ancestryink fisherman

Monday, April 20, 2015

Woods Hole Model Boat Show: Small in Size, Large in Historical Significance

I look for excuses to spend any amount of time in Woods Hole which, next to Menemsha on Martha's Vineyard,  is my favorite small fishing village around.  I say "fishing" but there is a lot going on in this tiny place: WHOI and MBL. The ferry to the Islands. An awesome Aquarium and Exhibit Center, Zumba classes, good food, a long  Just the way I like it!

Model boats in the WH Community Center

I have been fantasizing lately about selling my very nicely appointed home on the far side of Falmouth, and taking up residence in one of the many, small and funky wood-shingled shacks that...oh come on...would anyone really notice someone living in their boat shed?  Or garden shed?  Or better yet - house boat? And then of course, taking a small job at the Marine Biological Labs - you know:  anything at all, but preferably history related.

Okay I digress, but note that "small" is the key word here.

I have some nice photos to show you of this past weekend and a very special small event that brought a lot of interesting people - and boats - together.

Saturday and Sunday was the Woods Hole Model Boat Show hosted by the Woods Hole Historical Museum.   Every two years,  model ship makers exhibit their work throughout the village of Woods Hole in different locations.  Remote controlled model sail boats race in Eel Pond and there are a host of great events too numerous to mention, for all ages.

The Races in Two Days:

Saturday was a picture perfect day for the Men's race:

Starting Line Eel Pond

Light winds

The ship owners stood on the dock, controlling their boats in light winds.  Heading out to the buoys was a lot quicker than heading back in.

Sunday was the Ladies Regatta.   The wind had kicked up and temperatures were a bit chillier and there were far fewer boats.  I got to town early and had breakfast at my favorite place: The Woods Hole Market.  Off to the right, you can see some practice runs going on.

Back deck of Woods Hole Market- Eel Pond
Ladies Regatta
The Models in Two Days:

Saturday morning, I made the rounds of the exhibit rooms and there were some extremely impressive ship models created by folks from all over New England.

After a really stimulating discussion with one model ship maker, I learned all about the kind of "coaster" my great-grandfather may have sailed from Canada to Pennsylvania during his seafaring life of delivering lumber and coal and fish.

He also knew of the Arethusa, a rum-runner of old, which I happen to know my g-grandfather sailed on in the early 1900's.  I'm sure I took up way too much of this man's time, but I had fun swapping our genealogical info and how it related to maritime life and ships  back in the 1800's.  My only regret was that I did not get his name!

Next, I had a very special surprise.  Ray Crean, a retired teacher from Beverly and renowned model ship maker, was displaying a model of the US Coast Guard Cutter Duane. It rang a bell.  I told him I thought my father (now deceased)  had been on that ship in WWII.

When I got home from Woods Hole Saturday afternoon, I located my father's Coast Guard documents amongst our family memorabilia,  and sure enough - there was Dad's discharge paper listing CGC Duane as one of the ships on which he served.  It was wonderful to see a model of the ship.

Copy of father's CG discharge papers - Pharmacist's Mate

The ships we heard about the most in my family, and of which we have actual photos, were the  Forsyth and the USS Covington.  Dad was stationed on the Covington near Greenland and Iceland.  He rarely talked about the War, but he always talked with awe about the beauty he saw there.

Sunday morning, I dashed back to Woods Hole (ok, for the aforementioned breakfast, but also...) with a copy of the discharge papers in hand to share with Mr. Crean.  Alas, though checking back frequently for an hour or so,  he was away from his table probably taking in the show and races,  and I never got the chance to show him the papers.  Mr. Crean certainly knew his history and ships.  The knowledge I came across in this show was only rivaled by years of meticulous work of the model makers.

There were so many other model ships to talk about, too.  The amazing model of the Charles W. Morgan, the more modern remote controlled boats...too many to include here. I wish I had more time on Sunday to go back and see everything a second time.

Last but not least to mention here, the Historical Society and their friendly volunteers really made wandering around the village to see the show an easy and totally pleasurable experience!

I heard a rumor that this year's Model Boat Show was the last for Woods Hole. I certainly hope that is not true.

