Sunday, December 20, 2015

A Holiday Dinner Mishap

Fitchburg Sentinel, December 23, 1924
I love trolling the pages of old newspapers and especially the hometown newspaper of my Tapply and Rogers family members, The Fitchburg Sentinel. You never know when a curious article involving a family member will turn up. This is one from December 1924 starring Harry Tapply. Harry worked for the Fitchburg police force for many years and his name turned up frequently in the paper.

Apparently there was a bit of confusion over the groceries. I can understand why. When you look at a picture of a 1924 Ford Model T, you can see that one black car might look more or less like another parked on Fitchburg's main street.

a 1924 Model T
So this unfortunate gentleman went home without the holiday roast and I'm sure there was hell to pay....or was there? Could this be an early example of the the gold coin in the red kettle? We will never know. Officer Tapply to the rescue.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Memories Monday

Courtesy of Boston Public Library Photo Archives
This is Filene's and the date is 1954. My memories of going to Filene's at this time are of a visit to see
Santa. They had wonderful holiday decorations and amazing windows.  Everyone has heard of the wonderful Filene's basement- home to the most chaotic markdown scene anywhere. But this photo is more about walking into a real department store with one of my parents and enjoying the magic of Christmas.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

The Homestead- Three Brothers and a Little House

28 Boyden Road, Holden, MA
This is the Rogers family homestead in Holden. The house is on the National Register of Historic Places and dates to 1733. The account of the house provided by the Holden Historical Society lists many, many owners over the years and only a few of them were Rogers family members. Some the the town's prominent names are on the list of owners including Chaffin, Damon and Ware. However, members of the Rogers family were owners of the house for over 100 years. Thus, the name.

The description of the house calls it a Cape-type cottage of 11/2 stories dated from the early Georgian period.  It has a granite foundation, clapboard siding and rear lean-to which extends back to the barn. The grape arbor over the front door was part of the original design. The central chimney would have been the source of heating and cooking well into the nineteenth century. The double-hung eight-over-twelve paned windows are a really nice original feature. The basic structure of the house has been preserved over the years and apparently the inside was restored.

Originally the lot was 7.5 acres of upland and swampland and one of the original residents ran a blacksmith shop.  The building in the back with the red batten board is the location, which records show as original.  There were a number of businesses run out of the little shop; one of my Rogers ancestors was a cooper. That would be Benjamin Rogers, who lived here briefly between 1783 and 1810. Benjamin sold the house to his brother George Rogers (father of Winslow Brainard) in 1810. George soon moved on, but the Rogers family was not done with this house.

Aaron How Rogers, son of George, lived in the house with his family until 1841. It passed through yet another owner until Catherine Moore Rogers, widow of Moses, (sister-in law of Benjamin and George) bought the house. Her son Israel farmed here and her son Dexter is listed as a carpenter. Over the years more and more of the original land was sold off. Perhaps the little shop in back was put to new use. Catherine lived here until her death in 1877.

Catherine's daughter Maria Stockwell Rogers never married. The census records show her keeping house for her brother Israel and also for her mother. She was the next occupant of the little house. She died in 1907. The house passed at that time to her nephew, Samuel Walter Rogers, who was Israel's son. The census and directory records don't ever show S. Walter living with his family in the house. He was the associate managing editor of the Gardner News and seems to have lived in Gardner. Perhaps the house was rented to family members at this time. I can't find any Rogers family members in Holden on any official records, but by this time they had married into many of the Holden families.

This is the end of the line for the Rogers family in the little house. I have visited the property several times and never caught the owner at home, but over the years it seems more well-kept. Maybe some day I'll get a peek at the inside as well.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Matters of Life and Death


"Here lies the body of Thomas Mulford aged about 60 years. Died June 8, 1706". This is Thomas
Mulford who lies in the Old Cove Burying Ground in Eastham, Massachusetts.  He was one of the founding settlers of the town of Truro. The original settlers "claimed the land as their own" from the Pamet indians who lived there. No surprise. The history of Truro describes Thomas's land as:
"Thomas Mulford's two lots, one of which was near Hog's Back and the other toward the pond south of Pamet great river."

