Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Devines of Portland Maine

There were many Devine (Duibhin) families living in the Portland Maine area during the 19th and 20th centuries, and are all buried at Calvary Cemetery in South Portland.  This post will attempt to assemble them in some manner, for the purpose of sharing research with my Devine cousins.  Each family is listed separately below, and I have yet to find a proven link between any of them, but at the bottom of the page I'll attempt a few guesses.

The first seven families come from County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, as apparently do #10 and #14...

1.  James Devine (1828-1864) was born in County Tyrone to Bernard Devine (1784-1864) and his wife Margaret (Bernard is called "Bernard the Elder" here).  James arrived in 1847, married Ellen Norris, and had four children:  Catherine, Edward, Margaret and John.  John married my great grand aunt Elizabeth Leonard, daughter to Mathew Leonard of the Burrow of Portraine, County Dublin.  James died rather young, of consumption. His brother, Bernard Devine, Jr., married Susanna McGlinchey, of County Derry - part of the Portland McGlinchey clan that had a flourishing illegal liquor trade in Portland headed up by her own brother James.

2.  Hugh P. Devine (1842-1912) was born in County Tyrone, according to trees on Ancestry.  His parents were John Devine & Nancy Ward.  Hugh worked as a plasterer, and married Mary A. Feeney of Ireland (1849-1922), and had seven children:  John, Mary (who died at age 20 of liver cancer), William (who moved to Augusta), Margaret, George (who moved to Newcastle), Catherine and Francis (who moved to Cohasset, MA).  They lived on 92 Sheridan Street, in Portland's Munjoy Hill district.  This family is also buried at Calvary Cemetery, South Portland, although several of them had settled in Massachusetts.

3.  Bernard Devine (1847-1914) was born in County Tyrone (according to his naturalization record) to tenant farmer Patrick Devine and his wife Bridget Hegarty.  He emigrated to Portland in June of 1867 and worked as a merchant and a teamster.  I have to believe that he's some relation to James above, whose father and brother were also named Bernard.  Upon arrival, he stayed with the O'Connor family, and soon married Bridget Maney, and lived at 280 State Street, near St. Dominic's.  They had five children.  Only their youngest child, John James Devine (1886-1954), married.  John fought in WWI, and he later moved to South Portland with his wife Eulalia.  They had four sons, and at least eight grandchildren.  Several descendants remain in the Greater Portland area.

4.  Cornelius Devine (1827-1881) was born in County Tyrone (according to his naturalization record) and arrived in Portland in April of 1847.  He worked was a stonemason and lived on 3 Bond Street in Portland.  He and his wife Mary had seven children.  He fought in the Civil War, Company G, Cavalry.  For the 1870 Census, Mary and one of their children James were living in the City Alms House.  This particular family is hard to track, so I don't know if there were any descendants past the seven kids.  In 1865, Cornelius sold a house lot on Salem Lane in the West End to my great uncle, Thomas D. Leonard.  Now, Thomas' niece, Elizabeth Leonard had married James Devine (#1 above) about 20 years prior to this land sale.  I wonder if there was an established and known connection between these two Devines from Tyrone?

5.  Joseph Devine (1870-1950) arrived in Maine in 1889.  He worked as a bricklayer, and was the son of James Devine and Mary Glass of Ballinamallaght, County Tyrone Ireland.  According to some records, he came to Portland with siblings Catherine (who married a Patrick Devine - see #10 below) and John.  He married Bridget Slane in 1892, and had five children (John F., Joseph M., James Edward, Mary C., and young Margaret who died at age 3). None of them had any children to my knowledge, but there is an infant Mary A. Devine buried here, who died in 1998.  I wonder what her connection was.  John died in 1921 while serving in the Navy on the ship Hewitt.  Below is an article in the Portland paper which had declared him missing for five weeks (and reported dead soon thereafter).


6.  George Devine (1834-1863) was born in County Tyrone.  He migrated to Portland in April of  1851, and then married Mary Ann McFarland in 1857.  He worked as a marble polisher and stone cutter.  George fought in the Civil War (Co. G, 5th Maine Infantry), and was wounded and captured at the Battle of the Wilderness in May 1864.  He died of dysentery in a POW camp in Georgia (a common affliction).  George and Mary Ann had two sons, James and Peter, just before George died at the young age of 29.  Only James married (according to his death record), not sure if he had kids.  Mary was present on the 1880 census living next door to Joseph Devine (#5 above).  I wonder if there was a known relation.  George is one of almost 13,000 individuals buried at the Andersonville National Cemetery in Georgia, and I believe the gravesite featured below memorializes him, but also contains the grave for Mary Ann. 


7.  Michael J. Devine (1868-1908) was born in County Tyrone, son to Henry Devine.  He married Margaret Honan, and had one daughter, Bernadette, who died young.  It appears that Margaret may have had an additional child named Florence, prior to her marriage with Michael (see grave below).  No descendants remain.

8.  Patrick Devine (abt 1814-??) was born in Ireland and married a Catherine (1816-1875).  They had a son named James, who died at age 15 in Boston of pneumonia.  They lived on 12 Larch Street in Portland.  Catherine and young James are buried with James above (not sure of the relation, though).  Not sure what ever happened to Patrick.  No descendants.

9.  Coleman E. Devine (1870-1920) was born in County Galway to Martin Devine and Bridget Foley.  He emigrated to Portland in 1888.  He and his wife Bridget Joyce (who was from Northern Ireland) lived on 24 Sheridan Street and had at least ten children (several of them babies which died).  Coleman's brothers Brian and Martin Jr. emigrated to Portland in 1891.  This family lived briefly in Bangor (1910 Census).  Of the ten children of Coleman, only Helen Devine-Mitchell married and she had five children in Westwood, MA.

