Wells Family Genealogy

The study of my Family Tree

10 Aug 2020: An Unexpected Treasure August 10, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — jgeoghan @ 6:50 pm

As a genealogist, you learn to accept the fact that some things are beyond your ability to find. One of these things is faces, the faces of your ancestors. Photos of them probably once existed, but have been lost to the ravages of time and relatives that don’t care as you do.

Let’s observe a moment of silence in remembrance and also a silent prayer that those same relatives will mend their ways and see the genealogical light. Sigh.

So, you can imagine my surprise when my new membership with Newspapers.com provided me with a photo of my Great, Great Grandmother. In the New York Daily News, no less!

Here she is, Catherine (Green) Erbig:

Daily News (New York, NY) 12 Jul 1936, Page 18
Mrs. Charles Erbig of Ashaway, R.I., tops Mrs. De Weese by 11 grandchildren. She has 45 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. Photo, from a snapshot, shows her with two of her great-grandchildren.

Can you imagine! 45 grandchildren! God Bless her! And what a blessing to me to find this photo of her to share with my cousins, and as you can imagine, I have a lot of Erbig cousins!

When I renewed my Ancestry.com membership last week, it included a membership with Newspapers.com and Fold3. However, I discovered that about half of the items I was looking for on Newspapers.com were coming back as not available to see with my basic membership. I was hemming and hawing about the $29 to upgrade my membership, but finding this photo makes me feel better about that $29. I’d certainly have paid $29 just for this great photo.



9 July 2020: An Unexpected Discovery July 9, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — jgeoghan @ 9:19 am
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As is with most things in life, you stumble across new discoveries while searching for something completely unrelated. I was working on some research on the movements of the Hopkinton, RI Militia during the Revolution when I found the article below on Samuel Hubbard. As when I Googled it, I found it had not been transcribed and put online, I decided to do so for my fellow descendants of Mr. Hubbard. It’s a neat read as people just don’t write like this anymore.

Below here are links to PDFs of the Title Page of the Document and also to the article itself, if you’d like to add them to your genealogical library.

Samuel Hubbard – The Narragansett Historical Register Vol II The Narragansett Historical Register TITLE PAGE

Samuel Hubbard – The Narragansett Historical Register Vol II

The Narragansett Historical Register (a Magazine) Volume II. 1883-84, James N Arnold, Editor, published by the Narragansett Historical Publishing Company, Hamilton, R.I., Pages 97-101



The early settlers of Rhode Island were the unflinching advocates of Religious Liberty. “Thrice burned in the furnace of affliction,” their colony shone more resplendent in the constellation of States than all beside. Indeed, Rhode Island was the “Lone Star” in the benighted cause of religious emancipation; and if wise men sought her light, it was because the rays of her glory were the gleams of “Hope,” for the future liberties of man. Unmarred amid the shower of insulting missiles from her sister colonies, unterrified by their hostile encroachments, with her eye fixed on the steady light of truth, her course was onward; and now the guiding star of our fathers has become as the sun, to shed the broad beams of religious freedom over the whole earth.

It was an important era in the history of the world when the settlers of Rhode Island began their work; and few were found to participate in their labors, or incur the dangers of the course they were led to pursue in their zeal for a better state of things. Their lives were therefore the more worthy of being cherished in the memories of their descendants, and of all lovers of freedom throughout the world. There were some whose modesty or peculiar avocations, caused their names to be left in comparative obscurity, who were nevertheless active in the support of the cause of truth and liberty, and who were not a whit behind the foremost of the worthy men whose names figure largely on the page of history. Among such was the subject of the present sketch.

Samuel Hubbard was born in England, in the year 1610, and at the age of twenty-three years he embarked with a company of adventurers for the shores of New England, where he arrived thirteen years after the landing of the first company of the “glorious Pilgrims of Plymouth.” At Salem he became acquainted with the celebrated founder of the colony of Rhode Island, who came over three years before him, which ripened into a life long friendship of the closest kind. On the 15th of October, 1635, he in company with about one hundred men, women and children started for the Connecticut River, where land was more fertile and plenty, and as they marched slowly along, they made the wilderness to resound with their songs of praise, the Indians following, and looking on in silent admiration. Ere they reached the place of their destination, winter came on, and their sufferings became so intense that some died from want of life’s comforts and many returned by water to Boston, till the next spring. But Mr. Hubbard was of the number of those who remained at Windsor during the long, tedious winter, subsisting upon acorns, malt, and such other grains as he could procure of the savage and warlike tribe of Indians around. Such were the circumstances under which Mr. Hubbard began an eventful career. But there was one whose acquaintance he had made in the journey who was calculated to cheer him under all these difficulties. This person was a young woman from Dorchester, Mass., a member of one of the families belonging to the company and a member of the church at Dorchester. They were married soon after their arrival. They were not long in learning that sufferings were calculated to render them mutually dear to each other and lighten the burden of hardships and cheer the path of duty. The church at Weathersfield, of which he was a constituent member, was without a settled pastor, and contention, animosity and strife crept in and so affected some outside, even that they concluded to move to other parts. Accordingly, in May, 1639, a small company of them went to Springfield, Mass., and he was of the five men who formed the first church in that place. But Mr. Hubbard’s repose was of short duration, for in 1642, a dispute arose between Massachusetts and Connecticut relative to Springfield, both claiming the territory, and the controversy regarding boundary terminating in favor of Massachusetts, she commenced a system of persecution against all who dissented in any way from the Puritan creed. This affected Mr. Hubbard, as he and wife had become Baptists, and now were obliged to move from their home and seek a new residence to escape the laws of Massachusetts, which had been passed against Ana-Baptists, the penalty of banishment being executed against them for adherence to their principles. Therefore in 1647 Mr. Hubbard removed to Fairfield. But a change had, in the meantime, taken place in Connecticut, and new laws prevented him from enjoying liberty of conscience there. In his journal he says that God first led his wife to embrace Baptist principles, and that she was twice brought before the public to answer to them, and we both were threatened with imprisonment in the Hartford jail if we did not renounce or remove, when he says that Scripture came into our minds, “If they persecute you in one place, flee to another.” Mr. Hubbard, therefore, satisfied of his duty, determined to leave the colony of his adoption and remove to some other part of the country. He consequently went to Newport, R. I., and became a member of the First Baptist Church, under the care of Dr. Clark, Nov. 3, 1648, organized in 1644, being the second Baptist Church in America. It contained at the time he joined but fifteen members, including the pastor.

The names of the male members have been preserved by Mr. Hubbard, and are as follows:

Joseph Clark, Leading Elder.

Mark Luther, Joseph Clark, Nathaniel West, John Peckham, Wm. Vahan, John Thornton, Thomas Clark, Wm. Weeden, Samuel Hubbard.

Mr. Hubbard continued his connection with this church for more than twenty years, during which time he was an active and devoted Christian, He wrote many letters and his correspondence extended to the most of the distinguished men of his day, both in Europe and America. Several hundred of his letters were carefully copied into a journal, which contained also a history of all the principal events of the colonies from 1641, to the time of his death, a period of about forty-seven years. From this journal Mr. Backus acknowledges having obtained much of the information contained in his history of the Baptists in New England. He also acknowledges his obligation to Mr. William Hubbard (brother probably of Samuel), a minister of the Congregational Church, who wrote the history of the Indian wars, etc. Mr. Hubbard took an active part with the Baptists of Rhode Island and Providence in the conflicts which ensued with Massachusetts, in relation to the persecuted Baptists, and when the storm of persecution was bursting upon them in all its fury, he was chosen and sent to Boston to plead the cause of the innocent and afflicted. Few men, probably, did more in that day to promote sound religious views and consistent Scripture practice. He was a zealous, hard worker for the truth of God, and aided in the organization of a number of churches, the last of which was the first Seventh Day Baptist Church at Newport, R. I., formed December, 1671. Though he lived in an age of great trials and difficulties, yet he bore all the hard ships with a becoming fortitude and at last laid down his head upon the bed of death without doubting the promises of Him he had all his long life endeavored to serve. He passed to spirit life in 1689, in his 79th year, leaving Tacy, his companion, to walk alone in her old age for a few years longer.

The Rev. Samuel Hubbard had children by his wife Tacy:

  1. Samuel, who died. Age 21 years. His only son.
  2. Bethiah, who m. Joseph Clarke, Jun. Had large family in Westerly.
  3. Ruth, who m. Robert Burdick.
  4. Rachel, who m. Andrew Langworthy. Had large family in Newport. —Backus.

Mrs. Tacy Hubbard died about 1697. It is not known definitely where Elder Samuel and his wife are buried. —7th Day Mem., Vol. 1, page 157.


4 June 2020: Updates on the Magonk Point Road Rogers Homestead in Waterford June 4, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — jgeoghan @ 8:54 pm

It’s time to clean up some of the backlog I have of information I’ve collected on various subjects. This blog post is dedicated to the newest info on the Old Rogers home that used to be at 11 Magonk Point Road in Waterford, CT believed to have been first built by James Rogers Sr. (1615-1687). But first a call to anyone out there who might have any other pictures of this house they’d be willing to share. If you do have any, I’d love it if you could email me a copy for a future post on the house of our ancestors.  You’ll find my email on the “About Jennifer” tab here on my blog.

I received some interesting responses to the first post I did on the house. Here’s a link to that post:


One a previous post on the Rogers Fam that talked about the house, I had a comment from a man who said:

“Hello, I saw this post on 11 Magonk and felt I should offer a response. I grew up at 22 Magonk and was quite fond of the house. I too was horrified when I learned of the plan to tear it down but after talking with the present owner I saw why he had reached that decision. Numerous renovations and termite damage had compromised most of the main beams. After consulting a structural engineer and the Historical Society they concluded it was not sound. When the owner suggested saving some beams for the Society they responded there was nothing longer than 3 feet of any structural integrity and turned him down. Although the house is gone the point still has the same beauty that prompted James Rogers to settle there so many years ago.”

MYSTERY SOLVED as to what happened to the house. Still, such a shame to have lost such a wonderful family home to the wreckage of time and human neglect. This comment was left back in 2015.

I emailed him and he emailed me back with the following:

“In my youth Florence Merriam Morgan lived in the old house and we would love to go in and visit to hear stories of the old days. There were portraits of ancestors whose eyes followed you around the room. The box hedge garden was a frequent play spot as were the woods behind the house. The pond was a year-round source of fun as well as the beach. I practically lived on it.”

In 2016, I had a woman also leave a comment on the same post of mine, saying this:

“I am from the Rogers direct lineage. … I have personal notes from my mother’s cousin who traveled there within the past 10 years or so and she and her husband took pictures of it (The new house, not the original homestead). While they were there taking pictures, the owner came out and asked what they were doing?! They explained who they were and the owner brought them in to see the inside of the house. Apparently, they did keep the original foundation wall of the home and told my mother’s cousin that they knew that they were the first Non-Rogers family to ever hold deed to that property. The owners said that the basement was used many years ago for the cows when it got extremely cold. They felt that the stone wall which is still there is the original wall. It was part of the 234 acres at Great Neck which is now Goshen.”

I did some Google-ing today to see if anything new came up on 11 Magonk, and found it mentioned in a document called “Waterford 1998 PLAN OF PRESERVATION, CONSERVATION & DEVELOPMENT.” It has this on page 90, which says to me that the original home was still standing in 1998.

“Buildings and Sites That May Be Eligible for the National Register of Historic Places

  • 24 Avery Lane Rose house (and Puppet Theater)
  • 465 Boston Post Road Matthew Stewart house
  • 19 East Neck Road
  • 58 Gallup Lane
  • 33 Great Neck Road Nathaniel S. Perkins house
  • 21 Gurley Road Joshua Moore house
  • 4 Jordan Cove Circle Truman-Darrow house
  • 11 Magonk Point Road James Rogers house
  • 63 Rock Ridge Road
  • 314 Rope Ferry Road Millstone School
  • 317 Rope Ferry Road Chapman-Mackenzie farm
  • 334 Rope Ferry Road Camp View Motel
  • 28 Seventh Avenue J. E. Beckwith house
  • 16 and 30 Douglas Lane Douglas(s)-Morgan farm
  • 908 Hartford Turnpike Whipple farm
  • 1077 Hartford Turnpike Holt farm
  • 1144 Hartford Turnpike Lakes Pond Baptist Church
  • 1214 Hartford Turnpike Morgan store
  • 33 Lower Bartlett Road Austin Perry house
  • 413 Mohegan Avenue Parkway James Rogers farmhouse
  • 65 Upper Bartlett Road Bolles house
  • 51 Way Hill Road Walter Chappel house
  • 168 Waterford Parkway North Morgan/District 8 School
  • 94 Great Neck Road Gertrude Bezanson home
  • 6 Goshen Road Great Neck School”

I’d never heard of the James Rogers Farmhouse at 413 Mohegan Avenue Parkway in Waterford. Going to have to look that one up!  Here’s a link to the Document above, if you want to check it out for yourself: https://www.waterfordct.org/sites/waterfordct/files/file/file/plandevel.pdf

THE PAINTING: Back in 2013, I received an email from a woman who found me through my blog. She was in possession of the painting below.  This painting is a view of the house from the front side, the side not pictured in the photos I have of the house above. Her email said

“On a whim, I’ve been researching the house pictured in a watercolor that I bought on the opposite coast in California. It’s dated 1906 by M. H. Gussman and called Magonk Farm.  It may be of the James Rogers house pictured in your blog.  Unfortunately, it appears to be the side not shown in the photographs. I found a reference in The Watchman to William Gussman a Baptist minister in Connecticut.  William later married Florence, and they had a daughter Mary Hayward Gussman.  Her obituary says that she was a painter and art teacher.  There is an inscription on the back of the painting “Georgia from Momma, December 25, 1908.””

I believe she was right. I took a photo my cousin had taken of the house and the painting and compared them. The unusual shape of the upstairs windows is about the same, as well as their placement in the gambrel roofline and the position of the chimney.  Here are the photos I compared

WHO IS M.H. GUSSMAN? M.H. is Miss Mary Hayward Gussman.  Born 5 Oct 1877 in Alden, New York, she was the daughter of the Rev. William and Florence N. Hayward Gussman. She passed away 23 June 1952.  We know she was in Waterford at the end of her life as her obituary says she was living with her sister in Waterford for the last two years of her life.  We also know she painted watercolors as her obit mentions this as well.

Mary H Gussman Obit THE DAY 23 June 1952 part 1

Mary H Gussman Obit THE DAY 23 June 1952 part 2

Ironically enough, when I looked up Mary Hayward’s sister, whom she was living with in Waterford, I found on Ancestry.com a 1939 Waterford City Directory that has him listed under “Cemetery Memorials”  Monumental Works, Boston Post rd, opposite Jordan Cemetery.  I wonder, as I’ve walked through Jordan Cemetery, how many of those headstones were made by his company? What a fun little genealogical detour!

Other than her sister living in Waterford/Jordan Village, I can’t find any other connection between Mary and Waterford. Her sister lived on Niantic Road when Mary died there.

If you know what the connection is, why Mary picked our ancestral home to paint, I’d love to hear from you!



24 Mar 2020: It’s Census Time!! Yipee! March 24, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — jgeoghan @ 5:26 pm
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Does anybody else get excited about a census year?

I know I do.  Or maybe I should say “You know you’re a genealogy geek when …..”

I just filled out the census online. The first time I’ve ever completed it electronically. Not too sure how I feel about it, but I was still able to sneak in a note to my future family. On the 2010 census, I wrote all sorts of notes about the family as we were in 2010 around the edges of the paper census I mailed in. I figure, what, they scan it and in 70 years it will be on Ancestry.com or the like for my future family members to see. Might as well put some fun facts about the family for them.

One the 2020 census, I said I was living with my mother.  A little white lie. I’m currently living in one of my company’s hotels in Charlotte, NC while I look for a place to live. Basically, I’m homeless. Because of that, I said I was living with Mom in Florida. There was a question like, do all members of the household always live here? I said no for me and was able to enter the note of why and said my old address in Orlando and was moving to Charlotte and mom was following me to Charlotte later in the year and “Hi” to my future family members.

One question I found odd was my ancestry. Don’t get me wrong, I love the question, but I found it odd that listing myself as “White” wasn’t enough. I had to add German, Irish, English and Slovakian.

So, am I the only one inserting messages t obe read in 70 years when the 2020 census is released to the public??



13 Mar 2020 – Do you recognize this woman? March 13, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — jgeoghan @ 4:10 pm
Tags: , ,

Hello everyone and happy Friday the 13th.

While sorting through piles of things to cast off as my family prepares to move north, I came across this framed photo.  Any idea who she is?  My mom and I are stumped.

She’s quite a woman.  I imagine her to be of strong moral fortitude, but also with a quick sense of humor.  Who knows.  I’d settle if anyone knew if she was a family member.  At the base of the photo is an address for a photo studio in Brooklyn.

As I type this, I’m in a mist of a mess. I’m moving from Orlando FL to Charlotte NC tomorrow. Great opportunity for me.  Probably just as well as work will be a disaster in the coming months.  They closed Disney and therefore our hotel will turn into a ghost town.

Let me know if you recognize my lady.





12-28-2019: Shoe Laces from the Past December 28, 2019

Over Thanksgiving, my mom asked me if I wanted anything out of a bag of assorted shoelaces she was getting rid of.  When I pulled them out, I found these very vintage laces. I suppose this proves how my mother has stuck to her delightfully thrifty New England roots and not tossed them out,  cause, you never know, you might need them someday. Guess she’s been in Florida too long as she’s tossing them now. She figures the tan box might even have originally belonged to her mother.  Both pairs are products of the Rhode Island Textile Company of Pawtucket, RI. The one in the blue packaging is dated 1985. I can only think my mom purchased them on Long Island where I grew up. Probably either the Caldor out in Rocky Point or over in Riverhead somewhere.

Textile companies hold an interest to me since the industry is so closely tied to the Wells family.  We owned, operated and worked in the mills of the Hopkinton area for many generations.  Shoelaces also remind me of line and or twine which reminds me of Ashaway Line and Twine where many members of my family worked and is also owned and operated by the Crandall’s, cousins of the Wells family.

I googled the Rhode Island Textile Company and was happy to see they are still in business, though from the view of their facility on Google Earth (see below) it looks a little quite.

The company is not in Pawtucket anymore. When I googled them, I discovered they’d moved to Cumberland, RI in 2016.  I found an article on The Valley Breeze website telling about the company and its move. Nice article, Ethan.

PAWTUCKET – Rhode Island Textile Company, which claims to be the largest and most diverse manufacturer of braided, knitted and woven elastic, cords and webbing in the U.S., is leaving Pawtucket and consolidating operations in Cumberland. The company’s 97,000-square-foot property at 211 Columbus Ave. in Pawtucket is listed on a real estate site for $1.9 million. Two buildings are located on 3.5 acres of land, according to the listing.

The company, first founded in 1913, is closing its side-by-side manufacturing facilities on Columbus Avenue in Pawtucket to do business at 35 Martin St. in Cumberland, where it already has a distribution facility. A visit to the facility Tuesday found signs of construction for new executive offices and landscapers cleaning up the front of the property.

Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien said he and City Council members met with R.I. Textile Company officials several times after learning they had bought another company and were looking to consolidate to one location. He said officials “did everything we could” to find a way to keep the manufacturer in the city. They offered tax incentives and stabilization agreements, among other things, but were unable to sway the owners.

From what he was told, company officials were looking to move to a more modern facility with room to grow, said Grebien. R.I. Textile Company officials could not be reached for comment this week.

Cumberland Mayor William Murray said he’s “very pleased” that the owners chose Cumberland as a place to settle in. “We are thrilled to have Rhode Island Textile in Cumberland,” he said. “We met with them two or three times to give them information they requested as they made their decision.”

The firm, he said, is adding a business to the town’s portfolio “that will help build up the Martin Street industrial area.”

R.I. Textile Company manufactures narrow fabrics like elastics cords, webbing, gear like parachutes, laces, and certain pet products like collars and leashes. The company makes shoelaces for New Balance and is the largest manufacturer of military specification laces used in military boots and women’s and men’s dress shoes.

