14 May 2015

The Women Before Me

I thank Heather Rojo from Nutfield Genealogy for her post on how she organizes her Surname Saturday posts. I'm going to work on the maiden names of women in my ancestry beginning with my maternal line. Those names include:
Ransom, Slocum, Dailey, Curless, Vickers, Williams, Scott, Harry, Foster, Money, Henry, Quow, Jackson, Willett, Romsor, Pegan, Pollock, Brown, Toney, and Hazzard.

And, yes, I know these names all lead to males (fathers) in my line. But I'd still like to honor the women in my ancestry. And some of the names wont go any further than describing the ancestress bearing that last name.

The maiden names in my paternal line include:
Kent, White, Pierce, Brown, Steemer, Sprague, Ayres, Vickers, Wheeler, Dorus, Mason,                   Pegan, Gibson, Nedson, Hazard, Coffee, Sampson, Storms, Sawyer, Cormier, Arkless,                         Anderson, Henries, and Morse.

Looks like I have my work cut out for me.
Patricia Toney Hazzard 1918-1969


21 April 2015

NERGC 2015

This was my 5th NERGC (New England Regional Genealogical Conference) conference and I think it was the best one yet! It was held at the Rhode Island Conference Center which was a beautiful spot. My hotel was a block away (the Courtyard Marriott) and my room was fabulous.

The conference was special for me because it was my first time presenting at NERGC. I made two presentations, one planned, the other a "fill-in" for someone who didn't make it.I was nervous as always and I had tech problems!!!! But it was still pretty great. Here are the front slides for the two presentations-

NERGC is loaded with presentations for all levels of genealogists. Not much is offered for people of color though but through all the years I've been coming that seems to be improving. For the first time, the Massachusetts chapter of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society (AAHGS) had a booth and great offerings. I was definitely happy to see them!

There are plenty of social events as well during NERGC - lunches, banquets, Social Hours, and many more.

The next NERGC is in Springfield, MA in April of 2017. Hope to see you there.



25 February 2015

The Family Scott

The above picture is a plaque that now hangs in the second floor of City Hall in Worcester, Massachusetts. The ceremony yesterday was charming and long overdue. As it states on the plaque, Charles E. Scott served as a City Councilor from 1918 to his death on 11 October 1938. Elected not by the tiny people of color population but instead by white, mostly European immigrants, Councilman Scott was truly ahead of his time.

Charles E. Scott was born to Edward W. Scott and Catherine Annie Jackson in 1869 Sterling, Massachusetts. His parents came up from Virginia to Massachusetts with Methodist missionaries shortly after the Civil War. At age 19, he married Agnes Gimby (1869 - 1953) of Worcester. Charles and Agnes had several children including Marion, Laura, Nelson, Winfred, Charles Edward and Lyman.

Catherine Annie Jackson was born about 1842 in Warrenton, VA to Beverly Jackson and Mary Johnson. She died in childbirth on 14 November 1876 in Worcester, MA. Sadly, two other Scott children died that same year - William M. (1861 - 23 April 1876) and Arthur H. (11 May 1875 - 10 June 1876). 

Edward W. Scott was born about 1841 also in Warrenton, VA. His parents were Walter and Mary Jane. The Scott children included William (above), Mary Jane (b. 13 November 1862), Sarah A. (b. 7 October 1864), Hannah E. (b. 1 February 1867), Charles E. (above), Walter (b. 1871), Clara (b. 1873) and Arthur (above). Edward married his second wife, Harriet Jackson Edmundson on 26 December 1889. Hattie, as she was called, was born about 1854 in Amherst, MA to William and Mary Jackson.

On April 16, 1913, The Worcester Daily Telegram ran an article about the 78th birthday of Edward Scott. 

Edward Scott Says He Is 78 or Perhaps only 76 Years

Edward Scott, recently a shoe repairer and later a restaurant owner at 194 Chandler St., observed the 78th anniversary of his birth at his home, 126 Belmont Street yesterday. Though he says he is 78 years old, he is not quite sure of it and thinks that there is a possibility that he is but 76. However, he is just as happy. Mr. Scott is in good health. He was a slave in his young days and was freed by Lincoln's emancipation proclamation. He was born in Virginia, near Winchester and came to Worcester in 1876. He lived in Oakdale at one time and while there learned to be a shoe maker. Mr.Scott has been married twice, the last time 11 years ago. By his first marriage he had eight children, four of whom are alive."

This is one of my favorite family stories. My great-great grandmother was Edward and Catherine's daughter, Hannah. Hannah died at age 29 of pneumonia leaving four young children including my Grama Nellie.

My 3rd great grandfather, Edward W. Scott, - born into slavery - became a business owner and lived to see his son Charles elected to the Worcester City Council. He passed away in 1919 leaving a wonderful legacy and many proud descendants.

