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.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Three Generations in My Family Wrote to the Same Cemetery

Yates and Belle Adams
My great-grandparents buried in Oak Hill Cemetery.

Several years ago, I requested information from the Oak Hill Cemetery in Battle Creek, Michigan to see if they had any information on quite a few ancestors and family members buried there.

They responded by providing plat cards, a map of the cemetery and enclosingF copies of letters written to them by my father, grandfather and grandmother! The most recent letter was written in 1961 by my father, as shown below. Clearly, my father wasn't into genealogy because he had question marks on four names.

Through the years, I managed to get cemetery photos of my direct ancestors buried there, solved the relationships and now know all their full names. I loved knowing that my grandparents and father had an interest in those buried in the plot.

But, the best part of all this is what my grandfather wrote, "So far as I know, the statement in the letter above is correct since Mrs. Poole had never been able to find any trace of the John A. Adams branch of the family." It is because of this statement that I'm doing this post.

Naturally, I was up to the challenge, since this was my great-granduncle. My ancestor stayed in Michigan whereas his brother moved to Texas. Tracing the family was rather simple, but I never tried to contact family members, although I think I could have because of their business. Then one day, a few months third cousin wrote me! She was thrilled that I knew answers to some of her questions, and I was beyond excited to hear from her line and to get answers to some of mine. She mailed me a manuscript, and I've gotten together copies of all my Adams papers to mail to her. Because of my new cousin, I ordered and just received last week, the will and probate of our 3rd great-grandfather who died in 1879 in Wisconsin. It will be a treat to share it with her.


Letter to Oak Hill Cemetery from my father:

April 5, 1961

Oak Hill Cemetery Company

255 South Ave.
Battle Creek, Mich.


In [sic] working up a genealogy for the Adams branch of my family, I have come across records stating that my grandfather and grandmother, also some great grandparents are buried at Oak Hill. I have very little information on them and would appreciate any data you might have on the following;

1.  Sarah Belle Adams
2.  Yates Adams
3.   Martha Anderson Adams
4.   Charles A. Hamilton, first husband of Sarah (1.)
5.   John Adams, brother? of Yates (2)
6.   Wife of John (5.)

A letter from my mother, Marjorie Anderson Adams Poole, indicates that the lot number is 797 for the above.

In lot 665, are my great grandparents as follows:

7.   John N. Farmer
8.   Lana? Scramlin wife of (7.)
9.   Elsie Farmer
10. Nannie? Farmer
11. Mary? second wife of (7.)

I would greatly appreciate any vital statistics of the above families. To my knowledge, no plats were ever made up for my family as indicated in your letter to my father Clarence F. Poole, Chicago, Ill., dated Feb. 3, 1953. If these plats are available, I would appreciate a copy of them.

Sincerely yours,

John A. Poole

Copy of original letter my father wrote.

I also received a copy of what my grandfather wrote them in 1953, shortly after my grandmother's death. She had been interested in the family plot as well.

My grandfather, Clarence F. Poole wrote to Oak Hill Cemetery on January 30, 1953.


I am writing to inquire regarding the status of Lot 797 which, I believe, is entered in the names of John A. Adams and Yates A. Adams, and the East 1/2 of Lot 665 which, I believe is entered in the name of John N. Farmer.

I am executor of the estate of Marjorie A. Poole who passed away a few weeks ago. (There are two more paragraphs about what he is trying to find out.)

Small note by my grandmother, never mailed by her, but was sent by her husband five years later.

"Among her (my grandmother) papers, I find a letter which was hand written to you but never mailed, this letter being dated June 6, 1948, and reading as follows:

'Oak Hill Cemetery Co:

Dear Sirs:

I have made an effort to trace the heirs of John A. Adams wo whom is ascribed the ownership of Lot 797, W 1/2 and have not been able to trace them. They were last in Texas - Beeville - in 1910 or 1912 and there was a Howard Adams and two daughters, but I have heard nothing of them since. I have hoped to go to Battle Creek before this time to settle the matter of perpetual care, etc., but have been ill and unable to do so. However, I expect to be in Battle Creek in the near future. Yours Sincerely,  /s/ Marjorie A. Poole'

So far as I know, the statement in the letter above is correct since Mrs. Poole had never been able to find any trace of the John A. Adams branch of the family."

