history-genealogy site

This is a site where I will discuss my family genealogy research and related history. When a blog deals with a particular family group, I will try to include it in the title so uninterested people can skip it without skimming it. It is my hope to get feedback on research methods, family members and historical context from other historians, genealogists, and researchers. (c) Barbara L. de Mare 2006, 2007

Location: Englewood, New Jersey, United States

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Ferry Family Ireland researcher

Dear Dr. Roulston: I have repeatedly reviewed the report which thanks to you I finally, after over 6 years, received in the above-captioned matter. However, it is very disappointing and once again appears to be a rush job. Particularly troubling is that a father is shown as born after his son. Unfortunately I figured this all out awhile ago when I did not have time to write to you. Nevertheless I will try to go through it again. I also think the researcher was researching the wrong person, i.e. John Ferrie not Richard Ferry, but can't tell for sure. The materials sent start with the church marriage certificate of Richard Ferrie and Eliza Jane, a widow. This information is correct and is my family. Eliza came to America as a small child with her family. Her maiden name is properly listed as Smith. She grew up, and while still living in New York married a man surnamed Lockhard (as properly set forth in the civil record of the marriage in the Cookstown Registrar's District.) One chid resulted from this marriage. Her true marriage name after her first marriage was Lockhard as shown clearly in the civil report of the marriage under "correction." Richard and Eliza Jane were married at the Albany Meetinghouse (Presbyterian) 7 September 1871. After her husband and child died, Eliza returned to Ireland and remarried, this time to an older man named Richard Ferrie. Once again she emigrated to the USA. This information I have from passenger lists. The next page of the "Ferry Report" shows the marriage of Richard and Eliza Jane. As in the church report of the marriage, each if their fathers is shown to be a John. Five children of the marriage are listed, the 4th of whom is James Alexander Ferry, born 6 December 1879. This is the correct date (I was born on his birthday). The date in the church record is incorrect. This page of the report repeats that Richard and Eliza Jane were married on 7 September 1871 at Albany Meetinghouse. It contains the information that Richard's grandfather was possibly another John Ferry, married to Ellen Rawlins. Now things really begin to fall apart. John Ferry and Ellen Rawlins are reported as having been married 27 May 1831, and their son John (Richard's father) born 14 July 1846. Eventually Eliza Jane (Smith) (Lockhard) Ferrie returned to New York with her new family, arriving here on the "State of Georgia" on May 23, 1889. Eliza Jane had first arrivied in New York on May 1, 1863, at the approximate age of 15 with her parents John Smith and Eliza (?) and her six siblings on the "Star of the West." Thus Eliza Jane Smith was born about 1847. Her parents were William Smith born c. 1824, and Eliza, born c. 1827. (Passenger records) Moving on to Eliza Jane's second marriage, we know it took place 7 September 1871 to Richard Ferrie, son of John Ferrie. According to the passenger ship records, Richard was then 45 and Eliza Jane 40. This particular list has all the children two years younger than shown in their birth and baptismal records. We don't know if the same was done to the parents. At any rate, Richard was born about 1842-44 and his wife Eliza Jane about 1847-49. The report goes on to say that John Ferry married Ellen Rawlins 27 May 1831, and that their son John (father of Richard) was born 14 July 1846. Using these dates, the descendants of John Ferry and Ellen Rawlins would be: John Ferry married Ellen Rawlins 27 May 1831 (Tullanskin Church of Ireland Baptismal Records) Their Son John born 14 July 1846 (Tullanskin Church of Ireland Baptismal Records) His son Richard born about 1842-44 (before birth of his father), married Eliza Jane (Smith) (Lockard), born: (c. 1847-1849 according to 1889 arrival records, 1827 according to 1863 immigration records) married 7 September 1871 Their son James Alexander Ferry born 6 December 1879 Barbara

Sunday, March 15, 2009

St. Thomas; John Thomas Carre

I took a few days vacation from both work and genealogy and spent a long weekend visiting friends on St. Thomas. Both couples bought condos there upon retirement.I have never been a Caribbean traveller, but found St. Thomas both beautiful and full of interesting history. The book I am currently reading is about the slave rebellion on neighboring St. John--four miles away. It is visible even on a cloudy day, it is so close. The histories of the two islands and of the slave rebellion on St. John are closely tied together. It was fascinating to be reading the book while there! We didn't get to go to St. John as their were high winds during my entire visit. It was too rough for my friends to take out their sailboat, so we just had lunch on it safely ensconced at its dock in what is known as a "hurricane hole." My Carre ancestors (Sophia Carre married john Sanderson) were involved in the later slave rebellion in the Dominican Republic. Sophia's father John Thomas Carre owned a large coffee plantation on Santa Domingo. He and his family managed to escape alive; the same can't be said for his neighbors. I am anxious to learn more about this rebellion. I only know John Thomas' story which I suspect may be embellished a bit. At least I have the story in his own words, not just subsequent family stories.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Rockland Families

I have been spending moat of my time of late working on DAR applications for others, mostly remote (6th cousins) collateral relatives in northern Rockland County. I mhardly knew Rockland County existed before I joined the Phillips-Knapp Family Association. I am fast becoming an expert on the inter-relationships of the old families, a very interesting sociological study. I find it amazing how many families are still there who settled in the part of Orange County now known as Rockland County in the 1750s or so. Many still live on land purchased by their settler-ancestors. I try to put these families on my Phillips-Knapp website, but have fallen sorely behind as of late. Hopefully I will be able to catch up soon! One result of this project is that I joined the Stony Point, Rockland County, DAR Chapter. I am always looking for more sixth cousins to join! I have at least three Revolutionary War ancestors from Rockland. All I need is time to do supplemental applications for these lines. My paternal grandmother joined the DAR through Ebenezer McKenzie. Eli Phillips and Richard Dykens are my other two known Rockland lines. Right now I am following the Brooks and Rose lines. I am quite certain that none of the Brooks are in my ancestry, but the Rose family may be. The problem is the usual one of re-use of the same names over and over. Church, cemetery and funeral home records are the best sources for tracing families in Rockland.

Monday, February 02, 2009


I see I haven't been very successful at writing in here even with the kids gone. I am spending a lot of my free time re-organizing my house and getting stuff ready to ship to the kids--they essentially took nothing with them. I opened my e-mail this morning to a congratulatory note from one of my frequent e-mail correspondents. It seems UpFront with NGS (an e-mail newletter of the National Genealogy Society) came out this morning, and I had an article in it. I was most thrilled to see my name in print. I will be even more thrilled when I finish the article I am writing for the NGSQ(National Genealogical Society Quarterly). I sent the short version and they told me they want the article, but to do the long version as I said I could do in my transmittal letter. The short version was a proof I had written for an SAR friend for him to get a supplementary line. Getting an article published in the scholarly NGSQ seems too good to be true. I will believe it when I see it!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

“No Good Deed Goes Unpunished,”

or “Why I had Potato Chips for Christmas Dinner”

The Characters: Lori is my paralegal who started working for me when pregnant with her first child, who is now a junior in college and the center on the football team. We have been a team for the last twenty years, through all the ups and downs of our lives. In 1999 we gave up the solo practice of law, and joined the law firm of Nowell Amaroso. I was brought in as a partner to start an estate department. In 2003 we got an offer I couldn’t refuse to go to another law firm, but hated every moment of it so two years ago decided to go back on our own. Nowell Amaroso immediately asked us to go rent space from them. We love being back on the outside looking in. Their office manager, Stephanie, had stayed friends with Lori throughout the time we were no longer there, and was the one who knew we wanted to go back on our own. During our absence Stephanie, who already had one child, remarried and now has two babies. When the second was born last year, Lori filled in for her as office manager—on my dime.

