Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday: Town of Windham Cemeteries

    The town of Windham regulated burials in four town cemeteries: New and Old Willimantic Cemeteries, Windham Center Cemetery, and North Windham Cemetery. Find A Grave lists many burials in these cemeteries, with images, but Find A Grave does not cover every grave. If you have a relative who was buried in those cemeteries, the town's cemetery page indicates how to get more information. It's nice to know the town keeps good records.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Mappy Monday: Windham Maps and the USGenWeb site

   Kudos to the coordinators of the USGenWeb site for Windham! While the site is a bit outdated - it hasn't updated since 2010- it has one of the most impressive layouts I"ve seen. This is especially true for the maps sections. Be patient. Many of the page addresses have been changed since the page was last updated. However, many of the sites are worth the time. You'll get a great overview of Windham maps.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Black Sheep Sunday: Federal Inmate Locator

   I haven't had to trace prison inmate ancestors yet, so I surprised to stumble across the following. The Federal Bureau of Prisons has an "inmate locator" program for inmates released before 1982. Given basic information about the inmate, they will help you locate a family member. I also wonder if they may be able provide information about the confinement of ancestors. I'm not sure. It sounds like an interesting resource.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Surname Saturday: Interesting article on a Titanic victim (Hocking, Middletown)

   I admit it, I'm behind the times! I'm sure many of you remember that April marked the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titantic. As part of that anniversary, the Middletown Patch featured a series of articles on the Titanic. I recently reread them, and one caught my eye. An article about Titanic victim Samuel Hocking describes how he was headed to meet his brother in Middletown.  Thomas Hocking lived in Middletown for several years, before eventually moving to New London.  An Ancestry.com tree traces the Hocking family's life in Connecticut. It's a nice reminder that the Titanic victims were more than just stories. Kudos to the researchers for their hard work!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Follow Friday: Cindy Freed's Genealogy Circle

    I'll admit I'm a bit of a Civil War research addict, so discovering the Cindy Freed's Genealogical Circle was a nice surprise. Her "Civil War Saturday" articles are nice how-to profiles for Civil War research. I especially appreciated the Civil War 101 articles. Civil War research isn't easy, and it's nice to have a cheat-sheet for how to get started. I'd highly recommend those articles for just that purpose. She's also offered the opportunity to pose Civil War questions. If you're stuck, time to ask away!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Those Places Thursday: Henry Bowen's Roseland Cottage, Woodstock

   Historic New England, which operates historic properties in the Boston area, also owns one property in Connecticut. Roseland Cottage was built by Woodstock native Henry Bowen as a summer property and escape from New York. The building, which dates from 1846, is technically Gothic revival. Of course, the easiest way to describe it is "pink."  As I recall - and the website confirms my rather vague memory - the house museum is furnished with man of the family's objects. The Bowens were one of the founding families of Woodstock, so the museum should provide a good resource for research.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Workday Wednesday: Locally Grown

   Many Connecticut towns are now listing "locally grown" products on their websites, including Woodstock.   Such listings include the type of product, the farmers, that produce it and their product information. While these listings are fantastic for locals, they're also useful if you live a distance away. Why?  Many of these farms have been in operation for generations, even if they're not under the same owners. Check locations against your ancestors' homes. Who knows what you'll find!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tech Tuesday: Social media fundraising for museums and genealogy society purchases?

  I stumbled across this story in the Connecticut Historical Society's Making History and fell in love. The basic gist was this: a sampler made by a Connecticut child had turned up for sale. The Connecticut Historical Society, which already had the girl's portrait, wanted to buy it. Thanks to the needlepoint blogging world, the sampler now has a new home. Of course, the actual story is a little better. You can read about it here (http://thistle-threads.com.mytempweb.com/blog/index.php/2012/01/elizabeth-daggett-bring-her-home/).
   That got me to thinking: what genealogical objects would our little world bring "home"? How would we go about raising the money, etc?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Mappy Monday: Why you can't always believe the map...

