Category Archives: Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge

S is for Stories

I know it’s been a while since I wrote one of these posts. To be honest I was working on a huge post about how my family was involved in the Salem Witch Trials. I decided to make it a mini series instead. Look forward to them in the coming weeks.

As for today’s post I’d like to talk about stories. I don’t know about you, but that’s one of the main reasons why I wanted to search for my family history. I’m a huge history lover and always wondered if my family ever made history. When I started piecing together my ancestors stories I found out that the ones with the best stories were just ordinary people.

I love hearing how people met, fell in love and where they decided to spend the rest of their lives. Everyday I learn something new and it keeps me going.



R is for Rachel

I had a different subject for “R” planned out but as many of you know things in genealogy just pop up and demand attention. So today I’m going to talk a little about Rachel Flanders.

While I was searching for the parents and origin of Louise Bergen who married Uriah Flanders I decided maybe it was time to look at the husband. In the 1850 Census Uriah is the head of house. He’s living with a Rachel Flanders, John Flanders and a family by the last name of Collins.


I assumed maybe that was his first wife. After more research I learned that Uriah had an older sister named Rachel. She was only about two years older than Uriah. The Rachel listed above is 4 years older. I still strongly believe that this Rachel (above) is his sister. The John Flanders listed is his younger brother I know for a fact.

In the following census records I found Rachel living with John. Uriah has moved on to live with his now wife Louise. Below is the 1870 Census of Rachel and John, living with his wife Julia.


So is it safe to assume that this Rachel listed in 1850 is his sister? Does the 2 year age difference matter? I haven’t  been able to find another marriage record for Uriah other than the one to Louise. Nor have I been able to find the birth record for Rachel. The information I have on her comes from the book “Flanders from Europe to America.”

Whether Rachel was Uriah’s first wife or she was his sister, I think it’s safe to say that she has my attention now and I want to find out more about her.

Q is for Questions

I think it’s safe to say that 95% of people start their genealogy search because they have questions. Whether it’s about their ancestor’s lives or health history. It always starts with a question. My personal search started with “What happened to Aimee Thomas’ children?” Once I found out the answer I had even more questions I wanted to know. “What country did we come from?” “Do we really have Native American blood?” “Are we descendants of Kings?”

I was a tad disappointed when the a few answers revealed that we were just normal people who were the backbone of the country. When I started to get into the stories of their lives, I learned that even the “normal” people had extraordinary lives.

The following are 5 of the remaining hundreds of questions that I still have.

1.) Who are Louise Marie Bergen (Berginbeth)’s parents and what country did she come from?

2.) Was Hannah Ross b. 31 Mar 1679 the daughter of John Ross?

3.) If Hannah Ross is the daughter of John Ross, is he the same John Ross who along with his father Daniel were captured by Cromwell’s army in Scotland at the end of the Third English Civil War?

4.) Did Josiah Blanchard b. 1698 die in Spain?

5.) Who are my paternal great grandparents?

I hope the answer to these questions as well as all the others I have are answered one day. But the answer to one question usually brings about 10 more.

P is for Putnam

Any New England history buff or even movie buffs for that matter should know about the Putnam family. They were synonymous with the Salem Witch Trials. I’ll talk more about the trials later. For today I want to talk a little bit about this family’s history in America.

Lieutenant Thomas Putnam eldest son of John and Priscilla Putnam, baptized Ashton Bucks Co., England March 7, 1614, and died Salem Village Massachusetts May 5, 1686. Thomas participated in the famous Narragansett fight, being Lieutenant of the troop of Horse. He was married at Lynn, Massachusetts August 17, 1643 to Ann, daughter of Edward and Prudence (Stockton) Holyoke one of the most prominent and aristocratic families in the Colony and founders of the present city of Holyoke, Massachusetts. She occupied in the church the principal pew reserved for women, the leading church distinction in that day. Her death occurred Sept 1, 1666. Lt. Thomas and Ann (Holyoke) Putnam were the grandparents of Major General Israel Putnam, and great grandparents of Major General Rufus Putnam. Ann Holyoke Putnam was the great aunt of Edward Holyoke, President of Harvard University from 1737-1769. (*Taken from Genealogical and Family History of the State of Vermont*)

After the death of his first wife, Lt. Putnam married Sept 14.1666 Mary Veren widow of Nathaniel Veren, a wealthy merchant of Salem, Massachusetts, she died in March 1694. On November 11, 1672, Lt. Putnam was made Chairman of the Committee to carry on the affairs of the Church Parish. He was the wealthiest citizen of Salem. (*Taken from Genealogical and Family History of the State of Vermont*)

Son, Sgt. Thomas, born Salem Jan 12, 1652. Baptized in the First Church and he died Salem, Massachusetts, May 26, 1699. On Sept 25, 1678 he was married to the youngest daughter of George and Elizabeth Carr of Salisbury, her death occurred in Salem June 8, 1699. Thomas Putnam received a liberal education and wrote a fine clear hand. Many of the records of the Witch Craft trials, in which he took a prominent part, were written by him. He was the largest taxpayer in Salem, and a man of great influence in the Massachusetts Colony. (*Taken from Genealogical and Family History of the State of Vermont*)

With that it leads us into S. However I don’t want to skip any letters so we’ll have to wait to talk about the Salem Witch Trials.

O is for the Osgood Sisters

When I started my family research I didn’t think about the possibility that there would be families where I was related to more than one child. I was shocked and a little appalled when I found out that I was related to cousins that married as well. That’s not something that happens in this era.

I had to take a step back and remember not to judge people that I never knew. Then I remembered about the time period all of this was happening. There weren’t many people in the tiny town that my ancestors lived in. I just have to remember that it was common back then.