The Cars: I have a Lincoln Navigator with a built-in navigation system, four-wheel drive, and hands-free cell phone connection. It also has a DVD player and four wireless headsets. It rides like a luxury car, not a truck, and has me very spoiled. Stephanie has a Toyota Highlander with none of the amenities to which I am accustomed. It does not even tell you the direction you are going. It does have a rooftop car carrier which she drove under something too short for it. Rather than remove the car carrier, she duct-taped it closed.

More Characters: My daughter is Liz, née Heather Elizabeth. Her children, my grandchildren, are Donald, 13; Timothy, 11; Stephen, 8 and Amanda, 6. They have lived with me the last two and a half years while Liz has been in graduate school. They were going to move to Seattle with my son-in-law in June when they all were out of school, but suddenly moved it up to December as Liz only needs two more credits to get her MBA. Timmy had moved to Seattle with his father in September as they

did not want to send him to the Englewood Middle School.

Even More Characters: My mother lives in Herkimer County, in the midst of our Palatine ancestors, which include a brother of General Herkimer of Battle of Oriskany Fame. She has lived there for almost 25 years. I have three brothers and two sisters. One sister and her two twenty-something daughters lives with Mom. Betty, my other sister, lives about two hours away near Lake Ontario. Her youngest daughter is 18 and lives with her. Her other four children are much older, ranging in age from 35 to 40, and live in the West. My brother Flip and his three daughters all live within an hour of Mom. Only the oldest at 34 is married, having tied the knot last summer. In addition to her husband she has two step-children who live with them. They are 8 and 10. Another brother also lives by Lake Ontario, and the third brother, his twin, lives in North Carolina. My son Michael lives in Utica, about 45 minutes away from his grandmother, where he is a college professor. Michael, Flip and daughters, Betty and Mary, an aunt and cousin, and a couple of neighbors made up the 20 persons present for Christmas dinner. I was to be the 21st.

The Story: Before Thanksgiving I took Lori and Stephanie out for a Thanksgiving luncheon. During the course of a good old-fashioned three martini lunch, Stephanie jokingly asked if she could borrow my car to go to Florida over Christmas. I told her of course she could, and reminded her the next week that I was serious about her borrowing my car. Sometime thereafter I learned that my daughter was moving with her kids to Seattle before Christmas, but Stephanie’s car was big enough to take them and their luggage to the airport. The 18th was set as car exchange day.

On Thursday the 18th, the three of us had to testify in a federal tax court case in Manhattan. In retrospect, that is actually when the trouble began. We were set to leave the office at 7:40 in the morning with a car service picking us up. Lori called me at 7:20 to say she was in Hackensack at Stephanie’s house, but realized she did not have her wallet. As we were going to a federal building, she needed identification to get in. What to do! After a few hysterical phone calls back and forth, she flew back home to get it, and we waited for her. By 8 we were on the road. Little did we know that this was just the start of traumas to come!

Stephanie was not ready when Lori was at her house, so said she would get herself to the office. Her husband needed her car to take the little kids to day care and go to an appointment in New York. Stephanie therefore came to the office to meet us in his car. She would need her own family car switch before we could exchange cars for the week. There was no rush when we returned from court—I had plenty of work to do. However I got a call from the school of my youngest grandson that he had had an accident and I needed to pick him up. I flew out of the office telling Stephanie we would exchange cars in the morning after I attended my granddaughter’s Holiday concert.

When the concert started the next morning, the principal announced that snow flakes had started. We were expecting 6 to 10 inches. By the time the concert was over, he announced that it was snowing hard. In anticipation of the storm Donald’s school had been cancelled, but the two little ones had school. They were happy as it was their last day, and they wanted to say goodbye to teachers and friends. Donald had heard about the projected snow and said good-bye on Thursday.

After the concert I went straight to the office to exchange cars. It was snowing very hard but driving was not yet a problem. When I got there, Stephanie had to remove her car seats from her car and put them in mine. She had never taken the one year old’s seat out, and could not get it loose. Her husband refused to come to the office to get it for her, telling her to find someone to help her. After half an hour, someone finally managed to figure it out. In the meantime I had gotten numerous calls that the little kids were getting out of school at 12:30. I thought I had plenty of time to get there before dismissal and take pictures of the kids with their teachers and classes. It was not to be! It took me 45 minutes to make the 8 mile trip back to Stephen’s school. Traffic on Route 80 never hit 30. It was snowing very hard, and the roads were slippery. That’s when I discovered Stephanie did not have four-wheel drive. I skidded near the school at 5 miles an hour.

As I approached Stephen’s school I began to think that I did not remember putting my bag in the car. When I got there, I checked, and sure enough—no bag! I picked up Stephen then went to Mandy’s school and got her, thinking all the time about what I was going to do about this. Stephanie was expecting to leave for Florida at 3 A.M. Saturday morning. I had the office keys in my bag as well as one of my daughter’s credit cards which she had given me to get treats for Stephen’s class that morning. She had an 8 PM flight to Seattle Saturday evening. I had Stephanie put the bag in my office, but how to retrieve it from there? No one I called planned to work on Saturday. There was no way I was driving back to Hackensack with my precious grandchildren in the car with no four-wheel-drive and the other crazy drivers on the road.

Friday evening, while still stewing over how to get my bag and thus Liz’s credit card before she left, Stephanie called to say she could not find her wallet and thought it might be in the back of her car. Sure enough, it was there! Problem finally solved. She had put off her departure time due to the weather, and also needed her wallet. She was going to come get it, but I knew Liz intended to go to Hackensack Saturday morning to buy a suitcase at Target. Target is close to Stephanie’s house, so I told her I would make the exchange when we went.

All was calm until I took Liz and the kids to the airport Saturday evening. While returning home from the airport, cars kept honking at me and pointing to the roof. I finally pulled over and realized the car-top carrier was open. Standing on the seat, I managed to close it, but realized there was no way to keep it closed. The locks were all broken. After a few more stops and driving slowly I made it home. It seemed to be alright at slow speeds; I made it to work and back on Monday with no problems.

Monday night I had a dinner appointment with a friend—being alone again was getting off to a good start. I could make dinner plans without worrying about homework, babysitters, or reporting in to anyone. I was trying to be upbeat after not getting out of bed all day Sunday! Being upbeat lasted about half a mile until the car carrier blew open again. Now I was going under 25. I stopped at the corner gas station, holding a ten dollar bill in my hand, but they claimed to have no cord and be unable to fix it. I drove the next mile and a half to dinner, stopping frequently. Upbeat was no longer in my vocabulary. When I got to the restaurant, I finally managed to bribe the valet parking kids to fix it for $50. They had at least 2 hours in which to do it. While still enjoying cosmos at the bar before dinner, I saw them walk through with cord—pretty thin, but cord nevertheless.