Truro is on the "upper cape" and you can see the area described on this modern map. It is all well within the area preserved and protected as part of the national seashore.  Mulford seems to have been a farmer, but perhaps did a variety of things. There was this note in the town history:
"The shells of the shellfish being needed for the manufacture of lime, in 1705 these proprietors enacted that after June first next no shellfish should be dug by any person not a resident of Pamet. In 1711 the proprietors voted that no wood be cut within the limits of the common lands for the burning of lime, except by the rightful owners." 
 So Thomas Mulford may have done a little farming, a little fishing and perhaps some lime production. For the cousins, here's how we are related to Thomas Mulford:


So we are actually related to him through two branches of the family. 

Ancestry has just released a whole series of will and probate records for most of the states. Some of the records are just "records of records" telling us where to find a will should we go looking. But some contain the actually will, and inventory and other interesting papers.
This is the actual will of Thomas Mulford.  I love that  he says "being weak in body but of powerful mind and memory. Calling unto mind my frailty and mortality..." He goes on to mention various family members and name his bequests. This is where this document becomes useful. If there are children who have seemed to "disappear" in  time, you can find them in the will papers. This is especially true for the married daughters. He also speaks of "my beloved wife Hannah"....very sweet.
The most fascinating part of the paperwork, for me, is the household inventory. It gives a window into life in the 18th century and a perspective on what was considered "valuable". You can see here the "iron pots, table, chair, trunk, earthen jars" etc. His total valuation was 141 pounds, 8 shillings, 7 pence.
That's approximately $15, 000 in today's money. Not rich, but certainly prosperous.

Aside from the rather "nosey" aspect of reading someone's will papers, there's a lot of valuable information here.  It certainly provides another perspective on the lives of my ancestors.

Monday, August 24, 2015

An Artful Mappy Monday

Cape Cod by B. Ashburton Tripp- Courtesy of the David Rumsey Map Collection
I love a beautiful illustration. Books, maps or anything done with real care and love. I was not able to find much online about the person who drew this map: B. Ashburton Tripp, but this is a lovely thing. If you are looking for interesting maps of places your family lived, look no further than the David Rumsey Map Collection. They have a whole collection of maps by Tripp.


The cartouche for Cape Cod is elegant and the little vignettes
all around the edges are outstanding. I love the four winds blowing, the hunter shooting at game birds and the fisherman in his yellow slicker.  The map has faded a bit, but if you go to Rumsey and look at their original scan, you'll get a much better idea of what a work of art this is. I know this will tickle Cousin Jill.

So why am I so interested in a map of Cape Cod? Well, the Rogers line of my family goes way back on the cape. I mentioned Aaron Rogers, who was born there and moved to Holden. But there were several generations before him. And they mostly lives "mid-Cape" in Barnstable County in the towns of Harwich, Eastham, Orleans and Chatham.

For my Rogers cousins, here's the direct line from Joseph Rogers who arrived on a certain ship in 1620, right down to Grandfather Harry Rogers. And if you look at the birth and death information, you pretty much see the same few towns over and over again in that first five generations. They were farmers for the most part. Funny to think about the Cape as farm country, but back then it was.








































When you zoom in really close, especially online on the original, he has carefully labeled all the little towns and added other small embellishments. (I typed in the black print to show the towns I was referring to)

The original must really be impressive. So check out the Rumsey collection. You may find an elegant map of your hometown.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Family Friday

No download or reproduction without express permission
Today's post is in honor of my mom. This is Primrose Rogers Fitzgerald at age 16. She would have been 91 today.

Friday, July 31, 2015

A New Resource for Irish Genealogy

Church of the Immaculate Conception, Curry village, Sligo, Ireland
This picture of a church sets the scene for a fabulous new resource I found this month. Lisa Louise Cooke, of Genealogy Gems, published a Facebook link to new records that went online at the
Irish National Library. You can get to them here.

I was very lucky. I knew enough information to make a smart guess at exactly where to look and within half an hour I had baptismal records for three people in my dad's family: his mother Catherine Marie Cooke, his aunt Mary Ann Cooke (called Mamie by the family) and his uncle John J Cooke (called Jack). My very fanciful (she once announced that we were really Italian and related to the Gherhardinis.  Eeek!) Cousin Katherine had recalled that Jack said the family was from "Curry village". I popped "Curry" into the parish terms and there were the records. I was lucky.

