Thursday, October 31, 2013

Editha Stebbins 1613 - 1688

Editha Stebbins - a Founder of Hartford CT - a Puritan in the Great Migration in 1633

Editha Stebbins is Goldibear's 10X-great grandmother.  She led an extraordinary life in early Colonial America. Read her story at WikiTree:

 Edith (Stebbins) Holyoke

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Why I Love WikiTree

Reason #1 - Wikitree is helping me grow my own family tree. Yes, Many places claim to do that. WikiTree is where I can put my confidence that the information is accurate. Why? Because they demand sourcing, and are busy to correct mistakes quickly.  I do not have to choose one person to trust for the information - each profile in WikiTree is 'owned' by the whole community. Instead of everyone duplicating the same work over and over, there is one work, which is contributed to and checked by many people with an interest in that branch. Makes sense to me!

Reason #2 - WikiTree has interest groups (Projects and Categories) which cover my special interests - Revolutionary War Patriots; Puritans of the Great Migration; Founders of Hartford, etc.

Reason #3 - Working for the improvement of a Project will earn a badge on my homepage (and yes, I was motivated by gold stars as a kid, too).  Here are my badges:

Wiki Genealogist 1776 Project Member Puritan Great Migration Project Member Profile of the Week Voting Member Honor Code Signatory Volunteer

Pretty, yes? And they each mean a lot to me: they represent the research, the passion and work that I have invested in special projects in my family tree.  The 1776 is self-explanatory. The "pgm"? Puritan Great Migration - the settlement in the early 1600s of the towns of New England by Puritans. Would you be surprised to find out that a great many of those people lived into their 70's and even their 90's?

Reason #4 - see "Voting Member - profiles" badge.  I am a bit excited, as one of the profiles I wrote for a Puritan ancestor is being considered for Profile of the Week award.  Results will be announced tomorrow.  It was certainly part of my motivation as I wrote the profile, winnowed the sources, and wrestled the footnotes into place, to think that it could be nominated. Also, the profile was of a person who led a truly extraordinary life, and deserves to be recognized. The seventeen member committee reads all the nominated profiles, and each vote raises the profile in a Google search.

Reason #5 - coming soon, a 'Club 100' badge for October.  Any member of WikiTree who makes 100 or more contributions to the worldwide family tree project in a given month is eligible. There is also a Club 1,000 badge. 

Reason #6 - The people I have met at WikiTree are just simply the nicest in any genealogy group I have ever known. Really.  And that is probably the very best reason of all.

Saturday, October 26, 2013


Amos Miner responded to the Lexington Alarm April 22, 1775, fighting the British under the command of Capt. Daniel Tilden.[1] He was nineteen years old.[2]
Amos Miner enlisted at Roxbury Massachusetts.[3] He served part of the twenty months active service documented in his pension under Capt. Throop and Col. Burrill, as a private and a sergeant with the Connecticut troops.[3]
"Amos Miner, the grandfather of the subject of this sketch, was the third son of Jesse Miner. He was one of the 1,500 volunteer troops that took possession of Bunker Hill on the night of June 16, 1776, helped to throw up the entrenchments, was in the thickest of the battle on the 17th and among the last to leave the field when ordered to fall back."

He gave vivid descriptions of many incidents of this memorable battle. He went on an expedition to Canada, was wounded while in the service and was granted a pension after the close of the war."

Following is the official record of the Revolutionary service of Amos Miner: Department of Interior --- Bureau of Pensions --- Washington, D.C. "Battles engaged in ---Bunker Hill."[3][4]
He is listed in the Connecticut Revolutionary War Military Lists, 1775-83, on December 14, in the area of North Castle, New York, in the Third Regiment, under the Command of Col. John Ely; in Holm's Company, under the Command of Capt Thomas Holms. The note refers to wages and sauce money.[5]
Amos Miner married Mary Rowley, on December 14, 1780.[6]
On May 1, 1818, Amos Miner made application for a pension due to his service in the war. He was living in Brighton, New York. He was sixty-two years old. He began receiving his war pension as of the 1st of May, 1818.[3]
Amos Miner was buried at the Palmyra Cemetery, Palmyra, Wayne County, New York.[7] [8]
His widow, Mary Rowley Miner, made application and received a pension for the service of her husband.[3]

Amos is the brother of Goldi-bear's 6x great-grandmother.  I wrote the above profile at WikiTree, where you can see his family tree, which goes back to 1525.

