Tuesday, January 27, 2015


This year's challenge by Amy Crow is another weekly blog, but based on Themes. Last week, it was Tough Woman. This week it's CLOSEST TO MY BIRTHDAY!  And the lucky ancestor closest to my birthday is: Alice GAYLORD/Gaylaud, bap. 10 May 1595, Pitminster, Somerset, England.  See on the right, a gorgeous photo of the Church by Mike Searle, built approximately 1300.

Hugh and Joan Gaylord, the parents of Alice, had five other children.  However, I have not been able to determine if any of them emigrated as well. This family surname is sometimes listed as Gayler, Gaylaud, Gaylord, and other variations. Details of the history of the surname Gaylord may be found here.  This family can trace back another generation as well, Hugh being one of 5 boys of Nicholas GAYLORD & Johane ALVYN, all living in Pitminster.  Hugh died in October 1614 in Pitminster.  

Note that the Pitminster parish registers of marriages (St Andrew & St Mary Church) have been transcribed from 1542. Clicking on this link takes you to the Phillimore transcripts, completed in the early 20th Century.

Alice is one of my early settlers to Connecticut from the Pitminster area, arriving approximately 1635-1637 with husband, Richard TREAT (Trott, in England) and their 9 children. Two of their original 11 children had died before they immigrated. Some records state that Richard immigrated on the ship "Mary & John", settling in Connecticut where he had several important roles, e.g., Deputy to the General Court, Magistrate, and was also on Gov. Winthrop's council in 1663-1664. My line goes through their 6th child, the 3rd boy, Robert TREAT, 1625-1710, Governor of Connecticut 1683-98 in two separate terms.

When Richard and Alice TREAT arrived in Connecticut about 1638, their children were between 18 [Honor Treat] and under 1 year [Catharine Treat].  Alice's husband left a sizeable estate when he died, and the family seem to have lived relatively well, with positions showing high social status and recognition. 

As is common with the tough women who came with their husbands and children to a new country, very little is known about Alice as a person.  We have her baptism on 10 May 1595, her marriage date of 27 Apr 1615 in Pitminster, her immigration with her husband and 9 living children, and an estimate of her death a year or two after husband who died in March 1668/69 in Wethersfield, Hartford, CT.  I have not found a will for her as yet

I certainly didn't have 11 children, nor travel across the Atlantic ocean in a sail boat with them all, to live in a relatively new community without family support!   We share a birthday, but not many other characteristics.  Alice - I'm pleased to share a birthday with such an intrepid woman. 

Cheers! (clink)

Monday, January 19, 2015

52 WEEKS, 52 THEMES: No.3, Tough Woman - Charlotte BORTLE.

This year's challenge by Amy Crow is another weekly blog, but based on Themes. Last week, it was King.  This week, it's on TOUGH WOMAN. A challenging topic, as I've often thought many of my women ancestors past were tough women to survive large numbers of children, settle in new places, often with limited resources. But I decided to write - once again - about my "most-tough-to-find" woman, Charlotte Bortle.  
This will be the third post about her in 3 years... Maybe this year will be the year. You can read more details I've written on my previous two posts, on Feb. 23, 2013, and Aug. 29, 2013

Charlotte BORTLE enters my life as the wife of one of the several Grover BUEL(L)s in my line - I keep track of them by their birthdates!  She is shown with her children, on censuses, and as the widow when her husband dies, and then finally, she is buried in the same cemetery.  That's it. Nothing more.  The gravestone photo above at right, is from Lysander Union Cemetery, Lysander, Onondaga NY [photo by permission of BArnold]

There is evidence (The History of the Buells in America, her Gravestone inscription) of her birth month and year, and an indication of place on both the 1850 and 1870 Census. This gives us a likely birthdate of 10 Oct 1797, and a likely birthplace of New York... possibly in Northumberland, Saratoga, New York, or in a neighbouring county.  

Northumberland was settled during the late 1700s, and "Mr. Buel" arrived after 1790, according to a small history of the region.

Charlotte married Grover BUELL 17 Dec 1814 in Northumberland, implying that her family were living in the region at that time or, before that date.  