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

There Is A Lot to Like About Lowell -- Series #24

"There is A Lot to Like About Lowell" is the city slogan.

Father John's Medicine Co., Inc.
73 - 93 Market Street
Lowell, Massachusetts
Photo by Barbara Poole
Photo by Barbara Poole
Photo by Barbara Poole
Photo by Barbara Poole
The above employees working on the second floor, doing assembly line work. Employees shown: Margaret Jones, Anna M. Maloney, Ray Wylie, Lila Shannon. My desk, shown above, was on the first floor.

Missing are Frank Shannon, Theodore "Ted" Villandry, Lucien "Sonny" Villandry, Agnes Mellen, Winnie McKuen? and Tommy Fox. In the office were Helen "Mary" McNamara, Annette Tartre and myself, plus the Donehue brothers, Gerald and George. Chemist, Thomas Casey, Eddie O'Hare and several men in shipping, Joe Carty being one.

Photo by Barbara Poole
Photo by Barbara Poole
The company was sold in 1977 and is now used for senior housing.
Photo by Barbara Poole
Photo by Barbara Poole
Photo by Barbara Poole

Back alley, where the trains would pull up to unload boxes, bottles and other materials used for manufacturing. The tracks have been removed, and there is now an entrance to a new small park.

Over the years, I've come to realize how lucky I was to have had certain jobs, including this one. Of course at the time, I probably didn't think so.  Imagine these days, going to a building, ringing a doorbell, and asking for a job.

That is what I did, one cold October Friday afternoon.  The vice-president met with me and gave me an interview, of sorts, no resume or anything.  I was right out of high school. Then his father spoke with me, elderly president and vice-president.  I began work the following Monday learning the job from Bessie Wallach whom had given her notice hours earlier.  That would rarely happen these days.  No references, no experience, nothing. And, I stayed over 10 years!

Father John's Medicine Company was in a huge building, with very few employees.  The office where I worked as a secretary had two much older, single women, the president, vice-president and secretary/ treasurer (father and two sons).  Every day for all those years, the job was pretty much the same. It was like working in a museum, my 1943 manual typewriter was my pride and joy. I used carbon paper and learned to type perfectly very quickly.  Each day, after lunch, my boss, the vp, dictated letters to me, which I really enjoyed (I took shorthand in school).  Before I forget, this medicine company was established in 1855 and since the cough medicine was made in the building, I could smell the ingredients, such as cod liver oil, all the time.  You got used to it.

It was the kind of job where there was a lot of flexibility and tons of fun.  I met and dated two guys who worked there, one I am now married to. Yes, it was fun. It was also the kind of job which was impossible to leave.  My regular hours were 8:30 to 4:30 with an hour for lunch.  In the summer it was 9-4, hour for lunch. Same pay, so I could never leave in the summer, since I was only working 30 hours a week. Every Christmas, we received a week's pay as a bonus and received time off for Christmas shopping.  Every July we received a special bonus, depending on sales, it was usually three week's pay. I was happily stuck there, the benefits were too good, we even had free health insurance. However, I did finally leave after ten years.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Jennison of Watertown, Massachusetts -- Tombstone Tuesday

The Old Burying Place, the small cemetery in the center of Watertown, Massachusetts was the first cemetery I visited in 2015. Samuel Jennison, my 7th great-grandfather is buried here. If you have old Watertown roots, your ancestors might be here as well. Jane Devlin typed a list of all Epitaphs Collected by William Thaddeus Harris, L. L. B. in 1869. You may see the names on her website HERE.

Here lyes Buried
Ye Body of Mr.
Samuel Jenison
Who Departed this
Life Decembr 2nd, 1730
Aged 57 Years.

Samuel Jenison / Jennison was my 7th great-grandfather

Rev. William Jennison (above) was the son of Samuel.

Here lyes Interrd ye Body
of ye Revd Mr. William Jennison; Formerly Pastor
of ye 2d Ch'h of Christ in Salem
(but late of Watertown) Who
Died April ye 1st 1750 in ye
45th Year of His Age.

Samuel and his son William were buried in the center of the small cemetery.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Tombstone Tuesday - LOWREY (3 generations) -- Connecticut

Thomas Lowrey
Born: April 03, 1703, Ireland (my only Irish line)
Died: May 16, 1788, Plainville, Hartford Co., Connecticut
These photos were taken from a book.  Unfortunately, I didn't take a picture of his wife's (below), it was unreadable.
Mary Lowrey
Born: 1806, Scotland
Died: December 31, 1790, Plainville, Hartford Co., Connecticut

The above were my 5th great-grandparents.