  1. Connecticut Revolutionary War Military Lists, 1775-83; Lexington Alarm Lists page 150: online digital records published by
  2. Connecticut Town Birth Records, pre-1870 (Barbour Collection) page 302; REF Vol 2, page 34
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 U.S. Sons of the American Revolution Membership Applications, 1889-1970 National SAR #11348; Wisconsin state SAR #198
  4. Find A Grave Memorial# 94078009; Created by: M Carter Record added: Jul 23, 2012
  5. Connecticut Revolutionary War Military Lists, 1775-83; Lexington Alarm Lists page 150: online digital records published by Ancestry
  6. Family Data Collection - Individual Records; online digital records published by Ancestry
  7. Index to the Burial Places of Revolutionary Patriots in and around Ontario County, New York; 2nd Ed. compiled by Preston E. Pierce, Ontario County Historian; published by the Office of the County Historian Division of Human Services, Ontario County, Canandaigua, New York 1996
  8. Find A Grave Memorial# 109522687; Created by: daryl verstreate, jr; Record added: Apr 25, 2013

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Panda Cam is Live Again at the National Zoo (updated)

Update Wednesday Oct 23rd -
     This morning Mei Xiang is outside eating bamboo, and baby panda is indoors sleeping. Both cams are active and I switch back and forth to between them.
      Mei Xiang usually is holding her cub, grooming her, or helping her nurse. 

Right now, as I write this, Mei Xiang [beautiful fragrance] is sleeping and so is her cub. According to Chinese tradition, the cub will be named one hundred days after its birth. Meanwhile - the cub seems to be a restless sleeper (or a very active dreamer?).  With the Panda Cam (link click here) live again, we can watch our national treasures.

Monday, October 14, 2013

My Family Tree At WikiTree

embeddable family tree updated live from WikiTree

I was born at the end of The Oregon Trail, at the end of WWII - two events which have remained strong influences in my life. 

My father joined the Navy during the war, and after being trained in electronics was shipped to the South Pacific, where he was a radioman in a P-28 that patrolled the ocean around New Caledonia.
After the war ended, my father had opportunities for a career in electronics. In such a dynamic growth industry, opportunity often meant moving to a new city, and I literally saw the United States from one side to the other and back as I was growing up. 

I soon realized that most people had more family around them and my friends knew their grandparents. All but one of my grandparents were deceased by the time I was born. My curiosity about who they were grew with the passing years. 

Meanwhile, the age of television and the Hollywood Western blossomed. I watched entranced as Roy Rogers, the Lone Ranger, Annie Oakley and other characters made the West safe from the bad guys. My favorite show was Wagon Train. Do you remember the theme song? "Roll 'em, Roll 'em Roll em - keep those wagons rolling, roll 'em - roll 'em - roll em - Rawhide!"

Little did I know then that my own great-grandfather Barchus had come over the Oregon Trail in a covered wagon in 1864; my great-great grandmother Bacon also was on that trip. My Welch great-great-great grandparents Evans/Toone traversed the Oregon Trail in 1852, bringing with them their newly married son and his bride, and a son-in-law and grand-baby. 

Those discoveries and more came into my life because some young men decided to get high and go for a joy ride. I thought when they crashed their car into ours that my life was ruined, but the long recovery simply meant I'd have time for working on my family tree - something I might never have done otherwise. That is how, for me, what had been an interesting hobby became a passionate vocation.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Family Tree Journey – In the Beginning

So when I look at records I generated a couple decades ago, and see how incomplete they are, how many assumptions (many of them erroneous) that I made, I have no regrets.  I see what every family tree archivist must produce before they have the the experience, the classes, the knowledge to move beyond beginner.

I also see a solid framework upon which I may hang the marvelous details so easily accessible in literally billions of digitized books and document, with powerful, hi-speed search engines and Internet. Without the simple tree which I put together long ago, doing a search on the Ancestry website, and contemplating the vast amount of conflicting data presented in millions of differentiating trees, would be utterly overwhelming to me. Where to begin?!

