary Jane Crotty and according to the 1865 Massachusetts census, was literally the girl next door. There was no civil record of the marriage or of the birth, just her death record which listed her maiden name. So how do I know about it?

His Civil War pension application.

Having that information put me in contact with Flavia Adams, a descendant of the Crotty’s,  fellow genealogist and a wonderful woman. It also helped to explain the strong connection between the families. If it weren’t for the pension records, that connection might have been lost to history.

The Federation of Genealogical Societies, in partnership with the National Archives, and Fold3, launched a fund raising campaign to digitize 7.2 million War of 1812 pension documents held in the Archives. Once digitized the files are available for free via Fold3. There are thousands of stories in those very fragile documents, they need to be protected and made available. Please join me in supporting this extremely important effort by donating at Preserve the Pensions.

One War of 1812 Pension records that I’m particularly interested in is that of my 4th great grandfather Rodolphus Stanhope. He was born around 1796 in Massachusetts, possibly in the Sudbury area where his family lived before moving to Plantation 4 [which became Robbinston in 1811] in present day Maine. He was a young man of 15 or 16 when he volunteered for Captain Thomas Vose’s company in July of 1812, just weeks after Congress authorized the war.


Massachusetts Volunteer Militia in the War of 1812, pg. 159 Records of the Massachusetts Volunteer Militia U.S., Adjutant General Military Records, 1631-1976 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011. Original data: Various. Sacramento, California: California State Library.

Rodolphus married Susannah Hickey in 1815 and they had 13 children over the next 30 years. They lived in Robbinston, Perry and finally Whiting, Maine. Rodolphus died 17 August 1870 and a short time later Susannah applied for his War of 1812 pension. I can’t wait to see what stories might be in his pension records. Help make sure that none of the records are lost, make a tax-deductible donation at Preserve the Pensions.

Pension Application War of 1812 Pension Application Files Index, 1812-1815 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2010.

This post is 13th in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge series.

The One That Stayed 52 Ancestors: #12 Anne Lucey Mann

When my Lucey’s came to America in 1852 they left daughter Anne in Ireland, she was probably only 10 years old. I wonder why she stayed, perhaps she was sick and couldn’t travel. And who she lived with, did some other family members remain? I only found out about Anne because her daughter Elizabeth came to America and stayed with family in Haverhill and Groveland, Massachusetts (censused as “niece” in 1900 and 1910). From Elizabeth’s passenger records, I was able to find Anne and her family in the 1901 and 1911 Ireland Censuses.

The Cover Page of the 1901 Ireland Census for the Mann family

The Cover Page of the 1901 Ireland Census for the Mann family

The family lived at 36 Harbour Row in Cobh or Queenstown as it was known then, in County Cork. Some additional location info is also captured on the form including:
Barony: Barrymore
Parish: Templerobin
Townland: Kilgarvan

In the 1901 Census the family consists of:

John, age 61, a carpenter born in London
Anne, age 49 [this might be 59], wife, born in County Cork
Mary Ellen, age 29, dressmaker, born in County Cork
Anne, age 20, dressmaker, born in County Cork

In 1911, things have changed a bit. Anne is now a widow and there’s a son listed, John age 38 that wasn’t listed with the family in 1901. An additional question was asked in this census, number of children born and living, to which Anne answered 9 and 7 respectively. I know of only 4 children, Mary, John, Elizabeth and Anne. So more research to do there, sounds like a good reason to visit Ireland again!

1911 Ireland Census Mann
John Arthur Mann, Anne’s husband, died 27 Feb 1906 and is buried in Templerobin Cemetery in Cobh. Son John is also buried there, he died 16 Feb 1935. I don’t have any additional information on Anne or her daughters. I’m hoping there are some descendants out there, please contact me via comment or email if you are connected.

This post is 12th in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge series.

[1]  National Archives. Census of Ireland, 1901/1911 []. Dublin, Ireland.

Battle of Staunton River Bridge 52 Ancestors: #11 Benjamin Bowen

On January 13th, 1864, just four days after he turned 18, Benjamin Franklin Bowen was mustered into Company H, First Regiment District of Columbia Cavalry. He traveled nearly 200 miles from his home in Perry to the capital, Augusta, Maine, perhaps with fellow recruits and Perry-ites Columbus Frost, William McPhail and James Garnett1.

The war had already had a terrible impact to Benjamin’s family. His older brother George Washington Bowen died in Sep 1863 far away from home in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Patriarch William died in 1862  at Camp Chase in Lowell, Massachusetts, a mere 4 months after enlisting. The family couldn’t afford to bring either of them home for burial.

His brother John Quincy Adams Bowen enlisted in December of 1863 and his brother-in-law Samuel Collier was fighting with the 18th Maine Infantry. Neither would make it back from the war.

Benjamin’s regiment was initially formed in mid-1863 specifically to defend Washington D.C., but in January 1864 was pressed into service with Kautz’s Cavalry Division. In late June, General Grant sent Brigadier Generals Kautz and Wilson to destroy rail lines that were feeding supplies to the Confederate troops defending Petersburg. They had destroyed about 60 miles of rail lines when they came to Roanoke Station and the covered rail bridge over the Staunton River.


Staunton River Battlefield State Park map. Photo by Dave Lucey

Confederate troops defending the bridge were outnumbered, but they had a heads up and rounded up every able-bodied man and child to defend the bridge. They dug in and on the afternoon of the 25th the Union forces advanced on the bridge. Benjamin’s unit attacked from the east and were repulsed. Fighting continued for hours, with the Confederates holding ground, keeping the bridge safe. Eventually, the unit that was chasing the Union troops caught up and attacked from the rear, forcing Wilson-Kautz to move on.

Benjamin was injured during the fight and died two days later, on June 27th. He is supposedly buried in Coyner Springs Cemetery, but I’ve been unable to confirm that. What I can confirm is that he, like his father and brothers, did not make it home.

The Staunton River Bridge. At the time of the battle this was a covered railroad bridge.

The Staunton River Bridge. At the time of the battle this was the covered railroad bridge. Photo by Dave Lucey 2012

This post is 11th in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge series.

Further reading:
The Battle Story
Regiment Details
Battle of Staunton River Bridge

[1] U.S., Adjutant General Military Records, 1631-1976 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011. Appendix D. Pg. 935-944. Record of Recruits for First Regiment District of Columbia Cavalry. Original data: California State Library; Sacramento; Annual Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Maine.

