NE Genealogy

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NE Genealogy

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1avaland
feb 26, 2008, 9:54am

Here's a place to discuss the great adventure that is New England genealogy. Discuss, swap resources, ask questions...

2vpfluke
feb 26, 2008, 4:27pm

In 1961, when we were living in Mattapoisett, Mass, an Air Force couple with two children moved into the back of our 17-room house. Mrs. Harding's aunt was a member of the New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston. I just looked up on the NEHGS site to see if any of her publications were real and found two volumes from 1958 about the Harding family, "Harding: Four Centuries of the Family, Ancestry and Descendents of Perry Green Harding, 1807-1885." Ms. Harding was a very proper Bostonian, and carried that persona. My sister and I wanted to call her Dame Harding (actual name, Veryl E. Harding). About 7-8 years ago I made contact with the son, now living in Texas. Membership now in the NEHGS is $75 a year.

So, this was my quirky introduction to a venerable new England institution.

3avaland
feb 26, 2008, 5:02pm

but what about yourself, vpfluke? And what's that about a 17-room house?

My brother is the OCD genealogist in the family and he's not inclined to share; however, my cousin is also a family archivist, so we have had some wonderful chats. One day I found myself sitting in the Salisbury, MA library researching Mary Bradbury (convicted Salem witch) and thought, if I research every ancestor 10 generations back as she is, not only will I need to research over 1000 ancestors (well, probably less as some lines actually cross), but I will be crazy. So, I decided to research my motherline - a bit more difficult as there is much less in the books on women. Not to mention that I tend to spread my research out as to how they lived at that time, what was the town like they lived in and so on.

I'm back to 1801 in my motherline with Anna Stevens (might be Stearns) marrying John G. Crawford in Worcester and settling in N. Paris, Maine. I haven't found her birth yet, although I found his (days in the Worcester library).

4vpfluke
feb 27, 2008, 12:42pm

The 17-room house on Pine Island Road in Mattapoisett my father bought (1960) because the owners were in their mid-90's when they died and their children who were in their 60's were looking towards retirement and didn't want the burden of a big house, so we got the house for a song. The Harrington family had bought ii in something like 1832, but we never found the date of its construction - but probably 1800-15. It was a wonderful old house, I had a room in the front (north side) on the third floor. After a year, due to cost of heating etc, my stepfather made an apartment out of the back 3 rooms on the 1st and on the 2nd floor (so that it had 6 rooms total). My folks took over what was called the nursery on the 2nd floor when this happened (British style with all the kids in one room - but it was big). Two other bedrooms for on the 2nd floor for my 2 sisters. There were 3 other rooms on the 3rd floor, mostly with all the stuff the Harrington family left. Lots of books, magazines (a lot of Punch), old beds, lamps, etc.
On the first floor, there was a living room, a den, dining room, butler's pantry, huge kictchen (with 6 range gas stove, and 2 gas refrigerators), a laundry room, and a servant's sitting room. When made into an aprt, the kitchen became a living room, and th landry a kitchen, and the sitting room became a den. There was fairly long porch on the right side of the house, and old watercolor of the house shows it stretching around the front. Delft tile in the dining room, which was very dark, the wide-planked floors were painted navy gray with black trim - the wallpaper looked like a floral scene with a wire mash mostly blocking it out, one electrical outlet in the middle of the floor. All the electrical outlets were for a different shaped plugs (instead of 2 parallel slots of today, the 2 slots were end to end). Western redcedar floor in the den, beautiful floor. A communication system existed where you could press a buzzer in each room, and it would ring in the kitchen and a little slot would pop down at the ringer telling you which room the ring had come from.

There was a nice trail to the beach about .4 mile away -- this has been developed by others, but the tidal flat is still there from looking at aerial photos.

5vpfluke
feb 27, 2008, 12:51pm

Regarding heritage, a lot of mixture. My mother claims we are descended from William Bradford of the Mayflower, but I need to look at a Reynolds family history (one was done in the 1920's) to check this out. My mother's maternal grandmother was a Reynolds. We still have the grandfather clock that came from her mother or grandmother (that is 5 or 6 generations back from me).

My mother's paternal grandfather was Irish (Riley) (his parents were from Ireland), his wife was a Fanning - American born not sure what Fanning is. My mother's maternal grandfather was Alsatian with a German surname (Leonhardt), and an immigrant and a silversmith - we still have some of his butter dishes (my granddad had a fire when he moved to Florida in retirement -- his wife had passed during WW2 before I was born) -- so a fair amount of stuff was lost then.

All these people mentioned above lived in Rhode Island.

6avaland
feb 27, 2008, 3:29pm

That's a terrific tour of the house, thanks!