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.]

————-

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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Missing Murphy children and Frances Florence Murphy

Three missing Murphy children.

I really appreciate the 1900 Census. It can often provide a clue to a family history that may not be otherwise seen. Such is the case of Dennis F and Margaret Alice (Mahoney) Murphy. The 1900 census indicates that Margaret had four children and only one was living. The one living in 1900 was Frances Florence Murphy. But who were the other three, when were they born and when did they die?

The 1900 Census indicates that she was a widow living at 19 Vitromile Street. It was a multi-unit house and had another family (Dapfeil Coveny [??] – Head with a brother, sister, cousin, and a boarder) at the same address. I looked for Vetromile Street in present-day Biddeford and was unable to find it. I found a map of Biddeford from the 1930s and found that it is now St. Mary’s Street. Number 19 would have been right across the street from St. Mary’s Church.

The 1900 Census also indicates that Margaret worked as a cotton mill corder. There were several mills and garment factories two to four blocks away from where she and little 14-year-old Florence lived.

Margaret immigrated in 1870 and her husband, Dennis, was from Maine. Any children they could have had would have been born after 1870 and had to have died before 1900 in Biddeford, Maine.

Ancestry has a great database, Maine, Death Records, 1617-1922, which I used to search for clues.

Searching for Surname: Murphy
Born: 1880 +/- 10 years
Death: 1890 +/- 10 years in York County yielded 6 potential entries.

Results:

Susan – Father: William, Mother: Ann, not my family.
Nellie – No parents identified – Copy of old record of death – Possibly[i]
Tim – No parents identified. – Copy of old record of death – Possibly[ii]
Mary – Transcript Error – Actually age 62 at death not 12, not my family. 
Annie – No parents identified – Copy of old record of death – Possibly[iii]
Catherine – Father: Daniel (but born in Ireland) Mother: Annie Berry – Not my family.

The three possibilities need a little closer look.

Name
Birth
Age
Death
Nellie
Abt 1882
6
4 Apr 1888
Tim
Abt 1883
6
14 Nov 1889
Annie
Abt 1888
1
7 May 1889
Frances Florence
11 Apr 1886
I added Frances for comparison.
I see nothing incompatible with these births. All appear to fit the birth and death criteria for children of Margaret. I know that it is somewhat of a stretch to ascribe these three names to the three unknown children of Margaret; however, I think they fit and give a great starting point for further research actions. Until I find something to discredit these names, I’m going to use them as tentative names.

WB-05 – Frances Florence Murphy (1886-1952)

Frances Florence Murphy was born on 11 April 1886 in Biddeford, Maine, the third child of Dennis F and Margaret Alice (Mahoney) Murphy [iv].

Not the baby for long, her sister Annie was born 1-2 years later. Then disaster struck the family. Nellie, the oldest sibling died on 4 April 1888 at the age of six. A year later, Annie, her younger sister died on 7 May 1889 at the age of one. Six months later, her brother, Tim died on 14 Nov 1889 at the age of six. Disaster struck once again when her father died sometime before 1900[v].

The 1900 Census finds Florence living with her mother in a rented house at 19 Vitromile (now St. Marys) Street in Biddeford. Florence is attending school. It had to be a tough time for the teenager living with her widowed mother who was working in the mills and renting a house with another family.

On 19 Sep 1911 Frances F. Murphy married Herbert Winfield. Whitten in Kennebunkport, Maine[vi].; however, it appears they continued to live in Biddeford. Quickly, only 10 months later, the young couple had their first child, Paul Timothy Whitten on 6 July 1912.

Marker for Frances M. Whitten
Gracelawn Memorial Park, Auburn, Maine 
Photo by Christine via Find-a-Grave

Before 1918, the Whittens moved to Kennebunkport where their other four children were born.

The 1920 Census indicates the family lived on Main Street[vii] and on an unnumbered court near Main Street in 1930.[viii]

In 1940, the family is still renting the same house as they lived in on Garden Street, Kennebunk in 1935. [ix]

Frances Florence (Murphy) Whitten died in September, 1952[x]. She was buried at Gracelawn Memorial Park, Auburn, Androscoggin county, Maine[xi] on 24 September 1952.

Future Actions:

Search St. Mary’s Catholic Church Baptism Records for children with the parents of Dennis and Margaret (or Marguerite) Murphy. 
Search St. Mary’s Catholic Church for death records for Nettie, Tim and Annie Murphy around the dates above.

