Searching for the Blanchard arrival in Maine.

[Sometimes you just have to skip a generation in your research to find the answer to the question.  If you do so, it is important to have a clear reason and a clear explanation of how any why you skipped the generation. Such is the case for my Blanchard study. The family oral story was that the Blanchards have been in Maine “forever.” I was asked to find out exactly when they came to Maine.]

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My search began with Edward E Blanchard, who married Priscilla Newcomb in 1925. I then began following him and his ancestors back in time. In 1920, he was living with his widowed mother and four siblings in Portland, Cumberland County, Maine.

Further research found that his father Frederick W Blanchard died in 1918.

In 1910, the 9-year-old Edward was living with his parents, Frederick W and Minnie Blanchard in South Portland, Maine.

In 1900, Frederick is living in South Portland with his wife Minnie and three of his children. (Edward hadn’t been born yet.)

In 1887, Frederick and Minnie were married. It was Minnie’s first marriage, but Frederick’s second marriage.

The 1880 Census was particularly difficult to interpret. Frederick was living with his uncle, Charles H. Blanchard and his Charles’s wife Miranda. Also living in the household was Elizabeth Blanchard, a 79-year-old widow who is listed as a “boarder.” Next door, is 81-year-old Myra Blanchard. Of course, both Charles and Myra are listed as “Head” of their respective households. Sadly, the 1880 census is the first census which identifies the relationships of people in a household to the Head and the 1870 census won’t shed any more light on to the relationships.

The 1870 Census shows the Charles H Blanchard household including his wife Miranda, 4-year-old Fred, and three other children. Also living with them is 70-year-old Elizabeth.

The 1860 Census shows Charles and Miranda living in Cumberland, Maine, apparently with three children. Next Door to them is Cyrus and Elizabeth Blanchard with a 16-year-old boy, Melville G Blanchard, who I tentatively assume to be their son.

Looking closer at Cyrus Blanchard’s life, he was apparently married three times. First to Apphiah Young in 1816, Apphiah died in 1841. His second marriage was to Sarah Staples. Sarah died in 1848. His third marriage was to Elizabeth Mills. This would be the Elizabeth we see him with in 1860. It also fits the age of the Elizabeth in the household of Charles H Blanchard in 1870 and 1880. Elizabeth would be Charles’s step-mother.

Cyrus and Elizabeth also show up in the 1850 Census with what appear to be four children. Charles, Nancy, Albion, and Sarah.

So, if, in fact, Frederick’s uncle is Charles and Charles’ father is Cyrus, then Frederick’s grandfather must be Cyrus. We may not know the name of Frederick’s father, which might be Melville, Albion, or something entirely different, but we do know his grandfather’s name.

I believe that Cyrus was born in 1791 in old North Yarmouth, Cumberland County, (Maine) and that his father was Ebenezer Blanchard, born 1760 in Weymouth, Norfolk County, Massachusetts. So, Ebenezer would be the first of Edward Blanchard’s direct ancestors to live in Maine.

There is more research to do. The leap of faith between Frederick and Cyrus need much more to confirm. Also, there were many other Blanchards in Cumberland County long before Ebenezer came to Cumberland County. There was a Samuel Blanchard who sold ¼ of an island in Casco Bay to an Ebenezer Blanchard in 1762. Also, according to the 1870 census to the agricultural schedule, there were 7 farmers with the surname Blanchard farming in Cumberland Center, Cumberland County. Basically, you can hardly turn around without encountering another Blanchard in Cumberland Center or Yarmouth; there are hundreds of them. So, lots more research to do on this family.

Oh, by the way, it appears that Ebenezer was the son of Daniel Blanchard born 1727 in Weymouth, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, a known patriot of the Revolution.[i]

ENDNOTES

[i] Daughters of the American Revolution; www.dar.org, Ancestor: A206439.
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Virginia Memory – Chancery Database

It has been quite a while since I last blogged here. I have many other projects and activities going on. First, I was in Minnesota visiting my mother. I put together many questions and recorded about 4 hours of material, about one hour per session four of the 11 days I was there. I have a project to transcribe the information there and include in my personal tree.