   Woodstock has one unusual fact in its history: until 1749, it was part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. This would have made for an odd layout on maps, so I went looking for a map that represented the late 1600s. I found an image online for the period ending in 1684 - and saw a problem. Can you catch it?

   Lesson learned. I will not even expect "modern" maps to be historically accurate.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Church Record Sunday: First Congregational Church of Woodstock

  Nicknamed "the Hill Church," the First Congregational Church of Woodstock dates its foundation back to 1690. The current building, which dates from 1822, was featured on a local blog in 2008. Beautiful fall scene!
   The records for the church are held in several different places. Church records from 1727 to 1783 are available at the State Library Slip Index, according to an article on AmericanAncestors.orgOther records may also be at the State Library. Records from the 1740s to the 1930s can be ordered from the Family History Library website. Find A Grave offers images of many gravestones.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Society Saturday: Woodstock Historical Society

    Continuing our tour of Eastern Connecticut... Of course, you know I wasn't done yet, right? This time, we're off to Woodstock, Connecticut. Woodstock is known in Connecticut as antique central. But oftentimes we forget that people actually lived there!
   The Woodstock Historical Society holds a collection of regional histories, manuscripts and artifacts. The Society is only open for research Sunday, 1-4 and by appointment. Be sure to call first. It appears that their website may be undergoing revision. I'm looking forward to seeing the results.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Follow Friday: Update on the Civil War posts and ... Boston 1775

    First of all, a shout-out to all readers! A comment on John Banks's entry turned up an amazing Civil War story. You can read more here: http://john-banks.blogspot.com/2012/07/faces-of-civil-war-gideon-s-barnes.html.
    Boston 1775 is written by a Massachusetts-based writer and local historian. While officially the blog covers the American Revolution in Massachusetts, it turns out to contain a lot of information on Connecticut's involvement as well. One of my favorite entries traces the activities of Simeon Lyman (of Sharon) during an eventful three days when he constructed a powder horn. Another post reviews a recent book on Benedict Arnold, who was responsible for burning New London. I'm still learning to love the American Revolution as much as I do the Civil War, but this might be a great starting point.
   By the way, if you want to research your family's connection to the American Revolution, consider visiting the DAR's Genealogical Research Service. The "descendant search" will tell you if someone has already traced your family tree.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Those Places Thursday: Eastford, Connecticut Historical Society Quarterly

   I started digging through the records for Eastford, Connecticut because - and I'm slightly ashamed to admit this - I don't think I'd ever heard of it. It's a small town in eastern Connecticut, near Pompfret. The current population is around 1600, according to Wikipedia. (Yes, I know this is a "bad" source.)
   The Eastford Historical Society has published several of the Eastford Historical Society's Quarterly newsletters to the town website. It's a little low-tech (PDF) uploads, and only two newsletters have been uploaded. However, if you can be patient, you'll be rewarded with some fascinating information on the town of Eastford.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Workday Wednesday: Gideon Applequest, Photographer

  Gideon Applequest is best known online as "Applequest Photography." Applequest photographed locals in Middletown, Connecticut from the 1880s through the early 1900s. A quick search on Google will turn up several of his cabinet cards.
    According to the 1900 census, Appelquest born in Sweden in November 1859. He immigrated to the United States and married another Swede, Emily. They would go on to have two children. Alva was born in 1891; Jerome was born in 1888.
   City directory databases on Ancestry.com indicate that Gideon Applequest first arrived in town in 1887. He worked as a photographer until he died, sometime between the 1901 and 1902 directories. His wife Emily continued to run the studio through 1904.
   In the 1910 census, Emily and daughter, now listed as Olga, are listed as living off their own income.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday: Grove Cemetery, Eastford, Connecticut