The problem was solved—or so I thought! I had planned to go to my mother’s house in the Mohawk Valley—a three and a half hour trip—on Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on the weather. I did not leave on Tuesday as it was too late after I finally went Christmas shopping, and did a few things at work. Wednesday my handyman came up from South Jersey to work on solving my basement water problems and some other projects. He said cars were sliding all over the road. I therefore worked on cleaning up some of the messes my daughter had left behind and wrapping the presents. I decided I could leave Christmas morning when the weather was predicted to be good, and still be at Mom’s by noon. Wrong again!

The trip started on time under a bright sun, and I was as happy as possible without my grandchildren. Half an hour into the trip, things went downhill. Cars were honking at me again. The so-called rope was breaking. I stopped every fifteen minutes or so to close the top and try and repair the tying job. I finally made it to the service stop at mile 68 and expected the service station would fix it. Wrong again! They claimed to have no rope, and sent me into the gift shop. As I expected, there was no rope there. The cashier was at least as helpful as possible. She had some large rubber bands which she put together in a long string and gave me. I bought my first bag of potato chips and went out to fix the car. The rubber bands actually worked fairly well. The top only moved sideways, not up and down.

I stopped a few more times to tighten the rubber bands, then exited the Thruway at mile 100—Saugerties. I knew—or at least thought I knew—there were service stations at the exit. To my dismay, the service stations were now a McDonalds and another fast food joint. I headed up the road which runs along the Thruway and found an open gas station. This one admitted to having rope and tied the car-top carrier up again. I bought my second bag of potato chips and headed on up the road towards Catskill. I had gone this way many times when my in-laws lived in Saugerties, so did not even consider getting back on the Thruway. I had already decided to go the back way to Mom’s from Catskill rather than continue on the high-speed Thruway and increase my chances of more car-top carrier problems.

Going the back way involves continuing up the road I was on to Route 23, which runs into route 145, and takes me to Route 20--the east-west central New York predecessor to the Thruway. I traveled this route all my life, and could do it in my sleep, or so I thought. I still do not know where I went wrong, but somehow I never found Route 23, ending up heading up to Hunter Mountain on Route 32 instead. Going up the mountain there is no place to turn around, no side roads, and no civilization. I drove at least half an hour, through a couple of hamlets, until I got to Tannersville where I finally found an open gas station that sold maps. An old man told me not to spend my money on a map—it was easy to get back to 145. Just go back to the first traffic light, turn left, go to the next traffic light, turn left again, and I would be on 145. As I only recalled one traffic light, back at least a half an hour, it did not seem difficult.

I bought my third bag of potato chips—a big one this time—and duly turned around without the map I so desperately wanted, with nothing to tell me the direction in which I was heading, and traversing twisty, windy mountain roads. There was a light sooner than I expected. It was a blinker, not a stop light, but after some thought decided I should turn left anyway. As the lights are many miles apart I figured he must have meant that one. I soon found myself on Route 23C, which sounded good as I wanted Route 23.

I followed 23C for many miles, probably at least an hour. At one point I came to a T intersection that said Kingston was one way and Tannersville the other. Kingston is at the Thruway exit ten miles south of Saugerties where I got off, and Tannersville was where I had gotten directions. I said eeny meeny miney moe to pick a direction, also checking the sun. The way I went seemed good, as I just went a few feet, and Route 23C went off in what seemed the correct direction—I never could tell directions by the sun. By now it was approaching 1 PM—dinner time at Mom’s house.

I had my cell phone with me, but had left the charger at my office. Once I realized it was there as my battery was getting low, it was too late to go get it. It did not help that I was deep in the Catskills, so only occasionally had reception. When I again got to a town with a name, I called Mom to ask her how to get to her house. Neither she nor anyone else at the house had heard of the town or the route I was then on. I finally ended up on Route 28, and called again. My brother told me they had found where I was on the map and tried to call me with no luck. He I should soon come to Route 30 which I should take. When I told them I was on Route 28, they reminded me that it was the same 28 which goes through Cooperstown, ten miles from Mom’s house, and suggested I just stay on it. The answer to how far away I was was over two hours. I asked them to save me some pie.

I promptly came to a hamlet that looked large enough to maybe have an open gas station. It did, but the map display was gone. The clerk said it had been there last week. All I got was potato chip bag number 4. A little further down the road I finally found a gas station with maps and also bought potato chip bag number five. Finding a map at this point was not necessarily a good thing.

I did not want to drive another two hours so studied the map for a shorter route. I took the aforementioned Route 30 and found smaller roads to get northwest to Cooperstown. By now it was snowing again. Dog Trail Road” and something “Mountain Road” were definitely not good choices. I slipped and slid, then came to signs to Cooperstown, which I followed—on even worse roads! It still took me over two hours from where my mother and siblings located me on the map, but it did not seem quite as long as straight driving on Route 28 would have. It certainly was more exciting when trying—successfully at least—to keep from falling off the side of the mountain! I got to Mom’s at 3:30. The three and a half hour trip had taken six and a half. The dinner guests were literally walking out the door as I walked in, carrying two bottles of wine—the good thing I had taken with me. I forgot to mention that I realized early on in the trip that I had forgotten my suitcase; it seems like such a minor detail now.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Grandchildren Moved

My grandchildren moved last night--all the way to Seattle. I am totally heartbroken. The good news is for the readers of my blog; I should have time to write more frequently. I should also be able to find my files more easily as they can be spread out again to the whole upstairs, rather than crowded into my bedroom in piles everywhere. I just have to get out of my funk and work on it and all my genealogy projects. They keep coming! Two new projects I have added: I am DAR NYS vice-chairman for Lineage Research. That means I help registrars all over the state with applications. I have been doing it without a title and really enjoy it, as it has a beginning, an end, and the satisfaction of getting an approval. My other new project is being on the Board of Directors of the Phillips Family DNA project. I am secretary, newsletter editor, and DAR liaison. So far so good, but it is just getting off the ground. My hope is to eventually find the origins of our Phillips family. The earliest known ancestor is John, father of Daniel, Eli and Gilbert who all fought in the Revolution in the Orange County militia. No one has any real idea where John came from when he appeared in what is now Stony Point, Rockland County, New York. We know from Eli's Revolutionary War pension record that Eli was born in Philipse Manor, Westchester County, so John at least made a brief stop there.

Friday, July 18, 2008


Probate file of Richard Chapel

To the Hon. William P. Walker Esq. Judge of Probate for the County of Berkshire

Humbly shows Travis A. Phillips of Colebrook in the County of Litchfield, Connecticut. That Richard Chapel last an inhabitant of Sandisfield in said County of Berkshire has lately viz on the twenty first day of Feby 1825 died testate leaving Goods and an Estate of which administration is necessary that Benjamin Sheldon Esq. was appointed by said deceased Executor of his Last Will and Testament and has a legal right to take such administration but has declined that trust, that Sarah Chapel the Widow of said deceased has also declined. That Daniel Chapel Seth Chapel and Richard heirs at Law of sd deceased reside in the State of New York, that John Chapel one of the heirs has died since the decease of sd testator & has a family in sd State of New York. That Matthew Smith Chapel is supposed to be in the State of New York and has a family living in sd Sandisfield – that Sarah Roberts & Grace Phillips two of said heirs reside in the State of Connecticut, that Ruth Sage resides in sd State of New York, that Hannah Chapel & Betsy Sage reside in sd Sandisfield, that sd Daniel Chapel declines taking administration of sd Estate, that your petitioner is the husband of the said Grace Phillips who was the daughter of sd deceased ~ Wherefore he prays that your Honour would [p. 247] appoint him Administrator with the Will annexed & allow him to prove said Will as aforesaid agreeably to Law in such cases made and provided ~ Dated at Great Barrington this twelfth day of May A.D. 1825.

