My blog has been changed to make it more appealing for those who have New England ancestors and want to see the area through photos. Things I’ll include are typical white New England churches, libraries showing their genealogical collection, historical societies, cemeteries, war memorials, in general, anything to do with history.

For four years I’ve blogged mostly about my personal genealogy in New England (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire), New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, and the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. I still will, can’t forget my own roots.

Please check out the labels on the right side for articles. The header tabs at the top are a work in progress.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Glastonbury, Connecticut -- The Cemetery Visit Was 3 Minutes Early

A visit to the Green Cemetery in Glastonbury, Connecticut on April 17th proved to be the most frustrating hunt for a stone I've ever had in all 100 or so cemeteries I've been in.  I thought I was so well prepared as I had a copy of my John Kilbourn /Kilborn stone beautifully photographed for FindAGrave (FAG) by Rebecca, and I knew the row and exact location of the stone. So what happened? I was three minutes early, or was I? The sky was cloudless, and it was a nice late spring day. I was armed with an iPad and a small Sony aim and shoot camera, but I couldn't read any writing on a large number of stones. The shadow is exactly in the same place as the FAG photo below. When you compare the two pictures, I'd love some feedback. Do you think it was taken in another month or is there another reason? Would three minutes really make a difference? I wonder if Rebecca will respond to my query as to what month she was there, even though she posted her photo in 2007!

I have taken cemetery photos of John's 7 of direct line of Kilborn, all in Connecticut (Colchester, East Haddam, Clinton, New Haven, and Plainville). John Kilborn's father was probably buried across the river in Wethersfield per FAG.

John Kilbourn is my 8th great-grandfather. There are 21 Kilbourns or Kilborns in that cemetery and I could only read three! The stone reads

Lieth The
Body of Mr. Jno
Kilborn Who Died
November ye 25th 1711
in ye 60th year of His
FAG photo taken at 11:57 AM
Mine below taken at 11:54 AM
Changing it to black and white helped a little, at least I can see a few words.

Inside the fence are the row numbers. I called the Historical Society and got the exact location.
Green Cemetery has many entrances, not just the one shown.

The Historical Society of Glastonbury is next to the Cemetery. This was the original town hall built in 1840. The war memorial is in front of the town hall.

Town green is beside the cemetery and behind the Historical Society.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Memorials Written for my Mother and Her Revised Will to Benefit 6 Non-Profit Organizations

A newspaper obituary written about my mother was titled, "The Ultimate Volunteer, " I blogged about that obituary five years ago, see HERE. Now, 26 years after her April 16, 2016 death, I am posting three memorial articles to my mother. From the obituary, "She died of a heart attack, at the age of 70, doing what she loved, leading a group of bicyclists on an annual Patriot's Day bike ride in Lincoln [sic] (should be Lexington)."

Alan Dressler, Marta Gredler and Sharon Cain wrote memorial articles and Jean H. James wrote the Memorial Ride in my mother's name. Part of what they wrote are these statements: "Just a few of her activities: the Presidency of her Skidmore college class; Westford (MA) teacher; AARP; the Concord Piece-makers (her quilting group); Boy Scout recycling drives; Rails to Trails projects; and of course Bicycling with the Nashoba Valley Pedalers." "Long-time volunteer of the New England Quilt Museum." Personally, I know she was a Girl Scout volunteer and for several years the Sunday School volunteer administrator.

Her revised will dated 1 March 1990, just 6 weeks prior to her death and a few months before a scheduled trip to France, replaced her original one prepared in ca. 1955. She thought so much about her love of the Church, Rails to Trails, New England Quilt Museum, Friends of the Acton Council on Aging, Northfield Mt. Hermon School (where she attended a private high school), and Skidmore College that she left each of them 1/6 of 1/4 of her estate.

Revolutionary War Memorial--22 Names from Andover, Massachusetts







Wednesday, April 13, 2016

I Wanted to Know More and I Found a lot from a Great Cemetery Database

The title is a little misleading because the post is mostly about my efforts to find where David Mercer was buried and who he was. He married one of the five daughters of Annie Ward Poole Bartlett of Andover, Massachusetts. I knew where daughter Sarah Poole Bartlett was buried but where was the husband. When I discovered Sarah had married David Mercer, I soon discovered he was the son of Major-General Sir David Mercer (1864–1920), British Royal Marine officer. Now that I knew who he was, I had to find out where he was buried, since it wasn't next to his wife.