The company is the parent of Westminster Pet, according to its website.

Knowing that the Pawtucket facility is for sale, Grebien said officials are looking to see if the owners will consider selling the property in pieces. The city sold a parking lot to the company 10 or 15 years ago and has had an agreement in place to share parking for soccer games at the McKinnon-Alves Soccer Complex, he said. If the parcel isn’t offered separately, the hope is to partner with the next buyer of the facility to keep using the lot for parking.

For more on Rhode Island Textile Company, visit www.ritextile.com .

(I tried the website, but it didn’t seem to be up and running anymore. Not a great sign.)

Anyway, I found my discovery of these vintage laces amusing.



3 July 2019: Genealogy Odds and Ends July 3, 2019

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here on a regular basis. I’ve been in computer transitions from one laptop to a new one. Always a bother.  In the meantime, here are a few bits and bobs I’ve come across.

ITEM ONE: I found this vintage stereoscopic photo of, of all things, a headstone in Buffalo, NY. From Forest Lawn Cemetery of the “Campbell Monument.” In all my gleanings through antique shops, I’ve never come across such a photo. Might be an interesting thing to collect if I happen upon another one. Has anyone out there ever seen a headstone photo like this before?

ITEM TWO: I enjoyed this article from Yankee magazine with funny pilgrim stories. I mean, how often do you come across funny pilgrims?

ITEM THREE:  While reading an old edition of Yankee magazine, I couldn’t help but notice the amount of advertisers with familiar family names.  Kenyon (Grills), Hubbard (Shoes) and Burdick (Restaurant). Nice to see we’re still kicking around.


Genealogy addict extraordinaire


30 Sep 2018: An old copy of The New Okinawan October 1, 2018

It never ceases to amaze me the odd items that my father collected.  My mother came across this newspaper called The New Okinawan. It’s Vol. 1 No. 81, dated Sunday, 8 July 1945 and published by Island Command and calls itself “Most widely read daily in the Ryukyus.”  Wikipedia says “The Ryukyu Islands, also known as the Nansei Islands or the Ryukyu Arc, are a chain of Japanese islands that stretch southwest from Kyushu to Taiwan.” It seems to me a military newspaper from WWII with some interesting articles of news. I like the world news and the information on the formation of the United Nations and, as a native New Yorker, I was happy to see that the Yankees beat Boston 5 to 4. Anyway, since other historical items I’ve shared seem to be a hit with my blog readers, I thought I’d take a detour from my personal family genealogy to share this item with you. Enjoy.

The New Okinawan 8 July 1945 Page 1

The New Okinawan 8 July 1945 Page 2

The New Okinawan 8 July 1945 Page 3

The New Okinawan 8 July 1945 Page 4


9 Sept 2018: Genealogy and the search for truth September 9, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — jgeoghan @ 5:43 pm
Tags: , , ,

There’s always been this mystery as to why my great grandparents were separated. I mean, it had to have been something pretty bad for a woman to kick her husband out of the house back in the early 1900’s.  But for all my digging, I could never find anything that gave me a clue as to what the circumstances were in their marriage that such drastic measures were needed to be taken.

Then last week my cousin sent me a box containing an old purse (old enough that it might have belonged to my great-grandmother Amalia.) Inside the purse were a bunch of old newspaper clippings in German. Amalia, my great-grandmother, was born in Slovakia, but she married John Kranz who was born in Germany.  The article I found in the purse was probably from a German newspaper published in Brooklyn, NY circa 1915.

Here is what my translation produced.  Thank you Google Translate 🙂

Wife Beater

Huge blacksmith abused a feeble frail woman

Tolerated the children

An extremely sad girl from married life yesterday appeared before Judge Kelln in the Supreme Court, when Mrs. Amelia Kranz brought a lawsuit to break up her marital union with the blacksmith John Kranz of No. 355 Stagg Str. The man is a dog of over 200 pounds bodyweight, the complainant, who weighs about 90-100 pounds, looks sickly and weak. The contrast was particularly acute when the poor mistress said in a thin voice that this brutal giant had terrorized and maltreated her for years. For weeks her face and lips would have been swollen by the constant blows of his fist. Often he would issue death threats against them, and those mitigations and threats would only have had the effect of extracting from the woman a few hundred dollars that she had saved during her marriage.

For the sake of her four children, aged from three to fourteen, Mrs. Kranz went on, she would have endured that torment for years, but now she could undermine her health and she had reached the end of her strength. In his defense, Kranz also condemns his wife for cruelty, claiming among other things that she had not given him sufficient food which stood in the sharpest contrast to his blooming, well-groomed appearance. The judge stated that he could not admit, under the circumstances, that the woman should take the legal costs of her small savings, and awarded her $30 lawyer’s fees. As Alimentation payment, Kranz has the option between $40 per month or home rental payment and $6 (The last few words were cut off.)

This is John and Amalia Kranz. He looks like a large guy, but I’m not sure I’d call him a giant. I don’t suppose we’ll ever really know the truth, but this certainly sheds an interesting light on what their home life may have been like. When I sent this translation to my cousin I told her that genealogy is, in many ways, the search for truth, and often times that truth isn’t as pretty as we might like it to be. But I’d rather know the truth of my ancestors. I’d rather know that my great-grandmother had the courage to stand up for herself and her children. She was obviously a very brave woman.



23 July 2018: Funerals in early Connecticut and other interesting stuff July 23, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — jgeoghan @ 6:49 pm
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Today’s topic is a little bit off beat, but I came across this interesting passage in Frances Manwaring Caulkins’ History of New London, Connecticut this past weekend. It was so interesting I thought I’d share it with you.

History of New London, Connecticut, Pages 267-268:

Obituaries of the Early Settlers.

Taking our position on the high ground at the beginning of a new century, let us pause and review the band of early settlers, who sitting down among these barren rocks, erected these buildings, planted these gardens, manned these decks, and from Sabbath to Sabbath led their children up these winding paths to worship God in that single church — that decent and comely building, plain in appearance, but beautified by praise, which sate on the hill-top, side by side with the lowly mansions of the dead. From those silent chambers let us evoke the shades of the fathers, and record some few fragments of their history, not irrecoverably buried with them in the darkness of oblivion.

There is an interest lingering about these early dead which belongs to no later race. The minutest details seem vivid and important. A death in that small community was a great event. The magistrate, the minister, and the fathers of the town, came to the bed of the dying to witness his testament and gather up his last words. It was soon known to every individual of the plantation that one of their number had been cut down. All were eager once more to gaze upon the face they had known so well ; they flocked to the funeral ; the near neighbors and coevals of the dead bore him on their shoulders to the grave ; the whole community with solemn step and downcast eyes, followed him to his long home.

Riding at funerals was not then in vogue; and a hearse was unknown. A horse litter may in some cases have been used; but the usual mode of carrying the dead was on a shoulder bier. In this way persons were sometimes brought into town for interment even from a distance of five or six miles. Frequent rests or halts were made, and the bearers often changed. These funeral customs continued down to the period of the Revolution.

Our ancestors do not often appear to us in all the homeliness of their true portraiture. Imagination colors the truth, and we overlook the simplicity of their attire and the poverty of their accommodations. Estates before 1700 were small; conveniences few, and the stock of furniture and garments extremely limited. Many of the large estates of modern times have been built up from very small beginnings.

Each man was in a great measure his own mechanic and artisan, and he wrought with imperfect tools. Most of these tools were made of Taunton iron; a coarse bog ore, which could produce only a dull edge, and was easily broken. The value of iron may be inferred from the fact that old iron was of sufficient importance to be estimated among movables. In the early inventories very few chain are mentioned. Stools, benches and forms, took their place; jointstools came next, and still later, many families were provided with the high-backed settle, a cumbersome piece of furniture, but of great comfort in a farmer’s kitchen. A broad box-like cupboard, with shelves above, where the pewter was arranged, and called the dresser, was another appendage of the kitchen. The houses were cheaply, rudely built, with many apertures for the entrance of wind and frost; the outside door frequently opening directly into the family room, where the fire-place was wide enough to admit an eight feet log, and had a draught almost equal to a constant bellows. The most finished timbers in the house, # even those that protruded as sills and cross-beams in the best rooms, were hatchet-hacked, and the wainscoting unplaned.

One of the first objects with every thrifty householder, was to get apple-trees in growth. Most of the homesteads consisted of a house, garden and orchard. Cider was the most common beverage of the country. Some beer was drank. They had no tea nor coffee, and at first very little sugar or molasses. When the trade with Barbadoes commenced, which was about 1660, sugar and molasses became common. The latter was often distilled after importation. Broth, porridge, hasty-pudding, johnny-cake and samp, were articles of daily consumption. They had no potatoes, but beans and pumpkins in great abundance.


If you’d like to see more, you can find this book at http://www.archives.org



12 April 2018: Those crazy Rogerenes … Recapturing the beef for Christ April 12, 2018

Alright, I’ll admit it. I’ve been a bad genealogist as of late. I’ve been hoping to move soon so I’ve been spending a lot of time quilting.  You’re probably wondering how these two things are related. I want to have a little to move as possible, but as a quilter I have a large collection of fabric. I’m finishing off a scrap quilt (a quilt made entirely of fabric I already had) and by doing so reducing the amount of fabric in my large plastic totes. Yes, I’ll have to move the quilt when it’s done, but it’s the principal of the thing.  I’m sure you understand 🙂

Deciding I needed to get back to posting interesting family info, I’ve been working on a good transcription of a Rogers’ chapter of Frances Manwaring Caulkins’ History of New London, Connecticut.  Specifically chapter XIV, entitled: The Rogers Family and the Sect of Rogerenes.  There’s a really bad transcription of it online, but it’s a scan that was never proofed and FULL OF ERRORS. I’ve attempted to fix those errors thereby making it a copy that you can copy and paste into your own genealogy programs.

Below my transcription are some thoughts and questions of mine on the chapter, so keep reading to the end. 

If you’re going to reference any of the below, here’s how you can cite the source: History of New London, Connecticut from the first Survey of the Coast in 1612 to by 1860 by  Frances Manwaring Caulkins.  New London: Published by H.D. Utley, 1895. Chapter XIV: The Rogers Family and the Sect of Rogerenes, Pages 201-221.

Since mine is a transcription, I’ve inserted the citation footnotes into the text in parentheses.

Chapter XIV: The Rogers Family, and the Sect of Rogerenes.

The unity of religious worship in New London, was first interrupted by James Rogers and his sons. A brief account of the family will lead to the history of their religious doctrines.

James Rogers is supposed to be the James Rogers, who came to America, in the Increase, 1635, aged 20. (Gleanings. Mass. Illst. Coll., 2nd series, vol. 8, p. 161.) As James Rogers, he is first known to us at Stratford, where he married Elizabeth, daughter of Samuel Rowland, (Samuel Rowland left his farm to Samuel Rogers, his grandson, which leads to the supposition that Elizabeth was his only child.) and is afterward found at Milford, where his wife united with Mr. Prudden’s church in 1645, and himself in 1652. Their children were, Samuel, whose birth has not been found on record, but his will, dated Feb. 12th, 1712-13, states his age to be “72 and upwards,” which will place it in 1640;

  • Joseph, baptized in Milford, 1646;
  • John, in 1648;
  • Bathsheba, in 1650;
  • James, not recorded, but next in order:
  • Jonathan, born Dec. 31st, 1655;
  • Elizabeth, 1658.

Mr. Rogers had dealings in New London in 1656, and between that time and 1660, fixed himself permanently in the plantation. Here he soon acquired property and influence, and was much employed both in civil and ecclesiastical affairs. He was six times representative to the General Court. Mr. Winthrop had encouraged his settlement in the place, and had accommodated him with a portion of his own house lot, next to the mill, on which Rogers built a dwelling-house of stone. (This spot was afterward re-purchased by the Winthrop family, and was the site of the house built by John Still Winthrop, and now owned by C A. Lewis, Esq.)  He was a baker on a large scale, often furnishing biscuit for seamen, and for colonial troops, and between 1660 and 1670 had a greater interest in the trade of the port than any other person in the place. His landed possessions were very extensive, consisting of several hundred acres on the Great Neck, the fine tract of land at Mohegan called the Pamechaug farm, several house lots in town, and twenty-four hundred acres east of the river, which he held in partnership with Col. Pyncheon, of Springfield.

Perhaps no one of the early settlers of New London, numbers at the present day so great a throng of descendants as James Rogers. His five sons are the progenitors of as many distinct lines, each tracing to its immediate founder, and seldom cognizant of their common ancestor. His daughters were women of great energy of character. Elizabeth married Samuel Beeby; Bathsheba married first Richard Smith, and second Samuel Fox. She was an early seceder from the church, courting persecution and much persecuted.

Samuel Rogers married, Nov. 17th, 1664, Mary, daughter of Thomas Stanton; the parents of the two parties, entering into a formal contract, and each pledging £200 as a marriage portion to the couple. Mr. Rogers, in fulfillment of his bond, conveyed to his son his stone house and bakery, at the head of Winthrop’s (or Mill) Cove, where the latter commenced his housekeeping and dwelt for fifteen or twenty years. He then removed to the out-lands of the town, near the Mohegan tribe, and became the first English settler within the limits of the present town of Montville.

Joseph, James and Jonathan Rogers, though living at first in the town plot, removed to farms upon the Great Neck, given them by their father. Like most active men of that time, they had a variety of occupations, each and all operating as tradesmen, mechanics, boatmen, seamen and farmers.

James, the fourth son, married, November 5th, 1674, Mary, daughter of Jeffrey Jordan, of Ireland. According to tradition, he commanded a vessel which brought over from Ireland, a number of redemptioners, and among them a family of the name of Jordan. On their arrival he became the purchaser of the oldest daughter, Mary, and married her. In after life he was accustomed to say, sportively, that it was the richest cargo he ever shipped, and the best bargain he ever made. Several of his descendants of the same name in a right line, were sea-captains.

John Rogers, the third son of James, having become conspicuous as the founder of a sect, which, though small in point of numbers, has been of considerable local notoriety, requires a more extended notice. No man in New London county was at one time more noted than he; no one suffered so heavily from the arm of the law, the tongue of rumor, and the pen of contemporary writers. His followers still exist, a handful indeed, but yet a distinct people, venerating the name of their founder, and esteeming him a man eminent for piety and filled with the love of God and his neighbor. His opponents, on the other hand, have left us an image of the man that excites not only indignation and pity, but profound disgust. Ample materials exist on both sides for his history, but the two faces of Janus could not be more unlike. Rogers himself produced tracts and treatises in abundance, which often refer to his own experience; and his followers have been, to a considerable degree, a print-loving people. His son, John Rogers the second, was a ready writer. John Bolles, a noted disciple, was fluent with the pen, and adroit in argument; and the family of Watrous, the more recent leaders of the sect, have issued various pamphlets, to vindicate their course and record their sufferings. This is not therefore a one-sided case, in which the arraigned have had no one to speak for them. It may be said, however, with truth, that the accounts on one side have been but little consulted, and that the statements which have had the widest circulation, come from the opponents of the Rogerenes. This may be regarded as a sufficient reason for entering more at large upon their origin and history.

John Rogers was married, Oct. 17th, 1670, at Black Hall, in Lyme, to Elizabeth, daughter of Matthew Griswold. The rite was performed by the father of the bride, and accompanied with the formality of a written contract and dowry; the husband settling his farm at Upper Mamacock, on the wife, in case of his death, or separation from her, during her life. On this farm, two miles north of New London, after their marriage, they dwelt, and had two children:

  • Elizabeth, born Nov. 8th, 1671.
  • John, born March 20th, 1674.

James Rogers and his wife and children, and those connected with the latter as partners in marriage, with the exception of Samuel Rogers and wife, all became dissenters in some sort from the established Congregational church, which was then the only one recognized by the laws of the land. The origin of this dissent may be traced to an intercourse which began in the way of trade, with the Sabbatarians, or Seventh-day Baptists of Rhode Island. John and James Rogers, Jun., first embraced the Sabbatarian principles, and were baptized in 1674; Jonathan, in 1675: James Rogers, Sen., with his wife and daughter Bathsheba, in 1676, and these were received as members of the Seventh -day church at Newport. Jonathan Rogers still further cemented his union with the Seventh-day community, by marriage with Naomi Burdick, a daughter of one of the elders of the church. Of the baptism of Joseph Rogers we have no account. His wife went down into the water on Sunday, Nov. 24th, 1677, near the house of Samuel Rogers, at the head of Winthrop’s Cove. Elders Hubbard and Hiscox, from Rhode Island, were present, and it was expected that one of them would perform the rite; but the town authorities having interfered and requested them to do it elsewhere, on account of the noise and tumult that might ensue, they acquiesced in the reasonableness of the proposal, and declined acting on the occasion. But John Rogers would assent to no compromise, and assuming on the spot the authority of an elder, and the responsibility of the act, he led the candidate into the water, and performed the baptism. (A more particular account of this affair may be found in Backus’ Church History’ and in Benedict’s History of the Baptists, vol. 2, p. 422.)

From this time forth, John Rogers began to draw off from the Sabbatarians, and to broach certain peculiar notions of his own. He assumed the ministerial offices of baptizing and preaching, and having gained a few disciples, originated a new sect, forming a church or society, which were called Rogerenes, or Rogerene Quakers, and sometimes Rogerene Baptists.

A great and predominant trait of the founder of the sect, and of his immediate followers, was their determination to be persecuted. They were aggressive, and never better pleased than when by shaking the pillars, they had brought down the edifice upon their own heads. They esteemed it a matter of duty, not only to suffer fines, distrainment, degradation, imprisonment and felonious penalties with patience, but to obtrude themselves upon the law, and challenge its power, and in fact to persecute others, by interrupting their worship, and vehemently denouncing what they esteemed sacred. This point the followers of Rogers have abrogated. At the present day they never molest the worship of others, and are themselves unmolested.

In respect to the most important articles of Christianity, Rogers was strenuously orthodox. He held to salvation by faith in Christ, the Trinity, the new birth, the resurrection of the just and unjust, and an eternal judgment. He maintained also obedience to the civil government, except in matters of conscience and religion. A town or country rate the Rogerenes always considered themselves bound to pay, but the minister’s rate they abhorred — denouncing as unscriptural all interference of the civil power in the worship of God. Of their peculiar characteristics a brief summary must here suffice.

In respect to baptism, and the rejection of the first day Sabbath, they agree with the Sabbatarians, but they diverge from them on other points. They consider all days alike in respect to sanctity, and though they meet for religious purposes on the first day of the week, when the exercise is over, they regard themselves as free to labor as on any other day. They have no houses set apart for public worship, and regard a steeple, a pulpit, a cushion, a church, and a salaried minister in a black suit of clothes, as utter abominations. They hold that a public oath is like any other swearing, a profanation of the Holy Name, and plainly forbidden in Scriptures. They make no prayers in public worship or in the family: John Rogers conceived that all prayers should be mental and not vocal, except on special occasions when the Spirit of God moving within, prompted the use of the voice. They use no means for the recovery of health, except care, kindness and attention, considering all resort to drugs, medicines and physicians, as sinful.

The entire rejection of the Sabbath, and of a resident ministry, were opinions exceedingly repugnant to the community at large, and were rendered more so by the violent and obtrusive manner in which they were propagated. Their author went boldly forth, exhorting and testifying in streets, disturbing public worship, and courting persecution with an eagerness that seemed akin to an aspiration after martyrdom. His creed was also exceedingly distasteful to the regular Seventh-day people. It was probably in opposition to them, that having his choice of days, as regarding them equal in point of sanctity, he held his meetings for religious purposes on the first rather than on the seventh day.

In 1676, the fines and imprisonments of James Rogers and his sons, for profanation of the Sabbath, commenced. For this, and for neglect of worship, they and some of their followers were usually arraigned at every session of court, for a long course of years. The fine was at first five shillings, then ten shillings, then fifteen shillings. At the June court in 1677, the following persons were arraigned, and each fined £5.