Travis A. Phillips

Berkshire ss. At a Court of Probate holden at Great Barrington

in and for said County on the second Tuesday of May A.D. 1825

The foregoing petition being duly ? acclaimed, It is thereupon decreed by the Court ? that the sd petitioner give notice to all persons interested in the subject matter thereof to appear at a Court of Probate to be holden at Lenox within & for said County on the first Tuesday of Term next at ten o’clock in the forenoon ~ those living in this County to have personal notice fourteen days before said Court. All others by publishing the petition & this order thereon in the Berkshire Star printed at Stockbridge three weeks successively the first publication to be at least fourteen days before said Court at which time & place they may be heard concerning the same.

William P. Walker Judge of Probate

In the name of God Amen. I Richard Chapel of Southfield in the County of Berkshire and Commonwealth of Massachusetts being in good health of body and of sound and disposing mind to settle my worldly affairs whilest I have strength and capacity so to do, do make and publish this my last Will and testament hereby revoking and making void all former Wills by me at any time heretofore made. And first and principally I commit my soul into the hands of my Creator who gave it and my body to the earth to be interred in the burying ground of Southfield aforesaid near James Road, at the discretion of my Executor hereinafter named, and as to such Worldly Estate wheresowith it has pleased God to entrust me I dispose of the same as followeth ~

Imprimus ~ I give and devise to my dear and beloved Wife Sarah Chapel during the time she shall remain my Widow the use and improvement of those two pieces of land lying and being in Southfield aforesaid lying west of my dwelling house called and known by the name of the Mivnik* lots one lying on the South Side of the highway containing thirty acres, and the other on the north side of the highway containing twenty five acres with privilege to cut sufficient timber for the repairing and supporting of sufficient fences and sufficient fire wood for her own use – also the north west room in my dwelling house and the B? in the stoop, the use of so much of the west Barn as will accommodate her for the putting up of sufficient fodder and for stabling one horse and Cow, also one good horse, the side saddle I now own one good Bridle one good Cow and two Beds & Bedding to th? One third part of all my household furniture & household utensils and [p. 248] such articles as shall be selected by her, and six dollars in money to be paid her annually by my sons Daniel Chapel, John Chapel Seth Chapel, Richard Chapel & Matthew Smith Chapel, meaning to give and bequeath my sd Wife the use and improvement of the above property during her said Widowhood and no longer, and from and after her said Widowhood I give and bequeath the same to my said sons Daniel, John, Seth, Richard & Matthew Smith ~

Item. I give and devise to my said sons Daniel Chapel John Chapel Seth Chapel Richard Chapel and Matthew Smith Chapel after my just debts and funeral charges are paid all my Real Estate of what name or nature soever and wherever it may lye excepting the use and improvement of that devised to my said Wife, and also all of my personal Estate of what name or nature soever excepting also the use of that devised to my said Wife during her said Widowhood –

The above property devised and given to my said sons to be divided between them equally so that they shall share & share alike taking into consideration the several sums I shall have advanced

them respectively and charged them on my Book of Accounts against them kept solely for that purpose. Including in their several shares the sums I have or shall advance them respectively --

And I consider my farm in Southfield worth twenty five dollars per acre including the buildings

and my land in the State of Ohio worth four dollars per acre now it is my will and pleasure that my son Matthew Smith Chapel who I expect will live with me, shall have his equal share as above defined of my Real Estate out of my homestead to be taken when he shall choose or select at its just and proportional value, According to its quality to twenty five dollars per acre including the whole farm, and the remainder of the home farm at its proportional value, and the land in Ohio at four dollars per acre to contain the shares of my sons Daniel, John, Seth and Richard as above expressed –

Provided however and on this condition that these my sons Daniel, John, Seth, Richard and Matthew Smith pay or cause to be paid the several sums hereinafter mentioned ~

To my Wife Sarah Chapel six dollars annually so

long as she remains my Widow ~

To Sarah Roberts in addition to what I have already

Given her the sum of sixty dollars

To Susannah Chapel including what I have already advan

ced her the sum of four hundred dollars ~

To my daughter Betsy Sage including what I have already

advanced to her the sum of four hundred dollars ~

To my daughter Grace Phillips including what I have already

given to her the sum of four hundred dollars ~

[p 249] To my daughter Ruth Sage including what I have already

advanced to her the sum of four hundred dollars ~

The sums above bequeathed to my said daughters to be paid from my household furniture at my decease so far as two thirds of the same will pay and the reminder of my household furniture to be received in payment by my said Daughters after my said Wife shall cease to be my Widow and the deficiency if any shall then be paid in money by my said sons ~

And likewise and provided also that said Daniel, John, Seth, Richard and Matthew Smith shall provide for the comfortable support and maintenance of my said Daughter Hannah Chapel if she lives to expend the property I have above given and bequeathed to her ~ And I nominate and appoint Benjamin Sheldon of Sandisfield Executor of this my Last Will and Testament

In Witness Whereof I Richard Chapel have to this my last Will & Testament set my hand and seal this ninth day of January in the year of our Lord one thousand Eight hundred and fifteen ~

Richard Chapel & seal

Signed Sealed & published by the above named Richard Chapel for his last Will and testament in presence of us who at his request and in his presence have hereunto subscribed our names as Witnesses ~ Jabez Bosworth Jr., Ezra Sacket, Aaron Picket

Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Berkshire ss. By the Hon. William P. Walker, Eaq., Judge of the Probate

of Wills ? within and for the said County of Berkshire to all

SEAL unto whom these presents shall come Greeting

Know ye that at a court of Probate holden at Lenox within and for the County of Berkshire on the seventh day of June in the year of our Lord Eighteen and twenty five before me the sd Judge The Instrument hereunto annexed is presented as the last Will and Testament of Richard Chapel late of Sandisfield in the County of Berkshire deceased by Travis A. Phillips for Probate, Benjamin Sheldon the Executor therein named having declined the trust reposed in him ~ And Ezra Sacket one of the subscribing Witnesses to the same appearing made oath that he saw Richard Chapel the testator sign and seal and heard him publish and declare the same to be his last Will and Testament, that he appeared to be of lawful age, sound mind and disposing memory when he did it, and that he together with Jabez Bosworth, Jr and Aaron Picket who are absent all subscribed as Witnesses to the same at the same time in the presence of the said testator, and an order of motion having issued from this court which is now returned duly complied with. And it also appearing to the Court by satisfactory evidence that there is no objection to the Probate of the same ~ I do therefore by virtue of the power and authority to me given me in and by [p.250] the laws of the Commonwealth aforesaid, deem that the said Will is proved, and do approve and allow of the said instrument as the last Will and testament of the said Richard Chapel deceased. And I do commit the Executor thereof in all matters concerning the same and of the Estate of the said Richard Chapel whereof he died seized and possessed in said County unto Travis A. Phillips who is hereby appointed administrator with the will annexed on the Estate of said deceased well and faithfully to execute the same and to administer the Estate of the said deceased according thereto who accepts of the said trust and gives Bond as the law directs to render a full and perfect inventory of said Estate into the Probate office of said County upon oath within three months and also to render a just and true account of his proceedings thereon upon oath within one year from the date hereof. In testimony whereof I hereunto set my hand and seal of said Court ~ William P. Walker