   If you have ancestors from Eastford, Connecticut, the chances are high that they were buried in Grove Cemetery. Run as a non-profit organization, the Grove Cemetery Association arranges for burials on the site for legal residents of Eastford. Good listings of the cemetery are available on the GenWeb (prior to 1934) and Find A Grave sites. There are other small cemeteries in the town, but this is a good place to start researching.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Military Monday: Civil War website

     As part of the Civil War commemoration, the National Park Service has launched a new website.  The Civil War brings together many of the Park Service's existing resources on the subject and adds some new ones. From the main page, you can search soldiers in the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors Database or plan to visit a battlefield. You can also explore a timeline of the events leading up the war, compare events of one hundred fifty years ago to today, or trace the biographies of civilians who had major roles in the war. It's definitely a step up from your usual textbook.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sentimental Sunday: Family Folk Art

  I spent last night finishing up a cross-stitch project. Yes, I'm a cross-stitcher. Self-taught, too, which can cause some unfortunate side-effects. I don't know how to sew, and you can only stick so many finished projects into frames. I'm going to start teaching myself to make pillows shortly :)
  But all this got me to thinking about the family "folk art" traditions that were handed down. In my family, they were somewhat few in number. One stands out. One line of my family made rugs. I've inherited a few, but honestly, I wish I knew how to make more. They're incredible art pieces. The last family member trained in the tradition passed away before I developed an interest. Just adding to the list of things I wish someone had made me learn. At least I can devote some energy to preserving what I have.
  What about about you? What "folk art" traditions did your family have? Have you tried to pass them on?

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Society Saturday: The Hamden Historical Society Library Room

    Housed in the Hamden Public Library, the Hamden Historical Society's library collection was established in 1984. Today, the collection houses thousands of items related to local history. The collection is open to the public two days a week: Tuesday from 10:00 to 11:30 and Thursday from 1 to 4. Other hours can be arranged by appointment.
   The library collection provides a nice overview of the town's history. The first records date to 1730 while others are much more recent. The collection includes the records of Sleeping Giant Park Association, as well as the Hamden Chamber of Commerce. A central list of the collection's records is available on reQuest, the state's library catalog.
   If you cannot come in person, the Hamden Historical Society offers a distance research  option. Visit their website for more information.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Follow Friday: Bristol Library Blog

   I often skip right over public library blogs when looking for new resources. They're usually great about providing lists of library events or profiles of new books but rarely provide more in-depth information. The blog for Bristol's public library by and large fits into this category - but it provided a nice surprise. At the base of a list of Connecticut history posts was a posts discussing a snowstorm in 1888... complete with pictures. I have a feeling there may be more great information buried deeper in the blog.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Thankful Thursday: those side projects

  I've learned to be thankful for something slightly odd recently - those projects that require you to research something else entirely unrelated, just to make sure your conclusions are correct. I've run into a few of those recently. Of course, your first reaction is always annoyance. But these side projects have turned out to be informative. I've been able to dig into the lives of some local legends; explore the vital records of Massachusetts; and learn more than I've ever expected.
   Perhaps it might be best to call it karma, but I'm learning to be less annoyed by those sidetracks. I'm learning a lot from them!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tech Tuesday: Godfrey Scholar+

  The Godfrey Memorial Library has just an announced an update to their system. If you were previously a Godfrey Scholar member you know the traditional complain about their system: there was no real way to enter a name and search all of their databases simultaneously. The newly unveiled Godfrey Scholar+ remedies this problem. Using a system designed by Steve Morse, they've now made it possible for you to enter a name and conduct a search of their major databases.
   I'll admit I don't love the appearance of the main page's search function at first glance. Results appear at the bottom of the page - which is confusing if you don't expect it. You also have to click into separate screens to search certain databases, such as the cemetery files. If you don't know this, you're likely to miss some results. I think the system will grow on me, though... The results list was a fantastic step-up. You can see the number of hits for each database and quickly and visit each result.
  If you're interested in becoming a Godfrey Scholar+ subscriber, visit: http://www.godfrey.org/scholar/register.html.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Military Monday: Connecticut Soldiers at Antietam from Guest Blogger John Banks

Hi all, 
I'm handing over  the blog today to my first guest blogger. I featured John Banks and his Civil War blog in last week's Military Monday. Today, he's sharing his interests, his favorite research resources and some stories of Connecticut soldiers. I hope you'll take the time to look at his blog (http://john-banks.blogspot.com/). 

