Wells Family Genealogy

The study of my Family Tree

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.

the-family-hist-quick-start-guid-lr-cover

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.

-Jennifer

gty_fireworks_as_160630_12x5_1600

 

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.

172182517

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

vital-records

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.  🙂

-Jennifer

UPDATE: 22 Jan 2017

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

the-family-hist-quick-start-guid-lr-cover

 

6 Dec 2015: Colonial Park … A Southern Cemetery with Family Connections December 6, 2015

Last weekend I went up to Savannah, Georgia for my cousin’s wedding.  Of course Savannah is known for many things, among them for its great cemeteries.  Partially publicized by books such as Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, I visited two of Savannah’s historic cemeteries.   One of the things I love about visiting cemeteries in different parts of the country is to see how many different approaches one can take to bury someone.  In this, Savannah did not disappoint.

One of the cemeteries I visited was the old Colonial Cemetery, called Colonial Park, which is located just on the edge of the historic section of town where the famous squares are located.

20151129_153650

P1050319

P1050317One of the things I loved about this cemetery is that it’s a park.  People just strolled in off the street and walked around.  There was none of the stiff formality of a place of the dead, but a warm coziness that the people of Savannah seem to have with those that have lived in their city before them.  I have to say, I really liked that a lot.

Now let’s get on to our family connection to Colonial Park.  I was wandering around taking pictures when I came across this:

20151129_151421

20151129_151456

20151129_151511Yes, I know, look how they set the headstones in the brick like that.  Talk about cool.  But it was the marker beside it that caught my eye.  “William Scarbrough, Promoter of the First Transatlantic Steamship.”  I’m not history genius but I remember our family history pretty well and sure as can be, when I got back to my hotel and looked it up, my fourth cousin four times removed, Stevens Rogers, was on the very ship they’re talking about on this plaque, the Savannah.  How on earth did I remember that?  Because he has one of my favorite headstones and it happens to have a carving of that very same ship, the Savannah, on it.  Here’s a photo of it in Cedar Grove Cemetery in New London, CT:

Rogers - Stevens Rogers Captain 1Did William Scarbrough of Savannah, GA know my cousin Stevens Rogers? Odds are pretty good they did.  So that’s our family connection to Colonial Park.

Now I’ll share some pictures I took of the interesting ways they are preserving old stones here:

20151129_151622

Wooden Frame

20151129_151645

Metal Braces

20151129_152105

Cement Inlay

There must be a lot of stones that have been dislodged from their grave sites, because the brick back wall of the cemetery is something of an art project, a collage of homeless stones.  It’s beautiful and sad at the same time.  Here’s some photos so you can see what I’m talking about:

20151129_152133

For Blog 1

For Blog 2

For Blog 3

I’ll also share some pictures of some odd and beautiful stones I found.  The first one has to be about the largest stone I’ve come across.  I put my cell phone on top of it to give you an idea of the scale of it.

P1050327

This next one has lovely imagery carved in it.  I love the detail on the woman’s dress:

P1050326

This carver was apparently getting paid by the word!!!!

P1050308

This carver apparently didn’t believe in under doing it!  It’s got so many design elements in it, it should be a little garish, but I like it.

P1050309

I have the feeling that in life no one ever accused Archibald Bulloch of being understated.  Check out his grave:

P1050320

Here’s some other neat carvings I found:

For Blog 5

For Blog 6

With this one, I had to wonder which came first, the headstone or the brick monument.  It almost looked like the cut up the white headstone to the oval shape you see now to set it in the brick.

For Blog 4

Well, I hope you enjoyed your tour through Colonial Park and are inspired to stop in a visit for yourself should you ever find yourself in the lovely city of Savannah.

-Jennifer

 

20 Sept 2015: Rev. John Maxson 1714-1778 September 20, 2015

I’ve been spending my morning cleaning out my email inbox.  Between emails about my books and genealogy stuff, I tend to get backed up and have to spend a day untangling the web that is my in and to do boxes.  While weeding through my emails from findagrave.com, I found that someone had fulfilled a photo request for a great family member of mine, the Reverend John Maxson, born 1714 and died 1778.