However in the 1790 Census, I cannot find any Bortles of any spelling in the Northumberland region, although there is an Andrew Bortles living in Hebron, Washington County to the east of Northumberland. And in the 1800 Census, an Andrew Bortle is living in Greenbush, Rensselaer County, about 45 miles south of Northumberland.  A potential name to research.

I have tried to see if the children's names would be clues - she and Grover had 5 children - but the names are common in the Buell line, so this is not much of a clue. 

Here's the only odd clue I have:  when she died a few years after her husband, the mortality schedule shows her age, says she was born in New York, and that her Mother and Father were both born in "N.S." - which would be Nova Scotia, Canada.  

Nice clue, but so far I haven't found any Bortles of any spelling, in the region known as Nova Scotia.  More research to be done.  

Charlotte is my Tough Woman!  But I'm certain that out there somewhere, there is this great little record which gives Charlotte "wife of Grover Buell, born of parents  ____ & ____ Bortle". With many more interesting details about her parents, their occupations, where they came from originally, why they came to North America, and all sorts of fabulous information. 

I'm waiting, Charlotte...  Just sayin'...  

And if Charlotte is a brick wall for you too, or if you have any clues or other details I could use to follow up on, please let me know via calewis at telus dot net, or in the Comments below.  Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

52 WEEKS, 52 THEMES: No. 2: When a VASSALL marries a KING

This year's challenge by Amy Crow is another weekly blog, but based on Themes.  Last week, it was Fresh Start.  This week, it's on King - anything related to the word, concept, or ancestral connection. 

Background:  My children's father's mother's line, the RICE line, goes back to the 1632 immigrant, Deacon Edmund RICE.  His grandson married Elizabeth WHITE, daughter of Resolved WHITE (who was the elder son of William & Susanna WHITE), an original Mayflower settler.  Um-hm, my ex-husband has Mayflower ancestors in the WHITE family.

But going back a bit further... Resolved WHITE, b. 9 Sep 1614 in Leiden, Netherlands, married first on 4 Apr 1640 in Scituate, Plymouth, Massachusetts, to Judith VASSALL, b. 1619 in Stepney, England, likely baptised in the same church as her mother; Judith was the eldest child of William VASSALL & Anna KING. Ah-ha!  Here's the KING in the family. Whew... bagged one.  The Vassall family had arrived in Massachusetts in 1635, arriving to settle, on the vessel, Blessing.

Anna KING.  
We have her baptism record as 1 Dec 1594, Woodham (Woodham Ferrers) Essex, England.  She likely was born within a few weeks of this date, but it is not listed on the record.  It does list her father - George KING, but not her mother. Likely this is because it was common for the mother to have a 'lying-in' for several weeks after the birth, and since she was not present at the baptism, she would not be listed as such. Frustrating, however. A family tree or two online have her mother listed as "Joane". An online index lists details of a likely Joane ROWSE married to a George Kinge as follows: ( Accessed: Ancestry.com. London, England, Extracted Parish Records [database on-line].):  
25 Feb 1589-90 George Kinge, of Hayes, co. Middx., Yeoman,
& Joane Rowse, Spinster, of Northall, sd co.,
dau. of William Rowse, late of same, Yeoman, decd; Gen. Lic.

And now doing a smidge of new searching, I find George KING's will, dated 14 Oct 1625, naming his wife as Joane, all three of his sons, listed in order as George, a daughter Judith, and his daughter Anna Vassall and his son-in-law, William Vassall.  Well, well, well. It wasn't posted anywhere last year, but here it is today. From the will one can find that George KING(e) owned several different farmlands and buildings, and also was Yeoman to 'his knight, Sir Arthur Harris'. His marriage lists him as Yeoman as well.

His burial record, in St George the Martyr, Southwark, Surrey, in south London on the south side of the Thames is quite clearly dated 7 Dec 1626, although I see online trees stating his death to be Dec 1625.  
The Church Register, "p.187-8, 1626, Burials - December, clearly shows written: 
                   7 | George King"

I wonder if this couple teased each other about how a King married a Vassal(l)? 

The five children they bore - 3 boys, 2 girls - all seem to have survived to adulthood and I may do a smidge more research on those other children if only to see if any others followed Anna & William over to the new colony in New England.

