Saturday, July 7, 2007


Today was a special day - at least for the 38,000 or so who decided to get married in Las Vegas (according to an article on Leland Meitzler's blog), for Desperate Housewife star Eva Longoria who married Tony Parker in Paris today, and for lots of others who chose this day to wed (what an easy way to remember your anniversary!).

The only other blogger who mentioned 7-7-7 that I found was Arlene H. Eakle who noted that the day is the 100th anniversary of the Hershey chocolate kiss (I fear that I owe about 40 pounds to that place!), and she used the acronym KISS to lead into wise advice for searching for ancestors.

When I see a number like 7-7-7, I think of my Ahnentafel (don't you? Um, sorry - it just happens in my brain - it's better than thinking of 777 chocolate kisses). So, who are my "lucky" ancestors?

#7 is easy: it's my grandmother, Emily Kemp Auble (1899-1977) who married Lyle Lawrence Carringer (1891-1976) and lived in San Diego. Of the ancestors that I have "known" personally, she is probably my favorite person as far as loving and caring goes. She is my lucky #7 - the sweetest person I have known (except for my wife, of course).

#77 is an unknown person - a 4th great-grandmother of mine - the mother of my elusive ancestor, Thomas J. Newton. Oh well! #76 and #77 are the first "holes" I have in my pedigree chart. How unlucky was that?

#777 is also an unknown person - a 7th great-grandmother of mine - the great-grandmother of #97, Mary Magdalena Houx/Hoax (ca 1768-1850), who married Martin Carringer (ca 1758-1835) and settled in Mercer County PA. She was an ancestor of my grandfather, Lyle Carringer. I don't know who Mary's parents are, let alone her great-grandparents!

#7777 is a very unknown person - a 10th great-grandmother of mine down Emily Kemp Auble's line.

At least I'm lucky to know who #7 was - and I know that she loved Hershey chocolate kisses. She gave them to me for Christmas! I am very lucky! Thanks, Gram for the memories!

My Research Day in Carlsbad

We had a CVGS research trip today to the Carlsbad Library - 10 of our members attended. We carpool there because it's about 40 miles north of Chula Vista. Carlsbad Library has a whole floor for genealogy - I estimated about 1,500 linear feet of books and periodicals on the shelves. This library has an excellent book collection, and adds many new genealogy books each year.

I had minimal time to prepare for this trip - I made a list of 21 books to look for. Amazingly, they had 7 of them, and I was able to browse through several of them.

My main goal today was to try to find information on the Columbia and Rensselaer County areas of New York - to find the church book transcriptions and county histories so I could find more on the Bresee family and try to understand the history of the area. They had about 15 of the Arthur C.M. Kelly transcribed church books on the shelf, including the Churchtown St. Thomas Lutheran Church baptisms - the one which lists Cornel(ia) Brussie as born 5 December 1780, the daughter of Peter and Maria Brussie.

I did not comprehend the magnitude of the job done by Arthur Kelly some years ago in transcribing these records and publishing them. What a monumental effort - and absolutely vital to understanding the family groups in this area before 1850.

There was a nice, fairly new book on the shelf about Rensselaer County and an 1878 edition of the Columbia County history book, with a separate index (a life saver!).

When I found the record for Cornelia Bresee several months ago, I started looking at the collateral families, since that is what we as genealogists do! My hope was that a collateral family might have information on Cornelia's family and her marriage. The collateral surnames in the Bresee line are Van Deusen, Dyckman, Scism and Claes. The only surname book on the shelf was Dyckman, but what a marvelous work - "Johannes Dyckman of Fort Orange and his Descendants," two volumes, by Marjorie Dikeman Chamberlain.

My other "find" was the book "History and Genealogy of Elder John Whipple of Ipswich, Massachusetts, His English Ancestors and American Descendants" by Blaine Whipple, published in 2003. This work is really well done, with long sketches of the Mathew Whipple family in Bocking, Essex, the immigrant John "Elder" Whipple to Ipswich, his son John Whipple, and William Whipple, who was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Following these sections, is the traditional genealogy section in an NGS format. The whole work is well researched and written, with excellent end notes in each chapter.

I spent some time reading three of the current genealogy magazines that I don't subscribe to (I even took one down to the restroom!) and got caught up with them. I also browsed through the periodical shelves to find the latest copies of journals that I don't subscribe to, such as The Genealogist, Rhode Island Roots, etc.

All in all, it was an intense 5 hours broken up only by a snack break and a quick lunch out in the patio at the library. I rode with our new members Dave and Judy, along with member Bob, and it turns out that Bob and Judy have ancestry in Giles County, Tennessee! It is a small world!

Friday, July 6, 2007

Bounty Land Warrants -- New on Ancestry

Leland Meitzler tipped us off to a new database on - some of the Bounty Land Warrants from the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.

The description of these records says:

Source Information:

" U.S. War Bounty Land Warrants, 1789-1858 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2007. Original data:

"U.S. Revolutionary War Bounty Land Warrants Used in the U.S. Military District of Ohio and Relating Papers (Acts of 1788, 1803, and 1806), 1788-1806; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M829, 16 rolls); Records of the Bureau of Land Management, Record Group 49; National Archives, Washington, D.C.

"War of 1812 Military Bounty Land Warrants, 1815-1858; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M848, 14 rolls); Records of the Bureau of Land Management, Record Group 49; National Archives, Washington, D.C.

About U.S. War Bounty Land Warrants, 1789-1858

"This database contains bounty land warrants issued to veterans of the U.S. Revolutionary War between 1789 and 1833, and to veterans of the War of 1812 between 1815 and 1858. It also contains some related papers of the Revolutionary War warrants that date to as late as 1880. Bounty land warrants were certificates given to eligible veterans granting them rights to free land on the public domain.

Historical Background:

"During the Revolutionary War the Continental Congress promised bounty land as an inducement to military service. For this war and other wars in which the United States engaged during the years 1812-1855, the issuance of bounty land warrants to veterans or their heirs as a form of reward for service was continued."

There is more explanation about these records on the Description page, including how some of the RevWar warrants are not available due to a fire at the War Department in 1800 and 1814.

The search engine has entries for First Name, Last Name, Warrant Number, Warrant Year, and Keywords. You can choose Exact Spelling or Soundex spelling of the surname.

The Revolutionary War Bounty Warrant itself usually contains Date of issuance,
Name and rank of veteran, State from which enlisted, and Name of heir or assignee, if applicable.

The War of 1812 Warrant itself usually includes Name of veteran, Rank on discharge from service, Company, regiment, and branch of service, Date warrant was issued, Usually the date the land was located and the page on which the location is recorded in Abstracts of Military Bounty Land Warrant Locations.

