Archive | December 2015

Treat Yourself to a Gift That Will Last All Year (or More)!

Did your Aunt Millie give you cash or a cash gift card for Christmas? May I suggest that you check out these ideas to treat yourself:

Click below to check out a subscription to Find My Past. They have a fabulous, always expanding, collection of records – primarily UK based but you’ll find U.S. records there as well:

Find My Past


Learn something new that will last more than a year!  Click below to treat yourself to an expert webinar and expand your knowledge at While you’re there check out their HUGE selection of books and other goodies as well.

Expert Webinars

Newspapers can be a treasure trove of information to help add richness your family history. Click below to explore

Newspaper Archive

Expand your skill set with authors George Morgan and Drew Smith with their book:

Advanced Genealogy Research Techniques at a discount on Amazon!

You may have been considering purchasing an Ancestry DNA test kit for yourself or a family member. Click below to find it at a discount:

Ancestry DNA

My very best wishes for a Happy and Safe New Year. Here’s to more successful family history research in the coming year!

Herbert L. Converse

Herbert Converse

This cabinet card identified as Herbert L. Converse was taken by Partridge of Boston, dated September 1885. Herbert Lewis Converse was born 15 September 1882 in Dorchester, Mass. His parents were Herbert and Virginia Leroy Lewis Converse. His father, Herbert Brooks Converse, was a realtor in Boston, who was the son of Benjamin B. Converse and Hannah Elizabeth Brooks, born in Boston on 29 December 1852.

Herbert was a salesman for a battery company who married later in life at the age of 35. His wife was Isabelle, who was born about 1886. Herbert and his wife Isabelle had a son, Herbert Ware Converse, born about 1927, who married Ruth Janet Batchelder on 21 October 1951. She was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Elmer R. Batchelder of Reading, Massachusetts. They also had a daughter named Virginia born about 1925. The family lived in the house that had been occupied by his father and his grandfather at 39 Florence Street, Arlington Heights, Massachusetts – the house in which he grew up!

Herbert L. Converse verso

Any descendants who would like to have the photo? Please contact me!

Saturday Cyber Savings – It’s Not Too Late!

Last minute gifts for the genealogist in your life! No need to worry about shipping!

Family Tree Magazine is one of the premier magazines in the industry. You can order the print and Kindle version – the Kindle version will be available immediately for download. Save 36% here:

Family Tree Magazine

How about a subscription to Find my If you have ancestry in the U.K. this site has some valuable resources. I found newspaper articles about my great uncle’s death at sea when he was travelling home to retire in Scotland, after a lifetime of working in the diamond mines in South Africa. Give a subscription to FindMyPast here:

Find my Past



Advertised as the world’s largest online family history resource, I highly recommend a subscription to I have been a member for years. If your genealogist is new to, how about a gift of a 60 minute webinar on Making the Most of You can purchase the webinar here:

Making the Most of Webinar

Have a happy and safe holiday! My very best wishes for the year ahead.

Mary P. Sawyer

Mary Sawyer

Mary P. Sawyer

Mary Sawyer verso

This curly haired little imp is identified as Mary P. Sawyer. Found in an antique shop in Townsend, Massachusetts, the photo was taken in Illinois. A little research reveals that Mary P. Sawyer was born about 1868, to Hannah M. Peabody and John Sawyer. Her father was a clergyman who was born in Illinois. So how did this picture end up in Massachusetts? Her father died 26 February 1878 when Mary was just 10 years old. It turns out Mary’s mother was born in Massachusetts, and it appears that Mary was born in Massachusetts as well. Although the 1870 census says that Mary was born in Illinois, the 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920 and 1930 census, as well as her marriage record state that she was born in Massachusetts.  Although Mary and her mother remained in Illinois for a number of years after John’s death, by 1900, Mary and her mother had moved to Los Angeles where 32 year old Mary was working as a vocal teacher and accompanist. Sometime after 1900 Mary and her mother moved back to Massachusetts where Mary finally married Willis Corey on 28 November 1906 in Melrose, Massachusetts. It was a first marriage for both of them and they were both 39 years old.  The marriage record states that Mary was born in Gayhead, Massachusetts. In 1910 Mary and  her husband were still living in Melrose, Mary’s mother, Hannah, was living with them. By 1920 the couple had moved to San Diego (Hannah had perhaps died). It appears that the couple had no children and Mary died in San Diego in 1940. She is buried in Glen Abbey Memorial Park in Bonita, CA.