First step is always to turn to FindAGrave, and the screen shot shows just a name and dates, and he was buried in Brookale Cemetery, established in 1880, with almost 3,000 interments in Dedham, Norfolk Co., Massachusetts. Any genealogists knows, that isn't enough information.
A quick google search of the cemetery name shown on FindAGrave brought me to a link done by the town. I was hopeful.

Below are screen shots to show how to use their outstanding site, there isn't a lot of reading to figure it out.

After I clicked ok, and entered the  surname in the upper left box, you'll see a map and the surname you entered.
I then received a listing of all individuals with that surname. Below, you'll see five people with Mercer in their name.
I clicked on my Mercer, David Dixon, and noted he was in Lot 0421S.
Below, is a listing of all the people in that Lot. Complete with death date and age. A map showing where the Lot is can be seen as well. (You can exit out of this listing of names, and will be able to see the entire cemetery.) This Brookdale Cemetery database in Dedham, Massachusetts can provide a huge amount of information. Unfortunately, I didn't see a marker photo for David Mercer, but if I went, it wouldn't be hard to locate the spot.
In this listing, you have two options. One is to click on the name, that will give you his Grave Record, shown below. If you click on the last option, that of View Lot Diagram, you'll where the individuals are placed and additional bits of information.

Grave Record above, and Lot Diagram below.

I'm showing an incomplete lineage of Annie Ward Poole and her husband Nathaniel Edward Bartlett. The subject of this post is shown by the red arrow. You can see that Sarah Poole Bartlett married twice, and I should have David listed first, then the second, but in my haste.

This post will be added to yesterdays post, You need to Know What You Have So You Can Share With Others Your Cemetery List

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

You need to Know What You Have So You Can Share With Others Your Cemetery List

One of the best things you can do if you have a genealogy blog is know what you have. Today, I am talking about cemeteries, but not about the 234 entries I have with the label of cemetery. My problem is, it's impossible to remember where a certain post is, under the cemetery label, because they all are labeled cemetery.

Today, I decided to make a new label and have it be useful to me and for those who are searching helpful information, like maps and names in a cemetery, and you don't want to use Most of these were done by towns, or individuals (such as my husband's cousin and uncle).

I am covering the following towns in Massachusetts: No. Andover, Billerica, Bedford, Watertown, Cambridge, Andover and one in Maine. Shortly, I will add one for Dedham, Massachusetts (the best I've seen yet).

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Tribute to my Childhood Best Friend

I recently found out that my former best friend passed away. Her brother was kind enough to write and give me the details as well as other bits of information about the family. I am posting this in case anybody in cyberspace happens to google her name. I would like them to find this blog post and read about Mary Bea.

There aren't enough adjectives to describe the wonderful qualities of my former best friend. Smart, very pretty, talented, fun, nice and loyal. She and I were like glue soon after I moved 2 houses away from her in Lexington, Massachusetts in 1954. There were no other children our age, so we shared our early days together on the weekend and after school. We often took the bus to Boston, joined a very active Girl Scout troop (in my blog post about My Life as a Girl Scout, I wrote her name hoping she'd see it one day), and did what we could together because our stay-at-home mothers didn't work nor drive. She went to a private catholic school for several years, but we went to the same high school. There, she took college courses, went to college, became a teacher (at the same school my mother taught), left teaching, took more college courses and had a few different jobs, her last was about 30 years of working in several departments at Northeastern University, one as the Director of Personnel and her last position was Executive Assistant to the Provost.

During our almost 60 years, we often kept in contact the best we could, but hadn't spoken to each other in maybe 10 years. Years after college, she bought a house with her then boyfriend in Arlington, and invited me for a weekend visit. I then moved to Virginia and lived there for 20 years, but saw her a few times on my return...always meeting up in Lexington. During one lunch, she spent a good deal of time talking about her very good friend, Candy, who had just passed away. I am doing the same for her, although more publicly. Mary came to my mother's funeral, I called after I heard her mother passed. Soon, our Christmas cards stopped being sent, her post cards from afar, birthday as well. Later, I always knew how busy she was at Northeastern, and didn't want to bother her....I wish I had.

On November 22, 2015 I gathered a stack of Boston Globe newspapers to dispose of. I hadn't read any, but on a whim, something told me to flip through the obits (I never do that, as a matter of fact, especially this time as I could hardly see, never mind read anything because I was 3 weeks away from my first eye surgery for cataract removal). Right there, on the very last bottom of one of the 4 or more full pages of obituaries was Mary's name, age and date of death. I read it clearly. A short gasp, and tears formed when I read it over and over.