Above is Anna W. Munson Lowrey wife of Daniel Lowrey
Anna W. Munson - Born: July 21, 1761, Southington, Hartford Co., Connecticut
Died: June 26, 1813, Plainville, Hartford Co., Connecticut

She was my 4th great-grandmother.
Olde East St. Cemetery, Plainville, Hartford Co., Connecticut
(I am unable to locate photo of her husband, although my records indicate I took it.)

Edmund Lowrey (above two photos)
Born: November 15, 1788
Died: October 10, 1857, Plainville, Hartford Co., Connecticut

His and his wife, Harriet Newell were my 3rd great-grandarents, and were buried at West Cemetery, Plainville, Hartford Co., Connecticut

Harriet Newell Lowrey
Born: March 03, 1794, Southington, Hartford Co., Connecticut
Died: June 17, 1878, Plainville, Hartford Co., Connecticut

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Being a Beginner Again

A Bridge To The Past
I have always enjoyed reading the article, "Being a Beginner Again" by Amy Johnson Crow, CG, written in 2003 for the National Genealogical Society's magazine. She has give me permission to use this topic for my blog. In all the beginner classes I gave in genealogy (as a volunteer), I always discussed this topic, and it seemed to make the beginning researchers feel good, because they felt they fit in with the other students in the intermediate and advanced student levels. She wrote, "A Colleague once passed along a very wise observation: 'No matter how long you've been researching, every time that you move your research to a new area, you're a beginner again.'"

After reading this, I would explain that statement to the students. At every new generation we tackle, we are all beginners. I am a beginner now try to trace one of my ggg grandmother's roots, just as another person who is working on their grandfather---we are all in the same boat.

I tell them that on February 18, 2003 had one of their Instant survey's, there was a simple question and a choice of a few answers to choose from. On that day, it was "Do you consider yourself a beginner, intermediate or expert when it comes to family history?" Once I plugged in my answer, I was then able to see the results. For this survey, 79% replied Beginner, 17% replied Intermediate and 4% replied Expert. I think this survey ties into the article, "Being a Beginner Again," it is true, we are all beginners with the line we are working on.

Your new search may continue in the same location as your previous generation. You will already be somewhat familiar with the resources. If the family moved, all the more fun in playing detective. To learn about the new location, read The Red Book to find out basic information, check out Google Maps (to see what towns and cities are nearby), Wikipedia for more background, contact (perhaps by internet) the local library and town hall in that area to see what records they have available. My Bishop line was in Connecticut from the 1650s until 1981 -- no real challenge there. But other lines out of Massachusetts migrated to Illinois, New York or Michigan forced me to learn much more and research harder. I loved it. Don't think of it so much as a hard challenge but as an adventure.

Have confidence that you will be successful either way, whether familiar or unknown locations, the research is basically the same. I have had my eyes opened to many new areas in the United States, can't beat that for an education.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Another Method in trying to Solve your Brick Wall

The discovery that I'm related to President John Adams came about so easily, but the fact that I discovered he was related to John Alden of the Mayflower line was quite a surprise. John Alden is an ancestor of mine, and I did a post of his descendants. An update will be done soon, so I can add in Generation 2 #9, the children of Ruth Alden and John Bass. If any of you have John Alden, you might like to see who his ancestors were.

For many years (15) I have been searching for the parents of a brick wall John Adams of Connecticut and New York. He was included in my Top Ten Brick Walls, the post in which I offered to pay $100 if anybody can solve them. What makes his case more interesting is that four cousins, a first cousin, a 3rd, a 5th cousin, and I have all heard through our families we were related to the President. My above, John Adams was supposedly the black sheep of that family, and nobody, as yet, has discovered his ancestry beyond about 1757.

My 3rd cousin and I were corresponding yesterday, and I decided to try and find the President's ancestors, and more importantly try to find an outstanding source for it. As luck would have it, through a google search, I found the link for the Massachusetts Historical Society. While excited with the older Adams names, I couldn't find anybody who could be the parents of my John Adams. So my search goes on. The President is my 3rd cousin, 8x removed, and is Not an ancestor of mine.