Instead of envying the newbie genealogist their swift and powerful modern tools, I commiserate with their dilemma. For tools so quick and potent may surely take one far and swiftly in the wrong direction just as well as the right one. Which to choose? Where to put one's confidence for what records to trust?

I would say to them, begin where we all must begin - with you. Put down your own vital facts, add your parents, then their parents. Ahh, you begin to feel the truth of the endless journey: the names you want to document double with every new generation! You only have four grandparents -- but you have sixty-four great-great-great-great-grandparents!!

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Family Tree - a Journey

In 1989 I began working on our family tree, working as I thought then, towards a destination.  I conceived of sometime in the future when the work would be complete.

Yesterday, As I contemplated a generation of Revolutionary War soldiers in our tree (and the minutiae of details that each battle and action represent) 'complete' suddenly struck me as being singularly naive. By its very nature, genealogy is a never-ending vocation.  That it should take me nearly a quarter of a century to consciously absorb that truth is a little embarrassing.  Not the brightest bulb on the tree, hmm.

Sooner or later, everyone who contemplates doing their family tree, whether as a hobby or as a career, must confront the idea that with family research, the journey is the destination.  For dealing with something that never ends, the destination cannot be the motive, the journey itself is the question and the answer.

Perhaps some people, observing the nature of the work, decide to find something else to do, something with an end to the beginning, a destination to attain.  Yet not having a destination is not the same as not having goals.

In an endless journey, what is around the next bend in the road, what is just over the next hill, are pleasant goals, attainable and clear.  What is beyond the distant mountain range?  Not so clear, perhaps not even attainable, yet still a worthy goal, if only to see how close one may come.

Below is a section of our Revolutionary War generation - click to enlarge image.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

I stumbled into a helpful genealogy website yesterday

A link to an entry on WikiTree popped up in a search yesterday, and turned into a genealogical gold-mine. There on the WikiTree page was the 'bridge-generation' which I was missing to connect my branch to a well-documented section going waay-ay back.  It made me so happy I quickly set down some info the page was missing, and one thing led to another. You know how that is. So now I am a squeaky-new member of WikiTree.

They even give badges for good behavior.

I Love WikiTree
But it's not like an exclusive thing we've got going. Join me.
+ more @ WikiTree

Monday, October 7, 2013

Ring That Bell

Inscribed on the Liberty Bell: "Proclaim Liberty thro' all the Land to all the Inhabitants thereof."

I chose the Liberty Bell as the symbol to show for those ancestors who fought in the Revolutionary War. I have uncovered pension records for three out of the six I found so far, and papers from Sons of the American Revolution or Daughters of the American Revolution for the remaining three.  There are more Revolutionary War soldiers on branches of our tree I haven't sifted yet - more wonderful discoveries yet to come.

image from Wikipedia
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

View the Image - Rule #5 on Ancestry Anne's Top Ten Rules

Ancestry Anne writes the blog on Her latest subject: Top Ten Rules for Growing Your Family Tree.

Rule #5 is View the Image - you will likely learn some things about your ancestors.

Since I enjoy looking at old records, this is something I have been doing since I began working on my family tree.  What can I say? As a kid, I enjoyed reading the dictionary.

So I'm guessing that about half the members on Ancestry obey Rule #5.  This is a guess based on how many of the trees I checked out list "Experience Mercy Nash" versus how many list "Experience Nash".  The record available to view shows that Experience and Mercy were twins.  The synopsis of the original record merely shows the name Experience Mercy, as belonging to one person, and will automatically enter it as such if you click on the merge buttons without editing.

Read Anne's post for the other nine rules - they are all well worth minding!  I am most guilty of taking short-cuts with Rule #9, just in case you wanted to know.
You will mostly likely learn a few things about your ancestors - See more at:
You will mostly likely learn a few things about your ancestors - See more at:
You will mostly likely learn a few things about your ancestors - See more at:

Saturday, October 5, 2013


Goldibear's 6th gr-grandfather, Orringh Stoddard (1742-1824), fought in the Revolutionary War.  His is the second pension file I have seen this year.