Although Mary was an only child and had no children I hope there is a relative who would like to have the picture returned to the family.

Last Minute Flip-pal Special

Hi Friends – I’ve just been notified of a last minute special from Flip-pal. It can be used for a lot of different reasons:

  • Preserving our family photos before disaster strikes so they are protected against harm and I have a digital image to rely on in case I need it.
  • Creating a variety of gifts using scanned photos. Stuff like calendars, photo books, tote bags and even ceramic tiles (yes,  I can picture Grandma on my kitchen back-splash!).
  • Writing about uncle Oscar’s service in the military and scanning his medals and Army patches. I can never say “thank you” enough, but a book about him is a good start.
  • Starting an index project for my genealogy society by scanning documents and then getting a group together to build a searchable database. (As President of the Middlesex Chapter of the Massachusetts Society of Genealogists I hope to make use of this idea in the coming year! Then we can share it with other genealogists.)

Flip-Pal mobile scanner sale $139.99. I’ve not seen the Flip-Pal mobile scanner at this price before.  Add the carrying case and make sure your order totals $149.00 or more to qualify for FREE SHIPPING.  Click here to save.  Sale ends December 22nd.

There is more… a fun way to share family photos by adding voice to them.

Check out the new StoryScans™ talking photos feature. For the first time, you can easily transform your images into endearing stories.  Click here to learn how you can add this new capability to your existing Flip-Pal mobile scanner or add the feature to your next purchase!

Book Bargains

I love this handy little reference book for putting historical context into my family history. It also helps to perhaps solve some family mysteries, for example, “Why did Uncle Harry leave his family behind and move to California in 1850?” (Hint: gold rush.) Finding out what was happening at the time and place where your ancestor lived can go a long way in understanding what it was like to live in their world. The book now comes in ebook format at a 32% savings – available for immediate download at Shop Family

The Genealogist’s U.S. History Pocket Reference eBook

Historical maps can also add a lot of clarity to your family history research. I use them all the time! I own the book Family Tree Historical Map Books.

Family Tree HIstorical Maps Book has bundled it with Family Tree Historical Maps Book: Europe for 53% off of the cover price!
Family Tree Maps Book Bundle Only $34.99 at Shop Family Tree

Click here to go to Shop Family Use the promo code THANKS20 to receive an additional 20% off your order. Hurry! This promotion ends December 31st.

And while you are there check out all of the other great offerings at including webinars, books and other genealogy gifts.


Bessie Linda (Moore) Griffin

 Bessie L. Moore

Bessie L. Moore verso

This is a photo I rescued from an antique shop. I am hoping that a descendant would like to have the picture.

Bessie Linda Moore was born in Lowell, Massachusetts on 25 Sep 1881, the daughter of George Clifford Moore (b. March 1849) and Ella J. Gilchrist (b. June 1852).  On 30 January 1906, she married Harry Sherman Griffin, in Chelmsford, Massachusetts. He was born 16 July 1869, son of John M. Griffin and Catherine M. Mcfadden.  He was 12 years older than Bessie. He was born on a farm in Kansas and lived in Lowell in 1899, probably how he met Bessie. At the time of their marriage he worked as a purchasing agent for S.H. Knox and Co. in Buffalo, New York.  It was a first marriage for both of them. They had one child, Elizabeth born 25 December 1906 in New York. The S.H. Knox Company, founded by Seymour Knox, grew to over 100 five and dime stores before Knox merged his business with his first cousins, Frank Winfield Woolworth and Charles Woolworth, becoming the F.W. Woolworth chain.

