Monday, August 31, 2015

Monday Is for Mothers: Hannah Field (About 1642 - About 1703)

[Roger Williams Welcoming Settlers to Providence, Roger Williams National Memorial, National Park Service]

Although there's general agreement that her father was John Field, one of the earliest settlers in Providence, Rhode Island,* there are those who believe that Hannah Field's mother was Ruth Fairbanks. But the only Ruth Fairbanks I've found in the records was a woman who married Robert Field in 1624 and moved to New York. Torrey** isn't even certain that the given name of Hannah's mother was Ruth.

[Torrey's New England Marriages to 1700, Volume 1, Page: 539
via New England Historical Genealogical Society's wedsite]
Hannah, my eighth maternal great grandmother, was probably born about 1640 in Providence and appears to be the oldest child of John and ?Ruth, followed by at least three brothers and a sister.

The next record I've found for Hannah is that of her marriage to James Mathewson (once again from Torrey) and the newlyweds continued living in Providence.

[Torrey's New England Marriages to 1700, Volume 2, Page: 1014
via New England Historical Genealogical Society's wedsite]
The couple had nine children during the twenty years of their marriage and Hannah was pregnant with the last one, my direct ancestor Daniel, when James made his will about four month before he died, on December 3, 1682. Daniel was born nearly two months after his father's death.***

Original from Cornell University via HathiTrust Digital Books]

Unfortunately I wasn't able to locate a scan of James Mathewson's will but here is a transcription that retains the antiquated spelling:****
"I James Mathewson of ye Towne of Providence being weake of body yet haveing my perfect Memory, Doe make my last will & testament as followeth,
First I Comett my body to ye dust & my Spirit to God that gave it.
Secondly I give to my son James six score acres of land with all ye Comonage betweene ye seven mile line & ye foure.
Thirdly I give to my son Thomas Twenty one acrs of land which I bought of Daniell Browne, with Twenty acres which I had of ye Towne.
Fourthly, I give to all my sons Equall alike all my share of land beyond ye seven mile line.
Fifthly, I Give to my son Zachariah, & ye Child unborne, if it be a son; my house & land, & three five acre Lotts lieing up Naspatuckett River with the land at ye Round Cove, But if it be a daughter, then it all remaines to my son Zachariah.
Lastly I make my beloved wife Hannah Sole Exsecutrix of all my mooveables of household goodes, & Cattells what so Ever to despose to my Daughters as shee shall see cause. This being my last will & teastement, Jn wittnesse hereof I sett to my hand & seale this twenty foure day of August 1682:
Signed & sealed in ye James Mathewson presence of
William Hopkins his X marke
Eward London"
In 1687 Hannah was taxed as the widow of James Mathewson but sometime after that she married Henry Brown***** whom she survived, although she declined to act as his executor, ceding that chore to her stepsons.

And after that, Hannah Field Mathewson Brown disappears from the records. It's presumed that she died and is buried in Providence where she had lived her whole life.

I've included a video about Roger Williams (1603-1683) the most famous of the founders of Rhode Island and the founder of the first Baptist Church in America. He would have been a familiar figure to my ancestors.

[C-SPAN Cities Tour - Providence: Roger Williams & the First Baptist Church]

*John Field's mark is on the Providence civil compact of that year.
**Torrey’s New England Marriages Prior to 1700 by Clarence Almon Torrey (1869-1962). There's a video about using this important source here.
***On January 28th. During this period of time, the British were using a calendar year that began on March 25th, not January 1st.
****I found this version on the MathewsonDonald1 tree on and compared it with another, modernized transcription on a different tree, Ten Generations of Mathewson's.
*****Hannah and Henry didn't have any children together.

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Fantastic Find: California, County Birth and Death Records, 1800-1994 on

This Fantastic Find should be filed under New to Me.

I believe they have had this collection, California, County Birth and Death Records, 1800-1994, for years, but hadn't quite realized what this database contained.  It's a hybrid of indexed and unindexed scanned images of various birth and death records from most county courthouses in California.

Using the index, I tried for Tibbetts, which is one of my ancestral lines.  I came up with a cousin, Lee Buckmaster:
His mother was Serilda Clementine "Tillie" Tibbetts.  An interesting thing for me is that Lee's grandfather Wesley Tibbetts was the brother of my ancestor Henry Tibbetts, and Mary Ann Messinger was the sister to my ancestor Catherine Messinger, Henry Tibbetts's wife.  Lee and I share the same Tibbetts/Burnight/Messinger/Miller ancestry.