ENDNOTES

[i] Maine State Archives; Cultural Building, 84 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333-0084; Pre 1892 Delayed Returns; Roll #: 79 – Nellie Murphy.
[ii] Maine State Archives; Cultural Building, 84 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333-0084; Pre 1892 Delayed Returns; Roll #: 79 – Tim Murphy.
[iii] Maine State Archives; Cultural Building, 84 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333-0084; Pre 1892 Delayed Returns; Roll #: 79 – Annie Murphy.
[iv] See my notes above regarding the three unknown children of Margaret Mahoney Murphy.
[v] Ancestry.com, 1900 United States Federal Census (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.comOperations Inc, 2004), 1900; Census Place: Biddeford, York, Maine; Roll: 602; Page: 12A; Enumeration District: 0229; FHL microfilm: 1240602. http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=1900usfedcen&indiv=try&h=22490747.
[vi] Ancestry.com, Maine, Marriages, 1892-1996 (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.comOperations Inc, 2003), Francis F Murphy. http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=MaineMarriageState&h=1370507&indiv=try.
[vii] 1920 United States Census (FS) (National Archives and Records Administration), Family Search, Maine, York, Kennebunk, ED-109, Sheet 2B Line 36 (family 51). https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MF8W-K66.
[viii] Ancestry.com, 1930 United States Federal Census (Online publication – Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2002.Original data – United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1930. T626,), Year: 1930; Census Place: Kennebunk, York, Maine; Roll: 841; Page: 8B; Enumeration District: 0022; Image: 780.0; FHL microfilm: 2340576.
[ix] Ancestry.com, 1940 United States Federal Census (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012), Year: 1940; Census Place: Kennebunk, York, Maine; Roll: T627_1496; Page: 14B; Enumeration District: 16-38.
[x] Private E-mail, Funeral Home to Don Taylor – 2015-10-12.
[xi] FInd-A-Grave, Frances M Whitten – Memorial #121464940.

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Charles Pine and the Scarborough Museum

 Charles Pine and the Scarborough Museum

I love helping Find-a-Grave. So, when I saw a request for a marker at the nearby Dunstan Cemetery I was happy to try to photograph the marker. It was even more exciting because my wife’s favorite beach and the road we live along (Pine Point) were named after that individual, Charles Pine. Charles Pine came to Scarborough about 1702 and died in Scarborough in 1753, so he was definitely one of the early settlers of Scarborough, Maine.
The entry for Charles “The Indian Fighter” Pine on Find-a-Grave was substantial[i]. Not only were his birth and death dates provided but also his children’s names and it indicated that he was buried at Dunstan Cemetery. Dunstan Cemetery is a modest size but still has over 1300 internments so it would be easy to miss a marker. Also, I was afraid that a 260-year-old burial might not still be marked. So, I thought I’d see what the Scarborough Museum (and Scarborough Historical Society) has that might help me. I recently began volunteering there and figured that finding Charles Pine’s marker would be a good little project to help me start learning about the resources at the museum.
I asked one of the other volunteers if they had anything showing the plots and markers for Dunstan Cemetery. She showed me a bookcase and said to look there. Sure enough, there was the perfect book, Dunstan Cemetery Records, Scarborough, ME ©1985 by Thomas Shaw Henley & Steven J. Bentley[ii]. What a fantastic book – and it is indexed. A quick look at the indexes and I immediately saw that Charles Pine was not listed. I did see the note that said, “There are many lots without stones at the cemetery and without records at town hall.” I thought, that’s that; no marker remains. Then I had another idea.