10.  Patrick Devine (1858-1932) was born in Ireland, arrived in Portland in 1883, and married Ellen Catherine Devine from Ballinamallaght Northern Ireland (daughter to James Devine and Mary Glass, and elder sister to Joseph Devine referenced above in #5, according to statements made by David Cronk on this thread in  Patrick and Catherine lived at 231 Danforth Street and had six children.  Patrick worked as an engine cleaner on the railroad.  When he died, Catherine and the children lived on Vesper Street, and later moved the family homestead to North Street.  Three of his six children married, and bore Patrick grandchildren, some of whom survived to adulthood, in addition to four children who died as infants, buried with Patrick's family.  Now, Patrick's gravesite is very close to Joseph's gravesite.  I haven't established a relationship, but they could be brothers.  If so, Patrick would also be from County Tyrone.  I have no idea who Mary A was (1895-1998), who is listed at the bottom of the gravestone below.  I can't find anyone in the family records who lived to be 103.  If she were a sibling to John, James and Joseph, why wouldn't she be in other records, and why wouldn't she be listed in birth order with the rest of them?

11.  George F. Devine was born in 1870 in Canada to Scottish parents.  He arrived in Portland in 1897.  He and his wife Alice had five children and lived on 469 Washington Avenue.

12.  Stephen Devine (1876-1898) was born in Ireland to tenant farmer Michael Devine and his wife Catherine Foley.  Stephen emigrated to Portland as a young adult, and worked as a longshoreman, but died of typhoid fever at age 22.  He is buried in Calvary Cemetery with an Ellen and a Frank, both of which were born around the same time as he, so they could be siblings.

13.  Stephen Devine (abt 1850-?) married a Sarah, and had two sons named Stephen, each of whom died as babies.  They also had a Sarah.  Not sure of this family's connection or origins.

14.  Richard Devine (1887-1972) was a bookkeeper from Stroanbrack, County Tyrone.  He was one of eleven children born to Bernard "Barney" Devine of Stroanbrack.  He left Ireland for the USA to find a better life, like so many others, and arrived in Portland in 1910, where he went to work for the Burrows Corp at 70 Free Street, where he worked until he went in the US Army in 1918, not long after his first wife Annie had passed from Spanish Flu.  They had wed in 1912, she having been a neighbor back in Ireland, born to Felix Devine of Ballinamallaght (close to Stroanbrack, but no known close relation).  In 1920, Richard remarried to Rose DeCoste, and had two daughters, Helen and Ruth.  He continued working at Burrows Corp as a foreman, after his discharge from the Army.


As for the first seven families:  James (#1 above), Cornelius (#4 above), George (#6 above), Hugh (#2 above)'s father John, Michael (#7 above)'s father Henry, Joseph (#5 above)'s father James, and Bernard (#3 above)'s father Patrick I believe could all be brothers from County Tyrone, and that Bernard the Elder is father to all of them.  They all have proven links to County Tyrone, based on their naturalization records.  I also wonder about #14 having a father also named Bernard from Tyrone.  He may be linked to Bernard the Elder as well.  #8, #10, and #12 were all born in "Ireland" prior to 1922 when N. Ireland was separated, so they could also be connected to these families, and such proof could be obtained by digging through more Naturalization records.

One thing I find intriguing is the very low birth rate of these families.  It appears that only 20% of all of the descendants of the above discussed Devines ever married.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Jamesons of Maine

My seventh great grandfather was William Jameson (1675-1734), a Scotch-Irishman, who arrived in Boston Harbor on 4 August 1718, coming in from Antrim, Ulster, Northern Ireland with his wife and many other Presbyterian pilgrims.  According to Jameson historian Scott Jameson, from Boston Harbor they first settled in Nutfield Plantation, which is now Londonderry, NH.

William Jameson and his sons were founding fathers of Falmouth, Cape Elizabeth, Friendship, Thomaston, Warren, and Rockland, Maine. His grandsons fought in the Revolutionary War.

Many Scotch-Irish (all Presbyterians) had traveled to America at the behest of Samuel Shute, Governor of New Hampshire and Massachusetts.  There is a memorial to Governor Shute, dated March 26, 1718, whereby over three hundred Scotch-Irish had signed their names, "to assure the Governor of their sincere and hearty inclination to transport themselves to that very excellent and renowned plantation, upon their receiving from his excellency suitable encouragement."  Among the signers of this memorial were our ancestors, William Jameson and his brother John.

William Jr. and John had sailed from Northern Ireland, and were sons of William Jameson, a Scottish Presbyterian Covenantor who had fled with his sons from his home in Argyleshire, Scotland in 1685, upon succession of James II, who was anti-Covenant, to the English Crown.  William and his family had resettled in Omagh, County Tyrone.  But not for long, since they were part of a mass Scotch-Irish migration 33 years later.


While William Jr's brother John had settled in Connecticut, William moved north to Maine, in a region known as Purpoodock Point.  This area was later settled as part of the very large town of Falmouth, and William was a founding citizen.  He lived there until his death in 1734.  Some of his children were born there as well, and their area became later known as the town of Cape Elizabeth when it separated from Falmouth in 1765.

William Jr's eldest son, Martin, was an early settler of Saco, Maine, and stayed there until the end of his life, but his three sons, Samuel, Paul, and Alexander eventually moved north and settled the town of Friendship (which was formerly known as Meduncook Plantation).  Their children were early settlers of Thomaston and Rockland.

An important historical book entitled "The Jamesons in America, 1647-1900", published around 1900, traces all their history from arrival in 1718 through to 1900, with a separate chapter entitled "Jamesons in Maine".  I've noticed some discrepancies in this publication when compared to official records, as is always the case with published genealogies.  But largely, it is a reliable and informative history of this large family, and is the source file for much of this writing.

Many of the Jameson family in Maine lived by the ocean in Rockland, in an area now known as “Jameson Point”.


William had eight children, including daughters Mary, Martha, and Patience.