James Rogers, senior, for high-handed, presumptuous profanation of the Sabbath, by attending to his work; Elizabeth Rogers, his wife, and James and Jonathan Rogers, for the same.

John Rogers, on examination, said he had been hard at work making shoes on the first day of the week, and he would have done the same had the shop stood under the window of Mr. Wetherell’s house; yea, under the window of the meeting-house.

Bathshua Smith, for fixing a scandalous paper on the meeting- house.

Mary, wife of James Rogers, junior, for absence from public worship.

Again in September, 1677, the court ordered that John Rogers should be called to account once a month, and fined £5 each time; others of the family were amerced to the same amount for blasphemy against the Sabbath, calling it an idol, and for stigmatizing the reverend ministers as hirelings. After this, sitting in the stocks and whipping were added.

In May, 1678, (says Backus,) Joseph Clarke wrote to his father Hubbard, from Westerly, that John and James Rogers, with their father, were in prison; having previously excommunicated Jonathan, chiefly because he did not retain their judgment of the unlawfulness of using medicine, nor accuse himself before authority of working on the first day of the week.

Jonathan Rogers now stood alone among the brothers, adhering steadfastly to the Sabbatarian principles, from which he never swerved. His family became the nucleus of a small society of this denomination on the Great Neck, which has ever since existed. From generation to generation they connected themselves with churches of their own faith in Rhode Island, at first with that of Newport:, and afterward with that of Hopkinton and Westerly, until in the year 1784, 109 years after the baptism of their founder, Jonathan Rogers, they were organized into a distinct church and society. A further account of the Seventh-day community on the Neck will be given in the sequel of our history.

In 1680, the magistrates of Connecticut, giving an account of the colony to the Lords of Trade and Plantations, say:

“Our people in this colony arc some strict Congregational men, other more large Congregational men, and some moderate Presbyterians, &c. — there are four or six seventh-day men, and about so many more Quakers.” (Hinman’s Antiquities, p. 142.)

These Quakers and Seventh-day men were probably all in New London, and nearly all in the Rogers family. The elder James Rogers was an upright, circumspect man. There is no account of any dealings with him and his wife on account of their secession from Mr. Bradstreet’s church. No vote of expulsion or censure is recorded. Of his latter years little is known. Elder Hubbard, of Newport, is quoted by Backus as stating that Mr. Rogers had one of his limbs severely bruised by the wheel of a loaded cart that passed over it, and that he himself saw him when he had remained for six weeks in a most deplorable condition, strenuously refusing the use of means to alleviate his sufferings, but patiently waiting in accordance with his principles, to be relieved by faith. Whether he recovered from this injury or not is unknown. His death occurred in February, 1687-8, when the government of Sir Edmund Andross was paramount in New England. His will was therefore proved in Boston. The first settlement of the estate was entirely harmonious. The children in accordance with the earnest request of their father, made an amicable division of the estate, which was sanctioned by the General Court, May 12th, 1692.

The original will of Mr. Rogers is on file in the probate office of New London. It is in the handwriting of his son John, and remarkable for the simple solemnity of its preamble.

“The Last Will and Testament of James Rogers Senr, being in perfect memory and understanding but under the hand of God by sickness: – this I leave with my wife and children, sons and daughters, I being old and knowing that the time of my departure is at hand.

“What I have of this world I leave among you, desiring you not to fall out or contend about it; but let your love one to another appear more than to the estate I leave with you, which is but of this world.

“And for your comfort I signify to you that I have a perfect assurance of an interest in Jesus Christ and an eternal happy state in the world to come, and do know and see that my name is written in the book of life, and therefore mourn not for me, as they that are without hope.”

In a subsequent part of the document he says:

“If any difference should arise, &c, my will is, that there shall be no lawing among my children before earthly Judges, but that the controversy be ended by lot, and so I refer to the judgment of God, and as the lot comes forth, so shall it be.”

In this respect unfortunately the will of the father was never accomplished: his children, notwithstanding their first pacific arrangement, engaged afterward in long and acrimonious contention, respecting boundaries, in the course of which earthly judges were often obliged to interfere and enforce a settlement.

Soon after John Rogers connected himself with the Sabbatarians, his wife left him and returned to her father. In May, 1675, she applied to the legislature for a divorce, grounding her plea not only upon the heterodoxy of her husband, but upon certain alleged immoralities. The court, after the delay of nearly a year and a half, granted her petition.

At a session of the General Court, held at Hartford, October 12th, 1676:

“The Court having considered the petition of Elizabeth Rogers, the wife of John Rogers, for a release from her conjugal bond to her husband, with all the allegations and proofs presented, to clear the righteousness of her desires, do find just cause to grant her desire, and do free her from her conjugal bond to the said John Rogers.”

By a subsequent act of Assembly, (October, 1677,) she was allowed to retain her two children wholly under her own charge; the court giving as a reason the heterodoxy of Rogers, both in opinion and practice, he having declared in open court that he utterly renounced the visible worship of New England, and regarded the Christian Sabbath as a mere invention.

Rogers was incensed at these decisions of the court. The bill of divorce did not specify any offense on his part, as the base upon which it was granted, and he ever afterward maintained that they had taken away his wife without rendering to him, or to the public, any reason why they had done it. He seems to have long cherished the hope that she would repent of her desertion, and return to him; but in less than two years she married again.

“Peter Pratt was married unto Elisabeth Griswold, that was divorced from John Rogers, 5th of August, 1679.” (Recorded in Lyme.)

The children of Rogers remained with their mother during their childhood, but both when they became old enough to act for themselves, preferred to live with their father. Elizabeth was sent to him by her mother, of her own free will, when she was about fourteen years of age, and resided with him till 1689 or 1690, when she was married to Stephen Prentis, of Bruen’s Neck. At her wedding, her brother John, then about fifteen years of age, came also to his father, by permission of his mother, to stay as long as he pleased. She afterward sent a constable forcibly to reclaim him, and he was seized and carried back to Lyme; yet he soon returned to his father, embraced his doctrines, (In the phraseology of the sect, he discipled in with him immediately.) and pursued a similar course of itinerant testimony against the public worship of the land.

An agreement was signed in 1687, by which Elizabeth, daughter of Matthew Griswold, senior, engages to relinquish all claim to the Mamacock farm, “provided John Rogers will pay her £30 and never trouble her father about the farm again.” By this arrangement the farm reverted to Rogers, and his son, John Rogers, junior, marrying his cousin, Bathsheba Smith, settled at Mamacock. There, notwithstanding his long testimony and his many weary trials and imprisonments, he reared to maturity a family of eighteen children, most of them like their parents, sturdy Rogerenes. (John Rogers, 2d, by his two wives had twenty children: two died in infancy.) Mamacock, and the neighboring highland over which they spread, has ever since been known as Quaker Hill.

Peter Pratt, the second husband of Elizabeth Griswold, died March 24th, 1688. Shortly afterward she contracted a third marriage with Matthew Beck with, 2d. (By this third marriage she had one daughter, Griswold Bekwith, afterward the wife of Eliakim Cooley, junior, of Springfield.) By the second marriage with Mr. Pratt, she had a son, Peter, who while a young man, studying for the profession of the law, in New London, very naturally renewed his youthful intimacy with his half-brother, John Rogers, junior, of Mamacock. This brought him often into the company of the elder Rogers, to whose exhortations he listened complacently, till at length embracing his dogmas and becoming his disciple, he received baptism at his hands, and endured fines, imprisonment and public abuse, on account of his Quakerism. But after a time, leaving New London, and entering upon other associations, he relinquished the Rogerene cause, and made a public acknowledgment that he had labored under a delusion. Still further to manifest the sincerity of his recantation, he wrote an account of his lapse and recovery, entitled: The Prey taken from the Strong, or an Historical Account of the Recovery of one from the dangerous errors of Quakerism.”

In this narrative, Rogers is drawn, not only as an obstinate, heterodox enthusiast, but many revolting circumstances are added, which would justify the greatest odium ever cast upon him. It was not published till 1724, three years after the death of Rogers. He could not therefore answer for himself, but the indignation of the son was roused, and in defense of his father, he entered into controversy with his brother, and published a rejoinder, from which portions of the preceding narrative have been taken. He meets the charges against the moral and domestic character of his father, with a bold denial of their truth; but his erratic course in matters of faith and religious practice, he makes no attempt to palliate, these being points in which he himself, and the whole sect, gloried. He denies, however, that his father was properly classed among Quakers, observing:

“In his lifetime he was the only man in Conn, colony, I have ever heard of, that did publicly in print oppose the Quakers in those main principles wherein they differ from other sects.”

But the term Quaker had been firmly fixed upon them by their opponents, and they were customarily confounded with the Ranters, or Ranting Quakers, known in the early days of the colony. Yet they never came under the severe excision of the law enacted against those people in 1656 and 1658; that is, they were never forcibly transported out of the colony, nor were others prohibited from intercourse with them. Yet John Rogers states that under the provisions of this law his books were condemned and burnt as heretical. The law itself was disallowed and made void by an act of the Queen in Council, October 11th, 1705. There were other laws, however, by which the Rogerenes were convicted. By the early code of Connecticut, absence from public worship was to be visited by a penalty of five shillings; labor on the Sabbath, twenty shillings; and the performance of church ordinances by any other person than an approved minister of the colony, or an attendance thereupon, £5.

Though in most of the cases of arrest and punishment, the Rogerenes were the aggressors, and drew down the arm of the law on their own heads, it must be acknowledged that they encountered a vigorous and determined opposition. Offense was promptly met by penalty. Attempts were made to weary them out, and break them up by a series of fines, imposed upon presentments of the grand jury. These fines were many times repeated, and the estates of the offenders melted under the seizures of the constable, as snow melts before the sun. The course was a cruel one, and by no means popular. At length the magistrates could scarcely find an officer willing to perform the irksome task of distraining. And it is probable that all penalties would have been silently dropped, had they not kept up the aggressive system of testifying, as it was called; that is, presenting themselves in the religious assemblies of their neighbors, to utter their testimony against the worship. In this line, John Rogers, and the elder sister, were the principal offenders; often carrying their work into meeting, and interrupting the service with exclamations and protests against what was said or done.

The records of the county court abound with instances to verify these statements. Only a sample will be given:

“April 14th, 1685. Judge’s upon the bench, Fitch, Avery and Wetherell. John Rogers, James Rogers, Jr., Samuel Beebee, Jr., and Joanna Way, are complained of for profaning God’s holy day by servile work, and are grown to the height of impiety as to come at several times into the town to re-baptize several persons; and when God’s people were met together on the Lord’s day to worship God, several of them came and made great disturbance, behaving themselves in such a frantic manner as if possessed with a diabolical spirit, so affrighting and amazing that several women swooned and fainted away. John Rogers to be whipped fifteen lashes, and for unlawfully re-baptizing to pay £5. The others to be whipped.”

One of the most notorious instances of contempt exhibited by Rogers against the religious worship of his fellow- townsmen, was the sending of a wig to a contribution made in aid of the ministry. This was in derision of the full-bottomed wigs then worn by the clergy. It was sent by some one who deposited it in his name in the contribution box that was passed around in meeting. Rogers relished a joke, and was often represented by his opponents as shaking his sides with laughter at the confusion into which they were thrown by his inroads upon them. What course was pursued by the authorities in regard to the wig is not known, but the following candid apology is found on the town book, subscribed by the offender’s own hand.

“Whereas I John Rogers of New London did rashly and unadvisedly send a perewigg to the contribution of New London, which did reflectt dishonor upon that which my neighbours ye inhabitants of New London account the ways and ordinances of God and ministry of the word to the greate offence of them, I doe herebye declare that I am sorry for the sayde action and doe desire all those whom I have offended to accept this my publique acknowledgement as full satisfaction. 27th, 1: 91.        John Rogers.” (New London Town Rec, lib. 4, folio 46.)

The regret here expressed must have been but a temporary emotion, as he resumed immediately the same career of offense. In Nov. ,, 1692, besides his customary fines for working on the Sabbath, and for baptizing, he was amerced £4 for entertaining Banks and Case (Itinerant exhorters) for a month or more at his house. In 1693 and 1694, he and others of his family were particularly eager to win the notice of the law. Samuel Fox, presented for catching eels on Sunday, said that he made no difference of days; his wife Bathshua Fox went openly to the meeting-house to proclaim that she had been doing servile work on their Sabbath; John Rogers accompanied her, interrupting the minister, and proclaiming a similar offense. James Rogers and his wife assaulted the constable as he was rolling away a barrel of beef that he had distrained for the minister’s rate, threw scalding water upon him, and recaptured the beef. (Records of County Court.)

To various offenses of this nature, Rogers added the greater one of trundling a wheelbarrow into the porch of the meeting-house during the time of service; for which after being set in the stocks he was put into prison, and there kept for a considerable time. While thus held in durance, he hung out of the window a board with the following proclamation attached:

“I, John Rogers, a servant of Jesus Christ, doth here make an open declaration of war against the great red dragon, and against the beast to which he gives power; and against the false church that rides upon the beast; and against the false prophets who are established by the dragon and the beast; and also a proclamation of derision against the sword of the devil’s spirit, which in prisons, stocks, whips, fines and revilings, all which is to defend the doctrines of devils.” (Rogers himself in one of his pamphlets gives a copy of this writing. It is also in Benedict’s Hist., vol. 2, p. 423.)

On the next Sunday after this writing was hung out, Rogers being allowed the privilege of the prison limits on that day, rushed into the meeting-house during service, and with great noise and vehemence interrupted the minister, and denounced the worship. This led to the issuing of a warrant to remove him to Hartford gaol. The mittimus, dated March 28th, 1694, and signed by James Fitch, assistant, sets forth:

“Whereas John Rodgers of New London hath of late set himself in a furious way in direct opposition to the true worship and pure ordinances, and holy institutions of God, as also on the Lord’s Day passing out of prison in the time of public worship, running into the meeting-house in a railing and raging manner, as being guilty of blasphemy,” &c.

At Hartford he was tried and fined £5, and required to give a bond of £50 not to disturb the churches hereafter, and seated upon the gallows a quarter of an hour with a halter about his neck. Refusing as usual to pay the fine and give the security, he was remanded to prison and kept there from his first commitment three years and eight months.

During this imprisonment, according the account of his son, he was treated with great severity, and at one time taken out and cruelly scourged. (Answer of John Rogers, Jr., to Peter Pratt.)

While Rogers was in prison an attack upon the government and colony appeared, signed by Richard Steer, Samuel Beebe, Jr., Jonathan and James Rogers, accusing them of persecution of dissenters, narrow principles, self-interest, spirit of domineering ; and that to compel people to pay for a Presbyterian minister, is against the laws of England, is rapine, robbery and oppression.

A special court was held at New London, Jan. 24th, 1694-5, to consider this libelous paper. The subscribers were fined £5 each, whereupon they appealed to the Court of Assistants at Hartford, which confirming the first decision, they threatened an appeal to Cesar, that is to the throne of England. In all probability this was never prosecuted.

Rogers had not been long released from prison before he threw himself into the very jaws of the lion, as it were, by provoking a personal collison with Mr. Saltonstall, the minister of the town.

“At a session of the county court held at New London, Sept. 20, 1698. Members of the court, Capt. Daniel Wetherell Esq. and justices William Ely and Nathaniel Lynde. Mr. Gurdon Saltonstall minister of the gospel plf. pr contra John Rogers Senr, deft in an action of the case for defamation. Whereas you the said John Rogers did sometime in the month of June last past, raise a lying, false and scandalous report against him the said Mr. Gurdon Saltonstall and did publish the same in the hearing of diverse persons, that is to say — did in their hearing openly declare that the said Saltonstall having promised to dispute with you publicly on the holy scriptures did contrary to his said engagement shift or wave the said dispute which he had promised you, which said false report he the said Saltonstall complaineth of as to his great scandal and to his damage unto such value as shall to the said court be made to appear. In this action the jury finds for the plaintiff six hundred pounds, and costs of court, £1, 10.” (County Court Records.)

It would be wearisome and useless to enumerate all the instances of collision between Rogers and the authorities of the land, which even at this distance of time might be collected. It is stated by his followers that after his conversion he was near one-third of his lifetime confined in prisons. “I have,” he observes, in writing, in 1706, “been sentenced to pay hundreds of pounds, laid in iron chains, cruelly scourged, endured long imprisonments, set in the stocks many hours together,” &c. John, the younger, states that his father’s sufferings continued for more than forty-five years, and adds, “I suppose the like has not been known in the kingdom of England for some ages past.”

It was certainly a great error in the early planters of New England to endeavor to produce uniformity in doctrine by the strong arm of physical force. Was ever religious dissent subdued either by petty annoyance or actual cruelty? Is it possible ever to make a true convert by persecution? The principle of toleration was, however, then less clearly understood, and the offenses of the Rogerenes were multiplied and exaggerated both by prejudice and rumor. The crime of blasphemy was one that was often hurled against them. Doubtless a sober mind would not now give so harsh a name, to expressions which our ancestors deemed blasphemous.

In reviewing this controversy we cannot avoid acknowledging that there was great blame on both sides, and our sympathies pass alternately from one to the other. The course pursued by the Rogerenes was exceedingly vexatious. The provoking assurance with which they would enter a church, attack a minister, or challenge an argument, is said to have been quite intolerable. Suppose, at the present day, a man like Rogers of a bold spirit, ready tongue, and loud voice, thould rise up in a worshiping assembly, and tell the people they were entangled in the net of Antichrist, and sunk deep in the mire of idolatry; then turning to the preacher, call him a hireling shepherd, making merchandise of his flock, and declaring that the rites he administered, viz., baptism by sprinkling — the baptism of infants — and the celebration of the sacrament at any time but at night — were antichristian fopperies; accompanying all this with violent contortions, coarse expletives and foaming at the mouth: would it not require great forbearance on the part of the congregation not to call a constable, and forcibly remove the offender? Yet the Rogerenes frequently used more aggressive language than this, and went to greater lengths in their testimony against the idol Sabbath. Their own narratives and controversial writings prove this; nor do they offer any palliation of their course in this respect, but regard it as a duty they must perform, a cross they must bear.

Viewing the established order of the colony, only on the dark and frowning side, they considered it a righteous act to treat it with defiance and aggression. The demands of collectors, the brief of the constable, were ever molesting their habitations. It was now a cow, then a few sheep, the oxen at the plow, the standing corn, the stack of hay, the thrashed wheat, and anon, piece after piece of land, all taken from them to uphold a system which they denounced. Yet our sympathy with these sufferers is unavoidably lessened by the fact, that they courted persecution and gloried in it; often informing against themselves, and compelling the violated law to bring down its arm upon them. Says John Bolles:

“God gave me such it cheerful spirit in this warfare, that when I had not the knowledge that the grand-juryman saw me at work on the first day, I would inform against myself before witness, till they gave out, and let me plow and cart and do whatsoever I have occasion to on this day.”

What should a magistrate do? Often in despite of himself he was forced into severity. He had sworn to enforce the laws; he might shut his eyes and ears and refuse to know that such things were done, but here was a race who would not allow of such connivance: they obtruded their violations of the law upon his notice; and he felt obliged to convict and condemn. The authorities were not in the first place inclined to rigor: they were not a persecuting people. New London county more than any other part of Connecticut, perhaps from its vicinity to Rhode Island, has ever been a stage whereon varied opinions might exhibit themselves freely, and a difference of worship was early tolerated. Governor Saltonstall was perhaps more uniformly rigorous than any other magistrate in repressing the Rogerene disturbances. Nevertheless, while sitting as chief judge of the superior court, he used his utmost endeavors, by argument and conciliation, to persuade them to refrain from molesting the worship of their neighbors.

“He gave his word [says John Bolles] that to persuade us to forbear, if we would be quiet, and worship God in our own way according to our consciences, he would punish any of their people that should disturb us in our worship.”

Here was an opportunity for a compact which might have led to a lasting peace. But the principles of the Rogerenes would not allow of compromise.