I had seen a large two-volume notebook, titled, “Cemeteries of Scarborough” ©1997 by Janice Makowski at the museum. I thought, “Maybe there is something in there,” so I gave it a quick look. There was Charles Pine, same death date as on Find-a-Grave; however, it said he was in Cemetery #56, “Pine Cemetery.” Apparently, Charles Pine, for whom Pine Point was named for, is buried near Broadturn Road, on the left, just before you cross the Nonesuch River. Ms. Makowski’s notes were extremely detailed as to exactly where the burial ground is located. Apparently, Charles is the only person interred there and two marker rocks, which contain no inscriptions, identify his burial plot.
Grave of Charles Pine (c. 1925)
Grandfather Tales of Scarborough, Page 102,
She also had copies of pages from the 1925 book, Grandfather Tales of Scarborough that included a photo of the stones[iii]. So, now I know Charles Pine isn’t buried at Dunstan Cemetery. The next time I drive up Broadturn Road on a nice dry day, I’ll try to stop and try to get a modern picture of the two Charles Pine grave marker rocks. Hopefully, they are still there and I can find them.
My volunteer time at the Scarborough Museum provided me access to resources that saved me time on my Find-a-Grave volunteering. I also learned a lot about Charles Pine, a definite “Ancestor of Place.” That’s a win-win.
Have you considered volunteering at your local museum or historical society? Not only will it help them, you might find it will help you understand the land better, regardless if you grew up there or if you are “from away.”

ENDNOTES

[i] http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=131264489
[ii] Henley, T. S., & Bentley, S. J. (1985). Dunstan cemetery records Scarborough, Maine: Stone inscriptions and old records combined and indexed. Maine: T.S. Henley and S.J. Bentley.
[iii] Moulton, Augustus Freedom; Grandfather Tales of Scarborough, Katahdin publishing company, 1925.

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Start Looking

Herbert Winfield Whitten (1883-1967)

Whitten Project

Introduction
My Whitten Project reminded me of just how much information can be found using Ancestry.Com.  Really, it is an amazing resource.  In the case of my researching Herbert Winfield Whitten, I found a lot of information on Family Search, some on Find My Past, and even some on Mocavo. However, every one of the sources I found on those other sites I also found on Ancestry.Com. If you can afford it, it is the one paid site I recommend above all others.  If you want to get an Ancestry.Com membership and you are an AARP member, call them (don’t use the on-line forms) and tell them you would like the one-time AARP Member Discount. If you can’t afford an Ancestry.Com membership, you can access the “Library Edition” of Ancestry for free from most public libraries and from all Family History Centers. If you are not currently an Ancestry.Com subscriber, you might want to consider subscribe by using my Ancestry.Com link. (See my disclaimer.) Here is what I found using Ancestry.Com.

#4 – Herbert Winfield Whitten (1883-1967)

Synopsis

When Herbert Winfield Whitten was born on September 3, 1883, in Limerick, Maine, his father, Daniel, was 23 and his mother, Martha, was 20. He married Frances Florence Murphy on September 19, 1911, in Biddeford, Maine. They had five children in 17 years. He died on October 26, 1967, in Maine, at the age of 84.

Chronological History

Birth Record
Herbert Winfield Whitten
via Ancestry.Com [1]

1883 – Herbert Winfield Whitten was born on September 3, 1883, in Limerick, Maine to Martha Angelina Libby, age 20, and Daniel Winfield Whitten, age 23. His birth record was a delayed submission being submitted in January 1942, probably in response to the draft. [1] 

1887 – Herbert Winfield’s brother Charles Libby was born about 1887, in Maine when Herbert Winfield was 4 years old.[2]

1890 – Herbert Winfield’s sister Muriel A. was born September 1890, in Maine when Herbert was 6 years old. [3]

1900 – The 1900 census finds Herbert living with his parents and his two siblings in Shapleigh, York County, Maine. Herbert is a spinner at a woolen mill. Shapleigh is just a few miles south of Limerick, where Herbert was born.[4]

1901 – Herbert’s brother Neuren (or Newren) was born about 1901, in Maine, when Herbert was around 18 years old.[5]

1905 – Herbert’s youngest brother, Leland, was born about 1905, in Maine, when Herbert was about 22 years old.[6]

1910 – The 1910 Census finds Herbert living with his parents and his four siblings on Kennebunk Road, in Kennebunk, Maine. His father was owned a farm and was work as a farmer while Herbert worked as a Teamster.[7]

1911 – Herbert Winfield Whitten married Frances Florence Murphy, Daughter of Dennis F Murphy and Margaret Alice (Mahoney?) Murphy on September 19. The ceremony was performed by Rev. Timothey P. Limeton, a Biddeford clergyman, in Frances’ hometown of Biddeford.[8] Herbert was living in Kennebunkport at the time and was 28 years old Plain (Plane?) Operator.[9]

1912 – The young family located to Biddeford and 10 months after their marriage, their first child, Paul was born in July. Herbert was a laborer. [10]