At this same Court Power of administration of Richard Chapel late of Sandisfield in the County of Berkshire deceased is granted unto Travis A. Phillips of Colebrook in the State of Connecticut who gives Bond as the law denotes for the faithful discharge of his said trust as on file Sureties to Bond Silas Sage and Philemon Sage both of Sandisfield and Erastus Beach, Daniel Sears and William Wolcott are appointed to appraise and make an inventory of said Estate

NOTE: The above is the first probate file for Richard Chapel, including his will. I will post the remainder when I have transcribed it. Interesting things to note: This will was written in 1815, before Matthew Smith Chapel's children with Susannah were born. Richard treats Susannah as one of his daughters in the will. The other daughters-in-law are not so treated. Richard also states in the will that he assumes Matthew Smith Chapel will be living with him. Although the 1860 census lists Mathew Smith Chapel as a "pauper" in the county farm, as opposed to others who are classified as "insane," I am beginning to wonder if rather than being a cad he actually had mental problems. Anyone have any thoughts on the subject?

Thursday, July 17, 2008



All I ever knew about my paternal grandfather’s childhood was that he was born in County Tyrone, North Ireland, and immigrated to our shores as a teenager before Ellis Island was open. I thought he might be from Stewartstown. I had also been told that his father’s name was Richard and his mother’s Eliza Jane. I had early childhood memories of at least 2 brothers, Uncle Billy and Uncle Jack, and remembered that Uncle Billy had one child, my Cousin May. Aside from my grandfather who had 6 children, none of his other siblings left heirs. There were an unknown number of sisters; one story I heard was that they died young of cancer. I also heard that the mother returned to Ireland. Not much too go on!

To begin my quest into my Irish routes, I joined the Ulster Historical Society and purchased various how-to books on researching the North Irish. The Ulster website permitted various name checks, but no Ferrys turned up. After a year or two, I decided to hire a researcher through the Society, and buy a 5 year membership. I provided my limited information as set forth above, authorized the expenditure of 250 lbs sterling without further contacting me, and made a preliminary payment of 70 lbs.

Another couple of years passed with me making quarterly inquiries into the status of my report. Then my Aunt Jay died, the last survivor of her generation and my grandfather’s eldest child. Aunt Jay had always been interested in the family history and may have belonged to the DAR as did her mother. Consequently Aunt Jay had a fair amount of genealogical material. Her two sons gave these materials to me for safekeeping.

In the process of sorting through Aunt Jay’s papers, additional information came to light. It seems that my great-great- grandparents had come to this country before the Civil War with several small children, one of whom was my great-grandmother Eliza Jane Smith. The scraps of paper in the box given me by my cousins, mostly miscellaneous notes in Aunt Jay’s distinctive handwriting, indicated that this Eliza grew up in New York, and married and had a child. The husband and child died shortly after the marriage, and Eliza Jane returned to Ireland where she found and married Richard Ferry. After giving birth to half a dozen kids, she and her second husband returned to New York with their brood, where an unknown number of her siblings had remained.

By this time ancestry.com had procured databases with many more ships’ manifests than had previously been the case. First I search unsuccessfully for James Ferry, Richard Ferry, and the other brothers. No hits. I then tried just the surname, and up popped Mrs. E. Ferry. Following this lead, I discovered the entire family on the “State of Georgia” which had sailed from Glasgow, Scotland and Larnem, Ireland, arriving in New York on 23 May 1889 (National Archives, Washington, DC, micropublication M237, Roll 533, List No. 651, lines 25-32). This explained the theory I had heard set forth by Aunt Jay that Grandpa may have landed in Georgia. Georgia was the name of the ship, not the port of debarkation!

The names of the Ferry family on the “State of Georgia manifest matched what I knew of my grandfather’s family except that all ages appeared to be off by 2 years. I did not consider this unusual for the times. As my grandfather was born December 6, 1879, he was 9 years old upon debarkation in New York. According to the manifest he was 11. This would make it easier for him to get a job. I simply subtracted 2 years from the ages of all family members when entering them in my database.

Now that I knew the age of my great-grandmother, and that she had previously resided in the United States, I did another search for her under her maiden name, which I knew to be Smith. Fortune smiled upon me once again. I found a Smith family with children named similarly to those of my grandfather’s siblings. The mother and one daughter were both named Eliza Jane, with the daughter’s age matching that of the mother on The State of Georgia as I had adjusted said age. This Smith Family sailed on the Star of the West, which ship arrived in New York on 1 May 1863 from Liverpool ((National Archives, Washington, DC, micropublication M237, Rolls95-580, Manifest of “Star of the West,” filed District of New York, Port of New York, p. 6, lines 20-28).

By this time about three years had passed since I order and pre-paid for a search in North Ireland. As nothing whatsoever had been forthcoming, I wrote again with the additional information I had discovered on my home, hoping it might simplify and speed up the search. I hoped in vain; I got a return e-mail stating that the researcher had already discovered all this information. My five year membership expired, and I still had no report. Now I wrote monthly, each month being promised the report the next month. Like Annie sang about “tomorrow,” next month was not forthcoming. Another year passed, during which I did not renew my membership. I did, however, become increasingly pushy about wanting my report for which I had paid. Wasn’t six years long enough for the researcher?