It is somewhat singular that in the midst of so much obloquy, John Rogers should have continued to take part in public affairs. He was never disfranchised; when out of prison he was always ready with his vote; was a warm partisan and frequently chosen to some inferior town office, such as sealer of leather, surveyor of highways, &c. Crimes, such as the code of the present day would define them, were seldom or never proved against the Rogerenes, but it must be allowed that coarseness, vulgarity, and impertinent obtrusiveness, come near to crimes, in the estimation of pure minds.

In the year 1700 Rogers having lived single, from the desertion of his wife twenty-five years, married himself to Mary Ransford. She is said to have been a maid-servant whom he had bought; probably one of that class of persons called Redemptioners. The spirit and temper of his new wife may be inferred from the fact that she had already been arraigned before the court, for throwing scalding water out of the window upon the head of the constable who came to collect the minister’s rate. As Rogers would not be married by any minister or magistrate of Connecticut, he was in a dilemma how to have the rite solemnized. His mode of proceeding is thus described by his son:

“They agreed to go into the County Court, and there declare their marriage; and accordingly they did so; he leading his bride by the hand into court, where the judges were sitting, and a multitude of spectators present; and then desired the whole assembly to take notice, that he took that woman to be his wife; his bride also assenting to what he said. Whereupon the judge (Wetherell) offered to marry them in their form, which he refused, telling them that he had once been married by their authority and by their authority they had taken away his wife again, and rendered him no reason why they did it. Upon which account he looked upon their form of marriage to be of no value, and therefore he would be married by their form no more. And from the court he went to the governor’s house, (Fitz-John Winthrop’s) with his bride and declared their marriage to the governor, who seemed to like it well enough, and wished them much joy, which is the usual compliment.”

This ceremony thus publicly performed, John Rogers, Jr., supposes “every unprejudiced person will judge as authentic as any marriage that was ever made in Connecticut colony.” The authorities did not look upon it in this light. Rogers herein set at defiance the common law, which in matters of civil concernment, his own principles bound him to obey.

A story has been currently reported that this self-married couple presented themselves also before Mr. Saltonstall, the minister, and that he wittily contrived to make the marriage legal, against their will. Assuming an air of doubt and surprise, he says. Do you really, John, take this your servant-maid, bought with your money, for your wife? Do you, Mary, take this man so much older than yourself for your husband f and receiving from both an affirmative answer, he exclaimed: Then I pronounce you, according to the laws of this colony, man and wife. Upon this Rogers, after a pause, shook his head, and observed. Ah, Gurdon! thou art a cunning creature.

This anecdote, or something like it, may be true of some other Rogerene marriage, but not of this, for then no doubt would have arisen respecting the validity of the union.

The connection was an unhappy one; violent family quarrels ensued, between the reputed wife, and John Rogers the younger and his family, in the course of which the law was several times invoked to preserve peace, and the elder Rogers himself was forced to apply to the court for assistance in quelling these domestic broils.

The complaint of John Rogers against his son, and “the woman which the court calls Mary Ransford, which I have taken for my wife, seeing my lawful wife is kept from me by this government,” is extant in his own handwriting, dated 27th of 4th month, 1700.

In 1703, on the presentment of the grand jury, the county court summoned Mary Ransford, the reputed wife of John Rogers, before them, declared her marriage invalid, sentenced her to pay a fine of 40s. or receive ten stripes, and prohibited her return to Rogers under still heavier penalties. Upon this she came round to the side of the court, acknowledged her marriage illegal, cast off the protection and authority of Rogers, and refused to regard him as her husband.

Soon after this she escaped from confinement and fled to Block Island, leaving her two children with their father. Rogers appears to have renounced her as heartily and as publicly as she did him; so that actually they both married and unmarried themselves. They had never afterward any connection with each other.

About this time Rogers made a rash and almost insane attempt to regain his divorced wife, then united to Matthew Beckwith. A writ was issued against him in January, 1702-3, on complaint of Beckwith, charging him with laying hands on her, declaring she was his wife, and threatening Beckwith that he would have her in spite of him — all which Rogers confessed to be true, but defended, on the plea that she was really his wife.

“In County Court, June, 1703. — Matthew Beckwith Senr appeared in court and swore his Majesty’s peace against John Rogers, for that he was in tear of his life from him.” (County Court Records.)

In 1710, Mary Ransford was married to Robert Jones, of Block Island; and in 1714, Rogers married the widow Sarah Coles, of Oyster Bay, L. I., the ceremony being performed within the jurisdiction of Rhode Island, by a magistrate of that colony. (Narrative of John Rogers, Jr.) With this connection there was never any interference.

The troubles of Rogers did not cease with old age. His sea was never smooth. His bold, aggressive spirit knew not how to keep the peace. In 1711, he was fined and imprisoned for misdemeanor in court, contempt of its authority, and vituperation of the judges. He himself states that his offense consisted in charging the court with injustice for trying a case of life and death without a jury. This was in the case of one John Jackson, for whom Rogers took up the battle-ax. Instead of retracting his words, he defends them and reiterates the charge. Refusing to give bonds for his good behavior until the next term of court, he was imprisoned in New London jail. This was in the winter season, and he thus describes his condition:

“My son was wont in cold nights to come to the grates of the window to see how I did, and contrived privately to help me to some tire, &c. Hut he coming in a very cold night called to me and perceiving that I was not in my right senses, was in a fright, and ran along the street crying, ‘The authority hath killed my father,’ and cried at the Sheriff’s, ‘You have killed my father.’ — upon which the town was raised and forthwith the prison doors were opened and fire brought in and hot stones wrapt in cloth laid at ray feet and about me, and the minister Adams sent me a bottle of spirits and his wife a cordial, whose kindness I must acknowledge.

“But when those of you in authority saw that I recovered, you had up my son and fined him for making a riot in the night, and took for the fine and charge three of the best cows I had.”

His confinement continued until the time was out for which the bond was demanded. He was then released, but the very next day he was arrested on the following warrant:

“By special order of his Majesty’s Superior Court, now holden in New London, you are hereby required in her Majesty’s name, to take John Rogers, Senior, of New London, who to the view of said Court, appears to be under an high degree of distraction, and him secure in her Majesty’s Gaol for the County aforesaid, in some dark room or apartment thereof, that proper means may be used for his cure, and till he be recovered from his madness and you receive order for his release. Signed by order of said Court, March 26, 1712.    “Jonathan Law, Clerk.    “Test, John Prentis, Sherriff.”

This order was immediately executed. Rogers was removed to an inner prison and all light excluded. But the town was soon in an uproar; the populace interfered and tore away the plank that had been nailed over the window. Some English officers then in town also made application to the authorities to mitigate his treatment, and he was carried to the sheriff’s house and there kept. Two days afterward, he received, he said, a private warning that it was determined to convey him to Hartford, shave his head, and deliver him over to a French doctor to be medically treated for insanity. Whereupon by the aid of his son and the neighbors, he escaped in the night, and was rowed in a boat over to Long Island. Thither he was followed by the constable, and pursued by the “hue and cry,” from town to town, as he traveled with all possible secrecy and dispatch to Now York, where at length arriving safely, he hastened to the fort, and threw himself upon the protection of Governor Hunter, by whom he was kindly received and sheltered. Here he remained three months, and then returned home, where probably he would not have been molested, if he had remained quiet. But no sooner was he recruitod, than he returned to the very position he had taken with so much hazard before his imprisonment, resuming the prosecution of the judges of the inferior court before the general Court, for judging upon life and death without a jury in the aforesaid case of John Jackson. He was nonsuited, had all the charges to pay, and another heavy fine.

The next outbreak, and the last during the life of the elder Rogers, is thus related by the son:

“John Rogers and divers of his Society living as good a right to New London meeting-house as any of the inhabitants of the town, it being built by a public rate, every one paying a proportion according to their estate, (The building of the meeting-house cost me three of the best fat cattle I had that year, and as many shoes as was sold for thirty shillings in silver money.” — John Rogers, Sen.) did propose to hold his meetings there at noon time, between the Presbyterian meetings, so as not to disturb them in either of their meetings. And accordingly, we came to the meeting house and finding their meeting was not finished, we stood without the door till they had ended and were come out; and then John Rogers told the people that our coming was to hold our meeting, between their meetings, and that we had no design to make any disturbance, but would break up our meeting as soon as they wore ready for their afternoon meeting. Whereupon several of the neighbors manifested their freedom in the matter; yet the Constable came in the time of our meeting with an order to break it up, and with his attendants violently laid hands on several of us, hauling men and women out of the meeting, like an Saul did in his unconverted state, and for no other crime than what I have here truly related.

“John Rogers was had to Court and charged with a riot, &c. If myself had been the Judge, as I was not, I should have thought the constable to have been guilty of the riot, and not John Rogers. However, he was fined 10a., for which the officer first took ten sheep, and then complained they were not sufficient to answer the fine and charges, whereupon he came a second time and took a milk-cow out of the pasture, and so we heard no more about it, by which I suppose the cow and ten sheep satisfied the fine and charges. This was the last fine that was laid on him, for he soon after died.”

Joseph Backus, Esq., of Norwich, writing in the year 1726, gives this account of the death of the Rogerene leader:

“John Rogers pretended that he was proof against all infection of body as well as of mind, which the wicked only (he said) were susceptible of, and to put the matter upon trial, daringly ventured into Boston in the time of the Small Pox; but received the infection and dyed of it, with several of his family taking it from him.”

In answer to this statement, John Rogers the second observes:

“It is well known that it had been his practice for more than forty years past, to visit all sick persons as often us he had opportunity, and particularly those who had the Small Pox; when in the height of their distemper he has sat on their bed-side several hours at a time, discoursing of the things of God; so that his going to Boston the last time, was no other than his constant practice had been ever since he made a profession of religion.

“Now let every unprejudiced reader take notice how little cause J. Backus has to reflect John Rogers’s manner of death upon him who lived to the age of seventy-three years, and then died, in his own house, and on his own bed, having his reason continued to the last and manifesting his peace with God, and perfect assurance of a better life.”

“Oct. 17, 1721 died John Rogers Sen.

“Nov. 6,   ”    ” John Rogers 3d, aged 21 years and 6 days.

“Nov. 13,  “   “Bathsheba, wife of John Rogers 2d.

“All of small pox.”  (Town Record of New London.)

Rogers was buried directly upon the bank of the Thames, within the bounds of his Mamacock farm. Here he had set aside a place of family sepulture, which his son John, in 1751, secured to his descendants by deed for a burial place. It is still occasionally used for that purpose, and it is supposed that in all, sixty or eighty interments have here been made: but the wearing away of the bank is gradually intruding upon them. As the Rogerenes do not approve of monuments to the memory of the dead, only two or three inscribed stones mark the spot.

Rogers was a prolific writer. In the introduction to his “Midnight Cry,” he observes:  “This is the sixth book printed for me in single volumes.” He argued upon theological subjects with considerable skill and perspicuity. The inventory of his estate was £410. Among the articles enumerated are:

Several chests and packages of his own books.

Seven Bibles: Powel’s and Clarke’s Concordances.


Some notes and comments on the above:

Of James Rogers Senior, it says “His landed possessions were very extensive, consisting of several hundred acres on the Great Neck, the fine tract of land at Mohegan called the Pamechaug farm, several house lots in town, and twenty-four hundred acres east of the river, which he held in partnership with Col. Pyncheon, of Springfield.”  This got me wondering where Pamechaug farm could be on today’s map of the greater New London area.  I did a little digging and found this reference:

The Bostonian, An illustrated monthly magazine of local interest, Vol. 1, October-March 1894-5, Page 380: The Mohegans.  “The first grant of land within the Mohegan reservation was made by Uncas in 1658 to Richard Haughton and James Rogers, and consisted of valuable farms on the river and places called Massapeag and Pamechaug. The former place was situated north and west of the cove now called Haughton’s Cove …”

So Pamechaug farm was north and west of Haughton’s Cove.   So where’s Haughton’s Cove?  Haughton’s Cove is in Uncasville, CT, just north and west of Comstock Cemetery, a cemetery I have visited to take pictures of the graves of many Rogers family members.

The above also says “Mamacock, and the neighboring highland over which they spread, has ever since been known as Quaker Hill.” I wasn’t aware the Mamcock Farm, John Rogers (founder of the Rogerenes) farm of Mamcock had extended as far north as Quaker Hill. I do know that it extended at least as far south as the grounds of Conn College as that’s where the Rogers cemetery is. It would seem that at some point, the Rogers’ family owned the land all the way from Conn College up to Comstock Cemetery in Uncasville.

The point, while reading the above, that I started to laugh … “James Rogers and his wife assaulted the constable as he was rolling away a barrel of beef that he had distrained for the minister’s rate, threw scalding water upon him, and recaptured the beef.” (hence the title of my post today)

The above says John Rogers was cruelly scourged. Curious as the difference between a whipping and a scourging, I googled it. Wikipedia says the following: “A scourge is a whip or lash, especially a multi-thong type, used to inflict severe corporal punishment or self-mortification on the back. Usually made of leather.” Makes you wonder what poor John’s back must have looked like. He’d been scourged and whipped who knows how many times over the years.

I was curious about the story where John Rogers first breaks from the church in the baptism in Winthrop’s Cove.  Above, after the story, it says “(A more particular account of this affair may be found in Backus’ Church History’ and in Benedict’s History of the Baptists, vol. 2, p. 422.)”  So I googled Benedict’s History of the Baptists and found this:

A general history of the Baptist denomination in America, and other parts of the world by Benedict, page 422: 

In September, 1676, the three Rogerses and Japheth, the Indian, went in a boat and brought Messrs. Hiscox and Hubbard to New London again, when the father and mother of one of the sisters of the Rogerses were all baptized by Mr. Hiscox, and were also added to the church with which they had united. These frequent visits and administrations of the Baptists, awakened the jealousies and resentment of the people of the town, and the power of the magistrate was soon exerted in rigorous measures, against this new and obnoxious sect. These few persons, having adopted the Seventh Day of the week for their Sabbith continued to pursue their worldly business on the Firsts a practice very common with people of this belief; for which they soon began to be harassed, imprisoned and beaten. But opposition seemed only to inflame their zeal, and hurried them on to an extravagant and almost unexampled extreme. Hitherto these persons, who afterwards broke over all bounds of order and decency, were not known as a distinct set, but had a regular standing in the Seventh-day Baptist church at Newport. John Rogers, who afterwards became the fantastick leader of this deluded community, on the following occasion, began the wild and heedless career, by which he exposed himself so much to the censure of his friends and the persecuting violence of his enemies. In the year 1677, Messrs. Hiscox and his companion Hubbard visited New London a third time, and proposed to baptize the wife of Joseph Rogers, another brother of the Rogers family. Their meeting was held. It is related by Morgan Edwards that she was afterwards married to a lawyer, b/lbv; liimie of f^ratt (Not having the original book to look at I have no idea what those words were supposed to be) two miles from the town, where it was proposed that baptism should be administered; but John was for no retirement; lie must needs have the company go up to the town, and have the administration in sight and hearing of their enemies. John was finally listened to, and led on the procession. This provoking measure turned out as might have been expected in those days of intolerance and persecution; for while Mr. Hiscox was preaching, he was seized by the constable and immediately carried before the magistrate, where he was detained a short time, and then released. They new repaired to another place, and began to prepare for the administration; when, to the astonishment of the company, John stepped forward and prayed, and then led the woman down into the water, and baptized her. From this time this singular man took it upon him to baptize, and also to administer in other things in a ministerial capacity. His relatives, excepting his brother Jonathan, imbibed his spirit and followed his dictates. The church at Newport attempted to reform and regulate them; but their exertions proved ineffectual, and their connection was soon dissolved.

I find it interesting that the most interesting part in the above was left out of Caulkin’s the entire chapter on Rogerenes, and that is: “This sect took its rise at New London, in Connecticut, about the year 1674; for in that year one John Rogers and James his brother, and an Indian by the name of Japheth, were baptized by a Mr. Crandal.”  An Indian? I love it! Say what you want about how crazy John was, he saw all men as equal under God. I wonder why in all her history of the man, Caulkins left that out?

I do believe that John wanted a return to the church as it is explained in the New Testament, but I do find one item a little odd and would love to have the opportunity to sit down with old John for a little chat about he thoughts on medicine.  The above states “They use no means for the recovery of health, except care, kindness and attention, considering all resort to drugs, medicines and physicians, as sinful.”  Didn’t anyone tell him that the apostle Luke was a doctor?

I’m a little confused by reading this: “A further account of the Seventh-day community on the Neck will be given in the sequel of our history.”  Does anyone have any idea where to find the sequel to our history? I can’t seem to figure out where it would be in the book.

I wish I could get my hands on a copy of the mentioned “The Prey taken from the Strong, or an Historical Account of the Recovery of one from the dangerous errors of Quakerism.” I couldn’t find a digital copy or transcription online.

One place I’d like to locate is the home owned by C.A. Lewis, Esq in the year 1895, the year the book was published, as it was the site of James Roger’ first home in New London. “Mr. Winthrop had encouraged his settlement in the place, and had accommodated him with a portion of his own house lot, next to the mill, on which Rogers built a dwelling-house of stone. (This spot was afterward re-purchased by the Winthrop family, and was the site of the house built by John Still Winthrop, and now owned by C A. Lewis, Esq.)   Anyone have any idea where that might be?



12 Oct 2017: My Rhode Island Johnny Cake Adventure October 12, 2017

While on vacation up in Rhode Island, I visited two restaurants to sample their Johnny Cakes.  To say that I ate two totally different foods would not be an understatement.  I’d read online that the J.C.’s on the east side of Narragansett Bay were different from the ones on the west side.  I now believe this to be true.

Let’s start with Johnny Cake #1 which I sampled at Bishop’s 4th Street Diner in Newport.

Bishop’s 4th Street Diner

Bishop’s 4th Street Diner

Johnny Cakes

These Johnny Cakes were very tasty, but as you can see they are almost paper-thin and have holes in them like lace.  I asked what they put in them and was told: Cornmeal, hot water and an egg with some salt and sugar.

Moving on to Johnny Cake #2.  This one I had on the other side of the Bay at Jigger’s Diner in East Greenwich, RI. Talk about a totally different J.C.

Jigger’s Diner

Crispy on the outside, runny on the inside.

Jigger’s Johnny Cakes were very good. They were about the same circumference as Bishop’s, but where Bishop’s were almost paper-thin, Jigger’s were about a third of an inch thick.  They were crispy on the outside and runny on the inside. I loved them!

Which did I prefer? I’d go with Jigger’s because they were just a more substantial meal. I will say that Bishop’s bacon was much better than Jigger’s.  Jigger’s was over cooked like leather. If you go, opt for the sausage.

I collected a bunch of different Johnny Cake recipes while on vacation and visited Kenyon’s Grist Mill to buy me some Johnny Cake cornmeal to use making my own back home.  I’ll post the recipes soon.



3 Oct 2017: On my Genealogy Vacation … a mural to remember October 3, 2017

I arrived in the Mystic, CT area last night!  Long drive from Orlando! Today I went to New London to visit City Hall in search of Land Grant records for Thomas Wells, the oldest of the known Wells in my family.  According to The History of New London (Page 60) He had a land grant dated Feb 16, 1649/50.

Although the N.L. Historical Society pointed to the City Hall when I asked them for info on land grants, City Hall pointed me to the State Library in Hartford as they sent all the records there.  So, no joy at City Hall … that is until I walked back into the entry hall and spotted this wonderful mural on the wall.

Mural in City Hall

According to the mural, it’s a representation of the city and the plots of land and owners as they were before Benedict Arnold burned the city in 1781.

You can even see the Town Mill that was previously operated by John Rogers.  This is the town mill that still stands today under the I-95 overpass.

The Old Town Mill in New London

Here are some closeups I took of portions of the map:

Lower Mamacock

First Church and Burial Ground

North of Winthrop’s Cove

New London City Hall

Cool map! Hope you enjoy!



17 Aug 2017: Planning a trip to my homeland August 17, 2017

It’s that time of year again when I get to blow this pop stand and head north.  YAY!! I’ll be up in CT/RI on vacation the beginning of October and have started my list of things to do and places to see. HOWEVER, my list is incomplete.