April 1967 in front of her apartment in Boston or Cambridge. Mary on the right, me on the left.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Three Cemetery Databases for One Cemetery and Not One was Complete. What Would You Do?

South Church / South Parish Cemetery
Central Street, Andover, Massachusetts

Have you noticed that quite often there are different sets of cemetery records for one cemetery? I found three databases for an Andover, Massachusetts cemetery, so, you simply should not rely on FindAGrave all the time, although that is where I always go first when it comes to trying to find cemetery information with listings and photos. I was looking for the burial of Anne Poole Bartlett, and began first with FindAGrave (and found my cousin's name listed), the second search provided a site with her tombstone photo and listed her birth and death dates, and the third site had quite a bit of information, complete with Lot and Grid numbers, but no photos or map. Which one helped me the most?

Step 1 
The first step was to check FindAGrave (FAG), and as you can see there is a listing for Anne Ward Poole Bartlett, who died in 1961. I was surprised there wasn't a photo, but because of her recent death date, I assumed she might have been cremated, but I needed to know for sure.

Step 2
A click on a website for given on the FAG site appeared to be just for the church. So decided to do a google search to see if there was any information on Anne Poole Bartlett. I found a site with a lot of Andover information, but I clicked on Cemeteries and Churches then saw the  *** NEW *** South Parish Cemetery Photo Project (2006) which took me to an alphabet listing which is divided into 9 sections. If you do this, you'll need to go to the appropriate column for your surname. You'll find names of those buried, birth and death dates and photos! However, there wasn't a way to find out where the cemetery they were buried.

Step 3
It wasn't until I went back to the church website and saw at the bottom of the page the word Cemetery which brought me to Search Cemetery Database. (Note: Cemetery is now on the bottom because the entire front page was changed for Easter. After Easter, it will probably be towards the top.) It's easy from here on out, just type in your surname, as I did below for Bartlett, Anne Poole. You'll get the Lot number and Detail. Click on Detail, and you'll get a detailed report ... see my yellow report below on Anne Bartlett. I've never seen anything like this in all the 150 or so different cemetery visits I've made.

I made a quick call to the church and learned that they have maps! The following morning, after printing out my names and writing their Lot numbers with Grid number (very important), I showed up at 9:30. Once you have the Grid, it is easy to find who you are looking for.  Copy of map is below.

To recap, if you believe your individuaol is buried in this cemetery, you'll need to insert the surname, note the Lot number and Grid number (from the Detail information), then use the map.

Cemetery Map
The Church and Cemetery from Google Earth.
The following Cemetery Statistics was taken, with permission, from the South Parish Burial Grounds page on the Cemetery link. Some information is extremely useful, especially about the for 339 Abbot / Abbott surnames.

"The South Parish Burial Grounds were established with the Parish in 1709.

Three of the four captains of the Andover Militia who marched on Concord and Lexington and later Bunker Hill, are buried here with their families, along with 81 other veterans of the American Revolution. 

Total gravestones: 1930 stones, representing 2854 people. Total broken or missing stones replaced 2001-2006: 72 (over 150 repaired) Veteran stats: Total veterans, patriots, and Pre-Revolution officers: 274, 150 newly identified.

  • Oldest vet: Pomp Lovejoy 102 – fought in the Rev. War at age 51 as a slave.
  • Youngest vets: 2 boys, both 16, died of disease during the Civil War at Ft. Albany, VA, 1862 British POWs from the Rev. War who stayed are probably buried here, still in research
  • 7 French and; Indian War officers – including Rev. French, a Sergeant in the King’s army
  • 81 American Revolution vets, 2 killed in action, 5 died of disease, 1 died of wounds, 3 accidental
    • 4 Patriots who carted Harvard’s library books to Andover for safe keeping during the Battle of Bunker Hill (stored at John Abbot’s and Samuel Osgood’s homes)
  • 3 Patriots killed in Powder House explosion
  • 2 slaves (Pomp Lovejoy, Titus Coburn) who fought at Lexington and Concord, April 19th, 1775
  • 1 Lt. Governor of Mass., Samuel Phillips, III (1802)
  • 127 Civil War soldiers, 4 Killed in Action, 6 Died of Wounds, 16 Died of Disease (1 chaplain)
    • 1 Black Civil War soldier of the Mass. 54th Regiment, Robert Rollins (1879)
    • 2 White officers of ‘Colored’ regiments
    • 7 Civil War POWs (4 died in captivity in Anderson, GA prison)
  • Most people on one monument: 21, of which 9 are John Abbot.
  • Most popular surname: Abbot(163)/Abbott(176), 339 total (oddly, Abbot is rare in Andover, England)
  • Most popular given name: Mary: 203, Sarah: 146, John: 99, Elizabeth: 93, George: 76, Hannah: 76
  • Most popular name female: Mary Abbot/Abbott, 26, Sarah Abbot/Abbott, 16
  • Most popular name male: John Abbot/Abbott, 16
  • Only 111 stones remain before 1800
  • 32 Abbots before 1800 out of 111 stones
  • No Abbotts with 2 t’s before 1823
  • At least 50 Abbot/Abbott stones misspelled or do not match Town Vital Record spellings (T or TT) 18 ministers
  • Most wives with the same husband: 4 (and 2 sets!)
  • Longest name: Rachael Eunice Timandra Bartlett Holt (and not even married!)"