The geopolitical divisions of Ireland are a bit hard to get used to. For example, technically this family lived in the following: Province of Connaught, County Sligo, Barrony of Leyny, Civil Parish: Achonry, Poor Law Union of Tobercurry, Townland of Cloonigan. Where's Curry in all this mess? Well that's the Roman Catholic parish as well as a totally separate townland. There were also Church of Ireland parishes. What a mess!

The dates in the records are all over the place. The "official records" say, for example, that Mary Ann
Cooke was born on the 17 December 1874. Here is her baptism record:

Cloonigan is waaaaay out in the country. Even today on Google street view you get a few houses, a narrow two-lane road and lots of brushy open land. So I'm guessing she was born closer to the 12th and they didn't make the official record until closer to the 17th. The interesting thing in all these records are the "patrons" or  godparents. I don't know yet who these people are, but it is something more to go on. In this case we have Mary Ann Cooke and Michael Feehely. One person from dad's family and one from mom's I'm guessing.

Next we have John J Cooke born 19 April 1876.

Again this is almost a month earlier. His godparents are John Cooke and Mary Cooke. I know that Michael's father was named John, but the Griffith's Valuation shows a John and a John Jr., so maybe this is Michael's brother.

And lastly we have my grandmother, Catherine Marie Cooke, born 4 March 1878.

This time the baptism is a little bit later. The godparents in this case are James Cooke and Ann Feehily. Again I'm thinking uncles, aunts or cousins. Cloonigan was so tiny it didn't even have a town center, so the nearest church would probably have been the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Curry. My best guess is that my photo is the scene of the baptisms.

No wonder none of these three relatives were really certain of their actual birthdate! At any rate, this is a wonderful new resource for those trying to unravel an Irish family.  The serendipity of having a record pop up so quickly has encouraged me a bit. Persistence really does pay off.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Sibling Saturday

No download or reproduction without express permission
On the top row with the headband, my grandmother Primrose Tapply. Just below her also
in a headband, her sister Beatrice Tapply. I'm guessing this is pre-1920 when each of them
got married. No idea who the two friends are, but from the other pictures in the group I think
this is a trip to the beach.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Independence



Aaron Rogers was my fourth great-grandfather. When I discovered The Fold as a resource for military records, I discovered his complete pension file which was a wealth of information and also unraveled a small mystery in my family tree. First, Aaron's story. He was born in Harwich, Barnstable County, Massachusetts. In recalling his service for the pension board, here is what he had to say:

"In June 1775 he resided at Harwich in the County of Barnstable in the said Commonwealth and within four days after the Battle of Bunker Hill a company was raised in Harwich for the purpose of guarding the coast the enlistment of the members being for six months. The company was commanded by Captain Clark of Harwich and  I enlisted into the company when it was first raised. ….I did duty in this company for six months and I was discharged. Immediately after my discharge I enlisted into a company  of the Continental establishment under the command of Captain Peter Harwood of Brookfield, Massachusetts who came into the neighborhood of my then residency and enlisted a company for …. We marched in the winter in the early days of January 1776 to Roxbury, Massachusetts and were stationed there until the British troops evacuated Boston. I marched on to Dorchester Heights at the time the entrenchments were thrown up there by the American troops. After the evacuation of Boston,  our company marched to New York by the way of Providence, Rhode Island. I marched with them and we were quartered at New York City. Our duty consisted of guarding the shipping by boats as most of our company had come from Cape Cod and were considered as acquainted with that duty… At the end of the end of our enlistment which was one year I was discharged from service at New York. I received a written discharge have not the same now in my possession and I think it must be in the War Department in Washington. I have been placed on the Pension Roll of  the Massachusetts Line of Revolutionary troops under the Law of 1818 but have since been struck from that Roll. After my discharge aforesaid I returned to Harwich  and continued there until about March 1777 when I again enlisted into the company of continental troops raised in that neighborhood under the command of Captain ? (probably Captain Bangs)"

Official records being what they were at the time and having apparently lost his discharge orders, he has to appeal to his brother-in-law, Jonathan Rogers, to vouch for him. Here's where the little brick starts to be chipped away from the brick wall. In 1779, Aaron married "Miss Hannah Rogers also of Harwich". I could never find parents or a birth record for Hannah no matter where I looked. I had done quite a bit of looking for Aaron's family so I knew that none of his sisters married a Jonathan Rogers. So, this brother-in-law was Hannah's brother. Still haven't found their parents, but it's a start.