Read to the VERY BOTTOM for things I need help/suggestions for.

Visit Randall & Lois Wells’ graves in Hopkinton, RI.  My annual pilgrimage to my 4th great grandparent’s graves back in the woods.  Let’s face it, not too many of us still can even find them. I usually visit John Rogers grave on the grounds of Connecticut College as well.

Take my favorite hike.  There’s a great Nature Conservancy trail up to Long Pond in Hopkinton. Super scenic, like something out of Lord of the Rings.  There’s a timelessness to the landscape there that seems untouched, like some native American tribe from long ago could come strolling around a boulder.

Visit Mystic Pizza in Mystic, CT.  I know, the cheesiest and most wonderful of the chic flicks of the 80’s.  Not only that, the pizza is like … totally awesome (to quote the 80’s) Not sure how well it will fare now that I’ve had gastric bypass, but I’m willing to give it a shot. It’s worth a visit if for nothing but to inhale deeply and take in the scent of wonderful food.  Plus it’s a location I used a few times in my novels so it’s fun to visit.  I ever wrote some of my books sitting at the table in the bay windows up front.

Speaking of food …. I’m also planning meals at Abbots in Noank, CT and Ford’s Lobsters in Noank. I plan on being so tired of lobster by the time I drive out of New England that it will hold me for a long time!

Visit the Lighthouse Museum in Stonington.  Yes, the infamous lighthouse that is the setting for my third novel. I fell in love with it the moment I saw it and knew I had to feature it in a book.  I’ll also spend time roaming the streets of picturesque Stonington.

Visit B.F. Clyde’s Cider Mill in Mystic.  Again, after my gastric bypass surgery, this should be an interesting experience.  I love their apple baked goods and plan on sampling quite a bit.

Visit Oak Grove Cemetery in Ashaway.  Not only my future resting place, but also the current resting place for a good portion of my mom’s side of the family.  I always stop in to pay my respects but also to inspect the condition of our stones and do any necessary cleaning of them that may need to be done.

Fulfilling any Findagrave.com photo requests that are online for the area. Need any photos taken of a headstone in the area? I’ll be checking them out while I’m up there to see who I can help out.  I also plan on updating FAG.com on new burials in Oak Grove and finishing adding photos of all the stones.

Visiting Kenyon’s Grist Mill in West Kingston, RI. I’ve never been to a grist mill before so I’m looking forward to learning something new. I’m also in the market for some corn meal to make me some Johnny Cakes upon my return to FL.  

Popping over to Stonington Vineyards to buy a case of my favorite wine of theirs. Sadly, I can’t get it here in Orlando. Also sadly, gastric bypass severely limits how much alcohol I can drink, so that case will last me a couple of year!

Shop Craigslist.com for cool stuff in people’s basements! Sounds odd, but I bought a cool old trunk off of Craigslist last time I was up there from some couple in Ashaway. I’m on the hunt for cool antiques. I’m also looking for some good antique stores to visit if you know of any you can suggest. Not the shiny, all cleaned up kind of antiques, but the paint chipping off, just pulled out of the barn kind. Will also be looking for yard sales and estate sales as well.

If time permits, I’d like to visit Mystic Aquarium.  Haven’t been there since I was a kid.

Pop into the Mystic Seaport Gift Shop.  I’ll be honest and say I’ve been to the Seaport enough that I don’t need to go again …. for a long time, but the gift shop is awesome! I love the book section up stairs too. Always worth a visit.

Get out on the water.  No plans finalized for this yet, but I will get out on the water for a few hours, if not longer. I did a sunset sail out of Mystic a few years back that I could do again, but ideally I’d love to take sailing lessons.  I’m just having a hard time finding a place to do that so late in the year.  Seems sailing season ends the week before I arrive!!!

A day at the Coggeshall Farm Museum in Bristol, RI.  I can’t wait to spend some time here so I can do some research on farm life in the late 1700s.  Valuable info I can weave into my stories of the vampire, Randall Wells!!

St. Edmund’s Severed Arm.  Yes, you read me right. This one just has to be seen to be believed, at least by me.  It’s in Mystic and apparently on display.


I’m looking for:

  • Good antique stores/malls. Ones that sell reasonably priced items of local origin. Items that are not all spit and polished, but need love and have chipped paint.
  • Scenic hiking trails (other than my favorite up to Long Pond in Hopkinton.)
  • Restaurants that serve good local cuisine.  Rhode Island Clam Chowder?  Johnny Cakes?
  • How can I get out on the water?  Boat tours you can suggest.  I’d even be up for whale watching. Ideally I’d love to take a sailing lesson or two.
  • Know of any places of local history interest like Kenyon’s Grist Mill? I love to learn about local history.
  • If you know where I can buy a courting candle, you’re my new best friend!!!



From Bruce: “Know you are connected to the Crandall family. Think about a trip north of Mystic to Canterbury, CT (Windham Co.) to the Prudence Crandall museum. Check their hours – I don’t think they are open every day.”  Thanks, Bruce.  I’ll add the museum to my list of possibles.  I’m sure a trip there would make a nice subject for a blog post.

From Wayne:  “Hi Jennifer – I too am a direct descendant of Samuel Hubbard (my mother is a Burdick), living now in southern RI. We are distant cousins. If you haven’t been, you might consider seeing the Gilbert Stuart Birthplace in Saunderstown, and maybe taking the Francis Fleet Whale Watch out of Galillee. BTW, white corn meal is ubiquitous here! Wayne”  Thanks Wayne. I’ve added the Gilbert Stuart Birthplace to my list. Looks really cool. Sadly, Frances Fleet Whale Watching closes in September so they won’t be open.  Too bad, they looked ideal.


13 Aug 2017: A walk in 1937 Philadelphia August 13, 2017

I discovered this mini pack of photos among my father’s possessions.  It’s dated 1937. Published by  K.F. Lutz of 441 North 32nd Street, Philadelphia.  Not really knowing what to do with them as our family doesn’t have any ancestral ties in the Philly area, we’re going to be selling this item in an upcoming yard sale.  But before that, I thought I’d share them with you.

Philadelphia, 1937: Capital Hall and Independence Hall

Philadelphia, 1937: Independence Hall Liberty Bell

Philadelphia, 1937: Independence Hall Judicial Chamber

Philadelphia, 1937: Independence Hall Declaration Chamber

Philadelphia, 1937: Independence Hall


Philadelphia, 1937: Benjamin Franklin’s Grave

Philadelphia, 1937: Washington Monument

Philadelphia, 1937: Pennsylvania R.R. Station

Philadelphia, 1937: U.S. Mint

Philadelphia, 1937: Carpenters Hall

Philadelphia, 1937: Interior of Carpenters Hall

Philadelphia, 1937: Art Museum and City Aquarium

Philadelphia, 1937: Benjamin Franklin Memorial Museum

Philadelphia, 1937: Delaware River Front and Bridge

Philadelphia, 1937: City Hall

Philadelphia, 1937: Christ Church

Philadelphia, 1937: South Broad Street

Philadelphia, 1937: Betsy Ross House

Philadelphia, 1937: Flag Room Betsy Ross House

Philadelphia, 1937: View from Art Museum toward City Hall

Philadelphia, 1937: Convention Hall

Philadelphia, 1937: New Post office and Pennsylvania R.R. Station

Philadelphia, 1937: Old Swedes Church

Philadelphia, 1937: The Rodin Museum

Philadelphia, 1937: Masonic Temple

I hope you enjoyed this stroll through 1937 Philly!



22 Jan 2017: It’s here! Get your copy today! January 22, 2017

Yay!!!! My latest book is up for sale on Amazon.  I can’t tell you how excited I am that I finally took the time to gather together my genealogy knowledge in a user friendly how to book for those just beginning their genealogical journey.


Check it out at: https://goo.gl/eSSZwa

Here’s what it’s about:

Every generation needs a family historian.

Where do we come from and how did we get here? To answer these questions you’ll need to sit down and piece together the story of your family. For over thirty years Jennifer Geoghan has tirelessly traced not only her own family tree, but also assisted many others in doing just the same. Now she brings her wealth of experience to you with this easy to read guide to help you jump-start your family research.

Some of the topics covered are …

  • Interviewing your relatives
  • Understanding Vital Records
  • Making sense of the US Census
  • Uncovering Military Records.
  • How to cite your sources.
  • Top websites for genealogy research.
  • Getting the most from you internet searches
  • Cemeteries
  • Genetic DNA Testing
  • Preserving your family memories

Intended for those just beginning to trace their family history, this Quick Start Guide includes an abundance of useful worksheet, templates and other tools to help you organize your research all in one convenient place.

  • Individual Person Worksheets
  • Family Worksheets
  • Pedigree Charts
  • Family Heirloom Inventory
  • Family Medical History
  • Research Logs
  • Family History Questionnaires
  • Activities to get your kids excited about family history

My book is now available in paperback on Amazon for $4.99.




17 Dec 2016: Don’t believe everything you read … on a death certificate. December 17, 2016

As part of my research for my new genealogy “how to” book, I ordered copies of my great grandparents (John and Amalia Kranz) death certificates from the City of New York Department of Records.  What I received in the mail, quite frankly, shocked me.  Amalia’s wasn’t surprising but what was listed on John’s is nothing short of baffling.

Death Certificate of John Kranz

Death Certificate of John Kranz

What is so disturbing is the names listed for his parents, Safaya Kranz and Elizabeth Schmidt.  These are not the names of John’s parents.  His parents were Francisci Xaverii Kranz and Elizabeth Hahn.  Yes, this is the correct death certificate for John.  It has his correct dates of birth and death, has his place of birth and profession correct.  It even has his correct address.

So who are this Safaya and wife?

I can only think that at the time of his death, no family was around to provide the correct information to the doctor about John’s parents. We know that John and his wife, Amalia, were estranged and didn’t have contact for long periods of time.  The back of the certificate says that his daughter (my grandmother) Elsie was the one who hired the undertaker to take his body.  His wife was still alive at this time so I have to assume that if she left that task to her daughter to handle, she was not on speaking terms with her husband when he died. I’m thinking the names of his parents on this certificate are nothing more than the result of the doctor wanting to fill in the blanks.

I really wish I was able to make out his cause of death. There is a family story that John died from the result of injuries he suffered while falling out of a cherry tree while picking cherries to make wine.  I heard he hit his head, but the certificate says that he was admitted to Kings County Hospital on June 28th 1920 and died there on September 13th.  That’s a long stay for a head injury.

Here’s John’s wife Amalia’s death certificate:

Death Certificate of Amalia Kranz

Death Certificate of Amalia Kranz

Nothing too surprising here.  Says she died of stomach cancer, sadly that seems to run on both sides of my family.

If anyone is able to decipher the cause of death on John’s certificate, I’d love to hear from you!



5 Nov 2016: You Should Write a Book About That! November 5, 2016

Since I’m not only a novelist, but a genealogist as well, over the years I’ve had several friends tell me I should write a book about genealogy.  Well, I’m taking their advice and doing just that.


I’ve started to write a guide for those just starting out on the journey of tracing their family tree.  I’ve helped dozens of friends over the years do just that so I really just have to write down what I’ve been telling people over the last decade or so.

But it’s never that easy.

My “Step One” so to speak is to have the reader gather up as much information as they can find, things they have scattered around the house, littering the back corners of the attic.  My list of suggested items to look for includes:

  • Newspaper clippings
  • Birth certificates or Baptism records
  • Adoption paperwork
  • Marriage records
  • Military records
  • Immigration records
  • Death Certificates
  • Obituaries
  • Family Bibles
  • Old letters or other correspondence written to or from you ancestors
  • Photos of each family member


From these items, most people can begin to gather enough information start with before they reach out to relatives and the dreaded internet to fill in the blanks.

Can you think of any other items to tell people to be on the look out for?

Yes, I’m looking for suggestions, so please comment on this post if you feel so inclined.  🙂


UPDATE: 22 Jan 2017

The book is now available on Amazon.com at https://goo.gl/eSSZwa



16 Oct 2016: Wonderful Images from a Bygone Era. October 16, 2016

While sorting through my Dad’s postcard collection I came across this little packet of pictures from the Europa:


I’ve always been fascinated by these old ships.  Perhaps because I used to work on one, perhaps because I always wonder if someone’s immigrant ancestor came to America on her.  Either way, the photos in this little package are a wonderful peephole into what it would have been like to sail on such a beauty as the Europa.  Here’s a little info I dug up on her history:  (From Wikipedia)

SS Europa, later SS Liberté, IMO 5607332, was a German ocean liner built for the Norddeutsche Lloyd line (NDL) to work the transatlantic sea route. She and her sister ship, Bremen, were the two most advanced, high-speed steam turbine ocean vessels in their day.

Europa was built in 1929 with her sister ship SS Bremen to be the second 50,000–gross ton North German Lloyd liner. They both were powered with advanced high-speed steam turbine engines and were built with a bulbous bow entry and a low streamlined profile.

Europa and her slightly larger sister ship were designed to have a cruising speed of 27.5 knots, allowing an Atlantic crossing time of 5 days. This enabled Norddeutsche Lloyd to run regular weekly crossings with two ships, a feat that previously required three.

Here are the pictures in the pack:


The Europa


Dining Room on the Europa


Swimming Pool on the Europa. (At first I thought this photo was upside down!)


Ship’s Interior on the Europa


Ship’s Interior on the Europa


Ship’s Interior on the Europa


Ship’s Interior on the Europa


Ship’s Interior on the Europa


Ship’s Interior on the Europa


Ship’s Interior on the Europa

Anyway, I thought I’d share these photos.  Maybe it will inspire you to watch Titanic tonight.  🙂



15 Oct 2016: A postcard from the past October 15, 2016

A few weeks ago my cousin, Sharon, mailed me an old postcard she’d come across.  It’s from our great-uncle Frederick Kranz to our great grand father John Kranz.  The card  was sent from Cristobal, Panama on December 1, 1919.  Here it is:

img556 img557

The caption on the front of the card says “Looking Through arches showing guard gates Pedro Miguel, Panama Canal.”

The note on the back of the card says “Monday 12/1/19 Dear Father, Have arrived safe at Colon, Panama and am leaving for New York Thursday Dec 4. I will expect to see you about the 12th of December.”  It is addresses to Mr. John Kranz, 194 Elizabeth Street C/O Empire Wagon Works, New York, U.S.A.

I don’t know as much as I wish I did about what happened to my Kranz cousins.  Unfortunately I never had to the opportunity to sit down with my Grandmother when I had the interest to know the answers to these questions.  Sadly now that she’s gone, I’m left with holes in my understanding of what happened to my greater Kranz family relatives.  When it came to my grandmother’s brother Fred, I suspected he was the Fred Kranz I found on this ships manifest/crew listing I discovered on ancestry.com, but was never 100% certain until Sharon mailed me this postcard.



According to these papers, Frederick Kranz is listed an ordinary seaman, age 20, from America, height 5’9, weight 158, sailing on the General W.C. Gorgas arriving in the port of New York on October 13, 1919 from Cristobal, Canal Zone.  So these papers confirm that Fred was sailing on the General W.C. Gorgas at the same time as the postcard was sent.  It also confirmed that my great Grandfather did work at the Empire Wagon Works.  He was a blacksmith and made part for wagon wheels, or so my father always said.

Here’s a picture of the General W.C. Gorgas, the ship Fred was sailing back and from Panama to New York on back in 1919:

General W.C. Gorgas

General W.C. Gorgas

Ironically enough, I too have been through the Panama Canal, four times no less!  I used to work on a small cruise ship and we sailed through the canal on our Costa Rica/Panama cruises.  I even remember sailing through the Pedro Miguel locks, one of the three locks you pass through while sailing the Panama Canal.  Here’s some pictures I took of the Canal when I sailed through back in the mid 1990’s:


The Panama Canal as seen from the deck of the Yorktown Clipper

img558 img559

I doubt what I saw a I sailed through the canal was much different from what Fred saw.  It’s pretty old school technology.  I wish I’d known of his adventures on the canal when I was there.  I do remember wondering if I was the first in my family to go that far south in the world.  Looks like I wasn’t.  Fred died back in 1984.  I never met him so I have no memories of this man who led such an interesting life. The lesson to be learned here is to ask those questions of your relatives now, before it’s too late to discover the interesting life stories of the generations that came before us.



6 July 2016: Forgotten Soldiers in a box of old postcards July 6, 2016

My father passed away a little over a month ago and so we’ve started the long process of organizing his belongings.  Dad was a bit of a pack rat but what he did have, I’m finding, was some very odd and interesting items. While home this past weekend I was looking through a box of vintage postcards he’d had and found an odd collection of what look like picture postcards from a military unit stationed in the South Pacific.  From the uniforms I’m going to guess they were taken during World War One.  Wondering who these men might have been I googled US Military in the South Pacific during WWI and discovered that we were indeed fighting there during WWI.  I have to admit, I don’t think I’d ever heard that in school.


According to Wikipedia:

The Asian and Pacific theatre of World War I consisted of various naval battles and the Allied conquest of German colonial possessions in the Pacific Ocean and China. The most significant military action was the careful and well-executed Siege of Tsingtao in what is now China, but smaller actions were also fought at Bita Paka and Toma in German New Guinea. All other German and Austrian possessions in Asia and the Pacific fell without bloodshed. Naval warfare was common; all of the colonial powers had naval squadrons stationed in the Indian or Pacific Oceans. These fleets operated by supporting the invasions of German-held territories and by destroying the East Asia Squadron.  One of the first land offensives in the Pacific theatre was the Occupation of German Samoa in August 29 and 30 1914 by New Zealand forces. The campaign to take Samoa ended without bloodshed after over 1,000 New Zealanders landed on the German colony, supported by an Australian and French naval squadron.

I’m not sure how much involvement American troops had in these actions but I have to assume we were there in some capacity.  I mean, we’re Americans … we generally don’t sit on the sidelines well.

Where did these postcards come from?  I’m not sure.  Dad could have just picked them up someplace because they looked cool but that seems unlikely.  A few of the other cards in the box were addressed to my great uncle Theodore VanSickles (Husband of Dorothy Pauline Wells – Daughter of Williams Rogers Wells) so maybe one of the men in this unit was a friend of his.

So what clues do I have as to who these men might be?  Well, there is writing on the back of two cards.  The first one is:

img528On the back of the card above with the men in the field is written: “I am all so on this picture were the x is. Please write soon.  From your loving son John.”

img531The only other card with writing on it is this one:

img526It says: “This is a picture of three XX Co. when doing a guard. No. 1 is James A Moore.  2. Mr. Lawrence and 3 Corporal McNally.   From John.  P.S. The next letter you write, why xxx me know how many cards that I have sent you while I was in the Army.”


From this I know these cards are of an Army unit. Unfortunately the last name of Lawrence and McNally aren’t much help and neither is James Moore as it’s a very common name.  So here I am posting them on the internet in the hopes that maybe a family member of a man in these photos might find me so I can find a good home for these cards.  Plus I’d really love to know more about what these men were doing during their service to our country.

Here are the rest of the cards:

img545 img544

img540 img543 img541 img539 img538 img537 img536 img535 img534 img533 img532 img527-Jennifer

Jennifer Geoghan, genealogist and author of The Purity of Blood novel series and If Love is a Lie: A Partly True Love Story.

I’d love to hear from you! So click on “Leave A Comment” below and let me know what’s on your mind.


2 July 2016: Using Gedmatch.com to find my cousins July 2, 2016

I’ve posted about my experiences using FamilyTreeDNA.com before.  Their site is fine but of course you’re limited to matches of people who’ve uploaded their DNA to that site only.  To widen my DNA net a little more, I downloaded my DNA info from FamilyTreeDNA and uploaded it to GedMatch.com.