Any long lost Cousins? Pt. 2 52 Ancestors: #10 Arthur Smith

Last week I mentioned my great-grandmother Helen Frost’s two half-siblings and went into detail on Mae Smith Chambers. This week I’ll share what I know about her half-brother, Arthur Smith. Art was born around 1899, probably in Connecticut, but much like his sister I’ve yet to find any birth record.

Mae and Art’s father went by John Frank Smith, but that’s not his real name and I’m unsure of when he changed it. The first record I have of John is the 1930 census when he was about 65. John was born in Poland according to the that census1, Russia according the 1940 census, but was Lithuanian ethnically. I speculate that when both Mae and Art were born John was still using his original name or some variation, which makes the records difficult to find.

Art was a career U.S. Navy man and as you can tell from this photo he was a young man when joined.ArtSmith

ArtSmiths Cottage in Seaview Washington

In 1920 Art was in Seaview, Washington according to this picture.

Helen Smith Frost, Arthur Smith, Gladys and Melvin Drake, Arthur Frost and Evelyn Drake in the front.

Helen Smith Frost, Arthur Smith, Gladys and Melvin Drake, Children Arthur Frost and Evelyn Drake in the front. Circa 1926

The next record I can find for him is the 1940 census, living in San Diego with his wife Mary. He is a Chief Radioman for the U.S. Navy2. This photo was probably taken around that time.

Art Smith circa 1940

Art Smith circa 1940

In 1960, Art and Mary are living in San Dieguito, CA and he is working for Convair Astronautics3, a division of General Dynamics that was working on the Atlas rocket that eventually launched the Mercury astronauts into space.

My great-grandmother Helen thought highly of Arthur, so much so that she named one of her son’s after him. It would be great to find that he and Mary had a child or two during the years where I can’t find them.
This post is 10th in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge series.

[1] 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2002. 1930; Census Place: Bridgewater, Plymouth, Massachusetts; Roll: 938; Page: 10A; Enumeration District: 0005; Image: 590.0; FHL microfilm: 2340673. Frank Smith household. Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1930. T626, 2,667 rolls.

[2] 1940 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2012. Year: 1940; Census Place: San Diego, San Diego, California; Roll: T627_448; Page: 34A; Enumeration District: 62-17. Arthur J. Smith household. Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1940. T627, 4,643 rolls.

[3] U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011. Title : San Dieguito, California, City Directory, 1960 Pg. 44 Entry for Smith, Arthr J.

Any long lost cousins? 52 Ancestors #9: Mae Smith Chambers

Since I’ve had some luck connecting with new cousins lately, I thought I’d post about a line where I’m not aware of any living descendants, but would love to connect if there are any.

My maternal great-grandmother Helen had a half-sister and brother, Mae Smith and Arthur J Smith.
Mae married William Benjamin Chambers on 1 July 1916 in Bridgewater, MA.Smith Chambers MR

According to the town record of the event1 she was born in 1898 in New Haven, CT and was a telephone operator. Her parents are listed as Charles Smith and Minnie Stankiewicz. In most records her father went by John or Frank (sometimes both) and her mother went by so many names she will be the topic of another post.

Mae Smith, Arthur Smith, William Chambers, Minnie Smith

Mae Smith, Arthur Smith, William Chambers, Minnie Smith

Mae and Bill lived at 118 Plymouth St in Bridgewater, MA for about 25 years, then Brockton, MA for the next 10. At some point in the 1960’s they moved to Duarte, a small community outside of Los Angeles, CA. Mae died 1 Dec 19662, her husband Bill a year later.
They had one son for sure, William A Chambers, in 1917. There is another son that is listed in the 1940 census with the family [Edward], but I haven’t been able to find any other records of his relationship.

Son William was known as Billy Boy in the family. He also ended up in California and died 1 March 1988 in Carlsbad3. I’m not sure if he had a wife or any children, but if you or someone you know is connected, please contact me!

Back Row: William "Billy Boy" Chambers, Helen "Honey" Frost, Mae Smith Chambers, Minnie Smith. Middle Row: Jane "Ginger" Frost, Helen Smith Frost. Front: Priscilla Frost. 1940 - 51 Hammond St, Bridgewater, MA

Back Row: William “Billy Boy” Chambers, Helen “Honey” Frost, Mae Smith Chambers, Minnie Smith. Middle Row: Jane “Ginger” Frost, Helen Smith Frost. Front: Priscilla Frost. 1940 – 51 Hammond St, Bridgewater, MA

This post is 9th in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge series.

[1] Births, Marriages and Death. Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011. Record of Marriage Intentions, Town of Bridgewater. Mae Smith and William Benjamin Chambers, filed 26 June 1916, issued 1 July 1916.
Original data: Town and City Clerks of Massachusetts. Massachusetts Vital and Town Records. Provo, UT: Holbrook Research Institute (Jay and Delene Holbrook).

[2] California, Death Index, 1940-1997 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2000. Place: Los Angeles; Date: 1 Dec 1966; Social Security: 013109570. California, Death Index, 1940-1997 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2000.

[3] California, Death Index, 1940-1997 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2000. Place: San Diego; Date: 1 Mar 1988; Social Security: 031036503. California, Death Index, 1940-1997 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2000.

Happy Birthday Nana 52 Ancestors #8: Doris Bowen

I was fortunate to have been able to spend a lot of time with my paternal grandmother. When I was very young, she would babysit me and I remember spending a lot of time playing with toys like Weebles and Fisher-Price Little People that she had in a special corner of her three season porch. She and my grandfather Vinny used to visit us on Sundays and bring ice cream (bubble gum flavor sometimes) from Darby’s in Wakefield, MA.

Doris May Bowen

Later in life I was able to talk to her about the family and ask lots of questions. She told me about how her grandfather Fred Bowen made her feel special by taking her into town on his horse and carriage to buy her a dress. About how she worked in a sardine packing plant in Lubec Maine when she was just 9 or 10. And about how she and Vinny loved to drive to places around New England and eastern Canada, collecting swizzle sticks as memento’s from restaurants. They had hoped to do more after he retired, but cancer caught up with him on his 65th birthday.

3870fa6b-4486-42c8-ac32-9c252e6976a4She was a great cook and baker. She cooked for the Gibbs (oil company) family for years and her pie and cookie recipes have been handed down for several generations (although she possibly “forgot” to write down an ingredient now and then, since they are never quite the same).  I think of her every time I see a Lemon Chiffon pie. I say see because I can’t ever eat another one,  it can’t compare to hers.