Map of Herbert W. Whitten’s life
Entirely in Maine, mostly York County
Graphic via Google Earth

1917 – Herbert and Frances’s second son, Francis R Whitfield was born, probably sometime between December 1917 and April 1918. I need to do more research regarding Francis.[11] [12]

1918 – The 35-year-old registered for the draft (WW I). He was described as short, medium build, brown hair, brown eyes. He lived on Lived on Nasons Court in Kennebunk, ME, working as a teamster for William Bartlett on Saw Road. His wife was his nearest relative.[13]

1920 – The 1920 Census indicates that Herbert and his wife, Frances, were renting a house on Main Street in Kennebunk, Maine. Herbert was a laborer in a leatheriod(?) shop. With them are their two sons, Paul and Frances.[14]

1922 – About 1922 his first daughter [still living] was born in Maine.[15]

1926 – About 1926 his fourth child (third son) Erin (or Errin) was born in Maine.

1929 – In September or October 1929, Herbert’s youngest child, Millard was born.

1930 – The 1930 Census indicates that Herbert is renting a house on Lewis Court in Kennebunk with his wife and five children. Herbert worked as a laborer at a machine shop but had been unemployed for the past 19 weeks. Herbert is not a veteran. His three oldest children are all attending school.[16]

1935 – The 1940 Census indicates that Herbert is living in the same house as he does in 1940, 319 Garden, Kennebunk, Maine. [17]

1940 – The 1940 Census indicates Herbert is renting a house at 319 Garden, in Kennebunk, for $12/month. Living with him are his wife, Francis, and his four youngest children. He is a laborer doing odd jobs and his son Francis is a mechanic at a garage.[18]

1954 – Herbert’s brother Neuren died.

Marker for Herbert W. Whitten
In Loving Memory – 1883-1967
Photo by Christine via Find-a-Grave

1956 – Herbert was retired living on Beech Hill Road, in Auburn, Maine. His son and daughter-in-law also live on Beech Hill RD. [19]

1958 – Herbert is still retired, living on Beech Hill Road in Auburn.[20]

1960 – Herbert’s son, Paul passed away in Auburn, Maine.

1967 – Herbert Winfield Whitten died on 26 October 1967, probably in York, Maine. He is buried at Gracelawn Memorial Park in Auburn, Maine.[21]

Footnotes:

[1] Ancestry.com, Maine, Birth Records, 1621-1922 (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010), Maine State Archives; Cultural Building, 84 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333-0084; Pre 1892 Delayed Returns; Roll #: 104.
[2] Ancestry.com, 1900 United States Federal Census (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004), Year: 1900; Census Place: Shapleigh, York, Maine; Roll: 603; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 0253; FHL microfilm: 1240603.

[3] Ancestry.com, 1900 United States Federal Census (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004), Year: 1900; Census Place: Shapleigh, York, Maine; Roll: 603; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 0253; FHL microfilm: 1240603.

[4] Ancestry.com, 1900 United States Federal Census (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004), 1900; Census Place: Shapleigh, York, Maine; Roll: 603; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 0253; FHL microfilm: 1240603. http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=1900usfedcen&indiv=try&h=2705110.

[5] Ancestry.com, 1910 United States Federal Census (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006), Year: 1910; Census Place: Kennebunk, York, Maine; Roll: T624_548; Page: 10A; Enumeration District: 0245; FHL microfilm: 1374561.

[6] Ancestry.com, 1910 United States Federal Census (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006), Year: 1910; Census Place: Kennebunk, York, Maine; Roll: T624_548; Page: 10A; Enumeration District: 0245; FHL microfilm: 1374561.

[7] Ancestry.com, 1910 United States Federal Census (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006), 1910; Census Place: Kennebunk, York, Maine; Roll: T624_548; Page: 10A; Enumeration District: 0245; FHL microfilm: 1374561 – David W. Whitten. http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=1910USCenIndex&h=196551176&indiv=try.

[8] Ancestry.com, Maine, Marriage Records, 1713-1937 (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010), Maine State Archives; Augusta, Maine, USA; 1908-1922 Vital Records; Roll #: 60. http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=MaineMarriageRe&h=1028162&indiv=try.

[9] Ancestry.com, Maine, Marriage Records, 1713-1937 (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010), Maine State Archives; Augusta, Maine, USA; 1908-1922 Vital Records; Roll #: 60. http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=MaineMarriageRe&h=1028162&indiv=try.

