Monday, December 18, 2017


My ancestress Hannah (Dane) Phelps  was descended from my immigrant ancestor(and 10 ggf) John Dane. While his family would play a prominent part of Andover, Ma., John spent most of his life in Ipswich and then Roxbury, Ma.

Here's his entry in one of William Richard Cutter's books:

John Dane (1), of Berkhamsted. Bishop’s Stortford, Herts, England, and of Ipswich and Roxbury, Massachusetts, died at Roxbury, September 14, 1658, married first, ———-: married second, July 2, 1643, Agnes Chandler, widow of \Villiam Chandler,  of Roxbury; she married third, August 9, 1660. John Parminter. of Sudbury, Massachusetts. Children: 1. John, see forward. 2. Elizabeth, died at Ipswich, Massachusetts, January 21, 1693. married James How, who died at Ipswich, May 17, 1702. 3. Francis, minister at Andover, Massachusetts, died there February 17, 1696-7; married first, Elizabeth Ingalls, who died at Andover, June 9, 1676; married second, September 21, 1677, Mrs. Mary Thomas, who died February 18, 1688-9; married third, 1690, Mrs. Hannah (Chandler) Abbot. who died June 2, 1711.-p29

Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of Boston and Eastern Massachusetts, Volume 1, Lewis historicak Publishing Company, New York, New York 1908

I've found his Probate File and will discuss that next.

Sunday, December 17, 2017


((First published Dec 2011))

It may not snow every Christmas but there is one thing of which we can be
certain:  the 24 hour "A Christmas Story" marathon on cable tv. Now some
folks might be tired of seeing the movie but to me it is like looking back at
my own childhood. No, Dad didn't win a Leg Lamp(and no way our Mom
would have let him put it in her living room if he had) but there are certain
things in the film that bring back memories for me:

1. Ovaltine- Yes, I drank Ovaltine when I was a kid, but by the time I came
along in 1948 Little Orphan Annie was no longer the big radio hit it once was.
In fact, when I was Ralphie's age it was Captain Midnight on tv who was telling
us to drink our Ovaltine.

2. The cars- There were still many of the older model cars around well into
the mid 1950's with cool things like running boards and rumble seats. The
nursery school I went to in Malden, the ABC Nursery School, used to pick up
students in a big old car with a rumble seat and I dimly remember riding in it.

3. The clothes- Here's a picture of me with Santa. As I've said before, stick a
pair of glasses on it and I could be Ralphie. And in the picture of the car above,
that's me (on the left) and my cousin Winnie (Winifred). While I can't recall if it
was hard for me to get around in a snowsuit, I do remember it seemed to take
HOURS to get in and out of it. And Randy looks a lot like one of my younger
White cousins trying to walk around in it once he was bundled up.

4. The school- The first elementary school I went to was the Linden School in
Malden, Ma which was a new building and very modern for the times. But when
I was eight years old we moved to Boston and I went to the Frank V. Thompson
Elementary School, an older building, and the classrooms looked very much like
Ralphie's: the blackboards, the shelves of books, the desks, even the windows!

5. The Lifebuoy- I told fibs when I was a kid. Several times I got the Lifebuoy in
the mouth punishment.  It tasted soap.  Blecch. No, I didn't go blind.

6.The BB Rifle- I don't recall hearing Red Ryder on the radio when I was a kid and
I don't remember ever seeing the tv series. It may have been on at the same time
as one of the other shows I would watch, like the Lone Ranger or the Cisco Kid.
But I do remember seeing the ads in the back of the comic books for a Red Ryder
BB Rifle from Daisy. I wanted one badly. Hey, with a last name like West, a guy just
had to dream about being a cowboy! And just like Ralphie, I heard the same
warnings from my Mom about shooting myself(or someone else) in the eye. Now
my Dad had grown up around guns and was a bit more sympathetic. After all,
he hadn't lost an eye (although he did shoot himself once in the foot with a .22).
So eventually my parents reached some sort of compromise and I got a bb rifle
either for Christmas or my birthday but my Dad was the keeper of the BB
pellets. Eventually the novelty of shooting a rifle that didn't actually have
ammunition wore off and the rifle ended up in the closet. It and the pellets
did, however, make a reappearance a few years later when we were living
in Abington and Dad used it to drive off the more persistent male dogs who
were uh....paying our female dog Brownie.