She would have been 101 today.

Doris May Bowen was born in Edmunds, Maine in 1913 to George and Bessie (Stanhope) Bowen1. As is mentioned in a prior post, her family moved to Rochester, NH in the early 1930’s from Perry, Maine. She met my grandfather Vinny while he was working at Winkley’s Grocery Store at 81 Portland St, near where they both lived. They married on 28 November 1936 and lived in Rochester for several years before moving to Saugus, MA.

She died 30 Jan 2004 in Wilmington, MA2 but she’s thought of often.

This post is 8th in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge series.

[1] Maine Department of Health and Welfare, Certified Abstract of a Record of Live Birth. Doris May Bowen, Date of Birth: 23 Feb 1913. Date Filed: 1913. Copy in possession of the author.

[2] U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-Current [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2011. Number: 217-03-3658; Issue State: Maryland; Issue Date: Before 1951. Original data: Social Security Administration. Social Security Death Index, Master File. Social Security Administration.

Look Twice! 52 Ancestors: #7 David Joseph Lucey

It’s a good practice to re-examine old notes and documents every once in a while, you might make a new connection or glean new information. It’s good to have others look too, a fresh set of eyes might see things you’ve overlooked. [Sounds like a great reason to have a blog, doesn’t it?]

Case in point, the picture of the Carding room crew featured in the Woolen Mill Workers post.

I’ve looked at that picture a thousand times but never noticed that the person sitting right next to my 2nd great-grandfather James is likely his son David!  A sharp-eyed cousin emailed me and pointed out that he looks an awful lot like the guy in another picture we have that we know to be David Joseph Lucey. Thank you cousin Laurie!

Same person? What do you think? Leave a comment and let me know.

Same person? What do you think? Leave a comment and let me know.

I knew David worked for the Gonic Manufacturing Company as a “second-hand” from his death record, but had no idea if he might have worked with his father in the carding room. I checked the Rochester, NH Directories on and sure enough in the 1909 directory he’s listed as a carder.

Rochester section listing for David J Lucey

Rochester directory listing for David J Lucey. Dover, New Hampshire, City Directory, 1909 (accessed 12 Feb, 2014) U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.

Rochester Courier, 22 Dec 1922 Pg. 2B

Rochester Courier, 22 Dec 1922 Pg. 2B

David Joseph was born 26 Aug 1877 in South Groveland, MA and was likely named after his uncle David Joseph Lucey (1857-1904). He married Mary Hartigan on 18 Apr 1906 in Rochester, NH and they had three children, Bernadette, Mary Frances, and David.

In 1911 he was elected Tax Collector1, foreshadowing his the public service of his son, also David Joseph, who was the Massachusetts Registrar of Motor Vehicles in the 1970’s.

He continued to work at the mill as a second-hand until his untimely death of a heart attack at age 45 in December of 19222.

This post is 7th in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge series.

[1] History of Strafford County, New Hampshire and Representative CitizensBy John Scales. Published by Richmond-Arnold Publishing Co. Chicago, Ill. 1914. Available online via Google Books. ( accessed 12 Feb 2014).

[2] New Hampshire, Death and Disinterment Records, 1754-1947 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2013. Lucey, David J. Image: 2453. Original data: “New Hampshire, Death and Disinterment Records, 1754–1947.” Online index and digital images. New England Historical Genealogical Society. Citing New Hampshire Bureau of Vital Records, Concord, New Hampshire.

The Inventor 52 Ancestors: #6 Jules Frost

My great-grandfather Jules was a car guy. Nearly every picture of I have of him in his younger years also prominently features a car. So I really wasn’t surprised when I came across a patent application that he filed in April of 1922. A year later his patent was granted for an automobile lock.1



Julius Henry (Jules) was born in Newark, NJ on 19 Mar 1885 to Julius and Susan (Odell) Frost. He was the third child of five: May (1881-1930), Edward (1883-?), Charles (1890-?) and Frederick (1891-1957).


On 11 Nov 1913 he married Helen Catherine Smith in Bridgeport, CT and they had 9 children, including my grandfather Robert (1919-1987) and my wonderful grand-aunts Ginger and Priscilla. He died 11 Nov 1956 in Miami, FL.

This post is 6th in the in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge series.

[1] FreePatentsOnline, database and images ( : accessed 24 Jun 2013) United States Patent 1460238.

52 Ancestors: #5 Patrick O’Brien

O’Brien might be the most common Irish name in America or maybe it just seems that way when I’m trying to find records for my 3rd great-grandfather, Patrick. There are over 4 million results returned when searching for O’Brien on Ancestry and that doesn’t count the misspellings.

Patrick’s last name is misspelled O’Brion on his 1874 marriage record to Ellen Ryan (spelled Rayen on the same)1 and O’Brine on his 1919 death record.2 Thankfully, his daughter Mary passed along some papers and a picture to my grand aunt Betty (Lucey) Bedard. And via, I connected with a descendant of one of Patrick’s brothers. Chris was able to fill in many blanks and confirm the connection to the Amesbury MA O’Briens.

Patrick O’Brien and Helen Melson (not sure who she is)

Patrick was born in Tuam, County Galway, Ireland in March of 1848, the eldest son of Patrick and Bridget (Hare)3. He came to America sometime in the mid to late 1860’s, probably with his siblings John, Richard and Mary. They lived in Amesbury, MA and he worked in the carding room at the woolen mills there and in neighboring Salisbury4.

This signature is from one of Mary’s report cards

By 1876 he was living in Rochester, NH with wife Ellen (Ryan) and working in the woolen mill, probably the Gonic Manufacturing Co where James Lucey, the future father-in-law of daughter Mary, worked. They had four daughters in Rochester, Katherine (1876-1966), Bernice (1879-1948), Mary (1881-1972) and Sara (1883-1886).5


I love how stuff like this was published in the newspaper!

In the summer of 1910, he and James Lucey visited York Beach Maine where James and Mary (O’Brien) Lucey were vacationing.6

Patrick died 19 Jul 1919 at home in Rochester at age 71.

This post is 5th in the in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge series.

1. Maine, Marriage Records, 1713-1937 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010.Original data: Maine Marriage Records, 1705-1922. Augusta, Maine: Maine State Archives. Pre 1892 Delayed Returns; Roll #: 81.

