Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Step by Step, Bit by Bit, Learning More About Hannah Larcom

"Step By Step" MPN photos

Hannah Larcom, my 6th Great Grandmother, wasn't exactly a brick wall, but she has been one lady for whom each answer tended to bring more questions.

It all started several months ago when I found the marriage record for Hannah Larcom and my 6th Great Grandfather Stephen Fairfield.(1)  The record was simple to find on a page of marriage records from Wenham, Massachusetts. There were even two other Fairfield relatives whose marriages were recorded on the same page. But who were Hannah's parents? Had she always lived in Wenham? And when was she born? Already the answer of her marriage date brought new information to seek.

There are a number of online family trees that listed Hannah as being the daughter of Mordecai Larcom so I tried to verify this information as the online trees all seemed to cite other online trees as the source. Sure enough, in the same collection of Wenham, Massachusetts records, I found the birth of a Hannah Larcom, daughter of Mordecai and his wife Abigall, born in Wenham 16 July 1704.(2) Now I knew the possible parents, birthplace, and birth date for Hannah.

It wasn't long before I stumbled over a big rock. While looking through that same record collection for some Fairfield information, I came across the unexpected. A death record for Hannah Larcom. Hannah, the daughter of Mordecai and Abigall, had died in October of 1704, at the age of just three months.(3) The fact meant that either two different people were the parents of Hannah Larcom or, as was frequently the case, Mordecai and Abigall later had a second daughter whom they also named Hannah. One more answer, more questions.

Trying to find a record of the birth of another Hannah Larcom still has me stumped. I have searched the available birth and baptismal records available online for the town of Wenham, Massachusetts, as well as those of the neighboring towns of Beverly and Ipswich, without having any success. The only mention thus far that I've found for a later birth date for a Hannah Larcom was in "Genealogy of the Larcom Family" published in a 1922 issue of the Essex Historical Collection journals.(4) This lengthy two-part article lists a Hannah Larcom, daughter of Mordecai Larcom, who was baptized in 1711 and [who became the] wife of Stephen Fairfield.

A further link between Hannah Larcom and her parents Mordecai and Abigail was found in the probate records of Mordecai Larcom's estate. Mordecai Larcom had died intestate in 1712, but his estate, however, was not probated until after the death of his wife Abigall in 1741.(5) Hannah's husband, Stephen Fairfield, appeared as a witness on a number of documents related to the probate proceedings, and a division of the estate was made to Stephen Fairfield "in right of his wife Hannah".(6)

Once again, Birth, Marriage, and Death/Probate records provided answers to some of the questions about Hannah. Looking for that elusive original birth or baptismal record from 1711 for Hannah will stay on my To-Do List for a while. For now I'll have to be satisfied with possible baptismal information and the probate records to connect Hannah to Mordecai Larcom and Abigail Solart as her parents. Several dots that could finally be connected to made a line on my family tree.

Later, when I started searching for information about Hannah's Solart grandparents, I found myself pulled in an unexpected direction. Talk about examining a Bright Shiny Object! I found not just more questions but a surprising brush with history. Definitly the subject for a future post. Or two.

(1) Massachusetts Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988. Database and Images, Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : 2011); citing Wenham Births, Marriages and Death, 670 of 696 images.
(2) Massachusetts Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988. Database and Images, Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : 2011); citing Wenham Vital Record Transcripts, p 57.
(3) Massachusetts Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988. Database and Images, Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : 2011); citing Wenham Vital Record Transcripts, p 210.
(4) Abbott, William F. "Genealogy of the Larcom Family", Essex Institute Historical Collectionm vol, LVIII, 1922; accessed on Google Books.
(5) "Essex, Massachusetts Probate Records, 1648-1840", Ancestry.com; citing Sanborn, Melinde Lutz. Essex County, Massachusetts Probate Index, 1638-1840. Salem, MA,  probate of estate of Mordecai Larcom, 2 Jun 1741; 
(6) Massachusetts, Essex, Probate File Papers, 1638-1881, Essex Cases 16000-17999, #16401 Mordeca Larcom; accessed AmericanAncestors.org

Thursday, February 2, 2017

My Genealogy Bullet Journal, Month 2

Public Domain Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Some say that doing something daily for 30 days is enough time and opportunity to establish a habit. After using my Genealogy Bullet Journal for the month of January, I can state that I have established a new habit. A habit that enhances the way I research. A habit I feel will stay with me into the future.