Aaron did finally get his pension for the grand sum of $8 a month but lost it again when his net worth
exceeded the allowed limits. When it dropped again he reapplied.  By this time he was living in Holden
on land he received, I believe as a "bounty" for his service. (sort of the VA benefits of that time) Aaron's benefits, after more paperwork and wrangling, went to Hannah after his death. A fascinating look at the proceedings of those times.

I also returned to the Holden town records. Aaron wasn't in Holden in July, 1776, but I was curious about what the minutes of the town meeting would show:

Sure enough, there it is. The Declaration of Independence handwritten in full into the town minutes for posterity. If you look about four lines down on the image you will spot it: "When in the course of human events..."

I got goosebumps.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Wednesday's Children


Sometimes you find a very sad story in your family tree. The story of the children of Reuben Lowell Smith and his wife Sophronia Richardson Smith is one of those. I did a number of searches with
________Smith and the two parents as the parameters. Every time I searched, more children popped up. And this image appeared on FindaGrave. These are the five daughters of Reuben and Sophronia who were born and died between 1841 and 1850. Sandwiched in between was my great grandfather, George Frederick Smith, who luckily survived. There's no indication of how each of them died, but at least two died of croup and they all seemed to have lived about a year. This is a sad reminder of how fragile live was even then. The story doesn't stop there.....
Reuben and Sophronia moved to Massachusetts and continued to have children.  Both Ellen and Jennie died in their late teens/early 20's. Jennie died of consumption not long after her 18th birthday. I also found a record which may indicate yet another child. So of 11 children we know about, only 4 made it to adulthood. There was a lot of sorrow in that house.

This must have touched someone else in the family as well. The stone in the picture above has a placement date long after the deaths. Someone remembered these little girls...

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Belated Blogaversary

The two-year blogaversary managed to come and go on Tuesday without my notice. It's been an interesting experience maintaining the momentum and finding new and interesting things to post.
Hopefully, the adventure can continue. At any rate Happy Blogaversary to me!

Monday, June 1, 2015

What's My Line?


If you are of a certain age, you probably remember the game show What's My Line?  Watching Downtown Abbey has made me even more curious about the occupations of my ancestors...particularly the English branches, but the American family is fascinating as well.  So I've been going through the tree and doing a little digging.

Of course I found farmers..lots and lots and lots of farmers. Farmer in Maine in the Smith, Lowell and Richardson families. Farmers in Indiana, Kentucky and Virginia in the Dunn, Johnson, Archer families. And of course farmers in Massachusetts in the Rogers family. What I found was the some families farmed the same land or the same area for many generations, but as the United States went through the industrial revolution I found lots of tradespeople as well: coopers, grocers, salesmen of farm equipment, a few blacksmiths, mechanics and factory workers. In the mill towns of Massachusetts I found a LOT of boot makers. Holden had a shoe factory that employed many members of the Rogers family.

The next generation became professionals: Isaac Johnson was a lawyer (although he maintained farm land as well). Samuel Milton Archer was a doctor in the Salinas Valley of California.  

And some professions became a family affair: George Smith, Reuben Lowell Smith, and Edward Rogers were all firemen/ conductors for the railroad. The Tapply family has been in the building trades for several generations. James Henry Tapply worked at various times as a carpenter and bricklayer. Two of his sons are listed as builders: James Henry Tapply Jr. and Harry Tapply. His son Charles, my great grandfather, was a paper hanger and painter after he left the police force. Charles Earnest Tapply Sr. (his son) was a lumberman. And even today we have Mark Tapply who does fine woodwork and cabinetry and did his father Chuck Tapply before him. Charles Earnest's other son William R. and his son were lumberman.  William's grandson Billy Tapply deals in fine wood flooring. Amazing how many members of this branch have "builder" or  "carpenter" in the census records.