For the Revolutionary War Bounty Warrants, the "1788 act gave free land in the public domain to officers and soldiers who continued to serve during the Revolutionary War or, if they were killed, to their representatives or heirs. The resolution provided that a private or noncommissioned officer would be entitled to 100 acres of bounty land, an ensign to 150 acres, a lieutenant to 200 acres, a captain to 300 acres, a major to 400 acres, a lieutenant colonel to 450 acres, a colonel to 500 acres, a brigadier general to 850 acres, and a major general to 1,100 acres.

"A 4,000 square mile tract was located in the Northwest Territory and was set aside for these land warrants. This area came to be known as the U.S. Military District of Ohio. Originally the lands in this district were to be distributed by January 1, 1800. By the end of 1802 about 14,000 warrants had been issued. However, additional time was needed to locate warrants and to grant warrants to soldiers with late applications or uncompleted claims. Congress passed the act of 1803, which was later amended by the act of 1806, to extend the time limit."

I was surprised by how few Warrants are in this database for my surnames. I checked Seaver/Sever, and there were only five listed, all for Revolutionary War service.

If your soldier is in these Bounty Land Warrants, then they may answer the question "Why did my soldier move to 'Ohio?' "

You have to be a subscriber to in order to view these records.

The best part of a will

I finally finished transcribing the will and other probate records of Nathaniel Horton (1730-1819) of Foster RI. In the will, he names all of his children and one of his grandchildren (Asa Horton, the son of a deceased son, Chase Horton). I believe that these are the only records available for many of these children, especially the names of the spouses of the daughters.

Here are the "Bequeaths" to the daughters in the will as transcribed by me (if you see errors, please let me know!):


"Item. I give and bequeath to my Daughter Ruth Staples wife of Abraham Staples Twenty Dollars to be paid to her out of my Real Estate by my said sons Abel and John as afore said.

"Item. I Give and Bequeath to my Daughter Rachel Smith Wife of Hope Smith Twenty Dollars to be paid to her out of my Real Estate by my said sons Abel & John as afore said.

"Item. I Give and Bequeath to my Daughter Sarah Bishop wife of John Bishop Twenty Dollars to be paid to her out of my Real Estate by my said sons Abel & John as afore said, to be at her sole & absolute Disposal as she in Writing shall Direct Not to be Subject to attachment for any Debts Presently contracted.

"Item. I Give and Bequeath to my Daughter Phebe Wade Wife of Simon Wade Twenty Dollars to be paid to her out of my Real Estate by my said sons Abel & John as aforesaid.

"Item. I Give and Bequeath to my Daughter Olive Steer Wife of Asahel Steer Twenty Dollars to be paid to her out of my Real Estate by my sons Abel & John as afore said.

"Item. I Give and Bequeath to my Daughter Freelove Bishop Wife of Elias Bishop Twenty Dollars to be paid to her out of my Real Estate by my by my sons Abel and John as afore said, to be at her sole and absolute Disposal as she shall in Writing direct Not to be Subject to attachment for any Debt Previously Contracted.

"Item. I Give and Bequeath to my said six Daughters Before Named, all and singular my indoors moveable goods of Every Kind which shall Remain after Setting of & assigning to my Beloved Wife one third part that of as herein after mentioned to be Equally Divided between them according to their value after the Decease of their Mother."

There is a lot more to this will, of course. The sons inherited the land, the wife got her thirds while she lived, and the personal estate was not a large one - less than $160 in 1820. But the married names of the daughters and their husbands names are golden records to many genealogists.

"My" daughter in this family is Phebe Wade, wife of Simon Wade.

I searched the web with Google and did not see any other transcription of this will. Unfortunately, the pages are dark in places and the handwriting is unclear in other places, so I have some question marks as to the exact words. If someone wants to take a crack at the ???? parts I can send a .JPG of the pages.

UPDATE 7/10: DearMYRTLE took a crack at the question marks I had in this portion of the transcript, and thinks that the words say "Subject to attachment." This makes a lot of sense to me, although the words are unclear on the clerk's manuscript. It may be only a spelling error by the clerk, or he may have been confused or distracted by something. I corrected the wordsin the transcription above. Thanks to DearMYRTLE for taking the time to help me!

Blog posts you should read

There have been a number of excellent blog posts on various topics written over the last week or two. Here are my favorites:

1) The 27th Carnival of Genealogy was posted by Becky Wiseman at The topic was "What does the 4th of July Mean to Me? There are links to about 15 posts written from the heart and mind. Well done!

2) The DNA civil conversation at:

* Michael John Neill ( - Is DNA That Big a Deal? and DNA.
* John D. Reid ( - The DNA Skeptic and Is DNA Testing Over-hyped?
* Blaine Bettinger ( -- DNA Is a Big Deal.

3) Five Characteristics of Highly Effective Genealogists, by John Reid

4) Jasia ( has a series on City Directories - see City Directories - The Statistical Department for her 4th post with links to the other three.

5) Valorie Zimmerman ( - has a post on Original Documents Online.

6) The "Why Genealogy is Bunk" debate which Craig Manson, Lori, Tim Agazio, Michael Neill, Bill West and others posted treatises about.

That should hold you for the weekend! Enjoy.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Founding Fathers face Grave Problem

An article with the title "Founding Fathers Face Grave Problem" was written by Tom Hester of Associated Press and published in the North Jersey Media Group newspapers - the online article is here. The lead paragraphs are:

"When in the course of human events it becomes necessary to honor the grave sites of Declaration of Independence signers, don't count New Jersey in.
It can't afford it.

"Five Declaration signers are buried in the Garden State -- four New Jerseyans and a Pennsylvanian. But an effort to preserve their graves, promote their lives and honor them with graveside plaques has stalled in a state that was home to several key Revolutionary War battles and dubs itself the 'Crossroads of the American Revolution.'"

The article notes that an effort to preserve and newly mark the graves of Abraham Clark, John Hart, Richard Stockton and John Witherspoon, who signed for New Jersey, and George Clymer, who signed for Pennsylvania but is buried in Trenton, has fallen short and is not approved.

Read the whole article. What have other states done to honor their Signers of the Declaration of Independence?

Working in Ancestry's Member Trees - Adding Data

After Gary Hoffman's talk at CGSSD two weeks ago, I decided to test out Ancestry's Member Tree system.

After logging on to my account, I clicked on the link to make a Private Member Tree and created one called "The Descendants of Robert Seaver (1608-1683)." I uploaded my SEAVER database to the system - with 6,963 individuals it took several minutes to upload my GEDCOM file.