Monday, July 14, 2008


I just returned from a week in Washington DC at the annual Continental Congress. What an awesome experience! For those of you unfamiliar with DAR functions, they are the best-run any meeting could possibly be. Everything is timed to precision, and all the work of the work sessions gets accomplished. Committee reports are not to exceed 2 minutes. At the 2 minute mark the President-General and two of her pages stand; the speaker knows to thank the President-General for the privilege to serve in her administration, and sits down. These business meetings generally took place in the morning or afternoon. The evenings were reserved for awards and other such events. Evening sessions start with an armed forces band playing for about half an hour until the procession. The procession starts of course with the American and DAR flags, brought in by pages. More pages follow, each with a flag for one of the 53 states and territories. Dignitaries and DAR national office holders follow, escorted by pages. Finally pairs of pages enter and line either side of the center aisle. Through this comes the President General. DAR rules permit a standing applause for her and her alone, unless the President of the United States is present. As she passes under the front of the hall, a huge American Flag comes out of the ceiling and flutters overhead. When she gets to the lecturn she strikes her gavel to bring the session to order and an interesting and fascinating evening ensues. The opening ritual consists of the invocation given by the Chaplain-General, the Pledge Allegiance to the Flag, the American's Creed, and the singing of the National Anthem. Various people named after the gavel is pounded lead each of these recitations. They have already located themselves at an unobtrusive place on the stage, but from which it is only a few steps to the podium to perform her duty. After this opening the President General announces that the doors will be open while the band leaves, and the chairs and mikes used by the band are quickly removed by the experienced staff. The doors are closed again and stay so for most of the evening, only opening for a few seconds when permission is granted by the President General. The Continental Hall is a huge building which holds in excess of 2,000 people, which was about the attendance on the first night. Each state is seated in prearranged sections. There are also state boxes where the State Regent, State Vice-Regent, and other invited guests sit. The boxes hold 5 seats. Primarily women are present, but there are some male guests and spouses. The women are all attired in evening gowns, the men in tuxedos. The best evening was National Defense Night. The keynote speaker was the Secretary of Defense. Awards were given to men and women alike with very impressive credentials in a variety of fields. The evening proceeds like a well-oiled machine, with all the pagaentry, pomp and circumstance of an English court. The pages on the stage assisting officers and other VIPs seated there are most unobtrusive. The schools night is another impressive event. Awards are given to the outstanding history teacher of the year, the good citizen, and other such. DAR totally supports some schools, and contributes to others. These schools are primarily in Appalachia, started a century ago, for poor mountain children who otherwise would not receive an education. Most are boarding schools, and many neglected and abused children now attend them. The pages remind me of Ladies in Waiting. They are members under the age of forty. To be a page at Continental Congress is a great honor. The pages all wear white evening gowns, and are there to direct traffic, pass notes, get water for those seated on stage, etc. The highest officers have personal pages. This is the most sought-after position. Two of the President General's pages sit behind her. They stand when she stands and sit when she sits. Another of her personal pages is available to take notes from her and carry out the instructions she has given. This description of the Congress only touches on the work done by the DAR. The two areas of greatest focus are schools, including literacy, scholarships, etc., and aid to our men and women in uniform. I sat next to a soldier at the National Defense luncheon who said he knew nothing of the DAR until he was seriously wounded in a hospital in Germany, and he was given "this"--with which he showed us his phone card with the DAR logo on it. He was nearly in tears telling us much it was appreciated by himself and his injured comrades. The phone cards are only one of the many ways in which the DAR supports our military personnel. Sitting in the hall listening to the days of two minute committee reports is a great way to learn more of the work inconspicuously performed for our country and its heritage by the DAR ladies. Unlike the sterotype I had in my head when I joined, it is not an organization of old ladies sitting around having tea. It is a vibrant group of dedicated women, many of whom are Junior members--under the age of 36. There has been a resurgence of membership in the last few years, particularly among young women. For anyone interested in more of the work of the DAR, the NS DAR website can me consulted. I believe it is DAR.org; if not, google NSDAR (NS is "National Society") I have not begun to do the Congress justice, but hopefully those of you who have never attended a Continental Congress get some idea of the flavor of it from this very brief description.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Picture organization

My newest organizational crises: how to store my photos. The photos of particular concern at the moment are those of tombstones. I have taken literally hundreds of tombstone photos. Some have been photographed several times due to failure to remember what is done and what isn't. The Phillips-Knapp cemetery, for example, is totally photographed as I have gone back many times to make sure I have it all. Mt. Rest is another cemetery I have photographed on various occasions. As it is a much larger cemetery (although still basically small) I am sure I have repeats. There are two basic times when I want to find photos: when visiting a cemetery and taking pictures, and when working with a particular file. At the moment I am going through some of my photos and entering the transcriptions on my database. I just grabbed some photos clipped together what what reason I know not. Now I can still identify the cemeteries, but that won't last forever. I need to at least label the backs. The bigger issue, however, is how to organize them. I have the digital photos on my computer fairly well organized. Of course after the lightning strike we took last Sunday some of them might be fried. Just today, Thursday, do we finally have all electricity, internet, telephone, and air conditioning restored. The air conditioner was fried as well the internet-telephone modem. My desk top and my server are questionable. The best photo organization is on the server. I tried to back them up on a 4 gb thumb drive awhile ago, but the file is too big. I did back up all the text on another 4 gig thumb drive. Fortunately I have most photos on CDs as well as the server, but of course not all of them. But I digress. What I am asking is for ideas on how to file printouts of my tombstone pictures. My only idea which meets my needs as set forth above is to have three copies of each--which is a lot of ink or probably better taken to a photo store. One copy would go in each individual file; one copy in a file for the cemetery, probably in alphabetical order with an index; and the final one in a file of all tombstones, again in alphabetical order. The disadvantage of this system is as stated above--the expense of the many color cartridges. The advantage is a trip to a cemetery would involve only the grabbing of the cemetery file, or for that matter just the index to the cemetery photos already taken. A search for an individual tombstone would require only a perusal of the individual's file. The general file would serve the usual purposes of total indexes. It could be more quickly searched for a group of individuals than trying to remember the proper cemetery or finding the file numbers to open several individual files. Any comments or better suggestions are most welcome.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Organizational Crisis

HELP!! Today my organizational crisis has come to a head, and I am most frustrated. I have my individual people files and family files petty well organized, and have a system which works--except for the stuff I copy in probate and county clerks offices and libraries. The biggest problem is the old deeds, wills, etc. They tend to be in large books, so the copies are huge. They don't fit in my files and notebooks, and I like them in a separate place to transcribe--like the ones i sent you to proofread for me, Sandi. At least I had managed to reduce the size of those somewhat. I have piles of these documents all over the place. They are mostly in separate folders or notebooks (just as a holder--they don't fit to secure in). But I haven't figured out how to store these so I can find them. I have long since run out of bookcase space, and they are really too big to store on bookcases. It is a disaster when a pile falls on the floor! Even the documents from libraries are a problem. Although the ones copied from microfilm are generally a more standard size, I have zillions of them. I brought back large stacks from Boston on my last trip there. They are in a pile on the floor by my bed; hardly a long range solution. For the most part it doesn't work to put these documents in family notebooks or individual files, as I like to keep all the stuff from a single location together, at least my original copies. I'm not sure exactly why, other than that they must be together if I am trying to figure out how properties adjoined and the locations of families in relation to each other. Mostly, it just seems propeer to me that they be together. So now I am trying to complete my documentary history of the Carpenter family, and thus need to find what documents I have which I haven't included. but where are they??? I spent hours finding some deeds and wills I knew I had earlier in the week, and knew I had put back where I found them--where ever that was!! Now they are ON my bed waiting for copies and transcriptions. I guess I will leave them there at least until I go to work tomorrow where i can copy them. If too many kids don't sleep with me, I stand a chance of managing not to kick them on the floor. Then where to put them? Any good ideas would be appreciated. I am plumb out of ideas. I think what I really need is something like map drawers to keep them in, but have never such a thing in office supply stores. I am having a similar problem with documents i have copied from the internet and CDS. They usually involve an area, not a person. I do have area files, so guess the area ones could go in those, but family groups are another problem. For example, a couple of weeks ago I copied all the Hinsham Quaker records that mention family records in Philadelphia and West Jersey. I made two copies of each, so one set I marked up as I entered them on my computer, then put them in the individual files. The second set is the problem. That set was printed to use in my documentary history and any place else I don't want marked up copies. So where do I file those? I also spent a lot of time looking for them today, then found them on my desk chair--"where I couldn't possibly lose them." Again, this is not a long term solution. HELP! HELP! All ideas gratefully accepted!