A brief account of his other five children follows:

1.  Martin Jameson (1705-1760) was born in Ulster, Northern Ireland, and came over as a boy with his parents and brother Samuel to Maine.  He fought with his father in active service against the Indians on the "Muster-roll of Capt. John Gray and Company, from June 1st to Nov. 30th, 1725".  He married Grizzel Patterson of Saco about 1738.  At the time of his death, he was the eighth highest payer of taxes in Saco, and his estate was valued at ₤233 (well over $10K in 2010 money).  Their son Robert Jameson founded a large family of Jamesons in Saco, which until 1805 was named Pepperrellborough.  Robert's grandson, Charles Thorndyke Jameson, settled in the Prides Corner of Westbrook, Maine, just below Highland Lake, and has his own family cemetery on Bridgton Road, behind the firehouse, which was the location of the Webb-Jameson farm for many decades.

Tote Road
Off Bridgton Road, Westbrook, ME
Jameson Cemetery is located toward the end
(I was unable to locate)

Charles married two sisters, Bethana and Ruth Webb, and had five children with Ruth.


2.  Samuel Jameson (1709-1768) was also born in Ulster, Northern Ireland, and came over as a boy with his parents to Maine.  He first married Sarah Smith of Arundel, and had two children, Jane and William.  He then married Sarah McLellan (daughter to fellow Scotch-Irish settler Bryce McLellan) in Falmouth (now Portland), and settled with his big family (including the additional seven children from this marriage) in Friendship, Maine, where he was documented as the first permanent settler.  He also served in the French-Indian Wars, and was taken prisoner during these wars, along with his brother Alexander.  Samuel died soon after release from the prison, due to poor care while captive.  Samuel was also an early settler of the town of Warren, Maine, upon the Oster River.  Below is the transcript of Samuel's probate:

3.  Paul Jameson (1720-1795) was born in Falmouth, later known as Cape Elizabeth.  He fought in the Revolution, married Elizabeth Pebbles, and lived the majority of his life in Friendship, Maine, having followed his older brother.

4.  Margaret Jameson (1703-1760) was born in Northern Ireland, the first child of William.  She traveled to Falmouth Maine with her father as a teenager.  Margaret migrated to Scarborough and in 1717 married Robert McKenney, and had nine children.  Their daughter, Hannah, married Robert McLaughlin of the famous Scarborough McLaughlin clan.  Their daughter Rebecca married James Holmes and they became the first settlers of the town of Cornish Maine (then known as Francisboro).

5.  Alexander Jameson (1717-1800), my sixth great grandfather, was born in the part of Falmouth which was later known as Cape Elizabeth.  He fought in the Revolution, and married Mary McLellan, likely sister to Sarah (who married Samuel above).  Alexander followed his brothers Samuel and Paul to Friendship, Maine - where Samuel was first settler (formerly Meduncook Plantation), and lived on Emery Davis Farm.  Alexander's son, Robert Jameson (my fifth great grandfather), served on the Meduncook Committee of Safety in 1776, and so is credited with giving public service during the Revolutionary War (according to 1998 publication Supplement to Soldiers, Sailors and Patriots of the Revolutionary War in Maine by Major General Carleton Edward Fisher).  Robert left behind over 135 descendants when he died at age 86. One of them, his granddaughter Mary Ann Jameson, was mother to my 2nd great grandfather, Charles A. Murch.

Notes about Mary Ann Jameson and her husband James Murch:

-They married in St. George, Maine in 1841.

-They had five children within ten years.

-She was listed as a widow on the 1860 Census, and all subsequent Rockland directories.  James had appeared on the 1850 Census, but died a year later, in December of 1851.

-Mary Ann died of La Grippe in Rockland just before Christmas of 1892.

-For various available Rockland Directories (1875, 1877, 1882), she was a widow living at 13 Tea Street, across the road from Freeman Jameson (who lived at 16 Tea Street), who was her 2nd cousin. 



-For the 1889 Rockland Directory, Mary Ann had left the Tea Street house and was boarding at John McNamara’s on Old County Road.  I wonder what happened to her house?
 -Mary Ann's 1892 death record erroneously lists her father as "James Jameson"...

 -Mary Ann's father is listed as "John Jameson", however, in the 1900 volume The Jamesons in America, pp 263-264, her father is affirmed to have been John.

-The Rockland Cemetery Association, which manages Acorn, Tolman, Robins, and Seaview Cemeteries, told me they have burial records for only a "Nellie Murch" buried in the 1960' James or Mary Ann.  They also looked at Appleton and found a Grace Murch buried in 1913, and found a Jennie Murch buried in 1911 at Vinalhaven Island Cemeteries.  The search continues for the final resting place for these Murches.

It appears that in Thomaston, near now demolished Henry Knox Mansion, there was an old cemetery called "Old Fort Burying Ground", and that some Jamesons are buried there, including Martha Jameson-Porterfield, daughter to William above.  I wonder if this is a good place to look for these other family members?  I wonder if it's now the same cemetery as what is now known as Elm Grove Cemetery, since Henry Knox is buried there (and it was written he was buried near his home).

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Horish Family of Donabate

The surname Horish is likely an Anglicized version of Whoriskey, from the Gaelic, Ó hUisce, meaning, descendant of he 'of water'.

My 4th great grandmother was Elizabeth Horish-Leonard (1792-abt 1873), the eldest of four children born to Mathew Horish and Mary Carty of Portrane.  Around 1818, she married Patrick Leonard of (1795-1865), who lived in the Burrow of Portrane, County Dublin.  Their son Thomas migrated to Portland Maine in 1850, leaving the Famine to set up a successful florist business.  In 1888, several of Elizabeth & Patrick's grandchildren, through their son Mathew, followed their uncle Thomas.

Elizabeth and Patrick had seven children in total.