All photos property of the author.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Guilty! And Sentenced to Hand Burning

This week marks a somber anniversary - that of the Marathon Bombing.  As we approach the second Boston marathon since the bombing, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev awaits sentencing:  life in prison or - death.

Two choices: prison or death.  It has me wondering what manner of sentences were meted out around the 1600's-1700's.  Researching one of my own previous blog postings about Harvard University's collection of crime broadsides (to find this post, use my search box on right), led me to this wonderful source:

From the website of "The Proceedings of the Old Bailey"

The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, 1674-1913 

*A collaboration between the Universities of Hertfordshire and Sheffield and the Open University, this project was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Big Lottery Fund.

This intriguing and valuable online database publishes criminal proceedings between 1674 and 1913, at London's central criminal court.  There is a wealth of historical information on this site, and grateful acknowledgement must be given for the creation of this archive.  (To read more about the project, please visit the website directly.)

The home page features a search box for the investigation of crimes and their sentences.  Insert a few keywords, and you can view the original court document listing the crimes, the peoples involved, witnesses, and ...the punishment.

One of the most heinous crimes in this time period was the theft of a horse.  I typed "Theft of horse" into the search window and received a list of results.  This one held no mercy for one man:

On October 14, 1674:  "One was Indicted, together with a Youth, for Stealing of a Horse, the Man was found Guilty, and received Sentence of Death, the Boy Acquitted.

The stealing of silver ale cups from local taverns appeared to be a common crime, also.  One scurrilous group of no-good-doers received their sentences.  For the stealing of silver cups?  Burnt hands.  For the stealing of the horse?  Death!

October 10, 1677:  In all, seven persons (women included) burnt in the hand for their crimes.  One was ordered to be whipped for stealing, and ultimately five ne-er do-wells sentenced to death:  two "highway-men" (apparently those who robbed travelers), two Horse-stealers, and one thief.

Burning of the hands was a common punishment for first time or lesser crimes.  Kind of a gateway punishment for execution, however.  It seems many repeat offenders are recorded to have previously been "burnt or branded" in the hand, thus propelling them quickly to their final punishment: death.

May 16 1678:   Ten people sentenced to Death.

"There were in all Ten persons that received Sentence of Death, viz. Seven men, one for Murder, three notorious High-way men for several Robberies, two upon five several Indictments for Horse-stealing, a young man for a Felony, having been before burnt in the hand since Christmas last; and Three women, one for robbing her Master of goods to a great value, the other two ( whereof one was an old notorious offender) for several Felonies committed under presence of taking Lodgings, thereby having ruined divers honest poor people."

One longs for the punishment of being burnt in the hand or whipped, when execution was carried out by "being burned to ashes" or "hanging in chains".

On October 24, 1679 a grand total of 13 people were sentenced to death for crimes ranging from robbery and horse-stealing to treason.  A Mr. Ordinary met with each and every prisoner, to examine their souls before being transported to the here-after.  He lamented their flaws of consciene in the following way:

"He found them generally lamentably ignorant of the Principles of Religion, as if they had been born in Africk, and bred up amongst the Savages of America, rather than in England, that Goshen of Gospel-Light. But he endeavoured with his utmost pains, both to inform their Understandings of the mysteries of Salvation, and perswade their stubborn Wills to submit to the Yoak of Christ, and accept of him upon his own Evangelical Terms.

Apparently being born in Africa, or brought up with savages in America was as far a fall from grace as humanly possible!  The roots of religious bias and intolerance run very deep, and in many different directions.

105 Catholics Executed at Tyburn Gallows

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Archaeology of American Cemeteries and Gravemarkers

This book was brought to my attention through my B.U. Genealogical Forum for alumna of the research program. Though published in August of last year, (University of Florida Press) it is about the archaeology of cemeteries, and is worth bringing to your attention now.  This is not a guidebook for the cemetery-roving genealogist, however.
 It is about, to my best understanding,  the history of burial traditions and practices,  and an exploration of the human need for remembrance, in America.  From information in the introduction (full disclosure: I have not yet read the book so relied upon Amazon's content and the BU Forum for enlightenment), it addresses the sacred and profane in burial practices. 
 An example:  the practice of White settlers, to bury, with not regard, their own dead on top and within sacred Indian burial grounds, and the many years that passed before these sacred burial grounds became nationally preserved and protected.  
 It is remarkable, I think, that with all the thousands of years of changes: wars, grappling for territories, technological advances, religious observances, class struggles, and our ever-determined, forward-slanting stride into the future - we still bury our dead.  Maybe locations and graves are new, but the need to in some degree immortalize ourselves, seems as strong as ever.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Don't Miss New Records at

Here is a quick look at today's newly listed records at 

Ancestry's home page continually updates the list of newly added records collections.  Easy to ignore, as you jump into your research using your tried and true collections, but it is always worthwhile to pause and check the latest additions. 