Saturday, February 09, 2008


I am a member of a Carpenter list which i occasionally check out. I long since learned that I am the only Samuel Carpenter heir on this list--the rest are Rehobath Carpenters. The list is also more of a family discussion list amongst a bunch f closely related people who appear to live at far-flung places, so family news and pictures occupy most of the site. I stay a member as genealogical discussions occasionally pop up. Last week I got very excited when someone posted a picture of a gravestone of a person identified as the daughter of Jedidiah and Sarah (Stratten) Carpenter. I posted a note asking for more information on this Sarah Stratten (Stratton). The reply came back that she is the daughter of Dr. James Stratten and Anna Harris of Swedesboro, West Jersey. Thinking I could have lost my mind, although I know this family line very well, I reviewed all my proofs. I did not rely upon the Carpenter book from which I got the original information that Sarah Stratton the daughter of Dr. James Stratton and Anna Harris married Edward Carpenter. I went back to my own independent research. I had done this work early in my serious genealogical studies, so was afraid perhaps I had not proven it was as I should have. I should not have worried--as I looked it all came back to me. My sister Betty and I had spent one Good Friday in the cemetery of Old Swedes (Trinity) Church in Swedesboro. Our specific quest was to verify this line. We hit pay dirt when we found the tombstone of Edward Carpenter II. It read "Edward Carpenter Son of Edward Carpenter and Sarah Stratton his wife, born May 17, 1813–died March 4, 1889" I recalled that we had been joyous when we found this tombstone as it definitely identified Sarah Stratton as the wife of Edward Carpenter. A few years later we made another trip to South Jersey (as it is now called) and researched in the Gloucester County library. While there we purchased the records of the Old Swedes Church. This contained more information on the two families as both the Carpenters and the Strattons had been very active members in this time period. I gave a sigh of relief that there was not an error in my research. Upon more questioning of the poster of the picture, I learned that his Sarah Stratton had a different birthdate and was born in Massachusetts. Although my Strattons originally went to Philadelphia--West Jersey from Southampton, Long Island, my direct ancestors had left there several generations earlier. Additionally, Jedidiah is not a name I ever discovered in my Carpenter line. Now that I am confidant that I do not have an error in this particular instance, I want to pursue the background of the Sarah Stratton who married Jedidiah Carpenter. Sarah Stratton was a common name--I have six on my database alone. The Sarah who married Jedidiah definitely was not the daughter of Dr. James Stratton and Anna Harris. But who were her parents? Undoubtedly she is collaterally related from the early Stratton beginnings in this country, but not from "my" group. Just in case I didn't have enough puzzles to solve, now I must solve the mystery of the heritage of this new Sarah Stratton! I think I could use a little less intellectual curiosity! PS--it should be pointed out that Louis Henry Carpenter, the author of the highly-regarded 1912 Carpenter book, was the grandson of "my" Sarah Carpenter. And as a final aside, my DAR membership is through Sarah's father-in-law, Thomas Carpenter.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

JAMES AVERY (1646-1728) will

As promised, here is my transcribed copy of the will of James Avery, b. 15 Dec 1646 in Gloucester, Mass.; m. Deborah Stallion 20 Feb 1669/70 in New London, Conn.; d. 22 Aug 1728 in Groton, Conn. I tried to use the spelling and punctuation in the original. A ? means i absolutely could not read a word. Happy reading! Will of James Avery, Late of Groton, Probated 1733 #177 New London Probate District "In the Name of God Amen "I, James Avery, Last of Groton, being of Perfect Memory and understanding thanks be to God for it, Calling to mind the mortallitie of my body and knowing that it is Appoin- ted for all men Once to Dye, Doo make and ordaine this my Last will & Testament Revoaking all Othere and former Wills. "First and Princiblly I Give and Bequeath my soul to God that gave it. Beseaching him in Mercy to Receive itt for the meritts Sake and mediation of his Deare Son my Lord and only Savior Christ Jesus, my Body to the Ground, to be Decently Buried at the Discretion and Charge of my Executor= and what Estate as God in his mercy hath given mee I dispose of in Mannor and form following, when all my just Debts, and all the Debts which my som Ebenezer Avery hath allredy Contracted, for the use of our family, or Shall Contract for said use any time before my Departure out of this Life, are Paide and funerally Expences Discharged . . . . . . . . . . . . . . "Item: I Give to my son James Avery Jun'r, Besides what I have already given him, By Deed Bearing Eaven Date with this my Will, hee paying the Summs therein Mentioned, qnd Beside the Stock I have already Given him, my Loading ?, my Canne & Great Bible which was my Grandfather Averys and I Doo hereby order and it is my Will that my sd son James, Doo Pay to my five daughters Ten pounds A Piece & fifty Pound to Mr. Boroughs of Boaton according as I have obliged him in the Deed-- ? to him for his Portion of my Land "Item: Give Unto my son Edward Avery I having already Given him his portion of Land by a Deed, A seventh parte of my Arms as Guns & Swords "Item: I Give unto my son Christopher Avery Beside his Portion of my Land which I haveSettled on him by Deed, A Seventh Parte of myArms or Guns and Swords "Item: I give to my son Jonathan Avery, hee having had his portion in Lands by Deed already, a Seventh parte of my Arms or Guns & Swords, I also Give to my sd son & his heirs my Lot of Land at ?town which is not given him in his Deed sd "IItem: I Give unto my son Joseph Avery Beside what of Lands I have made over to him by Deed it being his portion in Lands, A seventh parte of my Arms, or Guns & Swords "Item: I Give to my son Benjamin Avery Besides his portion in Lands Settled on him by Deed a seventh Parte of my Arms or Guns & Swords. I also Give my sd son Benjamin three Cows two four year old ? and twenty Sheep "Item: I Give Unto my five Daughters Deborah Allyn, Margaret Morgan, Hannah Morgan, Sarah Lathan and Mary Morgan besides what I have formerly and moor Lately given then Twenty Pounds money, or as money Each of them, to bee paid them By my two sons James Avery and Ebenezer Avery I also Give to my sd five Daughters, to bee Equally Divided Amongst them ? Beds and Bedding belonging to the Beds and all my Pewter Brass and Iron Ware and to each of them A Silver Spone "Item: I Give unto my Seven Sons James, Edward, Ebenezer, Christopher, Jonatha, Joseph and Benjamin Avery the OLands at Pawgounck which I bought of Major Edward Palmer and also that Land which I Bought of ewonecoe, together with my Brothers & Sume other persons. I say all them Lands I give to my sd sons & theire heirs, to bee Equally Divided amongst them both for Quantyty & Quallity & to Each of them I Give a Silver Spoone. "Item: I Give unto my son Ebenezer Avery, in Land Beside what I have settled upon him by Deed, the half or part of A Trust for land lying in this town and at the head of South Plaime(?) which Land was given me by my honoredfather Capt. James Avery and to my sd Son & his heirs for Ever, alsoe I Give to my sd son Ebenezer Avery all my Stock of ?, cattle, horses, Sheep & Swine both what are at home on the farm and those thyat are out in othere ? ?, and all the rest of my moveable estate both within Doors * without not Disposed of before, I give to my sd son Ebenezer Avery, hee paying to my Loving wife Deborah Avery, fifteen Pounds money per annum Soo long as Shee remains my Widow , and also Let my sd wife, have the Use of one Room in my Dwelling House During her Widowhood & Shee to take her choice of rooms but afterward to revert & Return to my sd son Ebenezer & his heirs -- and also to find my sd wife her ? During her widowhood and give unto my Loving wife a feather bed and also all the furniture thereunto belonging and furthere my sd son Ebenezer Avery to Pay to my five Daughters Deborah, Margaret, Hanah, Sarah and Mary, to Each of them ? Pounds money, and all the payments to be made by my sd son Ebenezer to my sd Daughters within five years after my Decease and Liekwise I Doo Constitue, appoint, make and ordain my sd Son Ebenezer Avery my Sole Executor of this my last will and Testament rattifying and confirmingthis and noe othere to bee my last will & Testament and furthere by this my Will I do grant Libortty to all my Sons, to Sell or Exchange theire lands on or to or with an othere not withstanding the Entailments by theire Dower all ?. And in Testimony I havehereunto set my hand and seal in Groton the fifteenth day of March Anno Domine onr thousand seven hundred & seventeen . . . . . . . . . "Signed, Sealled, Pronounced & Declared to bee the Last Will & Testament of James Avery Senr James Avery L.S. in Presence of us. . . . . . . Samuel Avery John Avery"