The system asked me to pick a "Home Person" so I picked myself. From the [Home Page] you have a choice of "View My Tree," "Add a Photo," "Add a Story" or "Invite Family." Choosing "View My Tree" takes me to the [Family Tree] tab page with a five generation pedigree chart (names and years of birth and death only) for the Home Person. I could maneuver back in time by clicking an arrow button on one of the earliest generation ancestors on the chart. I could maneuver forward in time by clicking on the arrow of the most recent ancestor shown on the chart. There is also a search box where you can enter a name and have that person put in the #1 position on the pedigree chart. There is a link to a list of people that you can choose to put in the #1 position on the Pedigree Chart.

If you click on the [People] tab, you can see the birth and death dates and places for the subject, and can edit this information. This page also has a timeline history of the subject person, with the spouse and childrens names on the right margin, with links to their People pages. You can upload photos and audios for each person in the family tree. You can add stories for each person - either write it online in a box, copy it from a source and paste it in the box, or upload it from some sort of file.

On both the [People] and the [Family Tree] tabs a "green leaf" appears on each person for whom there is an "Ancestry Hint." These hints are usually from census records and public family trees available on You can choose to include the hints one at a time into your database. I will probably choose NOT to include any of them!

One problem I have here is that my GEDCOM file had text Notes for many persons, and none of it was included in the data that is in the Member Tree. It will be a big job to copy and paste information into the Member Tree for thousands of people in the Tree.

A second problem I have is that if I add or modify information on this Member Tree, now it is different from what I have in my FamilyTreeMaker database (which has all of my notes). I don't want to wipe out my FTM database and lose all of my notes, so I will have to create a new Member Tree each time I want to upgrade the Member Tree. But, if I've added photos and audios and other things to this online tree, then I will have to upload them again.

The ideal situation for me would be for Ancestry to accept my GEDCOM, including my notes, sources and scrapbook items, and put them in the right place in the Member Tree. I realize that may be difficult to do because of the many different software packages (Ancestry would have to be able to accommodate the features of each package).

What is Ancestry's goal with these Public and Private Member Trees? Is it to provide a storage repository for subscribers? Is it to replace existing software programs? Is it to tie all of the submitted Trees into a single large database with collaboration?

I will post further comments about some of the other features of the Ancestry Member Trees.

I would be interested in the experiences of other researchers with these Ancestry Member Trees.

Preparing for the Research Trip

Several CVGS colleagues and I are going to the Carlsbad (CA) Cole Library on Saturday to do research in their excellent genealogy resources. Most of us carpool because it is a 42 mile trip each way, although some folks drive themselves and meet us there.

This library is the best genealogy library in San Diego County. The entire second floor is genealogy. One side is surname and locality books and periodicals. The other side has microfilms and microfiches - with readers and printers. There are also a number of computers with access to Ancestry Library Edition, HeritageQuestOnline and New England Ancestors, in addition to the Internet.

The Carlsbad library catalog is online at It's a good idea to search the catalog and make a search list at home. When you are at the library, they have computers with the catalog on it.

You can sign up for a Carlsbad library card at the front desk for free. That will permit home online access to HeritageQuestOnline and other databases (but not Ancestry or New England Ancestors). Many of us have these cards - you have to renew them every so often, so I take my card, check out a book at lunchtime, and turn it back in right away just to ensure my card works at home.

To prepare for this trip, I searched the last two years of TAG, NEHGR, NGSQ and New England Ancestors to see what new books of interest to me were listed and reviewed. I typed them into my "Genealogy Books to Review" form and printed them off to look up in the catalog and read if they are in the collection.

The American Genealogist (TAG) - October 2006

The October 2006 issue of The American Genealogist journal arrived last week (Volume 81, No. 4, Whole Number 324, published in May 2007).

The Table of Contents includes:

* "The Whitney Lineage of John1 Whitney of Watertown, Massachusetts" by Robert Leigh Ward and Tim Doyle -- page 249
* "The Immigration and Early Whereabouts in America of Thomas1 Stanton of Connecticut: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom" by Eugene Cole Zabriskie -- page 263.
* "Enigmas #22: Was Elizabeth Denn, Wife of Richard1 Hancock of Salem County, New Jersey, the Daughter of John1 and Margaret Denn(e)?" by Gerald W. Ueckermann, Jr. -- page 274.
* "Plus Ca Change...(Or a Judgment on Politicians)" -- page 281
* "Nathan6 Rowley (1754-1833) of Shoreham, Vermont and Canoe Camp, Pennsylvania, and His Famly: A Mayflower Line" by David M. Morehouse -- page 282.
* "Animadversions on Dancing" -- page 299
* "Abijah Gale (1730-1804): Separating Two Men of the Same Name in Weston, Massachusetts" by Marsha Hoffman Rising -- page 300
* "A Tale of Two Regicides: Daniel Axtell and Cornelius Holland (and Their Son and Daughter, Who Helped Save the Carolinas) (Concluded)" by Paul C. Reed - page 304
* "An Addition to the Ancestry of Oliver1 Cope of Pennsylvania: With Further Evidence of Fraud in the Claimed Gentry Pedigree" by Leslie Mahler -- page 314
* "The Most Singular of Wives" -- page 315
* "William Varney of Ipswich and Gloucester, Massachusetts (concluded)" by Kathleen Canney Barber and Janet Ireland Delorey -- page 316
* "Editorial Notes and Observations: Privacy and Records Access" -- page 322
* Book Reviews -- page 323.


Each issue of TAG presents articles of this nature - research on families in the northeast USA, English ancestry of colonial immigrants, some royal or noble history lessons, and some humorous tidbits, plus the book reviews (8 of them in this issue).

The lead article on John Whitney's English ancestry was of main interest to me - I have this Whitney line. The articles on Nathan Rowley and Abijah Gale were interesting because of the techniques used to solve the research problems.

TAG is the journal that most often has information about my ancestral families. Many libraries have fairly complete sets - if you have New England or North Atlantic ancestors, you might check to see if there are articles in TAG for them.

Do you subscribe to this journal? Should you?

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

I Am an American!

The words to the poem "I Am an American" by Elias Lieberman:


I AM AN AMERICAN by Elias Lieberman

I am an American.
My father was a son of the Revolution.
My mother was a colonial dame.
One of my ancestors pitched tea overboard in Boston Harbor.
Another stood his ground with Warren;
Another hungered with Washington at Valley Forge.

My forefathers were America in the making.
They spoke in her council halls!

They died on her battlefields.
They commanded her ships!
They cleared the forests.