2. New Hampshire, Death and Disinterment Records, 1754-1947 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2013.Original data: “New Hampshire, Death and Disinterment Records, 1754–1947.” Online index and digital images. New England Historical Genealogical Society. Citing New Hampshire Bureau of Vital Records, Concord, New Hampshire.

3. ibid.

4. 1870 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Year: 1870; Census Place: Amesbury, Essex, Massachusetts; Roll: M593_607; Page: 27A; Image: 58; Family History Library Film: 552106.

5. New Hampshire, Birth Records, 1659-1900 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations. Inc., 2013.Original data: “New Hampshire, Birth Records, through 1900.” Online index and digital images. New England Historical Genealogical Society. Citing New Hampshire Bureau of Vital Records, Concord, New Hampshire.

6. Portsmouth Herald (Portsmouth, New Hampshire) [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2006.Original data: Portsmouth Herald. Portsmouth, NH, USA. Database created from microfilm copies of the newspaper. 2 Aug 1910, pg. 2.

52 Ancestors: #4 The Woolen Mill Workers

Rather than focus on a specific ancestor this week, I thought I’d share a picture and some thoughts on the woolen mill workers in my family.

I believe my 3rd great grandfather began his long career in the mills at Ballardvale, a section of Andover, MA around 1860. His brother John likely worked there also. For any art buffs Charles Sheeler immortalized the mills of Ballardvale in his 1946 painting.

From about 1865 until 1880, the family lived in South Groveland, MA and worked in the mills there.

In 1880, James, his wife Johanna and their children, John, David and James (my 2nd great-grandfather) moved to Rochester, NH where James became Boss Carder at the Gonic Manufacturing Company.

James is in the center of the picture with his carding room crew from the Gonic Manufacturing Company in Rochester, NH.

James is in the center of the picture with his carding room crew from the Gonic Manufacturing Company in Rochester, NH.

Robert Frost wrote “The Lone Striker” about his own experiences working in the mills at Lawrence, Mass in the 1890’s. I think it paints a vivid picture:

The air was full of dust of wool.
A thousand yarns were under pull,
But pull so slow, with such a twist,
All day from spool to lesser spool,
It seldom overtaxed their strength;
They safely grew in slender length.
And if one broke by any chance,
The spinner saw it at a glance.
The spinner still was there to spin.
That’s where the human still came in.
Her deft hand showed with finger rings
Among the harplike spread of strings.
She caught the pieces end to end
And, with a touch that never missed,
Not so much tied as made them blend.

This post is 4th in the in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge series.

Two Days before Christmas, 52 Ancestors: #3 Herbert Bowen

December 23rd 1934 was a cold but clear Sunday in Rochester, New Hampshire. My grandmothers younger brother Herbert Bowen was riding around town that afternoon with his friends Arthur and Eleanor when the unthinkable happened.

Arthur is behind the wheel when he spots a car backing out of a driveway. He hits the brakes but they are coming down a hill and the road is icy, he loses control and skids into a telephone pole. Herbert is dead on arrival, he was just 20 years old. The two friends are injured but survive.

What a horrible Christmas that must have been for all the families involved. My grandmother spoke fondly of her brother but I don’t recall any specific stories, just what a tragedy his death was. If any family members reading this know of any, please post a comment or send me an email.

Herbert Sewall and Doris Mae Bowen circa 1918

Herbert Sewall and Doris Mae Bowen circa 1918, in the background is their grandfather Sewall Stanhope

Herbert Sewall Bowen was born 30 Aug 1914 in Edmunds, Maine to George and Bessie (Stanhope) Bowen. The family moved to Rochester shortly before the accident because work was scarce in Down East Maine at the time and George’s brother Myron had found a job a the W.H. Champlin box company. They lived in the same multi-family house on Knight street with Myron and his family until 1935 or 36 when they moved to Portland Street. My grandfather Vinny’s family lived on Portland Street, he and Doris married on 28 Nov 1936. George, Bessie and their other son Alton later moved to Meaderboro Road, not far from Walnut Street where Herbert was killed.

Transcription of the Rochester Courier article:

One Killed, Two Injured, As Car Skids Into Pole
Hubert Bowen, 20, Dies in Local Crash

Herbert Bowen of 21C Knight street was instantly killed and Arthur Fairweather, Jr., 18, same address, and Eleanor Hanson, 17, of Bow Lake were badly injured when an automobile, driven by Fairweather, skidded into a telephone pole on Walnut street, Sunday afternoon.
According to police, the car was coming down the hill on Walnut street. A car, driven by Albert C. Elgar of Hillsborough and Mrs. Ethel Fitch of East Rochester, was about to back out of a driveway, which was on the left of the approaching car. A collision did not occur as the Elgar car did not back into the street, but evidently Fairweather applied his brakes and his car skidded at full speed on the icy street into the telephone pole.


Rochester Courier 30 Dec 1934 pg. 1

Bowen was taken to the Frisbie Memorial hospital and was pronounced dead on his arrival. Dr. Norman Chesley rendered aid to the other occupants of the wrecked machine.
Dr. Forrest L. Keay, medical referee of Strafford county, viewed the remains and pronounced that Bowen was instantly killed.
Fairweather had a bad cut on the forehead and another cut on the back of his head. Miss Hanson was cut and bruised.
State Officer Frank D. Manning and Traffic Officer Clyde Cotton were on the scene early, being closely followed by State Inspector Harold Foss of Dover.
An investigation was held at the City hall, County Solicitor Thomas J. McGreal of Somersworth in charge. All parties involved were questioned and the accident was declared unavoidable.
Bowen is the son of Mr. and Mrs. George Bowen and was employed at the W. H. Champlin lumber mill.

Herbert Bowen Is Buried Wednesday

Funeral services were held Wednesday afternoon at the Edgerly chapel on South Main street for the late Herbert Bowen, who was killed instantly in an automobile accident on Walnut street.


Rochester Courier 4 Jan 1935 pg. 5

Mr. Bowen was born in Edmunds, Me., the son of George and Bessie (Stackpole) [actually Stanhope] Bowen and was 20 years of age. He was employed at the W. H. Champlin lumber mill in this city and a wide circle of friends were deeply shocked because of the tragedy.
Rev. Daniel H. Miller, pastor of the True Memorial church, officiated. There was a large and beautiful floral tribute. Undertaker J. H. Edgerly was in charge of the funeral arrangements.