My own pedigree for contrast.

Using the index part of this database revealed a Tillie Tibbets:
Lee's death certificate!
"California, County Birth and Death Records, 1800-1994," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 30 August 2015), Tillie Tibbits in entry for Lee M. Buckmaster, 06 Jan 1946; citing Death, Lodi, San Joaquin, California, United States, county courthouses, California; FHL microfilm 1,832,046.
That is so much more information than this index:
You'd never know he died of "Carcinoma of Lung."  For people doing genealogy for medical history this type of info is very important.

They have a huge birth and death collection for Los Angeles, which I will mine through as I've got loads of people there.

They may be continually adding to this database, as the description claims that Contra Costa (for example) is not represented, but browsing through the actual database reveals they have some death registers for that county.

Don't just rely on the indexing.  Some of FamilySearch's most amazing records are as yet unindexed.

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Sunday Drive: Orphans Going to Coney Island in Autos 6/7/11

Although a month earlier Mr. Benjamin Briscoe had promised to underwrite the expense of a luncheon for 5,000 New York orphans at Dreamland on June 7th,* we are absolutely certain that's not where those vehicles crammed with flag-waving children were going on that day.

[Date: Monday, May 8, 1911   Paper: Springfield Daily News (Springfield, Massachusetts)   Page: 6  
This entire product and/or portions thereof are copyrighted by NewsBank and/or the American Antiquarian Society. 2004.

[Orphans Going to Coney Island in Autos 6/7/11. Library of Congress,
Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, D.C. 20540 USA,]

Why am I so sure? Because in the very early morning hours of May 27th, the day Dreamland was scheduled to open for the 1911 season, workers were putting finishing touches on the "Hellgate" ride when a fire broke out that reduced the park to ashes by morning.**

[Scenes At Coney Island Fire; Dreamland May Be Lost For Ever
Date: Sunday, May 28, 1911   Paper: Trenton Evening Times (Trenton, New Jersey)   Page: 1  
This entire product and/or portions thereof are copyrighted by NewsBank and/or the American Antiquarian Society. 2004.Source:]

Since the Library of Congress website is offline due to equipment maintenance activities this weekend I've turned to Shorpy and the New York Times*** for more information about the Orphans' "Motor Outing" on that long-ago rainy day.

[Coney Is Captured by An Orphan Army, New York Times 8 June 1911]

[Coney Island: New York's Playground, Steeplechase Park & Luna Park]

Thanks to the glories of crowdsourcing and flickr tags, the lead vehicle in the first photo has been identified as a German-built B├╝ssing 6 Ton Truck. I have no idea what the chain-driven truck in the second picture could be but it is pretty awesome.

*Which was a Wednesday, not a Sunday, but bear with me. Also I don't have any personal connection to New York, Coney Island or any of those orphans but had to post about this event because I love the images.
**For an excellent account of the fire, look here. The newspaper headline was prophetic--it was never rebuilt. This video has a history of Dreamland.

[Coney Island: New York's Playground, Dreamland]

***You can read the entire article (which includes a "Suffragette Sentiment") at this link.

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Book Shelf: The Internet Archive and the 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition

You can stroll through the the Panama Pacific Exposition vicariously by perusing these three publications I found on the Internet Archive.

First there's the "Official Guide" filled with everything a visitor would have wanted to know about the Exposition including black and white images of various buildings, a list of paintings for sale in the Fine Arts Building,* maps of the exposition and ending with a list of all the plants on display throughout the grounds.

[The Official Guide Book of the Panama-California Exposition San Diego 1915
The Internet Archive, contributed by The Committee of One Hundred]

Next from the Library of Congress there's an "Official Publication" that is filled with hand-colored photographs of the Exposition.

[Official publication : Panama California International Exposition, San Diego 1916 : hand-colored
The Internet Archive, contributed by the Library of Congress]

The Library of Congress is also the source of "Exposition Memories" that has perhaps too much text devoted to local poets and authors (and not enough pictures of Balboa Park). However I appreciated the photograph of Juanita Miller in costume and the description of the "garland dance" she performed on November 16th, the day of celebration of her father, the poet Joaquin Miller.**

[Exposition memories by James, George Wharton, 1858- [from old catalog]; Tyler, Bertha Bliss. [from old catalog]

*Sadly the prices of the paintings (which included those of Childe Hassam, George Bellows and Maurice Prendergast, among others) was not printed in this guide although a price list was available to visitors upon request.
**A description of her dance is to be found on page 65.