Until next time,


06 February 2015

Venture Smith - From African Prince to Connecticut Freeman

From the connecticuthistory.org website
Although I didn't know it at the time, my best friend from grammar school is a descendant of Venture Smith. She and other family members recently journeyed to Africa to witness the beginnings of their ancestor's incredible life. You can read about the trip in the New York Times Travel Section by following this link.

Venture Smith was born about 1730 in a place he called Dukandarra in West Africa. At about the age of ten, he was kidnapped and taken to Anomabo, a fortress in what is now Ghana. From there he was sold to slavers and taken to America.

Venture's journey across the Atlantic ended in Newport, Rhode Island where he was purchased by George Mumford. Venture grew tall (6'2"), married and had children. He was not a shy man. By all accounts, he made his wishes known and even pressed charges against his owners.He was sold to various men but managed to save enough money to free not only himself but his wife and children as well.

He wrote his memoir titled "A Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Venture, a Native of Africa: But Resident above Sixty Years in the United States of America. Related by Himself." His book was published in New London, Connecticut in 1798.

I am excited that my childhood friend has such an abundance of knowledge about her African ancestors. So few of us do! 

Until next time.


25 September 2014

Nipmuc Angenettes

Angenette is a popular name in my family; I have a sister Angenette and another sister whose middle name is Angenette (don't ask!).

The first Angenette in my family was born Angenette Briggs White in 1829 Webster, MA. She was a member of the Pegan Band of Nipmuc Indians and the daughter of Henry White and Betsey Pegan Caesar. She married twice - to Esbon B. Dorous on 13 March 1844 in Sturbridge, MA and to Samuel Hazard on 19 November 1867 in Woodstock, CT.

Esbon Dorous - sometimes called Solomon- was born about 1811 and the son of John Nedson and Polly Pegan. He and Angenette separated sometime after 1865. The censuses for 1870 and 1880 show his children and grandchildren living with him, but no new wife. He died sometime before 1897.

Samuel Hazard was born about 1815 and the son of Sampson Hazard and Hannah Coffee. Census records give his occupation as "physician" and "shoemaker". The History of Woodstock, CT describes Samuel as the "Indian Doctor Hazard". Samuel died on 3 August 1883 in Woodstock, CT. His children with Angenette include Jack A. Hazzard and Joseph T. Hazzard.

Esbon and Angenette's daughter, Elizabeth (Betsey) Dorous, married Henry Albert Arkless on 7 September 1870 in Worcester, MA. Henry was born in June of 1850 in Uxbridge, MA to Isaac/Israel P. Arkless and Polly Vickers. Polly Vickers was born about 1827 in Hampton, CT and the daughter of Samuel Vickers and Eliza Hazard.

One of Henry and Betsey's daughters was named Angenette. Angenette B. Arkless was born on 5 August 1873 in Webster, MA. She married first Luke Goins/Noyes around 1897. Lemuel Winifred Henries married Angenette Goins about 1901. They had several children including my great-grandmother, Elizabeth Rogers Henries. My great-great grandmother Angenette married once again in 1913 - this time to Lewis Jackson.

Lemuel Winifred Henries was born in April of 1869 to Lemuel Henry and Lydia A. Sprague. Before marrying Angenette, he had married Ida L. Lewis on 25 November 1891 in Webster, MA. Known as Winifred, he died on 19 May 1912 in Webster, MA.

Elizabeth Rogers Henries was born on 4 May 1902 in Woodstock, CT. She married Charles Emerson Morse on 3 October 1918 in Wayland, MA. They had several children among whom was my grandmother, Angenette Irene Morse.

My Nipmuc Angenettes are:

Angenette Briggs White (1829 - 11 January 1897)
Angenette B. Arkless (5 August 1872 - 28 October 1942)
Angenette Irene Morse (7 February 1924 - 25 May 2005)

Plus my two sisters....

Until next time...


16 June 2014

Happy Father's Day

When I think about my dad, it's not my biological father that comes to mind. The man I call 'Daddy', Alfred Bruce Shepard, was my step-father. He raised me and loved me as if I were his biological child and I am forever grateful for it. When I discovered I was pregnant with my first child, I called him first - weeks before I told the rest of my family. He did not live to see Erica, his first granddaughter, though. He died of cancer two short months before her birth at the young age of 48.
Muriel Hazard Shepard, Alfred Bruce Shepard, and my mom sometime in the 1970s.
Shep, as he was called, was born on 6 August 1939. (Fifty years later, my second daughter, Morgan, was born on that same date.) He was born in Worcester, MA to Muriel Rebecca Hazard and Peter Shepard. He lived in Worcester for most of his life. He served in the Air Force and the Air Force Reserves and spoke fluent Greek. He learned that language while serving in Greece although I only heard him speak it while ordering in the local Worcester pizza shops.

