Sunday, January 29, 2012

Another Response to Letter Writing Month

January is almost over, but letter writing and contacting cousins is exactly what I've been doing this month.

Back in the 1980s I corresponded with a FLAGG family 4th cousin who I heard was now in her 80s in a nursing home. So I decided I better work on that family again while I could still ask her questions. I did and called her. She is still fine mentally and was delighted to hear from me, and asked to write and visit if I got over to Belfast. I mailed her what I was able to find on the family, to see if she had anything else. I also drew a map of now-discontinued roads in Belmont so she could place for me, just where the old Flagg farm and cooper shop used to be, in relation to the old family cemetery I found in 2010. I plan to visit Belfast this summer. She said she planned to still be there!

I was also working on my LEAVITT family, and a 3rd cousin down in Salem MA from a branch that was totally missing two years ago that left Maine. It started with a cousin finding my website and contacting me on Facebook, and telling me how to reach his mother. I have talked with the two Leavitt sisters in their 80s who told me the old family stories and where they were buried, and giving me enough info to search more online, and also calling cemeteries, newspapers, libraries (and got copies of old obits and articles), and town halls (who gave me contact info from their current voter registration lists), and found the address for their 2nd cousin they had lost contact with, who I have mailed their family charts to. I also asked if any family photos or stories survived in their branch of Leavitts. Still hoping to find old photos. Through these distant cousins, I learned exactly where to find the grave of my gg-grandmother Mary Morgridge Leavitt (1840-1922) in Salem.

Also, a BOUDWAY family cousin on Facebook replies that she is talking with the older people for a major update of their branch that moved from Orono to Northampton MA.

I have always made a point of tracing all the cousin legs forward to find current-day cousins, and sometimes I do get lucky with lots of new family data. I put all my findings on my website when I get time so that more cousins can find me. It's nice to find new cousins that appreciate the family genealogy. This is fun.

Roland Rhoades MGS #1151
Maine Families Genealogist
2010: 30 Years as a Genealogist

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

In Response to "Letter Writing Month"

My father died when I was eleven years old and his mother had died when he was one. The only thing I knew of my paternal grandmother was her name: Edna Burtt. She died in Lynn, MA in 1910. I contacted the City Hall there for her death certificate. It stated she had been born in Lynn, but nothing was said about her parents. I requested her birth certificate. There was none on record.

About this time, I received a letter from an older cousin in reply to a letter I'd written to her. I had asked if she knew anything more about Edna Burtt. She had no more information other than, "They called her Victoria." I asked Lynn, MA for a birth certificate for Victoria Burtt and at the same time asked for a birth cerificate of my father.

No birth certificate for Victoria Burtt. Upon looking at my father's birth certificate, I discovered his mother Edna Burtt Spinney had been born in New Brunswick, Canada. Based upon her age at death, she had been born in 1880. Through the Ellsworth Public Library, I received the 1881 New Brunswick Census microfilm. There, I found Victoria Burtt aged 1 living with her father Hathaway Burtt (later found in the Lynn Census) and mother Lucetta.

Following the Burtt genealogy, I discovered that one ancestor fought for the British in New York. An earlier ancestor had been captured in Connecticut by Indians and taken to Canada. As he was coming back to the Colonies with his wife aboard a ship, his wife gave birth to a son whom they named Seaborn Burtt since he was born at sea. Had it not been for my cousin who offered the tid-bit "They called her Victoria" I would likely still be looking for Edna Burtt in Canada.

Richard Spinney
MGS Treasurer

Monday, January 23, 2012

January is Letter Writing Month

Do you remember "back in the day" when we actually mailed a letter of inquiry to a distant or not so distant relative for information on your family history? Well today most of us connect by using Email, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

But not everyone is "connected" in that way. A letter whether handwritten or typed is a more personal touch and can often times elicit a response faster than Email (is there really such a thing?). Another idea is to enclose a SASE (self addressed stamped envelope) to make it easier for them to respond.

Besides relatives, you can still write to Courthouses, Libraries, Town Offices, etc. that you can't do by Email. Technology is here to stay but a good "old fashioned" letter written carefully with courtesy and respect will go a long way and help act as your own PR agent.

Electronic messages can be convenient and useful, but they lack the personal touch that comes from holding a hand-written note or card in your hand. Even the most heartfelt message loses some of its effectiveness when the recipient has to read it on an electronic screen.