GedMatch.com is a free site.  Refreshing, no?  But it’s not exactly user-friendly.  First of all their dashboard page is totally confusing if you don’t have a degree in genetics.  Be that as it may, it was pretty easy to follow their directions on how to download my data from FamilyTreeDNA and upload it onto GedMatch … which was what I thought would be the difficult part.  However GedMatch does not appear to notify you when you have DNA matches in their system.  I’d uploaded my DNA file a while back and was told it would take a few days to upload into their system.  I was never notified that it had been processed and so … completely forgot about it until a few days ago.

Here’s what the main page looks like after you log in:



HINT #1:  When they say to write down you Kit Number …. DO IT.  You have to have that number for everything.

It was yesterday I found the little sticky note with my DNA Kit Number jotted down on it which was what reminded me I’d never heard back from GedMatch.  So I logged back on to the site to see if I’d had any matches.  Looking at the options on the Dashboard had me a little lost.  I expected something like “See Your Matches.”  No, it seems the best way to see your DNA matches is to click on GEDCOM + DNA Matches.  First I’ll say that the best way to search and also be found is to upload a GedCom file for your ancestors.  How do you to this?  Well, if you use any sort of genealogy computer program you can export a gedcom file from it, which is what I did.  The GedCom contained all the names of my ancestors going back 12 generations.  I uploaded the file and connected it to my Kit Number … remember I told you to write down that Kit number!

So after I clicked on GEDCOM + DNA Matches, this is what I get:

My GedMatch Matches

My GedMatch Matches

For the privacy of my matches I’ve blacked out their private info.  I’ll just say they give names and email addresses.  You can click on the number under the column “GEDCOM ID” to get more info on that member.

Individual Detail Display Gedcom member

Again, I blacked out the info for their privacy.  It was this one, about 5 or 6 down on my list, that caught my attention.  They’re from Lanarkshire, Scotland!!!  Yes, that’s where the trail goes cold on my Geoghan Family.  I sent this member and email this morning with all my Geoghan info to see if it rang any genealogical bells for them.  Wish me luck!

So what else can you do on Gedmatch?

I’m not really into the technical DNA stuff but I like to see a good pie chart.  If you click on “Admixture – Heritage” and select the Eurogenes project, this the kind of report you’ll get:

GedMatch - EuroGenes Report for me

GedMatch – EuroGenes Report for me

Looks a lot like the report I got from FamilyTree DNA (See below)

Mtdan Frequency map close up

So what else is on GedMatch?  On the same “Admixture – Heritage” there are several projects to pick from.  Here’s what the MDLP Project looks like:

MDLP Project

MDLP Project

You’re definitely going to want to click on the “Click here for more information” link.  When you do, it takes you to Wikipedia where all those numbers are explained.  My breakdown goes as follows:

  • 40.18% … ENF: the component of the ancient European Neolithic Farmers with the peak in the ancient samples of LBK culture (Lazaridis et al. 2014, Haak et al. 2015). Among the modern populations – the highest values have been detected in Sardinians, Corsicans and Basques.
  • 25.97% … WHG-UHG: the native component of the ancient European Mesolithic hunter-gatherers (Lazaridis et al. 2014, Haak et al. 2015). Among the modern populations – the highest percentage in the population of Estonians, Lithuanians, Finns and others.
  • 21.26% … ANE: component from North-Eurasian component by interpolating the non-East-Asian part of Native Americans’ ancestry.
  • 10.59% … Caucas – Gedrosia: identical to Pontikos’s Caucasus-Gedrosia cluster
  • 0.93% … NearEast: the modal component of Middle Easterners
  • 0.50% … Paleo-African: the modal component of African Pygmies and Bushmen
  • 0.47% … Amerindian: the modal component of the Native American
  • 0.09% … Oceanian: the modal component of the aboriginal inhabitants of Oceania, Austronesian, Melanesia and Micronesia(the peak in modern Papuans and Australian Aborigines)

Basically, I’m European … duh … knew that.  I’m definitely not Native American.  Would be nice though.

Here’s what the Dodecad Project looks like:

Dodecad ProjectThis one seems pretty spot on with what I know about my family.   There are a few other projects that give you different pie charts but they’re all pretty similar.

There are also comparisons that you can do between your DNA test kit and someone else’s. I did it between me and the gal from Lanarkshire.  There were a couple of other matches but really distant looking from the numbers.

There’s also a test called “Are your parent’s related?” Of course I had to check that one out.  Good news …..

Are your parents relatedI see there is something called Tier 1 membership which you have to pay for.  To be honest I can’t see that paying the $10 gets you much other than helping support the site.

So … If you’re a relation of mine and have your DNA results from another site, upload your DNA data onto GedMatch.com and let’s see if we’re related!


Jennifer Geoghan, Genealogist and author of The Purity of Blood novel series and If Love is a Lie: A Partly True Love Story.

I’d love to hear from you! So click on “Leave A Comment” below and let me know what’s on your mind.


2 June 2016: Samuel Hubbard’s Letters June 2, 2016

While working on cleaning up and enhancing the notes in my genealogy database, I came across a book I’d never seen before that contained an article about the diary and letters of my 8th great-grandfather, Samuel Hubbard (1610-1689) who was the son of James Hubbard and Naomi Cooke.  He is one of my immigrant ancestors as he was born in Mendlesham, England and came to the new world in 1633.  Here in America he married his wife Tacy Cooper.

The book I found is titled “Magazine of New England History.” The book is sort of like a collection of the magazine that have all been bound together to form a book.  The issue that I found was Volume I, Issue 3, dated July 1891, R. Hammett Tilley, Editor and Publisher, Newport, RI, Pages 172-178.  The article is called “Extracts from the Letter Book of Samuel Hubbard. Contributed by Ray Greene Huling, New Bedford, Mass.”

Sam Hubbard page 1

Here is the article contained:

Samuel Hubbard was one of the few Rhode Island pioneers who kept a diary and letter book. The manuscripts which he left covered, it is said, the period from 1541 to 1688, the last forty years of which period Mr. Hubbard resided at Newport. These papers were rich in interesting details of life in that community, especially of contemporary church life. They were seen by RE. John Comer in 1726, and were faithfully used by Dr. Isaac Backus in 1777, when he prepared his history of the Baptists.   They were extant in 1830, but as early as 1852 had been lost. The present writer has a copy of a note book into which Dr. Backus had transcribed much of the journal and a few of the several hundred letters which he saw in the original collection. Dr. Backus had also written on the outside of this note book, “Many more of his letters are in another book, No. 5 in quarto.” It is to be hoped that whoever now possesses this other note book will speedily make public its contents.

Samuel Hubbard, was born in 1610 in the village of Mendlesham, a market town some eighty miles northwest of London, in the county of Suffolk. He was the youngest of ten children born to James and Naomi (Cooke) Hubbard. Of these ten, three came to New England. Samuel arrived at Salem in October, 1633, but the next year removed to Watertown. He joined the company that marched through the wilderness to the Connecticut River and founded the towns of Windsor and Wethersfield. At the former place Jan. 4, 1636-7, he married Tase Cooper, a young woman of some twenty-eight years, who arrived at Dorchester in 1634. The young couple fixed their home at Wethersfield. Soon they removed to Springfield, where Mr. Hubbard kept an inn. After eight years, May 10, 1647, then again transferred their belongings to a new habitation, at Fairfield on Long Island Sound, then the outpost of the English Colonies on the side of the Dutch. Thence, also, he compelled to remove for a reason which he himself shall relate:

“God having enlightened both, but mostly my wife, into his holy ordinance of baptizing only of visible believer, and (she) being very zealous for it, she was mostly struck at, and answered two times publickly; where; where I was also said to be as bad as she, and sore threatened with imprisonment to Hartford jail, if not to renounce it or to remove; that scripture came into our minds, if they persecute you in one place flee to another. And so we did 2 day October, 1648. We went for Rhode Island and arrived there the 12 day. I and my wife upon our manifestation of our faith were baptized by brother John Clarke, 3 day of November, 1648.”

For upward of forty years he continued to live in Newport, at what he termed “Mayford,” probably leading the life of a small farmer and practicing his trade as a carpenter. He was intensely interested in the religious controversies of his day. For twenty-three years he was a member of the First Baptist Church at Newport. He was sent by the church Aug. 7, 1651 “to visit the bretherin who was imprisoned in Boston jayl for witnessing the truth of baptizing believers only, viz,. Brother John Clarke, Bro. Obadiah Holmes and Bro. John Crandall.” In 1657 he accompanied Mr. Holmes on a preaching tour to the Dutch on Long Island. In 1664 he was chosen alternate General Solicitor of the Colony, but does not appear to have assumed the duties of the office.

In 1665 Tase Hubbard first, and a little later Samuel Hubbard himself, became convinced of their obligation to observe the seventh day, instead of the first, as the weekly Sabbath. They remained, however, for six more year more in communion with the old First Church. Mr. Hubbard was even sent in 1668 with Mr. Torrey and Mr. Hiscox, to assist certain Baptists in Boston who had been arrested for their religious views and had been granted a disputation. Dec. 23, 1671, Mr. Hubbard with his wife, one daughter, and four others withdrew from their former church relations and formed the first Seventh Day Baptist Church in America. In the controversies of this period Mr. Hubbard had his full share, as also in the subsequent extension of his peculiar beliefs in the new town of Westerly and at New London.

His later days were clouded by the death of friends all about him, and especially of his only son in 1671. He found abundant consolation in religion, nevertheless, and in correspondence with the friends still remaining, among whom were numbered Roger Williams and John Thornton of Providence, and Governor Leete of Connecticut. The last letter from his pen mentioned by Dr. Backus bears date May 7, 1688. He certainly was dead in 1692. His wife survived him and was present at a church meeting in 1697, after which no trace of her can be found. The exact dates of death and the place of burial cannot be determined in the case of either.

Samuel Hubbard was evidently a man of devout spirit, loyal to religious convictions and kindly disposed to all mankind. To his forethought it is undoubtedly due to the preservation of much that otherwise would have been lost concerning the local history of his time. Dr. Backus has pronounced his manuscripts a “valuable collection” containing “a fund of intelligence.” It is hoped that the following excerpts will not be without interest to those who may read them.

Note. Family Record of Samuel Hubbard.

Samuel Hubbard, born 1610 at Mendlesham, Co, Suffolk, England; came to Salem, Oct. 1633, Watertown, 1634, Windsor, 1635, Wethersfield, 1637, Springfield, may 10, 1639, Fairfield, May 10, 1647, Newport, Oct. 2, 1648, Freeman, 1655, perhaps earlier; alternate General Solicitor of Rhode Island, 1664; died after 1688, probably at Newport or Westerly. He married at Windsor, Jan. 4, 1636-7, Mr. Ludlow officiating.

Tase Cooper, born 1608 in England; came to Dorchester June 9, 1634 and to Windsor 1635; died after 1697, probably at Newport or Westerly.


  1. Naomi, b. Nov. 18, 1637 at Wethersfield; d. Nov. 28, 1637 at Wethersfield.
  2. Naomi, b. Oct. 19, 1638 at Wethersfield; d. May 5, 1643 at Springfield.

III. Ruth, b. Jan. 11, 1640 at Springfield; d. about 1691 at Westerly; m. Nov. 2, 1655, Robert Burdick who d. 1692. Children: 1, Robert, 2, Son, 3, Hubbard, 4, Thomas, 5, Naomi, 6, Ruth, 7, Benjamin, 8, Samuel, 9, Tacy, 10, Deborah.

  1. Rachel, b. March 10, 1642, at Springfield: m. Nov. 3, 1658, Andrew Langworthy. Children: 1, Samuel, 2, James.
  2. Samuel, b. March 25, 1644 at Springfield, d. soon.
  3. Bethiah, b. Dec. 19, 1646 at Springfield: d. April 17, 1707, at Westerly: m. Nov. 16, 1694, Joseph Clarke, Jr., b. April 2, 1643, d. Jan. 11, 1727. Children: 1, Judith, 2, Joseph, 3, Samuel, 4, John, 5, Bethiah, 6, Mary, 7, Susannah, 8, Thomas, 9, William.

VII. Samuel, b. Nov. 30, 1649 at Newport, d. there Jan. 20, 1670-1.



From Thomas and Esther Hubbard, dated at Southwark, near London, April 24, 1641.

Note. Thomas was the oldest brother of Samuel, and his senior by six years. Esther was the wife of Thomas. This letter has not been preserved.


From Alice Hubbard.

Dearly beloved brother and sister.

My love to you both remembered, hoping that you are well and yours, and I and mine are at this time, this is to satisfy you that my husband is gone to England, he went from me the 22 day of Dec., 1644 and ye Lord was please to carry him safe thither, so that that day month yt they weighed anchor here they cast anchor at Deal in Kent in England, and there as soon as he came out of the boat he met my brother Thomas Hubbard, tho neither my husband had ever been there before nor my brother. At present the Lord hath cast my husband into Ipswich, at your cousin Joseph Hubbard’s, and there is four of that stock that are very honest Christians. The Lord is pleased by his providence to call me thither and my five children; I wod have been very glad to hear from you before I had gone, but now the time is so short I can’t expect it: my husband also desires yt all his Christian friends might see wt God had done for his soul since he hath gone thither by blessing the changes he hath brought him under. Sister Sarah of Yarmouth in dead, her son Robert Jackson is well; my husband saw him, being returned from the war after 4 years service under Col. Cromwell’ in all weh he hath not been maimed or wounded. When you send to us, send to my brother Thomas Hubbard’s house in Freeman lane near Horsley down in Southwark, London.

Your loving sister,

Alice Hubbard.

From Charlestown, this 24 of October 1645.

Note. The writer’s husband was Benjamin Hubbard, brother of Samuel, and but two years older. Benjamin was at Charlestown with his wife as early at 1633, and became a freeman Sept. 3, 1634. In 1636 he was one of only a dozen householders enjoying the prefix of respect (Mr.) He was a cautious friend of Wheelright. He was made clerk of the writs Dec., 1641. He seems to have acquired rights to land at Seekonk also. After his arrival in England he wrote to Governor Winthrop a letter from London (dated 1644, but written, evidently, after Jan. 22, 1644-5, as the above letter shows) in which he speaks of his invention concerning longitude.” In 1652 he was a minister in Cobdock Co., Suffolk, and in 1654 he was living in Ardleagh; His death occurred in 1660. Savage gives his children as follows: 1, Benjamin, b. March 24, 1634; 2, Elizabeth, b. April 4, 1636; 3, Thomas, b. May 31, 1639; 4, Hannah, b. Dec. 16, 1641; and 5, James, b. Sept. 9, 1644; all at Charlestown. Hannah m. Richard Brooks of Boston.

The sister Sarah mentioned is the letter was Samuel Hubbard’s oldest sister, b. 1593, who had married John Jackson.


From Robert Cooper.

Loving and dear bro’r. and sister, Sam’l and Tase Hubbard, my hearty love rememb’d unto yo. The occasion of this my writing unto yo is to certify yo yt I like N.E. very well. I wod not have yo think yt I repent me of my coming to N.E. for it doth not, for I believe if I had staid there I sho’d never have been that weh now I see to my comfort and I hope it will be for my soul’s good. I rest yr poor yet loving brother.

Robert Cooper.

From Yarmouth, April 11, 1644.

This Robert was a brother of Tase Hubbard, the wife of Samuel. Another brother, John Cooper, was living in London as late as 1680.


From John Hazel.

Loving and dear Christian cousin and brother in Christ Jesus our Lord, I desire grace, mercy, and peace may be multiplied upon yo and my sister yr wife with a sanctified use of yr present condition, knowing that all this worketh tog’. For the best of those yt love God. Rom. 8. Not only losses and wants but persecutions and death itself for Ch’ts. Sake will be great advantage. Desir’g yt prayers for me unto the throne of grace, w’th my Christ’n rememberances and salutations in the Lord unto all the brethren and sisters; and bro. Clarke and bro. Luker in particular, I rest your loving cousin in wt I am able.

John Hazel.

Rehoboth, March 24, 1651.


From John Hazel.

Rehoboth, June 23, 1651.

It is ordered by the colony of the court, that he whoso is absent from their meeting in public, or set up any other meeting, shall pay 10s a person every day. In this cause we know not one another’s minds; to tarry I see no man forward, and to go, no man as yet, for ought I hear or see, can tell whether to go. I desire yon to be private in what is here written, on be instant with our God for us, yt the Lord wo’d guide our ways, I rest yours in the Lord Jesus to command in wt I am able.

John Hazel.

The enemies treason (threaten), as I hear since I concluded my letter, yt because we were not at the their meeting yesterday, yt out abstenance would prove costly.

Note. The Plymouth Colony Records show that Oct. 2, 1650 the Grand Inquest present to the Court “John Hazel, Mr. Edward Smith and his wife, Obadiah Holmes, Joseph Tory (Torrey) and his wife, of the town of Rehoboth, for the continuing of a meeting upon the Lord’s day from house to house, contrary to the order of this Court.” These persons had recently been baptized, it is believed by John Clarke; and had joined the Baptist Church at Newport. There is no record of sentence passed against them at Plymouth. But on July 20, 1651, Holmes with Clarke and Crandall were arrested while holding a meeting at the house of a brother Baptist at Lynn, and were subsequently imprisoned at Boston. The two latter were released on payment of a fine, but Holmes in September following was whipped thirty stripes with a three-corded whip. As he was led back to prison, John Hazel shook him by the hand, and said “Blessed be the Lord.” For this serious offence, Hazel was sentenced to pay forty shillings or to be whipped. He was resolved not to pay the fine, but after six or seven days imprisonment, on the day appointed for the whipping another paid it for him and he was released. The next day he fell sick at a friend’s house near Boston and within ten days died, being then nearly sixty years old. Just how he was a “cousin” to Samuel Hubbard is not known.

(To be continued.)

The Article continues in the next edition.  I will transcribe that and post it as soon as I’m able.


Jennifer Geoghan, genealogist and author of The Purity of Blood novel series and If Love is a Lie: A Partly True Love Story.

I’d love to hear from you! So click on “Leave A Comment” below and let me know what’s on your mind.

Sam Hubbard Stones - Jennifer Sept 2012

Me and Samuel Hubbard’s headstone. September 2012.


15 May 2016: Brigadier General Clark Crandall of Hopkinton and Alfred May 15, 2016

I was cleaning up some notes in my genealogy database and spent the afternoon polishing up my notes for my great, great, great-grandfather, Clark Crandall (1785-1862.) Clark is one the ancestors in my family tree that I wish I could go back in time and talk to so I could glean some of the finer details of his life that are conspicuously missing from the records left behind.

What finer details, you ask … well, for one, what is his father’s name.  Clark was born 17 April 1785 in Hopkinton, Washington County, Rhode Island to Jane Crandall.  Problem is, in all the records, Jane is always listed as mother but there is never a mention of his father’s identity.  I find this odd because it’s as if no one is ashamed of this fatherless fact.  I would have thought that back in 1785, an unmarried mother would wreak havoc with records, the disgrace of an unwed mother and all.  It’s almost like there was no shame in the birth, as if for some reason it was acceptable to society which I think highly unlikely.

Another odd fact of Clark is that I see mentions of him being a brigadier general in historical books, but none of them military related.  I mean there’s not mention one of him on http://www.fold3.com, the military genealogy site.  You’d think there’s be some record of him there if he served long enough to attain such a high rank.

Anyway, just to share what I’ve collected on Grandpa Clark, here are my notes:


Documents of the Senate of the State of New York, Volume 11,

Page 2073

Year: 1819

Battalion of infantry in the county of Steuben commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Simeon Bacon:

Charles Oliver, adjutant

One Hundred and Twenty-sixth regiment of infantry:

Clark Crandall, colonel.


Page 2194

Year: 1820

Allegany County.

New Brigade organized, consisting of the militia in the county of Allegany, and denominated the Fifty-second brigade of infantry:

Clark Crandall, brigadier general.

The One Hundred and Twenty-sixth regiment of infantry is the county of Allegany being organized into four battalions, Resolved that the following officers be and they are hereby appointed, viz.:

Battalion in the town of Alfred:

Alexander Head, major commandant; David Crandall, adjutant.

Asa Coon, captain; Joseph Goodrich, Lieutenant; Dennis Saunders, ensign.