This post is 3rd in the in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge series.

52 Ancestors: #2 John Frost

My 2nd post in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge is my 3rd great-grandfather John Frost. He was born around 1822 in Germany and married Catherine sometime around 1845. Catherine was born in Hesse Darmstadt, Germany around 1818, I’m not sure of her maiden name.

John, Catherine and daughter Elizabeth came to America and lived in Newark, NJ. By 1860 they had two sons as well, Frederick (1855-?) and my 2nd g-grandfather Julius Henry (1857-1934). In the 1860 census, they family is enumerated living on Camfield Street (based on comparisons of neighbors and later city directories), John’s occupation is listed as Saloon and he had a $500 valuation of personal belongings. Frost is misspelled as “Froas”.

1860UnitedStatesFederalCensusForJohnFroas 1860 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Year: 1860; Census Place: Newark Ward 2, Essex, New Jersey; Roll: M653_688; Page: 168; Image: 170; Family History Library Film: 803688.

John was listed in the 1861 and 1862 Newark Directories as a harness maker on Camfield street but is missing from 1863.

Title: Newark, New Jersey, City Directory, 1861. U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.

Title: Newark, New Jersey, City Directory, 1861. U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.

In the 1864 directory, wife Catherine is living at 8 Maiden Lane, no mention of John. In 1865 Catherine is listed as his widow. I haven’t been able to find a death record for John or any record of military service that might have taken him away from New Jersey, so exactly when and how he died is unknown to me. 

52 Ancestors: #1 Johanna Donoghue

Amy Crow over at No Story Too Small had a great idea to encourage family history blogging: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. Posts can be anything (stories, pictures, etc…), just focus on one ancestor. I hope to meet the challenge.

My first post is on my 2nd great-grandmother, Johanna Donoghue (1849-1922). She left the family farm in Shroneboy, Ireland in 1871 and came to America with her cousin Elizabeth Mahoney.

The view from Upper Shronaboy, the O'Donoghue family farm.

Upper Shronaboy, the O’Donoghue family farm. O’Donoghue’s still live there today.

In 1875, she married James Edward Lucey in South Groveland, Massachusetts. They had 10 children, three of which died young of diphtheria. They made their home at 66 Church St in the Gonic section of Rochester, New Hampshire where Johanna planted lilac bushes (her favorite) and they built a lawn-tennis court.

Johanna and daughter Agnes circa 1905

Johanna and daughter Agnes circa 1905

Shortly after she died in 1922, the following appeared in the Rochester Courier.

By the death of Mrs. James E. Lucey, which was announced in the Courier last week, Gonic loses one of its most highly respected ladies. She had a very pleasant disposition and always looked on the bright side of life and well does the writer remember, when he was a boy playing with other boys around the Lucey homestead, making much noise and doing many tricks we ought not to do, Mrs. Lucey would not scold us but approach us in a bright and cheerful mood and kindly asked us to be good boys, and we would always mind her. She was honored, respected and beloved by all who knew her and is a big loss to the community. She was a loving wife and a devoted mother and her husband and children have the heartfelt sympathy of the whole village in their great loss.


Mystery Monday – Native American Day

Today is Native American Day, in South Dakota at least, which reminded me of an old family rumor that my grandmother was part Native American.

Doris Mae Bowen

My Grandmother Doris Mae Bowen 1913-2004

She didn’t think she was, but  didn’t know.

Bessie Stanhope Tree

Her mother, Bessie Stanhope, was the great-granddaughter of James Carter and Deborah Newell.  James was born in 1765 in England and by 1788 had settled in Moose Island, Maine, which is part of Eastport and right in the heart of Passamaquoddy Tribe territory. According to many online family history pages and forum messages (example), his wife Deborah was from the Passamaquoddy Tribe. I haven’t found any evidence of this specifically, but I certainly haven’t exhausted all sources yet. The websites I’ve seen haven’t pointed to any actual source documentation either.

I have taken DNA tests with 23andMe, Ancestry DNA and Family Tree DNA and none have shown any Native American ancestry, however Deborah would be my 5th great-grandmother, so it’s possible that none made its way to me in an identifiable segment.

While it won’t prove that Deborah was Native American, I’d love to hear from any other descendants of James Carter and Deborah Newell that have taken DNA tests.

Tombstone Tuesday – John Lucey 1843-1860

On the 12th of November, 18531 ten year old John Lucey, his mother Mary and younger brother James (my 2nd Great Grandfather) arrived in Boston, Massachusetts. Just seven years later, he was dead2 of peritonitis.
According to the 1860 census3, the family lived in the BallardVale section of Andover, where John worked as a spinner, likely in the woolen mills of the BallardVale Manufacturing Company.

Headstone of John Lucey. St. Augustine's Cemetery, Andover, MA

Headstone of John Lucey. St. Augustine’s Cemetery, Andover, MA

1. “Boston Passenger Lists, 1820–1943” database. ( : accessed 17 Sep 2013), entry for Jno Lucy, aboard Meridian, Liverpool to Boston, arriving 12 Nov 1853; citing Boston, Massachusetts. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Boston, Massachusetts, 1820–1891. Micropublication M277. RG036. 115 rolls. National Archives, Washington, D.C.
2. “Massachusetts, Deaths, 1841–1915,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 17 Sep 2013), John Lucy, 1860.
3. 1860 U.S. Census, Essex County, Massachusetts, population schedule, Town of Andover, Ballard Vale post office, page 202, dwelling 1368, family 1615, Mary Lucy household; digital images, ( : accessed 17 Sep 2013); citing NARA microfilm publication M653, roll 496; Page: 202; Image: 206; Family History Library Film: 803496.”

National Dog Day

In honor of National Dog Day, (Aug 26th, I know, I’m late) here are a couple of pictures of my 2nd Great Grandfather, James Edward Lucey (1848-1934) and some family pets. Unfortunately I don’t have any info on the dogs…

James Lucey JimDada&Dogs

I’ve pretty much always had a dog and have 3 now. Here’s one of me and my first dog, Misty, in about 1972.
Dave and Misty

Wordless Wednesday – The Lucey Grandchildren

"The Lucey Grandchildren"

On the back – “The Lucey Grandchildren”

This picture was probably taken in the spring of 1915 in Rochester, New Hampshire, I’m pretty sure my grandfather Vincent is one of the babies in the front row, he was born in Sept 1914.