Dawns reddened and paled.
Staunch hearts of mine beat fast
At each new star in the nation's flag.
Keen eyes of mine forsaw her greater glory:
The sweep of her seas,
The plenty of her plains,
The man-hives in her billion-wired cities.
Every drop of blood in me holds a heritage of patriotism!
I am an American!

I am an American!
My father was an atom of dust,
My mother, a straw in the wind To his Serene Majesty.
One of my ancestors died in the mines of Siberia;
Another was crippled for life by twenty blows of the knot;
Another was killed, defending his home during the massacre.
The history of my ancestors is a trail of blood
To the palace-gate of the Great White Czar.

But, then the dream came---
The dream of America.
In the light of the Liberty torch,
The atom of dust became a man
And the straw in the wind became a woman
For the first time.

See, said my father, pointing to the flag that fluttered near,
"That flag of stars and stripes is yours;
It is the emblem of the promised land.
It means, my son, the hope of humanity.
Live for it---die for it!"

Under the open sky of my new country,
I swore to do so,
And every drop of blood in me
Will keep that vow.
I am proud of my future.

I am an American.


Isn't that a wonderful poem? I love it! I believe it. I live it.

Happy 4th of July!

Happy Fourth of July to all of my American readers.

For many of us, this is a day to go to the beach early, frolic in the waves with your kids, build sandcastles, bury the kids up to their neck in the sand, get snow-cones at the concession stand, walk up and down the beach looking for neat shells, roast hog dogs in the fire rings, have S'mores as the sun goes down, watch fireworks from across the bay, and arrive home exhausted and sunburned. That's the typical San Diego experience. Half a million people here will do it today - and the high temp at the beach will be 75F.

Our celebration of the holiday will be much more subdued, since our kids are gone and I'm very sensitive to the sun. I put up the flag. I'm going to blog a bit, listen to the Dennis Prager show, then work on my probate record transcriptions, and reflect a bit on the stories about the Revolution, my ancestral soldiers, the Signers and the Framers. I'll take a nap this afternoon to get ready for our big night out.

We're going down to church in the evening for a picnic (hot dogs, hamburgers, chips, dip, veggies, and ice cream) and talk/share with friends on the patio or under the trees on the grass. About 9 PM, after the sun goes down, we'll look up and west - the country club next door has a decent fireworks show that is almost overhead! Then we'll drive one mile home - not sunburned, not tired, and watch the end of the Padres game. Life is a little more relaxed these days!

Whatever you do, I hope that you have a great time with family, friends or just yourselves! Do something fun and relaxing, and I urge you to reflect on the many gifts we have been given by our forefathers and foremothers.

The Signers

This is not my work, of course. The author is at the end. And it's not who you think - it's his father. I wonder how this info matches the details of the book about the Signers that was recently announced?


What kind of men were the 56 signers who adopted the Declaration of Independence and who, by their signing, committed an act of treason against the Crown?

To each of you the names Franklin, Adams, Hancock, and Jefferson are almost as familiar as household words. Most of us, however, know nothing of the other signers. Who were they? What happened to them?

I imagine that many of you are somewhat surprised at the names not there: George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Patrick Henry. All were elsewhere.

Ben Franklin was the only really old man. Eighteen were under 40; three were in their 20s. Of the 56, almost half—24—were judges and lawyers. Eleven were merchants, 9 were land-owners and farmers, and the remaining 12 were doctors, ministers, and politicians.

With only a few exceptions, such as Samuel Adams of Massachusetts, these were men of substantial property. All but two had families. The vast majority were men of education and standing in their communities. They had economic security as few men had in the 18th century.

Each had more to lose from revolution than he had to gain by it. John Hancock, one of the richest men in America, already had a price of 500 pounds on his head. He signed in enormous letter so “that his Majesty could now read his name without glasses and could now double the reward.”

Ben Franklin wryly noted: “Indeed we must all hang together, otherwise we shall most assuredly hang separately.”

Fat Benjamin Harrison of Virginia told tiny Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts: “With me it will all be over in a minute, but you, you will be dancing on air an hour after I am gone.”

These men knew what they risked. The penalty for treason was death by hanging. And remember: a great British fleet was already at anchor in New York Harbor.

They were sober men. There were no dreamy-eyed intellectuals or draft card burners here. They were far from hot-eyed fanatics, yammering for an explosion. They simply asked for the status quo. It was change they resisted. It was equality with the mother country they desired. It was taxation with representation they sought. They were all conservatives, yet they rebelled.

It was principle, not property, that had brought these men to Philadelphia. Two of them became presidents of the United States. Seven of them became state governors. One died in office as vice president of the United States. Several would go on to be U.S. Senators. One, the richest man in America, in 1828 founded the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.

One, a delegate from Philadelphia, was the only real poet, musician and philosopher of the signers (it was he, Francis Hopkinson—not Betsy Ross—who designed the United States flag).

Richard Henry Lee, a delegate from Virginia, had introduced the resolution to adopt the Declaration of Independence in June of 1776. He was prophetic is his concluding remarks:

“Why then sir, why do we longer delay? Why still deliberate? Let this happy day give birth to an American Republic. Let her arise not to devastate and to conquer but to reestablish the reign of peace and law. The eyes of Europe are fixed upon us. She demands of us a living example of freedom that may exhibit a contrast in the felicity of the citizen to the ever increasing tyranny which desolates her polluted shores. She invites us to prepare an asylum where the unhappy may find solace, and the persecuted repose. If we are not this day wanting in our duty, the names of the American legislators of 1776 will be placed by posterity at the side of all of those whose memory has been and ever will be dear to virtuous men and good citizens.”

Though the resolution was formally adopted July 4, it was not until July 8 that two of the states authorized their delegates to sign, and it was not until August 2 that the signers met at Philadelphia to actually put their names to the Declaration.

William Ellery, delegate from Rhode Island, was curious to see the signers’ faces as they committed this supreme act of personal courage. He saw some men sign quickly, “but in no face was he able to discern real fear.”

Stephen Hopkins, Ellery’s colleague from Rhode Island, was a man past 60. As he signed with a shaking pen, he declared: “My hand trembles, but my heart does not.”

Even before the list was published, the British marked down every member of Congress suspected of having put his name to treason. All of them became the objects of vicious manhunts. Some were taken. Some, like Jefferson, had narrow escapes. All who had property or families near British strongholds suffered.

Francis Lewis, New York delegate, saw his home plundered and his estates, in what is now Harlem, completely destroyed by British soldiers. Mrs. Lewis was captured and treated with great brutality. Though she was later exchanged for two British prisoners through the efforts of Congress, she died from the effects of her abuse.