This post will attempt to assemble the various Horish family households of Donabate, after having conducted an exhaustive review of baptismal, birth, marriage, and census records:

Family 1
Nicholas Horish (born 1755) & Mary Murry:
4 children (Elizabeth, Patrick, Mary and Thomas)

According to Padear Bates' "Donabate & Portrane - A History", 18-year old Patrick Horish was on the list of Donabate Parish parishioners who possessed arms during the 1798 Rebellion.  It's interesting to imagine what it might have been like for such a young soldier.  He certainly survived the War, since he was married with two children by 1807.  Patrick and his brother Thomas were listed as the tenant farmers on the 1847 Griffith's Valuation in House 10a of Beaverstown, Portrane.

Family 2
Mathew Horish (born 1775) & Mary Carty:
4 children (Elizabeth, Unnamed, Catherine, John) - I've confirmed my descent from this family.

Family 3
Michael Horish (born 1800) & Mary McArdle
2 children (Ann, Bridget)

Family 4
John Horish (1819-1891) & Monica Keane
6 children (BridgetMichaelMaryElizabethBartholomewAnnie)
This family is all buried at the Old Donabate Cemetery

Family 5
Nicholas Horish (born 1820) & Rose Monks:
7 children (Mary, Margaret, Michael, Patrick, Thomas, Margaret, Annie)

Family 6
Catherine Horish (born 1820) & Bartholomew Martin
5 children (Patrick, Mary, James, Mary, Anne)

Family 7
Kelly Horish (born 1830) & Anne
1 child (Mary)

It's possible, of course, that these families all roll up into Family 1 (perhaps the elder Nicholas).  I just haven't found records to back it up.

Many other Horish families appear to have come from Roscall in Balrothery West, about five miles west of the Burrow, as well as in neighboring Swords.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Tips for New Genealogists

Researching one's family history can be a lifelong joy and can often be a big hassle.  In my opinion, it is worth every minute of frustration, just to discover your roots, since it can make you feel much more grounded in who you are, where you come from, and where you are going.  It's a tribute to your elders, and a way to bond with surviving elders.  It can lead to many interesting discoveries, and maybe a few skeletons which were hoping to remain in the closet.  The science and art of genealogy can help uncover long lost relations, adopted people, and can reunite many families.  It can also, unfortunately, cause some anxiety for those who wished to have kept certain secrets at bay.

In doing consistent work for myself and others, including for energy companies looking to learn heirs to interest holders on certain lands, I've picked up many pointers which I think could be of use to the person wishing to discover their family history.  Due to the popularity of, and TV shows like "Who Do You Think You Are?", many people are awakening their dormant interests in the subject.  This post will serve to attempt to help this new researcher.

Here are some tips for the new genealogist:

1.  Ancestry is a great resource.  Yes, you pay a monthly or annual subscription fee for these records, and yes, many of these records are available elsewhere for free.  However, Ancestry has a unique and patented process which makes searching easier than it is on other sites.  Plus, there is an interactive aspect to the research.  You can meet other researchers who are studying the same ancestors as you, and they are likely your distant cousins.  You can meet them over the site, by email, or potentially in person.  Thanks to Ancestry, I've met many dozens of cousins, all of whom have contributed something to my research, and vice versa.  I believe Ancestry is well worth the money you pay for it.  You can start with a free membership, which has certain limitations, and if you like it, you can try paying by month to see what more is offered to you.  If you become passionately involved, it is indeed worth it.  You can also share a membership with someone who can help pay for it, it's about $20 a month.

2.  Just because you find a family tree on Ancestry, or elsewhere, which somehow connects to yours, it doesn't mean that it's entirely accurate.  Many bits of data, such as someone's birthplace or parentage, are erroneously entered by someone, and then they get copied infinite times by other excited researchers.  It's important to look at these trees carefully and exercise more than a shred of doubt.  In my experience, it's good to embrace the full tree in front of you, temporarily, but do your own independent research to back up the facts presented to you.

3.  Do try and collect as many copies of vital records of everyone you can in your tree.  Many of these records can be found on Ancestry, or Family Search, but not all.  It's good to find the records you are missing by contacting town and/or state offices.  For instance, if you know the birth date of someone who was born in Portland, Maine, contact the Portland City Clerk, and also try to contact the State Archives in Augusta, Maine (the state's capital).  Both jurisdictions will often have different versions of birth records, and one version may have information that the other does not.

4.  Talk to your elders.  While they are alive, they can be an invaluable tool to your research, and they appreciate the attention.  I wish I had started my research in earnest when my grandparents were alive.  Luckily, I know of many cousins, and neighbors of my ancestors, who have given me very lively interview accounts, which I've recorded on my Android phone.  They've also allowed me to make copies of their family photographs.  There is nothing like discovering a photograph of a grandparent whom you never met.

5.  Obtain photos of everyone.  You never know what these photos will tell you.  Questions can arise, like "who is that in the picture with him?",  "who owned that house or barn they are standing in front of?", and "why do they appear to have a different skin tone than the rest of the family?"  Such questions can lead you to new discoveries.

6.  If you are doing a great deal of research in a particular state, it might be good to contact the State, and ask for a vital records research permit.  I obtained one from the State of Maine for a fee of $50.00.  This enables me to get records that are otherwise on lockdown to the public - like birth records of people within the past 72 years.  Vital records means, specifically in terms of government record keeping, birth, marriage and death records.  It's best to give the clerk as much information as you can, in order for them to successfully locate the record in question.  Many records don't exist as individual sheets of paper.  Vital information from the 1800s, and earlier, for instance, is often kept at a town office in a dusty old book, which has all the vitals written out, in cursive, line by line.  Below is an example (click to enlarge):

Note how hard the writing can be to decipher?  This is where patience is needed.  This old book MAY be the only record you can ever hope to obtain regarding a particular ancestor, and you may have luck finding a copy of it on Family Search website, or you may just have to go into a town office, put on a pair of rubber gloves, and thumb through hundreds of pages to find the entry.  This sounds like pure hell to many, but trust me, if you become passionate enough about the search for your ancestors, this will be worth it.  I've been to many dozens of town halls, and have thumbed through many old books like this, and it's a window to history.  I'm always grateful for the care and work that went into to keeping these old records, and to maintain them with care. 