Sarah and Mary Osgood were the daughters of William Osgood and Elizabeth Clere.

Mary married Thomas Currier in 1668. Of her children, Richard and Anne would go on to become ancestors in my family tree.

Sarah married John Colby in 1675. John’s parents are John Colby and Frances Hoyt. Frances was the mother to three children who became my ancestors.

If you’re not confused by now my props go out to you. I’m still trying to organize all of them to make sure that I have them straight. Does anyone else have ancestors like this?

N is for National Societies

I am a huge fan of The Gilmore Girls. I ate up every episode I could get my hands on. It was on that show I first heard about the DAR. The Daughters of the American Revolution. Mrs. Gilmore was a member and I remember thinking “What a rich elitist group of stuck ups. Who would ever want to be apart of that?” I didn’t care much for Mrs. Gilmore.

I have of course done a complete 180 on the whole idea. I look forward to the day when I have everything in order and get accepted. How exciting that time will be.

There are two possible ancestors that I am looking into that would give me DAR status. The first is Stephen Fuller. From what I have gathered, he fought in New York. There is a problem with him though. Below is a statement he wrote explaining his war service.


There are some details that just don’t match up to what I’ve found on him. This Stephen and my Stephen both have wives named Lydia. It’s possible they are the same  person, but I’m just not sure right now.

The second ancestor is the easier of the two. He is the one I will probably use. Jonathan Holman was a Colonel in the War. There are so many documents on his family than there are for Stephen’s. I just need to get my hands on a few more records and I should be all set.

To be honest I wish I was able to get more on Stephen. His last name, Fuller, was in the family all the way to my great great grandmother Aimee. I think it would mean more to myself and my mother to be added under his name.

The DAR isn’t the only society I am looking to belong to. Once I have completed the DAR, I’m going to start with The Sons and Daughters of the First Settlers of Newbury, Mass. Grants it’s not a big as the DAR but to my family who grew up in New England, it’s just as important.

Since my family has been here before there was a country I’m sure there are many more societies I could apply to. For someone who started this journey thinking we never did anything cool, I was taken by complete surprise.

M is for Moore-Mcclelland

Every family has at least one adoption. For my family one of these would be my maternal grandfather. He was born William Moore on Nov 28, 1942 in Ohio. His birth parents are Ida and Isaac Moore. Not must is known about his birth parents other than the story his adoptive parents have told.

When William was a few months old, a couple came into a bar for a late/early drink. While they were enjoying each others company they overheard a woman. She was boasting about the baby she had upstairs who they had either given alcohol or drugs to. Appalled, the woman left the table and  went upstairs. After seeing the conditions the baby was living in they took him. We assume they made a deal with the birth parents, but it’s unknown what the details were.

The couple that took him in was Florence McClelland and her husband. They intended to only keep baby William for a few days, but decided to adopt him. William Moore became Bradford McClelland, although he wouldn’t legally change his name until 1992, 50 years later.

Bradford’s daughter from his second marriage recently found his birth record. We learned that his birth parents had four other children by the time he was born. We never knew anything about them being there that night.

What would have happened to my grandfather had the McClelland’s not stepped into that bar that night? Searching for his family has been nothing but dead ends so far. I haven’t given up hope yet that I might learn what they actually saved him from.


L is for Luther

Today’s letter is L. Luther Waters Blanchard is my 4th great grandfather. He was born on April 1st, 1833 in Brookfield, Vermont. He married Martha Hibbrad in Braintree, Vermont on September 7th, 1865. He passes away on September 15, 1906 in Brookfield, Vermont.

Those are just dates and numbers relating to a man who lived so long ago. What I wanted to know when I started searching for him, was his life story. Luther had eight children within the span of ten years. Other than the 1860 Census where he was living in Braintree, he was born and died in the same town in Vermont. That in itself is amazing to me, because I’ve moved around my whole life.

The most interesting thing that I’ve found on Luther was this: (I cropped the image to just show Luther, if you are interested in seeing the entire image I can send a copy to you)


It’s a Civil War Draft Registration record. I have yet to find any other family member with a similar record. I don’t know if because we were in the North, my families didn’t think they should fight, or I just haven’t found the records yet, but I was excited to find this one.

I don’t know if Luther ever actually fought in the war, but I do know that he was going to fight for the Union. Of course as an American today, that is great news for me. I know that a lot of my ancestors fought in the American Revolution and the French and Indian Wars but until finding this I thought that was the end of our Military experience until the mid 1900s.

I hope to continue my search on  Luther and his family and look forward to finding more Civil War stuff from the rest of my ancestors.

K is for King James Version

Today’s letter is K. Throughout my research on genealogy I keep reading people talk about Family Bibles. As far as I knew we had no such Bible in the family.

My grandmother was the first person in our family to become a born again Christian. At least in recent memory. From her we all began to go to church and read the Bible. I remember her huge study Bible but never thought about what was in it. Could our family history be written down?

A couple months ago my mother was going through some of the stuff she received after my grandmother died. In it was a family Bible. My reaction was probably a lot more excited than the normal person. I never got to talk to my grandmother about our family before she died and my great grandmother (bless her soul) never cared much about family. She passed away with a lot of knowledge we couldn’t’ get out of her.

I was so excited to see this Bible and all the information it contained. And it had little quotes and notes throughout that my grandmother made. I have 3 other Bibles, but this is by far one of my favorites. Even if it’s harder to read.


J is for Just a minute

Today’s letter is J. I have no idea what to talk about today so I’m taking “just a minute” to recollect my thoughts and take a rest. I’ve posted a lot in the last week so today is a “me” day. I will continue with K tomorrow and if something comes to mind for J I will revisit it.