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

AVERY family

I belong to a My Family group known as the FamGenOs. Although few of us have met in person, we have become good friends through the medium of the site. Occasionally we find a name we think might link two people, but generally it does not pan out. I had that experience last week. The name Fitch was mentioned, and I said I had some. When I went to look, I discovered I had Finch, not Fitch. Somehow in this on-going discussion the name Avery was brought up. It turns out that Agatha, with whom I was primarily corresponding on this subject, is also descended from James Avery. While in Boston a couple of weeks ago, I had been looking for other wills, but fell upon Avery ones, so copied them. Serendipity! Now I have copies of the microfilm of the wills as recorded by the clerk of the court in the will books. I also have inventories, and a variety of other ducuments. I have just started to transcribe them, but will publish them here as I get them done. So far I have only transcribed the will of James Avery, Jr., son of THE James Avery. (Unfortunately my notes aren't at work so I can't give you dates. If anyone is interested, I will be glad to look them up and post them. The Avery family members from whom I am descended married into the Comsticks, who married into the Chapels, bringing us back once again to the renegade Mathew.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

MATHEW SMITH CHAPEL information and questions from his father's will

The most interesting finds in my Boston research trip involved the scoundrel Mathew Smith Chapel. The 1842 petition for probate of the will of his father-in-law, George Wilcox, lists him as dead when it lists his heirs, including "Susan widow of Hartford Ct. " We know from census records that Mathew was alive at least until 1860.
Mathew's father, Richard Chapel, died in 1825. The named executor did not wish to serve, so a proceeding ensued to appoint an "administrator with the will annexed." In that proceeding, it is recited "that Mathew Smith Chapel is supposed to be in the State of New York & has a family living in S. Sandisfield ." Apparently Mathew was not in contact with his family after his removal to Kinderhook.
In his will, written 9 January 1815 , Richard Chapel leaves his real property equally to his five sons Daniel, John, Seth, Richard, and Mathew Smith. He then states that "it is my will and pleasure that my son Mathew Smith Chapel who I expect will live with me, shall have his equal share as above defined of my Real Estate out of my homestead to be taken where he shall choose to select at its just and proportionate value." He then leaves "to Susannah Chapel including whatever I have already advanced to her the sum of four hundred dollars." This is the same amount he left to his daughters Betsy Sage, Grace Phillips, and Ruth Sage. His daughter Sarah Roberts was only bequeathed Sixty Dollars. The suns were directed to care for his daughter Hannah Chapel.
It would appear from the provisions of Richard's will that in 1815 Mathew Smith and Susannah were no longer living together, as he anticipates Mathew Smith will be residing with him, and he treats his wife Susannah as a daughter. However the children of Mathew Smith and Susannah Chapel were born after the date of the will. It seems that all new information comes with a new question!
Other information gleaned from the will is the fact that Richard owned land in Ohio, and that his daughter Sarah married a man surnamed Roberts. The marriages of his daughters Ruth and Betsy to Sages is confirmed, and the amounts advanced to each of his children during his lifetime is set forth.
A further document in the records reveals that part of the real estate had to be sold to pay the legacies he had left to his daughters. The shortage was a mere $166.40, which amount was bid by Jason Sage. This document provides the additional information that Travis A. Phillips, the administrator, is the husband of daughter Grace, that Ruth was married to Abel Sage, and that Betsy was married to Philemon Sage. The amounts advanced to each of his children during his lifetime is set forth. Sons John and Seth survived the testator but were deceased by the time of the sale of the real estate, i.e., March 7, 1826 .
Susannah is given a legacy under the will of her father-in-law, as above quoted, and is described as residing in S. Sandisfield at the time of the probate petition. She is not mentioned in the final distribution order. I am left to wonder why. Did she receive her share on one of the earlier accountings not found in the court records? I found on a trip a few years ago to the Deed Registry office for South Berkshire that Mathew Smith Chapel sold some of his father's property. Knowing nothing about Mathew Smith at the time, the document made no sense to me. I now seem to have misplaced it, although I have all the other deeds copied that day. Perhaps Mathew was forced to pay Susannah from his share? The questions are endless; the answers come slowly.

NEHGS Council nomination official

As I may have previously mentioned, I was invited to the NEHGS Board of Trustees and Council dinner held this past Monday night in their Newberry Street facility in Boston. I went to the dinner as I had been tipped off that I might be being nominated for the Council. The tip was correct. It was announced that my name would officially be placed in nomination at the Board meeting the next day, and I would be formally elected to the Council at the April Board meeting. The dinner was elegant, fabulously catered, and finished off with a wonderful speaker. It was well worth the four hour trip. As I was already in Boston, and as my son-in-law was here so there were alternate child-care arrangements possible, I stayed until Thursday morning researching in the library. I never took a vacation by myself before. It really was a great way to go for a research trip. In addition to researching all day Tuesday, the library was open 9-9 on Wednesday. I was there waiting for the doors to open in the morning, and stayed until kicked out at night. Tuesday I was mostly doing Cape Cod research. I copied stacks of wills probated between 1637 and 1685. Now I just have to read and transcribe them, and figure out where they fit in my database. Wednesday I switched to Berkshire County, Massachusetts--the opposite side of the state. Again I found lots of good stuff. I was most happy that some of the wills I found verified ancestry and relationships that I was beginning to wonder if were valid. The bad part of the trip was having to leave. I was speaking at my Rotary Club at noon on Thursday, so had to leave Boston first thing in the morning to get home in time. Friday I was so exhausted I never woke up until 11:30. As I had a 1:30 eye appointment, going to work was then pointless. Researching is exhausting, but I never understand why it makes me so tired.