Maine Genealogical Society Dues for 2012

If you haven't already paid your 2012 dues yet, now is the time to think about it before the second notice goes out.

Message from the MGS Membership Secretary: Time to Renew Your MGS Membership for 2012

It's time to renew your membership and pay your dues for 2012. Current members will be receiving their postcard reminders very soon. At the Fall Conference in Bangor, the members voted to raise the dues by $5.00 to $25.00 to cover the increasing costs of postage and printing. This will send your publications via bulk rate mail. If you want them a bit sooner, add $5.00 for First Class mail delivery.

Please mail your renewals and new memberships to:
Maine Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 221, Farmington, ME 04938

Membership renewal (standard mail) $25.00

Add First Class Postage U.S. (optional*) (mail arrives sooner) $5.00

Canada (U.S. Funds required) $9.00

Foreign (U.S. Funds required) $14.00

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Freeman Family

Looking for informaion on a Jacob Freeman show name change in 1835 from Toothaker to Freeman. I show married to either a Mary Toothaker or a Mary Hodgkins and the father to Andrew Jackson Freeman. I am trying to trace lineage further back if I can and kind of drawing a blank wall at this stage. Jacob Freeman had his name changed from Toothaker to Freeman in 1835 and I have him married to Mary Hodgkins 23 Nov of that year.

Other relative would be James Smith married to Harriet B. Horton and I just can't trace back on the Smith male side of the family. I don't even have dates or places of birth, and death for these two individuals. Information I can obtain is very scimpy from this end. Being in Nevada and from Maine is quite a distance. My mother was Nellie L. and as I stated was a daughter of Harry. She married Everett W. Freeman in 1933.

need to have any information Helen Hansen married to Harrry Leslie Smith around 1926 Milo or that area had three children Margarite C. Smith, Leslie Smith and a third child it would be a daughter and would need date of birth, name and place of birth if available. My mother was a daughter of Harry and by a different marriage, these would be step sisters and step brother to her and my half nephew and half neices I think. Harry died in Milo in 1968 at age 91.

Thanks, Ronald Freeman at

March Workshop in Toronto – Finding Your Great War Ancestors

Registration is now open for what may be the most authoritative Great War workshop during your genealogical lifetime! Don’t miss Finding Your Great War Ancestors, a packed full-day workshop to be held in March 2012 in Toronto, co-sponsored by the Toronto Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society and the Canadiana Department of North York Central Library. Choose one of three concurrent lecture streams – British Research, Canadian Research and “Case Studies and Curios” – or mix and match the topics that interest you the most. Learn from some of the world’s leading Great War experts, including Simon Fowler, one of Britain’s top family history teachers, writers and researchers, and Canadian War Museum historian and author Tim Cook. Discover new resources and practical research strategies, find out about intriguing projects now underway, experience poignant and sometimes shocking stories, and gain new perspectives on the “war to end war”.

Where: North York Memorial Community Hall, 5110 Yonge Street, Toronto (at North York Centre subway station)

When: Saturday 31 March 2012

Early registration rates apply until 22 February 2012, and special discounts are available for OGS members. For full program details, speaker biographies and registration information, visit

Many thanks for helping to spread the word about our family history activities.

Gwyneth Pearce
Toronto Branch, Ontario Genealogical Society
Now on Facebook and Twitter @TOFamilyHistory


Need proof that Thomas ATKINSON and Lydia Norris are the parents of Cyrus Foss ATKINSON b. abt. 1807 probably in Wayne, Kennebec County, Maine. Thomas moved to Montville, Waldo County after 1810 and died there abt. 1835. Cyrus moved from Montville to Burnham, Waldo County circa 1833 where he lived until 1866 when he moved to Pierce County, Wisconsin.

Linda Atkinson
133 Bordeaux Court, Woodbury, MN 55125

Seeking information on Nathan Marcellus Bragg, son of George Bragg

Nathan was born in Dixmont, Maine March 8, 1850/51. He married Anna Marsh in 1872 and married Emma (Emily) F. Cates in 1876...I believe he was a fish peddler. He died in Palmyra, Somerset County, Maine in 1903.

If anyone knows anything regarding this man, please contact me at:

Thanks in advance for your thoughtfulness.
Bob Pratt