Monday, March 28, 2016

A yacht, a home owner, a visitor to the Lowell house, and a housekeeper

One of the benefits of blogging is you often hear from people who read your post and wanted to either leave a comment or write you personally to share some information. As shown below, I received emails from several people who offered bits of information about Mr. Fay, a person none of them is related to, because he didn't have children or family, nor did any know him because he died in 1944. There always seemed to be a lot of unknowns and mystery regarding the extremely wealthy Mr. Fay, and later members of the Donehue family, because for over 53 years, I'm still hearing stories, like the ones below. The messages to me are interesting and will give you an example of what you might receive from a reader of your own blog.

Within a four month period in 2014, I heard from four different individuals all sharing information about a Mr. Auburt J. Fay. He was important to me, because he founded the company where I worked at for over 10 years. Everybody knew of the Father John's Medicine Co., Inc. and it continued manufacturing the medicine until about 1976. The old massive downtown brick building is now used for elderly housing.

One person told me she saw and is familiar with Mr. Fay's yacht (wait until you read who later owned it), one is a relative of the person living in Mr. Fay's old house, another person purchased a summer home belonging to Mr. Fay in Connecticut, and the last person told me her aunt was a housekeeper in Mr. Fay's home! After Mr. Fay's death, George H. Donehue Sr. become president and lived in the house with Mrs. Fay until she died in 1965. He died in 1967, then oldest son, Gerald Donehue, became president and moved into the large Fay house (or maybe he was living there all along, because he didn't have children). At one time, all three Donehue men worked in the office at Father John's Medicine while I was employed as their secretary.
The Aubert J. Fay home, later home to two Donehue presidents.

#1  From Barbara in late May 2014

My name is Barbara ____ and my brother came across your blog and forwarded it to me as I am the family genealogist.
I enjoyed reading your blog and finding out that we have some things in common besides our name!
I also enjoy genealogy, gardening, and photography!
But besides that it was very interesting to learn of your working for Father John's Medicine Company and knowing the Donehue Family and being in that beautiful White House (I believe was on Mansur St).

I was also in that house as a young teen in 1967 while my parents, sister and I visited George Sr., George Jr, and Gerald.  My sister and I stayed with George and Marion and my parents stayed overnight in the house with Gerald and his father.  My grandfather is Herbert Donehue and is George Sr.'s brother.  Herbert moved to Detroit in 1919 where he and his wife Rose Hannon (also of Lowell) had 2 sons Raymond and Francis. My father was Raymond and he stayed in touch with Gerald until his death.

Thank you for posting your experience with the Donehue family and memorializing them. It is heartwarming to hear about the way they treated you while working for them. Since we lived in Michigan we didn't get to know any of them very well.

I traveled to Lowell in 2005 to gather records on both sides of the family and went to St. Patricks Cemetery and visited grave sites. I have obtained quite a few records in my years of research and hope to put it all together for my family and future generations.

Thank you so much for taking the picture of George and Marion's house. I do vaguely remember it, but my Mother certainly did! She remembers sitting on the side porch and visiting with them. It was so nice of you to do that as I will certainly use it in my genealogy book I am putting together.

Your mention of George and Gerald doing a lot of golfing seems to directly relate  to my own family who all golf.  My Father, Mother, my 9 siblings, and myself golf, (or did golf in the case of my Father.) My brothers have a golf tournament every year called "The Ireland Cup" and it is a tribute to the Donehue Family and includes all my Donehue cousins.  Thanks to you, now we know where the golf gene came from!