Vinny’s brothers  are also in the picture: Donald (second from left, back row), Gerald (center, back row) and Richard (far right, back row).

Other possibles, all cousins to Vinny: Mary Lucey Corson and David Joseph Lucey (the other two babys), Bernadette and Mary Frances Lucey (Davids older sisters, girls in the front row), John Francis Lucey (back row, far left). 3 are unidentified.

Tech Tuesday – DNA Test Results, Update 2

Back in April 2012 I received my AncestryDNA results and wrote about my surprise at seeing Scandinavian and Persian/Turkish/Caucasus in my Genetic Ethnicity results. I’ve had some recent results that possibly shed some light on both question marks in my, and hopefully others, genetic ethnicity as AncestryDNA sees it.

My Ethnicity Summary

My Ethnicity Summary


At the time of my DNA test, the most popular theory was that the Vikings were lovers as well as fighters and that most of my Irish/English heritage is shown as Scandinavian. Back in August I connected with a cousin from my Stanhope line (Hi Susan!) and she pointed me to the website of Michael Stanhope, which seems to support that theory.

Michael, with the disclaimer that the information is“…what might have been rather than what definitely was”, documents the Stanhope line back to “…Halfdan Olafsson, Jarl of Vestfold, Ringerike, Hadeland, and the Opplands.” around the year 700 in Norway. The line supposedly goes from Norway to Normandy to England to America. That could certainly account for some of my Scandinavian ethnicity but it’s all but unprovable from a genealogical perspective. I was hopeful for something more concrete.

My Irish/English and Stanhope ancestry is on my paternal side, so every time I saw someone with Scandinavian listed as our “Shared Ethnicity” on Ancestry DNA, I automatically looked for surnames and locations from that side of my tree. Turns out I was being shortsighted.

My maternal grandfather’s parents are German and Lithuanian and although my grandfather is no longer here, his wonderful sister Jane is. My great-aunt Jane took the DNA test in December and yet another surprise when her results came in: 64% Eastern European, 36% Scandinavian.

Jane's Ethnicity Summary

Jane’s Ethnicity Summary

When I look at the matches we have in common, it turns out that on many of them the Shared Ethnicity is Scandinavian and the Shared Birth Location is Germany.SharedBirthLocations

Most of the matches have no obvious Scandinavian heritage (surnames or birth locations). Some matches have Central European ethnicity as well, which is where you’d expect German heritage to show.

So, it seems that some German ancestry shows as Scandinavian in the Ancestry DNA system. Perhaps these people originally were from Scandinavia and the test is picking up that deep ancestry or perhaps it’s just an error in the way the system works.  Any readers with Scandinavian in your DNA results where you expected German?


My maternal grandmothers parents are both from Quindici, Avellino, Italy, which is a small town near Naples. You’d expect them to show as Southern European in my ethnicity, but I don’t have any.  I recently found a DNA match where the persons grandmother was a Manzi and our only shared ethnicity is Persian/Turkish/Caucasus.

Legend has it that my Fusco’s from Malden, Massachusetts are cousins of the Manzi’s from Lawrence, Massachusetts but I have not been able to find documentation of the connection yet. I’ve sent a message to the match to see if we can find a connection, I’m hopeful we will.

Are you seeing a similar or contrary pattern in your AncestryDNA results? I’d love to hear about it, please leave a comment.

Can I get your number?

I’m a numbers guy. I like to know how I’m doing against my goals and track statistics to see trends. I have an app on my iPhone that tells me how many cigarettes I haven’t smoked since I quit 6 months ago (3500-ish) and how much money I can redirect into my genealogy habit as a result (about $1000!!). I have apps to track my weight, my money, etc… It’s probably one of those things that has bled over into my personal life from work where “if you don’t measure it, you can’t manage it”. There’s something Pavlovian about it for me.

The one area that was for the most part safe from statistics was genealogy, until I read Crista Cowen’s “What’s Your Number?” post. I mean, I know about how many people are in my tree (5070 as of today), but that doesn’t really say anything about how I’m “doing”. What does that even mean in this context? I’m not doing any of this just to collect a bunch of names and dates. I want to know who I come from and where they came from, so I can go there and walk where they walked and hopefully eat some delicious desserts (to immerse myself in the experience, of course). But, I like this statistic, lets check it out.

As Crista outlines, in 10 generations each of us has 1,022 direct-line ancestors. Count up how many you have documented in each generation, add ‘em up and divide by 1022 to get your percentage. So how am I doing?

Not too bad, 10.6% overall. On my maternal grandmothers’ line I can’t get past my great-great grandparents (yet) so that takes quite a few possibles out very quickly. Fortunately, my paternal grandmothers’ family have been in America for around 300 years and left a nice document trail. The great thing is I now have a renewed focus and motivation to work on the lines that are sparse. Sometimes I get caught up in peripheral lines (making the tree wider, rather than deeper), which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but this is a number I’ll keep looking to improve.

Out of curiosity, I ran the numbers for my wife’s line and it came out slightly better at 12%. Her paternal French-Canadian lines are fairly well documented (Berube and Michaud). Her maternal lines are more recent (mid-to-late 1800’s) Irish immigrants, thus a little harder to track down.

I’d also highly recommend reading The Legal Genealogist’s entertaining blog post “More lost than found” on this same topic. So, what’s your number?

Source: Crista Cowan, “Family History All Done? What’s Your Number?,” Blog, posted 16 Aug 2012 ( : accessed 29 Aug 2012).

Workday Wednesday – New England Forestry Co

Around 1908, my great grandfather Julius (Jules) Frost started a Forestry business.

In 1914, the business was advertised in the Bridgeport Connecticut Directory and several photographs were added to the family photo album.

Fred Frost, spraying trees – June 1914

Jules brother Fred was involved in the Forestry business as well. He later became a plumber.

Joe Metzger, Geo Palmer, Ed Judd. 1914

Assuming that these guys worked for the company.

Edward Benham – June 1914
Spraying Machine, Stratford, CT

Jules Frost’s moving company

By 1925, Jules had moved to the Bronx and in the New York census that year he listed his occupation as “Piano Company”. He was likely moving Pianos, as he eventually owned a moving company for many years.

Tech Tuesday – DNA Test Results, Update

Cousin found! Well, technically he wasn’t lost as we had connected via trees several months ago, but it’s nice to have the documented relationship backed up by DNA results.