He loved to fish - I used to help clean the mackeral before he fried it up in the pan. He liked to cook and did it often. He worked in construction when we were young but eventually went to work as a guard at the local jail. We took long drives in the country nearly every Sunday and visited relatives every weekend. His favorite deep sea fishing spot was up in New Hampshire near Seabrook. And that's where my siblings and I sprinkled his ashes after he passed on 23 January 1988.
All of us in 1973.
Peter Shepard was born on 14 August 1910 in Coffeeville, Kansas to Anna Bell and Peter L. Shepard. He left Kansas as a young man and made his way to Chicago. At 19 years of age in 1930, he was working as a pin setter in a Chicago bowling alley. He enlisted in the US Army on 9 September 1942 and was discharged honorably on 8 February 1946. He settled back in Worcester with his wife and son and lived there until his death on 16 February 1967.
Peter Shepard
Muriel Rebecca Hazard was born in Worcester on 28 March 1919 to Ruth Ellen Dominis and Charles Sumner Hazard. She taught me how to crochet, how to cross-stitch and embroider, and how to make cookies. Knowing how to cross-stitch kept me sane through many trying years. From those tiny stitches grew my love for beading, quilting and nearly every piece of art I've ever created. She outlived both her husband and her only child - passing on 7 February 1995. I still have her cookbook with her hand-written recipes inside the covers. I still remember all those embroidered pillowcases and handkerchiefs.
Muriel Hazard Shepard
So Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there and to all the moms who do double duty as dads. If you still have your dad with you, give him a kiss for me.


02 June 2014

Suicide by Drowning in the Charles River

While collecting vital records on my Storms ancestors, I came across

The above is from the Massachusetts death records. The date of death was February 18, 1884. The town of Boston records included his burial site which was Mt. Hope Cemetery in Boston. There was no indication of who his parents were or where he was born in either record. I also couldn't find any newspaper articles referencing the drowning. The records state that he was married but no mention of his wife's name.

According to my family genealogy database, Charles is one of my Storms relations. But is this Charles Storms the son of Philip Storms and Rebecca Williston of Vergennes, VT?

Charles H. Storms enlisted in Company K, 55 Reg't Mass. Inf. (Col'd) on 10 December 1863. He was 29 years old and born in Vergennes, VT according to his military records. This would put his date of birth around 1834. By December 31st, he was assigned to Colonel Hartwell as the colonel's private cook. At the time of his enlistment, he had already married Jane Jackson, also of Vermont. "Mrs. Charles H. Storms No 2 Sands' Yard in rear of 880 Washington St Boston Mass." is listed on Charles' military service record as Jane's then current address. I've not located a marriage record for Charles and Jane - not in Vermont or Massachusetts. The 55th regiment mustered out in August of 1865 and Charles along with it.

Charles, Jane and their daughter, Emma J., were living in Boston in 1865 according to the Massachusetts State Census of that year. His occupation was still cook. It looks like the census was taken in January of 1865 when Charles was supposedly still in the service. Charles and Jane and their children continue to be counted in the 1870 and 1880 censuses in Boston.

I was unable to find a death record for Jane Jackson Storms, or a marriage record after Charles' death. Charles and Jane had two other children - George Henry, born in 1865 Boston and May R. born in 1869, again in Boston. I have no further information on Emma Storms or May Storms but son George married twice in his life. His first marriage was to Mina Cota on 8 July 1890 in Haverhill, MA. They had one son, Daniel. George's second marriage was to Fall River Wampanoag Rachel E. Crank, the daughter of Thomas Crank and Julia Simmons. There were no children from this marriage. George Storms died on 9 February 1926 in Providence RI. His parents were listed as Charles Storms and Jane Jackson.

Philip and Rebecca had several children and there is a Charles among them. Philip Storms was born in 1795 in Vermont (most likely Ferrisburg) and died on 25 February 1854. He and his family are included in the federal censuses for Vergennes, VT in 1830, 1840, and 1850. Rebecca Williston Storms and three of her children can be found on the 1860 federal census living in different households in Vergennes and Panton, VT. Charles was not found in Vergennes, Ferrisburg, or Panton, VT. All of these towns had several of the extended Storms family living there. Rebecca Storms died on 15 March 1865 in Panton, VT.

The 1840 census does note a male child that could be Charles. But Philip Storms' probate record does not mention Charles nor do any of Philip's land transactions. There are many other avenues to research however. I have been able to uncover quite a bit about George Storms, Charles and Jane's son. My next steps will be to further investigate Charles and Jane's other children, Philip and Rebecca's other children, Philip's siblings and their children and expand the search beyond Boston and Addison County, Vermont.