If you have information or corrections, please do not hesitate to let me know, either by contact through calewis at telus dot com, or in the Comments below.  Thank you so much for visiting and reading this post! 

Monday, January 12, 2015

A Good Start: my Genealogy Do-Over, 2 weeks in...

I decided to jump into Thomas MacEntee's Geneablogger "GENEALOGY DO-OVER" hoping to learn - or re-learn - how to organize efficiently, research more efficiently, and start using Research Logs & To-Do lists.  I think I was hiding behind the door when organizational skills were being handed out, and this challenge has dogged me all through my life.  But I'm improving, and of course, these dead people aren't going anywhere so I'm hopeful.  I do virtually everything online, so I have very little in paper; instead, my disorganization shows up on my computer! Messy, messy, messy, with duplications.

Pre-Do-Over:  I once again watched a Legacy webinar about using EVERNOTE, with Lisa Louise Cooke.  I'm now using Evernote consistently, and rather than trying to make Notebooks (folders, in other words), I am tagging with several tags as necessary for me e.g., one document about a great-greatgrandfather's document: GENEALOGY SURNAMES, England, Ireland, GILLESPIE, Research  As you can probably see, I need every tag I can think of in order to find items without making my Evernote filing system as bad as my original digital files.

I made a new folder "2015 Genealogy Do-Over", inserting the following three folders, to start with:

Already there are 7 Surname folders tucked inside to date, and I'm adding as I go...
2015 Do-Over Resource sheets   These specific resources have come from Thomas as well as additional individuals on the Facebook page or, from previous webinars and other sources. I'm a bit of a packrat about resources!

I will likely need to add separate folders for Maps, Books, and perhaps other topics. I definitely do not want everything filed by surname, as I simply don't think that way - I need to know I'm looking for e.g., a Map, and go directly to one folder, not dig through various surname folders!

I downloaded FolderMarker, (free) which can colour folders, put icons on folders (including numbers), and do much more.  I am beginning to use a colouring system to help me navigate effectively. So far, so good.

I also made an entirely new family tree in Legacy software, titled "New File Do-Over".  Then I was ready to go!

First, I moved my (old) Genealogy folder (which includes everything) over to my GoogleDrive where I had a good amount of space. It's now called "HOLD - FOR DO-OVER - GENEALOGY". And it's marked with a red triangle warning me to not go into it except for rare, very specific documents.

Secondly, I took time to decide on a simplified but detailed document naming system for each document. Several professional genealogists and others on the Do-Over Facebook page highly recommended doing the following [but with no punctuation]:
SURNAME, Name - Date (I'm using YYYY MON DA) - Item, Place (City,Co,Shire/Prov/State, Country [if needed])
e.g., KING, George - 1626 Dec 7 - Burial, London, Middlesex, England
e.g., VASSALL, Anna - 1593 Jan 10 - Baptism, Stepney, Middlesex, England

Whew. That was a big decision! I've begun to use this modified system - although most people said there should be no punctuation, I need to see sections set off. We're all unique, and this is needed for me.

Thirdly, I pulled out Thomas' Research Log (an Excel version) which I had downloaded over a year ago and never used.  I'd looked at it and thought about it, but never tried using it.  What was I thinking! I took a problem I was having in proving a particular relationship between a woman and her father in the 1700s, filled in the details, the questions, the clues I thought I might have from specific documents found to date...

This practice research helped me see I would need to modify the log in a few ways - mainly back to my (a) vision issues, and (b) my organizational issues.  Everything needs to be totally visible all at once and clearly seen.  Luckily with two screens, (one of them a nice large one I received when I retired), I can work on one screen, while keeping a tree software program open on the other screen, to check back and forth.

I now have several Research Plans from the Logs I have written out. Nice. This will definitely be helpful. I already feel relieved and relaxed about using the Log. Thanks for the template, Thomas!

