Saturday, January 7, 2012

Finding William Greene & The Courage of our Immigrant Ancestors

First let me thank you and the other ancestors who made last evenings success possible, even though it was in the midnight hour. I am not complaining! I am so excited!

I've located my 3x Great-Grandfather, William Greene, in the immigrant records of passenger ships.  How long have I chased this particular record? Long enough to cause great consternation.

How did I find him? I used, found the record, decided it wasn't my kin, used Google, used NARA, used ships lists, looked through some Irish history websites- most of which I'd been to before, found a website that dealt with the famine that had a story.

The main point that I came away with- in regard to my particular search last evening -was that the majority of the ships that came to America carrying the Irish emigrants departed from Liverpool, England and landed in New York. I had dismissed New York  as a point of entry feeling that in 1851, the very end of the famine ships, anyone leaving Ireland with intention of coming to Boston would take the ship going to Boston.  Shame on me for “figuring”.

I went back to my notes on William and there it was, 1851 plus /minus 5 years.
I’d tried to figure when I thought he may have immigrated based on his marriage in Massachusetts (1853) and the first census that he appeared in (1860).
NARA had a record of William Green, age 24, departing from Liverpool on the Emma Fields in 1851, and landing in New York on 13 November. So then I had to find a ships list that had the passenger list, and then proceeded to find a copy of a NY Times notification of ship arrivals for that date. Then just to be absolutely sure, I found a ships list transcribers site that had transcribed the Emma Fields passenger list.

After that I was pretty much right there with my William. But before I leave you I must leave you with a link to a letter that was sent by a young man who came by ship to America. He tells of his voyage across the sea.  Please read this letter. Then you will understand just how courageous these ancestors were.

Your Niece
NARA Info: Display Full Records,17170,17172,17189,17177,17180,17190,17181&bc=sb,sl,fd&txt_17169=Greene&op_17169=0&nfo_17169=V,20,1900&txt_17170=William&op_17170=0&nfo_17170=V,19,1900&rpp=10&pg=1&rid=591636&rlst=52131,591636
File Unit: Famine Irish Passenger Record Data File (FIPAS), 1/12/1846 - 12/31/1851 in the Series: Records for Passengers Who Arrived at the Port of New York During the Irish Famine, created 1977 - 1989, documenting the period 1/12/1846 - 12/31/1851. - Collection CIR Brief Scope: These materials identify 604,596 persons who arrived in the Port of New York, 1846-1851, and the ships on which they arrived.
Emma Fields (of Bath), [Captain]Snow, Liverpool, 28 ds.,[at sea for 28 days] mdse [merchandise] and 429 passengers to master [acting as agent]. Died on board, W. L. Baker,seaman, of Baltimore.
NY Times Info:
From: (Harry Dodsworth)
Subject: [TSL] Five arrivals, NY, November 13, 1851
Date: Wed, 16 Jul 2003 19:41:25 -0400 (EDT)

New York Daily Times, November 14, 1851 (microfilm)
IMMIGRANTS - The following Immigrant ships arrived at this port yesterday [all from Liverpool]
Ship Telamon 561 [persons on board]
Ship Martha J. Ward 400
Ship Emma Fields 429
Ship Constance 600
Ship Universe 600
Total 2,590 [persons]
The Constance was reported as the Constantine in the arrival notices.
I think Constantine was the correct spelling.
Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild - Emma Fields

Friday, January 6, 2012

Where For Art Thou Relatives?

Dear Uncle,

I've once again trotted out the papers and books and maps and magnifying glasses.  I've once again set up the little chart that I can tape to the computer monitor. I've re-checked the census info for birthplaces.

I've got my Griffiths Valuation list handy and I've got the Genealogical Atlas of Ireland at hand. I'd already started to trace the surnames by county from the years 1848 - 1864.

I'll go back through and check the estimated immigration dates to see if that might narrow the search.

Right about now I'm really not happy that we kids weren't close to my Dad's side of the family. For alot of reasons. So much was missed.  Being back in touch with my cousins has been a huge blessing. At least they share their memories.  Of course, now everyone we could ask questions of is gone.  And we are all 1800 miles from "Home" in Massachusetts, where the history is.  Therein lies the challenge.

This may require a trip back .  To funeral homes and cemeterys and churches.  As a new friend just told me.."The Irish may have lied to the census man, but they wouldn't lie to their parish priest."  I imagine she is right.

Uncle it has been a great deal easier dealing with the other side of my dad's family- the English side - your side- going back 13 generations was a piece of cake compared to this. But it's onward!