William Floyd, another New York delegate, was able to escape with his wife and children across Long Island Sound to Connecticut, where they lived as refugees without income for seven years. When they came home, they found a devastated ruin.

Phillips Livingstone had all his great holdings in New York confiscated and his family driven out of their home. Livingstone died in 1778 still working in Congress for the cause.

Louis Morris, the fourth New York delegate, saw all his timber, crops, and livestock taken. For seven years he was barred from his home and family.

John Hart of Trenton, New Jersey, risked his life to return home to see his dying wife. Hessian soldiers rode after him, and he escaped in the woods. While his wife lay on her deathbed, the soldiers ruined his farm and wrecked his Homestead. Hart, 65, slept in caves and woods as he was hunted across the countryside. When at long last, emaciated by hardship, he was able to sneak home, he found his wife had already been buried, and his 13 children taken away. He never saw them again. He died a broken man in 1779, without ever finding his family.

Dr. John Witherspoon, signer, was president of the College of New Jersey, later called Princeton. The British occupied the town of Princeton, and billeted troops in the college. They trampled and burned the finest college library in the country.

Judge Richard Stockton, another New Jersey delegate signer, had rushed back to his estate in an effort to evacuate his wife and children. The family found refuge with friends, but a sympathizer betrayed them. Judge Stockton was pulled from bed in the night and brutally beaten by the arresting soldiers. Thrown into a common jail, he was deliberately starved. Congress finally arranged for Stockton’s parole, but his health was ruined. The judge was released as an invalid, when he could no longer harm the British cause. He returned home to find his estate looted and did not live to see the triumph of the evolution. His family was forced to live off charity.

Robert Morris, merchant prince of Philadelphia, delegate and signer, met Washington’s appeals and pleas for money year after year. He made and raised arms and provisions which made it possible for Washington to cross the Delaware at Trenton. In the process he lost 150 ships at sea, bleeding his own fortune and credit almost dry.

George Clymer, Pennsylvania signer, escaped with his family from their home, but their property was completely destroyed by the British in the Germantown and Brandywine campaigns.

Dr. Benjamin Rush, also from Pennsylvania, was forced to flee to Maryland. As a heroic surgeon with the army, Rush had several narrow escapes.

John Morton, a Tory in his views previous to the debate, lived in a strongly loyalist area of Pennsylvania. When he came out for independence, most of his neighbors and even some of his relatives ostracized him. He was a sensitive and troubled man, and many believed this action killed him. When he died in 1777, his last words to his tormentors were: “Tell them that they will live to see the hour when they shall acknowledge it [the signing] to have been the most glorious service that I rendered to my country.”

William Ellery, Rhode Island delegate, saw his property and home burned to the ground.

Thomas Lynch, Jr., South Carolina delegate, had his health broken from privation and exposures while serving as a company commander in the military. His doctors ordered him to seek a cure in the West Indies and on the voyage he and his young bride were drowned at sea.

Edward Rutledge, Arthur Middleton, and Thomas Heyward, Jr., the other three South Carolina signers, were taken by the British in the siege of Charleston. They were carried as prisoners of war to St. Augustine, Florida, where they were singled out for indignities. They were exchanged at the end of the war, the British in the meantime having completely devastated their large land holdings and estates.

Thomas Nelson, signer of Virginia, was at the front in command of the Virginia military forces. With British General Charles Cornwallis in Yorktown, fire from 70 heavy American guns began to destroy Yorktown piece by piece. Lord Cornwallis and his staff moved their headquarters into Nelson’s palatial home. While American cannonballs were making a shambles of the town, the house of Governor Nelson remained untouched.

Nelson turned in rage to the American gunners and asked, “Why do you spare my home?” They replied, “Sir, out of respect to you.” Nelson cried, “Give me the cannon!” and fired on his magnificent home himself, smashing it to bits. But Nelson’s sacrifice was not quite over. He had raised $2 million for the Revolutionary cause by pledging his own estates. When the loans came due, a newer peacetime Congress refused to honor them, and Nelson’s property was forfeited. He was never reimbursed. He died, impoverished, a few years later at the age of 50.

Of those 56 who signed the Declaration of Independence, nine died of wounds or hardships during the war. Five were captured and imprisoned, in each case with brutal treatment. Several lost wives, sons or entire families. One lost his 13 children. Two wives were brutally treated. All were at one time or another the victims of manhunts and driven from their homes.

Twelve signers had their homes completely burned. Seventeen lost everything they owned. Yet not one defected or went back on his pledged word. Their honor, and the nation they sacrificed so much to create, is still intact.

And, finally, there is the New Jersey signer, Abraham Clark. He gave two sons to the officer corps in the Revolutionary Army. They were captured and sent to the infamous British prison hulk afloat in New York harbor known as the hell ship “Jersey,” where 11,000 American captives were to die. The younger Clarks were treated with a special brutality because of their father. One was put in solitary and given no food.

With the end almost in sight, with the war almost won, no one could have blamed Abraham Clark for acceding to the British request when they offered him his sons’ lives if he would recant and come out for the King and parliament. The utter despair in this man’s heart, the anguish in his very soul, must reach out to each one of us down through 200 years with his answer: “No.”

The 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence proved by their every deed that they made no idle boast when they composed the most magnificent curtain line in history. “And for the support of this Declaration with a firm reliance on the protection of divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.”

Rush H. Limbaugh, Jr.


Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Some Celebrity Family Trees

I ran across the web site while clicking through my Bloglines list today, and digging down a bit I found that they have a decent list of family trees articles (or at least family lines) of many celebrities, including:

* The Addams Family's Carolyn Jones: A Descendant of Geronimo?

* The Bewitching Family Tree of Elizabeth Montgomery

* Eva Longoria: The Roots of a Desperate Housewife

* The Family of Mysterious Lizzie Borden

* The Family Tree of Anna Nicole Smith

* The Family Tree of Roseanne Barr

* A Glimpse at Bill Cosby's Virginia Roots

* Jack Albertson's Kinship to Cloris Leachman and Sharon Stone

* A Look at Tori Spelling's Family Tree

There are many more, of course.

The site also has some research tip articles - included with the celebrity stuff at


Essex County (MA) Deeds Online (Volumes 1-20)

I saw the post last Friday by Ruy Cardoso on the Essex County (MA) Mailing List about a Finding Aid for early colonial Essex County (MA) Deeds. I was intrigued by his post.

Ruy's Finding Aid is for Volume 20 (deeds registered in the 1705 to 1710 time frame) - which consists of a long alphabetical list of the deed principals providing the volume and page number - and was a volunteer effort on his part. He is to be highly commended for doing this!