Here’s the photo they kindly provided:

John Maxson: 1714-1778 Common Burying Ground, Newport, RI

John Maxson: 1714-1778 Common Burying Ground, Newport, RI

Isn’t it a lovely example of the carving used at the time?  John is buried in the Common Burying Ground in Newport, RI.  He is my First Cousin 7 times removed (Being the son of Johnathan Maxson and Content Rogers.)  John married Tacy Lucy Rogers (1715-1753) who was my 5th Great Grandaunt (being the daughter of Jonathan Rogers Jr and Judith Potter)

Here’s a link to John’s memorial page on Findagrave.com:  CLICK HERE FOR LINK

On the Rogers sides of their families John and Tacy were not only husband and wife, but first cousins as well.  I keep telling my friends that marrying your first cousin wasn’t uncommon back in the 1700’s but they don’t believe me.  I site that in Jane Austen’s books it happens quite a bit, but still … they think it’s weird.  Weird it is today, but back then, not so much.

Anyway, as I said above, I got this photo through findagrave.com.  If you’re familiar with this site, as a member (which is free) you can go on a memorial of a person and if there is no photo of their headstone posted, you can request a photo.  when you do this, it sends the request out to other members on the site who live in the area of that cemetery.  If you’re lucky, one of them will trot on over to the cemetery and take a photo that they will then post on the site for you.  You then get an email alerting you that your request has ben fulfilled.  Hence my cleaning out my email inbox and find old John there.

-Jennifer

 

19 Sept 2015: Visiting a Texas Cemetery on Vacation September 19, 2015

I went on a research trip/vacation to Texas last week.  It was research for my latest book project.  As I’ve mentioned before I write novels as a side job.  Despite the fact that this was a working vacation, I couldn’t help but drive into a cool looking cemetery when I happened upon one in Bandera, Texas.  Located in Bandera County in Texas Hill country, Bandera claims that it is the Cowboy Capital of the World.  So naturally when I pulled into the cemetery I was kinda hoping for some headstones in the shape of cowboy hats, boots or maybe even some horses.  I was sadly disappointed.

The first thing you notice driving onto the cemetery is that there isn’t a spec of green grass to be seen.  It’s all dead, but that isn’t surprising given the heat.

Bandera Cemetery, Bandera Texas

Bandera Cemetery, Bandera Texas

I did see some peculiar things in this my first Texas cemetery.  Like this poor stone strangled out by a cactus bush!  Don’t see this a whole lot in New England!

A prickly situation ....

A prickly situation ….

Here was an interesting stone.  From a distance I thought it was an odd-looking boulder, but upon closer inspection, it turns out it’s a headstone, but the stone says it’s from Maunalei Lanai Hawaii.

P1040247

P1040248

Here was a neat little enclosure.  I’m still not sure if the chain is supposed to be purely decorative of it it’s supposed to serve a purpose.  Still interesting though.

P1040250

Here was an interesting juxtaposition between the rustic and refined.

P1040261

I’d never seen this sort of half barrel over a plot before.  Saw a bunch of them here though.

P1040258

I’d never seen this where the main Surname stone for a plot rested on top of the stones naming the individuals in the plot.  Saw this a few times as well.

P1040256

Just thought I’d share these pictures from my vacation.  It was interesting to see how similar and yet how different a cemetery in a different part of the country can be from what we’re so familiar with in New England.

-Jennifer

 

8 August 2015: Cemetery Tourism — We’re Not Alone!! August 8, 2015

I finally felt vindicated a few weeks ago when this appeared in the Travel Section of the Orlando Sentinel newspaper.

Cemetery Tourism

OMG!  I have a classification now.  Apparently I’m a Taphophile.  Whoda Thunk!

I like how the article says that not only us genealogist headstone lovers visit cemeteries, but also those interested in history, bird-watching, landscape design, history, gardening, art, etc. visit as well.  I have to say, I’ve taken quite a bit of odd looks from my friends over the years because of my odd travelling habits as they call them.  Yes, my name is Jennifer, and I visit cemeteries on vacation.

-Jennifer

PS: The first novel in my series is available for FREE this weekend only on Amazon.  Check it out, and find out what Randall Wells and his wife Lois Maxson might really have been like!  Click on the image below for a link to the page on Amazon.

Free Weekend 3

 

28 June 2015: Elder John Crandall’s Homestead in Westerly, RI June 28, 2015

Can you guess which is the most popular post on my blog?  Well, it’s from July 1, 2010 and is about Elder John Crandall’s home on Pound Road in Westerly and the Burial Ground there.