For instance, Arizona Naturalization Records 1912-1991 and also, the vital records of Bexley, Kent, England spanning as a whole from 1754-1985, continents and content apart - but completely new and vitally interesting.

And let us not pass by the  Poland, Łódź Ghetto Inhabitant Lists, 1939-1944 (USHMM) (in German).
When you have reached the search window for this collection, look in the right hand menu and you will find:  Holocaust: Łódż Ghetto Hospital Illness Records, 1940 .

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Time Away and A Few Changes - Taking Your Genealogy on the Road

A long hiatus since my June 2014 post.  Genealogical research is ongoing here, amidst other life pursuits.

We have a new, fun TV show to watch hosted by PBS:  Genealogy Roadshow.  I love it.  It is much like Antiques Roadshow but with family research.  One of the main presenters was a consultant for my teaching team at Boston University.  

My favorite part is how quickly they pull together the family records and history of these "on-the-spot" families.  They make genealogy look easy!  It is what we call in the current vernacular "Pop-up Genealogy" and I find myself holding my breath as they very quickly reveal their results to a waiting family. 

Actually, I suspect there are many helping hands behind the "curtain" in order to pull together these shows and come up with their results.   Some of the stories so far have been fascinating. This season they've been in New Orleans which has a vibrant history.  I highly recommend watching it.

In a roundabout way, this leads me to changes here at AncestryInk.  Genealogical research is in fact, VERY time-consuming, as most of you who will be reading this will understand.

I have made some changes in my client practices.  For now, please review my Client Contract Page. In short, I am very much here to assist you!  Particularly in regards to sea-going ancestors from the Cape Cod and Islands area, southern Maine, and Essex County, MA.  Please feel free to contact me.

The prompt for the change comes in the necessity, and difficulty, in sharing a large body of research via email without being able to sit down in person to discuss your research project, in real time.  It is a cumbersome and at times confusing process to attempt this over email, for both you and me.  The result is that I have become more selective about taking on research projects.  Again, please contact me if you have a question about this.

Additionally,  I have experienced what many bloggers and social networkers encounter - really unpleasant, randomly negative Comments on this blog (yes, they are deleted).  Perhaps people feel they can speak their mind in some uncensored, abruptly rude fashion in the online world and it doesn't matter.  I do not feel that way.  I love genealogical research.  It's fun and exciting. I am wagging my tail in delight most of the time and I think the key to it all, is the ability to freely share what we learn, in order to help each other. It should never be about who knows more, or "who is right or wrong."

To solve this disheartening issue, I have removed the ability of the reader to post Comments to the blog. If you would like to get in touch to discuss anything written here  - feel free to email. Politely of course! (Happy Face emoticon inserted.)

Now back to the real purpose of it all: exploring history... See you again here soon.   Jane

Why Nantucket Friends and Whalers Settled in North Carolina

 What follows is a summary - a rather wildly loose one - think of an old and much-used fisherman's seine, or a rain-soaked spiderweb in the wind, or...the endless bouts of snow that have been falling between the much much fewer days of sun here on Cape Cod.

In other words, this is just a very quickly put-together introduction to jump-start your research in exploring Nantucket Quakers and Whalers (and at times the twain did meet) in North Carolina.

Around 1771, a large number of Nantucket Quakers and whalers left their island home of Nantucket, and moved to North Carolina.  It seems likely that the first leaders of this migration were the whalers who were able to lease whaling rights off the coast of North Carolina at a time when whaling in New England was starting to decline. Certainly, they were already far flung in their whaling travels, but North Carolina proved a lucrative and friendly destination.