I took the photo of the youngest Donehue house the above writer was a guest in 1967.
#2  Good Morning-June 2014

I stumbled across your blog recently re The Fay's of Lowell...Father John's Medicine family. I live in what was a summer house for them in the Eastern Point section of Groton, CT. I would love to know more about them!

My husband purchased the house in 1964 from the Executor of Aubert's estate, Gerald Donehue. Evidently, Mr. Donehue then took over the company as well. I have a few black and white pictures of the house after the 1938 hurricane showing a fellow I would think is Mr. Fay inspecting the damage.

The Groton house is located in a section of town where many people came for Summer in the later 1800's and early 1900's....a number of the houses are still in good repair while a few have disappeared. There is a summer chapel very close by that served as the residents' place of worship, too.

I would love to connect with anyone who might know about the Fay's. Please keep me in mind. (Note: I was working at the company in 1964 and never knew about the Groton house. Apparently it was either rented or used as a summer home from 1944-1964.)

#3  July 2014, from Mary (facebook)
My aunt Kitty was the house keeper in the Fay house for Mr. Donehue in the big white mansion at the top of Belmont and Mansur Streets.

#4  July 2014, from Diana R.

Hello Barbara,
I came upon your blog while doing some research regarding a rather famous yacht “Freedom”, a 1926 104 foot Mathis-Trumpy that was restored after nearly sinking in the St. Johns River.  The reason for looking into this yacht was because my husband and I live aboard a sailboat and cruise throughout the Caribbean, and while living in the Florida Keys, this beautiful ship was tied at the end of our dock.  We later came upon her on several occasions while cruising through the Bahamas.  I knew she was a special boat, but never took the time to really look into her history until I began writing my own articles about our cruise.
It turns out that “Freedom” was first purchased by your Mr. Aubert J. Fay – who, according to your blog was the owner of the Father John’s Medicine company.  Here’s where it gets interesting.  The second owner of this beautiful ship was Jessie May Woolworth Donahue, heiress of the Woolworths retail empire and the richest woman in 1930s America.

This Spring 2005 issue of Restoration Quarterly confirms that the boat "Freedom" was built for Mr. Fay of Lowell, Mass.

My blog doesn’t reference Mr. Fay, but if you are interested, here is a link: or you can meet the couple and read about their life living at sea at:
Thanks – it was a pleasure sharing information with you!

(I remember seeing a post card of the "Freedom" while working at the company. It's nice knowing the rest of the story.)

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Another Photo Always Helps When Looking For This Pratt

With a touch of spring in the air on March 13th, my husband and I went to Bell Rock Cemetery in Malden, Massachusetts to hunt for a cemetery stone. This was my 3rd visit and in the past, I had found the stones for Thomas Pratt and his wife, Mary, Thomas Newhall and his wife Rebeckah Greene. This time I was looking for John Pratt, the father of the above mentioned Thomas.

We were there at noon, and spent over an hour trying to find it, even with the FindAGrave (FAG) photo, shown below my photo. Once home, I realized I had taken it, but just didn't know it because the sun was right in my eyes. That is the reason, you don't see the left side.

So my moral, "Another Photo Always Helps When Looking For This Pratt" isn't always true, a photo doesn't always help, except if you are lucky, like me, once in a while.

John Pratt
Born: February 1655, Massachusetts
Died: June 3, 1708
Malden, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts

Mary ___ w/o John Pratt (above)
Born about 1655
Died 17 July 1710
Malden, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts

John Pratt (I believe he the son of Thomas and Sarah Pratt)
Married to Martha Pratt (below)
Born: 29 May 1664
Malden, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts
Died 15 November 1742
Malden, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts

Martha Pratt (daughter of Richard Pratt)
Married to John Pratt (above)
Born 1663, Charlestown, Suffolk Co., Massachusetts
Died: 30 Sept. 1742
Malden, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts

Couldn't read a thing, but I actually thought this was my John Pratt's stone.
Elizabeth Pratt wife a Thomas Pratt
(No other information)
Born: Unknown
Died: 19 Jan. 1740

Google Earth map of the cemetery. With all those trees, it's best to go when there are no leaves to cast shadows, and don't go at noon like I did.
I contacted the Bell Rock Cemetery (781-397-7191)and asked if they had a detailed map, "unfortunately no." I then inquired about a listing of names. The clerk said she has it on her computer and they are in the process of getting it online in the near future. She thought if I called back in a month, maybe she would know more.