So that's why I like watching "A Christmas Story" every Christmas!

At least once, anyway.

Saturday, December 16, 2017


There's over 104,000 new records, mostly from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in this week's Findmypast Friday releases:


New additions to the 1939 Register

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Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Vital Records 1706-1895

OVER 18,000 RECORDS Search vital records for births, marriages, and deaths reported in newspapers and town record transcripts from the city of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to uncover valuable details surrounding these significant life events.

Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Expenses of the Poor 1817-1838

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United States Marriages

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Total records: 190,477,078
Covering: Portsmouth, New Hampshire
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Thursday, December 14, 2017


Just a few thoughts about the case and the people in it:

Whenever I find one of these cases the first thing I do is to see if the ages
of the people involved in the case are mentioned. Then I check them against
what I know about the family to see if they match up with the information
I have. For example, here's the family of Thomas and Hannah Chandler from
a Chandler family genealogy:

The children of Thomas and Hannah (Brewer) Chandler were:

i. Thomas, b. 2 Oct. 1652; d. 6 June, 1659, a. 7 years.
Salem Ilecords.

ii. John, b. 14 March, 1655 ; Andover ; m. 20 Dec. O. S. 1670,
Hannah Abbot.

iii. Hannah, m. 2 Dec. 1674, Daniel Bixby, of Andover.

iv. William, b. 28 May. O. S. 1659; m. 21 April, 1687,
Eleanor Phelps, by Rev. Francis Dane, of S. Andover.

v. Sarah, b. 20 Dec. 1661 ; m. 29 May, 1682, Samuel Phelps.

vi. Thomas, b. 9 Oct. 1664; m. 22 .May, 1686, Mary Peters,
by Major Saltonstall.

vii. Henrv, b. 28 May, 1667; in. 28 Nov. 1695, Lydia Abbot,
of Andover.

viii. Joseph.. b. 3 Aug. 1669; m. 20 Nov. 1691, Sarah Abbot.

Chandler, George The Chandler Family: The Descendants of William and AnnisChandler who Settled in Roxbury, Mass., 1637 (Google eBook)
Press of C. Hamilton,  Worcester, Ma. 1883

The case happened in 1678, and the ages given for the Chandlers are:
William, around 19 years old. (I have his birth year in my database as 1659)
Thomas, around 51 years old. (I have his birth year in my database as 1628)
Hannah, around  49 years old  (I have her birth year in my database as 1630)

That, plus the fact that William in my database is married to Elinor Phelps
makes me certain that this isn't another Chandler family.

Two of the witnesses in the case are also my relatives:
William Lovejoy is my 8x great grandfather,
John Ballard is my 8x great granduncle

-I am wondering how much Walter Wright was fined, No amount was given in
case file. And why was he let off so lightly? Were the knife wounds not as
serious as William Chandler testifies? Was there a sense that he had somehow
provoked Wright into the attack? Part of it might also be because Thomas Chandler
didn't seem to want to pursue the matter since he and Wright were neighbors.

-It seems our ancestors had a higher tolerance of pain than we do nowadays.
Even if the knife wounds were not serious ones, being slashed across your face
and in your hands and stomach must have really hurt. But the wounds were
"cured" (stitched?) by Return Johnson and everyone went back about their business. 

-Though the case was brought to court in Ipswich, the actual events took place in
Andover, Ma. where many of my paternal ancestors lived.

Finally, I think Walter Wright didn't follow through on his threat to shoot William
Chandler's horse.