Seeing as it’s the most popular, I decided to post a few more pictures I took while there a few years back, July of 2008 to be exact.  First I’ll start with a photo of the house.  Yes, I posted this one before, but I wanted to start with an establishing shot of the homestead.  I didn’t take one directly from the front.  In hind sight I wish I had, but I can tell you at the time, it looked like it was falling apart.

Elder John Crandall Home in Westerly, RI (Photo take 7-8-2008)

Elder John Crandall Home in Westerly, RI (Photo take 7-8-2008)

There are several structures on the property.  The House and many decrypt barns.  This one is the biggest of the barns and the one you have to pass on the path to the cemetery.  I peeked inside and it was full to the rafters with rotting junk.

Crandall Family Barn on Pound Road, Westerly RI

Crandall Family Barn on Pound Road, Westerly RI

Crandall Family Property, Westerly, RI.  Big Barn

Crandall Family Property, Westerly, RI. Big Barn

Crandall Family Barn, the largest one I saw on my trip.

Crandall Family Barn, the largest one I saw on my trip.

Crandall Family Barn, the largest one I saw on my trip.

Crandall Family Barn, the largest one I saw on my trip.

Crandall Family Barn, the largest one I saw on my trip.

Crandall Family Barn, the largest one I saw on my trip.

View from the Barn back towards the Homestead

View from the Barn back towards the Homestead

Keep in mind this is PRIVATE PROPERTY and you need permission to visit the house and cemetery.  I received permission from Irving Crandall who was resident at the house back in 2008.  That said, I’m going to post my little hand drawn map to the cemetery because I’ve never seen one and quite frankly, without Irving there to direct me, I’d never in a million years have found the burial ground.  NOTE:  THIS IS NOT DRAWN TO SCALE!

Map to the Crandall Burial Ground in Westerly, RI

Map to the Crandall Burial Ground in Westerly, RI

The old Crandall Cemetery is at the back of a field and was only in as good a shape as it was when I was there because Irving Crandall had mowed it shortly before my arrival.  If you’d like to see more about the burials here, check the cemetery out on findagrave.com

Sadly, most of the stones in the cemetery are field stones with no names.

Old Crandall Family Cemetery, Pound Road, Westerly, RI

Old Crandall Family Cemetery, Pound Road, Westerly, RI

Old Crandall Cemetery, Pound Road, Westerly, RI

Old Crandall Cemetery, Pound Road, Westerly, RI

Old Crandall Cemetery, Pound Road, Westerly, RI

Old Crandall Cemetery, Pound Road, Westerly, RI

Old Crandall Cemetery, Pound Road, Westerly, RI

Old Crandall Cemetery, Pound Road, Westerly, RI

Old Crandall Cemetery, Pound Road, Westerly, RI

Old Crandall Cemetery, Pound Road, Westerly, RI

Old Crandall Cemetery, Pound Road, Westerly, RI

Old Crandall Cemetery, Pound Road, Westerly, RI

Old Crandall Cemetery, Pound Road, Westerly, RI

Old Crandall Cemetery, Pound Road, Westerly, RI

Crandall Family Cemetery, Pound Road, Westerly, RI

Crandall Family Cemetery, Pound Road, Westerly, RI

Sadly, when I looked up to see if Irving was still with us, seems he just passed away.

The Westerly Sun (RI) – Thursday, June 11, 2015: WESTERLY – A Memorial Service for Irving Crandall, who passed away on May 17, 2015, will be held at 105 Pound Road, Westerly, at The Farm, at 11 a.m. on Friday, June 12, 2015.

Old Crandall Family Cemetery, Westerly, RI

Old Crandall Family Cemetery, Westerly, RI

Old Crandall Family Cemetery, Westerly, RI

Old Crandall Family Cemetery, Westerly, RI

Well, that’s it for my photo display of the Crandall property.  Hope you enjoyed.

I’ll also mention that I’m still in the exciting countdown to the launch of my next novel.  Yes, I’m part genealogist/part author.  If Love is a Lie, will be coming to Amazon next week!  YEAH!

If Love is a Lie by Jennifer Geoghan

If Love is a Lie by Jennifer Geoghan