Chris and I are 4th cousins, via the O’Brien family of Tuam, County Galway, Ireland. Here’s how AncestryDNA presents a match when a common ancestor can be identified. They could have picked either 3rd great-grandparent, Patrick O’Brien or Bridget O’Hare. I think the system is very precise when it comes to names, dates and locations. It does not seem to accomodate for alternate spellings, abbreviations or common date modifiers (like circa or about) like the Ancestry search engine does.

My 2nd great-grandfather Patrick J. O’Brien was born in 1848 in Tuam (pronounced choom) and came to America around the late 1860’s. In August of 1874, he and Ellen Ryan (1846-1934) were married in Portland, Maine. They lived in Rochester, NH and had four daughters: Katherine (1876-1956), Bernice (1879-1948), Mary (1881-1972) and Sara (1883-1900).

I’m seeing a lot more potential matches on the AncestryDNA Member Match page now, averaging about 10-15 new matches every 7 days. Each match is shown with several pieces of information: possible relationship range and a confidence level. Interesting to note that Chris was shown as a possible range 5th-8th cousin and a “Low” confidence level on page 3 of my matches, so it took me a while to even notice that he was listed. I have six people listed as 95%+ confidence, 4th-6th cousins, 3 of which have trees that are public, yet unfortunately no obvious connection. Interesting leads though, lots of Virginia/North Carolina families but all of my people are from New England, maybe an unknown sibling went south at some point? I’ll just have to keep digging.

Wordless Wednesday – Vincent Lucey School Photos

Inspired by Randy Seavers’ (Not So) Wordless Wednesday post, I thought I’d share a couple of school photos of my grandfather, Vincent Lucey (20 Sep 1914-20 Sep 1976). Vinny grew up in Rochester, NH, the family lived at 75 Portland Street and he went to Rochester High School.

Here’s one from the beginning of his school career, looking thrilled to be there…

Vinny – 1921

and two from senior year.

circa 1933

circa 1933

Tombstone Tuesday – Fred Frost – Arlington National Cemetery

This is the tombstone of my great-grand uncle Frederick Charles Frost and his wife Nita Conner. They are buried in Section 31 at Arlington National Cemetery, to the right of the Women in Military Service Memorial.

Fred was a plumber and served in the U.S. Marines Engineering Battalion, Fifth Company in that capacity. He reached the rank of Sergeant and was stationed at Quantico Marine Base in Dumfries, VA.

He was discharged honorably in Apr 1923.

Fred and Nita, Newark NJ 1921

Fred was born 11 Nov 1891 in New Haven, CT, the youngest child of Julius H and Susan (Odell) Frost. He married Nita in 1919 and after retiring from the Marines, they lived in Washington DC where he continued working as a plumber.

1957 Washington Post death notice

Their daughter Oritha (Rita) married Joseph H Miller around 1940. She died in Georgia in 1994. I have not been able to locate the four grandchildren mentioned.

Arlington National Cemetery Section 31, Site 8307                                                                       Looking from Frederick’s gravesite towards front gate

The Family Obsession

If a stranger were to peruse my collection of old family photos, he or she might assume that we owned a car company in the early 1900’s. We did not, but cars are in so many of the pictures, sometimes just the car and no people, that one can safely assume some of my ancestors were obsessed with autos.

I am going to try to post a picture/car a week, I should finish when I’m 150 or so.

Polly and Jackie at Aunt Mae’s NJ

Aunt Mae (Frost) Hotchkiss was my great-grandfather Jules’ sister. Polly (Pauline) and Jackie (John) were his kids (my grandfather Bob’s sister and brother). Mae and her husband Nelson lived at 10 Cross St, West Orange NJ in the 20’s. If you look closely through the octagonal window, you can see Jules’ wife Helen. The plate on the car says NY 1924. Based on the clothing, license plate and ages of the kids, it’s likely this is summer 1924. Note the dent on the fender behind Jackie’s head.

XMas at Gramma’s 1923 Bridgewater, Mass

This car shows up in a few more photos taken in 1923 and 24, so best guess for the year of the car is 1919-1923. Near as I can tell it’s a Cole Aero-Eight Sportsedan, or a Model 878 as it was known. The unique octagonal rear windows help to confirm the make and model.

According to the Cycle and Automobile Trade Journal, the 878 was introduced by the Cole Motor Company of Indianapolis, IN in 1919. From the journal:

Provision for adjusting the upper glass panels is a feature of the doors, gives means of ventilation…

In other words, the windows roll down. The price was $3895 and you had a choice of Aero gray or American Flag blue, the top was black.

Jules and Helen (and the Cole) 1924

Tombstone Tuesday – We Miss Thee At Home

David Joseph Lucey (my 2nd great-grand uncle, brother of James) was just 47 when he died in Dec 1904, leaving his wife Jean (Brodie) and daughter Lucille.

This cemetery plot was owned by Jean’s father, Peter Brodie and he, along with his wife Mary, son Robert, daughter Jean, Jean and David’s children Arthur and Lucille are all buried here. This death notice appeared in the Haverhill Evening Gazette on 12 Dec 1904.

On 14 Dec 1904, the following obituary was published in the Haverhill Evening Gazette:


The funeral of the late David J. Lucey was held this morning from St. James church, requiem mass being celebrated by Rev. Fr. Graham. The services were attended by a large number of friends of Mr. Lucey, including a delegation from Haverhill Lodge of Elks, of which he was a member. Many businessmen, who had business dealings with the deceased, were also there to pay their last respects to the memory of one of their number. The floral tributes were profuse and were silent testimonials of love and esteem.

At the conclusion of the services the remains were borne to St. James cemetery [he was actually buried in Riverview, not St. James, not sure if he was reinterred], the bearers being Dr. W.F.B. Reilly, Edward F. Sullivan and Thomas H. McDonald from Haverhill lodge, B.P.O.E.; John Lucey of Groveland, James Lucey of Groveland and John Fielding of this city, nephews of the deceased.