1820 US Federal Census, Alfred, Allegany, New York, Enumeration Date: August 7, 1820 (Original Record available on Ancestry.com)

  • Name: Clark Crandall
  • Free White Persons – Males – Under 10: 1 (William Ladurney: Age 8)
  • Free White Persons – Males – 16 thru 25: 5
  • Free White Persons – Males – 26 thru 44: 1 (Clark: Age 35)
  • Free White Persons – Females – Under 10: 2 (Amelia Jane: Age 1, Orpha: Age 16)
  • Free White Persons – Females – 16 thru 25: 1
  • Free White Persons – Females – 26 thru 44: 1 (Amelia: Age 32)
  • Free White Persons – Females – 45 and over : 1
  • Number of Persons – Engaged in Agriculture: 5
  • Free White Persons – Under 16: 3
  • Free White Persons – Over 25: 3
  • Total Free White Persons: 12
  • Total All Persons – White, Slaves, Colored, Other: 12


1830 US Federal Census, Alfred, Allegany, New York  (Original Record available on Ancestry.com)

  • Name: Clark Crandall
  • Free White Persons – Males – 5 thru 9: 1 (Ira: Age 8)
  • Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 14: 1
  • Free White Persons – Males – 15 thru 19: 2 (William Ladurney: Age 18)
  • Free White Persons – Males – 40 thru 49: 1 (Clark: Age 45)
  • Free White Persons – Females – Under 5: 2 (Susan: Age 1, Mary Elizabeth, Age 4)
  • Free White Persons – Females – 5 thru 9: 1 (Eleanor Matilda: Age 6)
  • Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 14: 1 (Amelia Jane: Age 11)
  • Free White Persons – Females – 15 thru 19: 1 (Orpha: Age 16)
  • Free White Persons – Females – 40 thru 49: 1(Amelia: Age 42)
  • Free White Persons – Under 20: 9
  • Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
  • Total Free White Persons: 11
  • Total – All Persons (Free White, Slaves, Free Colored): 11


1840 US Federal Census: Alfred, Allegany, New York  (Original Record available on Ancestry.com)

  • Name: Clark Crandall
  • Free White Persons – Males – 15 thru 19: 1 (Ira: Age 18)
  • Free White Persons – Males – 50 thru 59: 1 (Clark, Age 55)
  • Free White Persons – Females – 5 thru 9: 1 (Amanda: Age 9)
  • Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 14: 2 (Susan: Age 10, Mary Elizabeth, Age 14)
  • Free White Persons – Females – 50 thru 59: 1 (Amelia, Age 52)
  • Persons Employed in Agriculture: 3
  • Free White Persons – Under 20: 4
  • Total Free White Persons: 6
  • Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 6


1850 US Federal Census: Alfred, Allegany, New York, Family Number 307, Dated 9 Sept 1850, Page 40  (Original Record available on Ancestry.com)

  • Clark Crandall (Head) Age 65 … Born In RI … Occ: Farmer … Value of Real Estate Owned: 50
  • Amelia Crandall (Wife) Age 61 … Born in RI … No Occupation Listed
  • Ira B Crandall (Son) Age 28 … Born in NY … No Occupation Listed … Value of Real Estate Owned: 2000
  • Harriet L Crandall (Daughter-in-law)… Female … Age 27 … Born in NY
  • Samuel S Warner … Male … Age 20 … Born in NY … Occ: Carpenter
  • Daniel B Crandall (Relationship Unknown) Male … Age 22 … Born in NY … No Occupation Listed
  • James Gorden … Male … Age 20 … Born in NY … No Occupation Listed
  • Jenette Stickney … Female … Age 17 … Born in NY … No Occupation Listed


New York State Census: Alfred, Allegany, New York, Household number: 61, Line Number: 53  (Original Record available on Ancestry.com)

  • Clark Crandall (Head) Age 70 … Born in RI … Value of house: 500 … Occ: Hard to read, might be “none”
  • Amelia Crandall (Wife) Age 66 … Born in RI … No Occ listed.


1860 US Federal Census: Alfred, Allegany, New York July 31, 1860, Dwelling # and Family #: 567, Page 72, Post Office: Andover.  (Original Record available on Ancestry.com)

  • Clark Crandall (Head) Age: 75 … Occupation: Grocery Man … Place of Birth: RI
  • Amelia Crandall (Wife) Age 71 … Occ: House Labor … … Place of Birth: RI

NOTE: Two doors down on the Census is their daughter Orpha and her family: Phineas C. Stillman, Orpha Stillman, Ellinor Stillman, Albert S.Stillman, Amelia E. Stillman, Mary Stillman


First Alfred Seventh Day Baptist Church, Membership Records (1816-1886)

By Ilou M. Sanford, 1995, Heritage Books, Inc. Pages 27-32 (From the Seventh Day Baptist Historical Society)

Page number listed below is as noted in the book as the page that the record comes from in the original text., Page.29

Judge Clark Crandall

b Hopkinton Apr 17, 1785 , ad ’16, d Alfred Nov 9’62 … m abt 1810 Amelia Vincent sis/o David; ex Sep 5’47

(Abbreviations: ad = admitted, d = died, ex = excluded, b = born, m = married)


Allegany County and it People: A Centennial Memorial History of Allegany County, New York, John S. Minard, Esq. Historian, Mrs. Georgia Drew Andrews, Editor. W. A. Fergusson & Co., Alfred, N. Y. 1896,

History of Alfred, New York


Page 633:

…..Amos Crandall, Clark Crandall and Maxson Stillman used to act as choristers alternately, always standing in front of the pulpit to lead the congregation in singing….. (Re – the Alfred, NY 7th Day Baptist Church)

Page 648:

Judge Clark Crandall was born in Hopkinton, RI, April 17, 1785. His family removed to Petersburg, Rensselaer Co., in 1793, and from there he came on foot, in 1807, with two companions, and became one of the three first settlers of the present town of Alfred. He married Amelia Vincent during the first year of his residence in the town. Descended from ancestors who had been prominent in public affairs, strong and resolute, he at once assumed the position of a leader which he continued to hold during his lifetime. His first public office was that of a commissioner for the opening of roads. He was a constituent member of the First Seventh Day Baptist Church of Alfred in 1813, and supervisor of the town in 1814 and 1815, and town clerk three terms. He was made captain of the militia in 1811, second major in 1812, colonel of the 126th regiment of the state militia in 1819, and brigadier general in 1820. He established the first manufactory in the town, wooden pails, built the first courthouse in Allegany county in 1819, represented the county in the state legislature in 1820-21, and was one of the presidential electors of the state in 1832. Having been made a justice of sessions he was called “Judge Crandall” during the remainder of his lifetime. Always engaged in business enterprises, he was subject to varying fortunes financially. In 1836 he succeeded Luke Greene in the tanning and currying business at Alfred, and some years later he engaged in the cheese trade, finding markets mostly in Pennsylvania for the dairy product of his town, which he conveyed thither over the “Laurel Mountains” in wagons. This was the beginning of a business which has since assumed large proportions. Honest, persistent, public-spirited and kind hearted to a fault, he served his generation well and died in Alfred November 6, 1862, aged 77 years. His son, Ira B., and his youngest daughter, Amanda, wife of William C. Burdick, are still living in Alfred.”


The Sabbath Recorder“, Vol 18, No 49, p 195, Dec. 4, 1862.

In Alfred, N. Y., November 9, 1862, of liver complaint, Mr. Clark Crandall, better known as Judge Crandall, aged 77 years, 6 months, and 22 days. He was born in Rhode Island, 1785, moved to Petersburgh, N. Y., and to Alfred in 1807,being one of the first three settlers in the town, and assisted in organizing the 1st Seventh-day Baptist Church in that town. In 1820 he was elected Member of the Assembly, and afterwards held the office of County Judge of Allegany for three years. When the Town of Almond was set off from Alfred, in 1821, he was a member of the Assembly. At that time many towns were being formed in the western part of the State, and there was much wrangling and disputing about names. The Judge had taxed brain to think of one for this town, but could not satisfy himself. The morning that the bill came up, just before it was called, a boy came through the crowd selling almonds; he bought some, and at the same time the thought struck him that Almond was just the name he wanted, and handed it in. It was immediately adopted; but its eccentricity attracted the attention of the members, and many perplexed for names, came to ask him where he found his. ‘I bought it of a boy,’ replied the Judge. Perhaps no one man did as much to build up the town of Alfred, in its first settlement as he. He was always noted for his resolution and public spirit, and it followed him till the last. He only gave up when his strength became so reduced that he could no longer walk. There was a large circle of friends in attendance at his funeral, though a majority of his own family were absent in distant parts of the United States and South America. He will be greatly missed in the town of Alfred.

N. W.


If you have any additional info on Clark, let me know and I’ll update this post.


Jennifer Geoghan, genealogist and author of The Purity of Blood novel series and If Love is a Lie: A Partly True Love Story.

I’d love to hear from you! So click on “Leave A Comment” below and let me know what’s on your mind.


8 May 2016: My DNA Test Results … Part 2: The Family Finder Test May 8, 2016

So yesterday I wrote about my mtDNA or maternal line DNA test. Today I’m going to share my experiences with Family Tree DNA’s Family Finder DNA test. According to their website, this is what Family Tree DNA says about the Family Finder test …

  • Family Finder is an autosomal DNA test that automatically finds your relatives within 5 generations. It works by comparing your DNA to the DNA of other users in our massive database.
  • Discover unknown family connections
  • Confirm uncertain relationships
  • Connect with living relatives
  • Gain a genealogical leg up
  • myOrigins will give you a very detailed geographic breakdown of where your ancestors came from. It works by comparing your DNA to the DNA of hundreds of ethnic groups around the world.
  • Learn your ethnic background
  • Gain insight into your ancestry
  • Confirm family lore

Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? Well, let’s see if it lives up to expectations. Let’s start with the Family Finder test Dashboard:

FF Dashboard

The first item on the dashboard is my MATCHES and here are the top matches I was paired with:

FF matches

The first question you’re probably asking is … how accurate is this test? Well, pretty accurate when you consider that Alice (seen above) is listed as potentially between my 2nd and 4th cousin and in reality she’s my third cousin once removed! Yep, we’d crossed paths via email a few years back through this blog. When I emailed her through my Matches page here, she reminded me of that. With that in mind, I think we can accept the legitimacy of this test and lay any doubts to rest.

If you click on any of my matches, a pop up box will come up that looks like this. (Again, I blocked out personal info to protect the privacy of my cousins.)

FF Match Pop Up

It gives you more info on what that person is looking for and their dead ends. With my cousin Alice, it gave us a match score of 83.27, the highest there. My second highest comparison score is Michelle at 63.38. On the website, they describe this score as: “This is the sum of the autosomal DNA, given in centiMorgans (cM), that you and your genetic match share.”

Next on the Dashboard is the Chromosome Browser. Here’s how the website describes it: “Chromosome Browser page allows you to compare your matching DNA segments (blocks) with your genetic matches. You may assign a known relationship to a person by clicking on the Assign button.”

I did a comparison between me and my known cousin Alice, and this is what it showed:

Chromosone with Alice

Is this a lot?  I’m not sure, but it’s enough to make us 3rd cousins.

The Known Relationships button on the dashboard is just a place for you to keep track of those you’ve officially found a connection to.

Next is My Origins. This is what I see when it first opens up:

My Origins First View

Well, there you have it. I’m 99% European and 1% South/Central Asian. My Asian actually comes out of the middle of Afghanistan! Humm… maybe that explains why my mother has crocheted me so many afghans … interesting ….

When I hit the Expand under my Ethnic Makeup, this is what you see:

My Origins - Expanded View

When you break it down, I’m:

  • 55% British Isles
  • 20% Southern Europe
  • 9% Western and Central Europe
  • 8% Finland and Northern Siberia
  • 7% Eastern Europe
  • 1% Central Asia

Some of this makes sense right off the bat. Firstly, my maternal grandfather’s history is 100% English, so that accounts for 25% right there for The British Isles. My paternal grandfather’s history is 100% Scottish and Irish. Put those together and at least 50% of my DNA should say British Isles. With the 55% they list, I say that’s pretty accurate.

So what about the rest?

My paternal grandmother is a mix. Her father has very deep roots in Bavaria, Germany. Her mother has deep roots in modern-day Slovakia.   They’re saying that the area of Slovakia is Eastern European and German is Western and Central Europe. With that in mind, you’d think both my Eastern and Western/Central Europeans would be about 12.5%.

My maternal grandmother’s parents were both born in Bavaria, Germany. Her mother’s parents are: Father Germany, Mother … not quite sure. This is the elusive Regina Van Glahn who we aren’t sue if she came from Germany or Holland. Since I’ve got this strange 8% of my DNA coming out of the region of Finland and Northern Siberia, I’m wondering if the Van Glahn line of my family is somehow connected to that part of the world. This is also the family line that we have Jewish roots on. Could that be my Central Asian connection as well?

My real question is where is all the Southern European coming from? I mean 20%? That’s a lot! And I have no one from that area for like 16 generations! Yes, I have some VERY Distant ancestors that were in Italy for quite a few generations. To give you an idea of old they are, here’s who I’m talking about:

  • Sir Roger De Hautville, Grand Count of Sicily. Born 1030 in Sicily. (My 22nd Great Grandfather) His father was born in England.
  • Count Roger II, King of Sicily. Born 1093 in Sicily (My 21st Great Grandfather)
  • King Tancred of Both Sicilys, Born 1130 in Sicily (My 20th Great Grandfather)
  • Aaron Fitz Roger, born 1249 in Rome, Italy (My 19th Great Grandfather)
  • Aaron (or John) Fitz Roger, born 1260 in Rome Italy (My 18th Great Grandfather)
  • Aaron Fitz Roger, born in Italy (My 17th Great Grandfather)
  • John Fits Roger, Gentleman, Morn 1335 in England (My 16th Great Grandfather)

So you can see there were 7 generations of the family that were born in Italy, but that was about 900 years ago, so I’m not sure that’s what’s accounting for all that Southern European. I also have very old roots in Spain. Here’s an example of them:

  • Alphonso VIII, King of Leon and Castile, Born 1105, Spain (My 23rd Great Grandfather)
  • Ferdinand II, King of Leon, born 1137 in Toledo, Spain (My 22nd Great Grandfather)
  • Alphonso IX, King of Leon, born 1171 in Spain (My 21st Great Grandfather)
  • Ferdinand III, King of Castile and Leon, Born circa 1198 in Spain (My 20th Great Grandfather)
  • Princess Eleanor of Castile, born 1244 in Castile, Burgos, Spain (My 19th Great Grandmother)
  • Eleanor moved to England and married King Edward I (Longshanks) Plantagenet.

Again, this seems so distant to account for the 20% in my DNA. I’m really at a loss to understand how this number could be so high.

So that’s about it. Was it worth the money? That remains to be seen. One of the reasons I did this test was that I’m searching for a long-lost close relative. I’m hoping perhaps we can find each other through our DNA as conventional searching hasn’t worked so far. I’ve also downloaded the raw DNA data from Family Tree DNA and uploaded it onto another site, www.gedmatch.com. I’m curious to see if this yields any matches. I uploaded my data there today, but he site says it takes a few days to process the info. I’ll post again to give a review of that site. I would have loved to be able to upload my DNA data onto my Ancestry.com account, but they don’t let you do that there.  Seems a little unfair as you can upload your Ancestry DNA data onto Family Tree DNA’s site.


Jennifer Geoghan, Genealogist and author of The Purity of Blood novel series and If Love is a Lie: A Partly True Love Story.

I’d love to hear from you! So click on “Leave A Comment” below and let me know what’s on your mind.


29 April 2016: I cleaned … and found a murderer lurking in my files! April 29, 2016

I’m hoping to be moving at some time in the near future. In preparation for said move, I’ve been poking in every nook and cranny of my apartment to find things I can toss out. This past weekend, I started to look through a jumbo plastic container with some random genealogy papers. Wondering what it was, I pulled out an article I’d printed out ages ago about Edward Geoghan. There not being too many Geoghans in Brooklyn, I suppose I’d printed it out to see if I’d be able to find out if we were related. What followed was an afternoon of slowly uncovering what is a truly sad and horrific story of one family.

Here’s the article:

Brooklyn Daily Standard Union, 8 February 1893


Edward GEOGHAN, a truck driver, 28 years of age, was placed on trial this morning in the Kings County Court of OYER & TERMINER, at which Judge CULLEN is presiding, for murder in the first degree, in having shot and killed his wife, Ellen GEOGHAN, at the residence of her sister, Mrs. Catherine BRENNAN, 103 Wyckoff street, on the 8th day of September last. The case is being prosecuted by District Attorney RIDGEWAY, while Counselor MCMAHON appears for the accused.

On the day in question, GEOGHAN went to the residence of his sister-in-law, where his wife was stopping, and emptied the five chambers of a 32 calibre revolver at her, two of the bullets took effect, one lodging in the woman’s head and the other in her stomach. One of the bullets, in glancing off after striking a piece of furniture, slightly wounded the six-months old child of the couple in the right thigh, the burning powder from the weapon setting fire to the child’s stocking. Another bullet shattered the index trigger finger of the murderer. GEOGHAN, after the shooting threw the revolver into a pail of water in the kitchen and fled from the house. Patrolman STEABOLD, who lives in the neighborhood, heard the shots, and on going into the street, and seeing GEOGHAN in the act of running away, started in pursuit, and captured him after a short chase. GEOGHAN on being taken back and being identified by his wife as her assailant coolly denied that he had done the shooting or had ever had a revolver; but a carving knife as sharp as a razor, with which it is supposed he intended to finish the job if the pistol failed, was found in his breast pocket. The couple had been married but eighteen months, but quarrels growing out of the husband’s jealousy became so frequent that Mrs. GEOGHAN resolved to leave her husband. The latter, she said, had also threatened to kill her and conceived a violent hatred of her mother.

Mrs. GEOGHAN was removed to the hospital, where she died soon after.

Quite a sad story. Yet I had to wonder if we were related somehow. The early 1890s generally are not an easy search when it comes to census records, but I lucked out as there was a New York State Census taken in 1892. When I looked it up on Ancestry.com, this is what I found:

1892 NY Census Brooklyn Edward Geoghan

It would appear that Edward and Ellen’s son was named Edward. I had to wonder what became of this child and also to his father.

Knowing there had to be newspaper accounts of the incident and subsequent trial, I turned to http://fultonhistory.com/Fulton.html , an excellent source for New York State newspaper archives. The website didn’t disappoint.

From this article in the New York Tribune, we find out that Edward was convicted of murder in the first degree, his defense of temporary insanity didn’t seem to help his case any.

1893 Jan Feb New York tTribune

From this article in Buffalo Evening News dated September 2, 1893, we see that the Governor commuted Edward sentence of death to life imprisonment.

1893 Sept 2 Buffalo Evening News

From this article in the New Rochelle Pioneer dated September 9, 1893, we see that the reason for the Governor to commute his sentence was that upon examination, Edward was found insane.

1893 Sept 9 New Rocelle Pioneer

I googled the main characters in the article and didn’t come up with much more on a simple Google search. I then switched to a look at Google books and found the following appeal. It differs from the accounts of the newspaper a little. It says that the incident happened not at his sister-in-law’s house, but at his mother-in-law’s house and that the sister-in-law was there.

The New York State Reporter

The New York State Reporter

Appeal page 2

Page 3 Appeal

While I was on Ancestry, I also found Edward’s prison intake record from Sing Sing prison. It notes that after his sentence was commuted by the Governor from death to life, he was sent to an asylum. It gives quite a bit of physical description of Edward and lists the names of two of his aunts, Mrs. Mary O’Connor and Mrs. Briget Mc T-something I can’t quite make out. McTearny maybe. No mention of the son, Edward Jr. or of Edward’s parents.  Here’s that intake record:

Edward Geoghan Sing Sing intake Record

So what happened to Edward Jr? I mean, poor thing, to have your mother killed by your father who was now in an asylum for who knows how long.