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Family Friday: At Aunt Doris's House

Standing from left to right: Tommy Cairns, Margaret (Fister) Hartley, my dad George Hartley, Uncle Bob Hartley, me.  Below: Doris (Fister) Cairns, Aunt Claudia (Rios) Hartley.  
This photo was taken about 1986, possibly Easter, at my (great) Aunt Doris's home.

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Hat Tip & Fantastic Find, Combined: AncestryDNA Shared Matches Appear

Fellow native San Diego area blogger (and distant cousin) Randy Seaver posted yesterday about's new tools  "See Your DNA Matches in a Whole New Way" and gave us an example of how "Shared Matches" worked for him on a second cousin.

Here's the video from that accompanied their post.

Check it out.

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Gone for Soldiers: Abraham Heath (About 1740 - 1807), Soldier (Part II)

Through records preserved in the National Archives, we can learn about Abraham Heath's military experience* while serving as a private in Captain Nathaniel Fox's Company of the 6th Virginia Regiment.

[The National Archives: War Department Collection of  Revolutionary War Records 1775-1783 (ARC Identifier 602383) Image via]

The regiment was formed in Williamsburg in February of 1776, drawing volunteers from ten Virginia Counties (Pittsylvania, Amherst, Buckingham, Charles City, Lunenburg, New Kent, Mecklenburg, Dinnwiddie, Prince George, and Spotsylvania)** and Abraham Heath was part of the first group, signing on for two years. He and the other privates were paid 6-2/3 dollars a month.

A Map of the most Inhabited part of Virginia containing the whole province of Maryland with Part of Pensilvania, New Jersey and North Carolina. Drawn by Joshua Fry & Peter Jefferson in 1775. Printed for Robt. Sayer ... London. David Rumsey Historical Map Collection]

The earliest record we have for Abraham (#21)  is from a pay roll for the period April 1st to May 1st, 1777.

[The National Archives: War Department Collection of  Revolutionary War Records 1775-1783 (ARC Identifier 602384) Image via]

While it would be great to find that my ancestor was a hero, the reality is that he wasn't healthy for much of the time as evidenced in the muster roll for the next month (May 1777). Abraham (#29) is listed as "Sick head Elk" which refers to Head of Elk (now Elkton), in Cecil County, Maryland.***

[The National Archives: War Department Collection of  Revolutionary War Records 1775-1783 (ARC Identifier 602384) Image via]

Although the muster roll for August 1777 lists Abraham "Sick @ H Elk." I wonder if that's accurate because 17,000 British troops under the command of General Sir William Howe landed near there in late July to begin their attack on Philadelphia**** and there's no reason to believe that Abraham was ever a prisoner.

[The National Archives: War Department Collection of  Revolutionary War Records 1775-1783 (ARC Identifier 602384) Image via]

Having set the stage, next time I will look more closely into the Philadelphia Campaign and what part the 6th Virginia played in it (and Private Abraham Heath, if he was healthy enough to participate).

And then on to Valley Forge.

*An overview of life as a Revolutionary War soldier is here.
**Unfortunately we don't know where Abraham (then in his mid-thirties) and his family were living at this time although Prince George County is a possibility.
***Located on the Elk River (of course).
****Philadelphia was the meeting place of the Continental Congress.

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Fantastic Find: Beyond the Federal Bureau of Land Management General Land Office Records

As much as one can mine from the Bureau of Land Management General Land Office Records, there is even more to find from state and colonial governments, like Virginia, Maryland, and Texas, that aren't covered by the Federal government.

This is a great compilation of resources all in one place!  I'm all about consolidating links so I can get to them quickly and not Google everything.

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Monday Is for Mothers : Freedom Woodward (1642 - 1681)

This paternal eighth great grandmother died in her late thirties on May 10, 1681, just a week after the birth of her 14th child.*

Freedom was born in Dorchester in about 1642, the daughter of Henry and Elizabeth (Mather) Woodward. The family moved to Northampton in the Connecticut River Valley of eastern Massachusetts and that's where she married Jedediah Strong (1639-1733), who was originally from Hingham, in 1662.

[1677 Map of New England by William Hubbard.

[ U.S., New England Marriages Prior to 1700 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2012. Original data: Torry, Clarence A. New England Marriages Prior to 1700. Baltimore, MD, USA: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2004.]

Jedediah** outlived two more wives, finally dying in his 96th year in Coventry, in Tolland County, Connecticut.

Northampton has had a rich history since it was first settled by the English in 1654.*** The view of it painted by American landscape artist Thomas Cole (1801-1848) shows the how the area looked 179 years ago.