Of course, the researcher wants the actual deed image online - and Ruy indicated that the first 20 volumes of these Essex County Deeds are available in .TIF format at If you input a volume number and page number into the Search box, you can see (and save) an image of the page from the Deed books. The ones I observed "looked" excellent - very clear writing on a white background - but still colonial handwriting! This is a tremendous resource.

The Essex Society of Genealogists (ESOG, of which I am a proud member) has published a book of Essex County (MA) Deed Abstracts for Volumes 1-4 - you can order it here.

In order to find a deed in the online database, you have to know the Volume and Page number(s) of the deed. That is where Ruy's finding aid for Volume 20 is helpful - but it is for only that volume.

So where can you find the volume and page number for Essex County deeds for a certain surname? By far the easiest way is to rent the microfilms from the LDS Family History Library - the FHL Catalog has three volumes of Grantee indexes for 1639 to 1799, three volumes of grantors for 1639 to 1799, and 85 films for the period from 1639 to 1799. Volume 20 is on FHL Microfilm 0,866,023.

I have done this microfilm process for many of my Essex County ancestors, but not for all of them. Searching Ruy's Finding Aid turned up at least 20 deeds for my ancestors in Volume 20 alone. I have several of them from my microfilm searches, but not nearly all of them. I can now "collect" the ones in Volume 20 thanks to Ruy and

This collection of deeds, and the alphabetical list of grantees and grantors in Ruy's Finding Aid, are examples of what volunteer organizations can achieve by working together. In the future, when all of the LDS Microfilms have been digitized, indexed and placed online we will be able to visit the indexes and the deeds online.

Are there other counties or states that have Deed records online? If so, tell me! Is there a reference list capturing online Deed records (similar to Joe's, for instance)?

Family Tree Charts

While working through the tutorial for FamilyTreeMaker, I started playing with the different charts available in the software. When you have many generations (like up to 12 or so) of American ancestors, the charts can get really big. Some of the ancestral charts I could create are hundreds of inches long.

I don't want to print them out on my own printer on 8.5 x 11 paper and have to tape 80 pieces of paper together - that's pretty tacky and time consuming.

I'm thinking that I need a large fan chart - maybe 10 generations or so - one for my ancestry and one for my wife's. Or maybe one for my kids that includes my ancestry and my wife's ancestry. Or an hourglass chart with ancestors and descendants of one couple so we can see who our cousins are that we share ancestry with.

So what to do? There are printing services that can create really nice genealogy charts for you, with artistic backgrounds, on high quality archival paper. That sounds like what I want.

One of these companies is Generation Maps ( Their product list is at They allow you to upload your database in many formats (e.g., they will take an .FTW file from FamilyTreeMaker), including PDF files (see

This is just one service that I know about (and I don't have any financial interest in it). I'm sure that there are many other chart services available - I'm wondering what you have used and recommend?

Monday, July 2, 2007

The MassMoments daily history blog

Have you been reading the daily posts on the Mass Moments history site at This is a very worthy companion site to Boston 1775 blog by J.L. Bell for Massachusetts history.

The web site says:

"The Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities launched the Mass Moments project—an electronic almanac of Massachusetts history—on January 1, 2005. Throughout 2005, radio listeners, cable TV viewers, and Internet users enjoyed listening to or reading about events and people in the recorded history of Massachusetts. In 2006, we are using the same 365 stories while we enhance the website for teachers.

"Visitors to the Mass Moments website [] can choose to listen to a one-minute audio spot or read the script, and then explore the story further by reading a background essay and clicking on a primary source document, links to follow, and places to visit. You can also use the timeline to see when a given "moment" occurred and a map to see where it happened. Visitors post comments or questions on the Discussion Board and have the option of being notified when someone responds. You can sign up for a free subscription to eMoments."

Today's post is about Bathsheba Spooner, who was the first woman to be executed, on 2 July 1778, in the new American republic. It is a fascinating story - read it all here.

Cool site - it goes on my Bloglines! Thanks to Marian for her mention of it on the APG mailing list.

Della's Journal - Week 27 (July 2-8, 1929)

This is Installment 27 of the Journal of Della (Smith) Carringer, my great-grandmother, who resided at 2115 30th Street in San Diego in 1929.

The "players" and "setting" are described here. Pictures of some of the players are here. Last week's Journal entry is here.

Here is Week 27:


Tuesday, July 2: Did not do very much, sewed a little. Emily working yet. Letter from Rose K. Pd on Bldg & L[oan], put in $10 for Betty, $10 for Austin.

Wednesday, July 3: Betty sick last night, got heated up Sunday in country. She is staying in bed today.

Thursday, July 4 of July: Lyle's went to Ramona. Betty & Mrs. A[uble] went later with Nolans. Lyle's came back to Griffiths, passed Nolans at Foster but did not know it. I did not go any place. I painted our stoves.

Friday, July 5: Ma colored cloth for comfort. I called on Mrs. Watson. Marian Thompson had a baby girl.

Saturday, July 6: Ed over, gave him, $10. He cut lawn & A[ustin] went for treatment. Emily worked. Store closed at 1 P.M. They all went out to country. Nolans came back the rest stayed all night. Jessie & Hazel & Walter came over here to dinner, brought us two rusters [roosters?] & some string beans.

Sunday, July 7: We did not go anyplace. Lyle's came home early. Mrs. Jones brought us a fish. We enjoyed our chicken. I took good Bath.

Monday, July 8: Ma does not feel very well. Los Angeles had an Earthquake this morning, 8:53. Lindburge & wife & 9 passengers started the passenger Air Plane & R.R. Transcontinental Air Service. I gave old magazines to a school on G St to sell. A[ustin] took treatment, has one more.

It's summer in San Diego, and on holidays and weekends the Lyle Carringer family goes out to the back country, where temperatures approach 100 degrees F. I wonder why they didn't go to the beach to cool off?

Jessie, Hazel and Walter are in the Kanagy family - friends of the Carringer family, who lived several blocks away up on Kalmia Street (the San Diego Genealogical Society library was housed there for several years in the 1990s).

There are two news items on Monday - an earthquake in LA and Charles Lindbergh starts a passenger air service. Interesting! I wish I had easy access to the San Diego Union archives (unfortunately, they are at the downtown SD public library on microfilm).

Colonial Probate Records - Estate Distributions

While working in the Rhode Island colonial probate records over the past months, I've noticed that very few estate inventories mentioned real estate - they all dealt with the personal estate. The wills did mention the real estate, and most of it went to the oldest son.