Your niece

When Irish Eyes are starting to smile

Dear Uncle,

I'm back on track and on the hunt for the Irish side of the family. I've used the searches on , Rootsweb, and Family Search. I found another site that has the Griffiths Valuation and I've loaded the Griffiths Valuation info into a word document so that I can take my time with each of the names in each county.  I've been to the website and done a surname search to see if that might help in so far as where the majority of the surnames were most likely from. Handy site though.  It has the gaelic spelling of the names also.   I've printed out a beautiful map of Ireland from .  I'll have to use a magnifying glass on the printout but I can go back up to the site and enlarge the map on the computer screen if I have to. I've checked the LDS site for my Irish kin and have found some info but it is for the US info, nothing yet for Ireland. And I do have a form for each person to help me sort out the emmigration situation. Passenger lists are an issue and will take alot of time to go through.

I have a box of  "stuff" that I had marked "Irish" which besides the individual folders of my folks contains heaven only knows what.  Just "stuff" that I found along the way which I probably thought I might need in the future.  I'll peruse that box tomorrow.

I went to the library today and met a woman by the name of Pat who is also known as "The Family Detective".  She volunteers at the library in the genealogy department.  Today was a quiet day and we shared a table.  I was looking at some old magazines that sometimes help give me a bit of inspiration as to where to look next. 

We got to talking about how long we've each been doing this (both 30 years), how things have advanced - from paper and pencil to computers and flash drives.  Then of course it came down to "So who are you looking for?"  We're both looking for - big sigh- Irish folks.

It would be lovely if we had some unusual names to look for, but of course not.  I've got Greene, Moran, Garvey and Morris, just for starters.  I had to send an email to Pat to get her folks names.  I figure I can just as easily check for her folks too  while I'm looking for mine.

I'll do an analysis chart on my folks and see if I can come up with some kind of trail to follow.  It's helped in the past.  Perhaps it will help again.

In the meantime I will send an etherial request to the Irish ancestors and see if they can give a little guidance, drop a few breadcrumbs, have a website pop up out of nowhere with all the info I need. You know...something a little serendipitous.

Until next time,
Your Niece


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

I love every thing that is old; old friends, old times, old manners, old books, old wines.

From She Stoops to Conquer by Oliver Goldsmith. The play was performed for the first time at Covent Garden Theatre, London on March 15th, 1733

Dear Uncle,

In keeping with my intent to pay more attention to the Irish side of the family I've been poking around the internet looking for some historical perspective.  Per usual I have ended up all over the internet because there are just so many interesting things. 

I happened upon the quote above and decided that if I had to describe what I love about Genealogy it would be that it is old, my ancestors become my old friends, I am fascinated by the old times, I appreciate the old manners ( and I miss them), I LOVE old books and the taste of old wines. I love old architecture, old cities and streets and old maps. And history...I love history, the history of persons and places and things.

I think that I am not the only family historian who thinks that way.

I now have a roadmap to follow with the Irish side.  I may not know precisely where my folk came from but there is enough history to tell a tale or two and paint a picture.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Who is Selah?

Dear Uncle,
It has been brought to my attention that I should identify you.   I should have and I apologize for not doing so earlier. So for those who may read this in the future here are a few things about my Uncle.

Selah Beal  ( 1805 - 1889) was born in Lyme, Grafton, New Hampshire, 4 June 1805.  He was the son of James Beal (1762 - 1828) and Urania Tucker (1764 - 1848) of the Woodstock, Connecticut Tuckers.  Her father was Captain Stephen Tucker, her mother was Lois Lyon.

James and Urania Beal had 10 children, Selah being the youngest. If I were to guess at his apprearance, based on descriptions of Beal men who came in later years I would imagine Selah to be of ruddy complexion, dark hair, blue eyes and medium build. He probably stood at about 5'6". 

In 1825, at the age of 20 he married Sally Bishop ( 1804 - 1866).  In reading Selah's journal it was very apparent that he loved Sally very much. They made their home in Lyme, New Hampshire and both are buried in the town cemetery in the town center.

Selah was a student.  By that I mean he studied everything.  The weather, religion, politics, farming, if he was curious about something he studied upon it. He was a people watcher and had many a comment regarding folks he knew or met along the way.  He was very observant.  He was a pious man and a hard working man and seemed to have no mercy on slackers. 

He began his journal on June 4, 1833 with the following words: "I was 28 years old this day".  He was a man of few words. He seemed to have a sense of humor.  A remark in his journal of Sunday, June 23, 1833 : "Went to meeting heard Elder Cheney preach ...the singers met at 5 o'clock, by Elder Cheneys request I did not attend."  Selah mentions several times throughout the 33 years of his journal of his joy of singing.  Unfortunately he coudn't carry a tune and had to content himself by singing away from everyone else. But he never gave up hope of singing in the church choir.