From here I decided to look for any info on Ellen and found her on findagrave.com as buried in Holy Cross Cemetery.  I know it’s her because of the date of death, the date of her murder.  Unfortunately, I looked at the bottom of the page and found out what happened to little Edward Jr.

Ellen on FAG

When I opened the link, I found Edward Jr.

Ed Jr on FAG

I can only wonder how little Edward died.  This really is a sad story.

So what happened to Edward Sr.?  Last we saw he was transferred from prison to an asylum.  On the 1900 US Federal Census I found him listed as a patient at the Matteawan State Hospital in Fishkill, New York.

1900 US Federal Census, Fishkill, New York, Matteawan State Hospital

1900 US Federal Census, Fishkill, New York, Matteawan State Hospital

He wasn’t at this hospital for more than a few years before I found him on the 1905 New York State Census as well as the 1910 Federal Census as a patient at Dannemora State Hospital for Insane Convicts in Dannemora, Clinton County, New York.

1905 New York State Census: Dannemora State Hospital for Insane Convicts

1905 New York State Census: Dannemora State Hospital for Insane Convicts

1910 US Federal Census: Dannemora State Hospital for Insane Convicts

1910 US Federal Census: Dannemora State Hospital for Insane Convicts

I found this bit of information online:

Dannemora State Hospital for Insane Convicts opened in 1900. Dannemora confined and cared for male inmates who were declared insane while serving sentences. Matteawan State Hospital transferred to Dannemora all male inmates who had at least six months left to serve on their sentences. Males serving sentences for felonies in State prisons, reformatories, or penitentiaries, and who were declared insane, were also transferred to Dannemora. In 1912, the name of the institution was changed to the Dannemora State Hospital. In 1972, Dannemora closed and all inmates were transferred to Matteawan.

When Dannemora State Hospital closed, the site became the Adirondack Correctional Treatment and Evaluation Center. This facility offered programs for the rehabilitation of persistent offenders and included a diagnostic team of specialists in psychiatry and psychology. In 1975, the Center closed and the site was converted into the Clinton Annex, a medium security facility for male inmates. Camp Adirondack, a medium security work camp, was also established at the site in 1975. The following year, Camp Adirondack was transferred to Ray Brook and was renamed the Adirondack Correctional Facility.

And this is where the trail ended.  I can’t find any death record for Edward or find him on any census record after 1910. Such a sad story, but an excellent case study in how to take a single article and find out the story behind the story.


Jennifer Geoghan, Genealogist and author of The Purity of Blood novel series and If Love is a Lie: A Partly True Love Story.

I’d love to hear from you! So click on “Leave A Comment” below and let me know what’s on your mind.


23 April 2016: A Geoghan by any other name .. like Gahigan … is still just as hard to research April 23, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — jgeoghan @ 11:42 am

To further update my Geoghan relatives on the progress of my research, this post will show you what I’ve discovered since I last posted last month.

I was able to order an original copy of the 1861 Census of Scotland with the family on it. Here it is:

1861 Census Gahigan

1861 Census of Scotland – Gahigan Family

Here a close up view of the family:

1861 Census Gahigan CU

Here is what it says:

1861 Scotland Census:  ED 2, Household 62, Line 8, Registration District: Partick, Civil Parish: Govan, County: Lanarkshire, Address: 32 Bridge Street

  • George Gahigan: Head … Age 35 … Born in Ireland …Occ: Dock Labourer
  • Ann Gahigan:     Spouse: Age 35 … Born in Ireland
  • Catherine Gahigan: Daughter … Age 10 … Born in Partick … Occ: Scholar
  • James Gahigan:  Son … Age 5 … Born in Partick … Occ: Scholar
  • George Gahigan: Son … Age 9 Months … Born in Partick
  • Patrick Donnelly:  Border … Age 24 … Born in Ireland … Occ: Dock Lab.
  • Patrick Moren: Age 22
  • Peter Coyne: Age 21

I was really hoping that when I got a look at the original document (and not just the transcription online) that it would be more specific on where in Ireland they were from, but that wasn’t the case.  I was also hoping that the original document might tell me more about this “Patrick Donnelly” who was a border living with them.  Donnelly being Ann’s maiden name, there’s still a possibility that she might be a relation of his.

Because I like to be thorough, I also made a copy of the first page of the census so I could see the area that it covered.  Here is that first page in case you’d like to see how the streets of their outlying section of Glasgow ran.

1861 Census of Scotland - Front page of enumeration district of the Gahigan residence.

1861 Census of Scotland – Front page of enumeration district of the Gahigan residence.

Glasgow is a port city of the river Clyde and it would appear George was a laborer down on the city’s docks.  Here is a photo I found online of Old Govan circa 1903.  Taken years after George worked there, but you still get a feel for the activity of the area:


I next ordered an original copy of George and Ann’s marriage record.  Again hoping that it would give a clue as to where in Ireland they were born … and again I was left hanging.  Here is the record:

Marriage Record of George Gahigan and Ann Donnelly

Marriage Record of George Gahigan and Ann Donnelly

Here’s a close up look:

1850 George Gahigan and Ann Donnelly Marriage Record CU

I’ve never seen a marriage recorded with two dates.  George and Ann “Booked” on June 12, but “Married” on June 28. I’ve poked around a little to discover what the difference is but haven’t had much luck.  I would venture to guess that “Booked” might relate to getting the license and “Married” was the actual ceremony.   It lists George as being from Govan parish and Ann from Gorbals parish.  Govan and Gorbals were right next to each other.  Here’s a parish map of the county of Lanarkshire.  Both are at the upper left side:


When I started doing searches for the Donnelly family in Gorbals, I found this:

1841 Census of Scotland: Civil Paris: Glasgow, St. Mary’s, County: Lanarkshire, Address Old Wynd, Parish 644/1, ED 15, Page 9, Line 566

  • Arthur Donnelly … Age 40 … Born in Ireland … Occ: Laborer (Estimated Birth Year: 1801)
  • Eliza Donnelly … Age 40 … Born in Ireland (Estimated Birth Year: 1801)
  • Rose Donnelly … Age 15 … Born in Ireland (Estimated Birth Year: 1826)
  • Owen Donnelly … Age 16 … Born in Ireland … Occ: Plaster Ap (Estimated Birth Year: 1825)
  • Ann Donnelly … Age 15 … Born in Ireland (Estimated Birth Year: 1826)
  • John McDead … Age 3 … Born in Ireland … Occ: Plaster Ap (Estimated Birth Year: 1838) (Yes, this is probably a typo on the ancestry.com transcription.  He’s probably thirty something in age.  Hard to believe a 3-year-old would be a plaster apprentice.)
  • Robert White … Age 30 … Born in Ireland (Estimated Birth Year: 1811)
  • Eliz White … Age 25 … Born in Ireland (Estimated Birth Year: 1816)
  • Margaret McKenna … Age 33 … Born in Ireland (Estimated Birth Year: 1808)

Old Wynd is a road in the same area of Glasgow that we consistently see all the event of this family take place.  Here it is at the center of a map:

Old Wynd Street

I’m sorry to say there’s not much there today.  Here’s a Google Earth street view of the road:

Old Wynd Photo

So is the Ann Donnelly on this 1841 census, our Ann, the Ann that Married George Gahigan?  I don’t know, but the probability is high. She’s the right age, born in Ireland, lives in the right neighborhood.  I’ve always doubted that Ann and George, though both born in Ireland, knew each other there.  It was more likely that they were both immigrants living in Scotland, having come separately with their respective families.

So the search continues …

When and from where did the leave Ireland for Scotland and with whom? I haven’t discovered that quite yet, but I’ll keep on digging until I figure it out.


Jennifer Geoghan, family genealogist and author of The Purity of Blood novel series and If Love is a Lie: A Partly True Love Story.

I’d love to hear from you! So click on “Leave A Comment” below and let me know what’s on your mind.


25 Feb 2016: Breaking the DNA Barrier February 25, 2016

I thought I’d do a series of posts allowing you to follow along with my experiences in having my DNA tested.  I know lots of folks who have considered using modern technology to aid in their genealogy research, but the price seems a little high with an uncertain outcome of success. For a long time, this was me.  I mean I already know a startling amount about my family history.  What more could I learn from the DNA that is locked inside the cells of my body?

Well, we’re about to find out.

After doing some research, I decided to work with Family Tree DNA (www.familytreedna.com) I chose them because from the chatter I read online, they give you the best results for the money. And it wasn’t cheap. I decided to purchase two tests, the Family Finder and the mtDNA Ancestry Test.


Here’s what they consist of:

mtDNA Ancestry Test: Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is passed down almost unchanged from a mother to her children. That lets you trace your maternal ancestry using the world’s largest mtDNA database.

Family Finder: Will give you a very detailed geographic breakdown of where your ancestors came from. It works by comparing your DNA to the DNA of hundreds of ethnic groups around the world.

The Family Finder test is $99 and the mtDNA is $199, so all together it was about $312 including a shipping charge.  Considering the package it came in, I think that shipping charge was a bit high.

What came in the mail from Family Tree DNA

What came in the mail from Family Tree DNA

After I placed my order online, they mailed the test out to me very quickly.  I followed the instructions given and swabbed the inside of my cheeks.  Today I mailed back my samples, so now we wait to see what I get for my $312.

My samples and release form to be mailed back.

My samples and release form to be mailed back.

What am I hoping for?

I have two goals in mind that were the reasons I decided to outlay such a sum of cash. First, there’s been a persistent rumor on my mom’s side of the family, that my mother’s, mother’s, mothers’, mother’s, etc, side of the family was jewish. Since I’ve been unable to track that maternal line back to Europe, hopefully the mtDNA test will either prove or disprove the rumor that I’m a Jew.  Personally, I’m hoping I’m one of God’s chose people.  There’s not a whole lot of us at my Baptist church.  🙂  The most distant female line ancestor I know of is Regina Von Glahn. She was born in February 1835 in either Germany or Holland.  She came to America in 1850 and married Jacob Green, then died 17 February 1907 in Secaucus, New Jersey. Hopefully with this test, I’ll find out more about Regina’s origins.

The second reason, and the reason that I’ve decided to spend the money now instead of later is that I’m searching for a long-lost relative. I recently read an article that said that many people who have been adopted do DNA tests to find out about their biological family histories. In the case of Family Tree DNA, I had to sign a release form to send back with my samples.  This form gives  FT DNA permission to disclose my name and address to any close family matches that they may find in their database.  I’m hoping that maybe he has or he will send in his DNA for testing, if so, maybe I’ll be able to find this relative.  Since he was adopted and I’m having difficulty tracking him down after his adoption, who knows … maybe being one of God’s chosen people will help!

Anyway, this is post number one.  I’ll post again to let you know what results I get from my test.


Jennifer Geoghan, genealogist and author of The Purity of Blood novel series and If Love is a Lie: A Partly True Love Story.

I’d love to hear from you! So click on “Leave A Comment” below and let me know what’s on your mind.


13 October 2015: Criminals in the Family Tree !?!?! October 13, 2015

So what do you do when you suddenly find criminal activity in a family tree?


It’s a question I never really had to deal much with in my own tree.  Yes, there was an odd incident with a many distant cousin in the 1600’s that is rather embarrassing to the family, but we don’t get arrested in our family.  I’m guessing we’re too smart to get caught is all 🙂

My recently discovered criminals are in my cousin’s family tree, the family line of her father (her mother was my aunt).  I’m doing a genealogy project for her as part of my wedding present for her as she knows nothing about her father’s side of the family.  I have to say, I was a little shocked to find so much newspaper accounts of her Dad’s family, namely his grandfather and Great Uncle’s arrests.

No, This isn't them, I just like this picture :-)

No, This isn’t them, I just like this picture 🙂

Here are a few examples of the offenders I found.  My cousin’s family is the Staker family.  By the way, this article is pretty hilarious!:

The Newtown Register, Thursday March 2, 1893, page 5

Capture of Two Burglars at Maspeth

Night-Watchman Smith has a Lively Tune in Effecting it –Revolver and “Billy” Both in Requisition – Subsequent Arrest of a Supposed Confederate. – Story of the Capture as Told by Mr. Smith.

Last Saturday morning, about three o’clock, the reports of several pistol shots waked out of their sleep a number of the residents of Maspeth village, and it was not long before it became known that a burglar had been caught in the act of robbing the grocery story of J. Seedorff, in the building on Grand Street formerly occupied by the Kine Bros. as a saloon.

During the past few weeks a number of small burglaries have been committed in that village, and about a month ago several of the storekeepers and others joined in securing the services of a night watchman, Edward Smith, formerly a special policeman in Brooklyn, being employed to fill the position. The story of the robbery and capture of one of the thieves can best be told in the words of Smith himself, who says “Almost 3 o’clock Saturday morning, while on my beat, I came to Seedorff’s store, and as was my custom,looked in the first window to see if everything was all right.  I then went to the other window, and as I passed the door leading down to the cellar, I noticed that the padlock was pulled out and the door unfastened.  I opened one of the double doors and went down the steps, lighting a match as I went along.  Just as I reached the foot of the stairs the match went out, and before I had time to light another I noticed a dim light from a lantern in the cellar and walked towards it.  Just then I heard a noise, and looking back I saw a man moving towards the steps.  I rushed back and caught him, saying as I did so, that I would go a part of the way with him.  He told me not to interfere or try to stop him, and at the same time he grabbed my nightstick.  By that time we were partly up the stairs, and in such a position that he had the best of me. I therefore let go of the stick and tried to draw my revolver. Just then another man came from the cellar and ran up the steps, whereupon the man whom I had hold of dropped my stick, which he had kept hold of,and with some blunt instrument struck me a terrible blow on the forehead.  For a few minutes I was stunned, but on recovering my senses I ran after the man, at the same time firing my revolver.  They dashed down Grand street and turned up Remsen Place.  Finding that my shots had not taken any effect I made up my mind to catch the one I had hold of in the cellar, and after running about three block, I succeeded in doing so.  As I grabbed him we had a pretty lively tussle together; but I had drawn my ‘billy’, and I soon made him understand that he was my prisoner and must go along with me quietly.  Meanwhile I had recognized him as Watson Doyle.  On our way back, the first person we met was John D. Staker, who came up to us and asked what was the matter, to which I answered ‘nothing much.’  Staker said‘Is that you, Doyle?’  Doyle said ‘Yes’and that he was almost beaten to death. Staker then said Doyle was a friend of his, and asked me to let him go, inviting me over to his saloon, which was directly opposite, to have a drink.  Just then Doyle grabbed my stick and made an effort to get away.  I told Staker if Doyle was a friend to advise him to go with me quietly as he had got to go anyway, either dead or alive. Doyle finally went along quietly, and I took him to Newtown.”

Watson Doyle is a well known resident of Maspeth.  A few years ago he married the widow of Michael Quinn, and for some time continued to run a small saloon in that village, of which Quinn was proprietor at the time of his death.

On being arraigned before Justice Howard Saturday forenoon, Doyle was committed for examination on Monday and placed in charge of Constable Hiland, who took him to the Flushing cells for safe keeping.  On their way to Flushing Doyle told Hiland enough to implicate Edward Staker as the other man who was in the cellar.  Hiland accordingly obtained a warrant from Justice Scheper, and in the evening of the same day arrested Staker at his brother’s saloon in Maspeth village bringing him before Justice Schepe, who committed him to the cells for examination on Tuesday.

Justice Scheper issued a search warrant, which  was served by Constable Hiland.  No goods were found in Doyle’s house, but in a vacant house near Staker’s saloon several bags of onions that were identified by Seedorff as his property were found. It is supposed that Doyle and his companion had removed the onions from Mr. Seedorf’s store, which is nearly opposite Staker’s saloon, and had gone back for another haul when Smith discovered them.

On Monday Doyle was brought before Justice Howard for examination, but at the request of his counsel, Geo. C.F. Fisher, the examination was adjourned until next Monday morning, at 9:30 o’clock.  The examination of Staker before Justice Scheper was adjourned until this afternoon at 3 o’clock.

It is understood that Doyle will turn State’s evidence and his testimony is expected to lend to the unraveling of other crimes that have recently been committed in this neighborhood.

The examination of Edward Staker, which was to have been held this afternoon, was again adjourned owing to the absence of his counsel,until Monday afternoon at 2 o’clock.

The onions which were found by Constable Hiland in the vacant house adjoining the premises of John D. Staker were this afternoon identified by Mr. Seedorf as his.


The Newtown Register, Thursday March 23, 1893

Convicted of Burglary

In the Court of Sessions at Jamaica on Monday, Walter Doyle and Edward Staker, indicted for burglary at Seedorf’s grocery store in Maspeth early on the morning of Feb, 25, were placed on trial before Judge G.J.Garretson.  Staker set up an alibi in defence, claiming that he was in bed when the burglary was committed.  Both the prisoners were found guilty of burglary in the third degree.  Yesterday the Judge sentenced Doyle to three years in Sing Sing prison, and sent Staker to the Elmira Reformatory.


The Newtown Register, Thursday September 28, 1893, Page 5

The residents of Maspeth and vicinity are to be congratulated on having so efficient and faithful a watchman as Officer Edw.Smith.  Since last March Mr. Smith has made nearly a dozen arrests, principally for robbery, and in all kinds of weather he can be found on his beat.  The arrest and breaking up of the Staker gang is among Mr. Smith’s achievements,and the people of Maspeth can feel assured that their homes and goods are well protected while such a man is on guard.



I found these articles on a site I’d never seen before and one I highly recommend if you’re looking for old newspaper articles.  It’s a bit clunkly but had great archives of old papers from the state of New York.  It’s http://www.fultonhistory.com Don’t mind the creepy clown!


untitled 2


28 Sept 2015: Hopkinton, RI Fall Festival September 28, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — jgeoghan @ 8:10 am
Tags: ,

I thought I’d pass on to those of you who live in the RI/CT border area that the Hopkinton Land Trust is sponsoring a Fall Festival in Hopkinton on October 10th.

Since I’ve donated to the Land Trust I guess I’m on their email mailing list.  Sure wish I was up there to go, but living in Florida, it would be a but much of a trip for the day.  However, it’s a wonderful cause and if you can attend, I’m sure you’ll have fun and also be supporting a good organization, not to mention spending some time in Hopkinton, the ancestral home of the Wells family here in America.


Have fun for me!  I sure wish I could go as I wrote a Fall Festival into my novel, The Purity of Blood, which is the book with Randall Wells and Lois (Maxson) Wells as characters in it.  Fall Festivals here in Florida just aren’t the same.  After all, palm trees don’t change color in the fall 😦



26 Sept 2015: The Marriage Certificate September 26, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — jgeoghan @ 10:07 am
Tags: , ,

Not that it has anything to do with Wells Family Genealogy, but today I thought I’d share with you a great book I read this past week.  It’s called The Marriage Certificate by Stephen Molyneaux.


Why am I recommending it?  Because it’s a lot of fun to read if you’re a die-hard genealogist as I am.  Here’s what it’s about:

What prompts amateur family historian Peter Sefton to buy the marriage certificate he sees on display in an antiques arcade? Is it because he thinks it should be private and he wants to remove it from public view? Is it the prospect of researching the individuals named upon it? Or is it something else, happenstance perhaps, which leads him towards a potentially lucrative discovery and a long forgotten family secret?

When John and Louisa marry in January 1900, who could foretell how their lives and those of ambitious Rose, the bridesmaid, and confident Frank, the best man, would be changed that day?

Follow their story, through Peter’s research and find out how, with investigative skill and a certain amount of luck, Peter finds himself pulled along to uncover a series of sad and tragic events … events, which connect the marriage certificate to a modern day mystery. But … there’s a complication. In his quest to complete the family tree he learns that he has competition. It’s not just a matter of pride; there’s money at stake too. Should he the amateur give up, or can he really beat the professionals at their own game? 

I read it as an ebook on my Kindle, (Click here for link to book on Amazon) but the author has a website and it looks like you can buy hard copies of the books as well.


The novel takes place in England which was an added bonus for me.  It was really interesting to get the inside scoop on how the English trace a family tree.  What resources they consult, etc.

Check it out!