Wood/Gade Documents

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Welcome to Relatively Speaking!

Winter sleigh ride about 1943 ~ Nelson Mitchell (my grandfather) and daughter Joyce (my mom).

Happy New Year! I’m excited about blogging my family history this year since I’ve been learning so many new fascinating things. With more and more records available online, genealogy research is becoming so much accessible.

I’m also hoping to engage more of a blog audience this year to share not only my own research, including scans of primary sources, but some useful genealogy tips, so please visit often!

  • An Old New England Heritage – I’m continuing to build my online family tree at Tribal Pages. Family volunteers who want to help build this are always welcome.
  • Marriage Record Reveals Grandparent’s Names – Starting the year off I received some long sought after information and finally have access to my four Swedish great grandparent’s names.
  • Archived Monthly Welcome Pages – It’s not too late to view my Christmas welcome page from December 2010 that features many Christmas posts!More to come!


As always, more posts can be read below and by navigating the menu on top and on the sidebar.  Enjoy your visit!

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John Greenleaf Whittier Christmas Poems

Here is a selection of Christmas poems by our reknowned and talented cousin, John Greenleaf Whittier.

The heart must ring thy Christmas bells,
Thy inward altars raise,
its Faith and hope, thy canticles,
And its obedience, praise.

Somehow, not only for Christmas

Somehow, not only for Christmas,
But all the long year through,
The joy that you give to others,
Is the joy that comes back to you.
And the more you spend in blessing,
The poor and lonely and sad,
The more of your heart’s possessing,
Returns to you glad.
Continue reading

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Silhouette: John Greenleaf Whittier (1807 – 1892)

John Greenleaf Whittier, son of John Whittier and Abigail Hussey Whittier, was born December 17, 1807 near Haverhill.  The poet’s paternal great grandmother was Sarah Greenleaf, of Newbury, third cousins to my direct ancestors, James Coffin and Sarah Greenleaf who shared great-great grandparents were Edmund Greenleaf, and also Tristram Coffin . The lines of descent as follows:

Edmund Greenleaf married Sarah More, and their son, Stephen Greenleaf, married Elizabeth, daughter of Tristram Coffin and Dionis (Stevens). The son of Stephen Greenleaf and Elizabeth (Coffin), Tristram Greenleaf, born in 1667—married Margaret Piper in 1689. Tristram Greenleaf’s son, Nathaniel Greenleaf, born in 1691, had a daughter Sarah, born March 5, 1721 who married Joseph Whittier, 2d, the grandfather of John Greenleaf Whittier.

John became an avid reader in his boyhood and was influenced to become a poet by the writings of Robert Burns.  He was a prolific writer, and some of his poems were published by William Lloyd Garrison, editor of the “Newburyport Free Press” which launched his literary career in 1826.  He attended the Haverhill Academy in 1827 and two years later became editor of “The American Manufacturer” in Boston.  He was successful in many journalistic ventures and became nationally famous for his abolitionist poems.  His staunch anti-slavery stand resulted from his Quaker heritage.  In 1836 he moved his mother and sister, Elizabeth Hussey Whittier to Amesbury, Massachusetts.  He died in Hampton Falls, New Hampshire September 7, 1892 following a paralytic stroke. He was buried in Amesbury, Massachusetts.  He did not marry.



“… I love the vanished past – I love to listen when
The legend of its stirring times is told by aged men -
The hunter’s tale of forest deeds – his struggle with the storm -
His struggle with the savage bear, and cougar’s fearful form.

I love the spell that lendeth to each old familiar stream
The dimness and incoherence of some mysterious dream,
That linketh supernatural things to native hill and glen
and blendeth with the present view a glimpse of what has been.”
– John Greenleaf Whittier

More about John Greenleaf Whittier’s connection to our family and the Greenleaf genealogy >>

Posted in Coffin, Greenleaf, Out on a Limb, Silhouettes | Leave a comment

Christmas 1965

Eric & Carla Olson, Christmas 1965

Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred,
and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit,
become a child again at Christmastime.
Laura Ingalls Wilder

Posted in Customs & Holidays, Photographs, Poetry, Quotes, Inspiration | 1 Comment

Digging Deeper

I’ve been digging deeper trying to find some of the hidden roots in my family tree as I’ve been continuing to work on my Tribal Pages Family Tree website.

I discovered another Mitchell line, so that means that my mother has Mitchell’s on both maternal (English) and paternal (Ulster-Scot) sides of her family. The newly identified line hails from Experience Mitchell who came on the Anne 1623 to Plymouth. His spouse was Jane Cooke, daughter of Francis Cooke who came on the Mayflower. This adds to my growing list of Pilgrim ancestors.

I also peeled back some layers of my husband’s Gade heritage in Norway. It’s very difficult to get information in other countries so I’m thrilled about that. Family Search has a new Beta search engine that brings up some excellent sources and is so easy to use. I was able to verify my data through marriage and birth certificates that have been transcribed.

Through the Massachusetts Archives I am requesting copies of my Swedish paternal grandparents marriage and citizenship certificates.  We have copies of my husband’s Norwegian grandparents that holds vital information which I am similarly looking for concerning my Swedish grandparents who immigrated just a little bit earlier.  Fortunately, the marriage took place in 1914, as the archives have records until 1915, I’m just slipping in under the date. I hope to discover the unknown names of great grandparents. Once I have this information, I will add to the other information I have and perhaps be able to have a research assistant in Sweden help me trace my roots there. As for now I only have a handful of names covering two generations.

Making progress here. What have you dug up recently?

Posted in Relatively Speaking (musings) | 1 Comment

Genealogy Quotes

“Not to know what
happened before we were
born is to remain perpetually
a child. For what is the worth
of a human life unless it is
woven into the life of our
ancestors by the records
of history”

Cicero (106-43 B.C.)

Posted in Poetry, Quotes, Inspiration | Leave a comment