Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday - Lt. Daniel Bagg 1776

Lieutenant Daniel Bagg

This is the exquisite headstone of Lieutenant Daniel Bagg who died on December 21,1776 at the age of 44. He is buried in Westfield, Massachusetts at the Old Burying Ground also called The Mechanic Street Cemetery. Although he was not my family, I photographed his grave because of it's beauty and uniqueness. As I was sorting through the photographs the date he died, 1776 and the fact he was a lieutenant, peaked my curiosity. A quick search revealed he was listed among the dead listed in the book "Known Military Dead During the American Revolutionary War, 1775-1783" written by Clarence Stewart Peterson. However, he is listed as "died" not killed. Exactly how he died is unknown, however, he did die while in service to the revolution. So for this blog post, I decided to look for the names of his parents. This is what I found. Daniel Bagg was born on 24 February 1696/97 in Westfield, Massachusetts. He was the son of Daniel Bagg and Hannah Phelps. He married, Abigail Dewey, daughter of Thomas Dewey and Abigail Dewey, on 12 December 1734 in Westfield. I knew if he married a Dewey during this time frame she was somehow related to my family. After all, this is the cemetery my early Dewey settlers are buried in. Further checking revealed that Thomas Dewey was the son of Jedidiah and Sarah Orton and his mother Abigail Dewey was the daughter of Thomas Dewey II and Constant Hawes. So Daniel Bagg was not related to me directly, however, his wife was. Had I not written this blog post, I never would have known that.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday - Jonathan and Thankful Hunt

From the Bridge Street Cemetery in Northampton, Massachusetts

Buried here ye bodies of Jonathan & Thankful Hunt children of Deacon Jonathan Hunt who were killed by lightening July 5 1799 in ye 13 year of his age & ye 7 year of her age.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Surname Saturday - Griggs

My most difficult quest has been my finding my family in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania. Many of the records I needed were lost in a local flood, to time or because they did not exist yet when my family arrived there in the early days of the county. When they arrived Susquehanna County did not exist yet. Pictured here is my 2nd great grandfather Abel Kent and on the back of this picture is a notation my grandfather wrote "Etta's father, Abel, son of Carlton and Sally taken before Etta's marriage". Indeed! Her father died when she was only 7 years old. Abel Kent died on 15 September 1868 so the picture must predate that. Aside from the name Sally, I did not know anything when I began looking into the Kent family. I found references that her surname was Griggs but those references also included parents that could not possibly be hers due to their ages. So I put Sally off to the side...until this week I discovered Ancestry had put church records for Susquehanna County online which included Methodist Churches. I knew Etta Kent married Charles Dewey who was a Methodist so I had high hopes. I searched each and every record for Susquehanna County and I found a baptism record for Sally! Not only that but the record dated August 20, 1797 stated "Polley Griggs wife of Noah Griggs and children Lucina, Salley and Susie". So, now I finally have verification of her parents and know they arrived in the very early days of the county from Connecticut. I already knew they came from Connecticut and her father was probably Noah so I went to my Griggs notes and was able to trace her Griggs line back to Salem, Massachusetts. Sally's 3rd great grandfather was Dr. William Griggs who began his life in the colonies in the same place as the Kent's, Gloucester, Massachusetts. He removed to Salem as the town doctor where he got caught up in the infamous witch trials. Sadly he "diagnosed" people as witches during this time. There is an abundance of information on him so I will be busy researching her family for some time. One thing is clear...his sons left Salem shortly after the witch trials for Connecticut. I am certain the participation of their father in the witch trials had everything to do with that but I am hoping I will be able to find documents that prove this. Doctor William Griggs died 4 months after the conclusion of the witch trials. Which leads me to wonder if there is a story behind that as well. In the meantime, I am so grateful to have access to so many new records becoming available online. I have found so much this week, my head is spinning! I even found newly released records for my mother this week so it pays to never give up and keep checking.
The farm of Abel Kent, Jr. and Diadema Horton in Herrick, Susquehanna County

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Nonno at Work

My grandfather, Joe Napolitano, at his job as chef at The Chicago Club, Michigan Avenue, Chicago

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Shopping Saturday - Ebay and Genealogy?!

For years I have used Ebay as a resource for genealogy. Besides the obvious - books, it can be used for so much more. In the days before Google Earth it provided a great resource for vintage pictures of my Italian ancestral home towns. I learned early to check both the American Ebay and Ebay Italia for rare books and found many old postcards in these searches. On Ebay Italia I even found a postcard of a small country store run by the Zingone family in Montalto Uffugo. I knew exactly who this family was! I also found a historical document from the neighboring town of Rende that would have been posted in the town and throughout the area as well as mailed to other officials throughout Italy. The letter was a plea for help after an earthquake to outsiders and a notice of comfort to the citizens that help would be coming soon. This original historical document described the destruction and even gave a precise time the earthquake stuck. I was able to purchase it for a very modest fee and put it on my website to share with anyone with roots in the area. This letter gave me a insight into the suffering of my ancestors.
I have also been able to use Ebay for my American roots as well. For those with early American roots it is possible to read about our direct line ancestors in a multitude of books as well as the early days of the towns they settled. These books are (naturally) available for sale on Ebay but so much more can be found. Early post cards offer images of places our grandparents and great grandparents lived as it looked in their lifetimes. I have even found postcards of ancestors homes. Since most of these postcards (if they are truly vintage) are copyright free, they can be used on your websites and scrapbooks. Artwork can also offer views of towns that go even further back in time and if you are very lucky, you may find vintage portraits or photographs of family members. Vintage letters and envelopes can also be found that were addressed to or written by someone's ancestors. Perhaps it was yours?