[10] Maine Birth Records, 1621-1922 (84 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333-0084, Maine State Archives), Ancestry.com, Timothy Paul Whitten – Vital Records; Roll #: 60.

[11] 1920 United States Census (FS) (National Archives and Records Administration), Family Search, Maine, York, Kennebunk, ED-109, Sheet 2B Line 36 (family 51).

[12] Ancestry.com, 1930 United States Federal Census (Online publication – Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2002.Original data – United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1930. T626,), Year: 1930; Census Place: Kennebunk, York, Maine; Roll: 841; Page: 8B; Enumeration District: 0022; Image: 780.0; FHL microfilm: 2340576.

[13] Ancestry.com, U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005), Registration State: Maine; Registration County: York; Roll: 1654023; Draft Board: 2.

[14] Ancestry.com, 1920 United States Census (FS) (National Archives and Records Administration), Family Search, Maine, York, Kennebunk, ED-109, Sheet 2B Line 36 (family 51).

[15] Ancestry.com, 1940 United States Federal Census (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012), Year: 1940; Census Place: Kennebunk, York, Maine; Roll: T627_1496; Page: 14B; Enumeration District: 16-38.

[16] Ancestry.com, 1930 United States Federal Census (Online publication – Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2002.Original data – United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1930. T626,), Year: 1930; Census Place: Kennebunk, York, Maine; Roll: 841; Page: 8B; Enumeration District: 0022; Image: 780.0; FHL microfilm: 2340576.
[17] Ancestry.com, 1940 United States Federal Census (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012), 1940; Census Place: Kennebunk, York, Maine; Roll: T627_1496; Page: 14B; Enumeration District: 16-38.

[18] Ancestry.com, 1940 United States Federal Census (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012), 1940; Census Place: Kennebunk, York, Maine; Roll: T627_1496; Page: 14B; Enumeration District: 16-38.

[19] U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989, Ancestry.com, Lewiston, Maine – 1956 – Page 865.
[20] U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989, Ancestry.com, Lewiston, Maine – 1958 – Page 836.

[21] Ancestry.com, U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012), Herbert W Whitten – # 121465477.

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The wife of my Brother-in-Law

Sometimes I just enjoy the search.  I like to take a person, plug them into my
process and see what spits out.  As a
former Project Manager (PMP),  I am all about the process. I thought I’d share a bit of my process here.

Recently, I was talking with my sister
in-law.  Well, I think of her as my sister-in-law,
although in reality she is the “wife of my brother-in-law.” (She is my wifes’s
brother’s wife).  Anyway, we had a delightful
lunch with her and her husband the other day. As is often the case when I’m involved in conversation, talk moved to
genealogy and family history.  As we
chatted, it became clear that she was extremely proud of her parents and their
stories.  She knew that one side had been
in Maine for many generations.  On her paternal
side she had some Greats that “came from away,” one from Ireland and
another from New York.  As we
chatted, I know that I wanted to know much more about her family, and
subsequently more about who her people are and what made the kind of person
that she is. As we chatted she gave her permission to do some research on her
family. 
From discussions long ago, I had a couple tidbits
of information. I knew her parents names and where they lived (Auburn, Androscoggin County, Maine). With that information, I started with my basic “getting to know you” process.
My process begins with
Ancestry.Com. I have a paid
subscription and I highly recommend having one. If you can’t afford a
subscription, the “library edition” is available at most libraries and at all Family History Centers.  I use
Ancestry.Com to “pick the low hanging fruit.” I quickly found her father, her
mother, where they were married and then both of them through the 1930 and 1940
censuses. I found her father’s parents names in the 1930 census but could not,
for the life of me, find them in the 1920 census. I found the grandparents in
the 1910 census, but  still nothing in
1920. I continued my Ancestry.Com
searches and found many city directories that showed where they lived ever
two or three years from after World War II until into the 1950s.  
My next important search location  in my process is Find-a-Grave.  I used to go there second but now Ancestry.Com searches provides links to Find-a-Grave, so used that feature and easily found
the Find-a-Grave memorials for her parents. Looking at markers, I saw
immediately that her father had been a World War II veteran. Good to know — I’ll look into that more late. 
The markers also provided solid evidence for both their birth and
death dates.  All the censuses and other
records I found were consistent with that date. Thanks to Find-a-Grave, I also learned
of a brother that was born before my sister-in-law and died that same year as an infant.  
I then switched to Family Search – an awesome free
resource.  If I didn’t have an
Ancestry.Com account, Family Search would be my first place to look.  Any records that have images through Ancestry
and not Family search I would save to my “Source Box.”  Later at a library or family history center
I’d use that source box records to save image files to my thumb drive. 
Anyway, some kinds of searches work really well on Family
Search.  I searched for her father’s first
name only, and added parents first names only, leaving the surname blank.  I also added the state, Maine; bang there it
was. Severely misspelled surname but the right family, parents the right age,
siblings the right ages, location in the right town and state.  Only the surname was off.  Not much else on Family Search that I found in
a number of quick searches.  A deeper
dive will most likely yield more information.