Medium: Oil on canvas. Metropolitan Museum of Art: Gift of Mrs. Russell Sage, 1908]

*Her children were Elizabeth, Abigail, Jedediah, Ford, Hannah, Thankful, John, Sarah, Lydia, Mary, Experience, Preserved, John (again) and a baby who was unnamed. Of the children, four were known to have died as infants and another died at age 17. Hannah is my direct ancestor through her granddaughter Esther Carpenter who married Benjamin Porter and are thereby my fifth great grandparents. My source for this information is here.
**You can learn more about Jedediah Strong here.
***Historic Northampton has a short video here.

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Sunday Drive: Trainer

For those of you who have ancestors who owned cars in Oregon in the first half of the 20th century, has a database titled  "Oregon, Motor Vehicle Registrations, 1911-1946" that can supply the following information:
Oregon began requiring annual vehicle registration in 1911. This collection is a published list of motor vehicle registrations from 1911 to 1946. Each registration includes:
  • license number
  • name and address of the vehicle owner (including county in parentheses)
  • make of car
  • motor number
  • model or year of manufacture
  • type of body 
See the start of the registry for a key to abbreviations.* The details in the automobile description could come in handy when identifying and dating photographs. 
Also included is a record of convictions. Ever wondered if Grandpa had a lead foot? You just might find out. The record of convictions lists
  • name of the offender
  • date
  • nature of the offense
  • chauffeur or operator's license number
  • court
  • county
  • amount of the fine

And that's how we know what my best friend's Uncle Joe* was driving in 1946. (There's no mention of him the record of convictions.)

[ Oregon, Motor Vehicle Registrations, 1911-1946 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2015. Original data: Oregon Secretary of State. Oregon Motor Vehicle Registrations. Oregon State Library, Salem, Oregon.]

*Joseph Byron Trainer (1912-1994) the son of Roy O'Connor Trainer and brother of Janette Trainer. He was a professor at Oregon Health Services University and had a distinguished career as an author, consultant and TV host 

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Cool Trick: Searching through

But I want to search for all people with the first name of Sciotha!  snapshot of  the Find-A-Grave search form.

I just realized that searching the Find-A-Grave through's database allows for more flexibility than on Find-A-Grave itself.

Sometimes all I have is a first name to search, but Find-A-Grave insists on a last name minimum for every search.  In contrast, I can search by first name, keyword, and spouse on Ancestry.

Search form for Find A Grave on

You don't even have to have an account to search!

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Hat Tip: Great Fire of London, 1666

If you have ancestors who were in or near London in 1666, today the Museum of London's blog has a great post about the fire and its aftermath. It was an event that would never have been forgotten by those who witnessed it.

[Woodcut from ‘Shlohavot, or, The burning of London in the year 1666′
Museum of London Blog]

[Great Fire painting, 1670s, Showing the fire from either Newgate or Ludgate with St Paul’s Cathedral in the background.
© Museum of London]

Eastcheap, where my ancestor William Heath had lived and worked before he removed to Virginia at least 16 years earlier, was completely destroyed.

[A Plan of the City and Liberties of London,  Shewing the Extent of the Dreadful Conflagration in the Year 1666; Taken from "A New History of London, Including Westminster and Southwark, to which is added, A General Survey of the Whole; Describing The Public Buildings, Late Improvements, &c. Illustrated WIth Copper-Plates." by John Noorthouck. London, 1773. Source: Mapco]

My friend Bonnie's paternal seventh great grandfather Thomas Ambridge (1642-1679) and his bride-to-be Euphemia Tew* (1646-1719) were living in Hampstead which overlooks the City of London and a place where crowds gathered to watch the fire.

[View of the City of London from Hampstead Heath, 2013, my photo]

Note: As you would expect, the Museum of London has a lot more information about the Great Fire, both online and in their War, Plague & Fire (1550s-1660s) gallery.

*This surname was variously spelled as To, Too, Two, and Tow (and probably a few others that I've forgotten.)

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Family Friday: Trainer/O'Brien

The two men in this Ft. Wayne, Indiana, photo captioned "Dad - the fiddler, John & his eagle," are my best friend's maternal grandfather Roy O'Connor Trainer (1873-1948) and his brother-in-law John H. O'Brien (1868-1942).* 

[Courtesy of B. Poppe]

The handsome glass-fronted oak bookcase ended up in San Diego but not the rustic burl-root chairs and hatstand or the eagle.

*Thank you Bonnie for setting me straight about the identity of John.

