Sunday, January 6, 2008

Stonecutter Ancestry?

Not only did Dorothea McKenzie join us at the 2007 conference in the vendor area, but she also joined us as a member.

She writes to let us know that there is a bit of genealogical information to be found in the journals of the stone workers union journals. At the Fogler library at Orono and the Boston Public Library they have quite a few of the Granite Cutters Union of North America journals on microfilm. She hopes to review some of the other stone workers journals, such as the Journeymen Stonecutters, Paving Cutters, Limestone Workers, Tool Sharpeners, Marble Workers and Quarry Workers union journals as they are scattered across the Nation and Canada in distant archives and universities; and also hopes to travel across the country starting in September of 2008 in search of information and resources regarding the previous mention unions and stone workers, masons, sculptors and cutters.

Another genealogical source is the payrolls of the granite/limestone/marble/slate companies papers, as stonecutters and paving cutters often traveled to job sites in neighboring towns but sometimes off to far away states for work.

Listed in the above journals are names of the new and renewing, in good standing or not good standing memberships. The journals would often list when the members got married or when they died. As well as, sometimes the journals would list the BMD of their family members. Also listed is a list of missing people, not in every month of the journals but in some, if a family member was looking for a lost family they will list it in the journal for the readers to keep a look out for that family member. The journals for the most part are from the late 18th century to the early 19th century. The Granite Cutters had the longest journal publications from May of 1877 to Feb 1979.

Dorothea has hopes of writing or helping to write a condensed history of the stone workers unions of the U.S. and Canada, as well as a book about Thompson Henry Murch (1838-1886), a greenback Congress member/world traveler/granite quarry owner/union founder and National Secretary/Freemason/etc., from Hampden, Maine.

The web address for the Stonecutters and Quarry Workers of North America Preservation Group is .

If you have questions or need assistance researching an ancestor that was a stonecutter, Dorothea would love to hear from you. Her email address is

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