It was a scorching hot summer evening and the air was thick as hominy grits as I slowly drove around Cold Harbor National Battlefield, near Richmond, Va., two summers ago. Much of the great battlefield where men in blue and gray killed and maimed each other in June 1864 is in private hands, but the National Park Service-owned sliver, still pockmarked with trenches dug by soldiers nearly 150 years ago, is very much hallowed ground.

It was at Cold Harbor that the 2nd Connecticut Heavy Artillery, men from towns such as Litchfield, Waterbury, Goshen and Norwich, discovered a hell on earth.  On June 1, 1864, the regiment suffered 85 killed and 221 wounded in an ill-advised assault on Confederate breastworks.  "You cannot conceive the horrors and awfulness of a battle," wrote Chaplain Winthrop Phelps of the regiment's first major battle.  "I never wish to hear another much less see it. I went out to see this but found myself in such danger I soon fled ... Pray for me. I cannot write -- am not in a fit state of mind."

I can still recall the first time I saw the monument at Cold Harbor to honor the memory of those men from Connecticut.  As I walked ground that was heavily contested by both armies, I came upon a small clearing where I discovered  three blocks of light gray granite. Mounted to the front of that 2nd Connecticut monument is a  bronze plaque that includes names of Connecticut men killed at Cold Harbor. When I read the names aloud, hair on my neck stood up and goose bumps covered my arms.

Like most Civil War battlefields, Cold Harbor holds a special sway over the those like me who still hear the guns.

As darkness settled over the Virginia battlefield that summer day in 2010, I met a local couple on a walk with their large dog. They said they often walked the battlefield to enjoy the now-peaceful setting.

"This was an awfully bloody place," the man said matter-of-factly. The woman nodded and then glanced at their dog.

"He often goes into the woods," she said, "to chase the ghosts."

Chasing ghosts.

In an odd way, that’s an apt description of what I have been doing the past 18 months.

My passion is the Battle of Antietam, where four regiments of men and boys from Connecticut fought in woodlots and farm fields in Sharpsburg, Md., on Sept. 17, 1862. Scores of soldiers from the 8th, 11th, 14th and 16th Connecticut regiments were killed or mortally wounded during that battle  --  the bloodiest day in American history. In the days and weeks after Antietam, funerals for Connecticut soldiers were common in the state.

"It is seldom that we are called upon to bury so many braves in so short a space of time," the Hartford Courant reported nearly a month after the battle.

Many of the stories of Connecticut soldiers who fought at Antietam have never been told. Crisscrossing Connecticut -- from Brooklyn in the east to Bristol in the west to Madison in the south -- I have mined information, including many primary sources, at historical societies, libraries and cemeteries for Connecticut Antietam stories. Resources such as the Connecticut Historical Society's Civil War Manuscript Project (http://www.chs.org/finding_aides/kcwmp/index.htm) and collections at the Connecticut State Library (http://www.cslib.org/civwar.htm) are invaluable. Google has digitized many regimental histories (http://books.google.com/books/about/History_of_the_Fourteenth_Regiment_Conne.html?id=rwY0RR_tT0sC), making previously hard-to-access resources available only a couple clicks away on the Internet. Find A Grave (http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=vcsr&GSvcid=272644) is also a terrific starting point for information on soldier graves. The research department at the National Museum of Civil War Medicine in Frederick, Md., proved helpful in uncovering the casebook of surgeons who treated 16th Connecticut soldiers at a small Sharpsburg church. (http://john-banks.blogspot.com/2012/04/antietam-church-of-misery-for-16th.html). And many Connecticut libraries provide digital access dating to 1724 for the Hartford Courant. I have found excellent accounts of funerals by tapping into that resource.