I was reading the book "The Family Tree Solver" by Marsha Hoffman Rising (Cincinnati, Family Tree Books, 2005) the other night, and she has included a table of the different types of estate distribution for each colony (which she obtained from the book "Inheritance in America: From Colonial Times to the Present." by Carole Shammas et al, New Brunswick, Rutgers University, 1987).

The table indicates that:

Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia distributed estates according to "Primogeniture - the eldest son inherited all real property." All eliminated Primogeniture by 1791 (the book gives the exact years).

Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania distributed estates according to "Equal Distribution with a double portion to the eldest son."

Marsha's section on this subject noted that many individuals did not follow the practice of Primogeniture and distributed land to all sons, or even to all children, especially in New York, in German families, in areas that did not like English common law, and in times closer to the American Revolution.

So - there is my answer! Rhode Island was a Primogeniture state until 1770 (except for between 1718 and 1728). I did not know that.

Let me plug Marsha's book also - this book is one my five favorite genealogy resource books - because she uses real examples from her research to illustrate her points.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

A Most Elusive Ancestor - Thomas J. Newton

One of my most elusive ancestors is Thomas J. Newton.

Based on information from vital records and census records of his children, I believe that he:

* Was born in Maine (probably Oxford County), probably between 1790 and 1810.
* Married Sophia (Buck) Brigham, a widow with two small children, between 1830 and 1835, probably in or near Sterling, Worcester County, MA.
* Probably resided in Cambridge, Lamoille County VT in at least part of the 1833 to 1850 time period.
* Had at least two children with Sophia - Thomas J. Newton (born June 1833?) and Sophia Newton (born Sept 1834?) in Cambridge VT (the marriage records for both of them claim their birthplace as Cambridge VT).
* Either divorced Sophia before 1850 or died before 1862 leaving her a widow (since she married again in 1862).
* Left no census records in his name in 1830 to 1850 (at least that I can find).

There is a Thomas J. Newton who fits all of my criteria above, but I am not sure that he is the right man:

* He was born in Dixfield, Oxford County, ME to Jacob and Fanny (Parks) Newton in 1808,
* He married Eliza Coffin in 1838 in Dedham MA, and fathered a baby, Thomas J. Newton, in 1848 who died in infancy,
* He was living in Reading MA in the 1850 census, and died there in 1852 (father listed as Jacob Newton).
* There is no probate record for this man.

For this man to be the "right" one, one has to believe that he:

* Married an older woman (10 years older) with two small children in about 1833,
* Moved her from Sterling MA to Cambridge VT (200 miles?) for some reason.
* Fathered two children, then divorced her.
* Married Eliza Coffin in Dedham MA in 1838, and settled in Reading MA, dying there in 1852.

Is that possible? Certainly. Is it certain? No way.

There was a Gershom Newton who resided in Cambridge, Lamoille County VT in the 1800 to 1850 time frame, and died in 1853. His probate record does not mention a Thomas J. Newton or his offspring. The Cambridge town records don't mention a Thomas J. Newton. Gershom Newton was a first cousin of Jacob Newton.

I pursued the son, Thomas J. Newton (born ca 1833) for awhile - he married, moved from MA to Albany VT, and they adopted two children, so there are no blood relatives in that line. The brief history book reference does not mention his parents.

I have researched:

* Vital records (births, marriages, deaths) in MA, VT and ME,
* Probate and land records in Oxford County ME, Lamoille County VT, Middlesex and Worcester County MA,
* Census records from 1790 to 1920 for ME, MA, NH, VT
* Online databases (IGI, Ancestral File, WorldConnect, Ancestry, etc)

What now? I continue to pick at this problem, but would appreciate counsel, advice, suggestions and wild-assed guesses. Thanks!

UPDATED 6 July: Mike Ferguson, in a comment on another post, made this comment regarding my search for TJ Newton:

P.S. Regarding your earlier post about your "elusive" ancestor Thomas Newton, it seems that you lack many records relating to his identity, and that of his wife Sophia and her previous marriage and maiden name, let alone records of his life from 1830-50 or to whenever he died. I presume that in addition to giving their places of birth, the marriage records of his children also give his name as that of their father. Is that correct? Without more and better records establishing his identity, and that of his wife since you don't have a marriage record for them, I think you need to concentrate on his children/grandchildren to better establish those identities before spending more time researching his name in various localities, including whether he (or whoever is the father of his reputed children) went by other names.

I thank Mike for taking the time to read this post and to make his useful comment. When I originally posted this note, I concentrated on what I thought I knew about Thomas J. Newton. Of course, some of it was based on what I knew about his wife and children.

Let me answer Mike's questions here, and add more detail to this search:

1) Concerning Sophia (Buck) (Brigham) Newton, I have her birth record on 3 May 1797, to Isaac and Martha (Phillips) Buck, in Holden MA VRs, and her death 6 Jan 1882 in Westborough MA (in MA VR 339:452, as Sophia Stone, widow of Jonathan Stone).
2) I have found no record of Sophia Buck's first marriage to Lambert Brigham ca. 1819, except for the Brigham surname book. That book also lists their two children, Augustus Brigham b. ca 1820 and Aurelius Brigham, born ca. 1830. The book says Lambert Brigham died before 1833, as I recall.
3) The marriage of Sophia Newton to Edward Hildreth (on 25 Dec 1852 in Northboro MA) indicated her age as 18, her birthplace as VT, her father as Thomas J. Newton and no name for her mother.
4) The marriage of her brother, Thomas J. Newton, on 23 Nov 1864 in Worcester MA said he was age 32, born in Cambridge VT and his parents were Thomas Newton and Sophia Buck. Census records in 1900 and 1910 indicated that Thomas Jr. and his wife did not have any natural children.
5) Sophia (Newton) Hildreth's death record (29 Sep 1923 in Leominster MA) says she was born in Springfield VT, her father is not listed, her mother is listed as (Buck) Newton, and she was age 86-11-15, making her birthdate 14 Sep 1834 if the record is correct.
6) In the 1850 census, Sophia Newton (age 53, born MA) and her daughter, Sophia Newton (age 15, born VT) resided in Northborough MA. Thomas J. Newton, a bootmaker, age 17, born VT, resided in West Boylston MA with the Nathan Daggett family.
7) I had thought about a different given name but not a different surname. Good suggestion! There are Massachusetts Name Changes available somewhere - Ancestry, I think. But then he might have changed it in Vermont or in Maine! I'll see what I can find.

I agree with Mike - I don't know a lot about any their lives except for these bits found in VRs and census records. There are no known family papers or Bibles, these people are not mentioned in any county history book, etc.