7.  Organize your files on your computer, and back up your computer regularly.  I am constantly scanning and saving copies of photos, vital records, military records, and family trees to my computer, and it's very important to organize them into appropriately named folders, so you can access them again easily.

8.  Any records you keep, it's a good idea to look at them again months later.  There is often a detail you overlooked, when you were first learning about this ancestor.

9.  Research the neighbors of your ancestors.  You might meet one of the neighbors' descendants in your travels, and this person might have old photographs of your ancestors which you haven't seen yet.

10.  Look at graveyards for more clues.  If you aren't able to personally visit a graveyard, you can go to Find A Grave, which currently has over 80 million burial memorials uploaded by volunteer users like myself.  This site is updated every minute with new memorials.  If you don't find your ancestor on this site, look again in a few months!  Or better yet, contact someone who is volunteering on the site in the area of your ancestor's burial, and they will be more than happy to create a memorial or take a grave photo for you, free of charge.  If you call the cemetery office, and ask "Who purchased this plot?", you might learn something interesting.  By asking this question, I've been able to discover and confirm relationships between the dead and the purchaser of the plots.

11.  Volunteerism.  Many genealogists, like myself, do a lot of volunteering for other researchers.  It's a 'pay it forward' kind of thing.  You do research for someone in your hometown, and then someone else does research for you in their hometown.  This is often done for free, because it's a benefit to both parties.  It's fun to help others out, and I cannot imagine trying to get money from another researcher, who may be the one helping me later on.  RAOGK is/was one great resource.  This stands for "Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness".  This site was started many years ago by two passionate genealogists.  Currently the site is down, due to the death of one of the founders.  But, Facebook has launched a USA and International version of RAOGK for users, and it has proved very helpful (in some cases even better than the old site).  A new site has been launched in September of 2012 which serves the same purpose, and it's called Generous Genealogists.

12.  Mormons can help you.  FamilySearch is a Mormon-run website out of Salt Lake City which has an ever increasing number of records, and is very useful.  They allow anyone to use the site, regardless of their religion.  All you need to do is to sign up and create a password.  It's absolutely free, and you are also more than welcome to contribute your own research to their site.  They do absolutely NO religious outreach to members.  There are family history libraries all over the globe, and you can walk into any one of them and receive a lot of help from the volunteer librarians, many of them not Mormon.  At these libraries you can find microfilms of many things that have not been indexed and saved to the FamilySearch site yet, or to Ancestry, or anywhere else.  These microfilms can be ordered (if they are not on site) from Salt Lake City for a nominal fee.  Again, the people working at these libraries are very kind and helpful, and in my experience have been very respectful of potential religious differences.  They have never proselytized me or anyone there who is not already Mormon.  If you're wondering why the Mormon church is so interested in genealogy, it's because it's part of their religion to baptize deceased ancestors who were not Mormon.  They do these ceremonies in groups, conducted by proxy, in one of their many temples.  I'm not Mormon, nor do I wish to become Mormon, but I've benefited immensely from their help in locating many records.

13.  Google your ancestors.  You never know what you might uncover.  I've created this blog primarily for the purpose of having my research available to myself remotely, wherever I am, so that I can continue to update the stories of my ancestors as I learn new facts.  What I didn't realize, however, was that there were many thousands of people doing the same research as I was.  My inbox is constantly filled with people responding to one or more of my blog posts, all because they thought to Google their own ancestors.  This makes my blog much more interactive, informative, and accurate than ever.  Again, anything you find in an Internet search should face some basic scrutiny.  Read with caution, and always offer corrections to the author of what you're reading - assuming they've made their email address visible in the site.

14.  DNA research (aka "Genetic Genealogy") can be useful, but it can also be a bit fruitless, for now.  Many family researchers have employed the use of sites like Family Tree DNA and 23 and Me, which are currently the top two DNA research providers.  You swab your cheek with one of their test kits, you send it in, and they examine specific areas of your DNA and place that information in their database, which they offer you access to.  People who have been proven to SHARE certain sequences of DNA with yours are referenced for your convenience, complete with email addresses.  You contact them, and give them an idea of which surnames you are researching.  If they respond to you, and there is a matching surname, then you can further discuss which area these people lived.  If there is a further match, then yes, you can dig deeper, and share research with them, having established that you are distant cousins of some nature.  This is an ideal situation, however, and not the norm.  Usually what happens is you get a list of about a hundred contacts that have some DNA in common with you, and you are rendered clueless about how this connection exists in your actual genealogy.  Plus, some amount of patience and homework is required in order to learn what DNA testing can and can't offer you in terms of your research, and how it all works.  It's quite complex.  Luckily, I have a geneticist as a neighbor, and he walked me through the very basic stuff that I had forgotten since 10th grade biology class, and expanded upon it.  Only then was I able to grasp just how they tested my DNA, and how they may have arrived at the discovery that I'm connected to these hundred or so people.  That still didn't lead me to any more knowledge about my actual ancestry, however.  BUT, your sequencing research stays in their database, and the more that people get tested, the more matches you acquire.  One day, given enough participants, many more people will start to finally reap the benefits of this research by meeting with cousins who can offer more assistance in shared research.  By the way, these lists of people they offer you?  FamilyTreeDNA might tell you, for instance, that the likely relation between you and a particular contact is 3rd cousin or 4th cousin, etc., and it's just not accurate.  I know every single one of my 3rd cousins already, having tracked everyone, and many of my 4th cousins.  I contacted a slew of people whom FTDNA had told me were 3rd cousins, and none of us could confirm shared ancestors at all.  I would tread lightly with the assumptions made by these providers, but keep an open mind, and be patient.  The more participants, the more likely the success of each participant.  It's important to know that only certain kinds of testing can be done:  Y chromosomes, X chromosmes, mitochondrial DNA, and generalized 'subclade' testing (aka 'Family Finder' testing).  It's important to study some basic genetics to understand what the above means before delving into your research results.  For instance, a male can do a Y chromosome test, and that will only show his direct paternal line (his father, his father's father, etc. etc.)  Any matches that one finds with other participants must be connected only via that same process.  Through Y testing, I learned that my "Leonard" surname was an anglicization of the Irish name "Lennan", since my only match on this test was a gentleman with the last name Lennan, who had done much research on his lineage.  We were able to determine about when the name changed, and that we were, generally speaking, somewhere between 10th and 15th cousins.  Another important distinction:  Be wary of the new cottage industry emerging - there are new companies that claim that by reviewing your DNA, they can tell you if you're related to Richard III, Charlemagne, or some other famous figure from history.  These tests are a scam entirely, and are only trying to bank on the new popularity of DNA testing for genealogy.  It's unfortunate, because as people are discovering that these particular tests are a scam, it's casting a bad light on the work done by the companies mentioned above who are doing legitimate testing.  See this article in The Telegraph for more information.