Even though there were farmers and people "in service" on the Freed branch of the family, it appears that the Tapplys were merchant/craftspeople. This is where the research got interesting. Of course I've talked about James Henry Tapply's father John who was a master cordswainer. You can read more about them here.  I found a wonderful description of the cordwainer's art on this website along with a reference to a district in London where they once practiced their art.
The professionals all had guilds dating back to medieval times. They persist today with elaborate guild halls in London. It seems many of them do charitable work these days,  but the buildings maintain records which could really be useful for genealogists. Edward Lansdell Tapply was listed as a master linen draper which appears to be a dealer in dry goods, but another source said that in the mid-1800's he may have been a bespoke dealer of fine goods for shirting.
The Draper's Shop
This same branch of the family had a number of family members in the coffee, tea and spice business. Edward Lansdell's brother William Tapply and his sons dealt in these goods as well as pickles. Perhaps they were members of the grocer's guild. I love that part of their coat-of-arms includes a clove harking back to the days when people traveled to the Far East to bring back spices.
William's son, Richard Tapply, is listed as a brewery director. Of course the brewers had their guild as well. It was Richard's son Allan who penned the Tapply family history.

On the other side of this family we have John Benn, father of Ellen Freed Benn Tapply. He was a hansom cabbie in London. He is still a cypher in my research so perhaps a visit to the hackney and cab driver's guild will reveal records of his license.
So while my relatives were never the "lords of the manor" like the Crawleys, they all seemed to do pretty well for themselves; truly the "butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker".  Records of their apprenticeships, records of their businesses, land purchases and agricultural census records can all inform your family research. I look forward to finding even more clues in these records.

Monday, May 25, 2015

In Memorial

Civil War Memorial, Litchfield Plains, Maine
Courtesy historical society of Litchfield


As I've worked along through the tree, I've discovered that a number of my relatives volunteered and served in the American Civil War.  I've talked about some of them already, but I continue to find people in more remote corners of the tree.  Today for Memorial Day I  will honor these more distant relatives.
The years are the years of service best I could determine. The two with extra notations died in service.
Emory Rogers 1861-1863
Perley H Richardson 1862-1863
Lorenzo M. Richardson 1863-1865
Oliver Bartlett Richardson 1861-1863
Charles Henry Howe 1862-1864 Andersonville
Benjamin F Roberts 1862-1864
Correctus H Richardson 1864-1864 Battle of the Wilderness

Thanks....

Sunday, May 17, 2015

A New Resource on YouTube- British Pathé


YouTube has just added another wonderful resource for family historians. The entire British Pathé
film archive now has its own channel here. I did a quick search for the little village where the Tapply relatives came from and came up with this newsreel footage from 1935 for a cricket match involving the Wittersham team. Nothing came up on a name search, but if you had someone notable in your British family something just might. And further searches for Maidstone and Isle of Oxney came up with other interesting footage. If you have British relatives in your tree, this is worth a look.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Geography and Genealogy

 Once I found that my Tapply grandmother's family came from Wittersham in Kent and not from Whitstable, I set out to learn a bit about this place. Right away I read descriptions only of Wittersham sitting on the Isle of Oxney. I was intrigued. What was this about?

The early coastline of England was much further inland. The Rother river ran out to the coast at Romney and there was a large delta with many little islands right at the mouth of the river. Wittersham sat, in those days, right on one of those islands. But more and more silt built up at the mouth of the river. Violent storms in 1287 changed the coastline. Finally the river itself changed direction. From Romney it moved to Rye. Pretty soon the entire coast became salt marsh. Sheep were raised on the marshlands and this became the main source of income. The present coastline looks more like what you see in the map below.
The marshland is clearly still there, but the sea is far away from the Isle of Oxney. When you see photographs of the countryside, it's clear that this former island sits higher than the land around it. And the identification is clearly still on the map. The "family history" written by Alan Tapply puts various branches of the family in the area as far back as the 1600's. This would be long after the coast changed, but I can't help but wonder how different the land might have looked back then. Were there sailors and fishermen in the family? Smugglers? Sea captains?  Or were the Tapleys (old spelling) always the tradespeople?

Another thing that excited me was the identification of Romney Marsh. I was brought up on Disney and some of you may remember "The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh" starring Patrick McGoohan.
The scarecrow was a tale invented by Russell Thorndike. The story goes that Dr. Christopher Syn retired from a life of piracy to become the vicar of Dymchurch on Romney Marsh. He soon realized that his parishioners were smuggling goods from France to avoid high customs taxes. He took up the scarecrow disguise to ride to their rescue and protect them from the authorities. His adventures became so popular that some people still believe he was a real person.

Oast House Archive [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
I leave you with a view of the English countryside looking out toward the Isle of Oxney.
Nigel Chadwick, Wikipedia