A search of Google News found their marriage
announcement.  In it several other bits
of information were provided. Where her father and mother graduated from High
School. Where her mother went to college, what their occupations were.  Even info about other relatives that attended
the wedding.  Those are really good bits
of info to know and I input everything into my records.  Sometimes just knowing that a person was
alive, still unmarried, and living at a specific city can lead to marriage and
other records.
Then on to my newspaper resources.  My search in Genealogy Bank found a French language article about her father from 1939. Thanks to Google Translate, the
article said:

Two dogs Eskimo, owned by xxxx xxxxxxx, of Fletcher Street,
Kennebunk, harnessed to a sled, made the trip entire Biddeford and Kennebunk in
90 minutes…  

I’ll bet a native French speaker can tell me if “firent le trajet entre” means round
trip or one way – Google’s translation is unclear but it is a good first cut on translating
almost any language into almost any other language.  That the article was in  French was interesting as well. It made me
wonder if he was bilingual. I know his wife spoke both English and  French.   
I didn’t find anything on
Newspapers.Com or through
Elephind.com regarding the family
Because of my findings on Find-a-Grave, I went back to Ancestry
and searched for military records for my sister-in-law’s father. Sure enough,
several documents were there.  I learned he enlisted in early 1941 long before Pearl Harbor. I also found
the document where his widow applied for a veteran’s marker.  That was cool because there was a color copy
on-line and the form was clearly in her mother’s hand.
Bates College students burying a stuffed bobcat to
Commemorate the demise of the Bates humor
magazine: The Bobcat
Photo Courtesy: Bates College
I wondered if the Maine State Archives had a copy of the
wedding certificate on line.  No such luck,
but it did confirm the date and provided instructions on how to order one from
the state. (I think I’ll ask my sister-in-law to do that.) The wedding announcement mentioned that my sister-in-law’s mother had
attended Bates College. Hummm.  I
wondered if a yearbook might be available on line.  Yup. 
Archive.Org had a copy on line. I REALLY love Archive.Org.  They are high on my list of places to search
for people and documents.  Of course
“mom” was there, a graduation photo and it showed her involvement and interests
in school life.  She had earned an
apprenticeship in French, she was a member of the French Club, and the Glee
Club, and much more.
In just a few hours I found 18 sources of information about
my sister-in-law’s father and just a many regarding her mother (there is
substantial overlap).  Actually, I found the information in an hour or two, documenting it took several times longer than finding the information.
I could do a lot more to get to know my sister-in-law’s
parents. But this is a good first beginning to get to know my sister-in-law’s people.
My process includes doing general searches using:

Ancestry.Com(Find the person in
every census they were alive for.)
Find-a-Grave
Family Search and
Genealogy in Time
(which is really Google but more focused)

Then I search newspapers.

Genealogy Bank
Newspapers.Com and
Elephind.Com  

I also check
TheAncestorHunt.Com for any recommendation Kenneth has based on appropriate
states and dates.  His blog/website is an
awesome resource! 

Logo of Archive.Org

Finally I do focused Searches based upon previous findings
which generally include

      Google Books
      Google News
      Archive.Org and various 
      State Resources

That is kind of the start of my process.  I think that it provides enough information to know a bit about a person. Enough to begin to ask more questions and focus my further research.


Note:  Due to privacy
issues, I have intentionally left out names and personally identifying
information in this article/blog. As matter of policy, I do not publicly write about the
specifics of individuals or couples who have been dead less than 25 years.

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