15.  What does 'once removed' mean?  What does '4th cousins' mean?  If my first cousin has a kid, is that kid my second cousin?  No, contrary to common opinion.  Let's start with the basics.  If you share a set of grandparents with someone, they are your First Cousin.  For instance, your mother has a sister, and all of this aunt's children are your First Cousins.  Most people understand this basic concept.  If you have a child, then that child is First Cousins, Once Removed, with your First Cousin.  If you and your First Cousin EACH have a child, then THOSE two children would be Second Cousins with each other only.  If these children each have a child, then those children born would be Third Cousins with each other.  Any differential in generation between any of these relationships is described with a 'once removed'.  Here's a handy guide, which will give you some perspective, but will likely cause a bit of confusion as well...

16.  Fires.  Unfortunately, many records and photos which once existed in town, city, county, state, or national offices, or in someone's private home, were destroyed in a big fire.  In fact, many towns have suffered "Great Fires" which decimated many buildings containing all manner of artifacts, not just vital records.  Be ready, in your research, to find out that your only record of an ancestor may have been destroyed by such a fire.  However, you also may learn that a town fire was the genesis for better record keeping afterwards.  You may also learn that "the Mormons" had come in and copied all the records PRIOR to the fire, and now the Mormons have the only copy of such records, and they can be copied for free by anyone who finds them in their catalogues.  You just have to think to look for them...

17.  NARA.  American records are kept, as available, at the national level, in Washington DC at NARA offices.  Many records are available to the public, some others only available to licensed professionals or government workers.  In addition to all the census and other records, they keep all the military records, which can be an incredible find for your research.  You can fill out a form online, and have them send you a full copy of the military records of your ancestor, for a small copying fee.  I had the opportunity to visit NARA in DC in September of 2012, and discovered many ship manifests which contained the names of some of my research interests, and such records were not on Ancestry!  I learned that Ancestry buys copies of records from NARA only on an 'as needed' basis, and that it was definitely worth my time to look through the many shelves of microfilm which are likely only at NARA.

18.  Census Records.  As you probably know, every ten years in America (and other countries), a census is taken, door to door, which gives a variety of information about each household, their relation to each other, property ownership, place of birth, occupation, and much much more, depending on the year the census was taken.  These records have proven to be the biggest goldmine to any researcher.  They often, however, contain many spelling errors when it comes to peoples' names, so some care and doubt must be exercised when reviewing these handwritten records.  In America, there is a 72 year lockdown on all census records, due to privacy and identity theft concerns.  This is because of the average American lifespan being approximately 72 years at the time the law was passed.  It is now 2012, and the 1940 Census was just released by NARA, and copied and indexed by Ancestry, FamilySearch, and other companies.  Indexing means you are able to search (like you can on Google) by typing in a name, clicking "Enter", and seeing a list of possible matches in a census record to that of your ancestor.  Subsequent censuses are housed at NARA, and are not available to the general public until the 72 year period has expired.  Therefore, the 1950 Census won't be available until the year 2022.

19.  Online Forums (or Bulletin Boards).  Many many forums exist on many websites, which seek to gather all people interested in a particular topic, and genealogy is no different.  For instance, you can search for forums pertaining to genealogy in general, or specific last names or historical events, or type of record.  Pretty much every last name (surname) out there has multiple forums associated with it, filled with people posting information and questions relative to their research interest in that surname.  You can learn a great deal on forums, provided you can be patient to wait for a response to any post you make.  Sometimes it can be 10 or more years before someone finds your post and responds, in which case you then get an email indicating the activity on your post.  It's important to keep the same email address forever, so that you will indeed get your response! 

20. Study History.  Each one of our ancestors had some connection to multiple historical events.  We've all had ancestors fight in wars, for instance.  Learning the context of historical events like wars and governmental changes can enlighten you to the context of the lives of your ancestors.  For instance, you might learn that a male ancestor of yours was born in 1835, but died in 1864.  This should be a signal to you that they likely were drafted into (or volunteered for) the Civil War, since they were of an appropriate age.  Also, the death date can give you a clue that they may have died in battle during that war.  That can give you an opportunity to research the Civil War battles, and look for military records of that ancestor during that war.  If you have a specific date of death during 1864, you can look online for a list of battles, and you just might be able to find which battle the person died in.  Another example is a bit more specific:  let's say your research leads you to understand that three brothers each had their own farms in a particular town in California.  Further research tells you that each of these three farmers relocated to Washington around the same time.  This should lead you to wonder why, right?  If you look online for a historical society in that town in CA, you can find a town historian who can give you an idea, by email or phone, of events that occurred in that time period.  They may tell you that this was the period of great Drought in that area, and there was a mass exodus of farmers who had lost all their crops, and needed to move north to resettle and try again.  Learning a town's history can give you invaluable clues about the movements and reasons behind many actions taken by someone you are researching.