In this case, I felt it was necessary to look beyond the President's ancestors, it could have provided information for my problem. I think most times, we just stop at the name we are looking for, but I believe there could be great clues if you look at their ancestors. They could tie into your line somehow.

On facebook last night, I posted a quick line that I made the discovery about the President and John Alden. Over 35 people liked that or made comments. It was because of the interest I thought maybe somebody could benefit from this information, especially if they already have the President, but no Mayflower ancestor. My brick wall wasn't solved, but going to his ancestors proved to be quite interesting.

Select "Learn About the Family." Below is what shows up, then click on Family Tree.
The page shows the Family tree. Scroll to the left to get the ancestors, and to the right for his descendants. I could not scroll on the iPad, so went to my laptop.

With his descendants on the screen I took photos to show you what it looks like. The minute I saw John Bass and Ruth Alden, I thought maybe there was a connection, and sure enough, you can clearly see the names of John Alden and Priscilla Mullins.
Below give you an idea of the partial chart for both his ancestors and descendants.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Why I Wrote This Post...You Just Won't Believe One of The Reasons!

The photo on the left isn't anything special to anybody but me. There are no flowery or ornate designs, no statues or outstanding features on it. So when I received a request to use it for a project, I was a bit surprised. My email came from oversees and began with the following message:

"Hello Barbara, I am in the UK and I am preparing a Register of WW1 serving female casualties for publication at my own expense as a lasting memorial to these oft-forgotten women. The Register will show them in alphabetical order and comprise a short biography together with photographs of them, their graves and their memorials. One of these is Frances Poole who is in Rock Creek Cemetery, Washington. You have provided a photograph of her grave marker to Find A Grave and I should be most grateful if you would allow me to use it in my Register. I will, of course, place your name against it, as an acknowledgement. It seems likely that she is an ancester of yours and so if you have a photograph of her that I might use that would be a bonus. I hope that you will give me permission. I look forward to hearing from you, Kind regards, Jim"

Of course he could use the photo, I give everybody permission to use my Find-A-Grave photos (shown above). But I needed to tell him that my Great-Aunt wasn't a ancestor (nor ancester)! So, I dashed off the below message to him, to make sure this was a legitimate request, I mean who doesn't know about ancestors?

"Yes, you may use my cemetery photo, thank you for asking first. Frances was my great-aunt, so unfortunately she wasn't an ancestor, but a sister of my grandfather. No, I don't have a photo of her, only one of her brother and a small photo of her sister, obtained through a passport application I found on

Frances wasn't in the war, she had just become a nurse but went to care for soldiers who had the flu. I wrote about that in my blog, which you may see here, and have permission to use anything in the blog.

"Hello Barbara, Thank you for coming back to me. I am most grateful to you for allowing me to use your photograph of her grave. You have corrected me on one thing. I always thought that an ancestor was anyone, back through the generations, that had the same blood source. A quick look at the meaning on wikipedia I see that it is just going back through parents and parents of parents, etc.

He quoted and answered my question: "I'm curious, how did you happen to find her on FindAGrave?"

My project is 20+ years in the making (so far). I have a listing of all WW1 serving female casualties which is virtually complete. This is for British, Canadian, South African, Indian, Australian, New Zealand and other British overseas territories. In addition, virtually all of the US women who served and died serving their country in wartime or died as to a consequence of the war. Your great aunt was one of these. She did not have to work overseas to be classed as a casualty of the war. Just dying "in harness" was enough. So I have her name and her date of death. With this it was not difficult to search Find A Grave (or Billiongraves) to find out where she was interred. I have a successful hit of about two out of three. I do not have a great deal on your great aunt so far but what I have I have put below. If anything is wrong I should be grateful if you would let me know.   Kind regards, Jim"

Two reasons for posting this, the first is to show that not everybody knows what an ancestor is and second, if you are a blogger, you'll always be surprised by some of the emails you receive. The above link is to one of my more popular posts called Frances and the Flu. The cemetery is in Washington, D.C., and I made a special trip from Massachusetts to see where my great-grandparents were buried, and his sister, the above Frances. The trip was six years after I left my Washington job, and never knew they were there, buried within miles from where I worked!

Note: Jim gave me permission to use what he wrote.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Two Lowell Actresses Won An Academy Award, and I Met One!