Thanks, Mike. Any more suggestions, anybody? I'm open to any help I can get!

America means "Freedom for All"

Eleven score and eleven years ago, the Founding Fathers, representing 13 separate small colonies hugging the east coast of North America, declared independence from a tyrannical kingdom ... in a Declaration of Independence, declared on 2 July 1776 and adopted by the Continental Congress meeting in Philadelphia on 4 July 1776.

The most important sentence in this magnificent document was that:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness..."

Not every resident in the colonies agreed with this Declaration, but, after 6 years of bitter conflict in which the colonists rarely won a battle, a new country was born. It took time to get the government structure right, with a Constitution and a Bill of Rights, but the result shook the world order to its very foundations.

I thank God for the colonists who made this happen - from the New England farmers who rallied to Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775, the citizens and immigrants who fought throughout New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, into Virginia and the South, until the surrender of English forces in 1781 at Yorktown.

And I thank God for the Founding Fathers (and the mothers, too) - for the intelligence, wisdom, fortitude, and daring of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and all of the signers of the Declaration.

The resulting country, with its institutions and society, was, and still is, imperfect. Some institutions and traditions were evil and long-lasting. It took 87 years to abolish slavery (thank you, Mr. Lincoln), and many more decades for the descendants of African migrants to obtain equality of opportunity. The treatment of the "Native Americans" - who migrated from Asia in prehistoric times, was terrible and long-lasting.

My own ancestry is filled with farmers, blacksmiths, laborers, housewives and shopkeepers of English and German ancestry. My latest immigrant ancestors came from England in 1840 and 1855. My latest German-born ancestors came in the 1750's. I don't have the "real" immigrant experience (say from the 1850 to 1920 time period) in my ancestry, and I feel a bit "cheated" that my ancestry is not as diverse (or inspiring or interesting) as that of others. Oh well, I didn't choose my ancestors! But I am proud that they took the actions they took throughout the history of our country.

Over more than three centuries, the country has "filled up" with immigrants from every part of the world - from Europe, Africa, Asia, North and South America. Why did they come? Most came intentionally - because they thought that "America" was the best hope and opportunity for a person to work hard, earn a living, raise a family, obtain education for their children, own property or a business, enjoy peace and security, and live a happy and fulfilling life. And they still come today for essentially the same reason - for the opportunity for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Thank you to Mr. Washington and his army, to Mr. Jefferson and his fellow signers, and to the colonists who fought the battles through very hard times - for a job well done. It took awhile to achieve, it is still imperfect, but it is still the best hope for mankind - FREEDOM to be an individual in a peaceful society that respects every person's inalienable rights within laws generated by the representatives of the citizens of a republic form of government.

To me, "America" means "Freedom for all" - not just in the United States, but, hopefully and eventually, in every country of the world.

Explore Your English Roots by Rolls-Royce

There is an interesting advertisement on page 63 of the July 2007 issue of the New England Ancestors magazine. It says:

"Planning a trip to the UK to research your family history? Let me help you plan your itinerary, and then chauffeur you in my head-turning classic car, a Rolls Royce Silver Spirit.

"Tell me where you want to go and I'll work with you to produce a detailed schedule. I'll visit the places you want to see, check out and book accommodation, and do everything necessary to ensure a successful trip. Then I'll meet you at the airport to begin the adventure - our Historical Quest!"

That really sounds like fun ... and expensive! This would be a first-class research trip, eh? For the genealogist who has everything.

My mind wandered to what a trip like this would look like for me - to visit my ancestral villages, manors and castles. And throw in some history and museum stops too. I'd love to go to:

1) York in Yorkshire - my earliest Seaver was probably an Angle or a Saxon, or maybe a Viking).
2) Richmond in Yorkshire - "my" Richmond Castle still stands above the town - I would love to witness the medieval pageants on the castle green.
3) Oxford in Oxfordshire - "my" Henry Sever was a warden at Merton College in 1455 and is buried in the floor of the chapel. A side trip to Stratford-on-Avon would be enjoyable too.
4) Ashton-Keynes in Wiltshire - "my" Richmond Manor house still stands here, and is a bed and breakfast.
5) Bath - "my" Roman ancestors no doubt resided here a long time ago.
6) Trowbridge and Hilperton in Wiltshire - my "Richman" family resided here - I want to see the town and village, and visit/attend church in Hilperton.
7) Salisbury and Stonehenge - visit the church and the big rock cathedral on the plain - probably built by ancestors of mine a long time ago.
8) London - Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Tower of London, Greenwich, Windsor Castle, British Museum, etc.
9) Edinburgh - St. Giles Church, the Castle, St. Andrews, etc.

Um, wait. That's what we did in 1993 on our own. On the train, using buses and taxis, staying in B&Bs, over three wonderful weeks.

I wonder what this chap would charge for that tour? Let's see, say 100 pounds a day for lodging, say 30 pounds a day for food and drink, say 20 pounds an hour for escorting and touring (average 8 hours?), -- ca-ching -- equals over 6,000 pounds (about $12,000) -- just for the driver! I imagine that a single person might save some money by bunking with the guide, but I doubt that would happen very often. I wonder if he provides wireless internet access as part of this service on the Rolls Royce? Just think of the good and fun times - in the pubs, on the road, at the castles, in the churches, in the museums, with an expert and knowledgeable tour guide. Priceless!

When we go again to one of our favorite ancestral countries, I would like to visit different places, such as:

1) Land's End out at the west end of Cornwall - heck, let's hit the Isles of Scilly too!
2) Plymouth - where the Mayflower sailed from in 1620 with some of my ancestors aboard.
3) South Petherton in Somerset where my Vaux ancestors lived, and left from in the 1840 time frame to settle in Aurora NY.
4) Kent - where my ancestor William the Conqueror defeated other relatives of mine in 1066 at the Battle of Hastings.
5) Cambridge, Lincoln, Boston, Norfolk, and other towns where some of my ancestors left from back in the 1600's.
6) Wales - I don't have any ancestors here, but a tour through the countryside would be nice.
7) A tour through the Lake District and the Cotswolds - for the scenery, of course.

Ah, dreamers dream of happy times. In a Rolls-Royce. I can hardly wait. It sounds like a decent 40th wedding anniversary tour, eh?

Cheers...I'd better start saving!

Note to self: Cancel my trip to Fort Wayne for the FGS. Cancel the week on Maui later in the summer.

Note to Randy from Linda: I'm going to Maui - if you want to live past mid-August, you'd better not cancel anything!

Note to Linda from Randy: Hmmpphh! No fun at all...OK, Maui is in. When do you want to take our one week budget trip to England did you say?