Fourthly, I have added myself to the new tree, adding all details of education, birth, marriage+divorce, children, surgeries, and little stories as I thought of them. Already I think I need to have a Folder, "My Story", for my children and grandchildren.  Where else will they learn about playing jacks, Red Rover, Kick the Can, or my favourite 1-2-3 a'larrio ball game I could play by myself or, about my favourite little kids' book, Miss Sniff, which had velvety texture on all the cats/kittens?  Or the odd jobs I had over the years?  Hmmm. This is looking like another separate project to work on - perhaps next year!!  But, first I need to continue the work on getting my tree (and my children's father's tree) in shape, plus have my documents etc. in good enough shape that they will make sense to others who follow me.  

I'm doing more than the above four items this week, continuing with learning more, carefully working with what I'm learning, and making this Do-Over work for me in my own particular way.  Every person doing genealogy has different experiences, skills, and talents, so I've seen how everyone is doing their own do-over, uniquely.  So far, I'm enjoying it immensely. Slow but steady - that's me!

Monday, January 5, 2015

52 WEEKS, 52 THEMES : No.1, FRESH START (mine)

In 2014, Amy Johnson Crow set out a year-long challenge: Write something about "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks". Whew & Yeah!!  I did it.  It was a tremendous challenge, and I accomplished it, week by week by week.  And along the way I found some mistakes or mixups between same-name relatives, limited searches in the past, general sloppiness, incomplete details, and more.

Here we are again.  2015, and a new challenge for 52 Weeks:  a new THEME to write on, each week. No. 1 Theme is "Fresh Start" - and I'm choosing to start with my own Fresh Start, with two parts to this post. 

First:  In terms of genealogy, oh my do I need a Fresh Start!  I need to tidy my digital clutter, eliminate all the duplicates, name things in a consistent fashion, fill in names/places/dates in an absolutely consistent way as well.  There's more, but the bottom line is - my family tree (which includes my children's father's tree as well) could do with a lot of cleaning up and polishing.  I suspect it will be a year-long task for me.

I've joined up with over 1,150 other genealogy nuts, committed to do a personal variation of "Genealogy Do-Over" under Thomas MacEntee's direction. I've even talked a friend into joining it, plus found two other people I know who will be participating in some fashion as well.  A community.  A smorgasbord of many ways to "do-over" one's genealogy. Love it! 

I'm trying to go slowly - it barely got started on Friday!  But I'm only too aware of the failings of my digital clutter, as listed above.  I have copied my GENEALOGY folder to my Google Drive, since there was room.  Almost out of sight.  I'm not the most organized person - my adult kids are snorting right now if they're reading the post! - but I've improved a lot over the past few years. 

Slowly I'm going to read Thomas' points, think about them, see if and how I might incorporate those ideas into my genealogy.  Slowly.  Then I'll think some more, and very slowly, begin to make everything a little more organized, more accessible, more understandable for others, for the long term.  Because you know and I know, I won't be around forever, and I hope my kids & their kids will enjoy poking through the histories of our family lines - and making sense of what they find.  

And here's the Second part to this post.  Genealogy all by itself gave me another fresh start in life when I began over a decade ago, some years before I retired.  I'd experienced severe emotional abuse from my mother for most of my early life, into my mid-teens, which reverberated throughout my life for years. Nasty demeaning soul-tearing experiences... and mothers aren't supposed to be mean like that, are they?!  Luckily, a few decades ago, the BC Medical Plan paid for twice-weekly psychiatrist visits for years - which helped immensely.  It was so reassuring to find someone competent whom I trusted.

So the original reason I wanted to get into my family history was truly to understand that I came from a much larger 'family' than just my 'difficult' mother and father.  I wanted to know there was a bigger family history which influenced our ancestors and their ancestors and their... 

At this point in time, I can tell you that I am feeling hugely settled inside, more emotionally balanced. And I can see the many lines, the many ancestors who contributed to the making of "me".  It has been a very heartening experience, to learn about the challenges, histories, and lives of so many of my ancestors. Fascinating and instructive.  

Fresh Starts.  They come in many forms. Next week, the theme is "Kings"... hmmm.  I'm off to look at my ancestors now.


Family, friends, and others - I hope you enjoy these pages about our ancestors and their lives. Genealogy has become somewhat of an obsession, more than a hobby, and definitely a wonderful mystery to dig into and discover. Enjoy my writing, and contact me at celia.winky at gmail dot com if you have anything to add to the stories. ... Celia Lewis