If he had, I'm sure they would have ended up in court over it.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017


((I'm reposting this from December 2014 because of my recent newer post about Thomas Chandler))

One of my best sources of information about my Essex County, Massachusetts ancestors
has been the Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts
free ebook editions on Googlebooks. I've gained some insight into the lives and
characters of ancestors from them, as wel as some great stories. This latest discovery
concerns the family of my 9x great grandparents Thomas and Hannah Chandler, in
particular a violent incident between their son William and a  neighbor, Walter
Wright. Remember, the grammar and spelling is exactly as written by the court clerks:   

Court Held At Ipswich, Nov. 6, 1678, By Adjournment.
Upon complaint against Walter Wright for drawing his knife and offering to stab William Chandler, he was fined.*

*Warrant, dated Oct. 29, 1678, for appearance of Walter Wright, upon complaint of Ensign Chandler that he had lately assaulted and wounded his son William Chandler with a knife, also for witnesses, William, Hannah, Thomas Chandler and John Carleton, signed by Daniel Denison,f for the court, and served by Thomas Ossgood,f constable of Andover, by attachment of house and land of said Wright.

Thomas Chandler's bill of cost, Hi. 14s.

William Chandler, aged about nineteen years, deposed that a month ago Goodman Right early in the morning came up to his father's house and deponent being in the yard, he said to him, "Will, I will shoot your horse: I said to him why: because sd he: he hath ben in my lot to night I replyed I ame sorre for that: for I did for git to fetter him to night: but I hop I shall doe so no more: but Goodman Right replyed and sd you will always forgit it: but I will goe home and charge my gun and shoot him for he hath don me forty shillings worth of hurt this sumer: then I replyed knowing how falce the thing was that it was more like to be forty lyes then Right replyed sarar I scorne to lye as littell as you or your father ether: upon his retorting upon my father I was provoked and went to him and tuck him by the coler and sayd to him if he wod not hold his tonge about my father I whould make him and so only at that time gave him a shuf from me but did not then strike him upon which the sd Right caled me Roge and in grat violenc dru his knife and sd I I voe Il stabe you and accordinly stroke me with his knife twise upon the brest or belle be for I cold stop him then I stroke up his heles and lyeing over him to take his knife from him before I could command his hand his knife was in he indeauered as I thoght to cut my throt: which althogh throgh the goodnes of god he did not doe yet he came very nere it and cut a long deep gaus on my ceeke which came very nere my throt as may apere nowe by the scare only ocasiond by that cut as also stabd on deep wonde in my hand besid fiue or six other smaler cuts about my hand: but at length altho I could not get his knife out of his hand yet I brake it in his hand and so let him rise and then I confese I did giue him a smale crack behind and a box of the ere." Hanah Chandler, aged about forty-nine years, and Thomas Chandler, aged about fourteen years, testified to the same. Sworn in court.

Thomas Chandler, aged about fifty-one years, testified that he was not at home when his son was injured but found him very bloody when he arrived, etc. John Carlton told him that Goodman Right was afterward at his master's shop, etc. Sworn in court.

Roger Marke, aged about thirty-five years, deposed that after Wright had cut Chandler he was passing Joseph Willson's shop and talking with John Carlton, who was a little distance from the shop shaving hops, Wright came to the door of the shop and said that he did not care a twopence if he had killed Chandler. Sworn in court.

John Carleton, aged about seventeen years, deposed that he saw Chandler's mother also lay hold of Wright, etc. Sworn, Nov. 5, 1678, before Nath. Saltonstall,* assistant.

Return Johnson, aged about twenty-five years, testified that he told Chandler that in the interest of peace, said Johnson would cure the scratch. Ensign Chandler said that was the best way, for as he and Wright were neighbors they must live together in harmony and deponent cured the wounds for nothing. Sworn, Nov. 5, 1678, before Nath. Saltonstall,* assistant.

Christopher Lovejoy, aged sixteen years, deposed. Sworn, Nov. 5, 1678, before Nath. Saltonstall,* assistant.

Elner Phelps, aged twenty-three years, deposed. Sworn Nov. 5, 1678, before Nath. Saltonstall,* assistant.

William Lovejoy, aged about twenty-one years, testified that before the quarrel, Chandler told him that he met Wright on the highway on horseback, and took his horse by the bridle, commanded him to stand and challenged him down from his horse to fight. Wright not wishing to fight, Chandler struck him with a staff. This happened between Wright's and Chandler's houses. Sworn, Nov. 5, 1678, before Nath. Saltonstall,J assistant.