The things that he wrote about were varied.  There were alot of comments about church which he apparently attended several times a week.  He was a teacher. It was interesting to watch Selahs progress in education as he taught the younger children in Lyme.  His spelling in his journal in 1833 leaned towards the phonetic, his grammar needed some help.  Throughout the years the more he taught the more he learned and the more educated he sounded.  His journal entries became more and more involved, his thoughts more expansive. 

The world had opened up for Selah and he was like a starving child eager to soak up as much knowledge as he possibly could.  He was a surveyor, a military man and a chronicler of the towns people and events. His journal is full of recipes for building materials, how-to directions for a number of different things from building to administering oaths of office, to how to read a compass correctly. He was a traveler and had travelled west to see the new Erie canal for himself. He may have marveled at the canal but he was more shocked at the people from "outside" his community. 

By the time I finished reading his journal I loved this man.  I had laughed with him, cried when his best friend died, shared his frustrations over business dealings and a lazy nephew.  His goodbye to his wife was heart wrenching.  I got to know his friends and neighbors, his brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews.

He didn't know, this uncle of mine, when he wrote his words down that some 175 years later, a niece would read them, and feel them, imagine them as if they were happening right then.  He wouldn't know that that niece would pretend he was just out of reach but within writing distance, just to share with him as he had with her.

So there you are Uncle.  I hope this little description meets with your approval.
Your niece

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Blogging Frustration

Dear Uncle,
It is well past your bedtime I know as the sun has been down for several hours.  I, your niece, on the other hand is a night owl. As you can see I am trying, in vain it seems, to have a platform where I can let my thoughts flow into the family world and communicate with you.  I have an issue.  Unlike the 1800's where it was pencil and paper, the 21st century requires that world communication be achived with a computer.  I feel I don't need to explain that to you because where you are you should know everything.

Anyway...I have followed the directions to add links (AKA Gadgets) to my page.  These buttons are to link to the other blogs I follow and to the sites that I use and think others will find useful.  I have put in the information, I have clicked the save or apply or whatever button to make sure that the information sticks.

Where are the links? Well they aren't on the page that's for sure. And to make matters worse when I clicked on what I thought was a link this horrible screen from my security program jumps up and flashes at me that one of the sites I use ALL THE TIME is a horrible , malicious website and it ( the program) is NOT going to let me anywhere near it. If that is indeed the case then why did it let me access said website not two weeks ago without throwing a fit?

Uncle it is late, I am tired and frustrated.  If there is anything that you can do from your side of the veil to help me to either understand the issue or to show me the way to fix it I'd sincerely appreciate it. Otherwise I fear that our communications may come to an end as this computer may become a doorstop.

Your niece

Plans For The Year 2012

Dear Uncle Selah,

I think my plan is to spend a little more time on the Irish side of things. Your 3x great grand nephew - my granddad George Beal- married a lass of double sided Irish.  Her name being Helen Green(e). Now I parenthesized that last e because it shows up in records and then doesn't. I'm going for the "e is attached" theory until I find something that says that it wasn't. I have fleshed out a couple of generations on the irish side and I've been able to find some records to coroborate other "facts".  Thankfully the Town of Natick in Massachusetts has put records up on rootsweb.

The things that are missing are the things that go back to Ireland.  I can admit that I'd always had a "romantic" view of the folks leaving Ireland and coming to America during the famine. That is until I read up on it.  And by that I mean from articles written by the observers who lived in Ireland during that god-forsaken time. I could say that I'm sorry that I read the articles because I did have nightmares, but I'm not sorry I read them.  I am more proud of the ancestors who made it here that I ever was before.  To have lived in Ireland during the time of the famine and the starvation and the expulsion is incomprehensible.

I had recently come across some internent addresses for sites that had to do with Irish immigration and just the other day went to visit.  The site was .  This site was my reality check. My dear uncle, how naive I have been. Although I have been diligent about finding the ancestors and getting back to the 1500's ( took me about 30 years but I'm there), and finding collateral lines, my filling in of the "time of their lives" has been sadly lacking.  So my hope is that 2012 will have me digging a little more into the life and times on the folks.

As I close I must say thank you to you because I know that during the times I get so frustrated it is you who puts the hand on my shoulder and tells me to take a breath. I picture you in a rocking chair and gently guiding me along. How else could I account for the wonderfully "serendipitous" things that have happened?

Your niece