I also did DNA tests for both my mother and me and sent them in to 23 and Me. The great thing about doing both of us is that any relationship matches for me alone must come from my unknown father’s side and any that match on both of us must come from her side. I have also been spending quite a bit of time working on a Burlison line out of Oklahoma for a friend.  I’ve had many interesting findings there as I’ve begun plucking lots of “low hanging fruit.”

I subscribe to many genealogy blogs. One of them is the “Search Tip of the Day – Almost Every Day.”  Michael John Neill’s May 31st blog reminded me about the Virginia Memory site, which is wonderful. He reminded me of the Chancery records there. There are over 220,000 cases indexed in the Chancery database and nearly 5.6 million images of Chancery causes available online. I’m back working on the Howell line, so I thought; I’ve got a couple difficult research areas. I’ll see if maybe I can find something in the Chancery records. 
A quick search for Howell yielded a case between JOHN P WILLIAMS and the administrator of the JOHN P PRICE estate. The case involves 90 pages of documents including a deposition by Peter Howell. It is always wonderful to find a document in an ancestor’s own hand with a signature. His deposition didn’t tell me anything new; Peter lived in Buckingham County in both 1830 (date of the event he wrote about) and 1938 (date of the litigation). However, it does indicate he knew both John Williams and John Price, which may be useful later. There are also many references to Mrs. Pankey who is probably Peter’s wife’s mother; (her father died  about 1829). There are also several references to Holman/Holeman. Peter’s half sister married a Holman about 1819-1820 and there are several Holman’s in Cumberland County during that period. I still need to go through all the documents with a fine tooth comb and see what I can find out about Holman’s as possible. The database includes so many records for Howell, Pankey, and Holman that I should eventually be able to make some new determinations and connections. Just the Chancery records at the Virginia Memory site should keep me busy for days. 

The Life and Travels of Peter Howell by Himself

This week I began research on the Howell Family Tree (my wife’s).  I had very little on her grandfather, a bit more on his father (who was in the Civil War) and very little about his father Peter Howell.

Unfortunately, or fortunately as it turned out, her grandfather, went by his initials most of the time. I knew he was a Baptist preacher in North Carolina. So I started searching Baptist records in North Carolina just searching for “Howell” and not his first name, nor his initials, just “Howell.”  Suddenly a WOW!  Up popped a book, “The Life and Travels of Peter Howell”.  My wife’s great and her 2nd great grandfathers were both named Peter Howell.  Could this be the same Peter Howell.  Found the book was at a library in Raleigh reference section.  I then searched around for the title elsewhere and found it at archive.org, which is a must site for your searches.  I downloaded the files and began to read.  It was the right one, born 1805, married to Caroline Pankey, lived in Virginia…. it was the right Peter Howell.

The first page was a bit of a disappointment, he mentions his birthdate (which we didn’t have before) but not his parent’s names.  He spent his adult life as an itinerant preacher. He traveled from town to town preaching in people’s homes, at court houses, at Methodist and Baptist churches, even on occasion at quaker meeting halls, masonic temples and a Catholic Church. He walked almost everywhere putting on over two thousand miles walking in one year preaching at hundreds of places.  He describes town, buildings, such as the Virginia and North Carolina State Houses, as well as places like Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills.  He mentions churches,  and most importantly people throughout his travels. Sadly, he mentions very little about his personal life or his family, but the book does provide a wonderful insight into the life of a itinerate preacher of the 1840’s.

He seldom ever mentions his two daughters.  He does correct one name Lousianna (I had Laurana previously) but never mentions the name of his second son nor his second daughter. He confirmed the name of his first son and, in the book, corrects the name I had for his youngest child.  More importantly, he provides county information for his parents, marriage information for a sister, and the names and living locations for a couple brothers that I had no information about.

It took many hours to go through the book, determine genealogically interesting information, and incorporate them and the source references into my tree.  

Of course one of the greatest finds in the book was a drawing of the author, Peter Howell (b. 1805).