John Ballard, aged about twenty-five years, deposed. Sworn, Nov. 5, 1678, before Nath. Saltonstall,J assistant. pp95-97

Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts, Volume 7 (Google eBook) Massachusetts. County Court (Essex County), George Francis Dow
Essex Institute, 1919

To be continued...


I don’t recall many holiday parties from my earlier childhood. In our family folks were too busy working or shopping at Christmas time. And when we lived in Dorchester the apartments weren’t
really big enough to hold large parties in, although there might have been one or two. If so, they would have followed the rules of other adult parties my folks had: after saying hello to the adults,
my sister and I would be sent off to our beds to eventually fall asleep while listening to the adults
in the other room laughing at Rusty Warren records. We wondered what "roll me over in the clover" meant.

As an adult, most of my Christmas party experience has been at work, including one at a now
defunct toy chain warehouse(more on that job later) when I was in my early twenties. It snowed
when I left for home. My car at the time was an Olds 98 and being in a hurry to get home, I didn’t completely clean the rear windshield. I backed up, turning the car around….

…and smashed my rear windshield by backing the car up under a tractor trailer box front end as
if it were a big rig hooking up.

The good news was, my Dad worked in the auto glass repair business.

The bad news was I had to call him and tell him what I’d done.

It was an …umm…interesting conversation.

((First published in December, 2007))

2013 Update: I think this is my favorite out of all the things I've posted every year about past Christmases. I remember the windshield incident with a smile now but at the time I was a nervous wreck waiting for Dad's reaction, especially since I'dhad a few highballs at the Christmas party which probably had a lot to do with my backing into the trailer. I also had to drive the car home 
with no rear windshield in a snowstorm and I was worried I'd get pulled over by the police. When 
I got home we covered the broken window with something, probably a cut open garbage bag and masking tape, and a few days later Dad found a replacement at Goldy's, a local junkyard. 

Most of all, I remember Dad getting out of his car when he drove up to the  Child World warehouse, taking a puff on his cigarette, and  giving me The Look before asking me "How the hell did you manage to do that?"

((First published in December, 2007))


Sakuel Phelps Sr.'s wife,  Sarah Chandler, was the granddaughter of immigrant ancestor William Chandler. Her parents were Thomas Chandler and Hannah Brewer,

Here's what William Richard Cutter wrote about Thomas and his family:

(II) Captain Thomas Chandler, son of William Chandler, was born in England in 1630, and died May 15, 1703, probably being buried at North Andover. He was a well-to-do blacksmith, and carried on iron works which were successful. He was rated as a rich man. In 1678 and 1679 he was representative from Andover to the general court. He, as well as his father, was one of the original proprietors and settlers of Andover, and his name was "23d of householders in order as they came to Town." He was lieutenant of the foot company of Andover, Captain Dudley Bradstreet's company. His will was dated September 13, 1700, and proved February 8, 1702-03. Thomas Chandler's son Joseph, in 1718, sold one-half of the iron works in Salisbury. Captain Thomas Chandler married Hannah Brewer, at Andover, and she died there October 25, 1717, aged eighty-seven years. Children, born in Andover: Thomas, born October 2, 1652, died June 6, 1659; John, born March 14, 1655; Hannah, married Daniel Bixby; William, born May 28, 1659; Sarah, born December 20, 1661; Thomas, born October 9, 1664; Henry, mentioned below; Joseph, born August 3,1669.-p1451

New England Families, Genealogical and Memorial: A Record of the Achievements of Her People in the Making of Commonwealths and the Founding of a Nation, Volume 3  Lewis historical publishing Company, New York, New York 1914

I am also a descendant of Thomas' sister Hannah Chandler  through her marriage to George Abbott Jr.