The 87th annual Academy Awards will be given out this Sunday, February 22, 2015. I'm sharing some information on two women who were  born in Lowell, Massachusetts and each was a winner. One of them, I actually met, in London of all places.
Photo by Barbara Poole

Bette Davis was born in Lowell on April 5, 1908 and only lived there a few years. Her former house isn't too far from where I live.
Photo by Barbara Poole
Winter is a great time for me to watch DVDs from Netflix, so I've been getting my fix of her wonderful movies. So far, I've seen about 12*, and don't have a favorite yet. She was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, and won twice for best actress for her role in Dangerous and Jezebel.

Bette has always been a favorite of mine, and I was quite fortunate to see one of her gowns worn in a movie in the exhibit called, Dressed for the Part at the American Textile History Museum in Lowell. I volunteered at this exhibit every Thursday evening, and it was a joy to see public appreciate the costumes.

See my post about that exhibit along with my piece on seeing Princess Diana HERE.

The second Academy Award winner born in Lowell, was Olympia Dukakis. It seems that I've always known that, or maybe since she won her Best Supporting Actress award in 1987 for Moonstruck. Since I was living in Virginia, I must have seen or heard something about where she was from. This memory tidbit came in handy one afternoon in the early 1990s when I was alone in London. While waiting to talk to the concierge at the Russell Hotel, I listened to the lady in front of me (she was relaying information to her husband who was standing a few feet away). Dressed in casual clothes, she didn't stand out...but her voice did. When she turned to leave, I asked if she was Olympia Dukakis. (Note: little if any make-up on.) She said, "yes" and I told her that I had lived in Lowell. She was quite excited, and probably pleased that somebody from Virginia would know that fact. I must have asked for an autograph (since I was collecting them at that time), but I didn't have any paper. She did, and wrote, "To A Fellow Lowellian" Regards, Olympia Dukakis.
Property of Barbara Poole
From Olympia's book, Ask Me Again Tomorrow, her autobiography published in 2003, I chose a few lines to quote. "My mother's family emigrated from the Mani region of southern Greece to Lowell, Massachusetts, in 1907, when she was six years old." "Those who chose to emigrate to American came because it offered them a place where their hard work would be rewarded, where they would be able to improve their circumstances in life. And Lowell offered them a place where they could, at the same time, maintain their Greek values." By the time my brother and I and all of our cousins were born, Lowell had become known as 'the Acropolis of America.'" In June 20, 1931, Olympia was born and 1939, the family moved to Somerville, MA.

* Bette Davis movies I've seen:
Now, Voyager
Dark Victory
Old Acquaintance
All About Eve
All This, And Heaven Too
The Nanny
Mr. Skeffington
Death on the Nile
The Old Maid
The Letter
The Great Lie
The Petrified Forest
In This Our Life

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

There Is A Lot to Like About Lowell -- Series #22

"There Is A Lot to Like About Lowell" is the city slogan.

Along the Merrimack River in Four Seasons

The Merrimack River From Wikipedia: "it is a 117-mile-long river in the northeastern United States. It rises at the confluence of the Pemigewasset and Winnipesaukee rivers in Franklin, New Hampshire, flows southward into Massachusetts, and then flows northeast until it empties into the Atlantic Ocean at Newburyport."

There is a man-made beach, a popular spot during the summer. The river can be very rough, high or smooth (above and below).
Six bridges cross the river, the city is on both sides.

There are walk paths on both sides of the river, and even in the middle, as shown above (with man-made canal on left and river on right).

While looking up information about the river, I found a site, I wasn't aware of. It's the NOAA National Weather Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service, they track the height of the river (see their colorful chart below on the left).

Since Lowell currently has the most snow of any city in the United States (February 16, 2015, at 111") I'll be watching  the gauge readings frequently. We all remember the recent floods in 2006 and 2007.

Flood Categories (in feet)
Major Flood Stage:58
Moderate Flood Stage:54
Flood Stage:52
Action Stage:50

Historic Crests
(1) 68.40 ft on 03/20/1936
(2) 60.60 ft on 04/23/1852
(3) 60.57 ft on 09/23/1938
(4) 58.84 ft on 05/15/2006
(5) 58.09 ft on 04/17/2007

Snow chart, posted February 16, 2015, by Mill City Weather. (Permission granted to use.)