Last month I posted about starting my Genealogy Bullet Journal. Frankly I wasn't sure exactly how or even why I would use it, but I felt bullet journaling was a trend worth investigating. Here are some of the things I tried and learned through January's 31 days.
  • I experimented with several different weekly spreads, trying to find one that suited me. After all starting with a blank journal gives you the opportunity to try different things, different looks, add your touch. I've ended up settling on the basic spread shown in my first post. I found that amount and organization of space has been enough for what I wanted to note and record for any given day.

  • Yes, it is SO tempting to add color, stamps, stickers, you name it to a bullet journal. I confess, I picked up a set of planner stamps on sale at my local craft store. 
    • I like putting an ! or * or thumbs up to indicate success. They are a good balance for the frowny faces :( I draw when I've spent an afternoon or two looking, or searching, or reading and found nothing that advances my research, all that negative research that is a real part of genealogy. I still enjoy looking at photos of all those beautifully designed bujos (bullet journals) on Instagram and Pinterest, but my ministampers will probably be the extent of my bujo creativity. 
    • The list stamp has proven to be helpful. Just stamp it on a sticky note, list up to six places I plan to look for information about that person or event, and I'm ready to go. All research questions won't focus on using the same sources. My check list stamp encourages me to consider the wide variety of possible sources to use, some online, some at a library or in a book, something in my files that might warrant a closer look. 
  • Every once in a while, we stumble upon something that is some simple, yet so great. That is the way I feel about my 3F idea - First File Fifteen minutes. Having those seven task boxes across a page of my weekly spread kept me going. Besides seeing my document pile shrink, there was also that simple little kid joy in seeing all seven boxes marked as tasks completed for the week. By the end of January, I had actually looked at, read over, and filed about 3 inches of documents in my file basket, all relating to my Perkinson family tree. This filing time was a daily warm up to more serious research. Now, for February, I'm starting to dig through the stuff relating to my husband's Nelson family tree. And later, once that pile is cleared, I'll spend time looking through my files to see what needs to be placed elsewhere, clear out duplicates, determine new questions for which to seek an answer. Filing, like laundry, will be an ongoing task!
  • I am learning to use and rely on the Collections section of my bujo. First, as I filed, if I had a question or noticed something needing further research, I finally had a place to record it. On days when I wasn't sure exactly as to what I wanted or needed to research, I could turn to my Research Questions in the Collections section, choose a question I had previously recorded and I was good to go for several days.
    • Here is just one example. I had printed out a family group sheet on the William Huey Family that I had found on FamilySearch.org. It listed names, dates, children, their spouses for my 4th Great Grandfather's family but NO sources. My first research question was to try to verify the information on this printout along with a note as to the folder and item number where the printout was filed. I'm still working on this project, but I'm also finding a few sources for some of the information on the printout.
    • Learning more about the Hueys has lead me to add another collection section, one I'm calling my Treasure Chest. After spending parts of a week browsing through the Pennsylvania Archives on Ancestry.com, looking for anything about the Hueys, I added a note describing this resource in my Treasure Chest. I wrote "Pennsylvania" in large letters, then a paragraph to describe the types of information I found there - things like marriage records, rosters of militia, immigration information complete with a physical description of the immigrant and his/her family background. Even though I found only a few Huey facts, I know I want to remember this resources in the future when researching ancestors in 1650-1800 Pennsylvania, even if it is months from now that I jump back into some Pennsylvania area research.
  • Having the big picture of my yearly spread is helping me better plan for blog posts and research times. Now that we have some family trips, looking after grandchildren, and a few get-togethers listed, I can see times in which to plan or add on some research trips. 
  • My bujo isn't replacing my detailed research log. Instead it supplements my research. I add a few notes in my daily block noting the family, area, topic, or source I researched. Looking back over my diary entries for the month of January, I get a feel for what I did and can gain ideas as to other approaches or resources to use. I can also see that I've spent enough time, for now, on looking for the Hueys in early 1700s. It is about time to move on to another question. My actual research log will continue to be the private notes I add for an individual in Family Tree Maker.
Meanwhile, I've also started a personal bullet journal. It too has the 3F filing blocks which I'm using to get our household files in order and to look for any paperwork needed for filing our taxes for the year. I've also added daily check boxes for my walking / exercising. On the daily spread, there are notes about progress on some of those household projects we want need to address in 2017. There is also room for journaling my reflections on things I read or the Bible study in which I am involved. The yearly and monthly calendars contain lists of our family activities and various volunteer commitments. Another bujo as individual as its writer.

It looks like I'm hooked on bullet journaling. Where is my heart stamp when I need it?