Monday, December 11, 2017


Continuing with the ancestors of my 6x great grandmother Hannah (Phelps) Abbott, this post is about my 10x great grandfather Robert Adams. And again, I found  information about him in another of William Richard Cutter's books:

(I) Robert Adams, immigrant ancestor of this branch of the family in America, was born in England in 1602. He came first to Ipswich in 1635, with his wife and two children. He was a tailor by trade and resided in Salem in 1638-39. He removed to Newbury in 1640, where he acquired a large farm and valuable property. He is believed by some to have come from Devonshire, England, and by others from Holderness, county York, England. There is a tradition, also, that he was of Scotch origin. The large, hand-made shears which he brought from England, and which he used in his trade, are now owned by Stephen P. Hale, of Newbury, a descendant. His will was dated March 7, 1680-81, proved November 27, 1682. He died October 12, 1682, aged eighty-one. He married (first) Eleanor Wilmot, who died June 12, 1677. He married (second) February 6. 1678. Sarah (Glover) Short, widow of Henry Short. She died in Newbury, October 24, 1697. Children: John, born in England : Joanna, England, about 1633-34; Sergeant Abraham, 1639: Elizabeth, Newbury, about 164142; Mary, about 1644-45; Isaac, 1647-48; Jacob, April 23, 1649, died August 12, 1649; Hannah, June 25, 1650; Jacob, mentioned below.-p1321

New England Families, Genealogical and Memorial: A Record of the Achievements of Her People in the Making of Commonwealths and the Founding of a Nation, Volume 3, Lewis publishing company N.Y., N.Y. 1913

Robert's daughter Elizabeth married Edward Phelps and Robert left her a cow in his will. I've found that Probate File and hope to transcribe it soon.

Saturday, December 09, 2017


There are over 95 thousand new records in this week's Findmypast Friday releases:


British & Irish Roots Collection

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As you can see, I had a very formal relationship with Santa.No laps for me. A simple solemn
pose would do, thank you, for the photo-op.

Formal attire was also worn when visiting Santa’s Village up in New Hampshire. A sports
jacket was de rigeur for the feeding of reindeer but one was allowed to be more casual
when posing with the sled and full team. The girls are my cousin Terry and my sister Cheryl.

Actually, I think we might have been there on a Sunday. We’d have attended Mass in Berlin,
NH and probably continued on home to Boston with a stop to visit the Village along the way.

But by the time those pictures were taken, I’d fallen from grace.

I no longer believed in Santa Claus.

I’m not sure how I figured it out but I do know I must have been around six or seven years
old because we were still living in Malden in the two family house that my folks and my
aunt and uncle co-owned. I know this because when I found out there was no Santa Claus,
I shared my knowledge and I heard about it for years afterward.

Yes, I told my cousins who lived downstairs. I think that was theyear I got a lump of coal in
my stocking (but there were still presents under the tree).

I may have told my sister the awful truth later or she found out some other way. I do know
I didn’t tell my kid brother. After all, I was an adult of 17 by then and I had a greater appreciation
for what Santa meant to little kids!

But there it is.

I squealed on Santa.

Originally published in Dec. 2007.


William Richard Cutter describes my 7x great grandfather Samuel Phelps Jr and his family:

(IV) Samuel Phelps, son of Samuel Phelps (3), was born in Andover, November 22, 1684, died there April, 1745. He married Hannah Dane, who died May 26, 1746, sister of John Dane. She was admitted to the church in 1714. His will was dated April 5, 1745, and proved May 6, 1745. He bequeathed to Samuel who had agreed to care for his parents (Samuel (3) and wife), to Thomas, Joseph, Hannah, Abbott and Mary Stevens, his five children. The estate was inventoried at three hundred and ninety-seven pounds, eleven shillings and one penny. Children, born at Andover: 1. Samuel, February 5, 1713, mentioned below. 2. Hannah, married, February 14. 1734, Ephraim Abbott. 3. Mary, born February 14, 1716, married ------- Stevens. 4. Francis, born January 11, 1719-20, married Phebe Holt. 5. Joseph, born March 27, 172324, probably settled in Wilton, New Hampshire.-p888

Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of Boston and Eastern Massachusetts, Volume 2  Lewis historical Publishing Company, 1908, Boston, Ma.

Charlotte Helen Abbott writes that Mary Phelps'  husband  was John Stevens Jr. A check with the Andover, Ma. marriage records confirms his identity. Samuel III married Pricilla Holt.

I've found Samuel Phelps Jr.'s  probate record and will be posting a transcription here when it's done.