Of course, there’s no substitute for boots-on-the-ground reporting at cemeteries. (Hmmmm, sounds a little strange, doesn’t?) For posts on my blog, I often come up with good color by checking out graveyards and gravestones myself.

Much of what I have uncovered is on my blog (John Banks' Civil War Blog http://john-banks.blogspot.com/), which focuses on Connecticut, Antietam, Gettysburg and stories of common soldiers of the Civil War. Stop by for a visit or two or three. 

Here are snippets of stories on my blog of 10 men and boys who were killed or mortally wounded at Antietam. Each deserves to be remembered.

Captain Frederick Barber, 16th Connecticut, Glastonbury

In the chaos of the 16th Connecticut's poorly conceived attack at Antietam,  Barber was pierced by a musket ball near the top of his right leg. Like many other men, he soon took his turn on a bloody table for surgery in a barn. A post-war account described Barber's gruesome operation in cold, clinical language. "On the morning of September 18th, the patient being anaesthetized by chloroform, Surgeon Melancthon Storrs, 8th Connecticut Volunteers, proceeded to make a straight incision four inches long passing through the wound of entrance," the  report published in 1869 noted. "The comminuted fragments of the neck and rochanter were extracted, the round ligament was divided, the head of the femur was removed, and the fractured upper extremity of the shaft was sawn off by the chain saw." Translation: Barber's entire right leg was cut off. He died on Sept. 20, 1862.

Private Alvin Flint, 11th Connecticut, East Hartford

Only 17 years old, Alvin joined the 11th Connecticut as a private on Oct. 1, 1861. Less than a year later, he was dead, killed in the attack near Burnside Bridge.  The loss was no doubt excruciating for 53-year-old Alvin Flint Sr., who had enlisted in the 21st Connecticut along with his 13-year-old son, George, in August 1862. In the winter of 1861-62, Alvin Flint Sr.'s wife and daughter died of consumption in East Hartford. "Hardly had the sadness of the death of a dear daughter, that I had lost last January, worn off when this sad, sad calamity should come upon me," he lamented about his oldest son in a letter published in the Hartford Courant on Oct. 29, 1862. Incredibly, tragedy again visited the Flint family when  Alvin Sr. and George died of disease in January 1863.

Captain Jarvis Blinn, 14th Connecticut, New Britain 

Barely a month after he enlisted in the Union army, Blinn -- a man who had an "expression of quiet but earnest resolve tinged with a dash of sadness in his air" -- was one of 38 men killed and mortally wounded in the 14th Connecticut at Antietam. Moments after he was shot through the heart, the 26-year-old captain shouted: "I am a dead man!"  A Hartford undertaker named W.W. Roberts brought Blinn and the bodies of seven other soldiers killed at Antietam back to Connecticut in the second week of  October 1862. His funeral was held at Center Church in New Britain on Oct. 14, 1862. Afterward, his body was escorted to Rocky Hill, about 10 miles away, in "one of the largest processions ever seen" in New Britain. He is buried near the back of Center Cemetery.

 Private Robert Hubbard, 14th Connecticut, Middletown

A 31-year-old private in Company B of the 14th Connecticut, Hubbard was one of at least two soldiers in the regiment killed by friendly fire on William Roulette's farm during the Battle of Antietam. Nearly a month before his death, he wrote an impassioned letter to his brother. "Must it be written that 360,000 slaveholders wielded such influence and power," he wrote Josiah Hubbard. "as to destroy a government which can place a million armed men in the field, and which has conferred greater blessing on its citizens than any other that has ever existed since the days when God was the direct ruler over His own peculiar people."
"I feel as if I could not forgive myself," Robert concluded in the letter, "if this government should be overthrown and I had no weapon in its defense." His body was buried on the Roulette farm after the battle, and that December, farmer William Roulette shipped the body back north to the Hubbard family.
Lieutenant George Crosby, 14th Connecticut, Middle Haddam