21.  Historical Societies.  Every town has one, it seems.  They are wonderful places filled with records, address books, pictures, family histories, newspapers, antiques and artifacts connected with that particular town.  They are staffed with volunteers who are from the town and make it their business to know the history of that town.  It really pays to get to know the historical societies for your towns of interest.  You can learn so much about your families, even if they were only living in that town for a 10 year period in the late 1700s.  You can also offer your own research to the historical society, for people who might later come looking for the same information.  The volunteers who work these societies love to help people, and love to tell stories of the town.  Take the time to sit down with them and ask questions, you never know what you might find.  The information for each society can easily be found via Google.  Many of them are only open a couple days a week, and are located in some old barn or some historical building within the town.  They appreciate a small donation of $10 or $20 if they've been a lot of help for you.  That money goes to their treasury, and is used to benefit the society and to keep it (and its records) going.  Nobody is getting rich here, so give what you can.

22.  Interviews.  As mentioned above, it's important to speak with any elders you can find who have some connection to your research interest.  It's a great idea to meet with other people too, like townsfolk, young or old, who may have some information to offer.  It's important to learn the art of conversation and how to ask the right questions.  I always ask someone to focus on a particular person, asking things like "Was she a nice person?", "Was she a hard worker?", "Where did she say she came from?" "How did she die?", "Did she ever say that she was related to anyone famous?" "Why did she suddenly leave the town?" "Where might she be buried?" "Do you have any funny stories about her?"  Any one of these seemingly benign questions can trigger an animated story that you didn't expect.  If you just generally ask "Tell me about Sally", you will likely not get much of a response.  It's important to come up with specific questions, and get in the habit of asking the same questions to multiple people who knew the individual.  You might find many differences in response!  It'll give you a more three dimensional view of the person you are studying.

23.  Obituaries.  Try and get your hands on any and every obituary pertaining to people you are researching.  There are often lists of survivors in these publications.  You can get obituaries often by asking someone involved in RAOGK (see above), or by emailing/phoning a library reference desk in the town of death.  They can often look for the obituary, and copy or scan for you and mail or email it to you, sometimes free of charge.  By learning of survivors listed in these obits, you can do research on them, and perhaps find someone who is still alive today, who may happen to have stories and picture collections that they will open to you, if you ask nicely.  It was by reading my grandfather's obituary that I learned he was a Pearl Harbor veteran, and that he had another family in another part of the country.  I looked for, and found this family, and they turned out to be very nice people, who had dozens of photos to share with me.  I had never met my grandfather, but now I feel like I know him very well, all thanks to his very detailed obituary which a volunteer at RAOGK obtained for me.

24.  Coats of Arms.  Don't order one of those mugs or t-shirts with your 'family name' emblazoned on it with a graphic like the below:

It's a big fat hoax!  The above family crest may or may not have belonged to someone with the last name of Wyman.  But such a crest was never designed to represent an entire family or clan, contrary to popular belief.

Friday, July 13, 2012

The McLaughlins of Scarborough

Robert McLaughlin Jr. was a farmer on the Beech Ridge Road in Scarborough, whose family lived on this property from about 1740-1914, and who were early founders of Cumberland County.  He was listed as Scarborough's member of the State House of Representatives in 1855.  He is referred to hereafter in this article as "Robert Jr."

Robert Jr. and his wife, Eleanor, had only two children, Sarah Jane and William.  The entire family living on the McLaughlin Homestead, according to available census records, was:

  • Robert McLaughlin, Jr. (1784-1871)
  • Eleanor McLaughlin (1792-1863), Robert's wife
  • Sarah Jane McLaughlin (1828-1848), Robert's daughter
  • William McLaughlin (1829-1880), Robert's son (referred to elsewhere in this document as "William 1829")
  • Catherine Mitchell-McLaughlin (1834-1908) (William's wife).  When William died, she moved in with her daughter, at 223 Payne Road South Portland, where she died.
  • Eliza Mitchell (1825-1895) (Catherine's sister) was a tailoress.  She died a spinster in Saco, having lived with the Carpenter, Lord (at the "Saco House"), Foss and Stevenson families as a boarder.
  • Martha McLaughlin (1791-??), Robert's sister, unwed
  • Mary McLaughlin (1797-???), Robert's sister, unwed
  • William McLaughlin (1789-1837) Robert's brother - buried at Dunstan Cemetery (referred to elsewhere in this document as "William 1789")
  • Agnes McLaughlin (1796-1884) Robert's sister in law - buried at Dunstan Cemetery
  • James McLaughlin (1819-??) William 1789's son 
  • Charles McLaughlin (1827-1886) William 1789's son - buried at Evergreen Cemetery.  Charles was a successful grocer, and started up Charles McLaughlin & Company grocers.

ABOUT 1880
This firm began business on Commercial Street, No. 163,
near the head of Union Wharf, removed to No. 84 (Thomas
Block ) in 1860, where they remained until December, 1879,
when they removed to the large and spacious store on Central
Street (head of Central Wharf).

William 1829 took over the farm from his father Robert.  He and his wife Catherine had four children:

  • Betsey E. McLaughlin (1855-1870)
  • Sarah E. McLaughlin (1859-1917) married in 1878 to real estate broker Wilbur Dresser (1848-1924), of the Scarborough Dressers (who had been in Scarborough since the Revolution, and have a public road named after them), and in particular, son to Josiah Dresser of Scarborough (1816-1868).  As an aside, Wilbur was executor of the Estate of my 2nd great grandmother, Sarah Jane TemmSarah and Wilbur moved to Payne Road, in South Portland, after the McLaughlin homestead was no longer with the family (around 1890), and they took Sarah's widowed mother Catherine with them.  They had five children:  Ira, William, Perley, Leon and HelenLeon was the only one who had a child, a Richard W. Dresser born in 1925 who relocated to Boston.  In fact, none of Wilbur's siblings had descendants past one generation.  So, this Richard is the only descendant of Josiah Dresser of Scarborough (although Josiah's siblings had families).  In later years, after Sarah died of uterine cancer, Wilbur lived as a widower with his son Perley in Portland, before retiring to Scarborough, where he died.  This family is buried at Dunstan Cemetery in Scarborough.
  • Katie M. McLaughlin (1867-  ) worked as a stenographer.  She married Fred Phillips of Portland in 1899.  She quitclaimed her interest in the McLaughlin estate to her sister Sarah in 1901, but I cannot find any further information afterward regarding her.
  • Ada McLaughlin (1869-bef 1880)