The floral tributes were as follows: Pillow, inscribed “Husband” wife; pillow, inscribed “Brother” Mrs. Chas. D. Sargent [Margaret Lucey] and Mrs. John Fielding [Mary Lucey]; cross, “Papa” daughter, Lucille; roses, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas H. McDonald; Easter lilies, Mrs. Charlotte Ford and Miss Annie Moran; spray of pinks, Miss Nellie Curtis; spray of chrysanthemums, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Merritt; spray of pinks, Mr. and Mrs. John Fielding Jr.; roses, J.B. Brosnan; chrysanthemums, Elizabeth Mann [daughter of sister Annie, who stayed in Ireland]; chrysanthemums, Mr. and Mrs. Olivers C. Frost; spray of pinks, Dearborn & Pinkham; cross and mound, Haverhill Lodge of Elks; pillow, “At Rest” Mr. and Mrs. James Lucey and family; spray of pinks, Mr. and Mrs. Monroe L. Corson; roses, Edward Charlesworth and Lyman Worthen. [David, Edward and Lyman visited Ireland in 1901]

Mr. Lucey left a wife, one daughter, Lucille; one brother, James Lucey [my 2nd g-g-father] of Gonic, NH and three sisters, Mrs. Margaret Sargent of Groveland, Mrs. Mary Fielding of Groveland, and Mrs. Annie Mann of Queenstown, Ire. [one sister stayed in Ireland!]

Military Monday – War of 1812

In the Boston area, going to visit the U.S.S. Constitution in Charlestown is a right of passage for every kid. Two hundred years ago today, America declared war on Britain and the Constitution would earn its nickname “Old Ironsides” in the ensuing naval battles. The War of 1812 is sometimes called the “forgotten war”, overshadowed by the American Revolution and the Civil War. But, it was an important step for America, to prove to Britain and the world that it could stand up on its own.

Image Source: Library of Congress website

My 4th Great-grandfather Rodolphus Stanhope enlisted at Robbinstown, Maine as a Private in Capt. Thomas Vose Jr.’s Militia, Lieutenant Colonel Oliver Shead’s Regiment.1 He was 15 years old at the time. I can’t find any record of engagements for this unit, so I don’t believe he saw any fighting. He does show up in the War of 1812 Pension Application Index on The actual Pension files are being digitized (you can support the cause here) and will be available on Fold3 as they are completed. I will probably order the records from the National Archives this summer.

Rodolphus (1796-1870) was the son of Peter and Elizabeth (Parmenter) Stanhope. He married Susannah Hickey in 1815 and they had 13 children including my 3rd great-grandfather, Rodolphus in 1817.

1. U.S., Adjutant General Military Records, 1631-1976 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.
Original data: Various. Sacramento, California: California State Library.

Funeral Card Friday – Johanna Donahue Lucey 1922

Johanna Donahue Lucey, my 2nd great-grandmother, was born in Upper Shronaboy, Glenflesk, County Kerry Ireland on the family farm. There are still Donoghue’s living there today! Her father John wrote her this letter from Ireland in 1896.

This was published in the Rochester Courier the week after her death.

Sunday’s Obituary – James Lucey, 87, Gonic Civil War Vet, Dies

Funeral Services for James Lucey, 87, of Gonic, were held Saturday morning at St. Mary’s church. Rev. John J. McNamara officiated. The services were widely attended by relatives, friends and members of military organizations of which he was a member.

Death put an end to a most interesting career with the passing of Mr. Lucey at the Wentworth hospital in Dover Thursday. Born in Queenstown, Ireland, 87 years ago, James Lucey came to America at the age of twelve, making his new home in South Groveland, Mass. There he learned the trade of carder in one of the textile factories.

With the event of the Civil war Mr. Lucey, although too young for actual duty enlistment, joined Co. M. of the Second Massachusetts Heavy Artillery as a drummer, and soon found himself a regular soldier, engaging in many of the principal battles of the war. He saved his money that he received for fighting and when he returned to his home he once more took up the trade of carder.

In 1879 he moved to Gonic, where he lived until his death. He was employed at the Gonic Manufacturing company mills for 54 years, first as a carder, then as overseer of the card room. Last March he retired to enjoy life at his home on Church Street, where he lived with his daughter.

He is survived by a sister, Mrs. Mary Fielding of South Groveland, Mass.; a son, James Lucey, Jr., of Gonic; and three daughters, Mrs. Anna Stevens and Mrs. Margaret Brown of Dover, and Mrs. Agnes Corson of Gonic.

A past commander of the G.A.R., Mr. Lucey was accorded a military funeral by the A.O.H. and the American Legion. He will be missed by his many friends, to whom he seemed a necessary part of the Memorial and Armistice day celebrations. Hervey Edgerly was in charge of the funeral.

From the Rochester Courier, front page, 21 Dec, 1934 edition. Transcribed by David Lucey.

Amanuensis Monday – 1896 Letter

Transcription of a letter from my 3rd Great Grandfather, John Cornelius Donoghue to his daughter Johanna (wife of James E Lucey). Johanna had been in America about 25 years at the time of this letter. Transcribed by me from a photocopy of the original letter.

Shronaboy Jan 7th 1896

Dear Daughter,

             I received your welcome letter and xmas present in due time for which I am more than thankful for.  I suppose I have not deserved as much from you as I never gave you anything but you know I thought more of you than any of the others and I tried to keep you with myself. 

            Johannah I am very glad to know that yourself, husband and family are in good health and going well a blessing which I hope you all will enjoy for many years to come. Now as for my going to America, I am too old and I suppose I would not live to reach you so I think it would not be worth my while to carry my old bones to a foreign country as I have not long to live, at best I am 80 years old.  I am thankful for your kind offer and there is nothing would please me better than to be with you but it is to(sic) late now.  I was glad to here (sic) that Hagerty is getting on well now.  I was sorry he should have met with any difficulties he was always kind to me and never forgot me.

            Now about your sister’s children the ages of Kate’s are from 20 years down to 9 and Norah’s about the same.  I will send you a more accuret (sic) account of them the next time I write you.  They are getting on nicely and if anything don’t occur that I am not aware of they will for some time to come.  This was a very good year for the farmer’s they had very good crops and a fair price for cattle and sheep butter is low but is bringing a better price lately. The country is the same as when you left is the people generally live better but everything else about the same.  Potatoes 2 shillings 6 pence per peck of 147lbs butter 1 shilling per lb meat 8 pence per pound for beef and mutton pork 6 pence flour 21 shillings per 224 lbs meal 15 shillings per bag of 280 lbs the prices of the different things are gon down and in many instances the rents are reduced some but not enough to corispond with the fall in prices.

            Now I cannot think of any more to tell you this time, hoping those lines will find all of you enjoying the New Year in good health and spirits

            I remain your fond father

                        John C. Donoghue

                        Shronaboy, Glenflesk, Co. Kerry Ireland

(Good bye write soon)