The sandy, hardly-fertile soil of Nantucket was not conducive to much farming and families were left struggling for a means of support.  Thus a movement came about. The island Quakers, some whalers and some farmers, eventually settled in New Garden, Guildford County, North Carolina. New Garden had been populated by Pennsylvania Quakers since 1750.  Between 1771-1775, the Nantucket Friends arrived to New Garden. Eventually some sought out Meetings in various surrounding towns.  Many Nantucket family surnames are still to be found prominently in this area of North Carolina. 

Below are just a few sources explaining the migration of the Quakers and whaling families, of Nantucket.  There are many more, particularly in regards to the changes of the whaling industry and how it affected Cape Cod and Island families.  But these will get you on your way.

Author: Mary Warshaw:  “Beaufort, North Carolina: Histories and Images from the Past.”

The following article relates to the presence of Nantucket Quakers and whalers in North Carolina:

Authors:  Reeves and Mitchell : Publisher: U.S. Department of Commerce: NOAA Technical Report, March 1988 

“History of Whaling in and Near North Carolina”: pp. 6-8 (PDF)

And in this article relating the history of the Starbuck surname in New England: 

The story of Edward Starbuck and his friend Tristram Coffin who sailed from Cape Cod to Nantucket and settled there, forming a prosperous whaling community.  To further cement these whaling families, Coffin’s daughter Mary, married Nathaniel Starbuck, Edward’s son.  This Mary was thought to have introduced Quakerism to the Island.

Author of surnames website:  Colin Shelley

In this book found on the Google Books database:

The story of the expansion of the Quakers to North Carolina includes the name of Libni Coffin, who in this book, is referred to as the first Nantucket man to move to North Carolina, specifically, New Garden, in 1771.  In 1780, two/thirds of Nantucket’s population was Quaker.

This account indicates the poor arability of the land on Nantucket.  The island Quakers moved to New Garden, and later Guildford, NC as farmers, not whalers.  This migration halted in 1775 at the onset of the Revolutionary War.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Charles W. Morgan at Sea Again

With much excitement around these New England waters and beyond, it was reported by the Mystic Seaport that the stately Charles W. Morgan, the last wooden whaling ship of her kind,  had hoisted her sails again on June 7, 2014. After years of renovation and nearly a century since her last voyage the great ship is in motion.

Charles W. Morgan with full sails.  Photo: Dennis Murphy

" Built in 1841 at the yard of Jethro and Zachariah Hillman in New Bedford, MA, the Morgan is America's last surviving wooden whaleship and a precious piece of maritime history.  The Morgan's first voyage took place from 1841 to 1845. She was captained by Thomas Adam Norton, master, and many details of the voyage were kept in the ship's logbook, maintained by the second mate, James C. Osborn." *

At the Mystic Seaport webpage for the ship, you will find stunning photos of her trial sails, by photographer  Dennis Murphy.  A short video narrated by Capt. Kip Files shares images of one of the first trial sails.  With dramatic music and a fair amount of emotion, Capt. Files describes the trial and her stellar comportment on the waters around New London, CT, as the ship readies herself for her 38th Voyage.  

Though scheduled to leave New London yesterday, Friday the 13th, the Charles W. Morgan will instead set off on her voyage on June 15th.  According to the website, some iffy weather and sea conditions off Pt. Judith (RI) prevented yesterday's departure.  But I think we can all fly our "superstition" flag and, in fun,  imagine that perhaps it was decided Friday the 13th was not an auspicious or lucky day to set sail. 

"Command Central" (see image below and click to go there): for anything you want to know about the Charles W. Morgan, on the Mystic Seaport website.

It is a fun page with tons of options like:
-Up to the minute CWM news 
-Following her voyage around the Cape, Islands and back to New Bedford where she was built
-Find out about the "Stowaway!"
-Read about Capt. & Crew
-Related Events to her sailing destinations

...and you can even follow her in multiple ways via social media.  (Of course, she has a Facebook page, and can be pinned on Pinterest.)

The Charles W. Morgan leaves for Newport, RI tomorrow.  She will sail to all the significant whaling ports that awaited her arrival so many many years ago.   I plan to see her when she's visiting Martha's Vineyard.  Prepare to be enraptured.

* Source:  Hine, Jason, author. Mystic Seaport website; "The First Voyage of the Charles W. Morgan"; webpage: