Ancestral Worship (poem)


ANCESTRAL WORSHIP EGYPTIAN mappage or the Grecian urn Did once perpetuate a father's clay; Preserving through slow centuries and gray The human remnant for the hope eterne. And what the fires of funerals could not burn, Nor Time's insidious tooth gnaw quite away, Became a shrine of virtues, where might pray The latest sons, and of their fathers learn. But we, grown wiser, plant a family tree. And 'neath its broadening branches sit us down, Content to trace a noble pedigree Unapt to urn a rich and high renown; Content to dream of knights armed cap-a-pie. Yet hoping from the sky to see a crown. Horace Spencer Fiske Chicago, May 6, 1896.

From Fiske and Fisk family. Being the record of the descendants of Symond Fiske, lord of the manor of Stadhaugh, Suffolk County, England, from the time of Henry IV to date, including all the American members of the family (1896)

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Another Mayflower Pilgrim Connection, or Two!




Following my mother’s paternal great-grandmother’s line to Sarah Crippen, wife of Oliver Mitchell of Burke, New York, I discovered that Sarah Crippen’s lineage can be traced back to Jabez Crippen and Thankful Fuller and descendent of a Mayflower Pilgrim. Thankful Fuller’s great-father Edward Fuller and his wife, along with one of their son’s Samuel traveled on the Mayflower. Edward was a signitor of the Mayflower Compact. Sadly the couple did not survive the first winter, but Samuel did and he would become Thankful’s grandfather. After his parent’s death in 1621, twelve year old Samuel went to live with Dr. Samuel Fuller, Edward’s brother, who also immigrated on the Mayflower. Samuel older brother, Dr. Matthew Fuller followed on another ship, and is also an ancestor through Thankful, making her a double progenitor of a Mayflower Pilgrim.

Here we find that while Thankful’s father was the grandson of Samuel Fuller, that Thankful’s mother, Mehitible Rowley, was the daughter of Samuel’s brother, Dr. Matthew Fuller, Edward’s eldest son, thereby making them first cousins once removed (Edmund/Matthew/Elizabeth/Mehitable/Thankful & Edmund/Samuel/John). It was a small world then and I’m grateful to learn about it.



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A Needle in a Haystack


I’m continuing my search for a needle in a haystack, with the family name “Wood” on it.  So here I am documenting my investigation. My great-grandmother Bertha Wood (William) Mitchell’s father was Frederick Wood, born in Burke, New York, 1841. I know from a census that his parent’s were both born in Vermont, but have little other information about him, other than that he was a farmer. Naturally.

So how do I track down these nameless Vermont ancestors? When did they move to New York? To start with, since Frederick was born in Burke (West Chateaugay originally) in 1841

A survey of Ray’s Place (town histories) sometimes reveals names of prominent residents in the town’s history. Chateaugay mentions a William Wood there by 1834, while the history of Burke mentions a Mrs. Fred Wood (bingo) and a Mrs. Lydia McMillan as a surviving descendants of Joel Ancirews of Smith, Vermont. So these are clues to consider, or at least rule out. Ray’s Place histories of Chateaugay and Burke were written in 1918, so the towns are named accordingly. When I turn to the early census records of Franklin County, NY, however, I do not find a Burke, only Chateaugay, Burke being then West Chateaugay. Here is a list of the names Wood the 1810, 1820, and 1830 censuses.


Wood, Daniel           Chateaugay
Wood, Joseph           Chateaugay

Aaron Wood Chateaugay, Franklin, New York
Ezra Wood Chateaugay, Franklin, New York
Samuel T Wood Chateaugay, Franklin, New York
Silman Wood Chateaugay, Franklin, New York
Willis Wood Chateaugay, Franklin, New York

A Gazetteer of the State of New York, from 1843, contains a general 1840 census stating Chateaugay’s 2,824 inhabitants. Incidently, it also says that 720 of these residents were employed in agriculture (the Woods were farmers). Town profiles of the time are also given. But I think I’ll have to go to  and put in my list of names, beginning with the 1830 and 1820 names (though 1820 is probably a shot in the dark). While I’m doing this it is important to remember that from 1790-1840 only the head of household is listed in the census. Since the Town of Burke was formed in 1844 from the Town of Chateaugay so I still will need to look at Chateaugay records until my search goes into later years, providing Frederick Wood’s parents actually still lived there then, which in all likelyhood they did unless they were deceased.

Another sources for me would be to locate the Vital Records of Franklin County, New York to find the birth record of Frederick A. Wood. His parents’ names would be recorded on this record. If successful, I may even find a marriage record. If I cannot find a marriage record, the best bet would be to find the names of Wood in the 1840 census and search for the couple’s names in marriage records for the state of Vermont. Thus the haystack.

There are many Woods in Vermont and New York. So wish me luck!


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Dear Ancestor (poem)


Samuel Currier 1636~1713 “For this defeated soul, And all the rest, ye Christ has purchased, Thay shall be blest.”


Dear Ancestor

Your tombstone stands among the rest;
neglected and alone
The name and date are chiseled out
on polished, marbled stone
It reaches out to all who care
It is too late to mourn
You did not know that I exist
You died and I was born.
Your tombstone stands among the rest;
neglected and alone
The name and date are chiseled out
on polished, marbled stone
It reaches out to all who care
It is too late to mourn
You did not know that I exist
You died and I was born.
Yet each of us are cells of you
in flesh, in blood, in bone.
Our blood contracts and beats a pulse
entirely not our own.
Dear Ancestor, the place you filled
one hundred years ago
Spreads out among the ones you left
who would have loved you so.
I wonder if you lived and loved,
I wonder if you knew
That someday I would find this spot,
and come to visit you.

Author Unknown

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Winters in New England’s Past

The Road, Winter, N. Currier, 1843

I’d like to invite you to join me at Author Memories where I’m sharing some vignettes from winters past in my guest post:  Romancing the Snow. Some of the family names I discuss   are Currier, Greenleaf,  Adams, and Peirce. Come see how some of our ancestors endured the snow in times gone by.

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Announcing the book release of Colonial Courtships!

Colonial Courtships, featuring Carving a Future by Carla Olson Gade.

As a genealogy enthusiast, history aficionado, and fiction author I’m thrilled to share that my second book has been published. Colonial Courtships takes place in the charming 18th century Glassenbury, Connecticut.  Drawing from my interest in my own New England ancestors, and featuring a surname from my family tree, unexpected adventure has the four Ingersoll brothers rethinking their futures. But will it thwart their plans for good or bring about four colonial courtships? 

I invite you to visit me at Writing to Distraction to see where you can Meet the Authors of Colonial Courtships. You can also see my list of appearances  around the web where you’ll find interviews, guest posts,  reviews, with lots of chances to win a copy of the book. I’m also hosting a colonial gift basket giveaway from now until Oct. 21st.

Colonial Courtships is a novella collection, that features 4 short novels in one. Each story is connected by the family relationship of the Ingersoll brothers and centers around the family hostelry, The Red Griffin Inn. Here’s a sneak peak at my novella, Carving a Future:
Carving a Future – Connecticut, 1753:  Ship figurehead carver Nathaniel Ingersoll has apprenticed for many years under his Uncle Phineas and hopes to become a master ship carver in his own right. Constance Starling was spirited away from England to the Connecticut coast as an indentured servant, arriving too ill for anyone to accept her. When Nathaniel takes pity on her, he purchases her contract. Has he jeopardized the future he has worked so hard to achieve for the welfare of a weakly servant?

READ Carving a Future Chapter One

To win a free copy of Colonial Courtships, please leave a comment and tell me about an interesting trade in your family history.

Order your copy of Colonial Courtships today! Available in print and ebook.

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S. S. Arabic – Grandparent’s immigration ship in 1912

My grandparents set sail from Liverpool to Boston as Swedish immigrants in 1912 on the S. S. Arabic (II) of the White Star line, the same line as the famed Titanic. I would have been very frightful to make a passage within months of such a tragedy, but alas, my grandparents were brave souls. This ship did have an interesting fate, however, as the first ship down in WW1, torpedoed by a German submarine, known as The Arabic Case.


The  R.M.S. Arabic Twin-Screw, 15,800 Tons was hailed the largest and fastest steamer in the Boston trade.

A carpenter by trade, my grandfather, Fritz Olsson, turned 18 years old while on the voyage which left on September 10, 1912 and arrived two days after his birthday (16th) on September 18, 1912. My grandmother Carla Edberg, a nurse/governess, set sail on October 8th, 1912, also on the S. S. Arabic, and arrived in Boston on October 17, 1912. Both remained in Boston, MA, they married two years later on October 6, 1914.


S. S. Arabic

Boston service 1907 - first class 

Boston service 1907 – third class (most likely their accommodations)

Fritz Olson immigration

Carla Edberg Olson immigration


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