Below is Washington Rallying the Troops at Monmouth by Emanuel Leutz (died 1868); depicts George Washington at the 1778 Battle of Monmouth. From Wikipedia Commons, this painting is in the Public Domain.

Orringh Stoddard fought in the Battle of Monmouth, where 5,000 American troops attacked the withdrawing British Army of 11,000 soldiers, delaying them until  Gen. Washington could arrive with the main American Army.

  " Leutze took great pains to be meticulously accurate with regard to uniforms, weapons, facial types of the soldiers, and portraits of the leading figures. The composition is carefully balanced, but packed with action. In the center, Washington has sunlight shining on his wrathful face, waving his sword as he rallies the troops of Lee's command. Hamilton and a bareheaded Lafayette have ridden up with him and are reining in their horses. The figure of Lee is shrinking back in his saddle, his crestfallen face in shadow. In the foreground, exhausted riflemen and a thirsty dog scoop water from a spring; farther back, on the left, the soldiers raise a cheer for their Commander in Chief, while some of them have already turned to fire on theBritish. On the hilltop, behind the figure of Washington, American artillery gallops into position to stem the British attack, and at far right the men of Washington's command approach the scene to enter the battle."  excerpt from

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Good to the Very Last Bite

Chocolate from Holland arrived shortly after my friend Robin returned from a cruise which stopped in Amsterdam. What a lovely surprise! I managed to keep it for two months, until reaching a goal to celebrate in my diet. This past week I have nibbled four or five squares a day (24 squares in a bar), and stayed at my new weight.  It is the only chocolate that I've had since the middle of May - me, a chocolate addict!  But that is the trouble, you see.

If I only liked chocolate a little bit, I could have a bite and then quit.  As Robin knows too well, I am not good at saying no:)  So, it is easier to have no chocolate than just a little.  Sadly that applies to more than chocolate.  Have you ever had just one french fry?  Just one chocolate cream out of a box? Just one chicken wing?  Well, you see what I mean.  Self control is a virtue which I have opportunity to practice too often - not losing my patience or my temper, not talking too much, exercising when I don't feel like it - oh yes, lots and lots of practice.  

Considering my rate of failures, I am not so sure that practice makes perfect. Doubtless it is still good discipline.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

"National Zoo Panda Cam Will Be Turned Off, Along With Our Happiness, In Federal Government Shutdown"

I am not kidding, those are the headlines this Monday morning at the HuffPost page for pandababy news - and I do mean the new baby panda.

In light of 800,000 workers furloughed and families suffering unfairly, this may seem like a silly thing to receive my concern. It is not. Pandas are so rare, so threatened in their natural habitat, that maintaining the species in zoos and in the special panda centers such as those in China, is vital to a viable population of pandas. The zoos stock frozen sperm and eggs from their pandas and trade off to keep as genetically broad and diverse DNA pool as possible.

Just to watch a baby panda explore the world is to observe a miracle in action.  While the survivability of the pandas at the National Zoo is not in question currently from this government shutdown, the loss of opportunity is not limited to pandas.

The National Archives will be closed for the duration of the shutdown. Here is the quote from their website:
"If the Federal Government is shut down, all National Archives facilities will be closed and all activities will be canceled, with the following exceptions: Federal Records Centers and the Federal Register."  The day I spent doing research at the National Archives on my ancestors who fought in the Civil War was awesome - to see in person the records of our country's history in their vaults! All closed today.

I have been to the National Air and Space Museum several times with family and friends - most recently visiting the enormous facility in Reston, VA where I was able to walk around the space shuttle, and see the history of flight, up close and personal.  Here is the note on their web page:
"Due to the federal government shutdown, our museums and facilities are closed. All daytime and evening events are also canceled."

For more details about what will be closed or not, from the Grand Canyon to Ellis Island, from meat inspections to flu tracking - here is a link to an Associated Press article.

Ironically, while all the Federal workers who are off work without pay due to the actions of the House of Representatives, those same Representatives are getting paid - for NOT governing. They are also, due to their tax- payer funded jobs, enrolled in excellent health care programs that cover themselves and their families.  Yes, the same people who are shutting down the government in an effort to deny the average worker a chance at health care, will not only get paid for not working, they will be fully covered for doctor and hospital visits at the same time.