A student at Wesleyan University in Middletown before the war, the 2nd lieutenant in the 14th Connecticut Infantry was mortally wounded at Antietam barely a month after he enlisted. Thirty-seven days later, Crosby, not quite 20 years old, died at home in Middle Haddam. "From the beginning of the battle till he received his death wound, he fought nobly, encouraging his men and leading them on," the Middletown Constitution reported on Oct. 29, 1862. "And for a half hour after he was wounded, while he lay helpless on the ground, without regarding his own condition, he kept constantly exhorting his comrades to do their duty." His funeral service at Middle Haddam's Episcopal Church was described at the time as "one of the largest funerals ever attended in that place."  

Captain John Griswold, 11th Connecticut, Lyme

Under fire from the bluffs above,  the 25-year-old captain boldly led a group of skirmishers across the 4-foot deep Antietam Creek on Sept. 17, 1862. "In the middle of the creek a ball penetrated his body," Griswold's friend, Dr. Nathan Mayer of the 11th Connecticut, wrote in a letter from Sharpsburg to his brother on Sept. 29, 1862. "He reached the opposite side and lay down to die." Griswold, who hurriedly returned to the mainland from Hawaii to enlist in the Union army in 1861, died the next day. He is buried in a small private cemetery in Old Lyme  under a beautifully carved 8-foot gray marker. Near the bottom of the memorial are these words: "Tell my mother I died at the head of my company."

Private John Bingham, 16th Connecticut, East Haddam

Only 17,  Bingham was killed at Antietam a little more than a month after he enlisted. Younger brother Wells, also a private in Company H of the 16th Connecticut, apparently survived Antietam physically unscathed, but the memory of that terrible day was probably seared into the 16-year-old boy soldier's brain the rest of his life. Three other Bingham brothers served during the Civil War, including Eliphalet, who died May 1, 1864, in Virginia. John and Eliphalet are buried at First Church Cemetery in East Haddam, about 45 miles southwest of Hartford. Apparently upset over a failing business, Wells committed suicide in 1904.  
Lieutenant Marvin Wait, 8th Connecticut, Norwich

A "brave, noble-hearted man and highly esteemed by all who knew him," Wait, 19, was killed late in the afternoon as the Ninth Corps made an ill-fated push toward Sharpsburg.  "If Lieutenant Wait had left the battle of his own accord when first hit in the arm, all would have been well," Captain Charles Coit, also of Norwich, wrote after the battle, "but he bravely stood to encourage his men still further by his own example." From a prominent Norwich family, Wait had an large funeral that was attended by the governor and other dignitaries. The young man who planned to become a lawyer is buried under a beautiful white marker that includes the word "Antietam" in raised letters on the front.

Private George Chamberlain, 16th Connecticut, Middletown

Wounded in the knee in Farmer John Otto's cornfield during the Battle of Antietam, George Chamberlain was eventually taken to the German Reformed Church on Main Street in Sharpsburg for treatment. Like most churches in the area after the battle, it was used as a field hospital. Chamberlain's mother, Mary Ann, traveled from Connecticut to Sharpsburg to help nurse her son back to health. "Present condition: Wound from the entrance of a musket ball a little below the bend of the right knee," a surgeon noted about Chamberlain in his case book " ... he keeps the leg flexed at a right angle and is careful not to move the joint for reason of pain." Chamberlain was discharged from the army because of disability on April 1, 1863, but the wound suffered at Antietam plagued him for the rest of his life. He died in Ohio on May 11, 1865.

Private Daniel Tarbox, 11th Connecticut, Brooklyn Conn.

In a letter to his father on Sept. 6, 1862, Daniel Jr. had a sense of impending doom. "I expect we are going into it now for good," he wrote from Washington. "Right where grape & shrapnel and chain shot fly thick. And whole company’s and Reg’ts are mowed down at one volley. If we go in, we can’t think of coming out. If I do fall, you take what money I have sent home and get my bounty and appropriate it to yourself as a present. But I hope for the best." Eleven days after he wrote that letter home, Daniel Tarbox Jr. was mortally wounded near Burnside Bridge during the Battle of Antietam. The 18-year-old soldier died a day later.