To dig back into Robert Jr.'s roots, I will take from the e-book History of Cumberland County published 1880 by W. Woodford Clayton, where there is a brief history of the McLaughlins from Beech Ridge (going back to Ireland).  Here is the excerpt pertaining to their time in Scarborough (which contains appears to be at odds with some records I've found):
William and Robert McLaughlin, brothers, of the stock of the Luster McLaughlins, emigrated in the same vessel to this country, and settled in Scarborough, then virtually, so far as the Indians were concerned, a frontier town.  William was born in 1706; his wife, Sarah Jameson, was born in Plymouth, Mass., in 1715, and died in Scarborough, Jan. 21, 1818. [Robert was never married.] William and Robert cleared the farm on Beech Ridge, in Scarborough, now owned and occupied by his great-grandson, Robert McLaughlin. This family, like the other settlers of Scarborough, had their share of  trouble from the Indians, who, both in their own interest and in that of the French, made many incursions into the town. In those days the alarms of danger were frequent enough; the McLaughlins were obliged many a time to leave their home and seek security with the garrison on Scottow's Hill; and it was not until the peace of 1763 that they were finally safe from the depredations of the savages.
William McLaughlin was a town warden in 1777. He died in 1782. His son Robert, born in Scarborough, July 18, 1752, died May 8, 1823; his wife, Martha Johnson, was born Feb. 16, 1761, and died at Monmouth, Me., June 9, 1851. [Missing Robert Jr. 1784-1871] They had three sons and six daughters. Betsey, the eldest, married Edward Sargent, of Bangor; Sally and Nancy were never married ; Catharine married Henry Vanschaick Cumston, of Scarborough, afterwards of Monmouth; William; James; Dionysia married Wiggins Hill, of Bangor; Ruth married Joseph Hasty, of Standish ; Charles was never married ; James went to Bangor, operated in real estate, became quite wealthy, and died there Oct. 14, 1872, at the age of eighty-two ; his wife was Almira Tilton, of Scarborough. Charles, the youngest of the family, settled in Louisiana and became a large planter ; he died Dec. 19, 1835, in his thirty-eighth year. William took to farming like his ancestors, and was known as a man of good judgment, of strict integrity, and correct habits. He married Agnes Hasty (whose mother, Rachel Deane, was a niece of Parson Deane), by whom he had three sons, James, Robert, and Charles; he died at Scarborough, April 11, 1837.  Of these sons, Robert resides upon the old homestead, which has thus been in his family for four successive generations, about a hundred and thirty years.
Now, the Robert underlined above is cousin to Robert Jr. of this article.  He kept the McLaughlin Farm going until his death in 1912.  Robert Jr. of this article has been omitted from this 1880 publication entirely.  I've added him in above in brackets.

According to a series of typewritten sheets of research found at the Scarborough Historical Society written by a member of the Tilton family (the "Tilton Papers"):
William [the immigrant] and his wife Sarah suffered very much from the fear of the Indians, though never attacked by them.  They often had to leave their house and go to the garrison on Scottow's Hill.  Mrs. McLaughlin feared very much at one time that her young child might by its cries betray her to the Indians, the child having died she then thought its death was a punishment for her wicked fears.  Axes and all farming tools had to be carried into the house at night to secure them from the Indians.  A sister of Mrs. McLaughlin married John Porterfield who was saved by her dog from being taken by the Indians when she went in the spring for water.
Now also according to the Tilton Papers, a brother of Robert Jr. was one James McLaughlin of Bangor, who, after retiring from his law firm, Hill & McLaughlin, became a devoted gardener and founder of the McLaughlin Plum in the 1840s.  James and his horticultural creation are also mentioned in The Fruits of America, published 1856.

According to p. 187 of the Jamesons in America, published 1901, a Robert McLaughlin of Scarborough married Hannah McKenney, born 1739, daughter to Margaret Jameson.  Given the age, this Robert MAY have been a son to the Robert who was brother to William who emigrated from Northern Ireland with him.  I've bracketed the notion above that Robert never married.  I don't think there were any other Robert McLaughlins of marrying age in Scarborough in the 1750s.  I feel quite confident this is a son to this Robert.

I've compiled a family tree, using available records, with the assumption that my theories are correct (click to enlarge).

As for the McLaughlin property...

In 1902, the Sarah McLaughlin-Dresser sold the Beech Ridge Road property to Thomas Lessard, with a deed restriction for a burial ground to remain on the property, reading as follows:

Reserving, however, the Burying Ground on said farm with sufficient room to build and maintain suitable fence around the same with right to enter at any and all times to repair fence or for any other purpose.

The McLaughlin Property went through several hands afterwards:  Benjamin Shaw, Harriette Harmon, Bridget Sheehy, and finally in 1935 to Bill Temm, Sr. of the Temm family, which family had once owned the farmland across Beech Ridge Road back in 1864.  The property was divided up for Bill's heirs, but in 1998 the land that carried the deed restriction for the cemetery described it as such:

Reserving, however, to the Scarborough Historical Society, as well as the heirs of those buried therein, the right to access the old burial ground on the above-described property, said burial ground and right of access being more fully described in a deed recorded in the Cumberland County Registry of Deeds in Book 727, Page 169.

This small graveyard for the McLaughlins who lived and thrived there is maintained with much care by the current property owners, the heirs of Bill Temm, Sr.

Only seven members of this family have gravestones here (the names are in bold above), but as you can tell from the photos below, there is quite a bit of space where more unmarked graves must lie, and one would assume they'd be the remainder of the McLaughlins who lived on Robert's homestead.