A woman of wealth and leisure, she was part of a delegation of National League of Women Voters who called on President Hoover in 1929 promising their support of him. They urged him to encourage passage of a bill in Congress which would provide renewed federal appropriations to the program for aid to maternity and infancy care. In 1922 she travelled to Havana, Cuba with her brother. Bessie died 24 April 1923 in New York at the young age of 41. She is buried in Lowell Cemetery in Lowell, Massachusetts.

Her husband, Harry, died 17 Nov 1932. He was a Mason in the Massachusetts Ancient York Lodge and travelled all over the world – sometimes taking his daughter Elizabeth with him.

Bessie’s father, George C. Moore, was a wealthy woolen manufacturer who took over the reins of his father’s business, George C. Moore and Co’s Wool Scouring Mill located in North Chelmsford. Founded in 1877, it was the largest mill in North Chelmsford and grew to international importance, later to become the Silesia Worsted Co. before it was sold to the United States Worsted Company for $3 million.

George Clifford Moore ~ photo owned by Bill Johnston and used with his permission

Saturday’s Special Suggestions – Preparing for the Holidays

In preparing for the hubbub of the holidays, don’t forget to be prepared to spend some time talking with your relatives and collecting their stories.

If you’re visiting their house they may have some photographs that you’d like to copy, but Aunt Millie won’t let you take them home. Here’s a suggestion – bring a Flip-Pal. I love my Flip-Pal. See my post about the Flip-Pal and what I’ve done with it from 9 May 2014:

Flip-Pal Blog post

You can find out more and get discounts here:

Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner

Do you want to record Aunt Millie’s stories? Great idea! A small handheld recorder with microphone is a good choice. Years ago I purchased an Olympus Digital Voice Recorder. The quality was very good and recordings could be downloaded to my computer. Here is the updated version of that recorder:

Olympus Digital Voice Recorder WS-852, Silver with Noise Canceling Microphone

I highly recommend that you include the noise canceling microphone for the best quality of these important recordings. The microphone is very small and not so intimidating for Aunt Millie.

As a family historian do you have lots of photos, family letters and memorabilia that need to be preserved? Is the family asking for gift suggestions for you? Hollinger makes a variety of boxes to preserve everything from photos to uniforms. Choose the size and style that fits your needs:

Hollinger Boxes

It’s not too late to get these in time for Christmas, but don’t wait too long!

Revolutionary Patriot John Hammond

John Hammond was my 5x great-grandfather. He served three times as a private in the French and Indian War in the service of King George II of England. Seventeen years later, John Hammond served in the Revolutionary War on the side of the Patriots, turning his back on the King of England. Here is his military record:

He first enlisted, shortly after his 17th birthday, 8 April 1758 (living in Kittery, Maine) serving in Captain James Gowen’s Company, Regiment of Col. Jedidiah Preble at Lake George (then part of Canada). He was discharged 6 September 1758. His second service was as a private in Captain David Bean’s Company in the Province (of Maine) service at Penobscot, enlisting 31 March 1759, discharged 23 July 1759. Hammond’s final enlistment in the French and Indian War was on 6 March 1760 (still living in Penobscot), serving as a private in Captain Humphrey Chadbourn’s Company in the King’s Service at Ticonderoga and Canada. He was discharged 30 November 1760.

After marrying Susanna Preble and starting a family, he once again joined the military, this time on the side of the Patriots:

On 7 May 1777, at the age of 36, he was drafted or enlisted for two months’ service, during the Revolutionary War serving as a private in Captain Samuel Grant’s company of Colonel J. Titcomb’s regiment, the Massachusetts State Troops. He served again as a private from 20 October to 20 December 1780, in Captain Daniel Sullivan’s Company, 6th Lincoln Co. regiment for the protection of the inhabitants of Frenchman’s Bay.

I have often wondered what would sway a man’s loyalties. This book helped me to understand the thinking of the day:

Revolutionary Characters: What Made the Founders Different

This is a fascinating read that helped me add historical context to my family history. If you have a Revolutionary War ancestor, or know someone who does, I highly recommend this Pulitzer Prize winning book.

Revolutionary Characters