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Social Security Beefcake: Thomas Cave (1912-1980)

Well, that IS one way to remember the number. "Unemployed lumber worker[Thomas Cave] goes with his wife to the bean harvest. Note social security number tattooed on his arm. Oregon." Dorothea Lange, Safety Film Negative (digital file from original neg), 1939, West Stayton, Marion County, OregonLibrary of Congress: Photos, Prints, Drawings ( : accessed 20 Aug 2015).

I've been enjoying the new release of the U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 on, which I first mentioned here.  Besides finding out more maiden names, I can trace the occasional woman once she married, and have also been able to add more specific places of birth for many more people.  This page on the history of Social Security is worth a look.

Okay, the above photo was just gratuitous***.  As far as I know I have no connection to him. I just came across it while looking through early photos concerning the beginning of Social Security.
I'm not the only one keeping an eye out for handsome gents, as this helpful note from 2011 shows. (screenshot from Thomas Cave's Social Security Index record on Ancestry)

I could have bored you with images like this, showing the intense organization of the program:
"Baltimore, Md. For every social security account number issued an "employee master card" is made in the Social Security board records office. Testifying data, given on the application blank, form ss-5 is transferred to this master card in the form of up ended quadrangular holes, punched by key punch machines, which have a keyboard like a typewriter. Each key struck by an operator causes a hole to be punched in the card. The position of a hole determines the letter or number other machines will reproduce from the master card. The position of the hole determines the letter or number other machines will reproduce from the master card. From this master card is made an actuarial card, to be used later for statistical purposes. The master card also is used in other machines which sort them numerically, according to account numbers, alphabetically according to the name code, translate the holes into numbers and letters, and print the data on individual ledger sheets, indexes, registry of accounts and other uses. The photograph above shows a records office worker punching master cards on a key punch machine," digital image from glass negatives, Harris & Ewing, photographer, Baltimore, Maryland, between 1937 and 1939, Library of Congress: Photos, Prints, Drawings ( : accessed 20 Aug 2015).

***Shorpy ("Always Something Interesting") has a great post on this picture, and the background on the couple in the photo, here.

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Gone for Soldiers: Abraham Heath (About 1740 - 1807), Soldier (Part I)

We've known since at least 2011 that my paternal fifth great grandfather Abraham Heath served as a private in the 6th Virginia Regiment during the American Revolution but until a few days ago we didn't realize what his service entailed.

However the research Christine and I did about his great great grandfather William Heath caused us to take a closer look at the intervening generations and she discovered that our ancestor served not in a local militia as we'd thought but in the Continental Army and spent several months at Valley Forge.

This amazing project is a volunteer effort by the Friends of Valley Forge Park and is offered to the public free of charge.
"The Valley Forge Muster Roll Project is dedicated to the memory of those who encamped at Valley Forge from December 19, 1777 to June 19, 1778. The original purpose of keeping muster rolls was to allow the Continental Army to track the army’s strength. The idea of putting information gathered from these 18th century muster rolls and making it available electronically was spearheaded in 1992 by Tom McNichol and the late Frank Resavy. They desired to create a list of the Continental soldiers who were at Valley Forge for at least one day. This core criterion remains applicable today."
Now that I know this about Abraham Heath, I'll be posting more about what we can learn about his service soon.

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Throwback Tuesday: At the Whaley House

My son Marc and I at the San Diego Birthday celebration at the Whaley House in Old Town, San Diego, CA, July 2009.

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Motivation Monday - What is My Motivation?

Example of a logic puzzle, from a forum posting at the Stumped part of forums at Puzzle Baron's Logic Puzzles.

Or more like, where is my motivation?

I'm having a day when I can't decide what I will write about my ancestors, or even which ancestors.

Why do I do this constant research anyway?  As a child I enjoyed solving those logic puzzles, the kind still sold in stores, where you have a grid and a series of incomplete clues, and you have to solve the entire puzzle by going around and around with all the clues.
Penny Press/Dell magazines, you've seen them around I'm sure.

Genealogy is like solving one of those puzzles, yet in a way that relates to me personally.

What motivates other genealogists?

Back in the old days (1998), a professor named Ronald Lambert, professor of sociology at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, wrote a 4-part article on the subject at, Roving Reporters section, "A Study of Genealogists & Family Historians," that I found very interesting.

Mind you, back then, the Internet was still very young and genealogy was nowhere as easy as it is now.  You had to be dedicated and willing to spend many years and quite a bit of money garnering all the necessary evidence that can be reasonably collected online now in an afternoon.

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.