(1) "Not War But Murder," Ernest B. Furguson, 2000, Page 102

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Society Saturday: Sterling Historical Society

 Based out of the Sterling municipal building, the Sterling Historical Society doesn't have much of an online presence. I've been able to find out very little about what they do, beyond that they appear to have a library and are involved in cemetery clean-ups. To find out more, you'll have to contact them through their Facebook page.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Follow Friday: Skagway Historical Society blog

   For those of you now looking confused, no, there is no Skagway in Connecticut. The Skagway Historical Society blog is the blog for Skagway Historical Society of Skagway, Alaska. The blog profiles famous locals and provides detailed biographies for each individual. These biographies include basic birth and death information, a few interesting tales, and how they tie to Skagway. Useful for a family trying to trace their past.
   So why am I mentioning the Skagway Historical Society blog? Two of those profiles concern Connecticut natives. Erastus Brainard, a force driving the immigration to the Yukon, was born in Middletown. Hattie Corrin, born in South Coventry, ran the local hospital for several years. If you belong to either family, you'll want to take a look. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Those Places Thursday: Sterling, CT

   I have to admit I love it when the town posts local photos on their website. You're liable to end up with a mix of modern and historic photos, but it's a much easier process than digging through thousands of websites. Just have patience. You may have to do some sorting to find a goldmine.
   The town of Sterling has offered just that mix. A series of photos taken in 2010 cover everything from historic placards to town buildings. A few shots included historic photos (and the associated page in a history book). Happy research.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy July 4th!

   I just wanted to wish everyone a Happy Fourth! If you have time, consider checking out http://enfield.patch.com/articles/connecticut-signers-of-the-declaration-of-independence. It's a nice article on Connecticut signers of the Declaration of Independence.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tuesday's Tip: Tracing Roman Catholic Churches

   I've written about tracing Catholic churches before but wanted to add a few extra suggestions.

1. Identify all the Roman Catholic churches in the town.
     a. Use their websites to find their foundation dates. It's not a perfect system, but it will help you identify what churches were in town at that time.

2. Make sure you read any and all history information available online.  Sometimes the older churches will list their "mission" churches - even if those churches have since broken away.

3. Look at old maps. I recently discovered that a church that was  supposedly founded in 1915 actually existed in 1860 as a mission church.

4. Call the diocese. A few have archives.

Good luck!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Military Monday: John Banks' Civil War Blog

   I know it's not Friday, but I wanted to share a military related blog I've been following with interest. John Banks has been profiling Connecticut soldiers as part of his Civil War blog.  Many of his posts describe the experiences of an individual Connecticut soldier, although he has also covered Civil War museums and more. Each post is well-written and, crucial for a genealogist, contains enough information to retrace his steps. As I'm interested in the stories of Civil War soldiers, I've been enjoying reading about each life. I hope you'll also find something useful.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Church Record Sunday: First Congregational Church, Voluntown

   This one confused me. I started out researching Sterling, CT's congregational church. It's a relatively small town on the Rhode Island border. The town's website indicates that it was founded in 1794. In that era, it should have had a congregational church... but doesn't. Why? A local history from the late 1890s finally pointed me in the right direction.  Turns out the congregational church for Voluntown falls partially in Sterling. Who knew?
   I couldn't find much on the church on the church as it exists now, but there is a nice piece on the New London Rootsweb list-serv.
   There are great materials available for you to research the genealogy of Sterling families who may have attended this church. Church records were transcribed in the 1950s and should be available on microfilm, although I'm having a hard time figuring out where. Many marriage are also listed in Frederick Bailey's Early Connecticut Marriages. You can also check the Connecticut State Library. Happy research!